There are reasons why the better writers, teachers, and mystics offer at least a word or two of caution to the novices who toy with the notion of exploring the mystical path through occult studies, dabbling in rituals and magick, and opening their minds through other avenues and interests to experience the "something more" they sense is out there -- just beyond the veil of illusion we call reality. We all sense that "something more" ... even if it's just in the elementary and wistful wondering if ghosts exist, if it's really possible to foresee the future, if ESP is real -- or just a collision of random coincidence.

We sense that "something more" in the theater of our dreams, in the landscape of our imagination, and ultimately in the questions that reach out beyond the limits of this life and ask ... is there something after death? Mystically-minded or not, most of us like to believe there is. Many of us are hopeful, but honestly not sure. You don't have to be religious to have faith ... or non-religious to have doubts. The two states of mind can exist side by side -- simultaneously. They often do.

Many people, I among them, would like there to be tangible proof, something solid, evidence we can touch, hold, measure and point to as conclusive substance supporting our belief in "something more." We are spiritual beings existing in a material world -- and that itself is an oxymoron. On the one hand asking for tangible proof of spiritual matters -- given that we ourselves are a spiritual invasion into physical substance -- seems like it ought to be possible, or at least not so outlandish a request. On the other hand, you can see in the set-up itself why this might be almost literally "asking for the moon."

Well, let's put it this way. I can see some irony there. And yet, it's what makes the human experiment (and experience!!) so fascinating and complex. When you know you are a piece of a puzzle, but you cannot possibly comprehend the entirety of the puzzle ... and you know this fact, too -- what do you do? How do you act? What do you make of this knowledge? And what do you make of your life as a possessor of that ineffable information? Maybe these aren't the questions other people ponder, pause over, and play with, but they get me going -- every now and again.

And so I understand why those writers, teachers, and mystics I mentioned a few paragraphs ago have a word or two of warning to those who would follow in their footsteps. The Path of the Mystic is indeed for everyone, but it truly is not for everyone right now. You need a certain readiness, courage, and curiosity way beyond the idle kind. Sure, I heard the warnings, years ago ... and dismissed them as so much woo-woo-hokum. But then I tend to do that. (I can't even put that in the past tense, yet.) Perhaps as part of this whole experience I'm learning to have more sense. On the one hand, I hope so. On the other hand ... no, I wouldn't change a thing.

Set your feet on the Path of the Mystic, take just a few steps, and it will change you. A few steps more and there's no going back. It doesn't take long. You are no longer who you were, and there's no room in the world you left behind for that old identity to exist any more. Like a shell you've outgrown, you can never -- with a nod to Thomas Wolfe -- go home again. Home as it used to be doesn't exist. Home is where you are. Home is where you're going next. There is no retreat. You can only go forward. And maybe that's true for everyone. And maybe the only real difference is ... you understand it. Consciously. Permanently. Indelibly.

You are changed. And you can't wail that you weren't warned. I remember decades ago when I felt so alienated and different, and uncomfortable with that. And the lure of being "normal" again had such impossible appeal. I called that place to which I could not return "living in the shallows" -- and I saw plenty of people around me who seemed to exist there quite happily, in a much more black-and-white reality, and to my eyes far more content with their lot than I was with mine. But who knows. You can have all the empathy in the world and still never really, completely occupy the space inside another person's skin. Who knows what they saw when they looked at me? Not the truth, that's for sure. Not anything close to it.

So in the same way responsible people put up signs that warn ... "Rough Road Ahead," or "Sharp Curves" or "Danger: Deep Water" ... experienced folk on the Path of the Mystic calmly warn those who lurk at the edges ... "Venture here, and it will change you." It will. And yes, the warnings are appropriate and kind. Some, like me, will hear the warnings and step out anyway. Bold. Confident. Willing to take a dare. For me, it was not a mistake. But if, with a fair and sincere word of caution, others can be persuaded not to ... they're not ready yet.

(c) 2007 Rebecca Brents, All rights reserved.

Author's Bio: 

Rebecca Brents writes on a wide variety of spiritual and new age subjects, including astrology, tarot, feng shui, alternative health, metaphysics, and self-improvement. She publishes the extensive online new age Ezine, The Enchanted Sprite on her website: Enchanted Spirit, and offers numerous online new age lectures and new age classes in these various fields. She also provides astrology readings, tarot readings, and personal consultations through The Enchanted Spirit Metaphysical Source Shop. Stop by and subscribe to her free new age ezine, New Age-New Horizons.

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