A renewed interest in Christian mysticism is emerging in the Western world, and it comes at a time when church attendance and membership are at all time lows. What are people finding in mysticism that they are not finding in the churches? Mysticism has never been about theological concepts and rules for “good” behavior. It is not about how to earn heaven or avoid hell. Mysticism always is about a soul’s profound and heartrending relationship with God. Why are mystics’ relationships with God always profound, and why does it break their hearts?
When you stumble upon the truth that God is living, in all God’s glory, right inside of you, or when you find God after a long journey of deepening, silencing and opening—and finally enter into the Great Love that is God—it is without exception the deepest and most overpowering experience you can ever have. To experience the presence and reality of God, and to experience that this immense and all-knowing Being has an individual knowing and love for you, will break your heart open and submerge it in the most wonderful new life that in comparison makes all previous knowing and living seem meaningless and dull.
Once you are touched and opened by that warmest and greatest of loves, nothing in the worlds of matter or spirit looks the same. Now everything has the tincture of the divinity and the love, affecting how you understand, relate to and feel about it. Nature looks more magnificent, material pursuits more spurious and human beings can no longer be thought of as anything less than sons and daughters of God in the making. You will see all people in terms of how close or far they are from God and God’s love rather than by any other ways you would have understood them before. And all human love will pale in the face of experiencing the love God has for you.
Christian mysticism is no different from any other mysticism in that its central element is this love relationship with God. However, it is different because of the place that Jesus and Mother Mary hold in the aspirants’ hearts, minds and practices. Christian mystics have found that the help of these two great beings makes it possible for them to move through all the obstacles that previously kept them from having the direct experience of God.
The road toward that union in love is fraught with many diversions, distractions and concepts that must be overcome to arrive at the deepest chambers of this interior life. Forgiveness of self and others is paramount to the journey, as are release of all other attachments that you have held above your desire for God.
Very few people manage to make this journey alone. A strong spiritual community and a loving and wise spiritual teacher greatly enhance the chances of the spiritual seeker finding the gold at the end of the rainbow. The art of prayer and meditation must be developed and the heart and mind purified. It is possible, if you want it, and if you seek it with all your heart, mind, body and soul. May you be blessed on your journey to God. Mother Clare Watts is a Master Teacher, priest and co-director of a mystical Christian order with spiritual centers in 15 cities called the Centers of Light. The Centers of Light offer daily meditation and spiritual study. For more information, visit www.CentersOfLight.org.