I’ve been studying Christian mysticism to better understand my spiritual path and prepare for a class I’m teaching on “God, Ghosts and the Afterlife” in October at Truckee Meadows Community College.
Through this exploration, I’m discovering that I didn’t become a mystic after my transformational Goldfield Hotel experience. Rather, my life’s journey to seek out the divine has always been a supernatural one infused with a reverence that comes from knowing I will never fully understand God.
I relish the handful of personal encounters I’ve had with the Almighty over my life. As a child, I received sudden outpourings of love that left my body tingling. Even at such a young age (probably between three and five years old), I knew these occurrences were divine in nature.
Later, in the instant I became a Born Again Christian, I had another similar experience of feeling saturated with an overwhelming, unworldly love. Then for decades nothing happened. Whether it was the cynicism of adulthood or my feeling trampled by life, I didn’t perceive any supernatural spiritual episodes until shortly after my stay at the Goldfield Hotel.
The term “mystical,” derives from the Greek word “mystikos” meaning information that’s hidden or a mystery. It’s a term to indicate that we don’t fully understand a concept. And who can fully comprehend an all-knowing, all-seeing entity? We can’t grasp the expansiveness of spirit, yet in the Bible, John 4:23-24 (NIV) says, “Yet a time is coming and has now come when the true worshippers will worship the Father in spirit and truth, for they are the kind of worshippers the Father seeks. God is spirit…”
Of course, for many in our society, admitting they can’t comprehend, explain or prove the existence of something isn’t acceptable. If they can’t, then they claim it can’t exist.
What surprises me is that even in the Pentecostal church I’d once belonged to, where the speaking in tongues was commonplace. Personal mysticism—for the revelatory experience that proves the existence of God to an individual—was discouraged.
Karen Armstrong, prolific religion author, wrote in A History of God, that she’d never felt God before she became a nun. This floored me. I assumed everyone has been immersed in the dense adoration of the Great I Am. My spiritual walk has been richer, more realistic, because I’ve had these tangible experiences to hold on to during the darkest of times.
I’m blessed to have been aware of the Most Divine’s presence. To know I’m loved unconditionally and to recognize (even if I can’t understand it) that God’s reach is vast across multiple dimensions. And, through my personal mystical experiences, I know the Great I Am’s love for you is just as amazing.
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