From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.
Mysticism is the supposed experience or exploration of a transcendental realm beyond our Universe. In theistic, pantheistic, and panentheistic classical pantheist/cosmotheist metaphysical systems this is understood as direct relation with God/Goddess. Mysticism is also defined as a process whereby the mystic plumbs the depths of the self and reality in a radical process of meditative self-discovery to discover the true nature of reality experientially. The sayings of mystics of different traditions show that they have known very similar experiences. Therefore it is argued that the true unity of religion can be found in mystical experience. Another term for this view is Perennial Philosophy.
Elements of mysticism are present in many religions and philosophies. Some mystics claim that there is a common thread of influence in all mystic philosophies that is traceable back to a shared source. The Vedic tradition is inherently mystic. Many mystical philosophies thus exhibit a strong tendency towards syncretism.
Examples of major traditions and philosophies with strong elements of mysticism are Vedantic Hinduism, Tibetan and Zen Buddhism, the Christian Gnostic sect(s), Mystery Religions and Cults, the Eastern Orthodox hesychasm, the Sufi school of Islam, the Judaic Kabbalah and many aspects of the New Age movement. Quakerism also has a strong mystical element to its theology.
The 19th Century saw an increase of interest in Mysticism linked to an interest in Occultism and Eastern Thought. Major figures in this movement were Madame Blavatsky and Gurdjieff. See Theosophy for more information on this movement which had a later influence on the New Age.
Some examples of Hindu mystics:
Christian mystics are:
- St. John the Apostle
- Clement of Alexandria,
- St. Augustine of Hippo
- St. Gregory I
- St. Anselm
- St. Hildegard of Bingen
- Hugh of Saint Victor
- St. John of the Cross
- St. Teresa of Avila
- St. Bridget of Sweden
- St. Gregory Palamas
- Meister Eckhart
- Margery Kempe
- Julian of Norwich
- Sir Thomas Browne
- Mechtild of Magdeburg
- William Blake
- Thomas Merton
- Sarah Wight
Examples of Jewish mystics
- Shimon bar Yochai (c.200 AD )
- Abraham ben Samuel Abulafia (1240-1291)
- Moses ben Shem Tob de Leon (1250-1305)
- Isaac Luria (1534-1572)
- Moses Chaim Luzzato (1707-1746)
- Nachman of Breslov (1772-1810)
- Abraham Isaac Kook (1864-1935)
- Menachem Mendel Schneerson (1902-1994)