is the pursuit of communion
with, identity with, or conscious awareness
of an ultimate reality
, spiritual truth
, or God
through direct experience, intuition, instinct or insight. Mysticism usually centers on practices intended to nurture those experiences
. Mysticism may be dualistic
, maintaining a distinction between the self
and the divine, or may be nondualistic
Such pursuit has long been an integral part of the religious life of humanity. Within established religion it has been explicitly expressed within monasticism, where rules governing the everyday life of monks and nuns provide a framework conducive to the cultivation of mystical states of consciousness.
In the contemporary usage "mysticism" has become an umbrella term, conflated with spirituality and esotericism.
Practices associated with mysticism include meditation and contemplative prayer. Mysticism can be distinguished from ordinary religious belief by its emphasis on the direct personal experience of unique states of consciousness, particularly those of a transcendentally blissful character.