Universal Perspectives & Resources on Mysticism

Welcome!   We are members and friends of Unitarian Universalism walking the path of spiritual experience and growth as it unfolds in our lives.  We come to this website for inspiration, we circulate a newsletter, we explore our experience in our Facebook group, we convene at the UU General Assembly, we engage in teleconference discussion – in these and other ways we find kindred souls who clarify our attention, move us more deeply into our hearts, and show us the way to embody and engage our spirituality in our lives.  Thank you for visiting us and we hope to bring your longings and experience into the web of community that we are together weaving.

1st Tuesdays
(8pm ET/5pm PT)

This is a discussion group about how mysticism shows up for us in our daily life.


“Why should we not also enjoy an original relationship to the universe?”  
—Ralph Waldo Emerson, an early UU Mystic


What does mysticism mean to you?
Add your thoughts in the comments below.

36 thoughts on “mysticism”

      1. Yes, for me mysticism is an inward journey, definitely. It might or might not always bear much outward fruit. I have learned a lot about consciousness from recent reading, especially from two books: Being Aware of Being Aware, by Rupert Spira; and Why Materialism is Baloney, by Bernardo Kastrup.

      1. I have never thought of putting my spiritual values into action as part of my mysticism, which seems more inward to me. How does that happen for you, Meryl?

  1. The open minded and curious investigation, study, exploration, discovery and experiential practice for direct experience of the transcending mystery which is known by many names.
    The Open, direct, experiential Communication, connection, communion with that Transcending Mystery, Higher Power, Universal Creative Intelligence, Infinite Ineffable Presence, Life Energy, Spirit, God, etc. as it is understood by an individual and/or group of individuals.
    The means and methods to change our awareness, recognition, acceptance, embodiment and expression of that mysterious power greater and beyond ourselves which exists and operates around, in and through us.

  2. Just the term mysticism scares some people. It is really just our search for truth, knowledge, meaning and closeness to God/nature/Source/Force/Divine or whatever one chooses to call IT. Knowing that there are others, who have had mystical experiences or who believe in that which is beyond human doing, is comforting. This community enjoys the knowledge and wisdom of people from many spiritual backgrounds, which for me is so nourishing to my spirit.

  3. I think there might also be a community dimension of mysticism in that we learn from others and seek their company. That’s a Quaker perspective.

  4. For me it is the source of unconditional love. No matter what happens I won’t lose my ability to love. As Zhuanzi says, the adept can “make a springtime out of everything that happens.

  5. for me mysticism is part of my daily life. I am aware of a connection to a reality larger than my daily rounds. I am aware of the presence of, and influence of, spirit guides who are in our lives to foster our well-being and to help us through difficulties in life. Mysticism leads me to ask deeper ‘why’s’ rather than to settle for plucking the low-hanging fruit of our culture’s ‘prevailing wisdom’. It is a door to a wider place.

  6. Knowing that I am part of everything, from the beginning to now to forever. Connecting with and accepting responsibility for all on our Earth home and believing that gratitude and love are powerful tools. Everything we send out comes back. Everything we send out grows. We are helped by the connection with all.

  7. There are a number of UUs who are practicing Sufis. I wonder what Sufi lineage or tradition Dr. Weiner is part of.

    1. I belong to the Inayati Order which was founded by Hazrat Inayat Khan. My teacher was Pir Vilayat for 25 years. This is a universal Sufi order which honors the masters, saints, and prophets of all the world’s religions.

  8. What I have learned to call my mysticism happens when I look at living plants, especially, large or small, and see with startling clarity that they are brimming with intelligence, embodying mind so tirelessly and finally that I don’t know how I could ever NOT see this. It is so blatantly obvious it sometimes makes me laugh. You will never read about this in the newspaper. But there it is. Showing forth. My mind understands this.

  9. Mysticism is apparent within us. Just as science explains the process at work within our body, Mysticism is, in this practitioner’s opinion, the explanation of process at work in each of our souls.

    If we are willing to look deep into each other, it becomes crystal clear. Every single person is equipped with feelings, thoughts, hopes, fears, and dreams. The experience of these components highlights the mysticism of humanity. Too often we over look this, either consumed with ideas directed solely at self fulfilment, or else being blind all together from this magic at work between us all.

