Mysticism seeks to remove the blinders of this life, to expand our horizons beyond usual and accepted norms, to surpass restrictions of conditioned sentiments, ideas and sensations. Diffusion of the One into the many, which the Kabbalah calls the “breaking of the vessels,” is a cause for the sufferings of humans which the Buddha strove to overcome. Attachment to the fictions of this life, which Hindus call maya, prevents the compassion and mercy of the divine, sought by Muslims, from entering our lives. Seeking to satisfy our superficial ego ignores the “kingdom of God” within us which Jesus urged us to discover. Each of us create the barriers to our own spiritual realization.
There seems to be a paradox to mystics’ vision. On the one hand, they say that we must find our own inner self, or soul, a true self-realization which discovers the divinity inherent within us. On the other hand, they also say that all souls are One, that there is unity to all existence beyond multiple and individual manifestations. This paradox exists only in rational consciousness, which tries to explain everything with reason, logic or images. That limits our experience.
Suprarational consciousness, complete intuitive insight realized in divine grace, is aware that our soul and all other souls are divine and that the spirits of the many are united in the Spirit of the One, without contradiction. Certainty of oneness overcomes most of the uncertainties of this life; liberation from ego and individuality leads to a freedom seldom experienced in worldly existence. Many of the downsides of ordinary living become upsides during divine living.
Opening up our self, which is an act of courage or faith, allows the divine Love, Truth and Reality to enter. We typically close them out in a desperate attempt to hold on to our sense of uniqueness. Divine Love is constant and never ending, unlike ups and downs of loves in daily lives. Divine Truth does not change as some apparent truths in this life do. Divine Reality is eternal; too many mundane realities seem to be replaced just as we grow accustomed to them.
Faith is entering an intersection of life on a green light, expecting that the crossing traffic will stop. Belief is after looking both ways before proceeding, sure that no one will hit you. By your studying of mysticism, learning from teachings of sages throughout the ages, you can gain faith in the possibility of divine union. By looking deep into your inner self, toward the divine in your soul, you may attain a belief in oneness with the divine which can spur you onwards.
Throughout this life we try to gratify our personal cravings. We might desire comforts and pleasures, adoration and recognition, and/or wealth and possessions. Pursuit of mortal satisfactions leave little time for seeking the divine. Most mystics say that even praying to see God or asking for entry into heaven are misguided. We must completely surrender ourself, our separate self, to the divine will; in a paraphrase, it is to “go with the universal flow.”
Note: Here, “faith” is what is taught to be correct; “belief” is what is personally felt to be true. In their usage, correctly defined, each word may mean the reverse.
(12 of 30 quotations from "the greatest achievement in life," my free ebook on comparative mysticism)