People in Georgia and other pockets of traditional and fundamental churches often want to know what church you go to and they mean “What are your beliefs” or “Are you a Christian?” and the tail on that donkey is “Are you saved?” It makes me think now this Sunday morning just what am I in the categories of religious beliefs. I think I am now, at this point in life, a Mystical Christian and yet I would like to drop the word Christian because if often conjures up ideas that others have about that word. To say I am a mystic, well maybe that comes closer to describing my Spiritual orientation. I have been through the “fires” and learning experiences of traditional churches and “new thought” churches as well.
First I was raised in a Baptist church got in touch with “Jesus” there. Later I was drawn to the Catholic church but years later realized that it was the mystical core that I was drawn to. The solid pillars upon which that church stands are those who have trod the mystical way. Though little is said about those pillars in the church itself and no one much delves into the mystics of the church nor are encouraged to, it is the glue that has held that structure together even as it may creak and crack. Being the quiet rebel that I am, I did delve into all of that. Soon after that I found that the church structure was like a worn out garment that was too small for me. Ah, but the mystics of that church and the mystics of other persuasions were unspoiled and unsoiled by the structure and called to me in a voice so familiar.
As I now think back to when I decided to join the Third Order of Discalced Carmelites years ago, which is a secular order of the Order that St. Teresa of Avila belonged to, it was the mystical side of Christianity or Catholicism that I was drawn to. I still have the Scapular that I received when I joined the Order. I don’t do the Office nor follow The Rule of St. Albert but at heart I am a mystic.
In our world of names and categories, we get our label gun out and proceed to stick them on everything and everybody. I guess as humans we just can’t help it. After all, we have to have something to hold onto or we think we will float off into unfamiliar territory and that scares us. For some it is extremely important to add to that label, “Okay” or “Not Okay”. What follows is more duality and more separation between us.
The mystics are the ones who experience things that others cannot comprehend with Western thought. The mystical way is too abstract, to nebulous, too unexplainable. The mind can’t wrap itself around it so the Western mind puts into place that which can be comprehended better, is more tangible and makes more sense to the intellect like rules and a n attitude of the right and only way to God or Spirit. I do not condemn these, I just say that I cannot personally abide in such a narrow and small space.
What has this to do with love? Actually it has a lot to do with it. No matter whether you take the more traditional way or the mystical path your job is to find or awaken to Spirit and the Love that is always there for you to rejoice in and to share with others. The unconditional love you seek is alive and well. We see moments during a disaster when people put aside their prejudices and work together side by side to rebuild and out of those ashes the Phoenix arises. But after things are back to normal, that time when we loved unconditionally, is forgotten.
When you love and accept others and accept your perceived flaws and theirs and when you put aside your needs, ideas, and beliefs, LOVE steps in and sweeps you into the world of mystics.