According to Andrew Harvey, mystical experiences with God bring us "a sense of wonder, a freedom from time's fury and anxiety, and a growing revelation of a far larger and more marvelous universe and a far vaster identity than anything we could begin to intuit with our ordinary senses and consciousness." As editor of The Essential Mystics Harvey has brought together a broad range of writings that are designed to spur the soul to contemplation, awe, unity, and reverence.

There are selections from tribal cultures in "Voices of the First World." Other chapters are "Taoism: The Way of the Tao," "Hinduism: The Way of Presence," "Buddhism: The Way of Clarity," "Judaism: The Way of Holiness," "Ancient Greece: The Way of Beauty," "Islam: The Way of Passion;" and "Christianity: The Way of Love in Action."

Throughout the book, Harvey emphasizes the sacred feminine, the motherhood of God in all of the traditions. Like the great Bede Griffiths, he's convinced that this emphasis is desperately needed in the twentieth century as a source for compassion, imagination, and spiritual renewal.