At last we will be discussing mysticism at length having made it clear that we only need mysticism, if the religion we are in falls short in enabling us access the WORD of God, which is resonating in us ceaselessly all the days of our lives, from the moment of conception all through our exiting the mother’s womb and till we shed the mortal coil, which state we refer to as death.
Primarily, we must come to terms as to the meaning of Mysticism. This will assist us understand the nitty gritty of mysticism vis-a-vis the subject being discussed – BORN AGAIN.
Literally, Mysticism is described as a spiritual belief that maintains that a connection can be obtained with God, through meditation. The practitioners of mysticism are referred to as Mystics or Saints. Research has shown that virtually all founders and progenitors of religious movements are themselves mystics and practiced mysticism.
After their departure from the earthly field, their lofty teachings are invariably reduced to dogmas, rituals and ceremonies to an extent the essence of uniting us with God, by direct experience through meditation is lost.
This happened to Abraham, Moses, Elijah, Jesus, Guatama Buddha, Bulleh Shah, the 10 Gurus of Hindus Religion and a couple of other Mystics. Even the Islamic religion and the Quran personally handed down by Prophet Mohammed have been undergoing extreme degradation, with different sects of Islam emerging and interpreting Quran whimsically and some dangerously, as a result of which killing a nonbeliever is ignorantly assumed as welcomed in the sight of Allah.
To whip Mankind back on line, the merciful God continues to send His anointed to the world to revive the lofty teachings of the mystics. It was in this respect Jesus was quoted to have said He has not come to erase the laws but for the fulfillment of those laws and which laws were given by Saints or Prophets before Jesus.
For correlation, in John 5:46, Jesus was recorded saying: If you had believed Moses, you would believe me, for he wrote about me.
The ego of man will naturally revolt at the mention of an intercessor whose job is to guide us at our level to the Court of the Lord, from where we were banished eons of time past, in our desire to explore the created.
Irrespective of what our ego feels, without a God sent, it would be impossible to meet the Lord. This is more for the fact that we have a gatekeeper of this world who doesn’t want us to return to the Lord. We will make the mission of the Negative Power very clear as we proceed.
It is almost impossible to define mysticism, particularly with things of the material world. It is a science of the soul that cannot be taught, it has to be caught and experienced. It is an experience that relies not on a theory nor a belief, neither reasoning or guessing. It is beyond thinking and feeling and neither perception nor conception, neither thought nor imagination, neither instinct nor intuition. This is because all these are within the realm of the mind, but spiritual experience transcends all the capacities of the mind.
How then could mysticism be explained beyond saying from experience that it is a means of spiritual concentration within oneself, leading one beyond the senses and intellect into a super conscious state of ecstatic rapture, into heavenly transport, yielding to immediate personal transcendent knowledge of the absolute Reality.
If we are yet to understand the true meaning of: “Be still and know that I am God,” which we will find in Psalm 46:10, here we have the meaning. But knowing the meaning through information from someone else is not enough. We have to know the meaning through our personal experience.
This is the purpose of mysticism. To teach and goad us along direct experience. Not by merely reading of it from the account of others. The practice of mysticism suppresses the centrifugal tendency of the mind. It makes it centripetal, stills it, upon which the soul disengages from the mind and takes us within – higher up in super consciousness.
All these may appear Greek to us because it is something outside the ken of what we are used to. It seems strange because it deals with the soul. This is an achievement that cannot be brought about by sheepish beliefs or dogmas. We must prove it by individual experience through practice.
Towards this, Mystics take time to explain the perplexing nature of God, His Creative Energy, The Grand Design, The place of the Negative Power, Human potentials, Reality of Human beings, Object of Human life,Reality of the world, Reality of time and space, Problem of Morality, Is Good relative or Absolute, Is Life fair or not, Law of Karma, What is right, What is wrong, The essence of Marriage, Question of free will, Free will and Determinism, Problem of Misery, Problem of cruelty, What is death, What is deathless, Preparation for the last journey, and a host other mysteries that confront man at the dawn of consciousness.
