the luxury of mysticism

Back in the days when I was only responsible for myself and had a job that paid well enough, I was able to indulge my attraction to mysticism.

Mystics hold that there is a deeper, more fundamental state of existence hidden beneath the appearances of day–to–day living (which may become, to the mystic, superficial or epiphenomenal). For the authentic mystic, unity is both the internal and external focus as one seeks the truth about oneself, one’s relationship to others and Reality (both the world at large and the unseen realm).

What a luxury that seems to me now, when day-to-day living is all that I have the energy to accomplish.
I think of this now because for many of those past years, I often joined a close friend of mine at workshops, seminars etc. that were based in the processes of the mystic, particularly as they attract creativity and artistic inspiration. Married and childless, she has gone on to teach some of these processes on the college level. Without responsibilities to any dependent, she can continue to explore the ideas and philosophies and spiritualities that well-known modern mystics such as Matthew Fox and Jean Houston continue to publicize. I think of this now because I had lunch several weeks ago with her and her husband as they passed through town.
I am at times envious of the luxury of time that she has – the luxury of being able to place a priority on her psychological and spiritual development, of not being the one grounding factor in a dependent person’s life, of having time to contemplate…..
I wonder, when I am done with the physical and emotional requirements of caregiving — after I have done with confronting, every day and night, the struggles of human life on its most elemental level, if I will again have that hunger for the expanding horizons that mysticism has to offer.
When I think of my life after this difficult piece of it, I think of moving to live near my daughter, spending lots of fun time with my grandson, doing the creative homey things I don’t have enough time to do now (sewing, knitting, cooking what I like), sitting under a tree and reading well-written fiction, visiting my women friends in Albany for days at a time. Getting in my car and visiting people I know up and down the East Coast. Spending February with my cousins in Florida.
I don’t think about taking workshops or mind-wrestling with the unknowables or mining more of my sub- and un-consciousnesses.
But, of course, you never know. The mystic in me might just be biding her time, waiting for the luxury of freedom.

5 thoughts on “the luxury of mysticism

  1. You don’t have to take workshops or mind-wrestle with the unknowables to delve into the mystic.

    Sometimes all you need to do is spend time with your grandson, dawdle in a garden, dream in the shade of a tree…
    Sometimes all you need is to breathe without constraint.

  2. i don’t know your friends, so i don’t want to even breathe a whisper of what might sound like criticism of them, but i used to move in those mystical circles too, and let me tell you: there’s a sort of attractive, dilletantish, “lifestyle” mysticism that is very luxurious, and then there is the hard, painful, calloused hands sort of mysticism that is to be found in EXACTLY WHAT YOU ARE DOING RIGHT NOW, sacrificing and taking care of someone else, wondering how the hell you can possibly endure another minute – and then, for one brief moment, that flash where you realize that the activity you have been engaged in is the same activity that creates the universe. you are partaking of the true essence of godhead. and the only thing standing between you and the ecstasy of it is we’ve been trained every day of our lives to resist it.

    i am not wise enough nor learned enough to tell you how have an experience of this, but my intuition tells me that you already know what i’m talking about. it’s scary to talk about because one fears that talking about it might make it go away – and that’s entirely possible.

  3. I agree with the previous comment. Even a minute can turn into a mystical experience, if you can find a way just to BE in that minute, rather than worrying about what comes next, or fretting over what came just before. Mysticism does not require great amounts of time or energy, but a shift in mind-set. I know it’s awful sometimes, but this time in your life is also a holy time. I pray that you will experience the holiness of it (the mysticism). Don’t listen to your friends if they are preaching that it takes lots of time or energy for some particular practice. If you have any time to read, and haven’t read it yet, you might read Brother Lawrence’s “The Practice of the Presence of God,” where he finds God “even among the soapsuds” of ordinary monastic kitchen work. My prayer for you is that you find that intimate connection with God through what you must do right here and now, rather than in some distant time or place.

  4. Well, not so much New Age as a philosophy based in feeing connected to what is awe-inspiring about life on this planet,this universe. Meditation, contemplation, accessing right brain sensitivities through Jungian therapeutic processes. That requires quiet times, solitary time.

    There are the Mother Teresas and there are those nuns who choose to be cloistereds I understand using everyday tasks as meditative practice, and I sometimes am able to do that.

    I don’t want to be cloistered, but I do sorely miss long stretches of quiet, solitary time.

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