Skip to main content

Full text of "Essential Mysticism"

See other formats

Essential Mysticism 

by T.Collins Logan 

Excerpts of "The Sky Gave Me Its Heart" and "First He Looked Confused" 
from Love Poems from God ©2002 Daniel Ladinsky, Penguin Group 

Excerpt of "Someone Who Can Kiss God" from I Heard God Laughing 
©1996 Daniel Ladinsky, Mobius Press 

Excerpt of "Unmarked Boxes" from The Essential Rumi ©1995 Coleman 
Barks, HarperCollins 

Everyday Zen, by Charlotte Joko Beck, HarperSanFrancisco 1 989 

ThePalh ofSufiLovehy William C. Chittick, State University ofNY 1983 

The Way of Chiiang Tzii by Thomas Merton, Hyperion 1994 

Tales of the Hasim by Martin Buber, Schoken 1991 

Anam Gara by John O 'Do no hue, HarperCoUins 1998 

Dream Conversations on Buddhism and Zen by Thomas Clear;", Shambhala 1996 

The Bhagavad Gila translated by Eknath Easwaran, Nilgiri 1987 

The Spiral Dance by Starhawk, HarperColhns 1989 

Total Freedom by J. Krishnamurti, HarperSanFrancisco 1 996 

A Witches' Bible by Janet Farrar and Stewart Farrar, Phoenix 1996 

The Mind of Light by Sri Aurobindo, Lotus 2004 

Way of Zen by Martin e Batchelor, Thorsons 2001 

One Taste by Ken Wilber, Shambhala 2000 

Will and Spirit by Gerald G. May, HarperColhns 1987 

"The Guru and the Pandit," Andrew Cohen and Ken Wilber, 

MiracluoHS Living by Shoni Labowitz, Fireside 1998 

The Seven Spiritual Laws of Yoga by Deepak Chopra and David Simon, 

John Wiley & Sons, 2004 
Passionate Presence hy Catherine Ingram, Gotham 2004 
"Our Ideal" by Sri Aurobindo, Arya 1914-1915 
The Four Agreements by Don Miguel Ruiz, Amber-Allen 1997 
The Eye Never Sleeps by Dennis Genpo Merzel, Shambhala 1 99 1 
Wandering on the Way by Victor H. Mair, University of Hawaii 1998 

Essential Mysticism, Third Edition, July, 2005. 
Copyright ©2005 T. Collins Logan. All rights reserved. 

ISBN 0-9770336-0-0 

Excerpts from The Vital Mystic, A Guide to Emotional Strength and Spiritual 

Enrichment ©2003 T.Colhns Logan 

Cover design by Molhe Kellogg, 
Editing services by Renata Golden, 

Published by Integral Lifework Center, PO Box 90936, San Diego, CA 92169 

Printed in the United States of America 

A special thanks to all my students. 
Your questions, insights and sharing continue to inspire me. 

Love and gratitude also to MoUie, who iteeps 
encouraging me to teach. 

r.Co/lJns Logan 

Table of Contents 


Counting Breaths 3 


Transitions Through Gnosis 9 

Transporting Perceptions 10 

Merging of Self with Divine 10 

Dissolution of Self 10 

Different Perspectives on a New Way of Seeing I I 

Concept Affinity: Mystic Activation 13 

Sample Mystic Activators 1 4 

Gratitude Meditation 15 

Stimulating Intuition — ^Vandering 1 6 

Daily Reflections 16 


Different Perspectives on Refining Intentions 20 

Concept Affinity: Disciplined Intention 21 

Sample Mystic Activators 22 

"Who Am I Right Now?" Self-Inquiry 22 

Stimulating Intuition - Inner Guide 23 

Daily Reflections 24 


Phases of the Mystic's Way 28 

Different Perspectives on Transforming Identity 29 

Concept Affinity: New Modes of Self 30 

Sample Mystic Activators 3 I 

Mantra Meditation - Part One 31 

Stimulating Intuition -Journaling 32 

Daily Reflections 32 


Culmination in a Peculiar Quality of Consciousness 35 

Risks and Benefits 37 

Different Perspectives on Action and Intention 38 

Concept Affinity: Artifacts of Will 40 

Essential Mysticisni 

Sample Mystic Activators 40 

Mantra Meditation - Part Two (with Visualization) 40 

Stimulating Intuition — Listening to Now 41 

Daily Reflections 42 


Additional Mystic Activator Examples 43 

Self-Care Meditation 44 

First Invocation 46 

Contemplating Presence and Absence 47 

Returning to Emptiness 48 

"Just for Today" Daily Reflections 49 

Measuring Our Progress 5! 

The Contemplative-Emotive Learning Process 52 

Spiritual Health of Emotional States 54 

Stages of Being 55 

The Nuances of Synchronicity 61 

Self- Awareness, Self-Esteem and Self-Nourishment 62 

The Cycle of Personal Growth 63 

What Happens To Our Relationships? 64 

Challenging Our Assumptions 65 

Passive Assignment of M eaning 66 

Active Assignment of Meaning 67 

The Nature of Evil 67 

Staying On Track 71 

Enhancing Discernment 72 


Different Perspectives on Human Potential 77 

Concept Affinity: Love-Consciousness 80 



The Pyramid of Self 84 

Artifacts of Will 88 

Mystic Activators Comparison 90 



Integral Lifework 

This book is an audiohzed component of Integral Lifework training 
For more information visit 

Essential Mysticisni 


The substance oi Essential Mysticism is derived from rwenty years of 
interdisciplinary study and personal experience. In my own 
journey, mysticism has provided a wealth of purpose and meaning, 
explained mysterious events, and enabled a simple way of living in 
harmony with the Universe and myself. When I forget to practice, 
my hfe can quickly get out of balance. That is why sample exercises 
are included throughout this book, and why any intellectual grasp of 
mysticism is easily trumped by an experiential one. Since mysticism 
can be found in some form in nearly every spiritual tradition, the 
objective of this work is to present its essential elements rather than 
support a particular belief system. Readers will recognize concepts 
and approaches found in Sufism, Christian mysticism, Taoism, 
Vedanta and other systems of Yoga, Buddhism, Hermeticism, 
Wicca and other forms of Earth-centered spirituality, and Kabbalah. 
Within this rich tapestry, the common threads that unite and 
strengthen communities of faith shape the foundation of all mystical 

First written as a companion to my ongoing Mysticism: Dialogue and 
Practice courses, this is intended as a comprehensive introduction to 
mystical theory and application. It both borrows from and adds to 
my previous book. The Vital Mystic, and patience and persistence 
with the tools provided here can accomplish many things. These 
include reliable access to ineffable experiences, personal inspiration 
and wisdom, maintaining physical health, and improving overall 
mental, emotional and spiritual well-being. How each of us 
experiences and interprets mystical events may be both private and 
unique, but the mystic's way is steadfastly universal in nature. 



Essential Mysticisni 

Mystical principles and methods are likewise nonexclusive, 
benefiting practitioners of any faith tradition or none at all. A 
compelling aspect of the mystical approach is that it need not be 
spiritualized or even systemized, but offers intrinsic, practical value 
in each of its components. Mysticism also compliments any integral 
practice and enhances a broad spectrum of self-nourishing routines. 

To begin, the four core disciplines of mysticism to be discussed are: 

® Discipline of mind - cultivating a new way of seeing 

® Discipline of heart - refining intentions 

® Discipline of spirit — transforming identity 

® Discipline of will - harmonizing action and intention in a 
new way of being 

The concept of self-discipline is central to this book, mainly to 
provide supportive structures for radical leaps of consciousness. 
What begins as a small sacrifice of old habits enables a rejuvenation 
of personal possibility. As we free ourselves from willful certainties 
about what we know, we discover answers to enduring questions. 
What is the nature of our existence? What lies at the core of human 
identity? How can we remain conscious and compassionate in 
navigating choices in this ever-changing world? Does each of us 
have an individual purpose? Through mystical processes we 
encounter far-reaching answers and effective ways of living fully. 

At the end of each of the core discipline chapters, you will find 
representative quotes from different behef systems, a comparison of 
terms used in different mystical traditions, and sample exercises to 
stimulate mystical awareness and intuitive perception. Following 
this, we will examine some specific applications of mystical 
principles, predictable consequences of those applications, and 
some significant milestones in personal evolution. The potential 
impact of the mystic's way on societal transformation is saved for 
last, but is certainly central to my own motivations for writing this 
book and teaching courses on mysticism. Just as there is no single 
path up the mountain of enlightenment, there is also no single, 
homogenous worldview promoted by mysticism. There are. 

r.CoHins Logan 

however, many common values that are awakened and strengthened 
by mystic discipHnes, and I hope you will find those reflected here. 

Some additional topics covered include: 

<s> The role of mystical practice in improving self- awareness, 
self-esteem and self-nourishment 

<s> The contemplative -emotive model of personal development 

<s> Rejuvenating our journey by continually questioning our 
beliefs, assumptions and values 

<s> The influence of mysticism on our relationships and 

<s> A working definition of evil and how the mystic can 
respond to it 

<s> How to exercise and strengthen discernment 

<s> A consideration of "spiritual evolution" as humanity's 
greatest potential 

At the end of the book you will find a list of questions to stimulate 
further exploration of the mystical experience. There is also an 
Appendix with tables and charts that illustrate central themes and 
comparative practices in many schools of mysticism. Just beneath 
the surface of our cursory thoughts and perceptions, there is a world 
of life-changing truths waiting to be discovered. Those who 
seriously engage the mystic's way will encounter this enduring 
reality, the Sacred in every moment, and profound and healing 
strengths within themselves. 

Counting Breaths 

In preparation for reading the first chapter, I encourage you to try 
the following exercise: 

1. Find a quiet place where you can sit undisturbed for five to ten 
minutes. If possible, make it a private place where you won't be 

Essential Mysticisni 

tempted to feel self-conscious or be worried about falling 

2. Sit with your hands cradled gently in your lap and your feet flat 
on the floor. Close your eyes and relax your body. 

3. Breathe deeply into your belly through your nose. Many of us 
are used to breathing shallowly, only as far as our chest cavity, 
so it may be uncomfortable to stretch those lungs all the way 
down to your navel. But I encourage you to try it anyway. 

4. After a few deep breaths, just breathe as you would normally. 

5. Now begin to count your breaths: breathe in, breathe out, 
count one. Breathe in, breathe out, count two. Count up to 
five, then start over. 

For someone who has never attempted an exercise like this, it can 
be challenging. Your thoughts may wander. You may think to 
yourself "This is silly!" and want to stop practicing and instead keep 
reading to uncover an explanation. But if you gently turn your 
attention back to counting breaths, and let those other thoughts, 
feehngs and sensations float away, you will begin to nudge your 
consciousness in a new direction — a mystical direction. So even if 
you feel such an exercise might be pointless, give it a whirl before 
reading any further. One final note: several of my students report 
that rhythmic sounds (Shamanic drumming, a licking clock, their 
own heartbeat) assist and support this approach to mental 
discipline. This may enhance your experience as well. 


Mysticism asserts that there is a seldom-used faculty available to all 
of us, one that some consider independent of our ordinary senses, 
emotions and rational thought. It is an expansive type of 
perception-cognition, evidenced in nearly every spiritual tradition, 
which provides hohstic and dynamic insight into personal and 
universal truths. Sounds pretty heady, doesn't it? To further 
complicate things, because the information we receive through this 
faculty is often paradoxical, inexpressible, and inaccessible by any 
other means, it has sometimes been labeled esoteric, magickal or 
otherworldly. But it is nonetheless available to most everyone 
through conscious effort. Different belief systems describe this 
mystical awareness in different ways: "penetrating the veil of 
illusion," "experiencing an ultimate reality," "tasting the divine," 
"submerging ourselves in non-being," "wordless rapture," "entering 
perfect stillness," and so on. And although each of these could be a 
distinctly separate experience, our imperfect language has trouble 
nailing any of them down succinctly. So here I have grouped all 
types of mystical awareness under a broad umbrella of spiritual 
cognizance - perhaps because I tend to spiritualize the language of 
mysticism, but also because this type of perception -cognition has 
been fairly resistant to categorization. 

There are a number of different methods to stimulate spiritual 
cognizance, each uniquely suited to diverse personalities, cultural 
values and life experiences. These mystic activators may fall into 

Essential Mysticisni 

different categories, but all of them are designed with one end in 
mind: to suspend habitual thought processes - and the constant 
stream of input our physical senses provide - in order to induce a 
spiritually receptive being. Through modes of practice apposite to 
our personal tendencies and current phase of personal development, 
we can free our minds and hearts and nurture ourselves on many 
levels. Some mystic activators reform consciousness with rigorous 
concentration or repetition. Others are a deliberate supersatu ration 
or overstimulation of our psyche to trigger alternative states that 
transcend self-absorption. Still other techniques gradually reduce 
or order the content of our thoughts and feelings until a quiescent 
stillness blossoms. All of these methods require explicit qualities of 
self- discipline and deliberate intention. 

What awaits us at the end of these differing paths? A mystical 
union; a dissolving of Self in All; a vulnerable intimacy with the 
Sacred; a direct experience of infinite interconnectedness; a nondual 
consciousness we could call a gnosis of the Absolute. I use the term 
gnosis because I view this process as a sort of intuitive apprehension 
of All That Is, including nothingness. And although there are many 
intermediate experiences full of colorful and compelling content — 
many transitions into that ultimate intuition - the end state is 
completely empty of any constructs, differentiation, sensory input, 
emotional intensity or self-referential cognition. It is, rather, a state 
of awareness without an observer and without an object, while at 
the same time rich with meaning and import for our own well-being 
and the evolution of the Whole. In one way, it is a re-creation of 
the non-being from which all things originate, and from which we 
can create infinite possibilities. For me, gnosis has defined what it 
means to be "spiritual." 

What about meditation? It is frequently a part of mystical practice, 
but it is a misunderstanding to equate the two. Meditation is one 
avenue of mental training, but what is so vitally important in all 
schools of mysticism is an ability to channel internal and external 
stimuli - however that can be achieved. If we are forever being 
overwhelmed by reactive emotions, by physical urges and appetites, 
by the obsessive cycling of our own thoughts, or by anything 
peripheral to inner quietude, we will have trouble remaining 

r.Co/lJns Logan 

sensitive to subtler input. Being preoccupied with the random, we 
will seldom encounter our most extraordinary capacities and 
precious inner wisdom. Being attached to the illusion of our 
individuality and its sensorial experience of the moment, we will not 
experience the unity of All Things. 

For most of us, our corporeal form, with alt its complex chemistries 
and vast capacity for receiving and generating all kinds of 
information, tends to hold our immediate interest, always clamoring 
for our attention. And we often reinforce and amplify this 
clamoring by seeking to gratify our desires without a thought for the 
broader context of our existence or the meaning of our lives. 
Mystical practice is not about suppressing, coercing or forcing what 
is happening inside or outside, but it recognizes that we are the 
source of our own perception-cognition and of every want or whim 
that demands our consideration. We are a fount of endless desires. 
We can either shape this process actively or allow our environment 
and habitual propensities to shape it for us. Mysticism encourages 
us to remain perpetually conscious and awake, instead of relying on 
impulse, momentum or conditioning. The mystic's way consists of 
fully appreciating who we truly are, what we are doing here, and 
why we make the choices we make. 

The following are the four main categories of mystic activators 
found among major mystical traditions. Each approach tends to 
resonate with different people - or with the same person in different 
stages of being - and is often designed to support a particular 
underlying belief system. 

■s Subtractive Meditation 

Detaching from emotions, thoughts, and sensory experience in 
order to restructure consciousness and make room for mystical 
awareness. Often this is achieved through a systematic 
disassociation of subject and object — Self from other, mind 
from body, unconscious process from conscious process, being 
from doing, this from that - which sets our consciousness free. 
Sometimes, detachment is merely a byproduct of singular focus 


SeeMjistfc Activators Comparison in the Appejidix for specific esainples 

Essential Mysticisni 

or a merging of subject and object. Expanded perception- 
cognition tends to be more incremental as a subtractive practice 
deepens, though epiphanies can also be surprisingly sudden. 

'S' Ecstatic Induction 

Seeking to arouse a highly energized or blissful state that 
actuates mystical insight. This is frequently devotional in 
nature and usually employs physiological means of accelerating 
the letting go of habituated consciousness. Ecstatic induction 
can also result in what the ancient Greeks called mania, 
"possession by deity," a form of trance where self-awareness is 
greatly or entirely attenuated. Supersensory experiences tend to 
be more sudden and extreme than with other techniques. 

® Symbolic and Synchronistic Ritual 

Procedures that are esoteric or symbolically abstracted, 
sometimes associated with devotional worship and sometimes 
not, which purposely invoke natural, energetic and/or spiritual 
forces. Mystical awareness can be an unintentional byproduct 
of these practices, or the goal. A key difference between this 
and other activators is that such rituals usually invite external 
agents or forces — which may or may not coincide with a 
particular quality of internal effort - to help generate 
transpersonal experience. 

® The Perfection of Love 

A refinement and intensity of love that reforms our awareness. 
Once again, mystical perception-cognition is sometimes an 
intended goal, and sometimes a side effect of the central 
journey. The object and expression of love may vary: a deep 
compassion for the suffering of others; or fen'ent devotion to a 
transcendent presence; or intimate worship of deity. But the 
nearly universal outcomes are a surrendering of personal ego, 
new certainties and convictions (often imbued with a sense of 
holiness or awe), an aligning of personal will with the object of 
love, and a passionate desire to translate conviction into action. 
A transformative union with the Sacred, however that is defined 
by the tradition, is usually the primary objective of this path. 


r.Co/lJns Logan 

As varied as these methods — and otir subjective perceptions of them 
- may be, they all attempt to cultivate the same result: a letting go 
of ordinary perception -cognition, and inviting an inner stillness that 
makes room for spiritual cognizance. A new way of seeing. 
Increasingly, my own mystic activator preference combines the 
perfection of love with subtractive meditation. However, I believe it 
is important to stimulate and nourish different aspects of Self 
through ongoing exploration, and I fully expect that, over time, 
other approaches will be better suited to different objectives or new 
phases of my growth. We must all find our own way. Examples of 
assorted mystic activators will follow each chapter, and a 
comparison chart of activators found among various traditions is 
available in the Appendix. 

