Mysticism and Optimism

Arvo Part tabular rasa silencio with four bars of written silence at the end leaving you waiting without resolution . He doesn’t give in and stays in the liminal space between it’s not trying to make everything better it tells us a very difficult truth that we do not know! The mystery


Is not simply some out of body experience trying to take you out of life as it’s lived now. Rather it’s trying to immerse you In Real life now.

If you’re sitting thinking thoughts that take you away from life as you’re living it today, it’s not what it’s for. 

Mysticism helps you enter into much more deeply and passionately into the present moment. There’s that Insistence that Now matters and now is all that we have and that’s what mystics insist on. Any attempt to escape or avoid, or be diverted by, is not true mysticism.

Music Matters Sounding the Sacred

Julian of Norwich

Julian of Norwich was one of England’s most significant mystics.  An English anchorite of the Middle Ages, she lived through the Black Plague and wrote the earliest surviving book in the English language to be written by a woman, Revelations of Divine Love.   

Julian of Norwich understood the central message for spiritual life: God is love and it is only if one opens oneself to this love, totally and with total trust, and lets it become one’s sole guide in life, that all things are transfigured, true peace and true joy found and one is able to radiate it.

She was a great optimist and firm believer in the ultimate goodness of God, she teaches in her famous phrase borrowed by T.S. Eliot, that “all shall be well and all manner of thing shall be well.”

Julian’s quietly joyful trust in God’s goodness and her utter reliance on the goodness of God (whom she envisions as having the tenderness of a mother) points forward to a similarly sweet and homely warrior of the Spirit, Thérèse of Lisieux. In our own age, threatened by plague, economic uncertainty, barbarism, religious wars and corruption, Julian’s quiet optimism and faith are a sweet tonic which brings re-assurance, hope, and a quiet confidence.

Sister Anna Maria Renolds in “Julian of Norwich: Woman of Hope”

Most students of the Revelations are struck by Julian’s optimism.  This is not surprising since optimism is a quality that pervades her writings. What is surprisingly, however, is the fact we take this aspect of Julian’s book for granted. We think of England in the 14th century as a country full of colour, song, dance and merry-making. We tend to ignore the dark side of Medieval life: The prevalence of disease, the savage and vindictive punishments which could mean having a hand or a foot struck for theft or allow offender to be blinded or mutilated, the cheapness of human life. The close of the Middle Ages was, in fact throughout Europe period of violence, cruelty and pessimism.”

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