Mystic Psychosis

Mystic Revelation
Binary numbers*, Lorenz attractor plot**, “Universal Man” by 13th century mystic Hildegard of Bingen***

Binary Numbers

[A] binary number is a number expressed in the binary numeral system, or base-2 numeral system, which represents numeric values using two different symbols: typically 0 (zero) and 1 (one).

Chaos Theory

The theory was summarized by Edward Lorenz as follows:

Chaos: When the present determines the future, but the approximate present does not approximately determine the future.


Christian Mysticism

Christian mysticism refers to the development of mystical practices and theory within Christianity. It has often been connected to mystical theology, especially in the Catholic and Eastern Orthodox traditions.

The attributes and means by which Christian mysticism is studied and practiced are varied and range from ecstatic visions of the soul’s mystical union with God to simple prayerful contemplation of Holy Scripture (i.e., Lectio Divina).


Today’s post is about my psychotic break at the age of thirty and the mystic and religious thoughts racing through my mind in the midst of my breakdown. Flying through my mind at a speed that made it impossible for me to understand or process the content, I had simultaneous thoughts in binary, about Christian mystic saints, and about chaos theory. At the time, I had the ability to observe the thoughts and wonder as to their meaning. I remember thinking, “Wow, if only I could record these thoughts and try to decipher their meaning later when I’m able to think clearly. I’m no computer, so I have no idea what, if anything, the zeroes and ones mean.” I had the sensation that I was simply channeling knowledge, that somehow I had tapped into a vein of mystical wisdom, but had no way of knowing whether the thoughts were wise or whether they were nonsense. I was familiar with the Christian mystics, having studied them and identifying with their experiences. At only the most rudimentary level, I was also familiar with the work of physicists and theologians linking chaos theory with theology. I knew the ones and zeroes represented binary code, but had no way of reading or unlocking the code.

18 thoughts on “Mystic Psychosis

  1. dyane November 22, 2014 / 11:52 am

    Kitt, the more I read your work, the more I think you would have really enjoyed a conversation with Madeleine L’Engle about Christianity and Mysticism.

    L’Engle has written many religious books, but of course she’s most well known for “A Wrinkle In Time”. I was browsing her catalogue just now and I came across this book, “Bright Evening Star, which I’ve never read but I’ve heard the title tossed around over the years. It looks interesting, especially as we approach Christmas….I’m actually quite tempted to read it.

    Bright Evening Star: Mystery of the Incarnation
    by Madeleine L’Engle · H. Shaw · Hardback · 165 pages

    For over fifty years, L’Engle has been delighting and inspiring readers with her warm, eloquent prose, and inspirational poetry. She continues this tradition with Bright Evening Star, a personal reflection of the mystery and majesty of the Incarnation of Jesus Christ.

    Bright Evening Star provides a glimpse into the life stories of this prolific author and her encounters with God. With a foreword by John Tesh, L’Engle invites us on a spiritual adventure that leads to hope, joy, and a closer relationship with Jesus. “Christmas,” says Madeleine L’Engle, “should be a time of awed silence.” If you’re looking for a unique and Christ-centered Christmas meditation, Bright Evening Star will be a rich and delightful discovery — year round!

    Liked by 2 people

    • Kitt O'Malley November 22, 2014 / 12:56 pm

      Thank you, Dyane. Another book for my “to read” pile! Right now reading Eric Arauz’s autobiography, An American’s Resurrection, which is extremely well-written. He is a brilliant writer and thinker. Really. I cannot state that strongly enough. The intellect in me loves reading him.

      Liked by 2 people

    • Kitt O'Malley November 22, 2014 / 12:46 pm

      The Lorenz attractor plot was from wikipedia. Honestly, I do not fully understand the math.


  2. jennydevildoll November 21, 2014 / 8:01 pm

    Everything is chaos theory by that definition. Have you considered the 0 as limitless possibility of nothingness as in the Ain (more Hebrew than Christian mysticism) I dunno.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Kitt O'Malley November 22, 2014 / 12:45 pm

      Thank you so much for introducing me to the Jewish mystic concept of nothingness or “unchanging, eternal, and mysterious Ein [or Ain or Ayin] Sof (infinity)” (wiki). Very cool. I just read that “in Hasidism, its psychological significance is emphasized and ayin becomes a medium for self-transformation” (Daniel C. Matt, “Ayin: The Concept of Nothingness in Jewish Mysticism”). Perfect. God bless you. שָׁלוֹם שָׁלוֹם לְךָ Peace.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. glenn2point0 November 21, 2014 / 7:35 pm

    My mysticc psychosis took me down the path of the supernatural rather than religion, although there is some crossover between the two. Although some of the supernatural was alternative religion based such a wicca and belief in a goddess and not a god. And both a methods of spirituality. I called myself an atheist the whole time which looking back seems to present a contradiction.And rather than praying, I cast spells. Now the psychosis is gone and so are those supernatural belief systems thanks to antipsychotic meds. The meds have been lifechanging for me in many ways.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Kitt O'Malley November 22, 2014 / 12:33 pm

      Intriguing, isn’t it, how the mind can hold seemingly contradictory beliefs. I am what I describe as a skeptical believer. For many years I considered myself an agnostic.

      Liked by 2 people

  4. mihrank November 21, 2014 / 6:16 pm

    The article asks some very legitimate questions, such as, would the well known mystics of the past have been treated for psychosis if they showed up in the present? And the article has a very good description of some of the common factors in psychosis and in mystical experience.

    I think it is much more helpful to notice that there are very helpful ways of being mystical, and ways that lead to more trouble, rather than trying to establish any categorical distinction between mysticism and psychosis.

    Liked by 3 people

    • Kitt O'Malley November 21, 2014 / 6:23 pm

      Yes. It is critical to make sure that the results are healthy. Maintaining health and stability is key. I sought psychiatric help and went to church and eventually to seminary, but did not complete my theological studies. Thank you for pointing out the importance of differentiating helpful and hurtful or troubling resulting behavior.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Dog & Hydrant November 21, 2014 / 2:45 pm

    In my 20s I read the book Chaos by James Gleick and fell in love with fractals. At the time I was studying electrical engineering calculus. I had an IBM 286 at the time and spent hours plotting Mandelbrot sets and Lorenz attractors. And I mean hours! Some plots would render overnight. It was totally an obsession and may have been an inkling of what would later bloom into bipolar.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Kitt O'Malley November 21, 2014 / 6:13 pm

      No doubt about the blooming bipolar (or at least obsessive math geek, which is awesome) & how totally cool!

      Liked by 2 people

  6. Athena OfAthens November 21, 2014 / 1:33 pm

    I did the same thing at 35, I got all bent on Gematria and taught myself Hebrew so I could understand it all better.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Kitt O'Malley November 21, 2014 / 6:10 pm

      Did you find value in Gematria numerology? I studied Hebrew in seminary, but only took two classes before I quit seminary (for the second time).

      Liked by 2 people

      • Athena OfAthens November 22, 2014 / 8:14 am

        I actually did come across some things I found were significant relative to my life. I still dabble in it. My two most favorite books ever are Sephir Sapphires Volumes 1 and 2.

        Liked by 2 people

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