“Mysticism as been in the world long enough to justify us in regarding it as a fact in world history. It is no longer considered as the crazy belief of a few fanatics of erratic mind and irresponsible action. It is recognized as a branch of knowledge and a way of life.” - Raymund Andrea The Mystic Way
It may be an overstatement but I do feel that each religion has expressed itself mystically or rather I should take a line from wiki-pedia which says: Mystic traditions form esoteric sub-currents within larger religious traditions. From the Islamic revelations we have Sufism, we have Christian mysticism, Jewish mysticism, Vedanta in Hinduism. From all these traditions the one message I hear over an over again is that man can enjoy an intimate relationship with his Creator, without intercession.
The religious responsibilities and duties served in many ways as a preparatory course for the later mystical practices. I imagine if one could not find the time to pray or the compassion to take care of one’s fellow human beings, then the demands of the mystical path would be beyond their reach. it has been said of sufis in the past that the shariah (religious rules and duties) brings on to the tariqah (the spiritual path), and finally this brings one to the haqqiqah (the Truth)
Rumi not surprisingly has a wonderful story that illustrates this journey:
Once a student of Mevlana Rumi asked him about the four stations of Tasawwuf. Mevlana told him to go ther room next door and asked him to slap each of the four students that were there. So the student slaped each of the four students in the room. The first one got up and slapped him back. The second one got up and just as he was about to slap him, he stopped half way. The third one just glaced at his face. The fourth one just continued to do his work.
The student came back to Mevlana who explained to him. The first one was at the level of Sharia, so he dealth with you at the level you dealt with him. The second one was at the level of Tariqa, so he (remembered) and dealt with you, how his Shaykh reminded him to deal with you. The third one had the knowledge that it was all the doings of the Divine (Ma’rifa), but he was curious to know whom Allah had sent to carry out the attack. The fourth one was in Divine Annhilation and had already reached to Haqiqa, so he had no concern whatsoever
I’m bringing this up because of a pattern I’ve noticed. I have found that in the West there is a tendency to strip the mystical tradition of all its religious trappings and its ideology. I think this is a ramification of New Age consumerism that has really taken a grip on the way we view things here.
The new Age Spiritual movement aims to create a spirituality without borders or confining dogmas that is inclusive and pluralistic (taken from Drury, Nevill, The New Age: Searching for the Spiritual Self). Mystical practices are stripped of a lot of their context and infused with a lot of “self-help principles”. What I mean by that is that mystical practices are given as a remedy to many of the ills of our days as a way to make you feel better, sleep better, think better, focus more, have better coordination etc.
I have viewed this as a complete reversal of one of the central messages of mystical practice which is done for others. To serve and love God is simply to serve and love his creation. When one seeks “enlightenment” for one’s self it in many ways treats enlightenment as a commodity, something to get, to aspire to, to work towards, but ‘enlightenment’ is a gift. It is something that is given. I feel early on in the training ideas like this are shown for what they are.
So I am wondering a lot about a few things and I am hoping to hear some of your thoughts on,
- Can one separate mystical practices from their religious and the ideology from which they are historically and traditionally expressed through ?
- What for you are some of the benefits of the New Age spiritual Movements. Obviously it wasn’t all bad ?
- Can one walk a mystical path without a teacher or guide (a living exemplar) of sorts?
- The unknown face of Rumi – Sufism and Spiritual Consumerism in the West (mycaravanofdreams.com)
- Henry Corbin’s SPIRITUAL EXEGESIS OF THE QURAN (mycaravanofdreams.com)
- Confronting our darkness from Love is a Fire – The Sufis Mystical Journey Home by Llewellyn Vaughan-Lee (mycaravanofdreams.com)
- The unknown face of Rumi – Sufism and Spiritual Consumerism in the West 3 (mycaravanofdreams.com)
- The unknown face of Rumi – Sufism and Spiritual Consumerism in the West 2 (mycaravanofdreams.com)
- Recommending Sufism and the Way of Blame by Dr. Toussulis (2) (mycaravanofdreams.com)
- Sufism and Dream – A post from the Technology of the Heart and en from Love is a Fire by Llewellyn Vaughan Lee (mycaravanofdreams.com)
- Stephen Schwartz: Islamic Sufism and Jewish Kabbalah: Shining a Light on Their Hidden History (huffingtonpost.com)
- Differences Between Unity and Separation – A Vital Distinction By Dr. Yannis Toussulis (mycaravanofdreams.com)