Howard Thurman - Week 4
How can we reorder our lives toward our soul deep rest, our quiet inner purpose, our praiseful thanksgiving?
Howard Thurman — Week 4
“... the Christian mystic sees the meaning of the triumph of the spirit over the body; the transcending and triumphant power of God over the most relentless pressure and persistence of things that divide and destroy… We want deliverance from things which divide, which bind and render us impotent and purposeless. We want to find a controlling purpose for our lives. With relentlessness and fever we seek always to find meaning, in some ultimate sense, for our lives so that we may be able to live with dignity and courage in our world. This the mystic achieves by what to him is an experience of an absolute good and his ethical task is to retain that good in the ‘for instances’ of experience.”
–Howard Thurman, from 40-Day Journey with Howard Thurman
This week I am struck most poignantly by Thurman’s emphasis on mysticism. His work has become primary in my life, if you couldn’t tell, in part because of how he balances mysticism with what feel like the more concrete realities of existence. And that’s true mysticism to me – the opportunity to acknowledge the sacred, the divine, the wondrous, the hardly graspable presence of the Spirit that can be beside us and confound us in the same breath, but without the notion we have to depart from our day to day lives to do so. True mysticism meets us where we are, rather than requiring us to wait until someday we cannot know or understand. True mysticism allows us to receive the transcendent power of the Spirit, and in doing so, it gives us hope because it transcends what is true right now. Mysticism can somehow be both the transfiguration and a “quiet place in the hills.” I yearn for this – this mixture of triumph and quiet.
And so, inspired by Thurman, I can’t help but wonder – Is mysticism how we navigate existing in a society that tries to demand our labor, force us to hustle, reward us with challenge, and put in front of us the many other “for instances” of life?