Mystics are those people who have a unique connection to God that few of us can comprehend.
Where do you find God? It goes far beyond mere intellect for many. The mystical experience is a union or absorption with the mystery; it may be Allah, God, Isvara, the Earth or consciousness of whatever you call it. Mysticism can be found in every tradition. Yogis are found in Hinduism, Sufis in Islam, and Kabbalists in Judaism. How do Christians fare? Do Christians practice mysticism? The ancient Christian mystics like Saint Francis of Assisi, Julian of Norwich, Saint Hildegard, Thomas Merton and many others have been asked to provide answers to modern problems by world scholars, including Matthew Fox and Mirabai Starr.
Mysticism, on the other hand, is pretty simple within the Christian tradition, and in a sense, it is the ultimate goal of being a Christian.
The Catholic Encyclopedia explains, “Mysticism considers as the end … the direct union of the human soul with the Divinity through contemplation and love, and attempts to determine the processes and the means of realizing this end. This contemplation, according to Mysticism, is not based on a merely analogical knowledge of the Infinite, but as a direct and immediate intuition of the Infinite.”
As hard as it may be to define, mysticism is viewed as a way of life that emphasizes God's mystery. As a result, anyone experiencing a mystical experience in mid-age Europe had to interpret it through Christian ideas and terms, because Christanity was the only tradition available to the public. Christian mysticism uses practices like contemplation, ritual, faith, and deep devotion to connect directly with God, like any other mystical tradition. Christians who were considered mystics were those who were guided by God and received revelations.
In a certain sense, the goal is not to become a mystic, as if it were a title to be gained, but to achieve a profound and loving union with God. This is why we should all be “mystics” in our own way, aiming our lives to that ultimate goal that would be fully realized until the end of our life.
One of the greatest mystics of all time is radical rabbi Jesus. He was a Jew by faith who lived a contemplative life, spent long periods in the wilderness, and was deeply devout to God. His direct contact with the holy led him to give instructions for others, allowing them to encounter the holy others to reach God directly. His teachings are the heart of Christian mysticism inspiring centuries of mystics in this faith.
His teachings became religious doctrines in many religions. It consists of a set of rules and regulations that could serve as weapons of dominance.
Mystics desire union with God and attempt to foster it through active effort. It is not always the case that this union can be expressed miraculously through ecstatic experiences or visions. The heart of a true mystic is in such a profound, personal union with God that it often spontaneously experiences these extraordinary experiences.