Mysticism’s Effect Upon The World

Mysticism’s Effect Upon The World

Author: Stewart Bitkoff  

Q: Is the completed person, one who has achieved God Consciousness, a God? This is what some traditions claim. Can you clarify this point?

Since I have heard of the world of Love,
I’ve spent my life, my heart
And my eyes this way.
I used to think that Love
And Beloved are different.
I know they are the same.
~ Rumi

First, we must discuss limitations on our discussion. The claims of different traditions have to be viewed from within that tradition. It is very difficult for an observer to understand or fully comprehend what is operating unless the observer has first hand experience; we operate under the assumption that all faiths are true at a certain level.

Also, it is very difficult to put into words a spiritual state, or a spiritual level that one has not yet attained. However, useful comparisons may be made. Last, we must take into account historical perspective. When each of the great faiths was initiated and when the title of ‘god’ was conferred, the term may have meant something a little different than what it means today in our monotheistic culture. Many cultures acknowledge the existence of spiritual entities that govern plants, forests, and mountains. In these traditions, there are different levels of ‘gods’ and ‘gods’ for natural phenomena.

With our strides in science and present focus upon exploration of self and religion, we are beginning to understand some of these miraculous ‘phenomena’ as extensions of natural laws. Interestingly enough, that is what the wise ones have always said concerning their ‘miracles.’

The outcome of all mystery traditions and human development systems is the completed person. In some traditions, these spiritually developed individuals are called Buddha, Sadhu, and enlightened one, servant of God, saint, witch, mystic, or heretic. Yet, what each of these people has in common is they have achieved a level of spiritual development, which in the context of their faith, is extraordinary. Along with this level of spiritual development are capacities that appear miraculous, simply because they are not understood. Yet, the person who uses these capacities, when questioned, describes them as extensions of natural laws, which they intuitively and purposefully direct to carry out higher functions.

Also, part of the confusion surrounding this issue comes about due to specific statements made by individuals who were deemed highly spiritually developed. Some of these statements were termed heretical and people were executed for making them.

Part of the mystical path, is a state, called annihilation. In this state, the worldly consciousness is annihilated or destroyed and the spirit is unified (unification occurs-another state) and briefly becomes one with Truth/God. In this state, should the person speak and sometimes the energy is so strong and joyous, they assert out loud, “I Am The Way.” Or “I Am The Truth.”

When this happens, it is not the person speaking, but the spirit or energy that is moving through them, asserting itself. This energy is the Logos, or Spirit of God; for this energy, or Light, is the binding force of the universe and is the Way and the Truth. It is suggested that Jesus, in part, was killed for making this statement. Similarly, a Muslim Saint, Al-Hallaj was disemboweled for making this claim.

From our perspective, that which is greater than the universe is different than that which enters it and is created. Although a part of God is in everyone, no matter how well advanced a spiritual entity; we are not the Creator or the same as the Creator.

Some traditions assert the Logos takes on a human form to carry out its mission. Perhaps, this is true and this is a wonderful event, however, is this the same as the Creator entering the world of forms? Each must come to a decision about this on their own, and, it is suggested, the event be viewed within the context of the specific faith asserting this.

Q: What is mysticism?

All creation is calling upon God. You cannot hear or see it on the outside, but the essence in everything is continuously remembering and calling upon God.
~ Sheik Muzaffer

Mysticism is the process by which one studies or learns about the mysteries or mystery traditions. Within each of the great faiths, there is an inner, hidden teaching that is transcendent and unifying. The reason this teaching is hidden is that in order to study it, a number of factors have to be in place. Until recently, these factors were not publicly stated or attempts made to have them publicly understood. In the past, the study of this material, if publicly known, often resulted in death.

When viewed from a distance, these criteria are applicable to any human endeavor. Let us suppose we wanted to take a class and learn about fly-fishing. We would have to find out what time the class was starting, where it was being held, and who was teaching the class and what preparations necessary. Was the class for beginners or more advanced students?

It is the same with mystical studies; however, in this endeavor one other factor is operating. This is termed sincerity and relates to the intention of the student. If the student wishes to align with Truth, not for individual gain, but for its own sake, these are the students who attain, and it is this sincerity the teacher calls to and recognizes in the student. Because of this inner condition, it is tradition, the teacher finds the student.

Throughout this writing, some of this alternative, or mysterious view of things, has been offered. Simply stated it is the natural process of spiritual/higher development and this added spiritual knowledge/capacity enables the best for everyone.

At various times, this view has been banned and its practitioners killed, because some felt this knowledge was a threat. Today, in our more open society this view is again being made public, is more accessible, and travelers continue to benefit.

Q: How can the mystical view help our modern world? No matter what you assert, how can this be the way it is meant to be; it’s a real mess out there.

When the paintings are hidden, you will see the Painter. O brother/sister, I will tell you the mystery of mysteries. Know, then, that painting and Painter are one! When your faith is made perfect, you will never see yourself, save in Him.
Attar

According to mystical tradition, this mystical or holistic view is the balancing factor. It is the missing ingredient and the pot of gold at rainbow’s end. This viewpoint balances the needs of the individual with the need of the larger society; it reconciles the differences in religious philosophy and the spiritual experience of the Light is unifying and life changing.

If you perceive the world as in a state of confusion, remember the following. That what you see before you is a stage in evolution; we are evolving into something higher. Each has a contribution to make; that is part of the journey. What will be your contribution? Remember each contribution is necessary for the completed work.

If you do not believe these claims, test them out yourself and, in time, the world will become a better place, one person at a time.

