Here you can learn all about the contemplative practices that define mysticism. But... why would you want to do that? Let's start by answering the why question...
Like any good parent, God desperately desires for us — creatures He created and whom He loves — to discover our full potential... to awaken to all we are.
However, research shows that many followers of Jesus don't change much at all after coming to faith. The global church and Christianity as a whole don't seem to be very effective at helping people transform.
It seems that we've lost something along the way. This is something that the church had, and put to very effective use, for the first 1,500 to 1,600 years after the resurrection of Jesus, the Christ. Although it's never been completely lost, it's time to make it central knowledge once again...
Mysticism is a way of life in which the practice of specific disciplines is a top priority. These disciplines help the mystic to become aware of God's presence through tangible experience. It teaches the mystic to love God deeply, and to be loved and transformed by Him. The ultimate goal is a life of union with God. By becoming more aware of and present to God, the mystic grows into a more mature human being, more peaceful, serving, and loving.
A mystical life is about allowing mystery and uncertainty. It's about being okay with not having answers to everything... in fact, not having answers to most things. The mystic trusts that God's Spirit works in ways that we can't understand or explain in this life. It's all about faith and trust.
Mystics also accept darkness and suffering and understand the necessity of these hard times for growth and development.
Sadly, the mystical life as it existed in the early church also had its flaws. Excessive and unnecessary asceticism, and other inexplicable behaviors — triggered mostly by pride — started appearing inside this tradition of the Spirit.
Many of the mystics who employed such unnecessary tactics had regret about them in their later writings.
Certain monastic traditions eventually started withdrawing from the world around them completely, making loving, serving and spiritual teaching of outsiders impossible. Maybe this points to a misunderstanding or lack of teaching of true contemplation.
Today, I believe we are witnessing the Spirit of God re-introducing this ancient way of life. It was never completely lost or absent, but it certainly wasn't exactly in widespread use either. I want to call the contemporary adaptation of this ancient way of life to the "Google"-generation: Neo-Mysticism. It is new (neo-) because:
I'm a follower of Jesus, but please don't let that or my use of Christian vocabulary make you feel unwelcome if you're from another tradition or religion. God does what He wants to and will engage people wherever they are. I promise you nothing on this website will try to convert you or "sell you" on Christianity. True spirituality is foremost about transformation, not about belonging to any particular group.
Any adult learner won't submit to a learning journey before he or she knows the benefits of learning — the answer to the "What's in it for me?" question... We turn to that next.
Consider the following as the main benefits of learning from this site and it's contents (which will grow as we progress — keeping in mind that the site only launched during late 2009):
Enjoy NeoMysticism.com. I hope that God will use the writing here to inspire you to seek for a better way of life. I pray that He'll get you going on your quest in search of transformative union with Him. Hopefully, you'll find that there's enough practical advice here to get you started on that quest — solidly, today!
May the fruit of this union with God be that, as Richard Rohr teaches so frequently, you learn to transform pain, instead of reflecting it. If union with God is the ultimate goal of mysticism, the ability to be hurt and mistreated by others and not do anything harmful back onto them is its ultimate fruit. Isn't that ability exactly what made Jesus so different from those around Him?
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"How do you make attractive that which is not?
How do you sell emptiness, vulnerability and nonsuccess?
How do you talk descent when everything is about ascent?
How can you possibly market letting-go in a capitalist culture?
How do you present Jesus to a Promethean mind?
How do you talk about dying to a church trying to appear perfect?
This is not going to work (admitting this might be my first step)"
— Richard Rohr at the beginning of his book Everything Belongs...