There are matters which are important within most religions’ orthodoxy, to their leaders and to many followers, but are viewed differently by mystics. Mysticism often interprets them based on their effects in aiding or impeding search for union with the divine.
Evil and Deliverance: Many orthodox religions personify evil as Satan, the Devil, Iblis, Mara, or other demonic forces. Most mystics hold us responsible for our own evils, not an external source. Some say that evil exists only in rejection or lack of awareness of good, or to balance good in the apparent dualities of this life...not in unitive eternal life. Deliverance comes by overcoming the selfishness of our egos, ignorance of our minds and stubbornness of our senses.
Sin and Atonement: Christianity believes humans are born in sin because of the fall of Adam. Sin within Islam is an offense against God; in Judaism it is rejecting God’s will. Buddhism and Hinduism believe that the consequences of sin can be carried over from our past life. Most mystics say that each of us is born with the essence of the divine; sin is our separation from the divine, ignoring or not seeking our soul. Mystics view atonement as accepting at-one-ment; it is reuniting with our soul and the One divine essence in All.
Prophets, Messengers and Incarnations: Buddhist mystics may venerate Buddha, bodhisattvas, arhats, or others who had realized or neared enlightenment. Christian mystics are devoted to Jesus Christ and admire the apostles who spread his Word. Hindu mystics adhere to teachings of Krishna, Rama and/or other manifestations of Brahman. Islamic mystics said that Muhammad was the Perfect Man, who taught the secret of true Reality underlying Allah. Jewish mystics are in awe of Moses as their paragon and honor many other biblical prophets. Although mystics revere these perfect exemplars, most believe that each person must seek their own unity with the divine, perhaps with guidance from teachers in this life.
Allah, Buddha, God, ha-Shem, Ishvara: Most religious people worship a personal deity, a non-theistic ideal or an intermediary. Unlike most of those in the mainstream, faith alone is not sufficient for mystics. They expanded to a search for oneness with the divine essence. Mystics, and later their followers, sought an underlying Reality, or divine ground, which some may call al-Haqq, Brahman, Dharmakaya/Nirvana, Ein Sof, Godhead, or other words. It is One: transcendent to and immanent in all existence; the absolute nature of being itself. Their “faith” is that union is possible during this life.
Grace: Divine grace is spiritual assistance not specifically earned by its recipient. Most mystics believe that divine grace is offered at all times, in all places and to all beings, but the sentiments, thoughts and actions of the ego self, and individual isolation, block its entry. Everyone has received divine grace during selfless periods of their life. Mystics who gave up their ego and individuality were in a state of grace and may share it. Most mystics say that grace is essential to realize oneness; some seem to equate divine grace, love and spirit.
Note: This is just a consensus to indicate some differences between the approaches of mystics and that of their orthodox religion. These statements do not represent all schools of mysticism or every division of each faith. Whether mystical experiences vary in their cultural context, or are similar for all true mystics, is less important than that they transform each one’s sense of being to a transpersonal outlook on all life.
(2 of 30 quotations from "the greatest achievement in life," my free ebook on comparative mysticism)