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Nothing Almost Sees Miracles! Self and No-Self in Depth Psychology and Mystical Theology

  • David L. Miller
Chapter
Part of the Interdisciplinary Approaches to the Study of Mysticism book series (INTERMYST)

Abstract

This chapter explores what might seem to be a problem between depth psychological and mystical theological perspectives. A common psychological complaint is that one feels to be without value, that life is meaningless and empty, that the self is inadequate and without hope, in short, that one suffers a sense of nothingness. Yet a great many of the world’s mystical theologies hold out for a spiritual goal of becoming precisely nothing. Mystical spirituality in such religious traditions is spoken of in rhetoric that suggests that a seeker should not aspire to achieve a self-sense, selfhood or identity, but that one precisely ought to lose these in favor of a sense of no-self. Are the psychological and the mystical “nothingnesses” different? Is this a semantic accident, a slippage of language where one word signifies different states? Or are there really different “nothings”? It will be the argument in this chapter that the nothingness of psychology and mysticism in fact is indicating the same “no-self.”

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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Syracuse University (Emeritus)SyracuseUSA

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