What the heck is a "mystic"?

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Poppyseed
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What the heck is a "mystic"?

Post by Poppyseed » 10 Aug 2009, 07:37

I know I am little slower....but when someone says they are a mystic what does that mean? And then what is mysticism?
“Be not afraid of growing slowly; be afraid only of standing still.” --old Chinese proverb

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quietblue
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Re: What the heck is a "mystic"?

Post by quietblue » 10 Aug 2009, 08:12

This is a deep topic.

Wikipedia puts it this way:
See also, "Mystic". The term '"mysticism'" is used to refer to beliefs and practices which go beyond the liturgical and devotional forms of worship of mainstream faith, often by seeking out inner or esoteric meanings of conventional religious doctrine, and by engaging in spiritual practices such a breathing practices, prayer, contemplation and meditation, along with chanting and other activities designed to heighten spiritual awareness.

From what I understand, hermeticism, esoterica, occult, wicca, and mystery would be good topics to check out if you are interested in "Mormon mystics."
"Those few members who desert the cause are abandoning an oasis to search for water in the desert." - Neal A. Maxwell

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hawkgrrrl
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Re: What the heck is a "mystic"?

Post by hawkgrrrl » 10 Aug 2009, 10:53

Of course, Ayn Rand considered all religious adherents "mystics," and meant that in a derogatory sense. But her point is interesting from a non-spiritual vantage point: if something embraces the unknown and unknowable over the known and knowable, that is embracing the mystical over reality.

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HiJolly
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Re: What the heck is a "mystic"?

Post by HiJolly » 10 Aug 2009, 11:12

quietblue is right. And I think that is a good definition from Wiki.

When I first began to critically analyze my experiences with God, I searched for an established group that understood my experiences, that shared a common vocabulary, that spoke of things as I understood them.

I knew that many people had spiritual experiences in the LDS Church, but getting anyone to talk about them openly was not working. At the outset, I couldn't find people in the church discussing my experiences, so I went elsewhere. I went to the library, I went on the internet (which, back then, was nothing more than the Newsgroups (ie, Alt.Religion.Mormonism), I took classes at the local University (philosophy, logic, religion) (I was not living in Utah at the time).

At first I thought maybe I could identify with gnosticism, but that didn't last long. While it was true that I *knew* things by the power (grace) of God, yet I couldn't see that tradition fitting with my views. I sampled other traditions. I finally found that the mystical tradition fit my experiences fairly well, though I didn't chant or follow other practices that many of them did. ('shrooms, anyone?) :o

Most religious movements have their mystics. Buddhism, Jewry, Catholicism, you name it, most have sub communities of mystics. While still picking and choosing carefully I could augment my understanding of my experiences with these groups. We had similar understandings of God by personal experience. I even ran across an atheistic mystic, who claimed to have been caught up to the 3rd heaven. I think it likely that he was, after reading his lengthy account, found here: http://www.mysticalreunion.org/.

Anyway, I found a thread of familiarity in many traditions, but not all. Thelema, for example, I didn't really relate to. In the end, I found that my own tradition of Mormonism was incredibly useful, powerful, and 'true' --- and I hadn't even recognized it.

As T.S. Eliot said,
We shall not cease from exploration
And the end of all our exploring
Will be to arrive where we started
And know the place for the first time.


HiJolly
Men are not moved by events but by their interpretations.
-- The Stoic Epictetus

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Tom Haws
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Re: What the heck is a "mystic"?

Post by Tom Haws » 10 Aug 2009, 12:25

HiJolly wrote:We had similar understandings of God by personal experience.
To me, this sums up what is meant by mysticism. It is knowing by personal experience the same thing that Thoreau, Ashoka, or Zoroaster (I assume) knew by personal experience.

Here's Thoreau:
...in dealing with truth we are immortal, and need fear no change nor accident. The oldest Egyptian or Hindoo philosopher raised a corner of the veil from the statue of the divinity; and still the trembling robe remains raised, and I gaze upon as fresh a glory as he did, since it was I in him that was then so bold, and it is he in me that now reviews the vision. No dust has settled on that robe; no time has elapsed since that divinity was revealed.
Tom (aka Justin Martyr/Justin Morning/Jacob Marley/Kupord Maizzed)
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Sure, any religion would do. But I'm LDS.
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Heber13
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Re: What the heck is a "mystic"?

Post by Heber13 » 10 Aug 2009, 14:25

HiJolly wrote:In the end, I found that my own tradition of Mormonism was incredibly useful, powerful, and 'true' --- and I hadn't even recognized it.
HiJolly, as always...thanks for your thoughts...very interesting to me.

