The NDEs that occurred during ancient history would have been so instantaneously transformative, so powerfully seductive, that it would have been impossible for a culture not to incorporate the experience into a model of heaven.
Where world religions are often seen to incorporate the metaphor of darkness and light, little has been considered of a Confucian view of darkness and light or the nadir of light at Winter Solstice.
The movement from the old aeon to the new aeon in the Mayan calendar that the doomsdayers are picking up on speaks to the idea that we all need a new archetypal energy to enter our lives.
According to the mystical tradition, Christ is born into the world through each of us. As we open our hearts, he is born into the world. As we choose to forgive, he is born into the world. As we rise to the occasion, he is born into the world.
"Truth is one, the wise call it by many names," Swami Vivekananda proclaimed in 1893. More than 100 years later, this is a lesson that we still need to learn.
For much of my life I gazed upon the world through the windshield of a suburban car. I was no mystic. Then, I moved with my family to New York City and the veils fell away.
Not long ago, I set out to find if and where the spirit of Judaism and the energy of improvisational music converge. I want to learn the secret of song.
At home and in my progressive education, we were never taught that there were deeper domains of ourselves or of life itself. But awakening to the infinite sooner or later brings us face-to-face with our own soul.
Even as more people appear to be turning away from organized religion, a new study finds that the number of Americans who definitely believe in religious miracles increased 22 percent in the past two decades.
If your experience of life transcends the limitations of sense perception -- seeing, hearing, tasting, touching and smelling -- you are known as a mystic. You experience life in a way that others do not know.
What could be more disconcerting than being a religious authority in a world where there is no consensus about whether God actually exists.
This is a fire of devotion, connection, awareness. The flames bring light that helps us see where we are and who we are meant to be. We tend this fire through practice, through mitzvot: acts of connection and love.
It has been rising up in the hearts and minds of individual seekers ever since the days of Ralph Waldo Emerson, and it's been spreading like kudzu through the soul of America.
The transformative power of mystical experiences is that they can convey to us that no matter what happens to our bodies and personalities in the world of time and space, mysteriously, everything is always OK.
I believe that mystical practice may involve greater religious devotion because it eliminates all the superfluous elements.
Jerusalem from time immemorial has been the heart of the Jewish people. A request for its rebuilding is included in our prayers three times a day and all Jews, no matter where in the world, face Jerusalem to pray.