Seeking solace


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In the hope of getting myself back into the scholarly mind-frame I stroll through the book-lined alleys of the library. This is the one place I find solace. It is the one place I am one with my nature. Silence.

I have been restless, in an agitated mind-frame, with a fleeting mind that never rests, with a heart that goes through silent & invisible volcanoes. And here I am, strolling down the alleys and one section that I am drawn to have books on mystics. And now, I am flipping through this one book, and it looks interesting enough. One more thing I can use as a procrastination tool.

I need to read this book. :)


Mystics are path-breaking religious practitioners who claim to have experience the infinite, word-defying Mystery that is God. Many have been gifted writers with an uncanny ability to communicate the great realities of life with both a theologian’s precision and a poet’s lyricism. They use words to jolt us into recognizing ineffable mysteries surging beneath the surface of our lives and within the depths of our hearts and, by their artistry, can awaken us to see and savor fugitive glimpses of a God-drenched world.

In Mystics, William Harmless, S.J., introduces readers to the scholarly study of mysticism. He explores both mystics’ extraordinary lives and their no-less-extraordinary writings using a unique case-study method centered on detailed examinations of six major Christian mystics: Thomas Merton, Bernard of Clairvaux, Hildegard of Bingen, Bonaventure, Meister Eckhart, and Evagrius Ponticus. Rather than presenting mysticism as a subtle web of psychological or theological abstractions, Harmless’s case-study approach brings things down to earth, restoring mystics to their historical context.

Harmless highlights the pungent diversity of mystical experiences and mystical theologies. Stepping beyond Christianity, he also explores mystical elements within Islam and Buddhism, offering a chapter on the popular Sufi poet Rumi and one on the famous Japanese Zen master Dogen. Harmless concludes with an overview of the century-long scholarly conversation on mysticism and offers a unique, multifaceted optic for understanding mystics, their communities, and their writings. Geared toward a wide audience, Mystics balances state-of-the-art scholarship with accessible, lucid prose.

Flipping through this book warms my heart, but is not enough to bring inner peace, for I am wanting something I cannot have, I should not have. I say I should not have, becuase I have been reassured many times that it is there for the taking only if I wanted to. I have been told, that my hesitation is my choice. That hurts me more. I mean my choice is not for the taking when I have a moral responsibility for the wellbeing of other people too. Alas…

Let me just hide in this book for a while.