Definitions

mystical

mysticism

[mis-tuh-siz-uhm]

Spiritual quest for union with the divine. Forms of mysticism are found in all major religions. Hinduism, with its goal of absorption of the soul in the All, is inherently predisposed to mystical experience. Buddhism emphasizes meditation as a means of moving toward nirvana. In Islam, Sufism employs metaphors of intoxication and of the love between bride and bridegroom to express the desire for union with the divine. In Judaism, the foundations of mysticism were laid in the visions of the biblical prophets and were later developed in the Kabbala and in Hasidism. Mysticism has appeared intermittently in Christianity, notably in the writings of St. Augustine and St. Teresa of Àvila, and in the works of Meister Eckhart and his 14th-century successors.

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