Are there ethical aspects to mysticism? There is a misunderstanding amongst the “learned” as well as the “average” thinking persons that mysticism is essentially an escape from humanistic responsibilities. The mystic, it is falsely believed, retreats into an esoteric paradigm to suppress his or her sorrows and by extension forget the rest of humanity’s suffering. If that is true, mysticism is nothing but a narcissistic practice. That is, of course, nonsense!  To be sure, treating a transcendent consciousness as “self-awareness,” and an “end” to all there is to be done by human beings is indeed a selfish act. What is more,  there have been mystics who have gone that route, but not many.  The great teacher of mysticism, Meister Eckhart, for example, often went out of his way to explicate the ethical responsibilities of mysticism. He asserted that mystical union means achieving an intense state of loving and this indeed must include the love of all human beings. It does not stop there, however, with love comes the ethical responsibility to take action in helping other human beings. This requires generosity, mercy, and self-sacrifice, in words and action. One could translate this assertion into theory and practice of the ethical aspects of mysticism. 

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