From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.
Mysticism is the pursuit of achieving communion, identity with, or conscious awareness of ultimate reality, the divinity, spiritual truth, or God through direct experience, intuition, or insight. Traditions may include a belief in the literal existence of dimensional realities beyond empirical perception, or a belief that a true human perception of the world goes beyond current logical reasoning or intellectual comprehension. A person delving in these areas may be called a Mystic.
In many cases, the purpose of mysticism and mystical disciplines, such as meditation, is to reach a state of return or re-integration with the Godhead. A common theme in mysticism is that the mystic and all of reality are One. The purpose of mystical practices is to achieve that oneness in experience, to achieve a larger identity and re-identify with the all that is. The state of oneness has many names depending on the mystical system: Illumination, Union (Christianity), Irfan (Islam), Nirvana (Buddhism), Moksha (Jainism), Samadhi (Hinduism), to name a few. Unio Mystica is a term meaning 'Mystical Union' describing the concept common to all mystical traditions - Kabbalah, Sufism, Vedanta, Esoteric Christianity etc - that of the union of the individual human soul with the Godhead.
The term "mysticism" is often used to refer to beliefs which go beyond the purely exoteric practices of mainstream religions, while still being related to or based in a mainstream religious doctrine. For example, Kabbalah is a significant mystical movement within Judaism, and Sufism is a significant mystical movement within Islam. Gnosticism refers to various mystical sects of classical / late antiquity that were influenced by Platonism, Judaism and Christianity. Some have argued that Christianity itself was a mystical sect that arose out of Judaism. Non-traditional knowledge and ritual are considered as Esotericism, for example Buddhism's Vajrayana. Vedanta, the Naths (North India), the Natha (South India), Siddhar, Nagas are considered the several mystical branches of Hinduism. Hinduism, being an ancient religion and a rather broad 'all-paths' embracing philosophy, has many mystical branches.
Mystical doctrines may reference religious texts that are non-canonical, as well as more mainstream canon (Christian example of the former, Dark Night of the Soul, and the latter Book of Revelation), and generally require a more committed intellectual, psychological and physical approach from spiritual devotees. Most mystical teachers typically have some history or connection with a mainstream religious branch — controversial or otherwise, but gather followers through reinterpreting sacred texts or developing new spiritual approaches from their own unique experience.