The Essentials of Mysticism and Other Essays

The Essentials of Mysticism and Other Essays

by Evelyn Underhill
     
 

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What are the true essentials of mysticism? When we have stripped off
those features which some mystics accept and others reject -- all that
is merely due to tradition, temperament or unconscious allegorism --
what do we find as the necessary, abiding and essential character of
all true mystical experience? The question is really worth… See more details below

Overview

What are the true essentials of mysticism? When we have stripped off
those features which some mystics accept and others reject -- all that
is merely due to tradition, temperament or unconscious allegorism --
what do we find as the necessary, abiding and essential character of
all true mystical experience? The question is really worth asking. For
some time, much attention has been given to the historical side of
mysticism, and some -- much less -- to its practice. But there has been
no true understanding of the difference between its substance and its
accidents; between traditional forms and methods, and the eternal
experience which they have mediated. In mystical literature words are
frequently confused with things, and symbols with realities; so that
much of this literature seems to the reader to refer to some
self-consistent and exclusive dream world, and not to the achievement
of universal truth. Thus the strong need for re-statement which is
being felt by institutional religion, the necessity of re-translating
its truths into symbolism which modern man can understand and accept,
applies with at least equal force to mysticism. It has become important
to disentangle the facts from ancient formulae used to express them.
These formulae have value, because they are genuine attempts to express
truth; but they are not themselves that truth; and failure to recognise
this distinction has caused a great deal of misunderstanding. Thus, on
its theological and philosophical side, the mysticism of Western Europe
is tightly entwined with the patristic and mediaeval presentation of
Christianity; and this presentation, though full of noble poetry, is
now difficult if not impossible to adjust to our conceptions of the
universe. Again on its personal side mysticism is a department of
psychology. Now psychology is changing under our eyes; already we see
our mental life in a new perspective, tend to describe it undser new
forms. Our ways of describing and interpreting spiritual experience
must change with the rest if we are to keep in touch with reality;
though the experience be unchanged.

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
2940012680075
Publisher:
Mysticism Books
Publication date:
04/21/2011
Sold by:
Barnes & Noble
Format:
NOOK Book
File size:
0 MB

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