In our study in 1 Corinthians, chapters 11-14 address the need for mutual respect and the Christ-like love as essential to true spirituality – avoiding the imbalances and excesses of some of the Corinthians who put personal expereince and certain kinds of tongue speaking above the ‘common good.’ Link here for the sermon on 1 Corinthians 13. In that teaching, I quoted C.S. Lewis on mystical experience, from his last book, Letters to Malcolm – Chiefly on Prayer (p. 65). Here is a summary of the main point from an article on the net.
In the last book he wrote before his death in 1963, Letters to Malcolm:
Chiefly on Prayer, Lewis took up the issue of non-Christian mysticism. He
observes that it is becoming increasingly popular to say that mystics of
all world religions are finding the same things in their quest for the Absolute.
He notes the similarities of mystical experiences in different traditions
but considers them a similarity of means, not ends. He agrees
that all mystics undergo a temporary release from their normal time – space
consciousness and logical thought processes. But he argues that
the significance of mysticism lies not in this experience of emptying but
rather in the filling that should follow it.
Lewis believed that even if mystical departures are similar, the true
meaning of the event cannot be seen until there is an arrival: “Departures
are all alike; it is the landfall that crowns the voyage.” He concludes that the
value of a mystical voyage depends “not at all on its being mystical—that
is, on its being a departure, but on the motives, skill, and constancy of the
voyager, and on the grace of God.” In the Christian tradition, says Lewis,
we give ear to the mystical insights of others because they are saintly; we do
not consider them saintly because they report mystical experiences. As
Lewis concludes, “The true religion gives value to its own mysticism; mysticism does not validate the religion in which it happens to occur.”
This approach is entirely typical of Lewis. Rather than analyzing mystical
states per se, he wanted to know about the character of the mystics
and what insights might be derived from them. He was less interested in
mystical consciousness than in its content. And, indeed, he followed
some mystical voyagers very closely, exploring himself the landscapes on
which they had trod.