But during seven years of vagabondage in my early twenties, while hitchhiking halfway around the world, an extraordinary event caused me to change my whole outlook and concept of existence. It was an unexpected out-of-the-blue experience that changed my life. I later discovered it was known as “Cosmic Consciousness”, in a book of the same name by Dr. Maurice Bucke, which I found in the British Library in Cairo.
This mystical experience revealed to me universal secrets that I found even Quantum scientists did not conceive of until 50 years later.
Attesting to the authenticity of this experience, I was invited to speak at many esoteric conferences around the world.
But outside of such a milieu, I find that most people have the haziest notion of what mysticism is. It is not something vague and ‘misty-minded’ as the non-mystic ‘Muggles’ and sceptics tend to think: but quite the opposite.
A mystic is someone who has profoundly pierced the veil of what most people take to be ‘reality’. This event changes their perception of human existence, beyond the notions of any conventional religious tradition.
There are many regular people today who have had an unexpected mystical experience, but that doesn’t make them mystics. They may shrug it off as an ‘interesting;’ or even an ‘amazing’ one-off event that remains just as a memory. Some tend to attribute it to a benediction from a notional ‘God’ of which they have no knowledge whatsoever, other than the handed-down concept determined by the culture in which they grew up.
Hence, the dogma which conditions Christian mysticism attests that God and man are eternally separated by an abyss impossible to cross. But that is not what the Master taught. He spoke as the mystics, who assert that union with the Absolute transcends ordinary human experience. This is not a matter of intellectually knowing about it, but actually being it.
A real mystical experience awakens the experiencer to something ineffable, way beyond the notion of ‘God’. This has been affirmed by illumined sages for millennia the world over. It colours the consciousness of the experiencer for the rest of their lives, causing them to perceive the world and their reactions to it in a new way.
It is not something that one decides to do, or believe in; it is something that changes the very essence of your being.
Living that profound experience—even if it only happened once—determines the attitude of the experiencer towards the rest of creation for the rest of their days. It gives them the feeling of being a custodian of humanity, plants, the environment, and tenderness towards the smallest of creatures.
When that change in consciousness happens, someone may well be called a ‘mystic.’
Anyway, that is how it has been for me.
British mystic, author, psychotherapist, spiritual counsellor, mantra yogi, fine artist and illustrator, theatrical set and costume designer. Founder-editor of Gandalf’s Garden magazine and Community in the London Sixties, and 3 years as columnist for Yoga Today magazine, BBC 4 Scriptwriter, author of four spiritual self-development books and two storybooks for children.