Transitions Through Gnosis 

There is a commonly occurring sequence of sudden shifts in 
awareness brought about by mystical practice. These Transitions 
Through gnosis have three distinct traits, which are perhaps the 
primary features of all spiritual cognizance: a riveting absorption in, 
and appreciation of, the present moment; increasing clarity about 
personal purpose and universal truths; and a radical departure from 
previous understanding. A predictable progression of these 
transitions suggests a peeling away of abstractions and a gradual 
fi-eeing of the mind from its attachment to aesthetic and reasonable 
appearances - especially regarding what initially seems to be 
incredible or incomprehensible data. At first we might encounter 
the mystical through emotions, as imagery, or even as physical 
sensations. But eventually we experience an unmediated contact 
that reforms all of our previous constructs or removes them 
altogether. This progression is not rigid, and we should be careful 
not to evaluate the quality of our mystical awareness as an 
indication of spiritual achievement. In fact, the more sincere our 
effort, the less meaning all comparison will hold for us. 
Nevertheless, unless our practice culminates in a gnosis of the 
Absolute, we have not reached even the beginning of the end of our 
mystical journey. 

Essential Mysticisni 

Here are some of the transitions through gnosis commonly 
experienced by mystics of many different traditions: 

Transporting Perceptions 

® Journeying outside of the body in the physical realm or to 
other planes of existence 

® Communicating directly with other spiritual intelhgences 

<a> Prophetic visions, inspirational voices, automatic writing, or 
other forms of revelatory knowledge 

Merging ofSelfivith Divine 

® Complete openness and seamless union with a Sacred 
Presence or Vital Continuum, often coinciding with a 
fathomless embrace of transcendent love 

® Pervasive joy beyond comprehension; a bliss exceeding our 
capacity to contain it; an awakening of agape love- 
consciousness, where unconditional adoration and 
compassion for All Things consumes our being and directs 
our will 

■a Direct, unmitigated contact with the Divine Spark within 
us - our transcendent nature, our True Self 

Dissolution of Self 

® Infinite awareness, expanding inward and outward, 
incomprehensibly encompassing all time and space, 
transfixed by a unity of existence that has no discrete 
components or differentiating characteristics 

® An awe-inspiring - and sometimes terrifying - submersion 
in emptiness, nothingness, or a state of unknowing free of 
all concepts, emotions or sensations, and ultimately devoid 
of any self-conscious awareness 

<a> A complete, unconditional surrender of Self to these unitive 


r.Co/lJns Logan 

If we remain watchful, mindful and aware, diligently applying all 
that we learn through mystical practice with intentions informed by 
a broader purpose, we will eventually arrive at a holistic gnosis of 
raw, unadorned reality and all its numinous truths. Then the most 
dramatic transformations can begin, with irrefutable benefits to 
ourselves and the world in which we live. If we resist applying what 
we come to know, or otherwise avoid accountability to our newly 
discovered inner Light, our mystical journey will be of little benefit 
to anyone and we will become forgetful tourists in the land of Self. 
So both intentionality and follow -thro ugh are crucial to viable 
mysticism. But what might "spiritually profitable intentions" look 
like? And what is a proposed broader purpose for the mystic? That 
is what we will discuss in the following chapter. 

Different Perspectives on a New Way of Seeing 

At the end of each of the first four chapters, I have included 
mystical writings that relate to that chapter's themes. You may find 
them useful in enlarging or reinforcing your conception of mystical 
experience and practice, and I encourage you to examine the source 
material for further insights into the spiritual traditions from which 
they arose. Compare them, meditate on them, and see if you can 
catch a glimpse of the common ground they share. Please note that 
I have included the translators in parenthesis wherever possible. 

"For to understand is to believe, but not to believe is not to 
understand. My speech or words do not reach the Truth, but the 
mind is great, and being guided for a while by speech, it is 
eventually able to attain the Truth," 

- Corpus Hermeticum 

"The perception of the divine omnipresence is essentially a seeing, a 
taste, that is to say a sort of intuition bearing upon certain superior 
qualities in things. It cannot, therefore, be attained directly by any 
process of reasoning, nor by any human artifice, " 

- Teilhard de Chardin 


Essential Mysticisni 

"For some people, depending on their personal conditioning and 
history, this process may go smoothly, and the release is slow. For 
others, it comes in waves, enormotis emotional waves. It's like a 
dam that bursts. We fear being flooded and overwhelmed. It's as 
thotigh we've walled off part of the ocean, and when the dam breaks 
the water just rejoins that which it truly is; and it's relieved because 
now it can flow with the current and the vastness of the ocean." 

- Charlotte Joko Beck 

"Intellect is good and desirable to the extent it brings you to the 
King's door. Once you have reached His door, then divorce the 
intellect. . .You have no business with the how and wherefore. 
Know that the intellect's cleverness all belongs to the vestibule. 
Even if it possesses the knowledge of Plato, it is still outside the 

- Jelaluddin Rumi {WiUiam C. Chittick) 

"The hearing of the spirit is not limited to any one faculty, to the 
ear, or to the mind. Hence it demands the emptiness of all the 
faculties. And when the faculties are empty, then the whole being 
listens. Then there is a direct grasp of what is right there before you 
that can never be heard with the ear or understood with the mind." 

- Chuang Tzu (Thomas Merton) 

"One day it dawned on me that man cannot attain to perfection by 
learning alone, I understood what is told of our father Abraham; 
that he explored the sun, the moon, and the stars, and did not find 
God, and how, in this very not-finding, the presence of God was 
revealed to him. For three months I mulled over this realization. 
Then I explored until I too reached the truth of not-finding." 

- Yaakov Yitzhak of Pzhysha (Martin Buber) 

"Self-knowledge is not gained by explanations and descriptions, or 
by the instructions of others. At all times, everything is known only 
through direct experience." 

— Vasishtha (Swami Venkatesananda) 


r.Co/lJns Logan 

"The first step in awakening to your inner life and to the depth and 
promise of your soHtude would be to consider yourself for a little 
while as a stranger to your own deepest depths. To decide to view 
yourself as a complete stranger, someone who has just stepped 
ashore in your life, is a liberating exercise. This meditation helps 
break the numbing stranglehold of complacency and familiarity. 
Gradually, you begin to sense the mystery and magic of yourself." 

- John O'Donohue 

Concept Affinity: Mystic Activation 

As part of evaluating different perspectives, I am also including 
specific terms from a small sampling of spiritual traditions. It is 
important to remember that many of these terms have multiple or 
layered meanings, often within the same tradition and nearly always 
when similar words are used in different traditions. In most 
instances the spelling supplied here is the more common English 
rendering; in the case of Chinese characters I provide pinyin and 
some alternate spellings. For additional examples and clarification, 
a regularly updated version of this chart including foreign language 
characters is available at 

How we understand new concepts is less about concise definitions 
and more about the vocabulary of our personal experience and our 
current state of mind. In researching ideas from different mystical 
systems that have similar qualities, themes or overlapping functions, 
I encourage you to come to your own conclusions. Is the mystical 
process universal? Do the same underlying structures support what 
seem on the surface to be competing concepts? Only life-long 
immersion in a given practice can reveal the subtle nuances of 
system-specific language, and we must be careful to avoid 
homogenizing or haphazardly syncretizing. But as we continue to 
explore these ideas, they can help us interpret our own ineffable 
experiences and better harness a distinctly mystical flavor of 

What follow, then, are examples of mystic activators and their 
approximate transitions through gnosis within each tradition, 


Essential Mysticisni 



Mystic is tn 













(Hsiao Chou 











Xrn Zhal 



Illumination & 
Gnosis Kardias 




Shen Ming 









Jnio Mystica 




al-| am 





E in Soph 




Sampfe Mystic Activators 

And now some simple - but not so simple - practice activators. If 
you haven't already tried the "counting breaths" exercise at the end 
of the Preface, I suggest working with that first to strengthen your 
concentration. Also, you can always return to counting your 
breaths if you find yourself getting lost in any of the more complex 


r.Co/lJns Logan 
Gratitude Meditation 

1 . Objective: Between 1 5 and 75 mintites of continiiotis 
meditation each day. If you can, insulate this with a buffer of 
five minutes before and after so it never feels rushed, and so you 
have time to reflect on your experiences. 

2. Find a quiet place to sit and relax, and begin your meditation 
with an inner commitment to a broader goal than just personal 
edification, i.e. "May this be for the good of All." 

3. Relax every part of your body. Start with your hands and feet — 
perhaps moving them or shaking them a little to release tension 
— then your arms and legs, then your torso, head and neck. 

4. Breathe deeply and evenly into your stomach, preferably in 
through the nose and out through the mouth, so that your 
shoulders remain still but your stomach "inflates." Practice this 
until you are comfortable with it. 

5 . In the middle of your chest, just above and behind your 
sternum, gradually fill your heart with gratitude. It need not be 
directed at anything or anyone, but you could shape this as an 
offering to the Source of Life, or Nature, or deity, or simply to 
the present moment. 

6. Begin with a small point of feeling, and allow it to slowly spread 
with each breath until it fills your whole being. For some, it 
may be helpful to visualize this spreading gratitude as light 
emanating from a point in the center of the chest. Maintain 
this state for as long as you can, 

7. As other images, sensations, feelings, or thoughts arise, let them 
go and return to your offering of gratitude. 

8. If you become disquieted, uncomfortable, jittery, or severely 
disoriented, try to relax through it. If the sensations persist or 
become extreme, cease all meditation for the day, 

9. Give yourself space after your meditation to process what you 
have experienced. Just be with what has happened without 
judgment or a sense of conclusion. 

For some, this exercise will be easy. For others, nigh unto 
impossible. Don't worry — both success and failure are meaningless. 
Neither proves anything, or guarantees or denies eventual gnosis of 


Essential Mysticisni 

the Absolute. Remember that, especially in the beginning, practice 
is more about learning to let go of old habits than creating special 
consciousness. Epiphanies can't be forced, but we can eventually 
condition our mind, heart and spirit to become more inviting for 

Stimulating Intuition — Wandering 

Along similar lines of experimentation, also try the following 
exercise to stimulate your intuition. 

Go for a walk in a place unfamiliar to you, without a clear 
destination or time limit. Begin by deciding which way to go - left, 
right or straight - without a logical or a deliberate objective. 
Instead, try to feel your way through each change in direction, 
noting the sensations in your solar plexus or middle diaphragm as 
you consider which way to go. Do you feel a lifting, freeing 
sensation for one option? Try going in that direction. Do you feel a 
clenching sensation? Try avoiding that direction. See what 
happens. At some point you may lose your sense of place and time 
altogether - that's great! If this happens, can you follow your 
internal promptings back to where you began. . . ? 

Daily Reflections 

Another approach to interior discipline is to reflect in a structured 
way on concepts that that commonly fall within mystical experience, 
or that frequently surface in mystical writings. To this end, I have 
provided a list of daily reflections on pages 49-50, Because these 
can accompany other activities, they may be a helpful starting point 
for some. Pick two or three at random that appeal to you, copy 
them down to take with you, and try the "Just for Today" reflective 
practice on for size. Throughout the day, speak them aloud or 
silently as questions, as affirmations, as declarations. Apply them 
thoughtfully to your interactions and your responses in each new 
situation. Try to feel each of them in your heart as a hope, as a 
desire, as a belief, and as an acceptance of what already is. 


V-"-. , - 


I cannot emphasize enough that actuating spiritual cognizance and 
encountering a gnosis of the Absolute without concurrently 
developing the most beneficial of intentions can have 
counterproductive, sometimes even disastrous consequences. 
Questing after knowledge, trying to find inner peace, gaining 
personal power or becoming a more compassionate agent of positive 
change are all inadequate motivations. In mysticism such desires, 
however impassioned, must be subordinated to an overarching 
intention to align oneself with the "good of All," even if we are not 
certain how that is defined. Mainly, this is so we become less 
attached to personal enrichment and our own interpretations of 
right and wrong, and more attentive to an all-inclusive 
developmental process. Even if we suspect the good of All is 
inevitable, or is destined to advance without our personal 
contributions, couldn't we still enhance it through the focus of our 
consciousness and will? The orientation that we can - and the 
conviction that we must - is called the golden intention. 

What is the good of All, then? In short, I believe it is the spiritual 
evolution of the Universe itself. But what I believe is irrelevant, and 
you should discover any shared understanding through your own 
mystical journey. The key is trusting that the good of All is 
possible, and that we can in fact bind ourselves to it. We may never 
grasp the entire picture as it relates to our current actions — though 
spiritual cognizance will of course help us in this regard — but if we 


Essential Mysticisni 

discipline our hearts to sincerely desire what is best for All Things, 
including ourselves, then it does not matter if we are certain of any 
specific direction or outcome. In fact, mysticism tends to discard 
moralizing and deierminacy in favor of personal integrity with a 
simple principle: to develop as our first priority the habit of 
acquiescing to a higher nature, and thereby enter a flow of personal 
directedness supported by the Universe itself. In a way this is an 
article of faith, but it is a necessary one evident in all branches of 
mysticism, and it grounds our spiritual practice. 

As to what the golden intention looks like for us individually, that is 
also for each of us to discover. However, there is more agreement 
than disagreement among mystical teachings about some of its 
critical features. These include: 

® A letting go of ego, our compulsion to control externals, 
and any attachment to outcomes 

® A sincere and generous wish for the well-being of others, 
with all our wants either inspired or managed by 
unconditional love -consciousness 

<a> A passion for spiritual truth that is equally generous, 
unassuming, and ego-free; a heart that humbly thirsts to 
know why we are here and then act in accord with that 

® Persisting gratitude and celebration in every situation 

The ego focuses our will on our most inconsequential desires, 
forever striving to hold onto whatever seems to have the highest 
immediate attraction, but which often has the lowest long-term 
value. The golden intention trains us to firee ourselves from ego. 
When we are perpetually filled to overflowing with thankfulness and 
loving kindness, diligently centered on the well-being of others and 
the positive evolution of the Whole (remembering that all actions 
should coincide with our own nourishment and peace), we will 
always be acting from a place of efficacy and noble purpose. Thus 
we ultimately come to experience the harmony of Self-in-All and are 
completely fulfilled. This does not mean the intended 


r.Co/lJns Logan 

consequences of our actions are guaranteed, or that we should not 
try to be wise and discerning in our choices, but it can be reUably 
observed that having such clear and sincere intentions integrates us 
into the unstoppable forces of good in the Universe. 

Once again, this is about replacing unconscious and externally 
conditioned habits with consciously generated patterns. But here, 
instead of restructuring mental or perceptual processes with the 
objective of mystical awareness, we are changing our motivational 
orientation to the world around us. The I/me/mine fixation of 
childish egocentrism is relinquished in favor of selflessness, 
continually and dynamically redefined according to new mystical 
information. Through mystic activation, this information is 
personal, private and as perfectly suited to our current stage of 
being as it is Universal in nature. As we look within, the world 
without clarifies itself. 

What are the negative consequences of not refining our intentions? 
At the least, we will certainly inhibit our own evolution, wellness, 
and happiness. At the worst we may cripple or injure ourselves, 
inadvertently antagonize the well-being of others, or even reinforce 
influences in the world that are disruptive to the progress of the 
Whole, It is not at all wise to activate the mystical without the 
golden intention. How could we handle an encounter with the 
Infinite without first refocusing our hearts? It would be like a 
person of average means being given unlimited funds without any 
explanation or a plan to manage such wealth. At first it might seem 
exciting and freeing, but it would quickly become a burden and a 
stress, and ultimately induce either self- destructive arrogance or 
angst. With the humility inherent to the golden intention, there is 
little opportunity for prideful self-deceit, and with the good of All 
informing every action and reaction, there is no room for distress or 
despair, but only compassionate conviction and joyful contentment 
that surpass all understanding. 

This is likely the reason why most spiritual traditions encourage 
retraining the heart as part of their central disciplines. An 
advantage for the mystic is that daily emersion in spiritual 
cognizance naturally reinforces a compassionate worldview. Still, 


Essential Mysticisni 

the farther I travel into the mystic's realm, the more I must remind 
myself what is important, and set aside childish impulses to gratify 
desires without the good of All in mind. 

Different Perspectives on Repning Intentions 

"The heart is a vessel that cannot remain empty. As soon as you 
have emptied it of all those transitory things you loved so 
inordinately, it is filled... with gentle heavenly divine love that brings 
you to the water of grace." 

— St. Catherine of Siena 

"People sometimes go mad from doing Zen meditation. This may 
happen when some perception or understanding arises through 
meditation, and the practitioner becomes conceited about it. It may 
also happen when the practitioner has unsolved psychological 
problems. Then again, it can happen through excessive physical 
and mental strain due to greedy haste to attain enlightenment." 

- Muso Kokushi (Thomas Cleary) 

"A person who has given up all desires for sense gratification, who 
lives free from desires, who has given up all sense of ownership and 
is devoid of false ego.,,only this person can attain lasting peace." 

- Bhagavad Gila (Eknath Easwaran) 

"The sky gave me its heart because it knew mine was not large 
enough to care for the earth the way it did." 

— Rabia (Daniel Ladinsky) 

"The mind is seeking security, permanency; it is moved by a desire 
to be safe, and can such a mind be free to find out what is true? To 
find out what is true, must not the mind let go of its beliefs, put 
away its desire to be secure?" 

— J. Krishnamurti 


r.Co/lJns Logan 

"People waste energy defining which state they are in, as if 
consciousness were a cosmic grammar school in which third-graders 
were entitled to look down on kindei^artners. The point is not 
what level we are on, but what we are learning." 

- Starhawk 

"For those who have not experienced this, consider our earthly 
longings and the joy of winning what we most desire. Remember 
that the objects of that earthly love are perishable and injurious - it 
is a love of imitations. It goes awry because we were mistaken; our 
good wasn't here and this wasn't what we truly sought. But Beyond 
is the true object of our love, where we can hold it and be with it 
and truly possess it, because we are no longer separated from it by 

— Plotinus 

"I am always fearful of being more clever than devout. I would 
rather be devout than clever, but more than both devout and clever, 
I would like to be good." 

- Rabbi Pinhas 

"Oh Great Spirit. ..Make my hands respect the things You have 
made, my ears sharp to hear Your voice. Make me wise so that I 
may know the things You have taught my people, the lesson You 
have hidden in every leaf and rock, I seek strength not to be greater 
than my brother, but to fight my greatest enemy, myself." 

- Chief Yellow Lark 

Concept Affinity: Disciplined Intention 



Kabbalah Sufism 










Essential Mysticisni 

Sampfe Mystic Activators 

Here are additional sample activators that may resonate more with 
one person than another. Try them once a day for a few weeks and 
see what works for voti. 

"Who Am I Right Now?" Self-Inquiry 

1. Objective: Between 15 and 75 minutes of continuous 
meditation each day. If you can, insulate this with a buffer of 
five minutes before and after so it never feels rushed, and so you 
have time to reflect on your experiences. 

2. Find a quiet place to sit and relax, and begin your meditation 
with an inner commitment to the golden intention, i.e. "May 
this be for the good of All." 

