According to what I have been hearing you say, the title of this series, Theologia Mystica, seems to be a contradiction in terms.
It is true, but the title was given by Dionysius himself, so at least I am not responsible for it. In a way, mysticism is bound to be a contradiction in terms, whether the word theologia is in it or not. Mysticism itself, by its very nature, is a contradiction, because it is not an “ism.” It is not a creed or dogma in which you can believe. You can be a mystic, but there is nothing like mysticism. And when one is a mystic the paradox deepens, it does not disappear. When one is a mystic there is no one left. There is a mystery, but with no center to it. It is like a cloud: translucent darkness, infinite darkness.
One of the most important statements about mysticism in the Western hemisphere is the book called The Cloud Of Unknowing. The name of the author is not known; it is good that we don’t know who wrote it. It indicates one thing: that before he wrote it he had disappeared into a cloud of unknowing. It is the only book in the Western world which comes close to the Upanishads, The Tao Te Ching, The Dhammapada. There is a rare insight in it.
First he calls it a cloud. A cloud is vague, with no definable limits. It is constantly changing; it is not static – never, even for two consecutive moments, is it the same. It is a flux, it is pure change. And there is nothing substantial in it. If you hold it in your hand just mist will be left, nothing else. Maybe your hands will become wet, but you will not find any cloud in your fist.
That’s what happens to the mystic: he becomes wet, really wet. Those countries where alcohol is prohibited they call dry, and those countries where alcohol is not prohibited they call wet. But the only wet person is the mystic. He is a real alcoholic! He cannot be helped by Alcoholics Anonymous. If a mystic enters there, they will all become alcoholics themselves!
But for Dionysius it is even more a contradiction because he was a theologian. His whole book is written with a disguise, as if it is a treatise on theology; mysticism is just something by the side, secondary, not primary. Hence the name Theologia Mystica – as if mysticism is only a consequence of getting deep into the world of theology. Just the reverse is the case.
The word theology means logic about God; theo means God. But there can be no logic about God. There is love about God, love for God, but no logic about God. There are no proofs possible. The only proof is the existence of the mystic. The presence of Dionysius, of Ramakrishna, of Bahauddin – the presence of these people is the proof that God exists, otherwise there is no proof. Because buddhas have walked on the earth, there are a few footprints of God left behind on the shores of time.
Philosophers have argued for centuries, but all their arguments are utterly futile and impotent; they have not come to a single conclusion.