Many people don't like the way that HBO's television drama Game of Thrones is turning out. Is there a deeper moral here?
Pope Francis (birth name Jorge Mario Bergoglio) is the 266th pope of the Roman Catholic Church. He has served as pope since 2013. In an interview a few months after his election to pope he briefly discussed mystics, mysticism, and mystical experience.
The unitive mystical experience can be compared to falling into a black hole. When compared this way, it doesn't sound like a nice experience. Likewise, for many mystics throughout history, their divine experiences weren't always a merry venture, sometimes encountering hellish realms along the way (see, for example, St. Teresa of Ávila, or St. John of the Cross's Dark Night of the Soul).
Fyodor Dostoevsky (1821-1881) was a Russian novelist, writer, and philosopher. He often explored questions of psychology, philosophy, and religion. He wrote many acclaimed novels.
John van Ruysbroeck (1293-1381) was a Flemish mystic and writer. He was raised in the Catholic faith, becoming a priest. He is now venerated in the Catholic Church. He was beatified in 1903 by Pope Pius X.
Symeon the New Theologian (949-1022 AD) was a Byzantine Christian monk and poet, and was canonized as a saint by the Eastern Orthodox church. He wrote much about Christian mysticism, including his own experiences.
Joannes Stobaeus was a 5th-century AD compiler of Greek texts in Stobi, Macedonia. He likely read widely, and recorded many of the most interesting passages he came across from Greek authors, including poets and prose writers. The following seems to be a reference to the ancient Mysteries, religious rites, secret ceremonies and initiations, and what took place in them, perhaps a reference to the Eleusinian Mysteries
"The highest form of meditation is not an activity that is undertaken by the mind. It is a relaxing, falling back or sinking of the mind into its source or essence of pure awareness, from which it has arisen."
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.
In 1979 she had an experience while giving a eulogy at the funeral of a friend that forever changed her life. She later called it a "near-death-like" experience, being similar to many NDEs (including one she had earlier in life), but she was not near death at all. She describes it in one place this way...