What does it mean to be a mystic?
Some imagine yogis sitting in meditation for hours on end, or think of mystics as Christ-like people who have extraordinary powers to heal, predict the future, or travel into other realms. Though these are examples of mysticism, a mystic is simply “a person who seeks by contemplation and self-surrender to obtain unity with or absorption into the Deity or the absolute, or who believes in the spiritual apprehension of truths that are beyond the intellect.”
When we believe mysticism is reserved for a chosen few, or for those willing to give up all earthly pleasures, we disconnect from our inner mysticism which can be a powerful link to create the lives we desire. By discovering and embracing the mystic we were born to be, we align with authenticity, empowerment and joy.
Contemplation and Self-Surrender
Meditation can be a form of contemplation, but it is not the only path to unity consciousness. Many mystics use a variety of methods to surrender their egoic limitations and allow for absorption into the absolute. Yoga, spiritual study groups, conscious breathwork, fasting, and dance are all valid actions a mystic can consciously utilize with intention to achieve a spiritual quest. Again, these are not the only methods one can use.
If your intention is to experience oneness, then do so in your daily endeavors. While washing dishes, become completely mindful of your task. Feel the plate, notice the soapy sponge as it makes contact to remove the grease, experience the heat of the water. Don’t limit yourself by believing a mystical experience of oneness with the Divine has certain qualities, or wait for it to happen to you spontaneously. Instead, cultivate a practice of seeking oneness with the mundane tasks you perform each day. Allow absorption into the present moment.
As well, seek wonder. By opening yourself to the marvels that are ever-present, you release the walls that keep you confined to your smallness. Finding the awe in the things around you may seem to emphasize your smallness, or minimize you to no-thing, but this is an essential shift in awareness. As you expand your perceptions to take in the wonder that exists in all things, you realize the vastness and wonder that is within you… that is you!
Star-gaze, sincerely hug a tree, notice your plants dancing softly with the wind, listen deeply to the sounds of birds in your yard, watch a squirrel capture an acorn, spend ten minutes snuggling with your dog. Though you can discover the wonder in anything, connecting with the forces of the natural world is not only pure and easy, it helps align you with your own natural state, which is inherently mystical.
Spiritual Apprehension of Truths
Intellectually speaking, we can get fixated on what truth really is, and formulate thoughts that lock us in to particular beliefs. Yet truth, like light, can be perceived, experienced, and even manipulated, but can never be grasped in the literal sense. Our mind finds comfort in understanding and containment, helping us feel sure, solid, safe. Mystics are willing to experience the discomfort of uncertainty as they seek truth.
The innocence of a child allows each experience or teaching to be taken in as some kind of truth. Through development, understanding and intellect begin to form the information received into perceptions. Discernment allows for rejection of information, whether based on truth or one’s perceptions. Yet, as fallible human beings, our perceptions can become distorted. Therefore, the thoughts we believe may not be completely true. This is okay, unless they limit us, of course.
If you are experiencing limitation in your life, your move toward freedom begins with a shift in your perceptions. Most notably, the majority of your untrue perceptions are about yourself! You may even believe you are not a mystic! Whether or not you have consciously taken an oath to obtain unity with the absolute, if you believe in the spiritual apprehension of truths that are beyond the intellect, by definition, you are a mystic!
Did you ever ride Disneyland's Space Mountain? This roller coaster is in full darkness - the twists and turns are only mildly perceived with the help of human senses. Eyes, somewhat adjusted to the dark, make out the structural framework of the roller coaster which seems to be much too close to the vehicle itself; only daring folks (hopefully with short arms) are crazy enough to hold their hands high above their heads! Ears can hear the train's contact with the rails and perhaps detect which direction the coaster is heading, although the screams of other riders are far more audible. Bodies feel the climbing, dipping and swerving of the ride and instantly try to anticipate its next sharp move; there's some pretty good wiggle room with only a lap belt to keep you in the car. Spiritual senses, such as intuition, are often left in the dust as the rocket launches full speed ahead!
No, we are not at Disneyland, and no, we aren't riding Space Mountain right now.