Do you believe your traditional Mormonism was useful because it is "True" and allows for exploration unlimitless, or is it more a cultural thing that just seems to make sense to you?

This is an interesting thread.
Luke: "Why didn't you tell me? You told me Vader betrayed and murdered my father."
Obi-Wan: "Your father... was seduced by the dark side of the Force. He ceased to be Anakin Skywalker and became Darth Vader. When that happened, the good man who was your father was destroyed. So what I told you was true... from a certain point of view."
Luke: "A certain point of view?"
Obi-Wan: "Luke, you're going to find that many of the truths we cling to...depend greatly on our point of view."

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HiJolly
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Re: What the heck is a "mystic"?

Post by HiJolly » 10 Aug 2009, 22:18

Heber13 wrote: Do you believe your traditional Mormonism was useful because it is "True" and allows for exploration unlimitless, or is it more a cultural thing that just seems to make sense to you?
I like to think it is the principles of traditional Mormonism; things like continuing revelation, angelic ministrations, keys of asking and receiving, Gift of the Holy Ghost, temples, etc. So..... Yes, the former. But I would not be completely honest if I did not also acknowledge the culture as well. Sometimes I hate the petty attitudes too often found in the Church. At the same time, though, I was remarkably blessed in my youth to have practically 98% of everyone surrounding me being authentic and engaged in the Church, in trying to be 'good'.

Maybe I just had rose-tinted glasses on. Could be... The culture does feel 'good' to me, mostly due, I think, to my happy years as a youth in the Church. How I wish all youth had the same experience.


HiJolly
Men are not moved by events but by their interpretations.
-- The Stoic Epictetus

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Tom Haws
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Re: What the heck is a "mystic"?

Post by Tom Haws » 11 Aug 2009, 08:50

HiJolly wrote:At the same time, though, I was remarkably blessed in my youth to have practically 98% of everyone surrounding me being authentic and engaged in the Church, in trying to be 'good'.

Maybe I just had rose-tinted glasses on. Could be... The culture does feel 'good' to me, mostly due, I think, to my happy years as a youth in the Church. How I wish all youth had the same experience.
Same here. It's just been a very nice ride and a pleasant climb.
Tom (aka Justin Martyr/Justin Morning/Jacob Marley/Kupord Maizzed)
Higley and Guadalupe
Gilbert, Arizona
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Sure, any religion would do. But I'm LDS.
"There are no academic issues. Everything is emotional to somebody." Ray Degraw at www.StayLDS.com

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Brian Johnston
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Re: What the heck is a "mystic"?

Post by Brian Johnston » 11 Aug 2009, 10:39

My personal and very short definition is this: Anyone who seeks for direct, personal experiences with the divine (aka God). That is a very broad definition.

Non-mystics are people who do not experience a sense of the mysterious and unknown, they do not experience things we label "the Spirit," personal revelation or answers to prayers. Mystics have more to do with the individual person and less to do with the organization, religion or Church they belong to.

Joseph Smith was a strong mystic who claimed many direct experiences with angels, revelation, even God and Jesus Christ.

Mother Teresa was not a mystic. Even though she was a compassionate and devout religious woman, I seem to recall she recorded her personal doubts even about the existence of God (we found out after she died). On the other hand, there are innumerable examples from the same Catholic religion of people who were/are mystics.

Someone could be a Buddhist and be mystical or not a mystic. Same goes for most other religions. A tribal shaman or medicine man is a mystic. Some priests in various groups might not be. It all depends on the individuals and their experiences.

It seems like there are common themes and symbols when we look at mystical experiences. It isn't all the same, but common themes include a permeating love and connection between all living things. That is one of many things I have noticed.
"It's strange to be here. The mystery never leaves you alone." -John O'Donohue, Anam Cara, speaking of experiencing life.

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Heber13
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Re: What the heck is a "mystic"?

Post by Heber13 » 11 Aug 2009, 10:47

Valoel, do you think you and others here at StayLDS are mystics?

By your definition, I would say yes. Would you agree?
Luke: "Why didn't you tell me? You told me Vader betrayed and murdered my father."
Obi-Wan: "Your father... was seduced by the dark side of the Force. He ceased to be Anakin Skywalker and became Darth Vader. When that happened, the good man who was your father was destroyed. So what I told you was true... from a certain point of view."
Luke: "A certain point of view?"
Obi-Wan: "Luke, you're going to find that many of the truths we cling to...depend greatly on our point of view."

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