What is a mystic?

You can probably find hundreds of definitions about what a mystic is. If you spend any time looking it up on the internet you will quickly learn that nearly every religious system has its mystics, including Christianity. You might even hold the opinion that things pertaining to mystics are antithetical to Christianity, possibly even associated with the occult.

I am, first and foremost, a Christian, and I believe in the Bible as my "holy book," the book that grounds my belief. It is my primary source for wisdom, guidance and to deepen my faith in God.

I also believe that we can experience God through our senses. I do not think this is in opposition to the Bible, but in addition to it. And, insofar as my experience of God aligns with what I read about God in the Bible, I trust that the experience is of God.

So, for example, if someone were to say that they had an experience where God told them to murder someone, I would not trust that this experience was related to God since it is in opposition with what I know of God from the Bible.

With that as background, my definition of what it means to be a mystic is related to the experiential side of the equation. To be a Christian Mystic is to be aware of God's presence in our lives, such as during prayer, when contemplating nature, when seeing a newborn baby or a hearing a beautiful symphony, or when tasting the exquisite sweetness of a ripe strawberry, or smelling the lingering scent of rosemary after bruising a sprig in our hands. The more I am aware of God, the deeper my mystical experience becomes. Mostly, these are fleeting for me, but I long for them to come more often ... to linger longer.

The great Christian Mystics throughout history were those who spent nearly all of their waking awareness in union with God, often to the point of ecstasy. I doubt I will ever attain this level, but I engage in spiritual practices that help me to be more aware of where God is active in my life. These I have or will address at times on my Thoughts page.

One practice that I highly recommend for those of you who may also be yearning to experience God more deeply, is to find a Spiritual Director. This is a person who will companion with you on your spiritual journey, and help you to see where God might be showing up in your life, where maybe you have not considered looking, or hadn't noticed. To find out more about Spiritual Direction, visit this page.

For all you Mystics, or aspiring Mystics, I give you this blessing:

May you listen carefully.
May your emotion, mind and desire drive you toward a deep love of God.
May your unswerving devotion keep you sated so that
   nothing but God is bound to your heart ... your hands ... your eyes.
May God be ever present to you ...
    ... when you speak
        ... when you sit
            ... when you walk
                ... when you lie down
                    ... when you rise up.

(loosely based on Deuteronomy 11:13-19 from my own translation from the Hebrew)

To learn more about how a Mystic approaches the Bible, click here.