However, as the economy dips, relationships swerve and hardships are the only things that seem to be climbing, you may be wondering how to get off this unpredictable ride - or at least shed some light on it so you can see what's ahead and perhaps brace yourself.
First and foremost, getting off the ride is not an option. Your vehicle is moving much too fast, you are wearing a lap belt and there are far too many obstacles. And although it may seem like an eternity, in the greater scheme of things, this particular ride will end soon enough - every ride comes to an end. And, you have to trust that if you were really in danger, the ride would stop, the lights would turn on, and you would be escorted safely to the nearest exit.
Lights can be helpful, but in the case of Space Mountain, the point of the ride is not to see or know what's coming next. Perhaps in our human and spiritual maturity, we've ridden all the other types of roller coasters and we were bored. We wanted something new and unpredictable. We trusted that we could handle the intensity of a roller coaster in the dark.
Whether or not you can see what's ahead, your body automatically reacts to the intensity life hands you. Seeing may help, but really, how would you brace yourself?
Some folks - usually in a fearful state - hold on tightly and try to keep their bodies firmly in place on roller coasters. Yet, most of the time, too much bracing - in a desire to resist every bump and turn - can be counterproductive and whiplash may result. Perhaps lifting our arms above our head in the dark isn't the best choice for this particular ride, but flowing with the vehicle as it twists and dips is not only more gentle on our bodies, it implies we are skilled riders. After being beaten and jostled due to our own rigidity on roller coasters past, we have learned how to ride with grace and ease.
Screaming, of course, is always an option. Some laugh, some yell, and yes, there are those who were not fully prepared for such intensity who cry. All of these reactions are releases for the body and spirit during stressful - even joyfully stressful - situations.
Although our senses are here to guide us, it is a primal instinct to use them for our survival. We listen, watch, feel, smell and taste whatever necessary to ensure our safety. When times challenge us, we may even be on ultra-alert and hyper-sensitive. This doesn't always serve us, however. For example, we might receive an adrenaline overload, run into the face of danger or freeze completely. So, perhaps, it's better to have some of them disabled at times? Maybe not seeing what's coming is better for us in our current situations?
Since we cannot see what's ahead on Space Mountain, it requires a huge amount of trust; hence skilled riders know how to surrender to the ride and simply go with it. When your physical senses "fail" you, maybe it's actually for your own good.
And what about those spiritual senses? Our physical senses are strongly linked to our intuitive senses, and these, too, are set on self-protection default. It may not be able to see and predict what's going to happen, or when, but it can guide you. Learning to tune into your own intuition is simply a matter of paying attention to what you are already receiving with your other senses. Then, by careful "listening" to your inner voice and "seeing" with your inner sight, you will likely get other information to guide you. Maybe you won't know the next turn, but you sense - physically and/or spiritually - that the ride is about to turn left and drop downward. Sometimes you turn left and drop downward, and other times you are surprised to find a sharp right instead.
However, if you are fully surrendered to the roller coaster, which way it turns really won't matter too much.
All in all, however you choose to ride your current roller coaster of life, just remember that it's just one of many in the amusement park. There are lots of rides for lots of personalities. If this one isn't to your liking, trust that it will end soon enough, that you will be able to safely get off it, and know you can go find another ride. And, since you did fork our a chunk of change to get in the park, and you did get in line (even begrudgingly) for that darkened roller coaster, you might as well try to have fun!
I surely don’t want to write about fear… I’m too afraid! Geez, what do I have to say about this topic, since, I too am constantly trying to avoid fear?! “Surrender,” I hear, as I begin to write…
As human beings we are hexed with fears! By agreeing to incarnate on Earth, we took on this thing called fear. It has been said that FEAR stands for “False Evidence Appearing Real.” This is fine and dandy when we are talking about monsters under our beds, but what about those REALLY Real fears?
What about Reality?! War! Bankruptcy! Injustices! Betrayals! Survival!
I don’t have a television, nor do I read any newspapers, or listen to the radio long enough to hear about happenings in the real world – thank goodness! Am I uninformed? Probably. Am I in denial? Maybe. Is this disconnection from 3-D reality a bad thing? No – at least not for me.
