Welcome to the Handbook for the Modern Mystic, an online clearinghouse for unorthodox perspectives on reality and the human potential. These collected works are my small contribution to a monumental crossroads in human history, a chance for people everywhere to reexamine core assumptions which blind them to their true abilities.
We live in exciting times. Even as you read these words, people all over the world are breaking away from the status quo, discovering that human beings can perceive and accomplish far more than we have been told. Renowned religious scholars are reexamining age-old stigmas associated with mystical exploration, loosening orthodoxies' longstanding repression of "pagan" notions. In the same vein, cutting-edge scientists are making groundbreaking discoveries which seem to prove that "magic" is real, for human perception affects the physical universe in ways that currently defy reason. These developments are part of a global paradigm shift from a jaded Materialist world view to a new platform for human understanding: Evolutionary Consciousness.
The Handbook spans five manuscripts which shine a light on some of the most widely accepted notions of the modern age. At the core of this analysis is a critique of two assumptions at the very bedrock of what we call civilization: first, that human beings only have five senses, and second, that reality spans a measly three dimensions. This site also delves into other fixtures in the so-called common wisdom, like the idea that everyone has to choose a belief system from a finite list (as opposed to an a la carte approach), or that life is a pecking order full of intractable cruelty and subjugation.
Fair warning: everything that you will read here is a work in progress. In lieu of pat explanations, I often find myself brutally editing passages I composed years ago in order to reflect current life lessons. To be honest, there are times when my grasp on a certain truth is so ephemeral that I feel like someone trying to lasso and hog-tie an amoeba. As I see it, anyone who claims that you can only broaden your mystical horizons by adhering to their exact ideas or methods is just peddling the Snake Oil of xenophobia under a new brand name. In this vein, I implore my readers to question everything that I say here!My understanding is far from perfect, so some of this stuff is bound to be wrong.
I dedicate the Handbook to all of the bona fide "Modern Mystics" out there: people with the courage to explore the furthest reaches of the human potential even when faced with formidable obstacles.
Rethinking the New Age
What separates Modern Mystics from the traditions of the past?The main distinction is found in the relationship between metaphysics--once the sole province of religious authorities--and the rapidly advancing realms of science and technology. Science has gone through two fundamental shifts over the past century: research has become much more accessible to laypersons, and a growing contingent of scholars havedrawn corollaries between their findings and mystical explanations of reality. On the one hand, people today are plugged into a vaster knowledge base than ever before, making new discoveries accessible to a larger global demographic than ever before in history; on the other, the melding of ancient disciplines with modern-day empiricism and innovation is producing paradigms unlike anything in recorded memory. For the time being, this synthesis is happening at a gradual pace, but if researchers were to confirm the existence of human abilities beyond the five senses, it could trigger a quantum leap into a new paradigm that transcends all prior designations.
People all over are starting to realize that the social institutions which dictate many people's basic beliefs have seriously missed the mark when it comes to our true potential. The most prevalent Western belief systems acknowledge wondrous human abilities like cognition, love, and imagination, but say little to nothing about metaphysical faculties like sensing the flow of life force, communicating with animals, or directing our dreams to more meaningful ends. When people start to delve into their broader potential, one of the most surprising discoveries is that seemingly "normal" folks actually use mystical abilities all the time without even realizing it. Human beings are tied into cosmic forces so fundamental to our existence that our nervous systems were made to process them alongside input about the physical world. Thus, people everywhere are constantly doing things that should be "impossible;" the only reason so few of us realize it is that for centuries, mystics have been stigmatized as being either delusional or the pawns of evil forces. To survive in modern-day society, we learn to push all of those powers into the realm of the unconscious, until we firmly believe that things like psychic abilities are impossible, or just "something that happens to other people. "
When you get down to it, being a Modern Mystic is a matter of how you examine your existence, not what you end up believing at the end of the day. What is perhaps most revolutionary about the Evolutionary movement is that it centers on firsthand knowledge; examining your perceptions in a mindful way takes precedence over cosmology or ideology. This lack of a central belief system makes the Evolutionary Movement impossible to encapsulate in the pat catch-phrases or dualistic taxonomies that have been used to dumb down many other cultural demographics. It is a milieu, an ineffable melting pot of paradigms in which people blend secular and spiritual, East and West, aboriginal and postindustrial, all in search of the essential patterns of meaning which transcend any such delineations.
Having no central religious or ideological narrative is a double-edged sword: it allows for more flexibility of thinking on one hand, but also presents many challenges for modern mystics who seek to find a sense of common purpose with other people who are exploring their broader potential. The downside is that many people get caught up in passing trends, unconfirmed beliefs, and empty spectacle for lack of a unified movement. This postmodernist stew of belief sometimes leaves Evolutionaries feeling marginalized, but it also allows for an unprecedented degree of exchange between people with very different perspectives on life. These dynamic conversations can produce a synthesis of insights in which all of those involved break down inner barriers and come to truly understand those who they once thought irreconcilably different.
