The initial working title for this book, when it was still an idea, was Field Notes for Pilgrims. At that stage, I thought I’d be taking a similar approach to sharing information as I’d followed in Field Notes for Writers.
But, as the idea transformed into the book and the content started to fall into place, the title morphed into A Mystic’s Toolkit before finally becoming Mystical Journey: A Handbook for Modern Mystics.
By the time I’d finished writing, the book was more than a collection of tools for modern mystics. It told the story of how I became a mystic and explained how being a modern mystic was different to how mystics were in the past. That required a few reflections and a modern definition for the mystical journey.
When I first started looking into mysticism, I was under the misapprehension that mysticism was a special kind of calling to devote your life to God. That’s how the ancients saw it, and they often removed themselves from the world and retired into seclusion in monasteries, ashrams or the hills.
There are still people who do that, but I discovered mysticism is no longer restricted to such people. And, that’s what I wanted to share with you.
We are all called to be mystics, people who make space for the divine in their lives, but it’s often a difficult call to hear.
In the West, we are living in what are called secular times, where the influence of the major religions is falling away. Our churches are mostly empty and, yet, people are still searching for something that will give their lives meaning. They feel a yearning, a restlessness. They know they are missing something but they’re not quite sure what it is.
That’s how the call often first shows up and, when we hear it, some of us throw ourselves into changing the external world. We seek our fulfilment through saving the planet, alleviating poverty or fighting corruption.
Others stumble upon the inner, mystical journey and come to realise they first have to remember who they are, before they can effectively change the external world in which they are living their human lives.
And, let me warn you if you’re tempted to think being a modern mystic is a form of escapism – it’s also a call to change the world. Modern mystics are called to engage with the world; not hide away in sacred seclusion.
Mystical Journey: A Handbook for Modern Mystics is for those of you who have stumbled upon the inner way. Reading it will help you navigate your way along the path to self-discovery and wholeness.
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