The Path of Mysticism: The Self Contemplating Itself

What is the mystical path, you might ask?  Where is it?  Where does it start, and where will it take you?  How and when does your journey on the path begin?  How will the journey end, and when?  What lies at the completion of your journey, at the end of your path?

A Path and a Journey
In the thirty-plus years that I have been studying mysticism and trying to live the mystical life, two aspects of my undertakings and experiences significantly come to mind.

  • First, a pathway or road was laid out before me which did not necessarily take me out of the human world but it led me away from its “marketplace.”   I felt more uncomfortable over time with the world of human nature, as I found myself wanting to partake less and less of its humanness the farther away from the marketplace I moved on the road.  The road is not straight and flat.   Au contraire, it winds through life’s many bends and turns and takes you over different terrains of experience. You can be certain of this: It is not obvious to the eyes and plain to follow as the yellow brick road leading to the Emerald City of Oz was to Dorothy and her friends!

  • Second, not long after my tentative first steps along the path, which were followed by many, many walks and long hikes, I realized I was actually taking a journey on this road. There was motion — and dynamics, too.  I was progressing along the road.  Soon I had traveled down the road to a point so far removed from the marketplace where I came from, that I began to feel there was no going back: I reached a point of no return. My values and mindset had changed; so did my life.  From then on, I could only go forward to wherever the road and the journey would take me.

This then is how I see the twofold aspects of the mystical life:  It has two intertwining aspects — that of (1) a winding road, which we refer to as the mystical path, over which  (2) a purposeful journey is made, known as the spiritual journey.   It is a journey of changing awareness made by the soul, along a path or road that seems clear only with respect to where it begins or takes off but remains nebulous as regards its end or final destination.  Many, if not all, who embark on the spiritual journey, do not realize the magnitude and extent to which they will be transformed.   The transformation is monumental in scope, cosmic in origin, and truly epic in its proportions as befits a God desperately in search of Itself.

So he told them this parable: “What man of you, having a hundred sheep, if he has lost one of them, does not leave the ninety-nine in the open country, and go after the one that is lost, until he finds it?   And when he has found it, he lays it on his shoulders, rejoicing.   And when he comes home, he calls together his friends and his neighbors, saying to them, ‘Rejoice with me, for I have found my sheep that was lost.’  Just so, I tell you, there will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons who need no repentance.”

“Or what woman, having ten silver coins, if she loses one coin, does not light a lamp and sweep the house and seek diligently until she finds it? And when she has found it, she calls together her friends and neighbors, saying, ‘Rejoice with me, for I have found the coin that I had lost.’ Just so, I tell you, there is joy before the angels of God over one sinner who repents.” (Yeshua, The Gospel According to Luke 15:3-10, ESV)

Consciousness Is the Way

Although it does not exist as an actual place in space or a definite point in time, the mystical path of life is right where you are this very moment, right here, right now.  It lies within you, in consciousness. It is consciousness! Transcending the space-time continuum, the path does not have an actual beginning, only a figurative one.  Unlimited by space and time, the path is infinite; so, it has no end either, only a figurative one.  No wonder it came to be known by modern-day mystic Joel Goldsmith as The Infinite Way.

The mystical path is not your finite human mind.  Neither is it to be found there.  However, the path weaves through and past the multidimensional landscapes of the knowing mind, escaping the latter’s confines to eventually penetrate the “unknowing” of the enlightened mind.  It is the unraveling of life or consciousness in and through your mind, expressing as your experience of life. Not surprisingly, the Taoist refers to it as Tao, the Way.  The Christian likens it to entering a Cloud of Unknowing; and the Buddhist speaks profoundly of penetrating the emptiness of the Void (Śūnyatā), while the Hindu slips into samādhi (mystical bliss or ecstasy) in realizing neti, neti (neither this, nor that).

From the human perspective, you begin to perceive the mystical path when you begin seriously questioning human existence and pondering the meaning of life, when you begin demanding explanations for human suffering and injustice and none are being given, when you begin longing for permanence in an ever-changing material world, when you begin doubting your faith in your religion and in your God, when you begin feeling discontent or emptiness in the pleasures and pursuits of the world, or when you begin thirsting for answers about the truth of your own life and the nature of your own being.  You begin to perceive the mystical path when something in you stirs and awakens you to the workings of the inner spiritual life.


The mystical path is paved with Oneness. All other principles of mysticism emanate from its cornerstone principle of mystical Oneness.  As you travel down the path, you will grow in Self-awareness, in the realization of the one divine Self.  You will come to a knowingness of the true Self which you are.  This is not (and is never) an intellectual accomplishment by the ego or the human self, but it is the result of spiritual illumination, a gift of grace freely given by the God-Self to all who would be open and receptive to it.

Unless the Lord builds the house,
They labor in vain who build it;
(Psalms 127:1, NKJV)

Spiritual Practice

Your journey on the path begins when you cease to search for answers outside of yourself, knowing that all the answers you seek are to be found already within you, and when, after learning to quiet the mind, you begin to turn inwardly in contemplation of the Truth and to sit in silent meditation to commune with that divine Presence within you.

Daily you practice the conscious awareness and the remembrance of this One Presence in your mind and in your outer life to experience and realize it.  You persist with your practice despite the objections against it that are raised by the reasoning mind or the human intellect, and despite all the odds against it being true as presented by the world of manifest forms and by the suggestions of material sense.

