On my morning run I listened to this podcast with host Michael Taft of Deconstructing Yourself talking with Buddhist teacher Culadasa (John Yates), author of The Mind Illuminated. It was a great discussion of the deepest realizations that come through meditation, from a Buddhist point of view.
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.
Religious texts are most often not literal history. They are allegory, narrative, parable, metaphor, simile, symbol, poetry, story, visionary, and figurative. They are not relating precise word-for-word conversations of the past, nor are they detailing literal events that took place. Yes, the Bible talks about many people and places that may have really existed, and may even abstractly refer to events that really took place, but it is not a history book.
An addition to the BHT, about the limits of knowledge.
I wonder if we might find some insightful parallels and further understanding in the 23 distinct personalities who inhabit the mind of the one main character of the recent 2016 American psychological thriller film Split, starring James McAvoy, and the many personalities manifested through the writings of the Prophet Joseph Smith in the Book of Mormon narrative.
An addition to the BHT, where Paul addresses the people in Corinth about who teaches the truth about God. (The painting above is "Conversion on the Way to Damascus," by Caravaggio, c. 1600-1601.)
An addition to the BHT, where Jesus speaks with a woman about what it is we should be worshiping, adoring, reverencing, cherishing, loving.
"The [mystical] visions are not ends in themselves but means to an ineffable religious experience that exceeds normal concepts. They will be conditioned by the particular religious tradition of the mystic. A Jewish visionary will see visions of the seven heavens because his religious imagination is stocked with these particular symbols. Buddhists see various images of Buddhas and bodhisattvas; Christians visualize the Virgin Mary [or Jesus]. It is a mistake for the visionary to see these mental apparitions as objective or as anything more than a symbol of transcendence."
Henry David Thoreau (1817-1862) is widely known as a great 19th century transcendentalist essayist, poet, philosopher, naturalist, and historian, among other things. He is most well-known for his book Walden, and his essay "Civil Disobedience." The following comes from his poem titled "Inspiration."
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...