A mystic doesn’t write accurately. Their facts might be completely off mark. To understand mystical writing, you need to understand that a mystic relates to their writing more as an interpretative art than anything else. When you look at the ‘Yellow Shirt’ (Dora Maar) painting by Pablo Picasso, you know for certain that this woman he was painting, definitely did not look like that in real life.
Her features are exaggerated, surreal, out of proportion. What you are looking at is Picasso’s mind. His interpretation of that moment in time and his meeting with that fortunate soul.
When admiring Dali’s ‘Temptation of Saint Anthony’ it is more than obvious that this isn’t a realistic depiction of the saint’s life work, au contraire… Dali is using the scene to describe his own views about temptation and his veneration to all things being spiritual and holy.
Mystical writings are a surreal mix of fact and fantasy. The mystics use their words as a painter would use colors to describe their mood and inner experience of life. If we keep to the analogy of art, a mystic is a surrealist where a religious advocate is a realist – they use technique and accuracy to describe their perspective of the world around them.
The mystic, in a way, is careless. They paint in a hurry. They attempt to capture a moment of feeling, a flash of inspiration, a thoughtless instant of a divine epiphany. They are not concerned with the details. They describe a state of being; they do not document or capture a coherent form of reality.
The mystic uses their words to artistically paint their own soul. In a way, they are magicians. They have the capacity to see beyond the surface and bring about a deep transformative change. They are not concerned with the mere appearances of things. They are attempting to describe the moment of a couple falling in love, the instance and joy of a newborn foal. They write about the emergence of a seedling as it blossoms into a sprouting bud. The ripples in the pond when met by a leaping frog.
And so… when reading a mystic there is little value in searching for accuracy. When describing historical moments and persona, the mystic isn’t rehashing times of old. They do not concern themselves with historical accuracy. They describe the impact those epic circumstances had on their hearts. They describe the impression the giants of consciousness who have come before them have made to their journey. They write of the transformation the great mystics have brought about to their own spirit.
When a mystic writes about the Buddha for example, they write of a meeting that transpired within their own hearts. When writing about the Koran or the Bhagavad Gita, they write of a scripture that hasn’t been written yet, a revelation that happens behind closed doors. Within their soul and carried by the wings of their soaring spirits. The mystic writes as a response to a raging fire that is happening within their heart. They sing, they shout, they express with all of their might of their incredible revelation. This fire is self-consuming, fills and transcends the barriers of time and space. The mystic is constantly faced with their inability to portray the inner landscape of their soul. The vast worlds and experiences they get to taste yet fail to describe.
When reading the words of a mystic, don’t look for accuracy, it is futile. Look for inspiration, to be touched at your core. Judge their art if you must, but as you would a painting, a sculpture. Judge their effect or lack there of to your being, to your life and choices. When visiting the museum, you are looking to feel and not so much to understand. You are hoping to be moved, and not so much, or at least not only, to have your intellect stimulated.
If you read through the mystical writings of a mystic looking to understand, to “extract” the tools you might employ for your spiritual growth, trust me my friend, you are missing the point. Look elsewhere. Read philosophers, religious thinkers and thought innovators. Mystical writings are not purposeful; they can’t help you reach anywhere. They are meaningful, yes, but only because it is you who give them meaning.