What’s a Mystic?

Kelly Dignan
Kelly Dignan www.kellydignan.com
2 min readApr 5, 2021


For a long time I tried to figure out how to name my spirituality. During seminary, I was working with a spiritual director and described to him my beliefs and spiritual practices. He said, “Well, you’re a mystic!” I replied, “What do you mean?”

I didn’t write down what he said way back then, but it resembled what Mirabai Starr says:

Mystic: A person who has direct experience of the sacred, unmediated by conventional religious ritual or intermediaries, transcending established belief systems, bypassing the intellect, and dissolving identification with the separate (ego) self.

It doesn’t mean that rituals aren’t very meaningful or that I don’t use my intellect. But I experience the sacred directly, and each day I hope I become one with it, dissolving the illusion that I’m separate.

Barbara Holmes says, “The mysticism of everyday life is an opportunity to deeply mine the depths of human experience, relationships with others, and our encounters with nature.”

I’m an ordained Unitarian Universalist minister. Do I fit there? Yes! Unitarian Universalism is a faith tradition that draws from many sources of inspiration and authority, including:

Direct experience of that transcending mystery and wonder, affirmed in all cultures, which moves us to a renewal of the spirit and an openness to the forces which create and uphold life.

I’m a mystic!