My primary reason for not staying connected to the world through the media is because of fear! Yes, I am afraid of what is happening in our world, and I am certainly not interested in having my fears amplified with media influences. I have plenty of pesky fears gnawing around my own house, thank you!
So what do I do to cope with my fears, great and small?
Empowerment, detachment and surrender are keys to releasing this human experience known as fear.
Empowerment can come in many forms. When we recognized where we have power and take action accordingly, we can alleviate some of our fears. For some people, media news gives them a sense of what is happening in our world, empowering them with information. Many people are motivated to create changes; perhaps politically, monetarily or through service.
Personally, I empower myself by NOT receiving information about the world through the media. I best function and stay empowered by maintaining my connection to the “Higher Realms” through my spirituality. Politically and financially, I support areas that align with my beliefs and pocketbook. In terms of service, I love to empower others, including my four children, so they can live more joyfully and have positive influences in our world.
Clearly, there isn’t one “right” way to empower ourselves, yet it is beneficial to come from a place of Love rather than fear. When we act out of fear, we align ourselves with denser energies (you know, the “lower realms”).
Sometimes it can be hard for us to discern when our acts come from Love or fear. Do I care for my family out of Love or protect them out of fear? Likely, we do both. Personal love – for our family, the earth, ourselves – is a more positive impetus than fear. Yet, when we address our fears from a place of personal love, our attachment seeks a desired outcome. Generally speaking, we want to remove the “problem” because we believe it is causing our fears! We can spend a lifetime trying to eliminate our fears through this method.
Love with detachment – a.k.a. Unconditional Love – enables us to live fearlessly in spite of our problems. Through the eyes of detachment we can see a greater picture. This empowers us to remove the hook from our personal agenda and simply witness What Is. Some of us experience this in small instances at unpredictable moments (then, of course, we want to hold on to it!). Achieving detachment takes practice, to say the least. We do not need to become Buddhists to learn detachment, though this spiritual path offers us some enlightening perspectives.
In “reality”, I encounter many issues that try to lure me down the path of fear. Many times I go – dramatically, habitually and, of course, fearfully! Yet, the more I tune into the higher frequencies of Love and Oneness (rather than the media), the easier I find detachment. Yes, I still may need to call a friend, take a deep breath (or two or three) and do some journaling, but I find detachment to be a powerfully comforting tool.
I would like to note, however, that de-tachment implies that there was an attachment. Some day I would like to master non-attachment so I can avoid the hook altogether. In the meantime, I am practicing the art of surrender.
While some may equate surrendering with dis-empowerment, it actually takes a good deal of courage and faith. Although surrendering may not change or impact the original “problem” or “reality” that prompted our fear, it can help diminish the fear itself. Perhaps we humbly realize that even though we can see a greater picture with detachment, this greater picture is much bigger than our human eyes can behold. We release trying to see it, or understand it. We surrender to it. When we surrender, we move into our fears (not necessarily into the "issue" itself), which gives them less power to frighten us.
In this rapidly shifting reality, we are facing challenges on many levels. Some challenges we handle with grace, while others rattle our fears to the core. The Truth is we are human beings trying to re-member Oneness! Ironically, this process scares us. Hidden deep in our unconsciousness, is a tiny “ego” trying to fight for its own survival. It doesn’t know that when it surrenders to the Oneness – to that which most frightens it – it will expand into a Grandness beyond its wildest dreams! Instead, it is plagued with fear because it doesn’t Trust what Source is trying to bring it.
For the most part, I find that surrender isn’t a one stop completion point; it is often an ebb and flow between my ego and my Soul creating an interesting dance. Sometimes I watch with detachment, other times I join in. What I am learning, however, is that my Soul has much more endurance, smoother steps, and is a better teacher. Plus, it brings me joy to dance with my Soul!
Whether we are dealing with those pesky everyday fears, or the major catastrophes of living in today’s reality that trigger the REALLY Real fears, if we fully and completely surrender to Trust, we may discover what Source is trying to bring us and perhaps realize there was nothing to fear after all.
Are you willing to expand into a Grandness beyond your wildest dreams?
“Surrender,” you hear, as you move toward that which most frightens you…
Maybe you, too, are ready to dance with your Soul.
"Reality is merely an illusion, albeit a very persistent one."