Mysticism is not a pain-killer. It provides no escape from the world but puts us in touch with the world. Mystics are not rigid, unbending, or unworldly. Because they are in love with God and with life, they are supple, tolerant and flexible. Mysticism is not a way out of anguish, conflict and doubt. On the contrary, the deep, inexpressible certitude of the mystical experience awakens a tragic anguish and opens many questions in the depths of the heart, like wounds that cannot stop bleeding.
Mystics often suffer more than anyone else because they are so sympathetic and compassionate. They may harbor the gravest doubts because their childish, puerile, and spurious faith explodes before them. A veritable bonfire burns to ashes their old, worn-out words, clichés and slogans. Even their most holy concepts and sacred ideas of God are consumed in the fire of this great holocaust.
Mystics discover through contemplation, a personal encounter with the living God, that they know nothing about God. They know not what but only that God is. They learn that God is no thing (nothing,nada), no what, but pure Who. God is the Thou before whom the mystics’ inmost “I” springs into awareness. God is the “I am” before whom the mystics echo their own “I am.” They stand defenselessly, helplessly, and humbled before God’s holy scrutiny. .
~William McNamara, The Earthy Mystic