Modern Mysticism


“Michael Gellert has written a most welcome addition to the field of human behavior and spirituality. Modern Mysticism is engaging, profound, and lucid. The author weaves the complete questions of the existence of a higher intelligence, precognitive experiences, discoveries in modern physics, and UFO sightings into a fabric of luminous beauty and utility. The reader will be fascinated by Mr. Gellert's original insights into the workings of the human unconscious.”

Selwyn Mills, Ph. D., Gestalt therapist, author of The Odd Couple Syndrome

“A treasure chest of testimony from leading artists, writers, scientists, statesmen, athletes and other leading figures–we are invited into a world of fascinating personal encounters with the unconscious. The unconscious mind is seen as a contributor to the creative process, problem-solving, early warning and phenomenal athletic feats.”

Paul Caubet, Brain/Mind Bulletin

"The mysteries of the unconscious are brought to light in this compelling book ...Thought-provoking and refreshing, especially for seekers of the soul."

The Book Reader

"This thought provoking book stimulates the imagination and offers a new dimension to therapy."

Peggy Papp, Senior Supervisor, Ackerman Institute for Family Therapy

"The central premise of Mr. Gellert's highly readable book is that the unconscious mind is the seat of the religious experience and that all people have the capacity for religious experience, not only 'great souls.'"

The Beacon

"Gellert shows us that what the psychologists call the unconscious can be viewed as a kind of matrix within each human being by and through which higher powers enter into and guide our lives. What was previously called divine providence is still very much a living reality, if only we can learn to be open and sensitive to it....By drawing upon a number of experiences reported by individuals from all walks of life, Gellert illustrates and illuminates the fascinating manifestations of this deeper level of the mind. Such experiences, coming via dreams, visions, inspiration and coincidence, bring intimations of a power more deeply interfused, a higher intelligence that often guides our destiny. Altogether an illuminating and highly readable book."

Prediction Magazine

"Illustrating the power of parapsychological experiences, dreams, visions, imagination, and creative activity through the lives of others, Gellert demonstrates how the mind is connected to the metaphysical levels of reality....For Gellert...the unconscious seems to be part of us that illumines what could be by making us more aware of our choices and the possible consequences."

Henry Reed, (A. R. E.) Perspective Newsletter

"The real value of this book is not in Michael Gellert's quiet, lucid prose, nor is it in the thoughtfulness of his interpretation–no, the value lies in the power of the many personal stories herein. They are the undeniable facts of experience with which psychology and religion must deal; they move us and let us know that the Soul is active still."

George R. Elder, Ph.D., National Editor,
Archive for Research in Archetypal Symbolism

"An innovative and important approach to psychic phenomena. Challenges the present day psychological conception of projections in a refreshing and thought provoking manner."

Nathan Schwartz-Salant, Ph.D., author of The Borderline Personality: Vision and Healing
and Narcissism and Character Transformation

"Michael Gellert's book is a revealing portrait of the relationship between the unconscious mind and religious experience. According to Gellert, the unconscious is the seat of religious experience. Because the human encounter with the divine occurs through our unconscious, religious experience flows from within. Thus, such experience is simultaneously a source of both religious knowledge and self-knowledge.

"An experienced psychotherapist, Gellert speaks with enthusiasm about the reality of the spiritual. Drawing to a large extent upon lung's ideas, he explores the role of the unconscious in a variety of experiences ranging from creative inspiration to mystical insight. He does this through a story-telling approach, using personal accounts not only of his own, but also from artists, writers, scientists, statesmen, athletes, and clients he has treated. Building upon these first-hand experiences, Gellert casts a light on the special intelligence at the heart of the human mind and the ineffable, higher reality to which this points. He shows how the unconscious is a window to the broad mystery of God within everyone.

"In the first of the book's two parts, Gellert raises a question posed by Coleridge: What would one say if he dreamed he visited paradise and awoke with a flower in his hand as proof of having been there? In the first of seven chapters, Gellert wrestles with this question by telling about one of his earliest childhood memories-a dream, like a flower in his hand that alluded to the existence of God. In the dream, Gellert spoke with God and saw his life unveiled to him as if in an expanded span of time. The chapter is a glimpse into Gellert's childhood, into the divine child. In a way, the book is an amplification of this childhood experience of God emerging through the unconscious.

"In a very lucid and charming way, with excellent examples, Gellert reveals the creative genius of the unconscious. In the second chapter, he tells of a dream in which the title of his book appeared in huge red letters across a movie screen.

"The third chapter is about paranormal occurrences and how they indicate untapped possibilities of the mind. In addition to giving examples of such occurrences, Gellert concentrates on the relation between psychology and modern physics. Like Einstein, Gellert writes about experiencing the spiritual order within the cosmos, namely, God's design.

"In the second part of the book, Gellert considers the more awesome and overwhelming aspects of the unconscious. He shows that the mysterium tremendum, or power associated with God, is also a quality of the unconscious, and he further suggests that there are many kinds of mysterium tremendum.

"Using the psychological and literary metaphor of 'the belly of the whale,' Gellert describes a personal experience of anguish and bewilderment during a difficult stay in the bustling city of Calcutta. While in the grip of the tremendous power of the unconscious, his ego was compelled to 'let go' of its belief in itself as sole arbiter of its destiny. What Gellert demonstrates is that, strangely, in spite of our suffering, a new and more mature perspective of God can emerge when we experience the unconscious in this way.

"In his fifth chapter, Gellert explains a phenomenon the Hindus know as lila, or 'God playing in the world of forms.' Suggesting that the psychological implications of lila go beyond Jung's views, Gellert relates the unconscious to the world of the mystics and speaks of how God plays hide-and-seek through our ego-unconscious dichotomy.

"One can experience a deeper consciousness by experiencing the unconscious at its innermost level, a level where this dichotomy is transcended and where God may be perceived directly. This awakening of the ego to its true and deeper nature is known in Buddhism as 'enlightenment,' and it is based on the premise that the unconscious is, in essence, the mind of God.

"In a chapter called 'The Twilight Zone,' Gellert speaks of clients who recount experiences that are not quite ordinary, such as UFO encounters, which Gellert regards as an example of these impressive manifestations of the unconscious. Such experiences, though sometimes frightening, may help connect one with the power and wisdom of the unconscious mind. They may even cast a light on the everyday problems we are experiencing.

"The final chapter is concerned with the archetype of the trickster and, in a sense, is a warning against our misuse of the unconscious. We learn that the unconscious has a sense of humor, especially when we take ourselves too seriously or when we overidentify with the unconscious and incur inflation. The trickster can consume us in ridiculous beliefs, for example, that special spirits are instructing us through mediums or trance states and are selecting us for a messianic mission. Gellert examines the delusional aspects of religious experience and, conversely, the religious aspects of delusions.

"Michael Gellert's book is an unusual combination of lightness and difficult psychological insights. It boldly addresses the interrelation of the human psyche and the spiritual life. Reading this book is a refreshing experience that should appeal to our need to contemplate the unknown, the unconscious. And so, like the unconscious itself, this book is a manifestation of 'the still good hand of God': It, too, extends an invitation to the magic and mystery within all of us."

Malcolm Spicer, Ph. D., Quadrant (XXV:1, 1992)