Mysticism is a frequently misunderstood word. Often it is associated with what is mysterious, odd or off the beaten path. Or it has been associated with magic or occultism. Webster's Dictionary defines it as "the doctrine that it is possible to achieve communion with God through contemplation and love without the medium of human reason." (Unabridged, Second Edition).
Similarly, mysticism to the Rosicrucians is that experience where one is aware of their union with God or the Supreme Being, the Absolute. It is that awareness an individual attains of their unity or oneness with the Divine or cosmic realm. It includes our heart as well as containing the element of knowledge or awareness.
The mystical experience is a potential within every human being. It is a process that requires discipline and application, and not everyone has a desire to develop this potential within themselves. Yet history is rich with the testimonies of great men and women who have been able to articulate their experience in gaining a closer relationship with the Absolute or ultimate reality.
The Rosicrucian teachings, among other things, help the student to progress along this path by providing techniques and exercises so that one can build their being, their awareness to a level not limited by the physical or material aspects. In other words, the teachings engender a more panoramic viewpoint, the larger picture, Big Mind as the Buddhists would say.
Mystics are explorers into a different country that is not contained within the boundaries of sense perception or human rationale. And when the mystic articulates the experience, they often do so through works of beauty, poetry, religion, philosophy or service -- overall, bringing forth ideals of tolerance, love and peace.
In other words, the mystic does not necessarily isolate themselves from the world, but rather has experienced a higher or all inclusive realty that embodies what we might call "truth" and points the way to what is worthwhile as well as the human avenues to express it. That is, they understand the necessity of practical application in the world of their experience.
If we are to experience a union with the Universal Intelligence or God, than it stands to reason that we would want to live in harmony with that union and experience. And living in harmony with the experience and the inherent laws contained therein would have an affect upon our direction, choices in life, and affect on others. We would live from a mystical point of view.
Mysticism has been called an art. Like any art some have a more natural bent or talent for it. Further, like an art, it can be developed. We develop it by refining our thoughts, through growth in contemplation and practicing an inward silence. It requires discipline, practice or apprenticeship work. The Rosicrucian teachings, in this regard, offer exercises to develop the intuition and the inward work necessary for a mystical experience of illumination or Cosmic Consciousness.
Mysticism is an active process. It requires concentration to direct the mind, quiet the noise and the intellectual processes during meditation, for example. It requires a desire to even consider other realities besides our daily, mundane concerns. It requires discipline to then apply ourselves, if only for a few moments a day, to what we have decided is worthwhile, important and ideal in the human life. It takes effort to avoid being overwhelmed by the continual distractions of the world, the demands, the angers, and all the various competitions for our energies.
Many have found the systematic process of the Rosicrucians teachings extremely helpful in the mystical process, as they provide the opportunities for daily practice, attention to our inner selves, daily direction of thought to what is most worthwhile in life. It provides techniques to use and prove for ourselves the higher truths as described by great mystics of the past and present. Yet, because the mystical experience is an individual experience, the teachings do not dictate the definitions of the experience.
The Rosicrucian teachings acknowledge the uniqueness of each individual and the necessity of maintaining one's intellectual independence. Consequently, it is a non-dogmatic system. However, there is also a unity to the mystical experience, a common ground upon which most could agree. In a word or two, that would be peace and serenity.
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