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More Mystical Musings


My self-referenced mysticism invokes amazing responses from educated people who do not understand what I mean, and they tend to file me away as either woo~woo or wicked. Ah well, that's always been the case. Throughout history, mystics have been tormented or revered, sometimes both. Look how many came to gruesome ends, only to be canonized after the fact.


Today, mysticism occupies a special new category in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual~Fourth Edition, which describes and codifies psychological disorders for billing purposes and government identification. The mystical experience, by the way, falls under the Religious or Spiritual Problems heading.


So be it. Abraham Maslow, the proponent of self-actualization who created the Hierarchy of Human Needs, claims that transcendent states, like mystical experiences, occur universally. Other luminaries like William James and Andrew Greeley agree that the mystical experience is common and need not occur within the context of a religion or psychopathology.


No doubt, the mystic is misunderstood because definitions are so difficult.


The ineffable literally cannot be put into words, and clumsy approximations of the mystic's wonderment simply do not suffice.


I once described a walk through my woods as feeling like I walked through God's thoughts. It humbled me, and I ached with delight to see each little detail as a detail God so thoughtfully provided, an offering of love to this earth child. It is not the ordinary way of seeing the world. But then, I do not see anything in the world as ordinary.


No doubt there is a physical relationship between my bipolar brain and my mysticism, and no doubt, such is the basis for the common psychiatric view that mysticism shares a tenuous border with schizophrenia. The prevailing attitude is that if the mystical experience is intentional and positive, it's okay, but suspect. If the experience is accidental or unwanted and somehow negative, then it's a pathology and warrants caution.


As for me, I appreciate whatever cerebral misconnections confer this splendid perception of life. Yes, it renders me strange. Yes, there are times when I'm stunned by the snow-blinding chaos of the "outside world" and wish to flee to the sanctity of my woods. Even so, I wouldn't trade my weirdness for anything. Whenever I choose, I can turn my thoughts inside out and keep company with Creation. It's sacred space I carry in my heart.



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