The description of mystical experiences even in the first few paragraphs of Part One of this book made it an interesting read.
There are apparent insights into what seem like actual first hand experiences.
Dr. Mundy certainly adds to the current corpus of literature on the subject, producing a comprehensive delving into a different length, depth and breadth of this ancient human experience of the infinite cosmic experience of mysticism.
He quotes a myriad of all manner of past and present ordinary folk, famous people, authors, scholar, mystics, historic and current wisdom from around the world – while staying readable!
His 42 page ‘Alphabetical Index of Mystics, Masters, Sages, Saints—and Just Regular Folk’ at the end of the book is an outstanding illumination of the mounting evidence that mysticism is a widespread historical evolutionary development of the human psyche.
His seven pages of bibliography are an indication of the depth of his reading on and around the subject of mysticism then and now – bearing in mind some mystics don’t read books on mysticism in case they corrupt the purity of their own experiences’ purposes for them as individuals.
However the use of the word miracle in the title and text in the same context as mysticism suggests this book is a humanised view of mysticism, that it does not speak from the actual experience of the mystic phenomena.
A ‘miracle’ is a made up human explanation of something unusual, incomprehensible, that can’t be understood, something unnatural. But the mystic experience is of an actual, absolute Reality. It is real. There are no ‘miracles’ in Reality where there is no need of such explanations.
This book is also a disturbing indication of the way mysticism might be entering the mainstream. Should such a growing number of academics, physicists and philosophers busily analysing the subject into little palatable pieces with their mere human tools of logic, reason and analysis worry us?
Perhaps not! Mysticism is impenetrable, only obtainable by Reality’s invitation to the actual personal, not communal, experience.
On the one hand Seekers might find the book personally validating on the current direction of their paths. On the other hand mystics don’t need human validation!
Jane Sutherland* who recomends this book in her blog goes so far as to say it is probably the only book we will ever need to read on mysticism … It certainly is comprehensive.
Dr. Mundy certainly does bring a refreshing, validating, focused, uncluttered, explanation to the subject.
However, summing,up, while some of the content matches my mystical experiences, there’s a lot that doesn’t. The book’s references to Christianity and anthropomorphism in particular distort the purity and purpose of the mystic experience, in my view.
Mystics can’t verify, for instance, the author’s suggestion the MER experience ‘Whets the appetite’.
What appetite? Mere human appetite? Does this imply Dr. Mundy is recommending self will, mind stuff, versus Reality?
The experiences of mystical Reality (MER) that engulfed me so absolutely did not allow any ‘me’ or any thought by ‘self’ to exist … There was no such choice.
The book’s narrative also uses words to the effect that, ‘It takes a great deal of effort to eradicate the effects of the ego.’ No it doesn’t. The mystic experience does that for you automatically, axiomatically … Spiritually undeveloped human effort doesn’t matter.
You don’t even have to obey or submit when you have the mystical experience of Reality. You can’t. Reality engulfs you in Itself.
There is also an extraordinary exhortation to ‘talk’ to ‘God’ directly. Really!!!!?
Mystics know everything derives from Reality in Reality’s own good time, including humans and ‘mysticism’. We have no say in the matter. Reality communicates with us, not the other way round.
Reality communicates Reality whenever and wherever Reality likes, whether we like it or not. (And I’m not aware Reality even ‘talks’ by using words anyway).
All we can do is shut up, close our eyes and listen. The rest eventually follows as the day the night – also whether we like it or not!
There is also much mention of ‘Hell’, ‘Heaven’ and ‘God’ in this book. These are religious, human cultural constructs, primitive shadows of the real thing. Religions, God or gods did not exist in my MERs in any shape or form. They are no part of humanity’s destiny.
And while the book’s detailed round up of the story of mysticism seems valuable at first, the book degenerates into an attempt to codify the uncodifiable by making mysticism a teachable, utilitarian human construct. It evangelises, preaches and teaches at length …
Sadly the point of view of the book throughout is stubbornly human oriented. Yet the mystic experience shows the human condition is relatively inconsequential to Reality. Reality’s destiny for us – the impermanent, short lived human race – is cosmically different to what we are now.
However, not to throw out the baby withn the bath water, there might be genuine MER experience here too. Some early parts of the book could “speak to your condition” as the Quakers say.
Not everything in it will be relevant to you all the time but the book might be worth keeping by you so long as spiritual discrimination and discernment are applied.
You might find it useful for dipping into for personal relevance as long as you avoid the cookie cutter preaching and teaching attempts to do what only Reality can do.
(Ms. Sutherland’s post where this book is mentioned could also take you into depths that might make it worth carefully reading her other writings for insights, possible first hand experiences, validations and kindly suggestions. This address takes you to her other blog posts).