The culture of the American Midwest is known for its no-nonsense approach to living. Midwesterners consider ourselves to be hard-working and practical.
I’ve always thought it would be practical to know the true nature of reality, as opposed to the nonsense people make up about it. Knowing what was true would allow us to pursue the most effective ways of living a good life.
A mystic is a person who seeks by contemplation and self-surrender to obtain unity with some form of “Ultimate Existence.” A Midwest Mystic is practical enough that he doesn’t expect this form of reality to fit in his head.
As some brain scientist on a National Geographic video said:
“Information forces you into this uncomfortable position, where you have to kinda say – okay, I don’t get it, but I know that the real world is more complicated than the way I’m thinking about it.”
When I was very young, I tried listening to what other people said about how the world worked. My mother and father gave me straightforward answers, doing their best to explain Rayleigh scattering in the blue sky.
The only exception to their attempts at rational explanation was what they said about Santa Claus. I wondered why they would pretend a fat man had eaten that plate of cookies and climbed down all the chimneys in the world.
While I was surprised at their behavior, it seemed harmless. I could not see any way in which this disconnection from reality might cause someone to take action that endangered themselves or others. When my mom put out that plate of cookies, my dad would smile at her in a special way. So I let that one slide and asked questions about other things.
They took me to libraries, and purchased an entire set of encyclopedias when I asked for them. It occurred to me as an adult that my mother never bought me a candy bar. When we waited in line at the grocery store and I asked her repeatedly like kids do, she never bought me a single piece of candy. Not once.
Those encyclopedias cost as much as a used car. We were a family that re-used bathwater to save on utilities.
Yet even with the World Book A-to-Z at home, I still ran away from home to ask more questions.
When I was 3, my mother found me at the bus stop after searching in a frenzy. The bus was idling as the driver attempted to figure out what to do. “Lady, the kid told me to take him to the museum. I told him he couldn’t get on alone.”
What is the meaning of life, the universe, and everything? The mystic, as the most tenacious and hopeful form of philosopher, really wants to know.
He may believe in a spiritual path to Unite with Divinity, which is a way to find answers “beyond the intellect.”
Or, he might believe that “the repeated practice of new ways to think about things” will allow him to relate to some objective reality that exists beyond all belief systems.
A Midwest Mystic repeatedly allows the evidence to change the mind, especially as evidence reveals the patterns of distortion made by a human brain. He allows not only his facts to evolve, but the entire worldview which organizes all facts.