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  1. #1
    Senior Member Justin of Flavia Neapolis's Avatar
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    Default Spiritual Stages of Christian Mysticism

    Any interest in Christian Mysticism and the esoteric practices? As a former seeker having found Christ, I am continually working on my union with God. Mulling over Inner Christianity by Robert Smoley for a few weeks now. Inner Christianity: A Guide to the Esoteric Tradition: Richard Smoley: 9781570628108: Amazon.com: Books This book helped me understand the differences between Inner and Outer Christianity, and that the majority of what the world finds offensive about Christianity is due to the practices of the Exoteric Christian. While the majority of what the world finds offensive about Islam is due to what we see and hear with our senses (exoteric).

    Smoley argues that esoterics of any faith have more in common with each other than the exoterics of their own faiths.

    He/She does a good job of explaining the basics:


    I found this video helpful as it is fairly accurate in describing my experience of The Way so far. Although, there are times we stumble because we can only ever emulate the standard Christ laid out for us. The more we grow, the less we stumble in sin. Ideally

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    There's probably mystics and mysticisms rather than a unified and singular approach, though I see you are pursuing the idea as outlined by a particular thinker that I'm not familiar with.

    I've been reading Gravity and Grace by Simone Weil lately, I dont agree with it entirely but I have to say there's a lot of it I do agree with and is similar to my own experience and conclusions, though I've never engaged in fasting and wouldnt have a lot of the traits which are associated with Weil.

    I definitely agree with Weil that in the Christian belief system there has got to have been information which has been lost, I think this is an aspect of all belief systems, the novel Canticle for Lebowitz is a great description of the fate of religion over the super long, historical timescale.
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  3. #3
    ⋆✦⋆ Hiraeth's Avatar
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    I have an interest in mysticism and the occult in general. I'm reading a book on the Kabbalah right now, but that's Jewish mysticism. Although, doesn't Christian mysticism stem from Jewish mysticism since they are both from the same branch, but Judaism is older?
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  4. #4
    Senior Member Justin of Flavia Neapolis's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Survive & Stay Free View Post
    There's probably mystics and mysticisms rather than a unified and singular approach, though I see you are pursuing the idea as outlined by a particular thinker that I'm not familiar with.

    I've been reading Gravity and Grace by Simone Weil lately, I dont agree with it entirely but I have to say there's a lot of it I do agree with and is similar to my own experience and conclusions, though I've never engaged in fasting and wouldnt have a lot of the traits which are associated with Weil.

    I definitely agree with Weil that in the Christian belief system there has got to have been information which has been lost, I think this is an aspect of all belief systems, the novel Canticle for Lebowitz is a great description of the fate of religion over the super long, historical timescale.
    Regarding the bolded: I believe the information having been lost (in the anglo-sphere/western Europe) is the esoteric traditions being kept alive by Orthodoxy. It describes it fully in Inner Christianity.

    I believe what's happened in the West is that Exoteric Christianity has been allowed to run amuck evolving into something unwieldy. It's also described in detail that the Exoteric Christians have a habit of persecuting mystics and esotericists calling them "heretics."

    The same could be said about the Middle East and Islam. The Exoterics of Islam having filled the vacuum of the secular West.

    The Catholic church in my opinion falls under Exoteric.
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  5. #5

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    I didn't really have a chance to watch the video yet because I'm at work at the moment.

    Are you referring to early Christian mystics or modern?

    I would agree there's a lot of similarity to mystic sects from other religions. Thich Nhat Hanh wrote a book called Living Buddha, Living Christ, it was an interesting read.

    - - - Updated - - -

    Are you an esoteric Christian?

  6. #6

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    It's interesting because there's similar tensions in Buddhism, with more esoteric versions and more exoteric versions. Pure Land Buddhism is fascinating, it very closely resembles some evangelical and protestant forms of Christianity. And to me, Tibetan Buddhism reminds me a lot of Catholicism with the rich imagery, at least.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Isk Stark View Post
    Regarding the bolded: I believe the information having been lost (in the anglo-sphere/western Europe) is the esoteric traditions being kept alive by Orthodoxy. It describes it fully in Inner Christianity.

    I believe what's happened in the West is that Exoteric Christianity has been allowed to run amuck evolving into something unwieldy. It's also described in detail that the Exoteric Christians have a habit of persecuting mystics and esotericists calling them "heretics."

    The Catholic church in my opinion falls under Exoteric.
    Which is both predictable and why I'm skeptical of this particular source.

    There's a lot of seriously unexamined opinion which will stop at nothing to attack the RCC, any which way they can, and yet it is one of the most enduring religious institutions of all time, providing an great example of the dilemma of how do you use tradition to span generations without atrophy or entropy reducing it to ruin, its something that any tradition could and ought to learn from, like I say, as an example.

