This seminar will address the questions "Why mysticism?" and "What is mysticism?" from the perspective of the everyday.
It will also develop ideas raised by Evelyn Underhill: "Mysticism is the art of union with Reality. The mystic is a person who has attained that union in greater of lesser degree; or who aims at and believes in such attainment." (Practical Mysticism, 1915, p.3).
Three key elements of mysticism as part or element of religion, as a process or way of life, and as an attempt to express a direct consciousness of the presence of God, will be explored. The writings of two women mystics and their ways of being in relationship with their inner and outer worlds, with others and with their God, will be used as a basis for this seminar with the question: What can we learn from these writers today?
Annie Dillard: "You can't test courage continuosly;" "Appealing workplaces are to be avoided. One wants a room with no view, so imagination can meet mystery in the dark."
Flannery O'Connor: "It is the business of fiction to embody mystery through manners, and mystery is a great embarrasment to the modern mind."