WHAT THE MYSTICS KNOW
Seven Pathways to
Your Deeper Self,
By Richard Rohr
The Crossroad Publishing Company
New York. Released May, 2015
155 pages. $17.25 CAD.
Review By Wayne A. Holst
If you are looking for a book that will help you
understand many essentials of the mystical
religious experience – to say nothing of a
summary of much of what Richard Rohr has
written over a long career – I would like to
suggest you get a copy of this book and spend
time with it. “What the Mystics Know” can
introduce and support you in the wisdom
traditions of humanity’s great faiths.
This book is grounded in the Christian
tradition, but – and because of this – it can
reach considerably beyond it to enhance
and expand that faith. Too many spiritual
leaders dabble in mysticism, cafeteria-style.
The result is a potpourri of “this and that.”
It may sound good, but it lacks grounding –
as well as perspective and true breadth.
Because this book is written by an
experienced mystic, you will avoid a lot
of the pitfalls of so much “junk spirituality”
floating around out there.
This is not to say that Rohr is committed
to “follow the Christian party line.” His
reputation as a challenge to official church
teachings should prepare us to read a
man who has had his confrontations with
authority. But that in itself can be viewed
as evidence of his considerable experience.
A true spiritual prophet for our time will
carry the requisite battle scars, and Rohr
carries them well. Like the true Franciscan
he is, Rohr offers us an “alternative orthodoxy”
or “orthopraxy” that can help us grow within,
and extend beyond our various faith traditions.
Here is a list of the seven “pathways” to
which he devotes a chapter in the book:
1. The enlightenment you see already
dwells within you
2. God is found in imperfection
3. From profound suffering come great
wisdom and joy
4. The mystical path is a celebration of
5. Contemplation means practicing
6. To discover the truth you must
become the truth
7. When you are transformed, others
will be transformed through you
There are few spiritual guides alive and
available to us today with the substance
of Richard Rohr. That is why it is good he
keeps on writing, expanding, consolidating
and growing in his faith – and he is eager
to have us accompany him on the journey.
A most helpful book, worth securing.
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