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Old 05-14-2009, 11:17 PM
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River River is offline
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Location: NM, USA
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Originally Posted by Mark1npt View Post
I'm reaching a level of peace and contentment I never knew existed. I guess, one cold consider that "mystic", huh?
My two cents -- to be taken with at least a pinch of salt:

Different traditions and sources define or describe "mysticism" in differing ways, of course. Many traditions are theistic, and these divide in terms of whether the tradition is monotheistic, polytheistic, pantheistic or panentheistic--and there may be yet others(!). Personally, I lost interest in religion and theism long ago, and prefer to explore these things almost as a scientist would--without a lot of prejudgements about what it is I'm exploring in experience. Only, the scientist is looking for explanations and concepts, and I'm looking to evolve or grow in my capacity to have suchlike as peace, joy, freedom, happiness, ecstasy, generosity, kindness, compassion, wonder.... And some yet unnamed--especially those!

I'm not a theist. I'm a "naturalistic mystic". Nature, to me, is whole and undivided into categories like sacred/profane, holy/unholy, divine/earthly.... I'm also influenced a lot by buddhism, and especially zen, and also taoism -- both of which I interpret as non-dual and naturalistic mystical traditions.

There may be sciences of ecstacy, joy, freedom..., but they are very different sorts of sciences than the natural sciences such as physics, biology, chemistry, etc. Distinguishing myth and hearsay and anecdotal evidences and superstition from spiritual fact is very tricky! And, anyway, it isn't a "mystical" fact as an explanation. Mystics of every tradition almost always say, "you can't grasp this stuff with your intellect; you're going to have to cultivate the experience."

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Final additional thought: I think most of what's going on in "mystical experiences" can be explained and understood in psychological terms--though I'd not use a Freudian analytical psychological theory to frame such explanations. We could just as easily explain feelings of mystical union with others, the world, nature, the cosmos..., the universe..., as a dropping away of ego defensiveness and a profound re-integration of a fragmented or alienated or dissociated self (or sub-selves) with itself and its environment. Most, or at least very many, people have recurrences of such experiences in their lives, leading to levels of joy, peace and happiness they never dreamed of in their contracted/defensive strategies and the like. Those defensive strategies usually get a strangle-hold on our energies and capacity for vulnerability and openness to experience and wonder.... When we begin to drop these, we bloom wildly. As Annie Dillard put it in her book, Pilgrim at Tinker Creek: "I had been my whole life a bell, and never knew it until at that moment I was lifted and struck."

Last edited by River; 05-14-2009 at 11:29 PM.
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