Submitted by countylibrary on

Mysticism
According to the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy, mysticism refers to a ‘constellation of distinctive practices, discourses, texts, institutions, traditions and experiences, aimed at human transformation.’ Mystic practices and experiences are recognized in all major religions of today which include Judaism, Christianity, Islam, Buddhism and Hinduism. Mysticism is recognized as a ‘super sense-perceptual experience’ that involves the nonphysical realm. Where one experiences a sensory and perceptual union with a larger sense of ‘Being,’ that's beyond the physical self. According to author Mirabai Starr "a mystic is a person who has a direct experience of the sacred, unmediated by conventional religious rituals or intermediaries,"

Generally when we think of mysticism or mystics an old world Biblical patriarch in long robes comes to mind like the Buddha, or Jesus, ascended beings who have a direct link to an unseen, all knowing force. Examples of some better known mystics include Theresa of Avila, Sufi poet Rumi, Francis of Assisi, the Hindu mystic Mirabai. There are known contemporary mystics walking amongst us even today. According to Father Richard Rohr, author and Franciscan friar, mystic simply means, ‘one who has moved from mere belief systems or belonging systems to actual inner experience.’

BCLS offers some interesting eBooks, eAudiobooks and Films on mysticism:

Spirituality

According to Author & MindBody Guru Deepak Chopra ‘Spirituality is to experience a domain of awareness which is universal, it is also a sense of connection with the creative power of the Universe, the mystery that we call God.’ Spirituality is not a thing or an object; it is human experience in a dimension or space without a boundary, without principles, set of rules, or rituals. It cannot be defined or pinned to the wall. It can only be experienced. According to Psychology Today ‘Spirituality involves a ‘holistic' appreciation of a universe in which everyone and everything is connected seamlessly with everyone and everything else. Although spirituality can be integrated within a religious framework. It is best to look at it as something free of institutional structures and hierarchies, it is more about what motivates us at the deepest level to seek and live a fulfilling and peaceful life, being one with all of life.

The drive for spirituality is inherent in our nature, but the way the spiritual path unfolds is unique to each individual. There are different spiritual practices stemming from various faith traditions, some of which include Sufi Islam, Christian Gnostic and the Jewish Kabbalah. There is also spirituality without religion. Spirituality points to a higher consciousness, with an experiential belief that there is more to life than meets the senses. That there is more to our existence than the body and its needs. Some non religious spiritual philosophies include Zen and Theravada Buddhism, Taoism, and the Hindu Vedanta.

BCLS offer the following eBooks and eAudiobooks on Spirituality:

Religion

Religion can be seen as an organized system of agreed upon beliefs, dogmas, rituals and ceremonies that guide people to worship a sacred deity or deities. It includes a devotional following of ethics, and conscience. According to the Ancient History Encyclopedia “the word ‘Religion’ comes from the Latin Religio meaning ‘restraint’ or most likely from Religionem, which means ‘to show respect for what is sacred. Religion is an organized system of practices and beliefs revolving around, or leading to, a transcendent spiritual experience. There is no culture recorded in human history which has not practiced some form of religion.”

The oldest religion in the world still practiced today is Zoroastrianism from the Persian region, it dates back to 1500-1000 BCE. During the Amarna Period in Egypt, between 1353-1336 BCE the Egyptian pharaoh Akhenaten introduced a monotheistic system focused on the one God Aten. Hinduism which was thought to be founded around 5500 BCE, and often viewed to be polytheistic is actually based on the belief of one Supreme God called Brahma, all other deities are his aspects and reflections. This was followed by Buddhism founded by Prince Siddhartha Gautama, he was born in Lumbini, Nepal and died in Kushinagar, India. Meanwhile ancestor worship resulted in the founding of Confucianism and Taoism in China around 500 BCE. Some major monotheistic religions of today include Judaism, Christianity, and Islam.
BCLS offers the following eBooks and eAudiobooks on world religions:

Share: