“By welcoming seekers of all faiths, ashrams and monasteries are sharing, both symbolically and physically, the mystical space, practices, prayers, and power of the contemplative life.
They are helping to create mystics who can go out into the world. The contemporary mystic more often than not does not reside in a monastery. This new mystic’s community is that of humanity itself, not a walled city or cloister. Like the first Buddhists, Taoists, and Christians, the contemporary mystic is called to represent an invisible power in the world through a personal spiritual practice, through the power of prayer, through living consciously and practicing compassion, and through becoming a channel for grace.
Like the mystics who changed the world even though they remained behind monastic doors, a mystic without a monastery serves visibly in his or her personal life, among friends, family, co-workers, strangers, and adversaries, and invisibly, through prayer and channeling grace into the greater world.
As a contemporary mystic, you are measured by the quality of attitude you bring to all your tasks, by your capacity to be a model of generosity, and by challenging the fear that there is not enough to go around in this world —whether that is money, love, food, fame, power, attention, success, or social position.
Mystical service means modeling calm in chaos, kindness amid anger, forgiveness at all times, personal integrity—to live, in other words, mindful that every second offers a choice either to channel grace or to withhold it.
No one, by the way, is expected to master these ideals. Your goal in your practice is not perfection. Your goal is to live consciously and in accordance with the highest degree of truth that your soul can maintain. You practice living with truth so that it becomes part of your soul.
For example, consider the commandment “Thou shalt not steal”; for some people, honoring that truth unconditionally is second nature. They are well past the point where they can be tempted to steal. But another spiritual directive, “Forgive those who trespass against you,” or “Forgive your brother seven times seventy”—as often as you have to, for forgiveness is a higher path than vengeance, and a conscious soul must forgive—may not yet be one that these same impeccably honest people can honor all the time. They are not yet able to be unconditionally forgiving. But life is a journey of practicing consciousness, not perfecting it.”
Excerpt From: Myss, Caroline. “Entering the Castle.”