Many people have mystical experiences. I expect more than willingly acknowledge them. A simple way to identify a mystic experience is it doesn’t fit in the current worldly reality a person knows. The beginning of it may be a hmm moment. I never thought of that!
While the word mystic is often seen in a spiritual context, the definition includes “inspiring a sense of mystery, awe, and fascination.” Isn’t that what’s happening when we have a hmm moment? We have a new thought and become fascinated with the new idea. Things change as a result of that experience.
I have often had this kind of experience. When I do, I ask, What else is not as I thought? I allow the new thought and feeling to penetrate me and allow what needs to be transformed to do so. I begin a self-review. I ask myself, What else do I need to see or learn? What else have I been thinking that needs to change? At times it can be life-changing.
This review is crucial if I am to have any authority in my words and expression. I need to know this new reality for myself—to not just point to the person or event that caught my attention. I have done that plenty of times! You should hear this person! Read this. Watch this. That is a common experience when we are exposed to another person’s experience and are awed by it. I remember a life-changing event where the words spoken changed my life. I was smitten and recommended everyone meet this person. That was a big hmm moment for me. I learned another important step was to find my own words. I needed to stop quoting others as a source of assurance. The hmm moment happened in me. Yes, stimulated by an experience involving another, but what I knew was that something had changed for me. I was no longer who I was before. There had been penetration—the cellular structure of my being had been transformed.
Mystical experiences come in a variety of ways. They can result from another person’s expression, a natural phenomenon, or a dramatic event. What I know is that the way I have been seeing things changes. Sometimes it is a gentle nudge. Sometimes, a two-by-four is needed to wake the mystic in us up! Hafiz says it well in his poem Tired of Speaking Sweetly.
Love wants to reach out and manhandle us,
Break all our teacup talk of God.
If you had the courage and
Could give the Beloved His choice, some nights,
He would just drag you around the room
By your hair,
Ripping from your grip all those toys in the world
That bring you no joy.
Love sometimes gets tired of speaking sweetly
And wants to rip to shreds
All your erroneous notions of truth
That make you fight within yourself, dear one,
And with others,
Causing the world to weep
On too many fine days.
God wants to manhandle us,
Lock us inside of a tiny room with Himself
And practice His dropkick.
The Beloved sometimes wants
To do us a great favor:
Hold us upside down
And shake all the nonsense out.
But when we hear
He is in such a “playful drunken mood”
Most everyone I know
Quickly packs their bags and hightails it
Out of town.
I have been invited to be part of a weekly men’s meeting to discuss books on spiritual topics. I am the only woman in attendance and the youngest in the room. I was attending last month and decided to quit because the atmosphere was dominated by an evangelical minister quoting chapter and verse from the Bible, challenging everyone to agree that his view was the most accurate because of his years of studying scripture. There was no room for a mystic in the meeting!
The first book, The Power Worshippers, was about using the pulpit to push Christian Nationalism upon the United States. This minister wasn’t talking about the book; he was talking about the movement being the best thing for the country. He had no problem pointing out how people not following the dogma he created from his studies were sinning against God. Myself included!
They began a new book, The Power of Living in God’s Love, Rather Than Fearing God’s Wrath. The first chapter of this book is about religion’s creation of the concept of “hell” as a means to control people, and the loss of Jesus’ message of love.
Sometimes what is necessary to have a new thought is to look at the absurdity of the old ones. Here is a quote from the book about how one church, represented by a man named Jonathan Edwards, describes hell and how much wrath God has toward humanity.
The God that holds you over the pit of hell, much as one holds a spider, or some loathsome insect over the fire, abhors you, and is dreadfully provoked: his wrath towards you burns like fire; he looks upon you as worthy of nothing else, but to be cast into the fire; he is of purer eyes than to bear to have you in his sight; you are ten thousand times more abominable in his eyes, than the most hateful venomous serpent is in ours.
But He loves you! How do those two thoughts co-exist? It was only as an adult that I realized the contradiction. I never heard such severe words as those brought by Edwards, but I did feel it necessary to earn God’s love, to be good enough. And if Jesus needed to be crucified, what chance did I have to calm God’s wrath?
In the men’s meeting, there was a significant discussion about the mixed messages of a loving God and a wrathful one. I posed the question, “Why do so many churches have frightening graphic representations of Christ on the crucifix, instead of portrayals of Christ’s ascension, which represented his victory?” I even threw in the question, “If the crucifixion was necessary, why isn’t Judas, who caused Jesus’ capture, the hero in the story?”
I would say overall there was a mystical experience available. New thought, creative awakening, hmm moments! And, as I said earlier, for it to truly be a mystical experience, there needs to be penetration. I know it was happening in me. I was doing a self-review about my own thinking and point of view.
I owned the questions and comments I was offering. I had done plenty of review of those ideas so I could own what I was saying. It is vitally important for mystics to speak, share, and invite others to think. I just used the words of Hafiz, who I consider a mystic. I didn’t use them because my words were inadequate. I used them because they were clever and inviting.
If you have had an hmm moment—a moment of mystery, wonder, or fascination—you need to let that penetrate you, see what there is to see, feel what there is to feel, and then let it out. You have to let it in and let it out, like breathing. Pour it into your world so that it feels the impact of what transformed you. The mystery is connected to the spirit of Love—you have to let it in and then let it out.
When a mystic speaks, they invite other people into their knowing. They bring the vibration of that mystery, that wonder, so other people have the opportunity to touch it. When they do, they may also have a hmm moment and begin their journey to being a mystic. The mystical experience is one of emergence. If you are interested, stand still. Ask yourself, What should I see? What needs to be born through me in this moment, now? Let the mystic in you be revealed.
Thank you so much, Jane, for your courage and your wisdom. I so agree with Hafiz, to speak, share and invite others to think. Or in my own words, I love to bring people into my knowing and my sense of wonder.
While many are content to exchange their innate mysticism for lives of mediocrity, I celebrate those who dare to be the mystics they are and play their part in bringing humanity back into alignment with the mystical nature of creation. Your courage, Jane, in attending and speaking out in the men’s meeting is such a striking and beautiful example of this.
When I was 7 years old – I was sent home from Sunday School by the teacher and told that I must bring my parents to her if I wanted to return. My Great Sin? The teacher was making a lot of antisemetic statements – I didn’t know any Jewish people – but I did ask the teacher – Wasn’t Jesus Jewish? That is when I was sent home – and thank heaven I had the parents I did. They told me how proud they were of me, and that I never had to go back to Sunday School again!
Thank you Jane, for inviting us into your knowing, thereby blessing our lives.
I find the Mystic in me emerging more fully every day.
Great article Jane. The “saviour” must have been in a playful, drunken mood the last time I attended an evangelical church meeting, because I packed my bags and hightailed it out of that church. Looking back on such teachings as Jonathan Edwards gave is looking back on history for me. Your article is much more connected to Love than much of what I heard there.
A provocative article ! Mmmmm. I love Hafiz’s poem. And the “bait” to think again regarding the mixed messages given by the Church and its impact on my personal sense of self. I shall be reading it again and again… to check the layers of impact on the psyche ….. Who knows what shall be thrown up in its wake? Thank you for the stimulus, Jane