3. Relax every part of your body. Start with your hands and feet - 
perhaps moving them or shaking them a little to release tension 
- then your arms and legs, then your torso, head and neck. 

4. Breathe deeply and evenly into your stomach, preferably in 
through the nose and out through the mouth, so that your 
shoulders remain still but your stomach "inflates," Practice this 
until you are comfortable with it. 

5. With your mind's eye centered in the middle of your chest, just 
above and behind your sternum, silently ask yourself "Who am 
I right now?" As words, images, feelings or experiences arise 
within you, create space for them in your mind and heart 
without judgment or analysis, and just rest in them for a 
moment. What arises may reflect the past, the present, or a 
desired future. If nothing happens at first, simply keep 
breathing and ask again, perhaps changing the emphasis on 
each word, as in: "Who am / right now?" 

6. After you have rested in each event a while, let it go. That is, 
release any attachment or certainty you might have about these 
private thoughts, and gently set them aside. Avoid forcibly 
rejecting or denying what you find, but allow it to be 
deliberately tenuous, questionable, optional. You might resist 
wanting to let go of what you find. Nevertheless, it is important 
to release all that you encounter — try breathing it out with your 


r.Co/lJns Logan 

exhale. Comfortable in your uncertainty, enlarge the question 
by emphasizing other words, such as: "Who am I right now?" 

7. Repeat the cycle of questioning, acknowledging without 
judgment, and letting go. If anything resurfaces repeatedly, try 
confronting it by asking "Why?" Rest in the response you 
receive to this question just as you rested in your previous 
inquiry, and then let that go as well. Continue questioning with 
new emphasis: " Who am I right now?" 

8. If you become disquieted, uncomfortable, jittery, or severely 
disoriented, try to relax through it. If uncomfortable sensations 
persist or become extreme, cease all meditation for the day. 

9. Give yourself space after your meditation to process what you 
have experienced. Just be with what has happened without 
judgment or a sense of conclusion. 

Stimulating Intuition — Inner Guide 

In a quiet place, visualize an imaginary person in your mind. Be as 
detailed as possible with your visualization of them — their features, 
their clothing, the place where they are, any activities they are 
doing, and so on. Get comfortable with this image until it seems to 
have a life of its own. Now imagine this person pausing in their 
activities, turning towards you and speaking to you. There doesn't 
have to be specific topic of conversation, just let them speak or 
remain silent, as they will. Notice all the emotions you are feeling. 
Notice how the person looks at you and interacts with you. If they 
speak, can you understand what they are saying? Do they even 
speak your language? Or do you perhaps understand the meaning 
they seem to be conveying, regardless? If you sense a connection or 
an ability to communicate, try asking this person a question and 
carefully consider their answer. If some pressing issue is on your 
mind, ask them for advice. Try to receive their response with 
openness and optimism. Then thank them for their time and reflect 
on your experience. 


Essential Mysticisni 

Daily Reflections 

Consider copying or memorizing a new set of two or three Just for 
Today reflections from the hst on pages 49-50. This time, however, 
choose some that either don't make immediate sense to you, or 
which you perhaps find difficult to accept on some level. By 
strengthening our relationship with concepts that challenge habitual 
thinking, we can stretch and reshape our awareness in ways that 
welcome spiritual cognizance. Let each idea fill you up - as a 
sound, as a color of light, as a sensation of warmth. Flood your 
body, mind and spirit with new possibilities, s 



Once we have begun to discipline our mind and set our 
consciousness free, while at the same time redirecting the 
inclinations of our heart, a change occurs in how we view the 
Universe, other people and ourselves. Initially, this process will 
challenge many of the underlying behefs, values and assumptions 
we have accumulated during our lives. It will also introduce new 
elements into our character, begin to alter priorities in our day-to- 
day existence, and augment many of our overall life goals with 
additional purpose. What eventually occurs over the course of 
ongoing practice is a synthesis - or perhaps more accurately an 
unveiling - of a completely new identity. 

What is this identity? In the most general sense, it reflects the 
height of mystical experience itself: a dissolution of the individual 
in the All, a surrender of personal ego into deepest connection with 
an underlying reahty. Here we let go of the various personas we 
have constructed since childhood - external masks of Self we have 
used to interact with the world - so that we rest easily in our True 
Self, that kernel of being we might call a soul or Divine Spark. 
From one perspective, we align our spirit with the Spirit of All; from 
another, the unitive spirit possesses us completely. And so we 
identify Self with the Whole, aborting any defense of personal 
distinctiveness, to navigate an integral perception of each moment 
from a persistently nondual consciousness. There is neither this. 


Essential Mysticisni 

nor that, but only undifferentiated unity. But what distinguishes 
this transformation of identity from the mystical merging we have 
experienced through progressive awakenings? We now entirely 
embrace and become what we encountered during those peak 
moments. We occupy and express a gnosis of the Absolute with 
every breath, interacting with all things from an authentic center - 
rather than from a distant, irregular orbit around that center. First 
we come to know our own soul; then we learn to dwell in it and 
illuminate our way with its magnificent Light. 

Of course, this kind of transcendental, transpersonal self-realization 
is not necessarily easy to achieve or endure. Facing the Infinite can 
be disorienting. Releasing our previous sense of Self can be 
frightening. Exposing every corner of our consciousness to utter 
emptiness is far easier to ignore or reject than to joyfully embrace. 
Nor is any of this an all-or-nothing proposition, as there are both 
intermediate stages of a Universe -in elusive Self and the natural ebb 
and flow of our mystic discipline. In the Vital Mystic, I describe this 
as a physiological/experiential/spiritual balancing act, where at any 
given time one part of our makeup may dominate our being. Over 
time, we can learn to relax into a unified state and an existence that 
harmonizes everything within and without. So wherever we are in 
this process, our identity is subject to constant renewal. We can 
direct that renewal purposely, or risk having it tossed about on the 
ocean of experience without a clear idea of what we are doing here. 

Another way to describe this re-identifi cation process is as a 
successive death and rebirth of Self. This ongoing series of personal 
losses and recoveries is not just a figurative explanation of personal 
evolution, but a very real and sometimes painful freeing from 
previous identities, assumptions and modes of operation. For the 
mystic this is also not something that merely happens to us; we are 
not passive receptors of life-changing experience, but willing and 
rigorously self-aware participants. Even so, there can still be grief 
over sacrificing famihar self- justifications and coping mechanisms, 
and to whatever extent we hold onto that grief or resist accepting 
our new liberty and power, the more we will suffer even as we grow. 

^ SeePyramid of Self intineApp&ic&x 


r.Co/lJns Logan 

Each loss builds on the foundation of previous stages of 
development, supporting the next layer of Self through new means 
of perception, motivation and self-reliance. With everj' mystical 
resurrection, we liberate ourselves from attachments and 
dependencies that have previously dictated our hfe's course and 
purpose. At first we might let go of animalistic impulses and purely 
emotional reasoning; then rationalist rigidity and experiential 
conditioning; then the limitations of past intuitions and epiphanies; 
and ever onward. Ultimately, we will even rehnquish any 
attachment to nondual consciousness and a gnosis of the Absolute. 
In fact, nearly everything that we once considered a worthwhile goal 
or endpoint for our journey will become just another bend in the 
road, a false peak in our hike up the mountain of self-realization. 

Not surprisingly, as we start activating mystical perception- 
cognition, this progress is echoed in transitions through gnosis. Our 
expanding awareness keeps introducing us to a potential "next self," 
so that we can begin weighing the costs and benefits of each 
transition before actually committing to change. Our successive 
stages of being also parallel this course. Increasingly, we encounter 
patterns of continuous emancipation and reinvention nearly 
everywhere while engaging our surroundings with a mystical eye. 
The chart on the following page attempts to capture some of these 
correlations as they relate to common phases of the mystic's way. 

But what does all this mean? It means we are not selfish anymore. 
It means we have shifted the central reference of our consciousness 
away from I/me/mine to the Whole of Creation, It means we no 
longer crave control over external situations or the fulfillment of any 
want, because we inhabit the essence of everything we ever could 
want. It means we are deeply in love with the All, even as we cease 
discriminating our Self from that All, It means we have let go 
entirely, and thus serendipitously come to possess the only thing 
worth having. It means we embody peaceful equilibrium, 
directedness, joy, perfected intention, and the power of 
transformation in an entirely new way of being. And then. ..our 
comprehension is enlarged once more. Growth never ends. 

See pa^s 55-61 in the Apfdications and Consequences ch^:to 


Essential Mysticisni 

Phases of the Mystic's Way 

of Self 



Correlating Phases of a Mystical Journey 


& Rational 


Initial suspicion of there being 'moretfian meets tfie eye" about our 
existence. Curiosity, often cfiaracterized as spiritual tfilrst leading to 
tfie first eKploration and Inslgfit Into transcendent experience. 


Sagaciojs & 



First momentous encounter with spiritual forces, otfier realms of 
existence, ortfie wisdom of our own soul, and a resiJting 
"awakening" to- or confimiation of - an awe-inspiring vastness 
beyond comprehension. For some the Divine, for others the Eternal, 
the Infinite or the Void. After some initial doubt and resistance, our 
"thirsT deepens. 


An adoption of personal discipline to fijther develop sensitivity to, 
and application of, spiritual cognizance in day-to-day life. This 
almost always manifests as improved management of emotions 
1 relinquishing fears and compulsions, for example), freeing ourselves 
from attachments, desires and expectations, and expanding and 
sharpening our watchfiJness - our "contemplative attention." Like 
any birthing process, howewer, there can be considerable emotional 
and existendal distress involved as we leave our 'pre-integrated Self" 


Moments of 
Epiphany & 



The first fruits of disciplined effori:: a noticeable improvement in self - 
awareness; greatiy clarified thought a better understanding of 
spiritually heaittr/ objectives and processes; overall humility; and 
increasing ease and congruity to all choices. A more transparent 
access to intuition and the shared urKlerstanding of the Universe, 
and pro^essively deepening epiphanies or 'moments of awakening." 


An unconditional commitment to love: that is, compassion without 
boundaries or expectations; a true blossoming of agape love- 
consciousness from the soul. Peri'ection of the golden intention and 
freedom from ego. A resulting fluidity of action and positive 
outcomes, and continued strengthening of wisdom. This is often the 
natural segue to exploring more advanced m/stical practces {see 


A surprisingly easy letling-go of Selfhood. Ongoing exploration of an 
ever-changing ni/sticai horizon. The first taste of true spiritual 
freedom (from confining concepts, attachments and desiresl. A 
profound understarxing that surpasses words or ideas; a spiritual 
knowledge dwarfing intellectual apprehension. A gnosis of the 
Absolute, resulting in a complete reorganization of reality and a 
whole new orientation of consciousness. A glimpse of the 
harmonized existence that resiJts from persistent mystical practice. 



The continually expanding consequences of living in hamnonized 
existence with our spiritual nature, gnosis of the Absolute, and the 
Source of Life at all times. Among these are a more spacious 
comprehension and actuation of agape from moment to moment 
reinforced clarity of purpose, a profound sense of tranquilit/ that 
subordnates all concerns, and a greatiy simplified life-approach. 


Spark or 

"True Self 


Dissolving into the Divine Sparl;, the Sacred Center of our soul, 
where we no longer sense, or feel, or know, but are forever teiry 
and becoming. This is truly beyond words, but could be described 
as: "entering into the ultimate realit/ behind all that is," or "letting go 
of all concepts and differentiation to inhabit the essence of what 


r.CoHins Logan 
Different Perspectives on Transforming Identity 

"I came to realize that mind is no other than mountains and rivers 
and the great wide earth, the sun and the moon and the stars." 

— Dogen 

"And thou who thinkest to seek for me, know thy seeking and 
yearning shall not avail thee unless thou knowest the mystery: that 
if that which thou seekest thou findest not within thee, then thou 
wilt never find it without thee. For behold, I have been with thee 
from the beginning; and I am that which is attained at the end of 

-A Witches' Bible 

"Life evolves out of Matter, Mind out of Life, because they are 
already involved there: Matter is a form of veiled Life, Life a form 
of veiled Mind. May not Mind be a form and veil of a higher 
power, the Spirit, which would be supramental in its nature? Man's 
highest aspiration would then only indicate the gradual unveiling of 

the Spirit within, the preparation of a higher life upon earth " 

- Sri Aurobindo 

"That a quest there is, and an end, is the single secret spoken. Under 
one symbol or another, the need of that long slow process of 
transcendence, of character building, whereby she is to attain 
freedom, become capable of living upon high levels of reality, is 
present in her consciousness. Those in whom this growth is not set 
going are no mystics. ..however great their temporary illumination 
may have been." 

- Evelyn Underhill 

"Unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains by 
itself alone. But if it dies, it bears much fruit." 

— Gospel of John 

"We realize that nothing belongs to us truly, we can only care for it 
while it lasts. We also experience that we do not have a solid, 
separate identity. We are a flow of conditions. We are made up of 


Essential Mysticisni 

all our genes, history, social conditioning, etc. Who are we but a 
bundle of aggregates and fluctuations? We cannot identify with our 
feehngs, our thoughts, our possessions. They all come and go. 
They rise upon certain circumstances, stay a while and disappear." 

— Martine Batcheior 

"Meditation speeds up evolution. It accelerates the remembering 
and the re-discovery of the Spirit that you eternally are. Meditation 
quickens the rate that acorns grow into oaks, that humans grow into 

- Ken Wilber 

"You are never alone because you are full of memories, all the 
conditioning, all the mutterings of yesterday; your mind is never 
clear of all the rubbish it has accumulated. To be alone you must 

die to the past In this solitude you will begin to understand the 

necessity of living with yourself as you are, not as you think you 
should be or as you have been." 

— J. Krishnamurti 

"I could not lie anymore so I started to call my dog 'God.' First he 
looked confused, then he started smiling, then he even danced. I 
kept at it: now he doesn't even bite, I am wondering if this might 
work on people?" 

— Tukaram (Daniel Ladinsky) 

Concept Affinity: New Modes of Self 







Mujodo No 

Fruit ofttieSpifit 




bi Allah 







Sheng Ren 

Puma Yogi 


r.Co/lJns Logan 
Sample Mystic Activators 

Mantra Meditation - Part One 

1 . Objective: Between 1 5 and 75 minutes of continuous 
meditation each day. If you can, insulate this with a buffer of 
five minutes before and after. 

2. Find a quiet place to sit and relax, and begin your meditation 
with an inner commitment to the golden intention, i.e. "May 
this be for the good of All." 

3. Relax every part of your body. Start with your hands and feet — 
perhaps moving them or shaking them a little to release tension 
— then your arms and legs, then your torso, head and neck. 

4. Breathe deeply and evenly into your stomach, preferably 
through the nose, so that your shoulders remain still but your 
stomach "inflates." Practice this until you are comfortable with 

5. Begin the "four-fold" breath - that is: breathe in slowly, hold 
for the length of a breath, breathe out slowly, rest for the length 
of a breath. 

6. On the inhale, say the first part of the mantra "I am myself 
with your internal voice. During the held breath, hold this 
thought as well and let it fill you; let it permeate your being with 
acceptance and certaintv- 

7. On the exhale, say the second part of the mantra "alone in AH" 
with your internal voice. During the rest period, relax into this 

8. As images, sensations, feelings, or thoughts arise, let them go 
and return to the mantra. 

9. If you become disquieted, uncomfortable, jittery, or severely 
disoriented, try to relax through it. If uncomfortable sensations 
persist or become extreme, cease all meditation for the day, 

10. Give yourself space after your meditation to process what you 
have experienced. Just be with what has happened without 
judgment or a sense of conclusion. 


Essential Mysticisni 

Stimulating Intuition —Journaling 

Journaling connects us with our thoughts and emotions in a way 
that can be both fun and intense. To spend a half-hour each day 
writing about our hfe - the reactions and reflections of our day-to- 
day existence, or just the random cogitations and images that 
appear in our mind - peels the onion of our experience down to its 
core, so that with each new sentence we come closer to our personal 
truths, I am always surprised by what springs forth when I write, as 
if I am having a conversation with someone I thought I knew very 
well, but find they are sharing things I never would have expected. 
This kind of revelation can be achieved with any creative self- 

Daily Reflections 

Perusing the list on pages 49-50, can you find some Just for Today 
reflections that contradict each other? If you can identify a group of 
seemingly incongruent ideas, begin to incorporate as many of these 
concepts as possible into a daily routine. Allow them adequate 
space in your mind and heart to coexist despite apparent 
opposition. Notice what happens to these ideas - and your own 
thought process - when you allow them to peacefully coexist within 

As you begin integrating all the Just for Today concepts, avoid 
letting your reflection become an empty habit, a rote exercise. 
Change the order of recitation. Try breathing in each idea, then 
breathing them out. Take time to reconsider each phrase, weigh 
each word, and understand each principle on an emotional, spiritual 
and practical level. The more you allow these themes to indwell 
you - and the more you allow yourself to dwell in the present 
moment of alert consideration - the more this practice will come 
alive for you. 



No matter how far along we are in our journey, we are always in for 
a surprise. Our will - that is, the energy of volition, which we 
generate each and every second - has a concrete effect in the 
physical realm that can exceed our wildest imagination. Evidence 
of this could be called "being in the flow," "synchronicity," "being 
in tune," "staying on the path," or "creating our own reality." 
These are often a direct result of the quality, clarity, and sincerity of 
intentions in concert with the discipline of mind, heart, spirit and 
will. As we observe such artifacts of will it is essential that we avoid 
fixating on them to guide our way or affirm our beliefs, for that 
would constitute attachment, distract us from our purpose, and 
interfere with the mechanisms of fulfillment. In a way, the more 
our intentions are manifested around us, the less we should 
embrace their significance. Still, the hallmark of a true mystic is the 
powerful materialization of the good of All in every thought, word 
and deed - an uncanny harmonization of action and intention. 

What is actually happening here? Are there spiritual intelligences at 
work? Are there quantum agents ready to jump at the pure 
intensity of our thoughts? Is there some psychic organ awakened 
within us through mystical practice? As fascinating as these 
questions are, they should be of less interest to us than our state of 
mind and heart as we move forward. What matter most are 
patience, humility, love, gratitude, compassion, mindfulness, and 
perseverance. And something else: being able to maintain a 


Essential Mysticisni 

neutrality of will. Like the mental stillness that precedes advanced 
contemplative states, or the quiet plenitude of heart that sustains 
the golden intention, or the calm certainty of being one with the All, 
an ability to keep our will at rest is a necessary step along the 
mystic's way. This is, to a lai^e degree, what governs the scope of 
our conscious and unconscious impact in the world. 

