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What is the best read from an EO perspective on the place of mysticism in the Christian life? So much of what I read seems to be about placing the mind in neutral and I have always felt this was dangerous given the “dark” spiritual forces at work.
Does the EO have a Christ Centered Mysticism (?) and if so I am interested in reading, but my preference would be listening to, teachings on this.
Another way to ask would be “Should I always have my heart and mind full of Scripture before seeking a mystical understanding as a check an balance against deception?”
I do beleive the western church has not carried this discipline over from the ancient church but I am also cautious about my person exploration.
You use WordPress right? Nice site.
Fr. John says
Greetings Barry, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ!
Here are a few suggestions:
First of all, Christian spirituality IS mysticism – we Orthodox define mysticism as the direct, personal experience of God. Anything else is mumbo-jumbo. Really.
No, the mind should not go into ‘neutral’ – this is indeed dangerous and leads to spiritual delusion and fancy.
Everything is Orthodoxy is Christ-centered, especially the spiritual life.
You are wise not to put too much ‘trust’ in yourself, this is why as Orthodox Christians we always have a spiritual father and confessor, someone more experienced than us who can guide us and guard us.
My strong recommendation is to make personal contact with an experienced Orthodox Christian priest, and learn from him. This is not ‘guru’-ism, but good spiritual discipline.
I know several priests in your state (FL), but I’m not sure exactly where you live, so you’ll have to let me know what Churches are near you.
Also, realize this – it is not the intellectual experience of God, but the noetic (above reason) where man, when purified of his passions, directly apprehends the presence of God. There are laymen and women, deacons, priests and bishops who have this experience, and many who do not. This may not make sense now, but it will later. Be as innocent as a dove, but as cunning as a wolf, when seeking spiritual instruction.
Most of all, pray to the Holy Spirit for guidance. He does not contradict Himself – ever.
Finally, be sure to let us know how we can help you and show you Christian love. That is why JTO is here.
Fr. John says
Zacchaeus, we do. WordPress won CMS of the year this year. It is stable, flexible and scalable. We recommend it in our book for bloggers “The Orthodox Guide to Pastoral Blogging.”
You can get a site like this at LOGOS Web Services.