Approaching Mysticism

Publication Date



Master of Arts (MA)

Committee or Advisor Chair

Philip Ashley Smith, M.A., MFCC

Committee Members

Douglas C. Bowman, Ph.D.

Hugh M. Redmond, Ph.D.


mysticism, spirituality, Christian mysticism, Zen, transpersonal psychology, character


Buddhist Studies | Christian Denominations and Sects | Psychology | Religion | Transpersonal Psychology


My thesis is about mysticism. What I say about it, and how I say it are part of a design. This design or structure, can, I feel, do more than provide an intellectual understanding of what mysticism is about. My contention is that it is possible to build a linguistic construct that can convey, or at least point to, the character of mystical experience. This is, however, extremely difficult and this thesis will explore the difficulties involved. I will do this by explaining the limits of concepts and their relationships to mystical experience. I will examine the mystical components, as they occur, in Christianity and Zen. I will provide a list of Characteristics of what the mystical experience is like and what it is not like. And I will look at my own life as it relates to the Mystic Process.

The purpose of this thesis is:

(1) To establish in the reader's mind the existence of the mystical tradition.

(2) To further an understanding of this tradition.

(3) To further the reader's sense of their own spirituality.


Department: Humanistic and Transpersonal Psychology

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