The Mystical Core of Organized Religions
Introduction: Mystics and Mysticism are subjects not well understood by the population at large. This misunderstanding is also a large basis for the erroneous perception of psychedelic substances and their potential. Actually, almost every conventional religion has its mystical branch. Christianity over a period of time produced many great mystics: Meister Ekhart, St. John of the Cross, St. Teresa, St. Francis, and Thomas Merton to name but a few of the better known ones. In Judaism, the mystical branch is the Kabbalah. In the Islamic religion, it is Sufiism. Buddhism, Hinduism, and Gnosticism are by their nature essentially mystical.
One of the very best explanations of the relationship of mysticism to organized religion is given in the article by David Steindl-Rast: The Mystical Core of Organized Religions. This article may be found at the Council on Spiritual Practices.