This sweeping study of mysticism by Jess Hollenback considers the writings and experiences of a broad range of traditional religious mystics, including Teresa of Avila, Black Elk, and Gopi Krishna. It also makes use of a new category of sources that more traditional scholars have almost entirely ignored, namely, the autobiographies and writings of contemporary clairvoyants, mediums, and out-of-body travelers. This study contributes to the current debate about the contextuality of mysticism by presenting evidence that not only are the mystic's interpretations of and responses to experiences culturally and historically conditioned, but historical context and cultural environment decisively shape both the perceptual and affective content of the mystic's experience as well. Hollenback also explores the linkage between the mystic's practice of recollection and the onset of other unusual or supernormal manifestations such as photisms, the ability to see auras, telepathic sensitivity, clairvoyance, and out-of-body experiences. He demonstrates that these extraordinary phenomena can actually deepen our understanding of mysticism in unexpected ways. A unique feature of this book is its in-depth analysis of "empowerment," an important phenomenon ignored by most scholars of mysticism. Empowerment is a peculiar enhancement of the imagination, thoughts, and desires that frequently accompanies mystical states of consciousness. Hollenback shows its cross-cultural persistence, its role in constructing the perceptual and existential environments within which the mystic dwells, and its linkage to the fundamental contextuality of mystical experience.
Main headings: Part 1. Conceptual issues in the empirical study of mysticism. - Part 2. The measurement of mysticism. - Part 3. The quasi-experimental elicitation of mystical experience. - Part 4. Mysticism, religious orientation, eroticism and death. - Part 5. Triggers and evaluation of mystical experience. - Part 6. The veridical nature of mystical experience. - Epilogue.
A distinctive feature of mystical experience is that it is "imageless". Mystics of various traditions witness indeed to their going beyond all intermediaries so as to enjoy immediate union. Understandably, the idea of imageless immediacy is attractive, and it is especially in vogue with those who hope to discover that different (religious) spiritualities converge if only the particularity of, say, the Christian way would be left behind. However, a crucial question arises here. If mystical union consists in simply transcending what is part and parcel of the human condition, where is its relevance? Is the mystic as such in a position to be his or her human self - thinking and loving, enjoying and suffering? Can he or she be active in the world of humankind? Obviously, it is especially in the Christian tradition that this matter comes to the fore as a radical difficulty. For here there is the divine Image and Mediator, so much so that the Humanity of Jesus ought to be integral to a person's union with God. Perhaps the Christian mystic is such an extraordinary figure that the Humanity and all other images and intermediaries are, for him or her, at best a stepping-stone that is bound to disappear? The Riddle of Christian Mystical Experience aims to clarify this issue by analyzing the writings of such visionaries as Julian of Norwich, Teresa of Avila and Maria Petyt; of the ecstasy-minded masters Richard of Saint Victor, Bernard of Clairvaux and Bonaventure (describing Francis of Assisi's experience); of the cream of the Flemish mystics, namely Hadewijch and Jan van Ruusbroec. Nevertheless, the preference for the mystical text does not prevent the Riddle from drawing on the insights of modern philosophers such as Jean-Paul Sartre and Jean-Luc Marion when treating of images and idols, or Michael Polanyi and Ludwig Wittgenstein when reflecting on intermediaries. The main result of this procedure may come as a surprise. Far from turning into a detached creature who forgets about the Humanity and the human, the full-fledged mystic is, as a Flemish mystic puts it, "wholly in God, where he rests in enjoyment, and wholly in himself, where he loves with works". Experiencing union "with intermediary and without intermediary", the true Christian mystic is "unimaged" as well as "imaged upon the humanity of our Lord through heartfelt affection".
Exploring the first-person narratives of three figures from the Christian, Jewish, and Islamic mystical traditions—St. Teresa of Avila, Rabbi Dov Baer, and RÅ«zbihÄn BaqlÄ«—Anthony J. Steinbock provides a complete phenomenology of mysticism based in the Abrahamic religious traditions. He relates a broad range of religious experiences, or verticality, to philosophical problems of evidence, selfhood, and otherness. From this philosophical description of vertical experience, Steinbock develops a social and cultural critique in terms of idolatry—as pride, secularism, and fundamentalism—and suggests that contemporary understandings of human experience must come from a fuller, more open view of religious experience.