There are three prerequisites to harmonizing actions and intentions 
in the most positive way, and they echo the first three core 
disciplines of mysticism: 

® A fearless openness and unhinging of our psyche in 

connecting with our True Self through mystical perception- 

® A relaxation of our own acquisitiveness, and a generosity of 
spirit that intentionally aligns itself with the good of All 

<a> An ability to remain humble, detached and without 

expectation, and grateful all at the same time — a disposition 
solidified by identifying our individual Self with the 
transpersonal and transcendent 

The fourth necessary quality is neutrality of will. This state is as 
simple and difficult to describe or attain as mystical union. It is not 
that we fervently desire something, or that we reject one possibility 
in favor of another. It is that we sense the rightness of a clear 
consequence through spiritual cognizance and relax into its 
inevitability. It is hke having sincere acceptance and gratitude 
about the now, and readily acknowledging the perfection of the 
Universe with wonder in our hearts, then quietly offering our own 
energy to the eternal celebration. Once again, it is a kind of letting 
go, a condition born of our new identity where we surrender control 
while remaining expansively aware. In this way, "action without 
action" is easily understood, as are achievement through simply 
being, the spontaneous fulfillment of desire, miraculous prayer, and 
the nature of synchronicity. These are all facets of the same gem - 
we must simply become that gem. 


r.Co/lJns Logan 

We might call this process "wishing without wanting." I wish for 
something I intuitively know benefits the good of All, even as it 
nourishes me, bur I do not want h. That is, I do not yearn for it, I do 
not feel I need it, and I do not believe that without my effort all 
Light will cease to shine in this realm of existence. At the same 
time, I am the Light, and the Light is me, and what I imagine for 
myself and others is less a fantasy of what could be, and more a 
natural transmutation of that Light into a dialogue of heart, mind 
and action. I am that I am. It is that It is, and All That Happens is 
a normative consequence of those conditions. Is there fate, 
predetermination, or a life-contract that firames the borders of our 
volition, just as mortality appears to frame our corporeal existence? 
Perhaps these are temporary boundaries of Self, but if we maintain 
the golden intention, persistent compassion, and gratitude for what 
is. ..why does it matter? How could we ever be disappointed, 
thwarted or misdirected if we have let go of ego and impetuous self- 
gratification? This is how wishing without wanting works. 

Lastly, it is also important to differentiate neutrality of will firom 
both annihilation and subjugation of will — neither of which leads to 
the same place. Many common artifacts of will are described in 
more detail in the Appendix, but neutrality of will is what we should 
be most concerned with, especially at the onset of mystical practice. 
Here we are not suppressing desire, we are letting it go. We are not 
forcing our mind in one direction or other, we are easing into a 
receptive quiet. We are not stressfully striving toward some end, we 
are being diligent and watchful and joyfully alive to ourselves as we 
tune in to the wisdom of the Universe. 

Ctilmination in a Peculiar Quality of Consciousness 

As we fortify the four core disciplines of mysticism, we increasingly 
give up our willfulness and tend less and less to react from ego, 
needy emotion or other rudimentary impulses. Spiritual 

cognizance, a passionate caring, and identification with the All 
converge into a profound sense of harmony within and without. 
This sense of harmony, in turn, leads to a peculiar quality of 
consciousness. Among the chief characteristics of this 


Essential Mysticisni 

consciousness are two things: a strong sense of centered ness amid 
the varied forces tugging at our mind, heart spirit and will; and what 
I would describe as a continuous spiritual dialogue with the Source 
of Light and Life. Respectively, I call these the an of suspension and 
praying without ceasing. In both cases, the internal shift is one of 
relationship - in one case between the essence of Self and the 
essence of the Universe, and the other between our intentional 
mind and everything we perceive. 

As with any relationship, mystical interdependencies flourish within 
love, openness and reinforced connection. Likewise, most 
difficulties arise when we are dishonest, stop listening, or place 
egoistically distorted wants ahead of mutual nourishment. In 
praying without ceasing, our being is therefore trustingly receptive 
and infinitely giving. In the art of suspension, our interior 
landscape rests in permeable stillness, devoid of compulsion or 
predisposition, and all directions of thought and action are 
equidistant for us. And it does not matter how we choose to 
conceive of our own being or the Source to strengthen these 
relationships. We might believe our essence is composed of spirit, 
or transmuted life force, or conscious energy, or biochemical 
reactions, or an expression of the Soul. We might conceive of the 
Source as Deity, Universal Essence, Vital Continuum or Infinite 
Mystery. Such conceptions are trapped in the context of our 
experience, and in all likehhood only dimly reflect the actuality. 
But when we have tasted the Sacred through gnosis, and when our 
spiritual intelligence is supported by a transformed identity, then we 
no longer require specific behefs to immerse ourselves in miraculous 
connection. We have discovered the wholly integrated One, and 
engender separate ness only to facilitate the quality of 
communication, life lessons, and development of character that 
relationships provide. 

In this way, a mystic suspends an increasingly potent intentional 
mind in a web of widening possibilities, so that through careful 
discernment we can always contribute to spiritually healthy 
outcomes. And even in moments of greatest darkness, even when 
we stumble and forget the nature of our interconnection, we remain 
joined with the Source in an intimate, transparent conversation. 


r.Co/lJns Logan 

Thus we are always able to invoke the perpetual orbital dance of 
heart, mind, spirit and will that abides in stillness; or rather, 
through stillness we recognize the holy dance that has always been 
within us, and can joyfully gift our talents to its immanent purpose. 

Risks and Benefits 

Are there potentially negative outcomes if we are not careful with 
our will? Assuredly there are, and thankfully we can learn from 
them. For the artifacts of will we generate can certainly be 
antagonistic to our well-being. We might make ourselves sick, or 
manifest something spiritually antagonistic in our life, or 
inadvertently sabotage ourselves in one or more of our goals. The 
power of our will is such that fear, self-defeatism, low self-esteem, 
confusion, delusion, and ego can undermine positive potential. 
That is why learning how to moderate our will and guide it with 
mindful, all-embracing love-consciousness is so important. That is 
why we should remain carefully attentive to every whim of our 
minds and every wish of our hearts. 

Words tend to fall short when describing mystical realities, and as 
with so many truths, experience is not just the best teacher, it is 
really the only teacher. Otherwise, it is easy for our wonderfully 
creative imaginations to delude us into thinking we know something 
we do not. As Aldous Huxley put it, "knowledge is a function of 
being," But at the heart of a neutral will is complete freedom — 
from runaway desires, overconfident assertions, foolish expectations 
and egotism. In the same way, a mystic who embraces the an of 
suspension has an invaluable tool for their journey and a window 
into future stages of being. Similarly, when praying without ceasing 
arises, embryonic faith no longer smacks of artifice. 

Are there measurable results from all of this? Absolutely, Instead 
of pursuing wisdom, we live wisdom in every moment. Beyond 
aligning ourselves with the good of All, we become the good of All. 
More than being illumined, we illuminate everything around us. 
Instead of loving, we become love. We are in fact setting aside 
entire toolsets of preparatory spiritual thought and navigation, along 
with every conclusion we embraced along our path until now, and 


Essential Mysticisni 

entering into a freshly vulnerable unknown; an entirely new kind of 

This concludes our discussion of the four core disciplines. Before 
continuing on, I encourage you to revisit the exercises at the end of 
chapters 1-4 to round out your understanding. The next section 
covers additional practices designed to expand consciousness, relax 
and heal the body, energize the spirit, and help us discover through 
direct experience our true nature and purpose in this life. We will 
also examine other hfe consequences of choosing the mystic's way. 
How might it impact our relationships or responsibilities to 
community? How will we grow and how can we measure that 
progress? All of these are closely connected to the shaping of our 
will and the many ways it evidences itself inside and around us. 
With persistence, each of us can arrive at our most spiritually 
profitable state, where we continually contribute to the good of All 
with both humility and confidence. 

Different Perspectives on Action and Intention 

"The softest stuff in the world overcomes the firmest. The 
insubstantial enters where there is no space. By this I know the 
benefit of something achieved by simply being. Few in the world 
can understand accomplishment apart from action, and instruction 
where there are no words." 

— Lao Tzu 

"In short, remember this: that whatever you prize which is beyond 
your will, you have inasmuch destroyed your will." 

- Epictetus 

"For if you carefully eliminate contentious arguments, you will 
discover the truth that the Mind, the Soul of God, rules over All - 
over Fate, over Law, over everything - and that nothing is 
impossible for it." 

— Corpus Hermeticum 


r.Co/lJns Logan 

"When your will is connected to God's will, when your thoughts are 
connected to Divine thoughts, when your words bring you nearer to 
the Infinite, and when your actions are effortless, you are more apt 
to succeed," 

- Shoni Labowitz 

"As long as we have a body, we cannot renounce action altogether. 
True renunciation is giving up all desire for personal reward," 

- Bhagavad Gita {Eknath Easwaran) 

"If the impact of any spiritual experience is to increase humility and 
cause one to become more other-concerned and compassionate, it 
can probably be assumed that the integration of the experience is 
moving in a creative direction. But if the impact is to increase self- 
concern and self-importance; if it makes one feel distanced from 
rather than closer to other people; and if it stifles rather than 
encourages humble compassion; one should be suspicious," 

- Gerald G. May 

"The goal now, as audacious as it sounds, is not merely to 
transcend the world but to transform the world, to become an agent 
of the evolutionary impulse itself. Indeed, in surrendering one's ego 
to that, one literally feels oneself being filled up with a divine and 
luminous energy and a passion to transform the world and the 
whole Universe for a cause that has nothing to do with oneself" 

- Andrew Cohen 

"If you live your life in me, and my words live in your hearts, ask 
whatever you wish and it shall come true for you," 

— Gospel of John 

"Even as you bring your intentions and desires into conscious 
awareness, surrender the outcome to nature. Cultivate an attitude 
of trusting that when things are not going exactly the way you 
intend them to, there is a grander design at work," 

- Deepak Chopra & David Simon 


Essential Mysticisni 

Concept Affinity: Artifacts of Will 













Gafi Ying 




Sample Mystic Activators 

Mantra Meditation - Part Tvjo (ivith Visualisation) 

1. Objective: Between 15 and 75 minutes of continuous 
meditation eacti day. If you can, insulate tliis witti a buffer of 
five minutes before and after. It is best to practice tliis 
meditation only after several weeks practicing Part One. 

2. Find a quiet place to sit and relax, and begin your meditation 
with an inner commitment to the golden intention. 

3. Relax every part of your body. Start with your hands and feet - 
perhaps moving them or shaking them a little to release tension 
- then your arms and legs, then your torso, head and neck. 

4. Breathe deeply and evenly into your stomach, preferably 
through the nose, so that your shoulders remain still but your 
stomach "inflates." Practice this until you are comfortable with 

5. Begin the "four-fold" breath - that is: breathe in slowly, hold 
for the length of a breath, breathe out slowly, rest for the length 
of a breath. 

6. On the inhale, say the first part of the mantra "The Sacred 
Soul" with your internal voice. During the held breath, hold 
this thought and let it fill you. 

7. On the exhale, say the second part of the mantra "in All is One" 
with your internal voice. During the rest period, relax into this 
thought; let it permeate your being with acceptance and 


r.Co/lJns Logan 

8. As images, sensations, feelings, or thoughts arise, let them go 
and rettirn to the mantra. 

9. As you become comfortable residing in this mantra, add a 
progression of visualizations. First, imagine someone you 
respect or admire sitting facing you and continue the mantra. 
After a time, change the visualization to someone with whom 
you have a loving, mutually respectful relationship. Lastly, 
change your focus to a person you do not like, who is 
antagonistic to you or your way of being, or with whom you 
have not found any common ground. Maintain your 
visualization of each person for as long as possible. 

10. If you become disquieted, uncomfortable, jittery, or severely 
disoriented, try to relax through it. If uncomfortable sensations 
persist or become extreme, cease all meditation for the day. 

11. Give yourself space after your meditation to process what you 
have experienced. Just be with what has happened without 
judgment or a sense of conclusion. 

Stimulating Intuition - Listening to Noiv 

1. If you live near trees, find a comfortable place to sit among 
them and listen to the wind whisper through the branches. 
Close your eyes and let the wind-song fill your mind, letting all 
other sounds fade away. Now imagine the wind itself coursing 
through your body. As the breeze moves through you, does it 
have a texture or pattern? Do its patterns change? If you listen 
very carefully, is there perhaps a message there in the changing 
melody, in the breathing of the sky? If you live near a beach, try 
the same exercise with the surging rhythms of ocean waves. If 
near a river or stream, try it with the sound of flowing water. It 
is ideal if there are few people or distractions around you, but 
even if there is distraction, see if you can listen so intently that 
Nature speaks to you more loudly than anything else. 

2. There are countless ways to pay attention to the subtle 
sensations of our bodies. One approach is to simply ask 
ourselves where we physically experience wants or emotions. 
What parts of your body react to different thoughts and 
intentions? Where do you feel hunger, anger, sleepiness, 


Essential Mysticisni 

excitement, disappointment, happiness or fatigue? What are 
the characteristics of these sensations? As we become attuned 
to our somatic self, we can more readily notice messages 
expressed as a tightening of muscles, a sharp intake of breath, a 
rush of heat through the chest, or a tingling at the back of the 
neck. Listening to the language of our bodies is yet another 
avenue of intuitive sensitivity. 

Daily Reflections 

If you have already spent concerted time and effort working with 
the list on pages 49-50, try committing all of the Just for Todays to 
memory. See how many you can recall in your daily practice 
without referencing the list. When you have finished your 
reflections, look at the list to see which ones you have forgotten. 
The following day, spend extra time thinking about those forgotten 
few. Try to examine each phrase from as many different angles as 
possible. Moving forward, mix up the order and see if you can still 
remember all of them. 

One way of measuring the impact of your reflective practice is to 
evaluate whether it changes or refines your actions and reactions 
over time. Before you go to sleep each night, think back on some of 
the memorable events of your day. Were there any situations that 
triggered responses from you that might have benefited from 
applying a particular Just for Today? Can you identify areas where 
the concepts or values inherent to your reflective practice were 
clearly expressed? Is the genuine intention of your practice 
harmonizing with your actions and reactions? 

Lastly, if you find yourself gravitating toward a particular group of 
Just for Todays — or, alternatively, struggling to remember a 
particular group - ask yourself why that might be. Mysticism is 
mainly about inquiring into our innermost Self. Thinking about 
why we react certain ways, or why we have attraction or aversion to 
certain concepts, will lay the groundwork for ever-deepening 



Additionaf Mystic Activator Examples 

The following are some intermediate -lev el mystic activators I have 
offered in my courses. They generally require a more thorough 
grounding in the golden intention than earlier exercises, as well as a 
quality of concentration that is easier once introductory activators 
have been mastered. Each of them falls under one or more of the 
four categories already described: 

<s> Subtractive Meditation 

<s> Ecstatic Induction 

<s> Symbolic and Synchronistic Ritual 

<s> Perfection of Love 

Although anyone can try such exercises, each is still likely to appeal 
more to one type of person than another, and most will yield 
significant results only after daily practice over a period of weeks or 
months. Sometimes an approach will become more useful once we 
progress into a new phase of personal development, so if something 
does not work for you at first, try it again later. From the 
perspective of a balanced integral practice, it will also be important 


Essential Mysticisni 

over time to either regularly revisit all four types of activators, or to 
integrate them all into a single routine. But regardless of how we 
access the mystical, it is critical to remember that any change in 
consciousness is like inviting a magical creature to sit beside us for a 
while - nothing can be forced into being or made to conform to our 
expectations. If we truly let go, we will be surprised and humbled, 
and much of what our ego cherishes will be left behind. Always, the 
mystical experience is more about relinquishment than personal 

Most of the mystic activators in this book could be loosely 
categorized as meditation, but there is nevertheless quite a variety, 
each with its own emphasis. For instance, some practices enhance 
our ability to concentrate on a single focus or promote a particular 
emotional state, while others are a general reflection on themes or 
concepts. Some are mainly a means of inquiring into Self, while 
others cultivate a sense of mindfulness - a non-reactive 
attentiveness to what is occurring within and without. More than 
anything, introducing meditative discipline into our daily lives 
nurtures us on many levels. Our self-awareness and emotional 
intelligence improve. Our self-esteem is enhanced. Our 
understanding of compassion is deepened, and our ability to express 
it from moment to moment is powerfully facilitated. We become 
peaceful, centered, and alert, with healing benefits to our minds, 
hearts and bodies. Eventually, an ever more complete spiritual 
cognizance will well up to fill a gently receptive interior 

Self-Care Meditation 

1. Objective: Between 15 and 75 minutes of continuous 
meditation each day. If you can, insulate this with a buffer of 
five minutes before and after, 

2. Find a quiet place to sit and relax, and begin your meditation 
with an inner commitment to the golden intention. 


r.Co/lJns Logan 

3. Relax every part of your body. Start with your hands and feet — 
perhaps moving them or shaking them a httle to release tension 
— then your arms and legs, then your torso, head and neck. 

4. Breathe deeply and evenly into your stomach, preferably 
through the nose, so that your shoulders remain still but your 
stomach "inflates," Practice this until you are comfortable. 

5. Lay one hand over the other (with the physically dominant 
hand - the right hand for most — on top) on the surface of your 
breastbone in the middle of your chest, so that the palm of your 
sub-dominant hand is placed over your heart chakra. 

6. Begin the four-fold breath, 
maintaining attention on the heart 
chakra as the locus of your 
emotional self. 

7. Begin to project a gentle, loving 
energy into your heart chakra. 
Really care for this self-reference 
as unconditionally, openly and 
fearlessly as you can. 

8. Maintain this state for as long as 
possible, letting go of any other 
images, thoughts, sounds or sensations that enter your 
attention, always returning to the caring for Self meditation, 

9. If you become disquieted, uncomfortable, jittery, or severely 
disoriented, try to relax through it. If uncomfortable sensations 
persist or become extreme, cease all meditation for the day, 

10. Give yourself space after your meditation to process what you 
have experienced. Just be with what has happened without 
judgment or a sense of conclusion. 


Essential Mysticisni 
First Invocation 

1. Objective: Between 15 and 75 minutes of continuous 
meditation each day. If you can, insulate this with a buffer of 
five minutes before and after, 

2. Find a quiet place to sit and relax, and begin your meditation 
with an inner commitment to the golden intention. 

3. Relax every part of your body. Start with your hands and feet - 
perhaps moving them or shaking them a little to release tension 
- then your arms and legs, then your torso, head and neck. 

