Many business leaders are becoming concerned with establishing a new order of peace and harmony within their spheres of activity. As leaders seeking a new vision, we have probably, as part of this journey, sought a new order within ourselves as the foundation for a new order of values, ethics, and purpose in our business life. It seems to me that the basis for this transformation is an emerging spiritual awareness. The essence of spiritual awareness is a direct experience of our unity with all life. This awareness is called mysticism, the experience of unity.
There is often confusion about mysticism, and out of this confusion comes cynicism. What is a mystic, exactly? They are people who have perceived this unitive truth, or reality, directly. Truth-also called Tao, Self, Spirit, God-is experienced as a state in which the mind is open and silent and the heart suffused with encompassing love. The Sufi teacher Irina Tweedie says, "All the great mystics agree on one thing: The mystical experience is of absolute Oneness."
This state of oneness is a state of true knowledge, not the knowledge of the external world of names and forms and structures, but of the inner world of illuminated understanding. When we hear the mystics' words, our minds are quieted, our hearts are opened, and we are touched by a significance about life that cannot truly be spoken.
In a very real and practical sense, are we not all mystics? Have we not all experienced such moments of beauty, harmony, and unifying love? We all know this moment, in which we are likely to know, "So this is how it is!" It isn't that these men and women to whom we turn for inspiration and guidance in the spiritual realm are a special class of people, possessing powers and insights unavailable to the rest of us. It is just that they tend not to forget these moments of surpassing and cleansing clarity. They go more deeply into what is revealed in these moments of oneness. They invite that oneness to play through them. Their experience of oneness becomes a constant stream that refreshes their whole being: with each breath, with each thought, they are carried by that current.
We may sometimes think that spirituality is not practical, that it does not meet the road, that it cannot impact the "real" world. Evelyn Underhill suggests that mysticism does, in fact, meet the road. "The spiritual life is not a special career involving abstraction from the world of things. It is a part of every man's life and until he realizes it, he is not a complete human being, has not entered into possession of all his powers. It is therefore the function of a practical mysticism to increase, not diminish, the total efficiency of those who practice it." When our inner awareness is awakened, we can see that our world of everyday convention is not the real world, but a world of projected thoughts, images, and beliefs. We begin to see that our problems and sadness and unfulfilled longing for happiness are not facts of life, but are of our own doing. We might even agree with Krishnamurti's stark truthfulness, "The crisis is in our consciousness, not in the world."
It is important to know who we are, essentially, by directly perceiving our true nature. All things in this world are alive and conscious and deserving of our respect and care. Love and compassion arise naturally in the experience of our oneness with life. We are all mystics to the degree that the experience of "oneness"-not as an idea but as a living fact-is awake and active within us.
The spiritual message of the mystics is simple, clear, and universal. Their voices are our voices. They speak for us when we forget to speak for ourselves.
May everyone be at peace, in love, and know their most perfect Self.
Robert Rabbin is an author, speaker, and advisor. He can be reached via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org, or by writing: 2629 Manhattan Ave., Ste. 192, Hermosa Beach, CA 90254. His new book, The Sacred Hub (The Crossing Press, ISBN: 0-89594-837-0), is available in bookstores or from the publisher at (800) 777-1048.
"Echoes in Silence" is a bi-weekly column by Robert Rabbin--author, speaker, and advisor--who has spend thirty years using self-inquiry as a means to explore the true nature of self, mind, reality, and consciousness.
His new book, The Sacred Hub (The Crossing Press, ISBN: 0-89594-837-0), is available through the bookstores nationwide.