Ways in Mystery – Explorations in Mystical Awareness and Life brings together six remarkable essays on the mystical life by Luther Askeland,who explores in depth the mystical path known as the Way of Unknowing. Ranging over the world’s great mystical traditions, Askeland reflects on the teachings of such masters of unknowing as Meister Eckhart, Nagarjuna, St. John of the Cross, Shankara, Dogen, Plotinus, Chao-chou, Tanzen, Angelus Silesius, among others. Ways in Mystery is not simply a survey of comparative religion and mysticism; it is an original work of profound beauty and insight that takes up the questions of living an authentic spiritual life in the impoverished Iron Age of our historical moment.
Askeland writes in the tradition of the mystical literature of both East and West, especially Christianity’s mystical theology and Buddhism’s Mahayana and Zen. Instead of setting out from some inherited dogmatic claims, he takes as his starting point contemporary experience and contemporary speech. By relating to a particular phenomenon – the question of why the world exists, the present moment, a particular paradox, suffering – his explorations then move in a natural and comprehensible way towards the awareness and experience which lie at the heart of traditional mysticism, especially of those traditions which affirm that “reality” or “God” that this exceeds all speech and thought.
ENDORSEMENTS & REVIEWS
“Full of grace, profound insight and wisdom.” ~ Publishers Weekly
“In clear, direct language, Askeland explores the most profound questions of the mystical life. Mysticism is not, as he points out, a kind of philosophy. It is directly lived experience, and experience that, by its very nature, eludes expression. For some, this difficulty in expression creates a challenge; they will make incursions into the mystical realm and then grapple mightily to find appropriate expression. For others, expression is needless, and the experience itself is to be sought and prolonged. Such distinctions as this are among the joys of Askeland’s writing as he reasons carefully about what is, essentially, an unreasonable part of human experience.” ~ Patricia Monaghan, Booklist