4. Breathe deeply and evenly into your stomach, preferably 
through the nose, so that your shoulders remain still but your 
stomach "inflates." Practice this until you are comfortable with 

5. Lightly hook your hands together 
in firont of you, fingertips-to-palm 
in a yin/yang clasp.' Place your 
sub-dominant hand (the left hand 
for most) over the dominant hand, 

6. Relax your body and breathe 
deeply into your stomach {ideally 
in through the nose and out 
through the mouth) 

7. Mentally focus on the middle Tan 
Tien (the heart center in the 
middle of the upper torso - not to be confused with the heart 
chakra) as a point or tiny sphere of bright yellowy -white light. 

8. Begin the four-fold breath, maintaining focus on the middle 
Tan Tien, and direct the words of your mantra there. On the 
inhale, repeat inwardly; "Let Love and Light arise in All that 

Is " (receptive element) And on the exhale: "and All That Is 

arise in Love and Light " (active element) 

9. If your concentration wanders from the mantra or from your 
middle Tan Tien, gently return your attention to both of them. 

This is iiot a tiadiiioiial yiii/yang mudia, but is intended to hdp iiitegiBte 
recq3tive and active eiaiieilB of Ihe meditalion. 


T.Collins Logan 

10. After several separate sessions where a steady centering in the 
middle Tan Tien and mantra is achieved, begin to broaden 
your focus while maintaining the mantra. Always begin with 
your heart center, and then expand your awareness out into 
your immediate environment, toward people you know (and 
specifically their Tan Tiens), toward places where sufiering is 
occurring, toward your political leaders, toward the Earth as a 
whole, toward the subatomic fabric of space-time, and so on 

11 . If you become disquieted, uncomfortable, jittery, or severely 
disoriented, try to relax through it. If uncomfortable sensations 
persist or become extreme, cease all meditation for the day. 

12. Give yourself space after your meditation to process what you 
have experienced. Just be with what has happened without 
judgment or a sense of conclusion. 

Contemplating Presence and Absence 

1. Objective: Between 15 and 75 minutes of deep contemplation 
each day. If you can, insulate this with a buffer of five minutes 
before and after. 

2. Find a quiet place to sit comfortably. Start your contemplation 
with an inner commitment to the golden intention, 

3. Relax your body and breathe deeply into your stomach {in 
through the nose, out through the mouth) 

4. Imagine yourself as a compassionate and caring spirit that is 
observing things in your day-to-day life from outside your body. 
You have no way to directly impact events, you just observe 
them. Think about yesterday, and consider how your physical 
form - the person others perceive as "you" - interacted with 
people, places and things throughout the day. Try to be a non- 
judgmental witness of everything that occurred, 

5. Still in a spirit form outside of your body, imagine how your day 
will be tomorrow, Obsen'e your physical form interacting with 
people, places and things. Without judgment, follow the course 
of the day to its end. 

6. Now go back to yesterday. This time, as a compassionate and 
caring spirit without a body or the ability to influence events, 
imagine how the day would have progressed if your physical 


Essential Mysticisni 

form had been absent. Imagine your workplace, your close 
friends and family, your intimate relationships, the place where 
you live - all passing through time as if your physical presence 
was no longer there. 

7. Repeat this exercise with tomorrow in mind. Imagine how all 
the people, places and things in your life would be if they 
passed through time without your being there, and perhaps 
never having known or encountered you. 

8. Finally, return to the present. As a compassionate and caring 
spirit, still outside of your body, observe your physical form 
here in this space for a few moments. Then, imagine this space 
with your physical form absent. You are still here in spirit, but 
you cannot be perceived and you cannot effect change. Remain 
in this state of spiritual observation for as long as you can. 

9. If you become distracted at any point, go back to the beginning 
of the last phase of the exercise and start over. 

10. If you become disquieted, uncomfortable, jittery, or severely 
disoriented, try to relax through it. If uncomfortable sensations 
persist or become extreme, cease all meditation for the day. 

1 1 . Give yourself space after your meditation to process what you 
have experienced. Just be with what has happened without 
judgment or a sense of conclusion. 

Returning to Emptiness 

One of the most powerful - and difficult - mystic activators is a 
kind of non-meditation. Just sit comfortably, close your eyes, and 
let yourself be still. For many of us, our thoughts, emotions and 
physical sensations will command our interest. But if we free that 
attention entirely from any specific focus, and settle into a receptive 
quiet from which all stimuh - the chatter of our thoughts, the 
aching in our muscles, the sounds around us, the emotional tension 
of our day - fall away from conscious consideration, we begin to 
intuit what really exists within the remaining silence. As with all 
previous exercises, it is important to avoid forcing our minds into or 
away from anything. Instead, begin by being attentive to each 
feeling, thought or sensation that arises, resting in them a while 
without reacting to them. Just let them be. Then, as naturally and 


T.Collins Logan 

effortlessly as they have arisen, let them go. A bird rises on invisible 
currents, its wings unmoving, then vanishes from sight. When 
cradled in the golden intention, such letting go is a returning to 
emptiness, an utterly open and unrestricted means to spiritual 

"Just for Today" Daily Reflections 

These reflections can be a standalone practice or used to augment 
other mystical exercises. You might enjoy reciting them each 
morning while going for a walk - a continuous walking reflection of 
perhaps thirty minutes. After speaking each phrase aloud or 
silently, listen to the silence afterwards, noticing the reactions of 
your heart, mind, body and spirit. When finished, open yourself to 
whatever is around you and revel in the present. In the evening, try 
repeating this process as a reconsideration of your day. Each 
reflection can be directed toward ourselves, toward others, toward 
all that we understand to exist, toward a deity we worship, or even 
toward the unknown. There are therefore many implications for 
each phrase. Repeating the reflections, each time with a unique 
audience or objective in mind (or none at all) can evoke new 
meaning and have surprising impact on our lives even after years of 

Just for today, patience and acceptance in all things 

Just for today, nothing has to be wrong 

Just for today, acknowledgment without prejudice in every 

Just for today, courage to be compassionate and kind to all 

Just for today, embracing the Natural Realm as part of Self, 
with honor and respect for all 

Just for today, remembering the well-being of others, nourishing 
them through being well 

Just for today, transforming all things into the good of All 

Just for today, faith which far exceeds all hopes, desires and 


Essential Mysticisni 

9. Just for today, insight and understanding into fruitful conduct 

10. Just for today, listening from stillness, and seeing what is 

1 1 . Just for today, confidence without arrogance, and humility 
without passivity 

12. Just for today, clarity and sincerity in purpose and intentions 

1 3 . Just for today, balance in caring for the house of Self and all the 
selves within 

14. Just for today, tranquihty in rehnquishing ego, and flowing with 
the Source of Life and Light 

15. Just for today, a generous spirit, free from attachment and 

16. Just for today, being in the now, without illusions 

17. Just for today, honesty and integrity in all situations 

18. Just for today, thoughts and words that edify, encourage and 

19. Just for today, with each breath, breathing in wholeness and 

20. Just for today, diligence and mindfulness in every moment 

2 1 . Just for today, persisting gratitude from the heart, and 
celebration in every action and interaction 

22. Just for today, filled with Divine laughter, the heart sings 

23. Just for today, ease and simplicity in every choice 

24. Just for today, a living example with conviction and 

25. Just for today, creating something, destroying nothing 

26. Just for today, great care with whims and wishes 

27. Just for today, the soul is never compromised 


r.Co/lJns Logan 
Measuring Our Progress 

Getting wrapped up in measuring, comparing, or tracking our 
mystical progress is fairly counterproductive to a spiritually 
profitable existence, and there is sometimes too little difference 
between healthy self-awareness and obsessive self-centeredness, I 
have found the following adages to be helpful in remembering this 
fact, and frequently revisit them: 

1. We are seldom if ever as far along as we think we are. 

2. It is a rare and precious thing for us to grasp the true 
meaning of any experience in our lives. 

3. The more eager our expectation of outcomes from interior 
mystical discipline, the more predictable our falling short of 
them will be. 

In any journey, to enhance our self-awareness and keep ourselves on 
track, it is nevertheless useful to have an idea of where we are going 
and what some of the milestones along the way might look like. 
One method of examining our progress is a contemplative-emotive 
model of learning, in which we observe the impact of mystical 
practice on our state of consciousness and our ability to translate 
convictions into action, A common progression of contemplative 
states and the cycle of emotional transformation are outhned in the 
chart on the next page. 

Keep in mind that merely exercising mystical muscles without a 
clear direction in mind can become, as Thomas Merton once 
described it, nothing more than "consecrated narcissism." It is 
therefore imperative that we understand and embrace our reasons 
for pursuing personal transformation, and continually reevaluate 
our chosen course. One application for the contemplative-emotive 
method is to consider what the "good of AH" really means. Do you 
think it is important? Can you hold it at your center, allowing all 
thoughts, emotions and actions to flow out from it? Beginning 
there, observe what happens as you work through each of the 
contemplative-emotive steps. Does your understanding of the good 
of All evolve? Does the context and meaning of your efforts shift? 


Essential Mysticisni 

The Contemplative-Emotive Learning Process 

Cycle of Emotional 

Contemplative States 

1. SimpleReflection; We become 

1. Recognition: We recognize 

consciously av\a re of all phenomena 

and acl<nowledge our current 

end begin relecting on them. 

emotional state. 

2. Contsmplative Self-Awareness; We 

2. Examination; Without 

becorre consciously aware of the 

judgment or ouerreacton, we 

process ofsirrpte reflection as it occurs 

examine and accept our 

In us from moment-to-moment, 


cibser\/1ng and evaluating the qualities 
of this process. 

3. Admission: Weadmitto 
ourselves that change would 

3. Suspended Valuation: We 

be beneflcial - that having a 

intentionally suspend valuation 

different emotional state would 

altogether, and just observe our 

be more healthy and 

experiences, thoughts, feelings and 


physical sensations wthout placing 

them in the context of our values. 

4. Detachment: We let gooftfie 

bellels or assumptions. 

counterproductive feelings - 

that is, relax our errtotional 

4. Non-Thought Awareness: We let go 

state until is greatly 

of both valuations and any thought 

diminished, or dissipates 

process, entering into a state of mental. 

completely. Werreyaiso 

errtotional and sensory quiet- even 

choose to relinquish some of 

though we may still be consciously 

the underiying beliefs or 

observing this state In ourselves, we do 

assumptions that brought this 

not relect on it. 

state about. 

5. Non-Thought Non-Awareness: We 

5. Equilibrium; We achieve a 

stop a cl<nDi/vl edging even tfie 

state of neutral and objectve 

supersensory, just as Vi« did the 

calm where we can decide in 

sensory, and directy experience tfie 

which emotional direction we 

bedrocl<of our own existence - the 

wish to go next. 

foundations of our sense of Self and 

our relationship to the Universe. 

6. Commitment We choose a 
specific new emotional 

6. Non-Being Awareness; We cease to 

direction and begin to actuate 

discriminate between the state of non- 

that state. 

thought non-awareness and any 

independenOy constructed sense of 

7. Action; We facilitate and 

Self- v« come to Identify ourselves 

support the nevJy chosen 

with this state and thus develop a 

state with reinforcing actions. 

subjectve submersion In "non-being." 

thoughts, bellels, experiences, 

7. Non-Being Non-Awareness; Where 

self-awareness and other-avisreness - 

and any acl<noAiedgerrent of subject 

and object - completely evaporate. 


r.Co/lJns Logan 

Every spiritual tradition has different descriptions and numbers of 
developmental states, stations or stages, and usually details other 
subsets of characteristics - emphasizing heart over mind, mind over 
heart, transcendent sense over heart and mind, etc. However, the 
contemplative-emotive model occurs in nearly all of them. Without 
being distracted by self- consciousness, we can use it to track our 
exploration of the unknown. Try implementing emotional 
transformation as part of mystical practice by journaling your 
epiphanies, intuitions and self- discoveries, then committing to act 
from each new altitude of understanding. Evaluate the results after 
following through and decide if you want to support each new 
direction. In the contemplative vein, advancing meditation will 
introduce you to all seven contemplative states, so journaling your 
progress there may also be helpful. At first, movement through 
emotional and contemplative threads will seem like separate 
experiences, and perhaps come in fits and starts. Over time, all of 
this will merge into one concurrent, interwoven cord that draws you 
ever onward. As new consciousness becomes comprehension, 
comprehension becomes doing, doing becomes being, and being 

The next table contrasts some spiritually healthy and spimually 
unhealthy emotional states — that is, conditions of heart that either 
contribute to, or interfere with, our spiritual evolution. These are 
especially useful in initiating cycles of emotional transformation. 
Consider some recent events in your life. Have your reactions been 
spiritually healthy ones? Are there some particular areas you would 
like to improve? In mysticism we discover a calm center from which 
we can deliberately choose how to interact with others, and through 
which we nourish ourselves so that we won't become distracted or 
depleted. Regardless of the path we choose - intuition exercises, 
mystic activators. Just for Today reflections, or some combination 
that works for us - such disciplines will help reinforce all that is 
spiritually healthy within us. With persistence, we are able to 
perfect acceptance, kindness and compassion first for ourselves and 
then for everyone and everything around us. Quiescent in this 
unconditional love-consciousness, we are then able to make wise 
and discerning choices much more consistently. 


Essential Mysticisni 

Spiritual Health of Emotional States 

Spiritually Healthy State 

Spiritually Unhealthy State 

Courage to defend the Vi«ll-being of Self 
and others, with patience and 

Indignant, self-righteous rage, which is 
easily provoked and unconcerned about 
the darrege It inflicts 

Compassionate desire to nourish others 
with wsdom and i<indness, while at the 
same time sustaining our own well- 

Conpulslve need to rescue others 

without considering our ovinvi«ll-belng 
orv^at Is truly best for those being 

Love that has no conditions or 
expectations attached to It, and that 
patiently accepts another's 

A desire to control disguised as 
attention and devotion, but which 
Impatlentiy demands speclflc 

Self-contralled orderirtg of effort 
according to what Is most important (via 
spiritual discemrrent and intuitive 

Inpulsive SLbrrission to every urgent or 
self-indulgentwhim without a thought for 
what Is important 

Patience for, and an attempt to 
understand, those who oppose or 
antagonize us 

Fear, paranoia and hatred of things we 
do not understand 

Gratitude and forgiveness 

Resentment and cSvisiveness 

Acceptance and lexlbllltyviith whatever 
comes our way 

Resistance to change and panic when 
things seemout of control 

Honesty and openness 

ANAJidance, denial and deception 

Peaceful and supportive Internal 

Chaotic and demeaning Internal 

Admiration and encouragement 

J ealousyand criticism 

Contentment In any situation, rich or 
poor, because our focus Is on human 
relationships and developing a v^alth of 
spiritual understanding 

Greed and avarice: a compelling desire 
to possess rreterial power and wealth 

Guilt and shame, Vihlch resolves Into 
hurvTility and a renev^d commitment to 
groiMh and maturity 

Perpetual, unresolved guilt and shame, 
which Injures self-esteem and cripples 
any ability to change 

Vulnerable and joyful sharing of sexual 
Intimacy in the context of responsible 

Wanton lust: an immersion In carnality 
without considering emotional or 
spiritual consequences 

[\^Litual inspiration to greater 
achievement through fair-spirited 
competition- or better yet, cooperation 

Egotistcal competitiveness, which 
craves victory at any cost 

Confidence with hurrillty 

Self-aggrandizing arrogance 

Taking pleasure In the success of 

Taking pleasure In the suffering of 

l-lope and faith In positive outcorres 

Despair and pessimism: presuming 


r.Co/lJns Logan 

One the one hand, intuitive promptings and mystical epiphanies 
have httle value if they are not integrated into our self-awareness 
and the purpose and choices of our daily lives. On the other, if we 
are forever trying to interpret, define and compartmentalize our 
moments of enlightenment, we may prevent the enrichment of our 
being by holding on to them too tightly. Ideally, we will continually 
commit ourselves to actualizing what we encounter in the mystic, 
while at the same time refreshing our habit of letting go. In this way 
we can enjoy the delightful and surprising consequences of our new 
freedoms without becoming attached to them. 

Stages of Being 

Spiritual evolution is difficult to quantify and is as diverse as 
humanity itself; however, there are some watershed events that 
practitioners of many different traditions have observed. One 
byproduct of the perpetual physiological/experiential/spiritual tug- 
of-war within us is that we may find ourselves cychng through these 
evolutions over and over again. Our only real achievement may be 
in how conscious we are of the stages we are passing through at any 
given moment, or in the varying amount of effort required to rectify 
a regressive drift. Sometimes, we plateau at one stage for months — 
or even years - before continuing on. In my own behef system, our 
spiritual progress may take many lifetimes. But no matter where I 
presume myself to be, reflecting on these descriptions often helps 
identify my next horizon. 

1. Childhood - The starting point of ignorance. Here we are 
concerned mostly with primitive urges and self-gratification, 
with barely a hint of spiritual perception. This is a fairly self- 
protective phase, while at the same time impulsively 
adventurous. We are dependent on externals and recklessly 
reactive, seeking pleasure and ego reinforcement above all else. 

2. First Questions — We now start sincerely questioning what is, 
and engage our first insightful surprises about our environment 
and ourselves. We experience awe and inspiration, and new 

^ See Pyro micf of SeJ/ in the AppEiidix 


Essential Mysticisni 

questions keep arising in us. We suspect there is more to life 
than stimulation and pleasure, and more to ourselves than 
animal impulses. This can be unsettling and bewildering, and 
we may reach out for someone or something to guide us - a 
mentor, a cultural tradition, or a structured system of belief. 

3. First Awakening - We are now exposed to our first knowledge 
beyond the materially obvious - perhaps as a spiritual epiphany 
or as an unexpected sense of healing or wholeness - and we 
often react to this with willful resistance. After first tasting awe, 
we may disregard the raw and powerful insights and emotions 
triggered by the implications of Spirit, Fear and other primitive 
impulses quickly assert themselves. As a result, we may rebel 
against our current beliefs, guides or mentors and seek 
distraction and solace in more primitive behaviors. 

4. Comtnittnent to Exploration - Given some time to rebel and 
relax, we overcome initial resistance and eventually revisit our 
enhanced awareness and sense of discovery. We decide to 
follow through on those nagging impulses to explore Spirit. 
Instead of fear, we now experience euphoric excitement, even 
while encountering the same insights, ideas and emotions that 
once frightened us, A feeling of belonging to something greater 
permeates us, and we investigate with eagerness. 

5. Challenge to Character - Now we encounter seemingly 
insurmountable obstacles, causing us to stumble and flounder. 
We suddenly realize this journey may be more difficult than we 
expected. Disappointment causes hesitation, and, beleaguered 
by uncertainties, we might even give up for a time. Spiritual 
obsen'ations and internal shifts of perspective may become too 
disorienting or seem completely absurd. We may grow numb, 
or tired, and once again lose our tolerance of risk and our thirst 
for insight. We may abandon many of our initial hopes about 
the world and ourselves. We may resist accepting responsibility 
for our own spiritual well-being and seek comfort or escape. 

