Mysticism works towards the ultimate attainment of one goal, and that is the perfect unity with the Supreme Being or the universe. For Christians, mysticism involves a gradual transformation of the egoic self that is directed to the path of becoming more like the image of God. Mysticism at work here includes living in harmony with God, His other creations, and the rest of the universe.
The experience of knowing and communicating with God or another Supernatural being may occur through direct experience, insight, or intuition. Mystic Christians believe that mysticism works when a three-fold path is followed. This three-fold path is referred to as purgative, illuminative and unitive and correspond to the mind, body and the spirit. The first stage of purification is where most aspiring mystics start. Mystic author Evelyn Underhill adds two more stages, which she calls the dark night of the soul and the union of the object of love or God.
The achievement of a mystical communion with the sacred varies from group to group and can be attained through various means as well. Some groups may claim to attain the stages of enlightenment through song, chanting and dancing, while another group may claim to do so using fasting or the use of psychotrophic drugs.
Works of mercy, such as the giving of alms to the poor, feeding the hungry and providing shelter for the homeless are also emphasized as important disciplines in Christian mysticism. Community is also an important idea in Christian mysticism and is the reason why participation in such communal activities as the Eucharist is an important activity in Christianity.