Mystics take us through all these to expand our consciousness along the hows and whys of the creation thus: It enables us to have full understanding of lives on the earthly field, so that we are not be blown hither and thither, like the teaming worldly people, oblivious of wherefrom they arrived the earthly field, at sea about their mission in the world and completely nonplussed about life hereafter.
The reason Mystics take the adherents through all the nitty gritty of life is that they detest blind followership. More so, without basic understanding of what we are doing, we will continue to be in doubt. The only thing that eliminates all atoms of doubt in human beings is personal experience. Nothing else.
Furthermore, we are all pitched against a formidable power who had tempted and made to stumble great minds and Rishis. The same power tempted Christ severally and without subduing this power, there is no escape for us from this world where this power governs and ensures its continuity.
In Mark 3 vs 27 we quote Christ saying: No one can enter a strong man’s house without first tying him up. This refers to Satan who is represented in man as the mind. Without subduing the mind, we cannot reach back to the Lord. That is the purpose of all fasting and penances. They all barely succeed in temporarily caging the snake of the mind. Only by the practice of the Word of God could the venom of the snake – mind – be removed and rendered powerless to tempt us no more.
Does this understanding not worth our while? If we answer in the affirmative, we are simply compared with the proverbial sparrow that closes its eyes to the impending danger of a prowling cat. The eyes closing of course doesn’t chase the cat away, it only makes the sparrow a delectable meal for the cat.
Mystics, Saints, Prophets, Avatars, Messiah, Harbingers are all on errands of the Supreme Lord. They have been descending from time immemorial to the world in every age. Whatever their country or religion may be, their message has always been identical and is aimed at enabling us to know God and seek release from the pen house of the Negative Power where we are all roasting in the fire of our desires.
The advantages of Spirituality are legion. No tithe, no rituals, no ceremony and neither any sort of hoodwinking. The only demand is that it is a do it yourself affair. A one-on-one relationship with the Creator.
Those who believe in paying someone else to recite the scriptures for them, in the name of worshipping God, or asking for the Lord’s favours wouldn’t find a comfort zone in mysticism, with such “lilly-liveredness”. The homo sapiens status of man doesn’t make him to merely vegetate.
All said, each individual must seek his/her own spiritual path and as it is said: when the student is ready, only then the teacher appears. It is a natural thing and it happens only through His grace. Christ said in John 3 vs 27; No one receiveth anything unless it is given to him from above. Before then, if we come across anyone claiming to be a Saint or Guru Maharaj, we need not look further for an impostor.
Meanwhile, if we are inclined towards inquisition for a spiritual path, one can only try to continue to stimulate thoughts towards understanding on the myriads of issues that we seek solution for, in the succeeding series.
In closing therefore, I present in brief the teachings of all Saints as follows:
There is a concurrence that in whatever religion, race or clime we may belong there is a God. The Universe is not without a Creator, Sustainer and Protector. All happenings are occurring according to His Grand Design and as such, He has not created the world and lost the control of it.
Wherever we may be, we are all a projection of the same Father – God, who has created all humans in His own image with the capacity for humans to attune with Him, when dissatisfied with what the earthly field has to offer.
We all have implanted in us the Divinity of the Lord known as the soul. Our soul is in essence a drop of the Ocean of the Lord, whence it separated so long ago and have totally forgotten its Divine Origin. All our woes and misery will end only when the soul is in touch with the Spirit of God and finally merges back into the Lord.
Furthermore, all Saints agree that God is within us and cannot be realised anywhere outside. Christ says: “The Kingdom of God is within you. Know ye not that you are a temple of the living God.” The Quran also in Chapter 50 vs 16 declares: “Allah is near your royal vein.”
All these are not allegories. They are indeed factual statements which are provable only by the means of MEDITATION.
To be continued.
. Aare Oyefeso is a philosopher and businessman based in Lagos.