The following essay is excerpted from Ron Krumpos’ free PDF book, “The greatest accomplishment in life – five traditions of mysticism – Mystical approaches to life”.
From the first sentence you might find this is a seminal work of mystic experience for all Seekers, scientists and scholars who are drawn to the phenomenon of the mystic experience of Reality
Ron has degrees in philosophy from Northwestern University, Lucknow University and the University of Wisconsin-Madison. He is a follower of this Blog.
Although he doesn’t want to discuss his mystic experiences he has had many what he calls “epiphanies” whereby he experienced “brief absorption in universal reality with no sense of separateness”, (see his book’s ‘Be Realistic’, third paragraph).
He doesn’t have a blog. He finds it much easier to comment on other people’s blogs There have been hundreds of such comments in the past few years.
The book’s 120 quotations by mystics highlight common views.
Since 2012 there have been more than 70,000 downloads of his book: 34,194 from his website and the rest from over 32 other sites.
The book’s profound essays are as a result of Ron talking with mystics in 12 countries and reading 180 books…100 now in the primary bibliography. Many people were consulted, including the directors of a Buddhist Center and of the Eastern Orthodox theological institute at two major universities, a Vedanta Society swami, the director of an Islamic Center, the director of a Reform theological college, the abbot of a Theravada temple, a Cistercian monk, a Hindu abbess, a Sufi shaykha, and a professor at a university for Judaism, plus 10 professors who each teach courses on comparative mysticism. Their suggestions led to many revisions. Their time, comments and advice were freely given. This is why his book is free. Here is the excerpted essay:
BE REALiSTIC, by Ron Krumpos.
Mystical experiences will not resolve all your emotional, mental and physical problems. While seeking, those personal concerns may block or, at least, slow your progress on the path. It will only while absorbed in them. What happens afterwards depends upon you.
Mysticism is not about you. It is about the ground of existence, the very nature of being itself. If you are just concerned with your own achievement, with escaping your troubles and judge advancement solely in relation to yourself, true divine awareness will elude you. While you cannot transcend your surface self, you cannot reach the absolute and ultimate. You will remain entwined in the temporary and relative. You create your own limitations, even if you prefer not to acknowledge it. “You” is insignificant; beyond you is essential.
Most of my book’s essays have a similar message: Forget about your self. The affective “I” of ego, psychological “me” of individuality, and material “my” of your manifest being must be absent to experience divine Reality. Why crave love, or lament past loves, when divine Love surrounds you? How can you find divine Truth while occupied with everyday fictions and fantasies? You want what you want when you want it…yet are seldom able to specify exactly what you want. What we most long for, wholeness, is beyond our ability to explain.
When we study what we emotionally feel, mentally conceive or physically perceive in this life, we begin to realize that much of it is based on our own assumptions rather than demonstrable facts. We rarely can, by ourselves, truly prove most of what we believe has already been proven to be true. As Oscar Wilde once said, “when you ‘assume’ you make an ass out of you and me.” What we each imagine to be correct is frequently confused with fact. It is not that people are stupid or naive, it just that we are “too busy” (too lazy?) to confirm our beliefs. Ignorance is not bliss…it breeds lethargy.
Knowing what is in this life may be limited by our expectations, our defenses and lack of attention. What we presuppose to be true, protecting ourselves in case it is not, and preoccupation with other matters, cloud our perceptions. We may feel someone loves us, yet think they possibly are using us, or saying and doing what will trap us. Unconditional love cannot be realized on those terms. The best things in life* must be accepted for what they are, even at the risk they are not. Absorption in divine essence, mystical union, is such.
“What if such an encounter is misinterpreted, just a fiction of our imagination or is a sign of insanity?” If we think any of those things, we will probably end that experience. In so doing, we may have blocked the flow of divine Love, Truth and Reality. Isn’t the risk worth that reward? You bought a lottery ticket knowing that your chances of winning were minuscule. How about spending a little of your immediate self to reach the eternal? “Someone has to win.”
“What if it is not mystical consciousness?” Then you only lost a few moments of your life. We often waste hours or days in activities which got us nowhere. Have you ever thought about opportunities you had missed because you were unwilling to take a chance? Some may have led to nothing; others could have brought great happiness or other benefits. Most of our life has some risk. Crossing the street is much more dangerous than most projected or imagined threats.
We frequently choose to keep what we have and know – even if we concede that it might not be very much – rather than gamble on getting something unknown, although it could be greater than anything which we have ever had. Some people are “afraid of their own shadow.” Actually, most of us are frightened of too much light. When carefully examining our assumptions, especially those we have long accepted to be true, we might find that some were based on inaccurate or incomplete information. That requires a shift in belief; some may call it a paradigm shift. It can be uncomfortable.
You might prefer that your established beliefs remain as they are. If so, then give up mysticism. Mystics had to revise their personal beliefs often during the quest. Mystical absorptions, as steps toward enlightenment, are usually momentary or, only rarely, for hours. The greatest achievement in life is when those experiences transform your being. They may be brief flashes of insight which highlight a spiritual life, but are a constant source of energy for divine living.
Being realistic requires facing the truth. Being in the Real is to know the True. It is the greatest degree of existence here and now.
*The best things in life – this life or the eternal – are not free.