Jung’s psychology describes the origin of the Gods and their religions in terms of the impact of archetypal powers on consciousness. For Jung this impact is the basis of the numinous, the experience of the divine in nature and in human nature. His psychology, while possessed of a certain claim to science, is based on depths of subjective experience which transcends psychology and science as ordinarily understood. Jung and his Mystics: In the end it all comes to nothing examines the mythic nature of Jung’s psychology and thought, and demonstrates the influence of mysticism and certain religious thinkers in formulating his own work. John P. Dourley explores the influence of Mechthild of Magdeburg and fellow mystics/Beguines, and traces the mystic impulse and its expression through Meister Eckhat and Jacob Boehme to Hegel in the nineteenth century. All of these mystics were of the apophatic school and understood the culmination of their experience to lie in an identity with divinity in a nothingness beyond all form, formal expression or immediate activity. Dourley shows how this is still of relevance in our lives today. The book concludes that Jung’s understanding of mysticism could greatly alleviate the conflict between faiths, religious or political, by drawing attention to their common origin in the depths of the human. Jung and his Mystics: In the end it all comes to nothing is aimed at scholars and senior research students in Jungian Studies, including religionists, theologians and philosophers of religion, especially those with an interest in mysticism. It will also be essential reading for those interested in the connection between religious and psychological experience.
Attempts to talk about and put into perspective mystical (religious) and personal existential experiences and the knowledge that such experiences give us, seeking to justify and champion the knowledge derived from those experiences. Examines the nature of experience as it takes place in science and the humanities, and then analyzes the mystical experiences of the German mystic Jacob Bohme. Annotation copyrighted by Book News, Inc., Portland, OR
Sinceits founding by Jacques Waardenburg in 1971, Religion and Reason has been a leading forum for contributions on theories, theoretical issues and agendas related to the phenomenon and the study of religion. Topics include (among others) category formation, comparison, ethnophilosophy, hermeneutics, methodology, myth, phenomenology, philosophy of science, scientific atheism, structuralism, and theories of religion. From time to time the series publishes volumes that map the state of the art and the history of the discipline.
Examines concepts from world religions and explains Christian mystics in history, in perspective, and through art. Includes discussion of modern explorations of mysticism conducted by psychologists like Jung and Maslow.
The author of the best-selling A Book of Angels recounts her journey to mystical illumination, along with that of ordinary people and saints, seers, and holy men and women, and explores the physical effects of mystical experiences.
Drawing from Sacred Scriptures, World Religions, literature, philosophy and psychology, this monograph explores them as universal sources of Religious Experience and Mysticism. It systematically establishes the similarities and differences between them as well as their distinctions from aesthetic experiences and mystical thought. Examples from religious experience show that it is perceived in space-time categories while mystical experience transcends all these experiencing union. It is this characteristic of mysticism which unifies World Mysticism regardless of the religious, cultural, or philosophical background. This book is divided into three major parts: Part I focuses on "Religious Experience"; Part II on Mysticism; and Part III integrates the results within the larger scope of the awareness of the diversity of Transcendance. The introduction and conclusion structure both the inquiry and results.
Some experiences of the natural world bring a sense of unity, knowledge, self-transcendence, eternity, light, and love. This is the first detailed study of these intriguing phenomena. Paul Marshall explores the circumstances, characteristics, and after-effects of this important but relatively neglected type of mystical experience, and critiques explanations that range from the spiritual and metaphysical to the psychoanalytic, contextual, and neuropsychological. The theoristsdiscussed include R. M. Bucke, Edward Carpenter, W. R. Inge, Evelyn Underhill, Rudolf Otto, Sigmund Freud, Aldous Huxley, R. C. Zaehner, W. T. Stace, Steven Katz, and Robert Forman, as well as contemporary neuroscientists. The book makes a significant contribution to current debates about the nature ofmystical experience.
Where do Mysticism and and political action meet? How does faith empower its adherents to resist oppression? What are the origins of authentic contemporary mysticism? From the thirteenth-century Franciscan movement to African American mystics, this wide-ranging volume of essays considers exemplars of Christian mysticism (including Teresa of Avila, Ignatius of Loyola, the Quakers, and the Society of Friends) whose practices and influence brought about social change. Linking major conceptual issues and social theory, the essays examine the historical impact of mysticism in contemporary life and argue for a hermeneutical approach to mysticism in its historical context. The contributors look at how mystical empowerment can serve as a catalyst for expressing compassion in acts of justice and long-term social change. We learn how Sojourner Truth and Rebecca Cox Jackson, driven by mystical experiences to take up lives of preaching, faced the same misogynistic religious environments as did women mystics throughout history, which has submerged this key area of women’s experience. The final two essays describe the development of socially engaged Buddhism in Asia and America and the mystical roots of deep ecology.
