Over the years I have collected a series of departure points which are important for me in finding my own path within mysticism. I shall simply list them one by one.
- Mysticism is an exploration of the intangible. It is in fact a collection of personal stories about a brush with a level of existence which the conscious
mind cannot perceive, let alone understand, but within which we recognize something unconsciously.
- Realistic mysticism requires an appreciation of one’s own human limitations in perception and the process of becoming conscious.
- Every story about a mysterious phenomenon is and remains subjective. It is a story about somebody’s personal experience of something which nobody else could know. Other people need not per se attribute any truth to the story.
- One’s mystical experience can – to a degree, in any case – be recognizable to others, yet this recognition proves nothing. It still remains a subjective experience.
- Every explanation in mysticism is what person thinks and not what it is.
- Realistic mysticism does not dismiss explanations as a rule, but when people explain something to others, they do it with the understanding that it is merely a suggestion.
- Personal conviction is not a valid criteria when it concerns mystical experience.
- Realistic mysticism is a mysticism with an understanding of images: one assumes that an encounter with the intangible creates images and that much of the material for these images comes from the unconsciousness, a shadowy area of which we know very little.
- Realistic mysticism avoids naming a ‘source of reference’ for images, inspiration, or visions.
- Realistic mysticism attributes value to a vague and limited transcendental experience, but rejects its exaggeration.
- A mystical experience does not make one different than others, although such a feeling could arise. Everybody can have a transcendental experience because such an experience is inherent in the potential and limitations of human consciousness.
- Realistic mysticism requires non-attachment to images, and particularly to the strong images that affect one’s inner equilibrium.
- Realistic mysticism requires an accurate use of language. One must not say “ it is” but “it seems” or “it feels like”. One does not ask,” Do you believe it?” but rather “Can you recognize anything in this?” or “Does this mean anything to you?”
- Realistic mysticism sees through the fog of exaltation, it is what remains after the hard confrontation with doubts and critical questions, one’s own doubts and questions as well as those from others. Realistic mysticism does not avoid doubts and questions.