November 13, 2011 by Bill
I have lost count of the times I have been asked, “what are you… what do you believe?” What am I? I answer by saying that I have always thought of myself as being within the historical stream of mysticism, where there is no violence, no dualism and no absolutes.
The Mystical experience is the same, whether Christian, Hindu, Taoist, Buddhist, American Indian, Zen Buddhist, Humanist or what have you. It was the experience of Lao Tzu, the old master of Taoism, or the Roman Catholic Meister Eckhart, or Protestant Boehme.
Mysticism is the recovery of the now, of the immediate. It is the recovery of intuition, of feeling. Mysticism refuses to deify Reason or Rationalism, spelled with capital Rs. It is Carl Jung saying in his autobiography that “reason and rationalism are the two major diseases of our time.”
It is the brilliant scientist Julian Huxley writing that, “We must repudiate our modern idolatry of science. Science is only the name for a particular system of knowledge and understanding acquired by particular methods. It must come to terms with other systems of knowledge acquired by other methods, the aesthetic and the intuitive, the subconscious, imaginative and visionary, or in other words, the way of mysticism.”
Experience is the key word in mysticism. Truth is revealed through one’s experience rather than through doctrine, dogma, or creed. It is reliance on spiritual intuition, in the discovery of wisdom that gives a new vision of reality. It is the mystic William Blake writing, “To see a world in a grain of sand and a heaven in a wild flower, to hold infinity in the palm of your hand and eternity in an hour.”
In the mystic eye, the many things of the universe, including you and me, are all “god and all divine.” As a Zen Master put it, “to watch a child pouring milk into a glass is to watch God pouring God into God.”
Or as the Christian mystic Meister Eckhart said: “The eye by which I see God is the same eye by which God sees me. My eye and God’s eye are one and the same.”
And… “Do you want to see God? Look in the mirror.” And again,”To go around looking for God is like sitting on an ox looking for an ox to ride.” And again, “to see God, look at a pile of dung in the stable.” Or Jesus, that nomadic Hebrew mystic, saying, “To have seen me is to have seen God. I and God are one.” Or as the Hebrew Kabalah puts it, “God is not external to anything.”
There is no violence, no dualism, no absolutes in Mysticism. There is not God AND anything. Everything is God… all of nature… every atom… every cell. When that brilliant Zen Master, D.T. Suzuki, was lecturing at Stanford University, he walked to the front of the stage and said, “God against man, man against God… God against nature… Nature against God… man against nature… nature against man. A very, very funny religion.” He was talking about Christianity of course, and the audience roared with laughter.
The word “god” is only a symbol for the ONENESS of everything in Mysticism. All is ONE.
Today in physics, quantum mechanics confirms the mystical view of reality and the universe… that there is no animate and inanimate, but everything is ONE and flowing.
As Carl Jung put it, “The creative mystic has always been a thorn in the side of the dogmatic and creedal church but it is to the mystic that we owe all that is best in religion and humanity.”
The bridge from dogma, to reliance only on inner experience is a difficult one for many to cross. Dogma becomes believed. It is hypostatized, as many hypostatize the bible, making it a supreme authority, regardless of its thousands of contradictions. Truth is revealed through experience.
William James said it so well: “The true mystic has insights into depths of truth that are unplumbed by the discursive intellect.”
“Something unknown is doing something we know not what” wrote the Nobel physicist and mystic, Sir Arthur Eddington. The true mystic is happy and satisfied to leave it at that.