The New Mysticism


  • William Johnsson


I would like to speak now about the traditional mystical experience within Christianity, and then of its relevance in the modern world and the new era into which we are heading. I agree with Karen Armstrong that the Orthodox tradition of Eastern Europe kept the mystical theology and tradition alive when it was to a large extent lost in Western Christianity, so that now it has to be revived. But to speak first of all about mystical experience, it is important to remember that it is a process or a journey. People begin with meditation or prayer. In the Christian tradition people spoke of discursive prayer, which means thinking, reading the gospels, thanking God, praying to God, and so on, or repeating a mantra like the Jesus Prayer or the name of the Buddha, but repeating it with faith. Repeating a prayer or mantra drives it into the unconscious and helps people, but without faith you can't call it religious.