Misconceptions about Mysticism

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According to Dr. Beauregard’s book (The Spiritual Brain) there are four common misconceptions about mysticism:

+ Mysticism is not, in principle, about hearing voices or seeing visions. Pursuit of visions is viewed as a distraction from mystical consciousness.

+ Mystics are not, as a rule, impractical idealists. Although mystics spend considerable time in prayer, there is no inverse relationship between an ability to contemplate and an ability to act effectively.

+ Mystics commonly live ascetic lives to avoid distractions, not to punish themselves. They seek freedom from normal contents of everyday consciousness and; although, some mystics had self-punishing temperament, so do many people who show no mystical tendencies.

+ Science cannot explain away mystical consciousness. In the 20th century psychologist speculated about mystical consciousness, often attributing it to repressed sexuality, wish fulfillment, physical illnesses or hysteria; however, all these have been speculative accounts and as such are not falsifiable…that is, there is no simple way to know if a given assertion is wrong, or falsified.

“All things I then forgot,
my cheek on Him Who for my coming came,
all ceased, and I was not,
leaving my cares and shame
among the lilies, and forgetting them”
St. John of the Cross

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