I think this has a lot to do with how you define the word mysticism. The dictionary does so as…
- 1: the experience of mystical union or direct communion with ultimate reality reported by mystics
- 2: the belief that direct knowledge of God, spiritual truth, or ultimate reality can be attained through subjective experience (as intuition or insight)
- 3 : vague speculation : a belief without sound basis
- 4: a theory postulating the possibility of direct and intuitive acquisition of ineffable knowledge or power
Looking at each as a Deist and asking if I believe in such things for me goes as follows
- Can one experience of mystical union or direct communion with ultimate reality reported by mystics? Answer – Yes to varying degrees, one doesn’t need to “talk to God” or “hear God speak” for this to occur. There are many wondrous things in the world, many that we can explain that are still wondrous. A person that takes time to connect with, examine, meditate over, etc these things often develops greater insight. Many “mystics” may be scam artists, but that doesn’t devalue a connection to something beyond what you usually have. Experience this and you know it is real, that is all I can say.
- Do I believe that one can attain direct knowledge of God, spiritual truth, or ultimate reality through subjective experience (as intuition or insight). Answer – Well if it stopped at only “direct knowledge of God” I would say no. As a Deist I know and experience God in his creation as part of it. I don’t think anyone has a direct line to the creator, I think largely that would ruin our experience of life on earth. But yes I do think we can find spiritual truth and a greater understanding of reality via reflection and simply being open to things existing that we don’t yet fully understand. That energy is wondrous and we don’t fully understand all the ways our energy and the energies around us can interact yet.
- Is vague speculation : a belief without sound basis something for a deist? Answer – No, not at all, Deism is based on logic an reason and experience. There is no room for a belief without sound basis.
- Do I believe there is a way for us to attain a direct and intuitive acquisition of ineffable knowledge or power? Answer – As a deist I first seek knowledge and I will fess up, I had to look up ineffable, it is defined as, “too great or extreme to be expressed or described in words“. This gives me pause! Because again many things are subjective. This could mean things like levitation and seeing the future. I find these things largely nonsense. But it could also mean, simply something so special that you can’t really explain it, a perfect moment in the creation where you feel all is right, you know who and what you are and time is meaningless. Something that even when you explain it, no one can really understand it. I have had such moments hunting and fishing, in a garden, on the side of a mountain. They are rare and they are special and if you never had one, I can’t explain it to you.
It gets interesting when we actually examine concepts deeply instead of dismissing them out of hand doesn’t it? Now don’t get me wrong, I am not saying you need to believe what I believe to be a deist or that some how I am better off than you because I do understand these things and make them part of my life. There is no official you are in or out committee when it comes to deism. We all experience the creation in our own way with free will.
For me though a life that denies the mystical in the ways that I describe above isn’t what I personally want. I love the way the sun glimmers on grass in the morning before the dew is driven off by the sun. I understand fully the science behind it, that doesn’t do a thing to deny its beauty. Frankly the science is a miracle of sorts! We know scientific law, we know how light is refracted, how humidity and temperature work together but that makes the effect no less stunning. I marvel as much at the parts of the creation I understand as I do at the parts I have yet to understand.
With this open attitude I have lived my life now for about 10 years free of the shackles of any “faith” or the obligations assigned to it. It has a been a great way to live and the most fulfilling 10 years of my life.
Hey, you should join our google+ deist community on google of course. I would love to discuss more with you!
Anyway, I believe that spiritual experience is a necessary part of life in order to achieve fulfillment and understanding. Is it required for deism? No. Is it recommended? In my view, all religions, nonreligions, and deism should recommend spiritual growth. Recommend self reflection and meditation. Not just in the bottom corner of a pamphlet, but in large font. I’ve read a lot from modern spiritual masters and they all show this understanding of the connection between people and the universe and usually believe something along the lines of “Men should not be valued for their usefulness, but for their uniqueness”. This idea that your life, however long, is completely different from my experience and because of this, its almost crazy not to try and connect with our experiences and recognize our unique history and future.
For quite a few reasons I keep my real name off this site. I don’t think I would set up a phoney google account just to be in a plus group. I happy to discuss things here, please let others know about my site. I am adding a membership feature (free of course) here soon. It will be very cool and you can share things from it on any platform you want.
I agree Deism is made up of many unique views, It stands to reason that discussion can further them all. It is why I created this site.
