It seems that many people may give up on meditation or other contemplative practices because they do not provide quick results, particularly in our instant gratification culture today. It can take significant dedication and discipline in practice before we see any fruits. But there are other possibilities on the horizon that may help us along [...]
I suggest that Joseph Smith's earliest direct encounters with God happened in mystical experience, or what is also known as altered states of consciousness.
A prominent belief in Jewish tradition is that the coming Messiah will "rebuild the temple." Jesus too said he would "rebuild the temple." But what temple?
St. 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.
This short documentary Being 97 by Andrew Hasse is moving and poignant. The ageing philosopher Herbert Fingarette (1921-2018) contemplates the meaning of life and death after having written several books about it during his academic career. He asks, "what is the point of it all?" He feels he failed at solving it.
I am not fond of much of the New Age movement. Sometimes my thoughts about mysticism may seem like the New Age, but I think that is because the New Age has adopted a lot of mystical language and concepts, not that classical mysticism inherently belongs to the New Age. They are two different fields, which have some overlap. The New Age developed just in the 1970s. Mysticism has been around for millennia, indeed, for all of human history, in every part of the world.
It sounds like a pretty woowoo thing to say, really smacking of the "New Age." But this seems to be the skeleton in the closet that even physicists don't want to admit. But some have.
Armella Nicolas (1606-1671) was a serving-maid who lived in France in the 17th century, who came to be held in high veneration in the Catholic church. She could not read or write, but told friends of her spiritual experiences, including one sister Jeanne de la Nativite, who wrote down her experiences. The following is one of her recorded experiences.
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