Light from the Eastern Orthodox Mystics

This article will look at some of the mystical teachings that have come from the Orthodox Christian tradition. Within this tradition there has been a marked interest in the possibility of seeking within one’s own experience for a deeper knowledge of what is described in the scriptures, and practical guidance is provided on how to make this inner exploration. This is the central concern of the non-dual teachings also.

Looking into these Orthodox teachings we find that they take as their starting point the foundational ideas of the Christian faith, and that their purpose is to deepen the individual’s understanding and experience from that point of departure. A feature of this tradition is a strong sense of continuity, a feeling of being part of a church and community that is understood to have been founded by Christ and the Apostles and to have continued without intermission to fulfil the founders’ intentions. There has been no reformation in the history of the Orthodox church, no major scholastic revisions of the essential ideas. From the orthodox perspective, any divisions there may have been among Christian churches have been the departures of others from Orthodoxy, which means literally ‘right belief’. The practical, mystical aspects of Orthodox teachings draw much vitality from this sense of being securely rooted in a living source of divine revelation.

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This article is from the Spring 2017 issue of Self-Knowledge Journal.