This paperback by Andrew Harvey and Mark Matousek offers a thought-provoking and soulful examination of the mystic renaissance and the return of the Sacred Feminine in western spiritual circles. Journalist Mark Matousek spent two weeks in dialogue with Englishman, scholar, educator, writer, and poet Andrew Harvey. They modeled their discussion on the Sufi tradition known as "sohbet" or spiritual talk of friends. The result is a one-of-a-kind mystical education that includes in its sweep commentary on world religions, a critique of modern culture, a celebration of the spiritual wisdom of indigenous peoples, and much more.
Harvey defines a mystic as "someone who has direct cognition of God beyond thought or image." Although there is a mystic in all of us, contemporary culture has tried to combat the ideals of unity, wisdom, compassion, and grace with what Harvey calls "the concentration camp of reason." Other obstacles to the mystical path include the trivialization of serious issues and the relentless pursuit of distraction.
Despite all of this, individuals are re-discovering the breadth and depth of mystical resources within Christian, Islamic, Judaic, Buddhist, and Hindu religious traditions. Modern-day mystics, Harvey explains, see the world as "the theatre of divine grace." They are practicing spiritual disciplines, confronting mortality, and trying to shatter narcissism. Harvey is also convinced that mystics are heroic and active. He notes that "their creativity, stamina and altruistic action have been fueled by divine knowledge and energy."