Mysticism is an approach to Christianity that focuses on preparing, being aware of, and responding to what might be defined as an encounter with God in the form of an instantaneous or direct experience. The term “mysticism” refers to the various methods of achieving union with, or direct knowledge of, God. It has been described as an intense religious experience that goes beyond rational understanding.
Christian Mysticism is a type of Christian spirituality that emphasizes the personal and experiential relationship between an individual and God. Christian Mysticism often focuses on a particular experience or special revelation of God called a mystical experience.
What is Christian Mysticism?
Instead of emphasizing the force of an external deity, the emerging movement known as mystical Christianity seeks to emphasize the strength that comes from inside. Even though God the Father and God the Son are still revered, the Holy Spirit takes center stage in this style of Christianity. The divine is sought by the Christian mystic via the experience of one’s soul.
The Significance of Christian Mysticism
Christian mysticism is a fascinating subject because it illustrates the unity of religious mysticism while also shedding light on the many different ways it has been expressed throughout the Christian faith’s history. Many claim to be in touch with an order of reality that transcends the physical and intellectual realms of our everyday experience. Christian mystics believe that only Christ and the church can serve as a channel for direct communication with God the Trinity.
The Christian Mysticism Stages
Christian mysticism has three stages. The first stage is repentance, where one has to be sorry for their sins and ask God for forgiveness. The second stage is confession, where one has to admit their sins and ask for forgiveness from those they have wronged. The third stage is satisfaction, where one has to be obedient to satisfy God’s will. The fourth stage is contemplation, which leads to union with God. This leads to eternal happiness and a blissful state of mind.
The End of One’s Self
We must die to our human ego ruled by the forgetfulness of God if we are to live in the presence of God. Purification of the soul is necessary if we are to reach our objective of union with God. According to Christian mystics, during the ‘dark night of the soul’, God progressively and sometimes brutally cleanses the soul to prepare it for the divine revelation, which is implied by this dying to oneself.
In Christian mysticism, the crucified Christ has always served as a metaphor for the process of transformation. Christ’s human nature was completely devoid of the self and distinct from all things, as no men ever were, and it was nothing more than a home and abode of God. To follow Christ is to die to submit oneself completely to God, to be taken up by divine Love. People who emphasize ultimate detachment also highlight that purifying the self is a question of internal attitude.
The Practice of Meditation in Christian Mysticism
Christian and other forms of theistic mysticism are known for their practice of meditation and contemplative prayer, which may lead to ecstasy. Ecstasy occurs when the mind is ravished into the abyss of heavenly light via introversion. The actual radiance of one-way illumination is expressed. Otherworldly experiences, like telepathy, were also common among many Christian theologians of the past. The majority of mystics, on the other hand, believe that these occurrences are incidental to mysticism’s core and, in some cases, even harmful.
In Unity with God
There are Christians who say that the soul may be raised into unity with God so absolute that it loses the feeling of its being in the presence of God’s fullness. The union with God in Christian mysticism can be seen as a form of contemplation. It’s not a passive experience but an active one, which requires work and effort from the individual.
Contemplation is a spiritual exercise in which the thinker strives to become aware of the presence of God. You start to understand your relationship with God and the rest of the world. The relational or ethical unions with God is frequently portrayed as a union of the wills or spirits or love, or as absorption into God. This happens to such a degree that a person loses their sense of self.
An individual’s true experience of God’s presence and love cannot be achieved through human reasoning such as observations and deductions. Whether inductive or deductive or any other form of intellectually based proofs, it’s rather achieved through an infusion from God himself that engages the spiritual rather than mental center of that individual.
A mystic’s encounter with God’s presence cannot be adequately described in terms of knowledge or understanding; rather, it must be described using metaphors drawn from the five senses — sight, sound, smell, and taste. Fragrance and warmth are the two most common images used. Hence these ways are often used to describe mystical experiences among many people.
For the mystic, God’s presence is immediate and unmediated. Infinite concepts cannot be conveyed in the context of limited reality. As a result, genuine touch with God necessitates a new level of relationship that transcends the natural world. To contact God and get into the divine realm via a divine gift, not through an eastern method.
Our Final Thoughts
Since Christian mysticism is an expression of spirituality that transcends all religious traditions, it cannot be categorized into a single system of thought or religious ideology. Idealism and mysticism are two sides of the same coin when it comes to the manifestation of spirituality. Idealism may take the shape of anything from Judaism to Islam to Christianity to Buddhism to Hinduism to Paganism to Buddhism to Christianity itself. It’s possible to be both a Christian and a mystic at the same time.
The Mystical path can be an excellent option for those who want to find God, develop in love, and experience oneness with God, as well as a significant transformation in their lives. All spiritual traditions agree that Mystical experiences can be encountered by anybody at any point in their spiritual development.