being edited return soon please
Jesus Christ was and is many things ~ as the Buddha, as you, as I. Among the attributes is mystic. Jesus was a mystical teacher, he saw the world with a mystical vision, an in-sight, which I will later call the eye of contemplation. When Jesus teaches, for example, of the immanence of the Kingdom of God, or Kingdom of Heaven, he uses signifiers from his culture, speaking to persons of that culture, but points to the Reality indicated by those cultural signifiers. He implies, thereby, that "Kingdom" and ”God" point to a Meaning that the eye of flesh and the eye of mind cannot grasp. Again, hang in with me, as I will go into more detail about these three "eyes" or "seeing."
In Christian Scripture, Luke 8.10 reads: And he said, Unto you it is given to know the mysteries (Greek, musta’rion) of the kingdom of God: but to the rest in parables; that seeing they may not see, and hearing they may not understand" (ASV). In the parallel text from Matthew, Jesus adds, "For whosoever hath, to him shall be given, and he shall have abundance: but whosoever hath not, from him shall be taken away even that which he hath" (Matthew 18.10, ASV). This seems to imply that a lack of insight evolves into less insight, while insight grows into more insight. To be loyal to what you presently "see," means you will "see" more deeply, or subtly. To refuse to "see" what you now "see" leads to a decline in "seeing."
So, the Christian wisdom path arose out of the life and teachings of Jesus Christ. As such, Jesus is an embodiment of the Mystery. His teaching articulates that Mystery. To understand that Mystery more fully, we must move more toward the eye of contemplation and, finally, "see" as a contemplative. Otherwise, we remain at the "seeing" of flesh and mind, we remain on the surface of matter and reason. We limit the Mystery to interpretation located in these two domains, therefore.
Growing up spiritually entails a transformation of the less embracing, less insightful capacities of matter and reason into contemplation. Contemplation is the result of emergence of matter and mind into contemplative insight, or seeing-within.
The Mystery of Reality (which, to me, is the Word, Christ) means we need Mystics, or Contemplatives. Why do we need mystics? Any living faith Communion will become a dead faith group if it represses the mystical gift given to it by those who had and have the eye of contemplation.
Now, I am about to get into some heady sounding material. Forgive me, and bear with me. Hang in, and it will make sense by the end of this writing—I hope! Also, be aware that all that goes under "mystic" and "mysticism" is not what I speak of. Read on, and this will hopefully be clear. I, indeed, even hesitate to use the words "mystic" or "mysticism."
Mystics purport, notes Ken Wilber, in Sex, Ecology, Spirituality, that "mystical validity claims are anchored in extralinguistic realities that, however much they are molded by cultural factors, are not merely the product of shifting cultural and provincial-only fashions." Rather, “the referents of the transcendental signifiers exist in a worldspace [or, space of meaning, network of meaning] that is disclosed to those with the appropriate developmental signifieds, even if these are always already culturally situated." Wilber compares this to natural science. Science can, within a cultural context and using the symbols of that context, make universal claims of what I call a transcontextual nature.
For some persons, the word "Christ" is a sign of a particular religion only, for others "Christ" is a sign of a Universal Presence, or Love always. The first have taken a cultural signifier and assigned it a particularized, or group-localized, meaning. The second have taken the cultural sign and assigned it a universal meaning ~ simply that a concept originated in a group does not mean the signification of the concept is confined to that group. Also, recall how even the word "Christ" has be reshaped by the Christian group from its Jewish context. This means, the localized significance does not have to be abandoned, rather, the localized significance opens itself to the nonlocal significance, which can already exists in the localized significance.
So, mysticism can make universal claims (one-verse, not many-verses), using the symbols of a bounded, localized culture. And, furthermore, a Christian mystic does not have to abandon the localized signification of Christ in Jesus, or God in Christ, to assign nonlocal significance to the localized Fact. Look, also, at how the historical Buddha has taken different forms in different Buddhist sects. Who is Christ? Who are you talking to? Who is Buddha? Who are you talking to? The Absolute does not negate the relative, even as the relative does not negate the Absolute. Yet, the Absolute is always prior, even before one sees it as Absolute. One knows the Absolute by the Absolute showing its absoluteness.
Okay, "No," this is not postmodernism: neither is it premodern or modern. I am not claiming that anything can mean anything, otherwise meaning cannot be. The assignment of nonlocal significance must arise out of the local significance. Likewise, I am not claiming that truth, or meaning, is only cultural. I am claiming that truth, or meaning, is just the opposite: it is everything but cultural, even if located within culture. Oddly, many postmodernists have seemed to exclude their own theories from the demands they place on all others. For example, that all is relative no one has proven. This is somewhat like the atheists who is proud to be against any belief in God but fails to show his or her disbelief logically covers all potential meanings assigned the word "God." Or, like the man who recently in a single conversation conversed with me about his respect for persons of religion and, likewise, spoke of how dumb all religion is, and so all religious persons just beguiled. Yet, when I told him he needed to show what he means by "religion" before reasonable discussion on the matter could be, he had no idea what it meant even to clarify what he meant by the word "religion." This pervasive, proud ignorance is common in so-called spirituality-opposed-to-religion and religion, too.
Mystics interpret the universal depth of cultural signifiers, the one-verse behind the many-verses. The lack of sharing of the meaning of signifiers creates dissonance among humans. I will, here, use the word "God" as an example. If I am speaking to a Christian, that Christian will hear "God" differently than a Muslim, likely. Both share the signifier "God." However, a signifier, which refers to a reality, a referent, becomes part of a network of meanings. The signifier has, then, become a signified. So, while the Christian and Muslim share the same signifier, they often differ over it as signified. Likewise, as implied above, an atheist saying, "There is no God" has really said nothing, necessarily, but that he or she does not believe in a concept. For someone to say, "I believe in God," does not mean anything more than a concept, necessarily. So, agreement or disagreement in language does not create agreement or disagreement in meaning. Sadly, then, "God," as a signifier. Yet, my studies of world religions would support this same generalization in other faiths. This would be why there is strictly no Hindu religion, there is such diversity among the sects. And, within little over a generation after the historical Buddha, many Buddhist sects with competing claims arose. Language is a blessing and a problem, especially when attempting to speak of Truth. Or is it that we, our arrogance, with its prejudice, is the problem?