Description: Yoga goes back to the dawn of human consciousness, to the first awakening of humanity's earliest aspiration for God, Light, Freedom, Bliss and Immortality. Despite vicissitudes of time this quest of man had resurfaced again and again-and this 'earliest formula of Wisdom promises to be its last,' says Sri Aurobindo. Great disciplines of Yoga such as Jnana, Karma and Bhakti apart, numerous schools bearing the name developed in India over the centuries, each one based on the experiences of one or more ardent seekers, followed thereafter by many. While the term Yoga literally means Union-union with the ultimate Reality or the source from which everything had emanated-by knowing which alone one could know everything-that which is also present in each being as its very kernel-the paths leading there have been many. 'As many views, so many paths', pronounced one of the most profound mystics of all times, Sri Ramakrishna Paramahamsa.
This sweeping study of mysticism by Jess Hollenback considers the writings and experiences of a broad range of traditional religious mystics, including Teresa of Avila, Black Elk, and Gopi Krishna. It also makes use of a new category of sources that more traditional scholars have almost entirely ignored, namely, the autobiographies and writings of contemporary clairvoyants, mediums, and out-of-body travelers. This study contributes to the current debate about the contextuality of mysticism by presenting evidence that not only are the mystic's interpretations of and responses to experiences culturally and historically conditioned, but historical context and cultural environment decisively shape both the perceptual and affective content of the mystic's experience as well. Hollenback also explores the linkage between the mystic's practice of recollection and the onset of other unusual or supernormal manifestations such as photisms, the ability to see auras, telepathic sensitivity, clairvoyance, and out-of-body experiences. He demonstrates that these extraordinary phenomena can actually deepen our understanding of mysticism in unexpected ways. A unique feature of this book is its in-depth analysis of &"empowerment,&" an important phenomenon ignored by most scholars of mysticism. Empowerment is a peculiar enhancement of the imagination, thoughts, and desires that frequently accompanies mystical states of consciousness. Hollenback shows its cross-cultural persistence, its role in constructing the perceptual and existential environments within which the mystic dwells, and its linkage to the fundamental contextuality of mystical experience.
Mysticism is proving to be the chosen type of religion for future generations of believers in the West. As traditional institutional religion continues to decline, mystical thought is celebrated as a vital, subversive alternative. Evidence for this religious-cultural shift towards the mystical, the experiential, and indeed the creation-centered can be found in bookstores, most of which devote a large amount of shelf space to mystical themes and writers from the world religions. While this shift is not new, an increasing number of westerners are turning east because they find the fundamentally mystical thought of Asian religious traditions appealing. Furthermore, numerous westerners have actually become gurus and mystics within Eastern traditions. Mysticisms East and West examines the worldwide phenomenon of mystical experience across the world religions. In examining both Christian and non-Christian expressions of mysticism, this unique volume brings together a number of prominent evangelical scholars to analyze the central historical, cultural, and theological issues. Beginning in the East, these studies in mystical experience gradually move to the West and to Christian mysticism before concluding with a number of philosophically reflective essays examining the implications and nature of mysticism.
"This book links Tibetan Buddhist polemics regarding the realization of ultimate reality with contemporary debates around mystical experience. Komarovski demonstrates how the realization of reality, as understood by Tibetan thinkers, both resembles and challenges the idea of unmediated mystical experience"--
Zen and the Unspeakable God reevaluates how we study mystical experience. Forsaking the prescriptive epistemological box that has constrained the conversation for decades, ensuring that methodology has overshadowed subject matter, Jason Blum proposes a new interpretive approach—one that begins with a mystic’s own beliefs about the nature of mystical experience. Blum brings this approach to bear on the experiential accounts of three mystical exemplars: Meister Eckhart, Ibn al-ʿArabi, and Hui-neng. Through close readings of their texts, he uncovers the mystics’ own fundamental assumptions about transcendence and harnesses these as interpretive guides to their experiences. The predominant theory-first path to interpretation has led to the misunderstanding and misrepresentation of individual mystical experiences and fostered specious conclusions about cross-cultural comparability among them. Blum’s hermeneutic invites the scholarly community to begin thinking about mystical experience in a new way—through the mystics’ eyes. Zen and the Unspeakable God offers a sampling of the provocative results of this technique and an explanation of its implications for theories of consciousness and our contemporary understanding of the nature of mystical experience.