Archive for the ‘mystic knowing’ Category

Mystic knowing in Islam has its source in the Qur’an. Similar to the Jewish and Christian traditions, the Qur’an speaks of our being created by God, being given a home in heaven, and emphasizes our reunion with God. The phrase, “Unto Him shall ye return,” is oft repeated in the Qur’an (10:4; 19:11; 29:57-58; 31:14). The legend of the Night Journey of the Prophet to Jerusalem, and his ascent from there through the seven heavens to God, is symbolic of this return, and has a veiled reference in the Qur’an (17:1). It has long been the purpose of the Sufis, in representing the mystical core of Islam, to experience and explain this journey back to God. The central Sufi doctrine of tawhid refers to union with God, as well as the oneness of God, and has to do with shedding attachments to the world.

Regardless of our own tradition or belief, connecting to our own divine nature, to our mystic core, is what will best help us to remember who we, where we came from, and where we are going. We all have our own Night Journey on this earthly plane, and it is not necessarily smooth sailing. Our existence here is made up of all kinds of challenges and struggles, each one key to uncovering the mystery of who and what we are. The important question is do we see the reason, purpose, or value, and yes, even the wisdom, in what vexes us.

A 31st way to review your life story – What is your Night Journey, and where has this taken you in your journey back to God? In recognition of Thomas Moore speaking in Maine this week, what struggles, losses, failures, and imperfections have lead you closer to the mystery of your soul? How have you learned to appreciate everything that you have been given that makes you the complex, mysterious being you are? What wisdom have you found in your most difficult moments? How have you given up – detached from – certain things you thought you needed? How have you learned to embrace both the highs and the lows, both the fullness and emptiness of your life? How have you cultivated an attitude of acceptance of all that your life is and isn’t?


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As noted last week, the world’s religions agree that the soul comes from the spiritual realm, spends a lifetime adjusting to the physical realm here, and then returns to the spiritual realm. Paul speaks to this duality in our eternal existence and what we can do about it in Corinthians (II, 4:1, 18): “Now we know that if the earthly tent we live in is destroyed, we have a building from God, an eternal house in heaven, not built by human hands… So we fix our eyes not on what is seen but what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.”

Many Christian mystics throughout the centuries have sought union with that ‘eternal house in heaven’ while still living this life, each one standing upon the shoulders of those who went before. The 20th century English monk, Bede Griffiths, recalled the timeless mystic vision when he wrote, “There is a window in my consciousness where I can look out on eternity… then I discover my true Self, then I begin to see the world as it really is… Here all is one, united in a simple vision of being.”

A 30th way to review your life story – As an essential tool in the practice of remembrance, this mystic knowing (being aware of a sacred realm and our link to it) brings us into contact with what is eternal, and therefore with who we are at our essence. What happens when we fix our eyes not on what is seen but what is unseen? What has happened in your life to shift your focus from the temporary to the eternal? Have you ever looked out onto eternity? What did you see there? Did you remember who you really are? Did you see the world as it really is? Reflect on these times of mystic knowing in your life, and if you would be so moved, share with us here what ‘simple vision of being’ this gave you.

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The Arabic term Irfan explains mystic knowing as “knowledge of a divine nature dealing with a realm ‘beyond’ the earthly,” or the “sacred” and “holy” realm. Its sister term, Gnosis, from the Greek, signifies “immediate knowledge of spiritual truth.”

The world’s religions agree that the soul comes from and returns to God. The foundation of the Jewish tradition regarding the soul, and mystic knowing, is seen in Ecclesiastes (12:7), “The dust returns to the ground it came from, and the spirit returns to God who gave it.” The longstanding mystical tradition of the kabbalah has evolved over the centuries to include practices such as prayer with the intention of uniting with the divine, which could even evoke the image of God breathing the breathe of life (the Holy Spirit) into man, or the state of union we are born with.

Such practices are to facilitate what a story from many traditions tells us about how we learn, as an unborn soul, what our nature and destiny is, but are then born forgetting where we came from and why we are here, and that we therefore spend the rest of our lives trying to remember what we forgot, as Wordsworth hinted at in his poem from last week.

After arriving in this physical world, and being immersed in taking care of our new and on-going physical needs, we can only really remember who we are when we are truly conscious. Only a fully conscious effort enables us to remember our essential spiritual nature, which begins the process of moving us from the world of matter toward the world of the spirit, which then brings us back in touch with our spiritual destiny.

A 29th way to review your life story – This mystic knowing, or being aware of a sacred and holy realm and our direct link to it, is an essential tool in the practice of remembrance. Knowledge of spiritual truth is also essential to remembering who we are. Can you identify any times in your life when this awareness of a realm beyond the earthly gave you any insights into your life meaning or purpose? Can you remember ever transcending your physical needs and, in this state of deep, unified consciousness, gaining a new understanding of your spiritual nature? Reflect on these times of transcendence, or union with the holy, and share with us here the essence of this story of mystic knowing about your life.

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