Finding the Mystical in Ordinary Life with James Carse

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This is for everyone who has ever felt that mystical awareness and inner contentment are impossible given their current life situations. Mystical traditions, on the contrary, widely agree that ordinary experience is where we find the key to deep involvement in life. "The trick in life," says James Carse, who teaches mysticism at New York University in the midst of Manhattan, "is to come to a deeper sense of the mystery of what we are already doing, the magic and beauty of our actions." He describes the university itself as an appropriate place for mystical awareness--and emphasizes that every life situation, no matter how mundane, holds this potential. "Our most important experiences are not the great big ones that stand out," he says, "the kind that knock you down breathless and change your life forever. The most important experiences are the ones that we go through all the time. That's really where we live our lives." (hosted by Michael Toms)


James Carse is the author of:

  • Breakfast at the Victory (HarperSanFrancisco 1994)

Topics Explored in This Dialogue

  • Finding mystical significance in the details of ordinary life
  • How to be "on vacation" every day
  • Hearing the quiet voice calling you from inside yourself
  • How to identify a great teacher
  • Ernie, the mystic of a Manhattan cafe
  • Why the "great big experiences" are usually not the important ones
  • What his wife learned from her terminal illness
  • Why university students in New York are good candidates for mysticism
  • Why knowledge can never be complete and certain
Host: Michael Toms       Interview Date: 10/17/1994        Program Number: 2496