As far as mass media is concerned, the hub of modern mysticism is the so-called New Age Movement. There is a lot of misunderstanding about what demographics are included in this label. At one point, many people understood "New Ager" to describe your basic Celestine Prophecy buff: anyone who thinks that humankind is in the early stages of a spiritual renaissance which will fundamentally transform human culture. The title made a weird kind of sense in this context, but its meaning has blurred over time. Many use it as an all-inclusive catchphrase for all those interested in mystical topics; for others, it is a derogatory term used to stereotype large segments of the populace on the basis that their beliefs are unfamiliar or unorthodox. With all the different ways that people throw the label around, it is about as descriptive as saying that someone is "religious. "
The terms Evolutionary and New Age are similar in many respects, but I make one major distinction: the Evolutionary Movement is based on the idea that people's actions are the main determinant of Earth's future. I eschew the term New Age because it suggests that a better world is a foregone conclusion, whereas I personally lean toward the idea that humankind will only realize a brighter future if a lot of people put in some serious effort. Many "New Age" authors seem able to summon a sense of wholesale optimism about the future of Earth, but every time I try to do this, my mind inexorably drifts back to the prominence of fear, discord, uncertainty and enmity in modern civilization. When I add it all up, I simply can't convince myself that humankind is on the brink of realizing utopia at this juncture in our history. Mind you, I'm not ruling out the possibility that we can achieve an era of untold peace, harmony and understanding. On the other hand, my inner skeptic has some compelling arguments for the possibility that humankind will despoil the Earth until it becomes uninhabitable, and go on to be a violent space-faring race which invades otherwise idyllic civilizations and plunders their planets' resources. (Think, "Christopher Columbus, but in a UFO. ")
In other words, the "It will all just fall into place" crowd can call themselves whatever they want, but I see nothing novel about their outlook. Even the most positive New Age assertions about the future are still predicated on the old paradigms: we get to choose between an ineffable force of predestination, or higher powers who run the world like an especially brutal game of Chess. I don't take issue with the idea of unseen forces in our lives, but I draw the line at rationalizing that lowly humans' choices are all but meaningless because we are swept up in events "bigger" than ourselves. The whole idea of fate as something non-negotiable is too close to believing that we're all lab animals in some mad scientist's kooky experiment. It seems anathema to the modern values of individual liberty for anyone, human or otherwise, to claim supreme authority over our most important life choices and act as if it is their prerogative to manipulate the masses through cryptic rewards and punishments. Mind you, I don't rule out the Light and Love scenarios; it's just that there are so many exciting "absolute truths" on the market, why settle for only one?
To really understand the Evolutionary movement, we must first grasp the historical context of institutional oppression of mystics. Today, there is a lucrative market for trends and products which claim to represent the quest for deeper spiritual knowledge, which gives a false impression that it is "normal" for people to to openly pursue mystical knowledge. For centuries, however, Western religious and scientific establishments have been dominated by a conservative stance on the human potential which led them to suppress mysticism through fear, derision, and violence or the threat thereof. While science has tried to divorce itself from superstition by denying the validity of mystical experience, many religious authorities have quite literally demonized practicing mystics, branding them "witches" who are in league with evil supernatural forces. Today, many people think that science is free from the trappings of dogma, and that organized religion is no longer concerned with persecuting heretics, yet cultural residue from the old-age stigmas reminds us not to celebrate prematurely.
No matter how old the traditions which pool to form the Evolutionary movement, some people out there will invariably feel that the resurgence of mysticism is a threat to the status quo--a radical movement. Modern mystics, as a matter of course, dispute some of the Western World's most entrenched beliefs. With this in mind, those who actively encourage others to reconsider dominant views of the human potential would do well to recall that Isaac Newton's famous statement, "Every action has an equal and opposite reaction. "Blowback is as relevant to complex social systems as it is to physical laws. Historical precedent dictates that when a progressive movement makes headway toward its goal, it almost invariably encounters a conservative opposition made up of people who defend the most dominant cultural views. To date, we have not seen this "boomerang effect" manifest as a coherent opposition to the Evolutionary movement, but we're still in the early phases of worldview transition. As knowledge grows, so will the ire of those who consider it a threat to their beliefs, traditions, wealth or power. Right now, incubating in the heart of Western Civilization, is a rising counter-force of social disdain for mystical exploration. Some people clearly see practical mysticism as an "enemy" of their beliefs, values, and life goals. Those who are most invested in this adversarial stance think that they are involved in a struggle for dominance of epic proportions. Highly conservative spiritual beliefs are the only path, and the wickedness of practical mysticism must be vanquished. This fear and intolerance isn't yet prominent enough to be easily apparent, but the seemingly innocuous dilemma of "where do modern mystics fit in?" may soon progress to become a major reckoning of worldviews.
Some people who identify with the New Age movement are afraid to call out social forcessuch as xenophobia, because of a false rationale that "Paying attention to negative things makes them more present in our reality. "In my experience, focusing on the darker potentialities in life is only harmful when we are consumed by volatile emotions like scorn, resentment, malice, or despair. These feelings aren't prerequisites to societal insight, and can't offer constructive solutions to things like ignorance and misguided hostility. Concerned people from all walks of life can address points that different belief systems--spiritual or secular--have in common with each other. If we are afraid to face conflict when it rears its ugly head, we will seriously compromise our ability to reconcile ourselves with the most challenging aspects of existence.