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What is Mysticism?
Mysticism is the bridge that connects man to God, and brings Godâ€™s Wisdom, Love, and Compassion to man.Â The bridge is made of mystical wisdom and mystical practices.
In the above detail of Michelangeloâ€™s mystical masterpiece, The Creation of Adam, which was painted for the Sistine Chapel in Rome, the viewer becomes immediately aware of, and is drawn to the mysterious space or void between the index finger of God and that of Adam.
It is through study, action, and the dedicating of oneâ€™s life to the mystical path, that man is able to develop the ability to traverse the Void between these two fingers, leading him to form an internal union with God.
The Mystical Path
Enemy of the Spiritual Path
The mystical path is an internal journey through the wilderness of our spiritual sleep.Â No one may take this journey for us. Each of us must struggle against our own sleep.
What all seekers have in common is that they share a similar internal enemy: the lower (or false) self. The role of the lower self is to engage in all forms of treachery in order to divert us from entering and successfully persevering on the path to awakening.
The Mystical Weapon
Upon initiation into a spiritual tradition, the untried seeker is introduced to a mystical weapon. He is taught how to wield this weapon when confronted by the onslaughts of the enemy.
Heroic epics, sacred literature, and mythologies from almost every culture tell of heroes who are mysteriously called to leave the familiar and comfortable surroundings of everyday life, and to travel to unknown or foreign lands.
The Mystical Impulse
These stories are but allegories of seekers, who, without knowing why, are inexplicably driven to follow an invisible impulse. And, without giving much attention to the mocking of friends and family, they sacrifice everything to search for their true self – the Soul.
While there are many spiritual paths in both the East and the West that one may follow, in essence every true path shares a similar goal: the awakening the God (i.e. the Soul) within each of us.
Ancient Wisdom of Immortality
The emphasis of the mystical teachings of ancient Egypt is focused on overcoming death (i.e. spiritual sleep) and attaining immortality.
The mystical symbols found in Egypt, such as the Sphinx, the Temples, and the hieroglyphs all convey the message of spiritual awakening.Â However, this ancient wisdom may only be perceived by those initiated into the mysteries.
Teachers of the Egyptian Mystical tradition
The awakened priests were the teachers of the Egyptian mystical tradition, and the initiates were the scribes, who, as they advanced in their spiritual growth, were given more understanding to the inner meaning of these symbols.
All religions have an inner and an outer meaning.Â The inner meaning is taught only to those who have been initiated.
Thus, in ancient Egypt for example, those uninitiated by the priests embraced the literal meaning of attaining eternal life in the form of mummification, as well as burying the dead with goods that they will be able to use in the afterlife. Whereas the inner meaning of immortality – the awakening the soul, was reserved for members of the Egyptian Mystery Schools.
Jewish mysticism had its roots in the Bible.
Similar to the symbols of ancient Egypt, the inner meaning to the mystical teachings of the Bible were orally transmitted by the awakened teachers to the initiates.
Vessel of Jewish Mysticism
Unlike the Egyptian School, however, which conveyed its spiritual wisdom through their edifices, hieroglyphs, and art, the ancient Jewish School preserved their spiritual wisdom in the stories of the Bible.
Down through the millenniums, the invisible mystical inner circle of Judaism created new forms of transmitting this magnificent wisdom.
From the mystical interpretations to the writings of the Mishneh, the Talmud, and prayers, to the splendid symbols of Tefillin, the Talit, the Shofar, or the Menorah, the mystical Jewish School sustained the purity of this wisdom through the Ages.
The essence of this teaching is that man is born with a spark of the divine, and the meaning to life is to develop this spark into a raging fire – a complete soul, so that it may form a union with the Divine and attain immortality.
Similar to Judaism, the early Christian School hid the spiritual wisdom in their writings.Â Thus, the stories from the New Testament are filled with wonderful mystical wisdom that may only be understood by those initiated by the Christian spiritual Masters.
Through the centuries, however, new venues were introduced by this School for transmitting knowledge.Â These included religious art, as well as the awe-inspiring architecture of the Gothic Cathedrals, and the stained glass windows that decorate them.
The Kingdom of Heaven
The crux of the Christian Mystical tradition is that the Kingdom of Heaven is within each of us, and if we wish to attain it we must first die to the desires and attachments of the lower self, and be spiritually reborn.
It is solely through the successful struggle against the will of the lower self (often called the devil or Satan in the New Testament) that man may attain eternal life.
Mysticism – Kindling the Divine Spark
In summary then, all pure mystical teachings share the identical message.
Most men are born with a spark of the divine, called the soul.
Man has the possibility of transforming this spark into a complete soul, and attaining immortality.