Comparative Mysticism

Discussion in 'Alternative' started by Limbo, Jan 6, 2007.

  1. Limbo

    Limbo New Member

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    I've been doing my own home-grown attempt at comparative mysticism, and I think this field can shed a great deal of light on a great many subjects.

    Comparative mysticism is many times a segment of comparative religion classes. I plan to take a class next year.

    I was wondering if anyone knows of any text books or other sources of information reguarding this subject.
     
  2. Nattering Nabob

    Nattering Nabob New Member

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  3. Limbo

    Limbo New Member

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    Thank you very much!
     
  4. InLove

    InLove at peace

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    Hi Limbo and Nat (or should I call you Bob or Spiro?),

    The title of the thread caught my attention right away! I said, "Oh boy!"

    Then I clicked on the link and, while I don't think there is a connection, the name of the college gave me a bit of a startle. Hmmmm....:confused:.:D

    InPeace,
    InLove
     
  5. Ciel

    Ciel in essence

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    Hi InLove, I find myself in a mode of questioning, interested to know why?

    - c -
     
  6. InLove

    InLove at peace

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    Hi Ciel--

    Well, the name instantly brought the thought of "Calvinism" to my mind. I have never thought of John Calvin as one of the great mystics of the world, but then I suppose someone might.

    Anyway, like I said, there is probably no connection, but if there is, I would sure like to know. :confused: :eek:

    InPeace,
    InLove

    Edited to Add: I just did some surfing, and the school is indeed named after him. So I have some research to do!
     
  7. Limbo

    Limbo New Member

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    So far it seems to me that in order to understand the origins/common ground between religions, the meaning(s) of mythological symbolism, etc then comparative mysticism is absolutely essential.

    I've come to realize that mysticism is natural, science is beginning to understand it, and it underlies all religious experiences. Far from invalidating the religious experience, for me these insights liberate the religious experience from their cultural trappings.
     
  8. Nattering Nabob

    Nattering Nabob New Member

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    I agree.
     
  9. InLove

    InLove at peace

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    I agree that it is very helpful.

    I appreciate the optimism here. I, too, find it encouraging that science increasingly embraces the spiritual, and vice versa. And I agree that mystic revelation does play a major role in transcending our own physical and cultural boundaries, as well as understanding those that apply to another. However, while I can possibly relate all spiritual experience to the mystical, I can't seem to place all religious activity into the same arena.

    Just thinking out loud, and trying to understand your viewpoint. :)

    InPeace,
    InLove
     
  10. flowperson

    flowperson Oannes

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    From some of the mystical experiences I seem to have had, I would have to describe them as essentially antithetical to the nature of the world, if not the universe, that we physically inhabit and live in. In mystical experiences you penetrate and are penetrated in a profound manner such that you realize that in things truly spiritual there can be no boundaries or limits. Some describe it as a "post quantum" experience. Even the methodologies of uncertainty do not apply there.

    Does this make sense to any of you out there ?

    And no, I certainly do not consider Calvin to have been a mystic, but then, I might be a poor judge of his motivating experiences. All I know is that his philosophies of religion were ultimately controlling in nature rather than freedom inducing, IMO.

    flow....:)
     
  11. Limbo

    Limbo New Member

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    ^Yes it sure does. The experience of transcending the mundane nature of the world is one type of common mystical experience, your description is very similar to many, many descriptions I've come across.
     
  12. bgruagach

    bgruagach eclectic Wiccan

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    I really enjoyed reading John Horgan's book "Rational Mysticism." It's a sort of survey of mysticism in a number of religious systems with a healthy dose of current scientific understanding added to the mix.
     
  13. Limbo

    Limbo New Member

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    ^Thank you I have added that to my 'must-read' list!
     
