QUESTION: Can a person be a mystic and also practice another religion at the same time? (i.e. Hinduism, Buddhism, etc.)
ANSWER: No. Mysticism is not a religion. Religions are man-made institutions, spiritually irrelevant to the Mystical Experience of Reality (MER) that defines the mystic.
MER and the Mystic ARE mysticism. Mysticism is just the human word for the phenomenon. Reality itself has no name for it. Mysticism is Reality and Reality is everything known and unknown in which everything lives and has its being. It is far beyond “religion” and ordinary human understanding yet.
Historically, the mystic experience is not based on any known human mental or physical attribute such as religions. The main religions, Buddhism, Christianity, Islam, Hinduism*, were primitively inspired by but not based on the unknown, indescribable Mystical Experience of Reality (MER). How could they be, they had no experience of it, and experience is the reality of wisdom. (Incidentally, also the very basis of science).
* (The other religions, sects and cults, are based on needy emotional myths with little or no spirituality).
As such, religions are based on the unsubstantiated belief that if their followers in the absence of MER rely on faith, hope and belief, (“Fake it until you make it”), they will eventually cause MER to descend upon them. It doesn’t.
So in the absence of any real experience of MER, religions make up their own rules, dogmas, moralities, ethics, regulations, ideologies, political persuasions, cultural accretions, observances, procedures to create their interpretation of the phenomena.
Religions believe MER is about being better humans, thereby fulfilling human destiny. It is not. (Jesus, and others since, mistakenly interpreted MER this way too. So that’s why, on the biblical and historical evidence, Jesus’ mission failed. Reality is in charge, not humans however enlightened).
Such human notions result in failure to achieve the mystical experiences of mystics because the experiences are caught, not taught.
Humans are chosen for the experience by something unknown outside human experience. The ones who experience MER appear not to have any attributable qualifications for such a phenomenon to happen to them. Neither epoch, age, gender, nationality, culture, geography, human experience or education appear to be a qualification to experience a reality of existence unknown to ordinary people throughout human history.
Some mystics in history have had no option but to disguise themselves as members of one of the religions of the culture of their time so as to avoid mutilation, excommunication, torture, incarceration, crucifixion or other death.
Later mystics have learned the powers of invisibility. Human development today largely but not reliably or everywhere, allows mystics to speak out unhindered if they want to. Many don’t want to. Why would they? How can they describe what ordinary humans are not yet wired to understand? They can prophesy, but humans and mystics alike are not good at timing their prophecies. Clearly the kingdom of heaven for instance is not at hand and hasn’t been for 2,000 years.
So it’s unlikely a mystic will be found espousing a religion or anything human for that matter unless they have very good reason, a reason that’s probably nothing to do with humans anyway.
Basically, the mystic witness is that being merely human is not what it’s all about, certainly it’s not about religions or being religious.