Many times you will feel as if you are starting your practice all over again, particularly in the face of trying situations and circumstances when it seems you have forgotten your learned lessons altogether. But you must not lose heart nor be disappointed or frustrated. They are only tricks played on you by your human mind. The truth is: your practice is a spiritual one, not a mental practice. You are, therefore, saving your treasure in heaven, in consciousness, where it cannot be taken away from you or destroyed.

Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust  destroy and where thieves break in and steal, but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.  (Yeshua, The Gospel According to Matthew 6:19-21, ESV)

Your spiritual practice is your journey along the path. As you maintain your practice regularly and grow in the realization of Truth, you are walking the path and making progress on your journey.

The Paradox of Mystery

As you travel along the path you will encounter spiritual mysteries.   Clothed in a paradox, spiritual mysteries are the lifeblood of the spiritual journey.  Humanly you can never understand them with your intellect or reason because they are way beyond the grasp of the human mind, BUT paradoxically a spiritual mystery can be experienced directly by you through your soul faculties and the Spirit which you are.  

Actually these mysteries were intended to be experienced by us, so that we can partake of them and be transformed by them into their very essence and meaning.  For example, it is absolutely a mystery how God and you can be one and the same.  However, although your human intellect or reason can never comprehend the mystery, your soul or Spirit can directly experience its oneness with God.  It is a mystical experience beyond humanhood, one by which you will validate and realize the truth of your oneness with God.

The Journey’s End

Your journey ends, in a manner of speaking, when both the journey and the path finally merge to become one and the same: The journey is now your path, and the path is now your journey. Somewhere down the road at a critical moment in your spiritual unfoldment, the journey you have been taking becomes your very path.  The path will cease to be like a road laid out in front of you and stretching forth before you.  There will be no more maps of the path or signposts along the path to help you navigate the journey. The road has vanished, and you are left with only a journey to nowhere but which takes you everywhere.

You may seem to flounder helplessly at this stage but only briefly, until a final adjustment in consciousness is made.   As your journey progresses, the human mind’s sense of separation from God and the human belief in the duality of two opposing principles or powers begin to dissolve.  You learn to rest ever more deeply in spiritual oneness to the point where the weighing scales of awareness tip irreversibly toward illumined consciousness. The path then disappears, having served its divinely ordained purpose of leading you back home — home to where the Self IS.  In the final analysis, the mystical path is simply the process of the Self contemplating Itself.

Portrait of Yeshua (Jesus).

Yeshua of Nazareth

I am
the way,
the truth, and
the life.

(Yēšûă‘ or Yeshua, Jewish Rabbi, Teacher, and Healer who attained and demonstrated the consciousness of The Christ; from
The Gospel According to John 14:6, NLT)

The mystical path is the tapestry of design, forms, shapes, and colors that you call your life.  It’s fabric is made of consciousness, woven in the looms of the mind, by its weaver —

What do you wish to do next on the path?

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About Marc of Contemplative Pathways

Marc teaches contemplative meditation in the context of "contemporary mysticism" under the style of "Contemplative Pathways." His spiritual work is backed by a profound understanding of mystical teachings and the mystical life, that is rooted in fifty (50) years of personal study, practice and spiritual unfoldment (inner realization and spiritual experience).  In the course of his spiritual journey, he has received the gifts of mystical discernment and spiritual transmission. Marc has been conducting classes and meetings on contemporary mysticism and meditation at the San Francisco Bay Area for over fifteen years, usually in a classroom, lecture, seminar, workshop, online meeting, or group practice setting. He has facilitated study groups and workshops for centering/contemplative meditation practice meetings since the 1980s. Marc's teaching work meaningfully shifts consciousness in students through the process of spiritual transmission and mystical transformation.  He enables others to embark on the spiritual journey by understanding the Truth teaching and by living its principles in their daily lives. His methodology of instruction is divinely inspired and firmly rooted in pure, authentic mysticism.  Marc's approach to the subject of contemporary mysticism is essentially nondenominational, nonsectarian, culturally interfaith, transreligious, definitively unitive, and unequivocally nondualistic. Within the context of the great shift in consciousness presently occurring all over the planet, Marc’s work focuses on individual and collective spiritual instruction and transformation. He promotes the practice of contemplation or meditation as the vehicle for spiritual transcendence and ascension to the higher dimensions of mystical consciousness. His other contributions to worldwide spiritual awakening and the global contemplative movement include spiritual mentoring, spiritual direction, and spiritual healing work. Marc is firmly committed to the vision of a global spiritual awakening and the divine promise of humanity’s mystical illumination. His brand of mysticism is the only true contemporary mysticism born of 21st century illumination and spirituality.  
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3 Responses to The Path of Mysticism: The Self Contemplating Itself

  1. offshore corporations says:

    This eternal struggle should not be cause for despair because it is through successfully overcoming challenges in life that you evolve………..The purpose of the Rosicrucian teachings is to learn how to find the answers within yourself.


    • I agree that “it is through successfully overcoming challenges in life” that we unfold spiritually.(or evolve, when viewing things from the human perspective). I studied the Rosicrucian teaching many years ago. You are right there, too. The answers are within us.


  2. Pingback: Cosmological Inflation is Mind Expanding Awareness | The Mystical Path

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