  14. Nattering Nabob

    Nattering Nabob New Member

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    I was reading a book called Arctic Adventure written in 1935 by Peter Freuchen, a Danish adventurer and came across an account of a spontaneous mystical experience he had while seal fishing in a kayak. To hunt seals from a kayak you must remain totally motionless for hours at a time and the author related that the natives who did this sometimes suffered from what he called "kayak sickness" during which they would be paralyzed (though fully awake) and unable to move until the wind or another native stirred their kayak into a slight movement.


     
  15. InLove

    InLove at peace

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    Hi Again--

    I am still trying to understand the idea behind the words, Limbo and Nattering Nabob. :)

    Are you positing that all people are mystics (or have the potential) whether they know it or not? This is the only way I can make sense of it if you consider Calvin to be a mystic, since from what I can gather, Calvin himself spurned the idea.

    Or perhaps it depends on one's definition of "mystic"?

    Any thoughts?

    InPeace,
    InLove
     
  16. Limbo

    Limbo New Member

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    I do think that all people have the poential for mystical experiences. I think that the various mystical traditions are essentially systems of techniques developed to bring out that potential.

    I'm defining mystical experience in a wide sense:

    "A (purportedly) super sense-perceptual or sub sense-perceptual experience granting acquaintance of realities or states of affairs that are of a kind not accessible by way of sense perception, somatosensory modalities, or standard introspection."

    Mysticism (Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy)
     
  17. InLove

    InLove at peace

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    Thank you, Limbo, for the link. Now I think I see the direction your study is taking. I am sorry if I inadvertantly took the discussion into an area which does not apply to the focus of the thread. But I just had to ask.

    You have quite a project underway! I wish you success in your endeavor.

    My own experience and studies have indeed led me to appreciate the commonalities between what the reference material attempts to describe as "the mystical conscience" and "unconstructed awareness". :)

    InPeace,
    InLove
     
  18. Limbo

    Limbo New Member

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    Thank you!

    [​IMG]

    This picture illustrates what I'm getting at. At the heart of the major religions is unity, because the mystics of the various traditions "percieve" the same Ultimate nature of Reality but describe "it" in different ways. Sorting through the different ways is where comparative mythology comes in.

    The farther away from that center a religion gets the more exoteric, literal, and fundamentalist it becomes. The closer toward the center one goes, the more esoteric, universal, tolerant, and enlightened one becomes.
     
  19. bgruagach

    bgruagach eclectic Wiccan

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    Here are a few other books you might want to check out:

    "The Mystic Heart" by Wayne Teasdale.

    Evelyn Underhill's work including:
    "Mysticism"
    "Practical Mysticism"
    "The Cloud of Unknowing."

    Richard M. Bucke's "Cosmic Consciousness."
     
  20. taijasi

    taijasi GnĊthi seauton

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    Thank you, Limbo, for this beautiful illustration! Here, no one is slighted, differences are not overlooked, the unique qualities of various paths are not minimalized, and there is something concrete - in the form of this graphic - to help illustrate a condition that some of us believe is *already existing* ... rather than one that humanity is trying to force from without.

    The mystic recognizes the Transcendent Unity, but knows it to be of God (or of the Ultimate Nature of things), and not of humanity's creation. At best, we can perhaps work toward an appreciation in our outer awareness, that this Inner Unity already exists, and has always existed. Even the mystic cannot always maintain a direct awareness of what has come through the mystical experience.

    And yes, the farther one gets away from a recognition of this innermost nature of things, the more separative and divisive become the world's religions and their practitioners. I get the feeling that they think God is some kind of Borg-like entity (as on Star Trek), and that they fear *assimilation* ... when in fact, all that is being said is, "Look, isn't it good that we have so much in common, and that so many people on this planet are following a spiritual path! This speaks well of our future!" :)

    One could say, are the world's religions not like the many fingers and toes of one body, each slightly different, but equally important for that body's functioning? Yet some would cut off a finger, if that were necessary to point out their *differences* and "unique value" apart from others. And in doing so, what do they really prove about themselves, or about their own religion?

    ~Zag
     

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