Frankly I keep my name off it because I am a fairly large public figure, I actually think that would devalue what I have to say, I don’t keep my name off in fear but simply so my words will speak for themselves apart from my name. Hope that makes sense.
I mean I am absolutely known as a Deist publicly under my real name, so I am not hiding.
I do think mysticism is just a subjective experience. Like I know many friends and family that say they have seen or experienced spirit or ghost activity. So I don’t deny the existence of them. As a believer in the multiverse and the Biocentric universe theories, I think when our consciousness leaves this existence, we leave a residual copy of our consciousness and we just travel through an Einstein-Rosen bridge aka wormhole to our next existence to a new universe and earth. So yes this is my form of a belief of a reasonable mysticism as a Biocentric Deist.
I certainly agree it is subjective.
On “ghosts” or “spirits” I am agnostic on that. It may or may not be true in my view. I am just not sure.
Some pretty interesting experiments have been done to show how easily the mind can be fooled by planting suggestions. In one study I saw a show on several dozen people were placed in a creepy looking abandoned place, like a vacation spot type of thing that failed.
One group was told of horrible things that went on there. That there were rumors of spirits and the like. Over 80% of them were sure they saw something, like passed polygraphs sure.
The other group was told it was simply an expirment to see how people slept differently in different environments. (not exactly a lie) 100% of them saw, heard, felt, nothing.
By the way, nothing bad ever happened in this place, no one ever died there, it was all a prop set for a film never shot, no one had ever even stayed there before.
I do personally believe we exist as some sort of energy field we we die, but I am not so sure we can be detected by anyone living.
I believe that most things we consider mysticism now will be scientifically explainable in the future as we develop technology that is able to observe and measure those unique energies we currently attribute to the spiritual realm. I do believe there are spirits and spiritual phenomena only that our current understanding of it is at that place believers of gravity were at before the tools and scientific methodology to observe and measure gravity were available.
It may be that there is a “spirit” (inadequate term) of life, it has no “personality” (as the word is commonly used), that pervades the universe (or that that part where life has developed to the point that it can “think” in other than pictures.) To us, it would seem unconscious, like an electric potential, (but this is spiritual) where the least resistance is, that is where it flows when the circuit is closed.
—It acts or “intervenes” with each person on the basis of how ready that person is to evolve “spiritually” ( again- not as is commonly believed) even if the person does not realize it, has or has not been indoctrinated with the extant religions, and has come to a self realization. Here is a part of another idea that seems to fit here:”There is Something outside all systems that adds/injects value into those systems, and has come to the realization (not just the thought) of both our incompleteness (we all need to grow all of our lives) and our real responsibility for our lives (in other words, self conviction).”
—It may (or may not) reveal itself by “immersing” (another inadequate term) us in itself. No words, no instruction to tell others what to do, no inflation of our position, etc, but a fundamental evolution into an “advanced” state of consciousness that brings us to an initial state of bliss (inadequate term) as it becomes evident that the universe is in order, that it is evolving as it should, that everything is doing fine, that all the guilt and negative baggage that we may have carried is subdued, and it feels as if perfection is where we dwell,(The peace beyond all understanding).
—This lasts until the “soul” digests this new intake, and then a contest begins between what we were and what we have become. This may last minutes or years and may never resolve (in this life), and is when we are most vulnerable to being “recruited” into an extant religion.
— When we do resolve the conflict, (for me when I wished to be put out of my misery and I asked with all my heart for oblivion- IOW, I gave up trying to return to familiar mental and emotional territory, and fighting the “new”) we are left with the integration of old and new, a different person with much kinder outlook, a confidence in this moment, an open mind that is non accusatory toward others, an enhanced awareness, among other things and a retention and blend of the basic “old” personality and the new that preserves our uniqueness .
—I believe this is what happened to Jesus and many others, note that he was only against the corrupt religious officials, and kindness and forgiveness for all others. I am not a “christian” but there is much value in the teachings of all religions if we pick and choose.
And of course, I could be wrong. (but I think I am right).
Great topic, I belive in consciousness after the physical death, but do not force this on anyone.
My experiences have led me to this conclusion. Whether one calls it Mysticism or not has no effect on my opinion or “heaven forbid”belief.
Anyway enjoy your podcasts etc and topics you have addressed on this site. Thank you.
I don’t have a whole lot of engagement with this subject, and I have no idea who will see this, but I think the band Wire actually made an amazing song on just this subject, Map Ref. 41°N 93°W