I created a graphic to better illustrate the evolution (or devolution) from mysticism to religion to politics, and back again, as originally modeled by David Steindl-Rast.
What is the relationship between mysticism and religion? It is perhaps a cycle, which begins in mysticism and ends in fundamentalist dogmatic religion, and politics, where it begins again.
Yes, actually, I think there is a Way. But it's perhaps not the Way that most people think, desire, or hope, but I suggest it is Divine.
In the 1980s there was a group of contemplatives from several different religions that gathered to dialogue, and they came up with eight points of perennial wisdom that they seemed to share in their experience of an Ultimate Reality.
These are some of my notes and reflections on Fr. Rohr's opening address at the conference a couple weeks ago.
Thinking of God as a male human(s) out in the universe somewhere seems to be a primitive, magical, supernatural, and archaic conception of the Divine, literalizing the pronouns of "He" and "Him," and in the Christian tradition of "Father" and "Son." I've written about this specifically at least once before, but it's worth discussing more.
I will begin to offer a reconstruction of the Mormon narrative, which also applies in many ways to Christianity in general.
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.
In my paper "The Book of Mormon as Literary Alchemy: Joseph’s Magnum Opus and the Philosopher’s Stone," I suggested that the "gold plates" that Joseph Smith had in his possession were not actually made of gold, and did not actually contain ancient historical records like Mormons traditionally think. But that doesn't mean that there were not "gold plates" which were a kind of "hidden treasure" that Joseph really did discover within himself, which was the source of real divine wisdom, "ancient wisdom," and which he taught could be found within all people as well.
One element that I think is shared among all the religions, which has become quite conspicuous to me in recent times, is their history and beliefs about the nature of the human ego, and that this ego is a major obstacle to the flourishing of life and love in ourself and the world, and that transcending the ego is a major goal, if not the goal, of human life. This ego transcendence may be the central feature in all religions, the underlying core message and purpose of all spirituality. And science is beginning to discover this too.