What is a mystic?

The mystic is one who has experienced a depth in things that goes far beyond typical everyday experience. Having tasted God, the mystic is governed by one overarching desire: to reconnect with that depth and plumb even deeper depths. There is no arena of life or category of experience that does not fall under this desire.

The heavens declare the glory of God…There is no speech or language where their voice is not heard.
— Psalm 19:1, 3

To the mystic, boredom is a farce. If anything seems drab or dreary, the mystic knows he is succumbing to a vicious lie. This does not mean that the mystic chases activity in order to become excited. On the contrary, the mystic knows that God is always active in the here and now, regardless of the external activity or setting. There is no time or place where God is not speaking.

For the word of God is alive and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart.
— Hebrews 4:12

The mystic knows that all of life stems from this ever-present Activity. It thus doesn’t make any sense to put her hope in lower forms of salvation. There can be no deeper, no more powerful, no truer, no holier redemption than that found at the heart of Reality. And there is nothing and no one that is beyond this redemption. The most mundane chore can become the most glorious mission. Remembering this is the mystic’s task.

Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on thee.
— Isaiah 26:3

The mystic knows that there is always another way of seeing things, a deeper way of seeing things, which, when glimpsed, brings instant healing, joy, and appreciation of beauty. To the mystic, all matter is vibrantly alive and possessed by God. If he is failing to experience that aliveness, then his number-one priority, using whatever means possible, is to realign his thoughts and behaviors with the Presence to which he owes his life and in which he continues to live and move and have his being. Having once been led by this guiding, loving Presence, the mystic never wants to live in any other way.

The Lord is my shepherd, I lack nothing.
    He makes me lie down in green pastures,
he leads me beside quiet waters,
    he refreshes my soul.
— Psalm 23:1-2

But even as she finds perfect peace in the presence of God, the mystic is continually caught by surprise. The novelty of God never wears off, because it is ever-changing, always unfolding in new colors, sensations, insights, and experiences.

Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed,
    for his compassions never fail.
They are new every morning;
    great is your faithfulness.
— Lamentations 3:22-23

And although she finds great wisdom and richness in her own spiritual tradition, the mystic knows that God is always more wild and unpredictable than can ever be contained by tradition. She has given her life to that Power and that Presence, and no matter how wild things get, she is all in. The mystic knows that, however ineffable and elusive God may be, nothing is more real.