    If the RCC did persecute mystics as heretics, which I'm sure is not beyond the realms of possibility, then St John of the Cross, Julian of Norwich, St Francis De Sales, Brother Lawrence, all did alright, there's also Teresa De Alva who authored much of the thinking on integralism, which sounds similar to some of what you are talking about, with her book the Interior Castle, there's also the fact that the Franciscan Order was founded upon a mystical vision and The Society of Jesus, Ignatious Loyola's order is totally mystical as opposed to rational and scholarly like Aquinas' order.

    The RCC itself, since at least as late as the demise of the fascist order in Spain and some of the Latin regimes like it, and certainly the end of the Cold War the RCC has been pretty clear that it does not want anything like a "political catholicism" of the kind that some radical muslims pursue and Pope Benedict actually wrote an instruction advising RCs to know the difference and respect the boundaries between political life and their religion. All of which could be considered instructions against what you are describing as exoteric.

    That is unless an institutional structure or formal existence per se equates to exoteric, which I think is more than a little prejudicial, kind of like, yeah, we like the fact you have religion, so long as you never mention it, practice it in secret and no one knows about it.
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    Quote Originally Posted by asynartetic View Post
    It's interesting because there's similar tensions in Buddhism, with more esoteric versions and more exoteric versions. Pure Land Buddhism is fascinating, it very closely resembles some evangelical and protestant forms of Christianity. And to me, Tibetan Buddhism reminds me a lot of Catholicism with the rich imagery, at least.
    Pure Land Buddhism is the belief system which believes in an after life and paradise isnt it?

    I always found the parallel histories of buddhism and christianity/catholicism interesting, I think that in the west buddhism gets an impossibly good rap from some liberal quarters because of aspects of it which they cherry pick and which resemble ideas of their own, if you watch Silence you'll be shocked I'm sure by what lengths they were willing to go to in order to prevail over Christianity as a rival, or just consider what's happened to the Rowhinja (spelling).

    One thing I was going to say about Christian esotericism and mysticism which disappoints me, and I include in this the Rosicrucians, Janesianism (spelling) and even the gnostics back during the foundation of the belief system, is that all the disciplines associated with same are largely cerebral, contemplative, intellectual, discussions of belief, rather than strictures for living, and I think that has been the general direction of travel for Christianity, its become less and less obvious who is and isnt Christian, right up until now when someone posting on this forum said, correctly I believe, that they believed all that it took to qualify someone as a christian was that they believed in the resurrection of Jesus.

    The discipline and life of eastern monks has been reimagined a lot, I would agree that a lot of it is probably fantasy, but the degrees of peak physical, mental and emotional perfect they did strive after, including super human feats of aerobic skill, strength etc. is all something much more than sitting, saying the correct prayers etc.

  9. #9
    Senior Member Justin of Flavia Neapolis's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Survive & Stay Free View Post
    Which is both predictable and why I'm skeptical of this particular source.

    There's a lot of seriously unexamined opinion which will stop at nothing to attack the RCC, any which way they can, and yet it is one of the most enduring religious institutions of all time, providing an great example of the dilemma of how do you use tradition to span generations without atrophy or entropy reducing it to ruin, its something that any tradition could and ought to learn from, like I say, as an example.

    If the RCC did persecute mystics as heretics, which I'm sure is not beyond the realms of possibility, then St John of the Cross, Julian of Norwich, St Francis De Sales, Brother Lawrence, all did alright, there's also Teresa De Alva who authored much of the thinking on integralism, which sounds similar to some of what you are talking about, with her book the Interior Castle, there's also the fact that the Franciscan Order was founded upon a mystical vision and The Society of Jesus, Ignatious Loyola's order is totally mystical as opposed to rational and scholarly like Aquinas' order.

    The RCC itself, since at least as late as the demise of the fascist order in Spain and some of the Latin regimes like it, and certainly the end of the Cold War the RCC has been pretty clear that it does not want anything like a "political catholicism" of the kind that some radical muslims pursue and Pope Benedict actually wrote an instruction advising RCs to know the difference and respect the boundaries between political life and their religion. All of which could be considered instructions against what you are describing as exoteric.

    That is unless an institutional structure or formal existence per se equates to exoteric, which I think is more than a little prejudicial, kind of like, yeah, we like the fact you have religion, so long as you never mention it, practice it in secret and no one knows about it.
    That's fine. We all find God in different ways. Amen.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Isk Stark View Post
    That's fine. We all find God in different ways. Amen.
    Apologies if I sound defensive, its probably because I am. Amen to you too
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