I was a cradle Catholic. Mystics were a part of my growing up. Even though I am no longer a practicing Catholic, I am still in awe of mystics. In fact, I am envious of their connection to the sacred. I would think, “why couldn’t I be connected to the sacred like they were?” 

 Then, something changed. I found the answer to that question in this great book, Silent Cry: Mysticism and Nonviolent Resistance by Dorothee Soelle. It changed how I saw mystics — and myself. 

Let’s begin in the middle

But, let’s begin at the middle of my journey. I took this job with a community of Benedictine sisters and learned what being contemplative was: focusing my attention on, being aware of, the sacred as it manifests in my life. For over a quarter of a century I have considered myself a contemplative That is me…in my better moments. 

I grew to understand that my contemplative experience would probably never be perfect, but with practice, my contemplative practice would be permanent. That was an important realization on my path to connecting with who I am at the core. It was also the beginning of accepting the stems that grow from my mystic heart and blossom into my lived experience. 

Back to being a mystic. 

Dorothee Soelle’s definition of a mystic really caught me. She wrote that a mystic is someone who experiences their relationship with the Sacred. Their faith/belief is experiential instead of being just in the head or a mental affirmation of faith. Wow! I thought. It sounded suspiciously with what I had come to know as contemplative living. 

To be a contemplative is to be in relationship.  

My relationship with the sacred is one that I experience with all aspects of my being: body (physical), heart (emotional), mind (mental), and spiritual (my contemplative nature or the etheric thread that connects me to myself, others, the sacred, and all of creation). 

Being a mystic is…

Being a mystic is reflected in the phrase that I used over and over again in my first book, Engaging Compassion Through Intent & Action: lived experience. Being a mystic is about identifying how you consciously and intentionally experience the sacred and then, well, live from that experience. To be a mystic is to live from your spiritual core.

So, to be a mystic you need to be aware of the sacred and live form that knowing. Sounds simple, right? Well, not so fast. There are a lot of dips and hairpin turns on this path of being a mystic. Although you may find yourself on more detours than you like, you can make a course correction with one thought, one word, or one action.

Maybe being on this mystic path is not so simple, but in each moment we can choose to simply be our self — imperfections and all. And, in this practice we own our mystic core.

Wanna be a mystic? 

Own that inner light that shines for all the world to see. Remember, that glint reflecting from your eyes lights your way into relationship with the Sacred. And, that is the most important part of your journey.

Who is Van? 

In addition to being co-founder of Limen Place — a really cool, creative, contemplative community, she is an intuitive-coach-catalyst and a contemplative coach. She uses mindfulness practices and intuition tools to create strategies for navigating those scary places. 

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