I don’t think anyone looking at me would think I’m a mystic. I dress for comfort and swear under my breath if I break a dish in my kitchen. I live in the beautiful messy fray of modern life. But if you were to ask me if I’m a mystic, I would quickly answer yes. Although mysticism may not be among the talents you would list for yourself, we each have the capacity to experience mysticism and to experience its benefits: a deeper sense of connectivity, empowerment and authenticity.
What does ‘mysticism’ mean? What images, ideas or feelings conjure up around this word? When we think of a mystic do we envision a shaman in long tattered robes with a beard and a seasoned look in his eye? An old crone with a crow on her shoulder? Does the word bring to mind something other-worldly, something heard in a story? Whatever preconceived notions we might have about the idea of mysticism or what it means to be a mystic, it’s important for us to examine this more closely. What we will find is that by embracing ourselves as mystics we give ourselves permission to see value in qualities that are commonly regarded as negative and to use those qualities to enhance our lives.
Out of natural-born curiosity I scoured many sources to see what is said about mysticism. All of the definitions I came upon had something to do with a belief in the possibility of direct knowledge of the Divine. The Encarta definition was the one that intrigued me the most, describing mysticism as a belief in intuitive spiritual revelation; the belief that personal communication or union with the divine is achieved through intuition, faith, ecstasy, or sudden insight rather than through rational thought.
What I love the most about this definition is the last part: that mysticism is a willingness to move outside the form and structure of rational thought. Why do I love this? Because it points to the gifts we have in such abundance as women: our intuition, our faith, our insight. I would add that our ability to be irrational, to embrace chaos, to be emotional are also strengths of the modern day mystic. Perhaps this is why we have so few people who acknowledge themselves as mystics these days. The juicy chaos that is the birthing ground for mystical experience is exactly the kind that we struggle to subdue, control and ‘get a handle on’.
Indeed, when I looked down the line at other possible meanings of this word I found it could also be described as ‘vague or unsubstantiated thought or speculation about something’. Looking at this definition I see the influence of a culture that doesn’t place value on non-uniform experience and one distrustful of anyone who sees themselves as a source of wisdom. In a culture that values linearity and verifiable results intuition and ecstasy can seem frivolous and foreign. And yet the unique chemistry of mysticism remains available to all of us because it’s inside each one of us. It can’t be squelched out! It is simply our natural, innate ability to live and to be awake to life.
More than anything this blog is a call to all of you to keep your eyes and your hearts open to what is already there. Take care that you aren’t so focused on your intentions and plans that you don’t allow life to touch you. Be vulnerable. Be wild. Be so rooted in the rich earth of your mundane experiences that a sprout of insight and connection can emerge.
Simple day-to-day living is the modern path of mysticism. When I say be wild, it doesn’t have to mean we start acting like rebellious teenagers. It doesn’t mean big outward changes. Being wild can mean simply taking a stand for what is beautiful and healing in your life. It can be a radical act to carve out time to cook a wholesome meal, to sit down while you eat and allow the ecstasy of the flavors of life roll over your tongue. You can’t get more simple or basic. And yet while you might just be eating soup, there you are, also in communion with the Divine simply by letting yourself be present with the moment.
Living in this way means spirituality becomes something that is less about transcending life and more about finding spiritual fulfillment right there in the laundry. It means that each moment we have is an opportunity to feel the borders of our love dissolving. And most importantly it means that you and your own imperfect life are a source of wisdom and light. When we see ourselves this way, little by little we begin to see that the beauty of life is making offerings right under our noses. So when you open your door today, really look and see. Before you decide that the weather is bad or good, before you mentally map out your day, give yourself the gift of an open space to breathe, to feel the air on your face, to look deeply into the landscape. This is the life of a mystic. Enjoy! Be amazed!
- Self-Honesty: The Courage to Be Me by Fertility Goddess, Sue Dumais
- Finding Nurturing Within: How Self-Care Can Revolutionize Your Life, A Telegathering with Dr Christiane Northrup
- The Brighter Side of Envy by Passion Goddess, Kate Northrup
- Fiesta Time! By Culinary Goddess Sara Watson
- Never Giving Up ~ Goddess Shahin Urias