    It does not matter who you are, where you come from, where you are going, what color your skin is, what entirely you believe in, what your background or culture is… WE were put here TOGETHER on this planet, for a finite amount of time. We are given this opportunity to connect, and to forge alliances and bonds here and now. To we capture this opportunity? Or do we walk this journey alone?

    To walk alone, is to forsake the Mysticism and the beauty of humanity at it’s greatest.

  10. You do not have to be good.
    You do not have to walk on your knees
    for a hundred miles through the desert repenting.
    You only have to let the soft animal of your body
    love what it loves.
    Tell me about despair, yours, and I will tell you mine.
    Meanwhile the world goes on.
    Meanwhile the sun and the clear pebbles of the rain
    are moving across the landscapes,
    over the prairies and the deep trees,
    the mountains and the rivers.
    Meanwhile the wild geese, high in the clean blue air,
    are heading home again.
    Whoever you are, no matter how lonely,
    the world offers itself to your imagination,
    calls to you like the wild geese, harsh and exciting –
    over and over announcing your place
    in the family of things.

    Mary Oliver
    Wild Geese

    1. I love this poem. “The world offers itself to your imagination.” And how! It reminds me of Wallace Stevens saying, “We say God and the imagination are one–how high that highest candle lights the dark,” (Final Soliloquy of the Interior Paramour)

  11. Scholars of mysticism generally identify the following six shared traits of mysticism: unity, ultimate reality (noetic), sacred meaning, abundant positive feelings (love), transcendence of time and space, and ineffability. For me, these mostly coalesce into feelings of holiness (wholeness) and love (connection). In UU, our first source statement is “Direct experience of that transcending mystery and wonder, affirmed in all cultures, which moves us to a renewal of the spirit and an openness to the forces which create and uphold life.”

    1. I am here on this website because I want to talk with people who have that direct experience of transcendence. That is the most golden part of my life as I grow old.

  12. Thank you for this group. I started feeling more honest when I left mainstream Christianity for the UU tradition and had 20 good years. When we moved to CA the UU groups were focused on politics and “good works” but lacked any mention of joy and energy. In Science of Mind we found a community growing together. Now I am back in the midwest and New Thought is tiny and we are back in our UU community but the spiritual focus seems to be ethical Christianity which I support but it avoids the wider spiritual issues. I am glad this group is established and look forward to exploring with you.

    Namaste/Insallah/And so it is.

    1. I see I never answered the question about mysticism. My reading has led me to agree with most of what has been said. Touching the mystery of existence has been a goal of mystics. One principle that comes up often is that the true nature of existence is beyond human description. Any source that claims to know the truth. When physics moved beyond the old school theories of the nature of matter to quantum understandings the complexity multiplied greatly. The truth of what this means for concepts like time, space and energy mean our nature is much more complex than we can imagine. When we apply our reality to the human realm reality also is more complex and issues like truth are not amenable to simple rules. In Spiritual reality the biggest step for me was to accept more than one spiritual reality can be true at the same time. I look forward to hearing more of the perspectives of the group.

  13. A mystical experience is a direct experience of the Divine, as explained by Bucke in “ Cosmic Consciousness”, William James in “ The Varsities of Religious Experience “ and Maslow in “Religions, Values, and Peak Experiences.” These experiences are life changing even though they may happen only once. The person feels connected to everything in the Universe, life is seen as meaningful & beautiful , the intellect is stimulated & there is a feeling of heightened awareness, insights just come effortlessly. The person feels blissful and more Love than they have ever felt before. When you have a mystical experience, your consciousness has some how been opened, expanded, or elevated to connect with your Higher Power or the Divine within you. This can sometimes be triggered when someone close to you dies, or if you almost die, or during some other intense event in your life. For people like St. Teresa it happened, I from years of prayer & meditation.

  14. Thank you, all who posted here. I’ve been worshipping with two different UU congregations in Central California for about a decade. Just found UU Mystics. I have been challenged this past week with my urgent need to grow in my understanding of love, as expressed on our physical plane. All your comments here are nourishing me now. Hope to hear from you soon.

