“The answer to that question varies according to who’s doing the defining, and which religion or belief system they subscribe to. Truth-seeking, and dedication to making a firsthand connection with a higher power, are the consistent themes.
“A mystic is a person who has a direct experience of the sacred, unmediated by conventional religious rituals or intermediaries,” Mirabai Starr, author of Wild Mercy: Living the Fierce and Tender Wisdom of the Women Mystics, tells OprahMag.com. Starr has both written about and translated original mystical texts.
Achieving that sacred, or divine, experience requires “transcending established belief systems, bypassing the intellect, and dissolving identification with the ‘ego’ self,” Starr says.
“To qualify as a mystic, as one who has had a mystical experience, or a series of mystical experiences, it really means allowing yourself to let go of your identity and just… being.”
“A mystic is someone who has an experience of union with The One—and The One may be God, it may be Mother Earth, it may be the cosmos. That experience is rare, but everyone has them I think, where you momentarily forget that you are a separate ego, personality, self, and you experience your interconnectedness with all that is,” Starr continues.
Since the word “mystical” is somewhat subjective here, we’ll go with the dictionary definition: “involving or having the nature of an individual’s direct subjective communion with God or ultimate reality.”