All major religions have adherents who practice some form of mysticism, which is defined as a means of learning a hidden truth and, in many cases, achieving unity with a divine being. In searching for divine or sacred truth, practitioners, known as mystics, typically seek to join with the divine or sacred by purging themselves of earthly desires—which involves striving for purity of thoughts and intentions— and gaining illumination or enlightenment about the nature of the divine and sacred. To this end, mysticism usually involves prayer and ritual.
Experts on mysticism, however, have noted that these rituals can have much in common with the practice of magic and the occult and can lead to experiences that border on the paranormal. For example, the mystical experience might involve visions, feelings of timelessness and a oneness with the universe, and other otherworldly perceptions.
- Magic and Spells
The Greenhaven Encyclopedia of Paranormal Phenomena – written by Patricia D. Netzley © 2006 Gale, a part of Cengage Learning