Contentment is putting aside of free will.
~ Junaid
__________
Also by Dr. Bitkoff, A Commuter’s Guide to Enlightenment, Llewellyn, 2008 and Journey of Light: Trilogy, Authorhouse, 2004. These books are available on Amazon.Com or from publisher.

To contact author go to: http://www.stewartbitkoff.com or e-mail: goldpath@ptd.net.

The Matter Of Faith

The Matter Of Faith

Author:   RuneWolf   

Faith, simply put, is trust.

Some Pagans have a negative reaction to the entire concept of faith, because it has become synonymous in our culture with one particular brand of faith: Christian. But I submit that, whether one is Christian or Pagan or whatever, faith is the root and foundation of any serious spiritual life. Christian faith and Pagan faith may differ radically, but I believe that faith itself, that is to say trust, is indispensable in any genuine relationship with the Divine, however we may understand It. If I have no trust in my Goddess and my God, then I am simply going through the motions of being a Witch, and I might as well just declare myself an atheist and get it over with.

From my experience as a nominal Christian in my youth, and from my observations since then, it seems that Christian faith is an almost fanatical trust that God or Jesus will deliver the faithful from the tribulations of this life, and secure that person a place in Paradise in the afterlife. Pagan faith, on the other hand – at least as I practice it – is an implicit trust that my Goddess and my God will always help me to find within myself the resources to deal with the trials of life. A large part of my spiritual life as a Witch is spent opening myself to the various ways in which the Divine communicates with me in the course of my daily life, so that when a crisis does occur, the lines of communication are already open.

These two types of faith may be labeled “passive” and “active, ” and objectively neither is really superior to the other. I do, however, have my personal opinions and preferences.

Faced with a crisis, a Christian will tend to pray and “put things in God’s hand, ” trusting that their Lord will set things right. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing, as most negative situations are beyond our human control anyway, and the more we meddle, trying to “fix” things, the worse the situation gets, and the more stressful it becomes. “Getting out of our own way” by turning the matter over to a spiritual power, and trusting that the situation will work out, may indeed be the best course of action, and in this situation, faith becomes the psychic buffer that allows someone to let circumstances run their course without living in constant anxiety. Using their version of prayer and having deep faith in their Lord and Savior, the Christian is effectively working magic, if one defines magic as “changing consciousness at will.”

Speaking solely for myself, I believe that this type of faith ultimately disempowers the individual. Like a child who never escapes the apron strings, the practitioner of passive faith learns nothing from the challenges of life, and can only meet each new challenge as the last was met, with passivity and an abdication of responsibility.

Active faith, on the other hand, encourages – even demands – that the individual take responsibility and take action, even if that action is taking no action at all. This last may seem a bit paradoxical, but it is really an important and subtle point. A practitioner of passive faith may take no action by default – the matter has been turned over to God, and there is no further need for personal action. Indeed, continuing to struggle after invoking Divine intercession could be seen as a denial of faith. The practitioner of active faith, on the other hand, may elect to take no action, but only after appropriate contemplation of the situation, and due consultation with the Gods. In this context, taking no action becomes a choice, perhaps just one among many.

There is a Jewish proverb that says: “Pray as if everything depends on God, act as if everything depends on you.” I think this is a beautiful and concise definition of active faith, one that is both eminently mystical and logically practical, and it is the manner in which I strive to live my life as a Witch.

One important function of faith, in the spiritual or religious sense, is indeed to satisfy deep psychological needs. My faith, my trust, that my Goddess and God are always with me helps me to feel secure, appreciated and loved unconditionally, often in the face of insecurity, rejection and hatred. My Deities do not eliminate the negative circumstances willy-nilly. Rather, They provide the guidance whereby I find within myself the physical, mental, emotional and spiritual resources to deal with those negative circumstances. I do not hide behind Them, but I know They are “watching my back.”

For many people, Pagan and non-Pagan, this sense of “Divine parenting” is all that is required of faith. Many people can accept it and practice it simply because it is a tenet of their chosen religion, and it is so effective in their lives that they never find the need to go deeper.

For some of us, however, the matter of faith runs much deeper, into realms that are difficult to address via the cumbersome medium of the spoken or written word, and the linchpin of this difference is often the “spiritual experience.”

I have heard it said that there is a difference between “faith” and “belief.” One is said to have faith when one trusts in something that cannot be or has not been proven. One believes in something that one has directly experienced. Today, the words are synonymous to me, largely because I have been fortunate enough to have had two powerful “spiritual experiences” in my Pagan life. Members of 12 Step fellowships often refer to these as “burning bushes;” the immediate and undeniable manifestation of Divine presence in our ordinary reality. Before the first such event, I had “faith” in the Gods because that was what a good Pagan was “supposed” to do. Actually, it was simply a matter of fitting the spiritual beliefs that I had developed on my own into the Pagan context. But still, I took it “on faith” that the Gods were real, as I had not yet had direct experience of Them. After my first spiritual experience, I believed in the Gods the same way I believed in my ’92 Taurus, for They were suddenly just as “real” and just as “present” in my life.

Faith and belief have their own logic, if one can call it that, and it is certainly fractal in nature. I think, at times, we grasp that logic in a brief and tentative manner. Ultimately, however, it eludes examination and defeats definition. Nor is it necessary, for me at least, to know “how” or “why” it works. It is enough that I have faith, belief and trust in my Deities. These, along with willingness, are the doors through which They enter my life, that we may dance together.

In Their Service…

RuneWolf