Christian Mysticism: What Is It and Why Is It Valuable?

silhouette of woman near cross Christian Mysticism

Christian Mysticism is an intricate spiritual subject that eludes simple definition, but we’re here today to try and make it understandable.

Historically, mysticism is described as something covert, ineffable, not having the right words to define its nature, perception, and knowledge of the phenomenon of God that goes beyond dogma, ritual, and doctrine. Dr. Linda De Coff goes more in-depth in her book Attaining Divine Consciousness about Christian mysticism and how one can attain it.

A British philosopher named Alan Watts (1915 – 1973) explained that the truth regarding religion and its use in any capacity must be mystical. However, many individuals (including theologians) who are not knowledgeable of mysticism have always refuted religion’s innate need to be mystical, despite mysticism’s essence being the consciousness of our union with God.

Author of The Big Book of Christian Mysticism: The Essential Guide to Contemplative Spirituality, Carl MacColman, could perhaps have the most accurate description by saying that Christian Mysticism is the spiritual experience accompanied by a sacred mystery that every word in any language cannot explain, but could be exhibited through intuition, feelings, conscious awareness, sharing stories, or even through unknowing or darkness.

To further iterate his point, McColman even gives us a five-fold definition of what mysticism is:

Mysticism could point to an individual with incredible abilities, signifying that they have a genuinely gifted perception of Union with God or have charismatic, supernatural gifts.

Mysticism also alludes to the inner magnitude of religious practice and faith. Religion is implied to be more than just an establishment or a set of extrinsic rituals that point to an internal transformation cultivated by religious adherence but conclusively transcends the restrictions of institutional identity or religious dogma.

Mysticism points out experiencing God’s presence, which encompasses the ordinary sense of “exercising to be in His presence” to reaching a legitimately extraordinary “peak” esoteric experience.

Mysticism can also refer to having a higher level of consciousness, achieving nondual ways of seeing and knowing, or acquiring the perception of becoming enlightened. Dr. Linda De Coff aims to give this to people who read her book Attaining Divine Consciousness.

Mysticism could also mean a person believes in God’s existence and actively works in our lives, even without extraordinary gifts or experiences.

McColman continues to explain that mysticism is a challenging word to define correctly and that we must remember that if someone provided a brief definition of what mysticism is, their information needs to be completed or expanded.

Now that we have a description, even though it might be imprecise, we must answer the next question: “Should Christian mysticism be valuable to everybody?”

Should Christian Mysticism Be Valuable to Everybody?

Bernard McGinn, a specialist in Medieval mysticism, religious historian, American Roman Catholic theologian, and scholar of spirituality and specialist in Medieval mysticism, offers a fascinating reason to seek Christian Mysticism. According to McGinn, having magnificent theories regarding God isn’t enough. It’s best to have a mystical encounter because it radically transforms us and our lifestyle, including our political opinions, economic beliefs, and relationships. McGinn explains that mysticism is a phenomenal consciousness that recognizes the presence of God, and those who dabble in it are wholly transformed.

Father Richard Rohr, author, and Spiritual Director, also gave his opinion about whether Christian mysticism should be valuable to everybody. For him, until someone experiences some level of mystical or spiritual awakening, it’s pointless to ask people to adhere to any life-changing methods that the ethical ideals of Christ or the mystery of Christian gospels such as the Trinity, Incarnation, the Holy Spirit, or Salvation.

Without a mystical union with God, it’ll be impossible for us to follow or understand any of Jesus Christ’s ideals like forgiving enemies, humility in utilizing power, loving others, and the path of nonviolence. Rohr adds that the purpose of mysticism is to teach us how to discover God, and a mystic is a person who has been acknowledged as someone who has the power to put themselves and other people in God’s presence.

Discovering God, having a union and experiencing oneness with God, growing in love, radical life change, better followership, and understanding Jesus’ teachings explain why Christian mysticism is essential.

If you wish to read a guide regarding mysticism and enlightenment, Dr. Linda De Coff and her book Attaining Divine Consciousness can help you. Get Dr. Linda De Coff’s book by clicking here. We wish you luck as you venture to become a better person and practice Christian mysticism!

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