The recent film Bliss depicts a core philosophy in mysticism, which is the unity of opposites, and the knowability of those opposites.
Saint Teresa of Ávila’s “First Vision” Accounts
Saint Teresa of Ávila (1515-1582) was a Spanish mystic, Carmelite nun, and was canonized a Roman Catholic saint by Pope Gregory XV. In her autobiography, The Life of St. Teresa of Jesus, she describes many of her ecstatic visions of the Divine which should ring a few bells for Latter-day Saints.
Sophia von Klingnau’s “First Vision” Account
Sophia von Klingnau was a nun who lived in a convent in Klingnau, Switzerland, sometime in the 13th or 14th century. Her writings were published in the Schwesterbücher (Sister Books).
Rabindranath Tagore’s “First Vision” Account
Rabindranath Tagore (1861-1941) was a Bengali author, poet, essayist, playwright, novelist, composer, and painter. He won the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1913, the first non-European to do so. He recounted the following experience that he had while in Calcutta, India.
Clark Heinrich’s “First Vision” Account
I shared this account in my introductory paper about mysticism, but I think it should be shared as a stand-alone post as well. This is because it is so stunningly similar in many respects to Joseph Smith's accounts of the First Vision.
Oceanic Light "First Vision" Account
Meditation begins as most do. I feel as if I am a small stone sinking into an ocean of filtered light. The light seems to be coming from all directions. I slow, almost pause, at certain levels before my specific gravity increases again, and I sink deeper into this ocean of consciousness—no real experience of having entered this ocean—just being there and going deeper and deeper. It is beyond peaceful, beyond serene.
Lines Composed a Few Miles above Tintern Abbey
that blessed mood,
In which the burthen of the mystery,
In which the heavy and the weary weight
Of all this unintelligible world,
Is lightened:—that serene and blessed mood,
In which the affections gently lead us on,—
Until, the breath of this corporeal frame
And even the motion of our human blood
Almost suspended, we are laid asleep
In body, and become a living soul:
While with an eye made quiet by the power
Of harmony, and the deep power of joy,
We see into the life of things.
Blazing Light “First Vision” Account
My experience of stillness, or transcendental consciousness, has become vast and universal, often blazing with intensely brilliant, even blinding, light. Words cannot even begin to describe the intensity of bliss and the tenderness of emotions that not only swell in my heart, but penetrate into every pore of my being. Is this an experience of God?