Cultivating the Mystic Within – 4 quotes from Mark Scandrette’s books – Practicing the Way of Jesus: Life Together in the Kingdom of Love and Soul Graffiti: Making a Life in the Way of Jesus

by Mark Votava

51LGrvlHGSL._SX330_BO1,204,203,200_1. Learn to handle the challenges of our relationships in new ways

“Jesus dares us to imagine that we can learn to handle the challenges of our relationships in new ways. Though I’ll admit, it’s much easier to embrace ‘love your neighbor’ as a lofty platitude than as a practical mandate. The situations we actually face are often confusing… Real community happens with people who know us too well, who, despite all they know and the ways we disappoint them, still see our dignity and keep believing that we are being transformed by love.”  Mark Scandrette Practicing the Way of Jesus: Life Together in the Kingdom of Love

2. An embodied way that challenges our Western notions

“Jesus taught his disciples in an embodied way that challenges our Western notions about didactic classroom learning. You can’t learn karate just by watching, and we can’t learn to follow Jesus without practicing to do what he did and taught…” Mark Scandrette Practicing the Way of Jesus: Life Together in the Kingdom of Love

3. Sensitivity, compassion, and imagination

“Some would say that the highest form of creative expression is the capacity to live artfully. Through the freedom of his being, Jesus shows us the generative path of an artist, as one who approached life with sensitivity, compassion, and imagination. An artist, in the broad sense used here, is someone who, with acute skill and ingenuity, uses the tools of language and symbol to express and explore meaning and identity within a community. Employing the raw materials of Earth, humanity, and culture, Jesus collaborated with the creative and redemptive energy of the reign of God. We can learn to follow the path of an artist by adopting practices inspired by his example.” Mark Scandrette Soul Graffiti: Making a Life in the Way of Jesus

51uJ3zC0qcL._SY344_BO1,204,203,200_4. Cultivating the mystic within

“We live in a time of great attraction and suspicion about the mystical or unseen dimensions of reality. The prevailing influence of scientific rationality has led to great skepticism about supernatural experiences, and simultaneously created an intense hunger for divine encounters and guidance. We tend to approach the unseen world with great caution and ambivalence, as something powerful but yet dangerous. Weary of the overuse of phrases such as ‘God told me’ or ‘I had a vision,’ we prefer to stick with the unambiguous facts. We’re well acquainted with caricatures of the overly ‘spiritual’ person, obsessed with their personal psychology, esoteric knowledge, or narcissistic navel gazing. So we are cautious about delving too deeply into the ‘inner life’ or ‘inner voice.’ And yet, the profound challenges we face in society, the demands on our time, resources and relationships, the prevalence of stress, anxiety, and depression suggest the need for practices that give us access to wisdom, guidance, and power beyond ourselves. You balance the rationality of the mind with the activity of the body by cultivating the mystic within.”  Mark Scandrette Soul Graffiti: Making a Life in the Way of Jesus

Have you cultivated the mystic within?

My new book The Mystical Imagination: Seeing the Sacredness of All of Life (2015) is finally done! It is available on kindle and paperback!

“Our crowded, overly-consumed, hyper-active, digitally-addicted lifestyle is draining the life out of us. We are desperate to transcend the chaos and find a better way to live. We need a mystical imagination. Get ready to be transported into the depths of meaning as Votava breaks open the contemplative path and shows you how to live your life to the fullest.” Phileena Heuertz, author of Pilgrimage of a Soul: Contemplative Spirituality for the Active Life and founding partner, Gravity, a Center for Contemplative Activism

My first book The Communal Imagination: Finding a Way to Share Life Together (2014) is available on kindle and paperback also!

“Inside everyone there is a longing for community, to love and be loved. We are made in the image of a communal God. But in our hyper-mobile, individualistic, cluttered world… community is an endangered thing. And community is like working out – it takes work, sweat, discipline…  without that our muscles atrophy. Everybody wants to be fit, but not too many people want to do the work to get there. Mark’s book is sort of a workout manual, helping you rediscover your communal muscles and start building them up slowly. It is an invitation to live deep in a shallow world.”  Shane Claiborne, author and activist