  15. Life is a pathway of mystical experiences which we either affirm or ignore. From observing the chain of these experiences (clearer visions of life) we can observe the extent of our growth and direction. By remaining aware of our path we can more efficiently make choices, maintaining clarity and hope in challenging times.

  16. Mysticism is the willingness to hold ultimate reality as mystery. I am but an infant spirit, unable as yet to envision all that is possible. In mysticism I seek connection with all there is, to tangibly feel the universe within me and without me, to recognize that universe within you. I have had some mysterious incidents in my life, things I cannot explain with rationality. It’s only when I hold them as mystery do I sense their power. Is it imagination, is it a particular point in time and space, or am I simply letting go of myself long enough to see what is really there?

  17. I love the comment,”simply letting go of myself long enough to see what is really there?” Recognizing and appreciating the interconnected web of life, of which we and all are a part, from the ends of the universe to the smallest particle, gives me a sense of relationship. To me this is mysticism. By letting go, this may allow the interconnection to grow stronger and to allow communication, connection, to take place and, ideally, in love. We are a part of all. George Washington Carver was also a mystic. I love the Mary Oliver poem. Truly a mystic.
    Take care and thank you for this chance to seek this way of living our spirituality within UU.
    May 2, 2021

  18. I came out of the closet as a UU mystic with a Candle of Sharing in my local church in the 1990’s. My minister admitted to me she had no idea what to do with my cascading mystical experiences nor my efforts to shoehorn them into my third generation UU faith. Twenty five years later I still struggle with UU’s narrowness as far as devotional mysticism is concerned, but I find I do not fit anywhere else. My UU minister husband and I lived in the wilderness for 13 years, off the grid and in intimate communion with the natural world in which we were immersed. There we offered wilderness “soul quests” to other UU’s. During that time I apprenticed for over two years with an Amazonian shaman and concurrently engaged in a two-year formation program in spiritual guidance. Sixteen years ago we emerged from our wilderness sojourn and I have a private practice in Spiritual Guidance, and with a colleague I am a founder of the Susquehanna Mystery School here in central PA. That school is the culmination of a life’s work in psychotherapy, my sixteen years as a professional spiritual guide, and my 77 years grounded in Nature, mystical and shamanic experience, and social justice work. The world in crisis, the precious Earth in peril, beg for humans to embrace the mystical life of holographic union, and out of that holiness, a life of service. There is no “other”, there is only “us”–the sacred of all Creation.

  19. Discovering this community of UU Mystics, or perhaps mystical explorers, has been the highlight of UUA-GA 20-21 for me. I once stood in our UU Sunday pulpit and talked about being a UU-Mystic and shared some of the extraordinary experiences in my life that are fundamentally ineffable. In my beloved congregation, comprised primarily of Secular Humanists, it was a courageous act. But although I am a long-term UU who loves and values the community, I still feel spiritually isolated and alone. Perhaps this is a format where I can be all of who I am without a palpable undercurrent of “tolerance” for my irrationality.

    1. Oh, I so agree! Love to move from tolerance to connectedness. Thank you for sharing. Ralph Waldo Emerson is also considered a UUMystic. We are in good company. Actually, in company with the Universe.
      Yvonne Kirkpatrick

  20. Hi, I have been a Unitarian for the past few decades, and only just found this group !
    I am really interested in listening to “spiritual “ experiences of others.
    I see more of a discourse on definitions etc.
    Is anyone interested in sharing experiences that are , like Mark Richards said – mysterious. I have had some such experiences, but am not sure if it’s okay to share.
    Thank you,

  21. I have been a UU for over 20 years and have been earth centered for over 15. In the last 5 years I have studied with a shaman outside of UU because I wanted to have experiences. Now I do. Profound ones. three experiences that I have had over the past 2 years other have experienced with me. Smelling things, seeing things, feeling things. Within UU, I find people too much in their heads. In order to manifest I find that you have to push the ego aside and let universal energy or love flow through like a hollow bone. this energy can be raised, directed, felt and make change. I want a group to make this experience more powerful. I’m looking outside for covens, which are hard to find, that fit what I want.

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