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Mysticism: A Study and an Anthology, Third Edition Paperback – February 15, 1991
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Mysticism: A Study and an Anthology, Third Edition [paperback] Happold, F. C. [Feb 15, 1991] …
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I will say there are two categories of reader for which the book may be just the ticket:
1. for the Christian who just simply cannot escape the hold the Christian dogma has on him or her the book could help open the believer to actual true natural inner visioning and experience of something greater than the preacher man at church has been talking about.
2. for the Christian seriously working themselves out of Christianity [overcoming the brainwashing] the book could be a useful bridge showing the highest flights of spiritual inspiration are equally to be known in other traditions than the Christian one.
For a better book on pure mysticism see Evelyn Underhill's 'Mysticism.' Although she too is a bit heavy on the Christian influence for my taste.
Best of all for the reader seriously interested in understanding these mysterious illumined states they are experiencing or have experienced, read Carl Jung or Joseph Campbell or Alan Watts or perhaps the writings of the great Indian Sage, Ramana Maharshi. Or there is the very excellent William James book, 'The Varieties Of Religious Experience.' These can all be helpful in putting your mystical experiences into a realistic common sense perspective.
Fifteen years later, I discovered the book again in a used bookstore. Fifteen years later, it's just as illuminating as it was the first time around. There is a greater focus on Western Mysticism, in particular Christian Mysticism, but F.C. Happold's account of Eastern Mysticism is compelling, and his essay really hits the mark. I personally love that it has both an essay and an anthology. I always read both simultaneously.
The writing is excellent. The essay is well-organized, superb, and truly insightful. And the selection of passages are outstanding. Mysticism is very difficult to approach from a rational standpoint, but F.C. Happold does an outstanding job. As someone with an intellectual/skeptical mind, I find it particularly appealing.
I don't know what to compare it to because I have not read other essays on mysticism. I usually go straight to the sources. I also feel that I have not needed to read others because this book does more than enough. F.C. Happold was "touched" and it shows in this book.
(The choice of translations within the anthology are outstanding, and his additional commentaries are insightful.
((Happold is definitely of the school of thought that mystical experiences transcend religious differences; he reveals and explains the commonality of mystical experience across religions.
I'm suprised more people don't have this book. But I think it will have a way of bringing itself into the hands of those who are meant to read it. From Plato to Teilhard de Chardin with a sprinkling of Buddhist mysticism and Sufi Love poems, the reader will recieve a variety of viewpoints, although Happold admittedly leans towards Christian mysticism. All in all, like I said, a magical little book. FC Happold has joined the ranks of the mystics he has written about, by giving us this little gem, which continues to thrive although Happold is no longer with us. Just read it with an open heart, and soon you will find an answer. If it is in your possession, it is no coincidence you were meant to have it.