Types of Mystical Experience
see What is Mysticism?
Mystical experience generally
falls into one of three classes.
Theistic mysticism involves
seeing or feeling the presence of a personification
or a named force which intones the highest power. This
can take human form (i.e. Jesus), a semi-human form
(i.e. Krishna, Kali), an animal form (i.e. Bear spirit),
or a more general form such as an element of nature
(i.e. the wind).
The experience is frequently
described this way: "I felt that I was in God's
arms. I could hear what God was saying to me. God was
there to help guide me in my life."
Here, the person states
that the whole world evolves around a central point.
Everything, internal and external to the person, is
some how attracted to or comes out of that central point.
Many describe the monistic
mystical encounter this way: "I saw everything
fall away and be absorbed. I saw an infinite becoming
and an infinite disappearing in every moment."
Here, one feels that the
totality of the external world is the greatest power
and that one can see themselves as part of that totality.
The term pantheism has been selected to label this experience
because the Greek word combines the words pan ("all")
and theo ("god"), a very apt choice of words.
Many describe the pantheistic
mystical encounter this way: "I felt myself one
with the grass, the trees, birds, everything in Nature."
Mystical Unions And Visions
The above descriptions
of mystical experiences have a common element about
them. They each, in their own way, provide the feeling
of union---union with a divine figure, with singularity,
or with the world. Union tends to become the most central
point of the multifaceted, powerful experience because
it provides the beholder with something rarely felt,
Mysticism is also frequently
marked with experiences just as powerful but typically
ranked below mystical union. Visions can occur that
capture a person's awareness, pointing the way to a
grander world. Visions typically take these forms:
- 1. Corporeal Visions
- A divine figure (i.e.
Jesus, Buddha) or spirit laden object (i.e. a burning
bush) is seen as if it is part of everyday existence.
This vision is seen with the physical eyes.
- 2. Interior Visions
The above discussion of unions
and visions is based on an excellent book written by Dan
Merkur Gnosis: An Esoteric Tradition of Mystical Visions
and Unions (Albany, NY: State University of New York
- In this case, a divine
figure or object is seen not with the sensory eyes
but with the mind's eye. The person experiencing
this type of vision clearly knows that they are
seeing this vision within their imagination and
not in the exterior world.
see What is Mysticism?