Notable Books 39
- Published: Sunday, 21 April 2019 13:57
Mystical Journey: An Autobiography, William Johnston, Orbis Books, Maryknoll, NY, 2006, Pages 230, $24.00
“Zen and Christianity are the future.”
Thomas Merton, speaking to his editor the day before his accidental death
Currently, I'm reading The Cloud of Unknowing and The Book of Privy Counseling which was written by an unknown mystic of the 14th century. This is not my first attempt, and I still find it a challenge. The best translation and edited version that I have worked with is by William Johnston. You will note that is the same author as the book under review: Mystical Journey. Because of my high regard for Johnston and his Theosophical overtones I decided to review this last book he wrote before he died. But first, let me provide the details how he and the Society became intertwined.
When I first became active in the Society (American section), I worked closely with Dora Kunz who was president from 1975 to 1987. She and I were co-editors of the Theosophical Research Journal, I chaired the Theosophical Research Institute (TRI), and served on the Educational Committee where Dr. Renee Weber was chairperson. The 'new age' era of the 60s had passed and the invasions of the gurus was in full swing. Many of us on the committees worked very hard to stay current with the trends that came and went. One of the authors that we found reliable was our author William Johnston. He was a Jesuit Priest, wrote his PhD on The Cloud of Unknowning, and spent off and on 5 decades in Japan. One book that was of particular interest to me was his The Still Point: Reflections on Zen and Christian Mysticism. At that time, anything with the word Mysticism in it was guaranteed to draw a crowd.