6. Recommitment - Out of our doubts and wariness we return 
like prodigal offspring to our journey. We accept the limitations 


r.Co/lJns Logan 

we have uncovered, even as we begin to move beyond them. 
We take responsibihty for the health of our soul and cultivate 
our first sincere emotional, mental and spiritual disciplines, 
refining all our senses even as we wean ourselves of dependence 
on them. We may grieve over our shedding of innocence and 
the new weight of accountability we feel. There may be 
emotional pain or existential anxiety over uncomfortable 
changes, but still we move forward. And as we learn 
compassion for ourselves, we also develop stronger empathy for 
others. This, rather than spiritual thirst, is what drives us now. 

7, Potential Derailment - A subtle but persistent inflation of 
ego arises within our newfound spiritual confidence. If left 
unexamined, this can become arrogance. Our journey may now 
be derailed by pride and over confidence, and although we feel 
increasingly informed and empowered, we are really returning 
to our earliest stage of self-protective ignorance and attachment 
to the pleasure of our achievements. Our beliefs become a 
facade for self-indulgence, and we can substantially lose our 
way in any number of distractions and delusions. 

8, First Freedoms - At some point an unexpected event reminds 
us of humility, allowing us to see, perhaps for the first time, 
how little we really know, how self-absorbed we are, and how 
short a way we have actually come. A sense of humor is useful 
here, so we can chuckle at all the serious certainties we have 
held so dearly. We begin to completely let go, offering the 
outcome of anything we do to the good of All. Ego doesn't 
compete for our attention as it once did. We set ourselves free 
from attitudes of needy attachment and discover authentic 
compassion and objective affection for Self, others, and the 
realms of Nature and Spirit, In humility, we now become more 
transparent and open to new ways of being, and several forms 
of spiritual cognizance may erupt simultaneously within us. 

9, Spiritual Self-Sufficiency — Although we still have our own 
identity and ego, these lose importance to us as we become less 
captivated by our ideas of "self." At the same time, we cease 
searching outside ourselves for truth, wisdom or strength, and 
our emotional and spiritual self-reliance grows. We can now 


Essential Mysticisni 

dwell fully in the present, becoming absolutely comfortable with 
the current moment. A patient, empathetic and kind 
disposition springs forth from us with ease, and a renewed 
clarity of purpose permeates our day-to-day life. We continue 
the very difficult work of healing ourselves on the most 
fundamental levels, often with an unnerving honesty and 
insight. And we share that heahng with others through how we 
unselfconsciously are - as opposed to what we consciously do. 
Any lingering ui^e to be judgmental or even differentiate 
between people vanishes. We embrace profound respect and 
admiration for all things, and spontaneously manifest an 
encouraging and edifying presence for everything and everyone 
in our lives. 

10. Union and Alienation — Barriers to our communion with All 
that Is break down completely. Enduring connection with 
every aspect of the Sacred - our True Self, the realms of 
Nature, other people, spiritual intelligences, and even the 
unimagined and unknowable - becomes simple and transparent 
to us. Because of this connection, we understand more clearly 
the characteristics of our shared human condition, the purpose 
of Spirit, and the patterns of creation all around us. Our 
wisdom deepens. Our own spiritual directedness is sharpened. 
This can be isolating, because many of the mundane habits in 
which we heartily engaged (and which others we care about 
may still think important) lose their allure. Also, our wisdom 
and assertions, though clear and obvious to us, might seem like 
nonsense to others. Because of this, we may feel alienated, sad, 
or even agitated and angry - despite the wonders and miracles 
we constantly seem to be witnessing. And so we should pay 
special attention to nourishing and nurturing ourselves on every 
level, remaining committed to our spiritual practice and sharing 
our journey with other spiritually minded people, 

11. The Great Choice - At this stage we are faced with a decision: 
to remain engaged with the world - that is, society with its 
acquisitive and sensual orientation - or to exit the world. In 
pan, this is influenced by our commitments to partnership, 
family and community. It is nevertheless tempting to sharply 


r.Co/lJns Logan 

reduce interaction with the physical realm, perhaps because we 
have become so intensely aware of conditions and forces at 
work within it, and because there are other ways of being now 
available to us. For example, we might wish to pursue 
continuous meditation and reflection, exploring new insights 
and awakenings without a care for what goes on around us. We 
might want to hermit ourselves away in the wilderness. We 
might be tempted to leave the material plane altogether. We 
realize we have complete freedom at this point (we have always 
had this potential, but now we fully understand it), but like any 
other type of personal empowerment, we hope to use our 
freedom wisely. At this milestone in our evolution we must 
reshape and renew the primary focus of our lives, even as we 
question the importance of who we are and what we do. 

12. Compassionate Service - However we remain in the world, 
we decide to help transform it, aligning ourselves with all that is 
healing, loving and creative. How can we encourage the 
spiritual life of others? How can we bring compassion and 
healing to the suffering? How can we contribute to works of 
good for All? We now act from a place of innately 
apprehending the answers to these questions. At this stage we 
are still susceptible to drifting from our course and might even 
revisit old patterns of thought and behavior. Why? Because 
even though we are more fully actuating our purpose, our 
commitment to the Sacred still benefits from daily renewal. 
Also, there can be pain over the continued stripping away of our 
previous conceptions of what is. We may even grieve over 
losing the spiritual excitement - or intimacy with previous 
conceptions of the Divine - we once experienced. What helps 
us most at this time is that although we no longer clutch at 
accomplishment for our sense of security, we continually 
actuate our newfound purpose. Paradoxically, this is both a 
time of challenging and far-reaching decisions, and an easy and 
commanding ability to act. And, of course, there are always a 
few deep-seated fears and vulnerabilities we continue to 
address, though fewer than when we began, I think this stage of 
being is almost like another childhood, where we stand on the 
threshold of a whole new type of journey, and a whole new 
approach to our existence. At the same time, it is the beginning 


Essential Mysticisni 

of true spiritual adulthood, where we have at long last learned 
the value of transcendent selflessness. 

13. Harmonized Existence - Like cresting a tremendous wave in 
our passage, we now enter into ever-deepening continuum of 
unconditional love-consciousness, and with it a comprehensive 
sense of peace and simphcity. We become like a piece of bread 
soaked with spiritual honey, perpetually replenished. All our 
goals and desires are consumed in the effortlessness of 
passionately and compassionately being. We have both nothing 
more to accomplish and an endless number of tasks before us, 
and there is only quiet contentment, unquestioning strength, 
and sincere humility in the face of the Absolute. Every action 
becomes a sharing of our essence, which in turn has come to 
identify itself with the essence of All Things. We more easily 
maintain a hyperextended, all-inclusive consciousness that 
prevents disruption or misdirection, and mundane doubts 
evaporate. Because of a now persistent contentment, infusive 
joy and overall spiritual health, we often don't think to look 
further. However, as with many previous stages of being, the 
next horizon may come upon us suddenly and unbidden, and 
all that we require to meet it is patience, resolve and courage. 

14. Consummate Acquiescence - We tend to squirm away from 
the first glimpses of this stage, just as we may have avoided 
others early on, because it challenges and dissolves the last 
vestiges of our identity - both personal and Universal. Even 
subjective identification with the Absolute is displaced by 
something more distilled: an ever-present All-Being that 
pierces the very quiddity of existence. Here we encounter the 
bedrock of reality where we completely inhabit our own soul; 
that is, we submerge ourselves in the entirety of the Divine 
Spark itself, with all its infinite possibilities. We no longer 
know, or feel, or sense — we become. Where previously our lives 
were infused with unconditional compassion, now the will to 
love is eradicated within a raw, unadorned presence of the Most 
Sacred: there is no will, there are only the foundations of things 
— of love, and will, and even the Life Force itself- in which we 
flow and which flow through us. Like a cup of water emptied 


r.Co/lJns Logan 

into a lake, we have utterly forgotten Self, becoming both the 
lake and the empty cup. All barriers are gone - all 
predispositions, all fears, all aspirations, all measurements; even 
thought itself is subjugated to completely being. There cannot 
be differentiation any longer: the farthest reaches of the 
Universe are equal to the nearest object; a sense of vastness is 
equivalent to a sense of closeness; the beginnings and ends of 
space-time have no reference other than elemental continuity; 
the order and relationship of All that Is melts into an entirety 
which transcends the cosmos itself. Even nothingness and 
somethingness - even life and death - share common ground in 
our awareness. It is no small understatement to say that this 
letting go is impossible to put into words, nor can the far- 
reaching spiritual benefit of living from such a state easily be 
described. But this stage is available to everyone, is a natural 
occurrence, and, like all that has gone before, it has always been 
within us. 

Is there more? I am certain there is much more. There are 
undoubtedly aspects of our journey that reach even beyond the 
Absolute, Perhaps the Universe itself is but a bubble floating on an 
endless sea, and the Infinite is but one pebble among millions in a 
transdimensional landscape beyond imagining. We must 

continually question and remain open. And as our hearts expand in 
all directions at once to encompass what we can never completely 
understand, the most incredible and the most ordinary will keep 
calling to us from the core of our being, echoing an eternal "Yes!" 

The Nuances of Synchronicity 

Synchronicity in day-to-day life can indicate many things. Early on 
in our mystical practice, we might notice a confluence of fortuitous 
events that enhances our spiritual course. It feels like a universal 
matching funds program: opportunities and resources we could 
never have anticipated appear with ease; doors open and walls 
disappear. Often, we create this flow with the quality of our 
intentions and the neutrality of our will. Later in our journey, 
synchronicity may indicate other things: that certain choices 


Essential Mysticisni 

resonate strongly with our True Self, for instance; or that we are 
propagating harmony for the benefit of others. But as we mature, 
external synchronism tends to markedly diminish, replaced by 
internal and subtle congruities that are far more important to our 
own growth and the well-being of the Whole. Eventually, the 
miraculous appears to become an exclusively inward spiral, 
demanding utmost patience, attentiveness and humility. 

There is danger in appreciating synchronicity as accomplishment. 
If we obsess over synchronistic events, fortifying our self-esteem 
with them, a counterproductive state I call dissonant spiritual 
feedback is induced. The more we build confidence and security 
around synchronicity, the louder and more unbearable the 
squealing distortions of our desires and mystical insights can 
become. As a result, we may lose ourselves in needy self-obsession 
and stunt our spiritual growth. Appreciating helpful coincidence is 
not about justifying that we are good people, that our will is 
powerful, or that we are on the right evolutionary track; it is about 
celebration and gratitude when serendipity arrives, then 
immediately letting go and flowing onward. In the end, the greatest 
confirmation of spiritual progress is not the accidental or 
inexplicable, but a generous temperament of heart, a clarity of 
mind, and a spirit that is as centered and tranquil as it is passionate. 

Self-Awareness, Self-Esteem and Self-Nourishment 

Mysticism helps us understand who we really are, disrupting our 
egoistic illusions in favor of the most genuine Self. Every belief 
about ourselves is challenged, and personas we have constructed to 
cope with an unreceptive world are cast aside. What remains is a 
self-perception forged from discernment, honesty and openness. As 
we come to know ourselves more intimately, we comprehend the 
glorious Light of our own being and the beauty and awe of Life 
itself. Our sense of wellness, contentment and harmony with All 
Things firmly establishes a confident self-esteem. We no longer 
rely on self-indulgent antics, controlling our surroundings, the 
affections of others, achieving some material goal, or any other 


r.Co/lJns Logan 

fulfillment of external expectations to feel complete or worthy. We 
become entirely self-reliant, and anxiety, fear and want are 
supplanted with thankfulness and compassion. Because of our 
contact with the foundations of things, with the underlying reahties 
of our own existence and purpose in this life, we have an ever- 
expanding comprehension of the Self-in-All. This sets us free, and 
in that freedom we arrive at both serenity and a vigilant and 
perpetual love-in-action, which in turn nourishes us and everything 
around us in countless ways. 

The Cycle of Personal Groiath 

Increased awareness 

of our strengths, limitations, 

and the many facets of Self 


Internal rewards of progressing 

intD higher stages of being and 

the spiritual and perceptual 

expansion inherent 

ta thatprogress 


Improved compassion 
for ourselves and others 
and actions that nourish 
and support self-esteem 

Motivation to work 

for the good of All 

< — outof growing respect, 

gratitude, and emotional 


To whatever extent we commit ourselves to mystical practice, we 
are rewarded with a charitable kindness for the True Self we come 
to know. There are certainly many other avenues we could take to 
increase self-knowledge, but few provide the clarity of 
understanding - or the consistent balance of humility and 
confidence - inherent to the mystic's way. As a component of 
integral practice or as a standalone investment in personal 
evolution, mysticism continually adds dimension to our being. This 
spurs us ever onward, and the natural byproduct of that growth is 
the enriching transformation of our relationships, our immediate 
environment and the Universe itself. 


Essential Mysticisni 

What Happens To Our Relationships? 

As a mystic, we love our friends without attachment — without 
clinging to them or our own ideas of what relationship is. Honesty 
never makes us feel vulnerable, and careful hstening is never fraught 
with impatience, because we have let go of superficiality. When we 
celebrate the present moment of companionship - as opposed to an 
anticipated outcome of that moment, or some distant expectation of 
what our friendship might provide - it is our willingness to invest 
right now that reaps the most precious rewards. Because we are 
emotionally and spiritually self-reliant, we resist becoming 
dependent or codependent, and we are clear about what healthy, 
mutual compassion and nourishment look and feel like. We don't 
fall into emotionally rescuing others, but are open to sharing tools 
that will help people help themselves, for we know that every 
person's well-being is ultimately their own responsibility. And we 
don't inadvertently overtax, abuse or misuse our friends, because we 
have joyful consideration for them as part of the All we fervently 
esteem as Self 

Most importantly, we recognize and accept that we won't receive 
the sustenance we most deeply crave from other people. This 
would be like relying on any other external thing for our happiness. 
On the other hand, the strength we derive from each other can be 
an enormous benefit during this wonderful shared journey, and 
having a supportive community within which to trade ideas and 
experiences generates surprising synergies for the good of All. So, 
while it is never spiritually healthy to yearn intensely for either 
isolation or community, it is always beneficial to have a balance of 
solitude and inspiring friendships and social environments. The 
mystic's exposure to community will change with time: we may 
withdraw for a while to focus ourselves, and at other times celebrate 
life with others and give of ourselves in service. But the connection 
we have with a group or community is not what sustains us, nor is it 
our obligation to sustain others; it is instead our celebratory offering 
to the Universe to both give and receive. 


r.Co/lJns Logan 

Thus we maintain personal boundaries that are receptive and 
porous, but nevertheless clearly delineated and firm. I am not 
suggesting that students of mysticism enforce a safe emotional 
distance from others or avoid investing themselves in excitingly 
personal relationships, but rather that as mystics we commit fully 
and trust completely, without vanquishing our own innate gifts of 
nourishing ourselves and directing our own spiritual course. In this 
way the mystic increasingly manifests a genuine Self in the world, 
leaving behind past modes of dependence or codependence in favor 
of true interdependence. 

ChaUenging Our Assumptions 

One of the distinctive traits of the mystic's way is an almost 
continuous reassessment of just about everything in light of new 
mystical information. Whatever we have concluded in the past will 
be reshaped by successive realizations, and whatever we have held 
onto for a sense of self-importance crumbles as mystical awareness 
invites us in new directions. At the least, this can be unnerving and 
disorienting; at the worst, depressing or even paralyzing. This is 
why we must keep moving. Mystical practice is not a destination, 
but a process of constant renewal. To whatever degree we sustain 
and integrate nondual consciousness - a gnosis of the Absolute — 
into our daily life, the constructs and illusions we previously rehed 
upon to navigate this world will dissolve into the present moment's 

Most of us reflexively assess value and construct meaning in an 
unconscious way. We resist the neutrality of events - that they are 
simply what they are until we create meaning around them. 
Mystical practice promotes a state of mind and heart that is 
detached from automatic interpretations of reality, is secure in itself, 
and is able to let go of apparent absolutes in favor of more subtle 
and provisional associations. We may come to precisely the same 
conclusions as those suggested by cultural conditioning, spiritual 
teachings, or the writings of great philosophers. But we will 
comprehend them much more fully, appreciating the imphcations 


Essential Mysticism 

and rationale firsthand, as opposed to conforming unquestioningly 
to habit, tradition, or someone else's ideas. 

The following two charts illustrate the transition between an 
habitual mode of evaluation while navigating new situations, and a 
more conscious mode of evaluation encouraged by mystical 
awareness. Through actively assigning meaning, we greet each 
experience with unconditional acceptance, and a new confidence 
emerges: that we can deliberately decide the value of something 
instead of accepting what our automatic thinking tells us. Such a 
state of neutral awareness - leading first to unconditional 
acceptance, then to an intentionally interdependent construction of 
meaning - empowers us to exit the prison of our own confusion and 
arrogance and open ourselves to zohat is, right nozv. 

Passive Assignment of Meaning 

Initial Learning 


Habitual Thinkmg 


Avoid Questioning 


Reject or suppress new 



=^ NO 



Internal and External 

Values Formation 


Beliefs and 




Does It Confomito 


Beliefs and Assurptions? 



Reject Information, 

orviHlt passively fcr 

guidance that conforms 

to existing beliefs 

and assumptions 



Accept and incorporate 


Active Assignment of Meaning 

T.Collms Lagan 

Initial Learning 


Mlndfjl AtteDtior 


C ODtinue Questionirg 



Internal and External 


Values Formation 


Beliefs and 



E valuatio n : 

Does It Conform to 


Beliefs and Assumptions? 


<) u t !tl(i n w h ( th is it ( 1 i Id 
ii trij I , J n a K li f 11 m i Hi ts 

C (n sill 1 r tlii fi ssit ilii; 

[f r[ furl ing bf lis h 

tg loci rp D [3t! 

n(* iniD rm stitn 



SLspend sense 
of certainty about 

and remain open 

The Nature of Evil 

Here are some broad categories of what could be defined as "evil." 
Each category describes a behavior pattern, but more important are 
the intentions behind that pattern. Such patterns and intentions do 
not enhance or support spiritual evolution (already proposed as the 
definitive "good of All"), but rather seek to undermine and oppose 
it. We can observe these evidences in ourselves or others, but 
observation and identification should not equate a judgmental 
attitude. These descriptions are not intended to condemn any 
individual or group; on the contrary, all souls struggle in their own 
way to understand themselves, and each of us shares the same 
potential for stumbling in the dark. In addition, some of these 
habits may indicate underlying physiological issues or mental 
illness. However, I believe whoever knowingly practices such 


Essential Mysticisni 

destructive behaviors, or deliberately influences others to practice 
them, has consciously or unconsciously set themselves against all 
that is good in the Universe. This can only lead to suffering. 

