I love Jesus and a couple of months ago I was thinking how nice it would be to have a Mystical Christianity group who could meet once a week or so and explore our experiential relationships with Christ. But I didn’t feel “qualified” enough to start such a group because I haven’t read enough books about Mystical Christianity.
Then the irony of that hit me.
The whole point of a mystical path is in NOT reading books. (So, don’t read this.)
A mystical person is someone who is concerned with knowing not the letter of the Word, or religious dogma, but the Spirit of the Word – the Word of God that lives inside of us and can be experienced at the very core of our being. A mystic, quite simply, is a lover of God who pursues the Beloved from a deep realization that truth is a living process. A Christian mystic is a lover of Christ who yearns to experience the very truth that Jesus taught us – the Kingdom of God lies within – and who prays with heart and soul to know this through personal experience guided by the Holy Spirit.
To me, words written down in a book and translated and edited by men throughout history (and I do mean men) can be dangerous. Every religion’s sacred scripture, not just the Bible, contains things that are just plain wrong. For all the amazing inspiring beautiful words of love and compassion they contain, they also contain things that any child would know is not from God. The Laws of Manu in Hinduism saying that Untouchables should eat from broken bowls and wear the clothes of dead people. The Koran saying that a woman’s evidence is worth half of a mans, so it takes two female witnesses to equal a man. The Jewish and Christian Bible speaks of stoning adulterers to death, of menstruating women giving the rabbi two chickens after each menstrual cycle to purify themselves before entering the temple again and of slavery being OK as long as the slaves are foreigners. All of these things I know in my heart to be not just untrue, but unjust and sometimes even evil.
That is why I don’t believe our relationship with God should be based on any book. (So, stop reading this already.) The dark places of the human mind have a way of working their way into all our religious texts – so we need to stay tuned into our intuitive knowing of right and wrong. And even if we exclude the unjust and downright crazy passages of scripture, our human words are inherently limited – so to even begin to know the Divine, we need our own mystical experience of listening to the Living Word of God in our hearts.
There is a part of me that specifically does NOT want to read spiritual books. And I apologize for the irony, as I am in fact writing a spiritual blog… but it’s more that I don’t agree that a person has to read a bunch of spiritual books or scriptures to be a spiritual person or to have an understanding of spiritual things. In fact, sometimes the people who are the most well read seem to have the most misunderstandings. Sometimes the most expert people of God are children who have not yet learned to read.
I have started 5 or 6 spiritual books and I love them, but I don’t read past the first chapter. It feels too heady or philosophical or theoretical. They lay on my coffee table in a stack and instead I spend my evening in awe of what the human form can do watching So You Think You Can Dance. Sometimes I don’t want to read, I just want to LIVE, to BE, to follow my own heart, to pray and hang out with Jesus or just cuddle with my little Peachy on the couch.
There are spiritual books that have inspired me, that have even changed the course of my life… so don’t get me wrong, I love spiritual books. I do appreciate all the Mystics who have gone before us and all the inspiration and insights they put into the written word. Most of all I cherish all the words of Jesus that have ever been written down – in the canonical gospels and in the gnostic gospels that were thrown out and burned. And whether the words written down are the exact same words spoken out of Jesus’ mouth or not – I pray to receive those words and hear them with my soul, guided by the Holy Spirit, to have an intuitive understanding and a direct experience of exactly what He meant by them.
And Christ can show me. Christ is alive and available to us all at any moment to illuminate for us what the words can only point to. My life has been infinitely more transformed by communion with Christ than by any Bible passage. And that is what Mystical Christianity is all about.
There is of course a place for inspiration, for knowledge, for understanding, for insight… and the purpose of all the spiritual books in the world, including the Bible, is for us to EXPERIENCE SPIRIT. So, stop reading this blog and go out there and LIVE LOVE.