® Willful Ignorance. Perhaps the most common malady of 
humanity is to intentionally and stubbornly maintain ignorance. 
We will deny responsibility for our actions. We will strive and 
struggle and beat our heads against a wall, never pausing to 
consider if there is a better way. We will run away from every 
truth our heart tries to teach us. We will endlessly repeat the 
same mistakes and injuries, and insist that nothing is wrong. 
We will submit to every whim and impulse and never question 
why. We will forget completely who we are, and pile thick 
layers of hateful mud around the pleading cries of our own soul. 
We will expend all our energies in distraction and never relax 
into the present moment. There are many different 
circumstances and conditions that lead to this state, but the 
most common seems to be a strong attachment to pain, self- 
punishment and despair (the natural results of willful 
ignorance) because we have not learned compassion for 
ourselves or understood our purpose in this life. 

<Si Animalism. By this I mean a mistaken belief in the supremacy 
(as opposed to balanced integration) of the Animal in human 
beings. That is, that the most basic and self-serving of impulses 
should be celebrated and satisfied above any other, regardless of 
the cost to ourselves or the well-being of those around us. For 
most, this attachment to insatiable desire is part of an initial 
stage of being; it is a natural part of our early development. 
And so we must have compassion for ourselves and for others 
who face the constant pull of primitive impulses. But much 
harm has come into the world through animalists who, even 
though they are cognizant of the destructiveness of their 
behavior, have no desire or intention to transcend it. Thus, 
although all animalists victimize themselves, they are usually 
eager to draw others down with them in order to validate 
wanton pie a sure -see king. Evidence of animalism are responses 

^ See Pyramid of Self in App^K&x 


r.Co/lJns Logan 

like greed, self-serving ambition, covet ousness, selfishness, 
uncontrollable lust, jealousy, destructive anger, aggressive 
competitiveness, inability to manage thoughtless impetus, and 
an unabashed and loveless abandonment to the most primal 
aspects of Self. 

Invalidation. Invalidators try to make other people wrong. 
This has many different forms, the more subtle of which are 
perhaps the most damaging. Invalidation attempts to 
undermine spiritual evolution by trivializing, criticizing, teasing, 
or otherwise harassing and controlling anyone who seeks a 
healthier and higher Self. The invahdator's {often unconscious) 
objective is to interrupt further spiritual progress - or better yet, 
to lure someone into a previous stage of being. Just as an 
injured or trapped animal may gnaw at its own leg and lash out 
at others who try to help it, so too invalidators are likely acting 
from deep hurt or despair, and irrationally justify — or are 
willfully unaware of - the damage they are wreaking on 
themselves and others. Behind a false and defensive 
confidence, invalidators often ridicule and despise themselves 
even as they seek to dominate, control and tear other people 

Deceptive Manipulation. Like a madman who throws 
firebrands, airows and death, so is the man who deceives his 
neighbor, and says, "Was I not joking? " Deceptive manipulation 
hates the truth, seeking to confuse what is spiritually healthy 
with what is spiritually unhealthy. A facade of charismatic and 
popular facts may paint a persuasive but incomplete picture, 
encouraging victims to march enthusiastically to their own 
destruction - or in useless circles. Like invalidation, at the 
heart of this futility we find fear, self-loathing and lust for 
control. Frequently the byproduct of a deeper psychological 
pathology, such behavior can be compulsive, deliberate or both. 

Legalism. When malevolent intent is transparent, it is easiest 
to identify and transform. But it is more difficult to recognize 
when hidden beneath apparent conformance and propriety, or 
within actions that seem easily defended as being "within the 
law" or "in the best interest of all," yet clearly lacking in any 


Essential Mysticisni 

real empathy or compassion. This outward conformance to 
what is superficially right is the core of legalism. Legalism has 
reared its self-righteous head in nearly every spiritual tradition 
in human history. At some point, the laudable intentions of a 
tradition's values are corrupted into inflexible regulations and 
restrictive edicts, primarily so that a select few in an artificial 
hierarchy can have power over others. For that is what legahsm 
is all about: creating and maintaining power. Once again, this 
doesn't define those unwittingly trapped in a rigid system of 
social, religious or political rules as "evil," but anyone who is 
conscious of a systemic compulsion to subjugate others, and 
happily operates within the corrupt falsehood of legalism, will 
certainly smother the Divine Spark within. 

® Empty Habit. Very subtle and easy to fall into, empty habit 
excises all value and joy from spiritual practice, and eventually 
from life itself. There are contemplative states in which the goal 
is detachment, and this can be very constructive as a conscious 
objective. But when we detach from life because we have 
forgotten our purpose, become emotionally shut down through 
inattentiveness, or withdraw into ourselves because we have 
been wounded in some way, we create empty habits. This is 
why constant renewal and mindful practice are so important: to 
pay attention to what we are doing and why, every day and with 
every breath, and to resist complacency and laziness in our self- 
awareness. Sometimes, when we have fallen out of love- 
consciousness, the momentum and structure of our spiritual 
practice may still continue — even as we doubt there was ever 
any love in us or the Universe. At the darkest depths of empty 
habit, it might even appear that the power of our beliefs is but 
fantasy and delusion. Yet if such moments can be transformed 
into advanced contemplative states, we can begin again fi-om 
the void of not-knowing, waiting with patience for renewed 
Light to shine out from our soul, and new meaning to blossom 
in our hearts. 

How do we respond to evil? The great spiritual teachers tell us with 
patience and genuine compassion. After all, another soul buried 
under layers of pain and illusion is no different than our own. But 


r.Co/lJns Logan 

the shape and timing of appropriate action must be sought through 
careful reflection and spiritual discernment, and is always a matter 
of courage balanced with modesty. When there is no guile in us, 
when our convictions are formed by Universal objectives, and when 
our sincere intent is not to injure or malign anyone but to restore 
people to themselves, then we will naturally expose spiritual 
antagonists for what they are. Even then, the Light we cast around 
us does not accuse or attack with bilious fervor; it lifts up wisdom 
and an unpretentious example of evolutionary being, gently warns 
of unheeded consequences, and then lets go. For why would a 
mystic be interested in controlling another's decisions? Ultimately, 
we all must bear the burdens of our past and present choices alone. 

Through ongoing mystical practice, we can become filters of 
positive transformation, humbly healing what is broken instead of 
striving against it. Sometimes this will be the result of deliberately 
crafted artifacts of will - our actively blessing and binding those who 
curse Life or appear to counteract spiritual evolution. At other 
times positive change will be a natural outgrowth of who and how 
we are from moment-to-moment, or a long-term result of vigilantly 
fulfilling our purpose. And sometimes the cause and effect of 
curative synthesis will be a complete mystery that goes unnoticed or 
is quickly forgotten. But every step we take down the mystic's way 
is a choice to amplify Love and Light in the Universe, and every 
skill, insight or empowerment we embrace in that journey can lend 
itself to the good of All. Although the effort of creation is more 
gradual and understated than the suddenness of destruction, this is 
how injurious influences are in due course overwhelmed by the 

Staying On Track 

How can we overcome our resistance to progressing through 
different stages of being? How can we keep taking one small step 
after another through a difficult journey of self-transformation? 
How can we maintain positive expectations? How can we become 
ever more intimate with the Sacred? How can we avoid the traps of 


Essential Mysticisni 

denial and delusion? Our justifications and modes of operation may 
change over time, but daily mystical practice as guided by the 
golden intention offers constant support: an ever-expanding love- 
consciousness, increasing trust in spiritual sensitivities, a clearer 
view of interdependencies in and around us, and much more. 
Through disciplines of heart, mind, spirit and will we nourish and 
sustain our spiritual Self and bless our surroundings, and our sense 
of contentment, wellness and generosity will continually inspire 
greater harmony. Through action springing from deeper 
understanding and connection, we affirm our own transformation. 
Through letting go of all attachment to such affirmation, we 
discover an infinite capacity to grow. Through growing in every 
dimension of our being, we become the object of our intention. 

By attempting we become, by becoming we are, by being we cease 
all attempts to become. Once this evolutionary process is 
embedded in our consciousness, we are compelled to keep evolving. 
There will still be hurdles — created by circumstance and our own 
inattention - which inform our course with ever more humility and 
letting go. But we need only return to stillness and emptiness ior 
answers. In the meantime, if we concentrate on incremental 
practice, the ocean will appear just as vast, but our sense of safety 
and ability to navigate will improve with each dip of the paddle, and 
the rushing splendor of every crest and trough will lose its 
foreboding and offer us thriUing joy instead. 

Enhancing Discernment 

With every choice, a mystic reinforces the quality of their intentions 
and their hope for positive change. Yet as we mature, what often 
begins as blissful serendipity increasingly incurs sober responsibility. 
To know our own soul is a joyful thing, but also a powerful thing 
demanding humble integrity. Although it is true that a sincere 
motivation ahgns us with the Source of Light and Life, intention 
alone cannot repair a decision made in willful ignorance of available 
information, or excuse a careless impulse that results in inadvertent 
harm. At the onset of our journey, we will be somewhat insulated 
from our own ineffective stumbling and hngering pride by the 


r.Co/lJns Logan 

momentum of a mystic ally -informed course. But at some point 
there will be a transition into spiritual adulthood where we fully 
embrace personal accountability for every thought, emotion and 
action. Essentially, it is a time when the Universe seems to expect 
us to have learned something, and to apply that learning to our day- 
to-day lives. This is where discernment can aid us. 

Recognizing and trusting our discernment comes through practice. 
At first, we may seek a mentor to help us understand the process, 
and synchronicity will hkely buttress our decisions. But we cannot 
rely on these externals to guide us forever. An intellectual 
understanding of discernment will also fail us, because just as with a 
gnosis of the Absolute, it is only through diligent and multifaceted 
interior discipline that we encounter ahas that illuminate 
consciousness and encourage our spirit. Discernment is also 
consistently dynamic; it seldom rests in previous conclusions, but 
champions nuance, ambiguity and holism. Like all that mysticism 
embraces, it is elastic, often fleeting, and can only be experienced 
directly. We could even say that comprehending the exact nature of 
discernment requires, well. ..discernment. 

Many factors will combine into moments of discerning insight. 
Here are examples of some critical input streams: 




Instinct and 
Wisdom of i-"" 

Intuition & Emotional IntelllgencB 
I "I'sticai , 

Each input stream requires separate attention and refinement, and 
although all of them are innate processes, in the modern world there 
is often little encouragement to nurture them. After all, how often 


Essential Mysticisni 

do we really listen to what our bodies are trying to tell us? And the 
wisdom of our life experience may sometimes contradict what we 
learn in school or the latest advice from media talk shows. Our 
intuition may be ridiculed or dismissed by coworkers, family 
members and sometimes even friends. And mystical awareness will 
present challenging and paradoxical information, in part because it 
has a different orientation than other input streams. Where instinct, 
intuition and experiential wisdom tend to weigh individual choices 
and concerns of the moment, mystical awareness penetrates 
Universal trends and eternal consequences. Now consider that all 
of these may not readily agree with each other - at least not on the 
surface - and discernment can seem impossible to synergize. 
However, as we filter each contribution through the golden 
intention, with sincere confidence that the good of All will be 
served, our discernment has an anchor and a filter, so that the 
implications of each choice becomes unquestionably clear. 

And once again we come full circle to the heart of the mystic's way: 
letting go. By releasing our certainty about what is, what our ego 
demands of us, and even what our past successes have taught us, we 
invite lucidity and synchronization into current consciousness. By 
relaxing our dependence on intellect and physical sense, we enter a 
Sacred inner space where the broadest possible context for our 
actions is revealed. By letting go of personal attachment to 
outcomes - and the dominance of any one input stream — disparate 
information merges into unified insight. 

For me, the quickest route to this unification is meditation. 
Difficult conundrums melt away when the mind is quieted and I am 
no longer so attached to thoughts and feelings. What swiftly arises is 
not only distilled vision, but also the underlying principles 
supporting that vision. Sometimes this can only be explained as an 
inexplicable "knowing." At other times, in a flash of 

interconnection, things fit together in ways that make rational sense. 
And, of course, there is the final necessity of following through. 
When we support true discernment with action, our wisdom is 
confirmed and our faith in mystical methodologies deepens. 
Without follow -thro ugh, we may endure the same confirmations, 
but without the immediate benefit of spiritually healthy outcomes. 



Whether as a species, an amalgamation of cuhures, or as part of a 
global organism, humanity is evolving. As more and more 

individuals interact with the mystic continuum through disciplined 
consciousness, the movement of that evolution becomes evermore 
self-aware. Are we poised on the brink of a major transformation? 
My intuition tells me that the larger the number of adherents to 
such a belief, the more likely transformation will occur. Ultimately, 
it is the choice of the individual to actively contribute to the 
betterment of the Whole, and a critical mass of positive intention 
can only enhance pervasive change. 

Clearly, one question in every moment is whether or not to exist for 
a reason. Do we wish to live in harmony with ourselves, each other 
and the Natural Realm, or promote dissonance, division and 
destruction? Is a higher order of existence a desirable outcome, or 
is entropy somehow more attractive? There seem to be implied 
opposites here, a dualitj' that defies interdependent being or Divine 
immanence. But this perceived duality is a state of mind. There 
are only gradations of intention - conformance, resistance and 
impartiahty are but variable gears in the vast mechanisms of the 
inevitable. If we do not decide for ourselves, there is a high 
likelihood that our course will be set for us, or that we will be 
influenced without knowing it. If we do decide how to proceed 
through life, the ultimate outcome of Unity cannot be thwarted, for 


Essential Mysticisni 

it already exists in the past, present and future. What mysticism 
confirms is that we are all already One, with every individual 
contributing superlative uniqueness to the Whole. Each of us 
merely embraces this reality to varying degrees. 

As for our personal efforts, the Universe does not tolerate stasis for 
long, and the energies in and around us constantly excite 
metamorphosis in everything else. The only meaningful constant is 
the quality of our consciousness as we engage perpetual change. 
We cannot always know, but we can become, and mystical 
awareness leads us to places where the very best of our humanity 
fully inhabits the now and energizes our spiritual progress. Along 
the mystic's way, we can choose continuous personal growth as our 
privilege, unconditional love as our passion, and the good of All as 
our greatest responsibility. Beyond this hes the freedom of a joyful, 
creative mystery. 

What might a spiritually evolved humanity look like? Or what 
would happen if there were a decline in cumulative consciousness? 
Although many mystics and philosophers have tried to answer these 
questions, an unspecific but probable conclusion is that we will be 
surprised either way - pleasantly in the case of a deep 
harmonization of human civilization with the All, unpleasantly in 
the case of cultural atavism. About the only prediction I would 
make is that a continued acceleration away from heart time and spirit 
time into an increasingly frenetic head time will disable soulful self- 
examination and a balanced approach to life. When we process, 
evaluate and plan with intellect only, paying undue attention to the 
loudest and most hurried voices within and without, we cut 
ourselves off from a more gradual blossoming of holistic wisdom 
and the gentle whispers of true discernment. 

To allow for spiritual growth, I suspect that the engines of material 
progress need to idle a bit. A continued aggressive adoption of 
Western-style industriahsm, commercialism and consumerism will 
assuredly retard the evolution of our planet - or perhaps hasten it in 
ways that undermine human participation. But regardless of our 
chosen course, there will continue to be plateaus and hurdles for 
both the individual and the collective. No substantive change can 


r.Co/lJns Logan 

occur without us facing our greatest fears, weaknesses and 
antagonisms, and even expanded awareness and spiritual acumen 
will not soften the lessons we must learn in order to mature. 

I can imagine a world where there is no illness, no famine, no 
violence, no poverty, no sorrow. ..but I can also imagine a world full 
of even more insanity, destruction and pain than currently exists. 
Come heaven or hell, my duty is clear: I can either contribute all 
that I am through the golden intention, or dissipate my energy in 
egocentric futility. As a mystic I beheve that the Universe conspires 
in favor of my consciousness, and that my consciousness conspires 
in favor of the Universe. In this way I can joyfully participate in 
whatever comes, and help transform suffering with love. I am 
accountable only to myself in this, and the inexorable forces of Life 
and Light will either include me in the next great stage of being, or 
discard this manifestation as an inadaptable relic. For now, I can 
only hope to be a primitive iteration on its way to perfection, and 
trust that the briefest glimpses of all-inclusive harmony are a 
promise of things to come. 

Different Perspectives on Human Potential 

"...To go beyond thought and time - which means going beyond 
sorrow - is to be aware that there is a different dimension called 
love. But you don't know how to come to this extraordinary fount, 
so what do you do? If you don't know what to do, you do nothing, 
don't you? Absolutely nothing. Then inwardly you are completely 
silent. Do you understand what that means? It means that you are 
not seeking, not wanting, not pursuing; there is no center at all. 
Then there is love." 

- J, Krishnamurti 

"Love is patient, love is kind, love is not jealous. Love does not 
brag and is not arrogant. It always acts appropriately, and does not 
pursue things for selfish advantage. Love is not easily provoked, nor 
does it dwell on any wrongs it has suffered. It does not take 
pleasure in the wickedness of others, but rejoices in a life of truth, 


Essential Mysticisni 

Love endures all things, is continually trusting, never ceases to 
hope, and endures anything. Love never fails." 

- The Apostle Paul 

"With courage, vision, humor, and creativity, we can use our magic, 
our ability to change our consciousness, our world view, and our 
values to reinstate the living web of all interconnected life as the 
measure by which all choices are judged." 

- Starhawk 

"A friend once commented, 'Any fool can see that we are in a global 
ecological crisis. The question is, how do we make a fool care.' We 
make a fool care by encouraging the wise one to come forth. The 
wise one already cares. All that is required is that we honor and live 
by that shining wisdom which, despite our foolishness, passionately 
exists within us." 

- Catherine Ingram 

"The problem of thought therefore is to find out the right idea and 
the right way of harmony; to restate the ancient and eternal spiritual 
truth of the Self so that it shall re-embrace, permeate, dominate, 
transfigure the mental and physical life; to develop the most 
profound and vital methods of psychological self-discipline and self- 
development so that the mental and psychical life of man may 
express the spiritual life through the utmost possible expansion of its 
own richness, power and complexity; and to seek for the means and 
motives by which external life, society and institutions may remold 
themselves progressively in the truth of the spirit and develop 
towards the utmost possible harmony of individual freedom and 
social unity." 

— Sri Aurobindo 

"But surrendering to what? It really does not matter what we call it: 
God or the Tao or the Dharma or the Buddha or our true nature. 
They are all concepts anyway. It is the act of letting go, of 
surrendering, that matters. The very act of letting go opens us up 

— Dennis Genpo Merzel 


r.Co/lJns Logan 

"When we live in the dream of the planet, it is as if we are dead. 
Whoever sun'ives the initiation of the dead receives the most 
wonderful gift; the resurrection. To receive the resurrection is to 
arise from the dead, to be alive, to be ourselves again. The 
resurrection is to be like a child — to be wild and free, but with a 
difference. The difference is that we have freedom with wisdom 
instead of innocence." 

— Don Miguel Ruiz 

"Come to my door at any hour, even if your eyes are frightened by 
my light. My heart and arms are open and need no rest - they will 
always welcome you. Come in, my dear, from that harsh world that 
has rained elements of stone upon your tender face. Every soul 
should receive a toast from us for bravery! Bring all the bottles of 
wine you own to this divine table — the earth we share." 

- Hafiz (Daniel Ladinsky) 

"Merely situate yourself in nonaction, and things will evolve of 
themselves. Slough off your bodily form, dim your intelligence. 
Forget all relationships and things; join in the great commonality of 
boundlessness. Release your mind, free your spirit; be impassively 
soulless. The myriad things abound, yet each returns to its roots." 

- Chuang Tzu (Victor H. Mair) 

"Whoever with the devout intensity of their spirit is able to raise the 
Holy Spark from stone to plant, from plant to animal and from 
animal to speaking being will lead it to freedom. No setting free of 
captives is greater than this." 

- Baal Shem Tov 

"God's joy moves from unmarked box to unmarked box, from cell 
to cell. As rainwater, down into flowerbed. As roses, up from 
ground. Now it looks hke a plate of rice and fish, now a cliff 
covered with vines, now a horse being saddled. It hides within 
these, till one day it cracks them open," 

-Jelaluddin Rumi (Coleman Barks) 


Essential Mysticisni 

"To be a mystic is simply to participate tiere and now in that real 
and eternal life; in the fullest, deepest sense which is possible to 
man. It is to share, as a free and conscious agent - not as a servant, 
but as a son - in the joyous travail of the Universe: its mighty 
onward sweep through pain and glory towards its home in God." 

— Evelyn Underhill 

"If you do not know yourselves, then you live in poverty, and you 
are the poverty." 

— Gospel of Thomas 

"I am the seed that can be found in every creature... for without me 
nothing can exist, neither animate nor inanimate. But there is no 
end to my divine attributes. ..these I have mentioned are only a few. 
Wherever you find strength or beauty or spiritual power you may be 
sure that these have sprung from a spark of my essence. But of 
what use is it for you to know all this...? Just remember that I am, 
and that I support the entire cosmos with only a firagment of my 

— Bhagavad Gila (Eknath Easwaran) 

Concept Affinity: Love-Consciousness 


















The following are some questions that seem to surface again and 
again in my internal and communal mystical discourse. They can 
be used as starting points for mystical inquiry, the subject of 
meditation or group discussion, or reminders of the many facets of 
truth that reveal themselves as we explore the Infinite. 

1 . What distinguishes mystical experience from other types of 

2. Are all mystical experiences spiritual? 

3. What are some of the key objectives of mysticism? 

4. What are the benefits of escaping habitual modes of thought, 
action or emotional reaction? 

5. What advantages and growth have you experienced through 
personal discipline? 

6 . What moments in your life have challenged your assumptions 
about what really h or how the Universe works? 

7. What past life events have revealed that you hadn't yet realized 
something important about yourself? 


Essential Mysticisni 

8. Is returning to a state of emptiness a value judgment of the 
Universe, a suspension of value judgment, or something else? 

9. Where do our fears originate and in what way does mystical 
practice help us overcome them? 

10. From what do you derive your greatest satisfaction and 

1 1 . How can we come to trust any new way of seeing? 

12. If you have a highly developed sense of intuition, but the 
consequences of your actions in response to that intuition seem 
equally divided between positive and negative results, what 
might that indicate about your intentions, self- awareness, or 

13. How is mystical awareness different from intuition? 

14. Why is the golden intention so important to the mystical 

15. Can you separate the spiritually healthy emotional states you 
have felt over the past week from the spiritually unhealthy ones? 

16. How can we transform malevolent or counterproductive 
intentions in ourselves and others? 

17. Is it possible to cultivate a life that is entirely free of any kind of 

1 8. What does "living in nonduality" look like? 

19. What is the role of gratitude in our spiritual evolution? 

20. What is "wishing without wanting?" 

2 1 . What is the difference between "letting go of ego" and 
annihilating our own will? 


T.Collins Logan 

22. Do you believe the same action by the same person, but with 
different motives, can potentially have different outcomes? 
Why or why not? 

23. What is the difference between being "active" and "passive" for 
a mystic? What might "doing without doing" mean? 

24. What are some characteristics of the transformation of identity 
that occurs through mystical practice? 

25. How have you defined success foryourself? What choices in 
your life have brought you closer to that success? 

26. Do your most important relationships support and contribute to 
the purpose you have chosen for your life? 

27. What are some of the qualitative differences between isolation, 
loneliness, and constructive solitude? 

28. What are some of the differences between common sense and 
spiritual discernment? 

29. What role might mystical practice play in ongoing physical 
health and emotional healing? 

30. What are some other holistic benefits of mysticism? 

3 1 . What is compassion? 

32. What is wisdom? 

33. What is a good guideline for evaluating personal goals and 
expectations in mystical practice? 

34. Why is it imperative to have supportive disciplines in place 
before activating radical consciousness? 

35. What is the single most important feature of all insight? 


Essential Mysticisni 

The Pyramid of Self 


PHYSIOLOGICAL - This is our material being - the basic 
biochemical creattire — and the simplest definition of Self. This can 
be further broken down into: 

Animal - The basic physical requirements for sustaining life 
and the primal impulses to fulfill them. Hunger, thirst, fatigue, 
sex drive, aggressiveness, and competitiveness make up the 
Animal. These are unthinkingly reactive. 

Emotional - Dominated by basic emotions such as fear, 
excitement, attachment, anger, greed, guilt, and other 
emotional preservation impulses. Though initially raw and 
reactive, these become more constrained, complex and subtle as 


r.Co/lJns Logan 

we mature. The Emotional also competes with the Rational, 
introducing complexities in self-awareness and other-awareness 
- a grayness that contradicts the Rational's preference to see 
only in black-and-white. The potential synei^y between these 
two is the beginning of a more sophisticated perception and 
understanding of Self and the world. 

Rational — Basic black-and-white logic. A simple 

comprehension of actions and consequences, obser\'ing 
transparent patterns and relationships, and applying linear 
problem-solving. The Rational is bent on fulfilling Animal 
impulses and requirements and is still very attached to our most 
primitive needs. The Rational also assigns meaning to things. 
It desires reasons for its own existence and tends to embrace 
absolutes, especially where right and wrong are concerned. As 
the Rational advances, however, it begins to challenge these 
assumptions. In order to resolve such questions, an inherent 
tension with the Emotional prods us to evolve. 

EXPERIENTIAL - This is the information we gather through 
living and exploring our environment. From our experience, we 
learn to define ourselves in relationship to others and the world and 
create boundaries for our will. This level of the pyramid has these 

Instinctive - The reflexive reactions of fundamental 
Experiential conditioning and innate somatic knowledge, such 
as seeking higher ground when lost, running away fi-om a 
burning building, seeking help when in pain, and following the 
crowd. One could argue that some of these are genetically 
programmed behaviors, but even so, without reinforcement 
through our experience, we would stop responding to them. 
However, the Physiological still has influence through these 
instinctive "rules of engagement" with our existence. 

Sagacious - Here we begin to have wisdom through 
observation of our experience, and a more complex, 
comparative reasoning takes place. Abstract correlations and 
patterns begin to appear, and the insights we assemble tend to 


Essential Mysticisni 

override more primal. Physiological impulses in our decision- 
making. Self-control becomes easier and our self-awareness 
expands. We appreciate understated distinctions, departing 
from black-and-white logic to embrace larger, less rigid 
concepts such as patience, tolerance, and exceptions to rules. 
We become more comfortable with irresolvable contradictions. 
"Right" and "wrong" are no longer such extreme absolutes. 
We realize that we don't - and perhaps can't - know anything 
with certainty. Strict deduction therefore begins to be 
complimented by Intuitive insight and spiritual discernment. 

Intuitive - Something subtle and multifaceted emerges in the 
Intuitive. We comprehend truths that aren't necessarily logical, 
but which seem "right" against the backdrop of accumulated 
knowledge of our life experience and the innate wisdom of our 
soul. Although these insights are similar to Emotional 
reasoning, they draw from a deeper sense of spiritual 
preservation and a broader awareness of life's dynamics. 
Instead of raw fear, there is practical forewarning. Instead of 
anger, there is sadness and acceptance. Instead of trying to 
control, we are inspired toward love and compassion, increasing 
our empathy and awareness of others. In the Intuitive, the 
seeds of the Spiritual Self and mystical awareness take root and 
the lush environs of creativity are estabhshed. 

SPIRITUAL — This is the purely mystical element of Self with 
which we come to know the Sacred, intensely connecting with our 
own soul, with spiritual intelligence and with the collective energy 
of all hfe. The Spiritual is made up of three forms of spiritual 

Shared Understanding - The knowledge common to all souls 
- the instinct of the spirit, if you will - and a window into the 
nature of our existence. Here we comprehend more deeply that 
selflessness and discipline are the foundation for building a 
spiritual life, and that spiritual objectives are a worthwhile 
pursuit. We also perceive the temporal, impermanent nature of 
Physiological needs and wants, and embrace kindness, empathy 
and compassion above all other measurements of morality. 


r.Co/lJns Logan 

Shared Understanding has no ego, no reactively defensive sense 
of Self, and thrives on the interconnectedness of all things. 
Here we differentiate between the Physiologically/Experientially 
defined Self, and our Spiritual nature. Shared Understanding 
does not discriminate between Self and Other. 

Moments of Epiphany - Here we make great leaps of 
comprehension, and our realizations carry with them a powerful 
emotional, intellectual and spiritual certainty. Such epiphanies 
may occur in a dream, or as we view a valley from a mountain 
top, or fall in love, or lose our closest friend, or pray, or 
meditate, or struggle through a deep depression. Although 
simple intellectual leaps of understanding can sometimes be 
predicted or engineered — as when solving a problem or puzzle, 
for instance - achieving spiritual epiphanies is less formulaic. 
Our most reliable route is to develop a rich inner life, a life of 
spirit, which is receptive to such moments and their meaning. 
These events are so removed from all other aspects of our 
experience that we know what they are without knowing what 
they are. Some call them revelations, or prophetic visions, or 
inspiration, or illumination, and often they seem to strip away 
all of our previous assumptions. When we choose to listen to 
our epiphanies and allow them to shape us, these moments 
powerfully inform and advance our evolution. 

Mystical A^vareness — The Sufis call this "tasting" the Divine. 
Mystical Awareness is as solid a sense of the spiritual world as 
taste, smell or hearing is of the physical world. This is where 
we directly apprehend underlying realities and mature the 
wisdom of our souls. Someone in the throes of existential angst 
might touch on this level of perception-cognition, as might 
someone lost in meditative concentration, or someone following 
the promptings of their spirit without fear, or someone who is 
overwhelmed by a powerful Epiphany. Anyone can access 
Mystical Awareness, and the long -established disciplines of 
various spiritual traditions greatly assist our cultivating this 
faculty. What is most noticeable about this facet of Self is its 
detachment from both our Physiological and Experiential 
makeup, and its growing identification - and intimate union - 


Essential Mysticisni 

with the Source of All, This is where spiritual discernment is 
perfected, our most essential life lessons are processed, and our 
sense of purpose and completion is achieved. Living in balance 
with a fully realized Mystical Awareness is also described as a 
"harmonized existence," in equilibrium with the All. That is, 
when we have fully understood and successfully integrated 
spiritual cognizance with our many other aspects of Self, 
directing those aspects consciously and in concert with each 
other while continually nourishing and nurturing All 
Things.,, then our existence is truly harmonized. 

What awaits us at the apex of our pyramid? The Divine 
Spark, the True Self, the Self in All, the very essence of our 
soul, and the bedrock of personal reality. Seen by some 
traditions as the primary objective of mystical practice, and by 
others as milestone inherent to pursuing what they consider loftier 
goals, our True Self is both the source and culmination of all other 
levels of development and experience. 

Artifacts of Will 

Here is a proposed inventory of what our will can manifest into 
being at any moment. Whether through action or idea, consciously 
or unconsciously, these are the ordinary or extraordinary 
consequences of our intentions. 

1. Meditative neutrality - Such as returning to emptiness, the art of 
suspension or equivalent stillness. 

2. Projection of goodwill on others — Such as trust, compassion, 
love or encouragement, 

3. Invitation of another's goodwill to Self- What politicians, 
managers, and salespeople often try to do, 

4. Supplication for direction of will — As with prayerful 
supplication, or seeking guidance from others, or contemplative 

5. Subjugation to another's mil- As we do when falling in love, or 
devoting ourselves to a religious or sociopohtical cause, or as we 


r.Co/lins Logan 

might have done as children when we followed oui parents or older 
siblings around like enamored ducklings. 

6. Annihilation of our mil- Such as when we alter our brain 
chemistry with drugs and alcohol, try to commit suicide, or 
otherwise permit ourselves to be abused and victimized by external 

7. Integration of another's will and our mil — As with marriage, 
or a business contract, or playing team sports, or other agreement 
where there is an assumption of equal participation and 

8. Protecting our mil from another's mil - As we do when we 
withdraw into isolation, or summon the protection of our spiritual 
tradition, or decline a persuasive request. 

9. Transmutation of another's will -When we calm aggression, or 
introduce harmony where there was chaos, or encourage healthy 
thinking and conduct - without actually imposing our will on 
someone else. That is, we are welcoming another's will and 
transforming it. This is often used by skilled counselors, mediators 
and leaders. 

10. Redirection/Deflection of another's will- The outcome may be 
similar to artifacts 2, 8 and 9, and this may have a defensive or 
corrective intent, where the object of our will may be completely 
unaware of our influence as the course of their desire is redirected. 

11. Subtraction/Restriction of another's ivill- As with physically 
confining someone, psychologically or emotionally oppressing 
them, disabling or injuring them in some way, or taking their life. 

12. Enhancement/Expansion of another's will -This is what is 
happening when we consciously align ourselves with the good of 
All, or throw our support behind a leader we believe in, or nurture 
and nourish someone, or procreate. 

13. Creation of Residual will — In inanimate objects. I suggest that 
this has - depending on the intensity, intentions and focus of its 
creative agent - a specific half-life. In the case of an Immortal 
Creator, this raises some interesting questions. 

14. Cascading Propagation of will -As in mass media, group 
lectures, political rallies, etc. where intentions and ideas spread 
throughout large numbers of people via intermediaries. An 
intriguing theory that describes this process is niemstics. 


Essential Mysticisni 

Mystic Activators Comparison 

V Primary Emphasis 

• SecondaryEmphasis 

V Incidental 

(Note: With most of these descriptions, the manysubtle 

differentiations, subsets of practice, or schools for a given 

category have not been listed separately in this chart.) 











Symbolic S 








Suii muraqaba (watchfulness) 



Buddhist zazen (sitting meditation), vipassana (insight 
meditation/bare attention), andjhana (concentration 




Bhakti Yoga 





i<abbaiist iovannah (hoiy intention/concentration) 





Christian theoria/contempiatio (contemplative prayer) 





Buddhist metta bhavana (ioving i'indness rreditaOon) 




Gyana (jnana) Yoga 




Hermetic visualization and meditation 




Transcendental Meditation 





OtJier mantra ormandala meditation/Yoga 





SuH dhikr ("remembering" God) 





Hasidic prayer - hislahavus (bursting into name) and 
devel<us (clinging to God) 





Invoking certain "spiritual gifts" in Christianity (tongues, 





Kundalani, l<riya, or other tantra Yoga 




Taoisthsiaochoutien (circulation of Chi meditation) 





Chanting, breathing and imagery techniques of ecstatic 




Shamanic trance 




Trance-inducement via controlled breathing, 
psychedelic drugs or extended fasting 



Sufi "turning" (ecstatic dancing) 




Hermetic initiations and symbolic rituals 




Eartti-centered ceremonies such as Wiccan rites of 
power or polarity 





Angelic incantations and use of gematria (numerology 
ofttne Hebrew alphabet) inttie magical Kabbalah 



Divination (Tarot, 1 Ching, Runes, Bibliomancy, etc.) 



Christian rituals, such as adult baptism, "laying on of 
hands" by elders and the Eucharist 




Energetic healing arts such as Reiki 




Spontaneous Communion (an unintentional state 
inspired by nature, during sex, through music, during 
extreme crisis or pain, in a dream, etc.) 





r.Co/lJns Logan 

Here are some books that explore mystical ideas and approaches to 
practice, listed in order of progressively difficult conceptual or 
practical material. I recommend the most current editions, and 
would offer these additional caveats: 

1 . Many authors understandably frame their thoughts within a 
fairly formalized system of assumptions and beliefs. 

2. With too few exceptions, the refinement of an explicit and 
consistent guiding intentionahty is generally underemphasized. 

3. Purely external guideposts to truth are seldom reliable, and 
there is no end to persuasively written books. We should each 
rely on our own discernment to integrate concepts and practices 
into the journey we call our own. 

Tht: Jouniey Home, Lee Carroll 

The Pour Agrssmems, Don Miguel Ruiz 

The Miracle of Mindfulness, Tich Nhat Haiih 

The Gift, Poems of Hafiz, Daniel Ladiiisky 

356 Zen, Jean Smith 

The Seven Spiritual Laias of Yoga, Deepak Chopra & David Simon 

Miraculous Living, Rabbi Shoni Labowitz 

The Spiral Dance, Starhawk 

The Ehagavad Gita, Eknath Easwaran 

The Essential Rumi, Coleman Barks 

Lao-Tzu Te-Tao Ching, Robert G, Hendricks 

Total Freedom , J. Krishnamurti 

The Mind of Light, Sri Aurobindo 

One Taste, Ken Wilber 

Will and Spirit, Gsra\d G. May 

Trance, From Magic to Technology, Dennis R. Wier 

Mysticistn, A Study in the Nature and Development of Spiritual Consciousness, 

Evelyn Underhill 

Cognitive Models and Spiritual Maps, Jensine Andres en &. Robert Form an 


Essential Mysticisni 

Thank you for spending time with these words. 

For more information about mysticism, the complete downloadable 

text of the Vital Mystic, references and resources I have used in my 

research, and to order more copies of this book, please visit 


And so the Infinite beckons.