All spiritual seekers sooner or later come to the fabled gate of the religious experience, emerging from a higher realm having experienced the “Oneness Of All Things”. Time and time again people account having ‘returned’ from their visions or journeys with this message. There is an ecstasy as we come in contact with this state, the purest essence of ourselves and everything that awaits us in the higher worlds of formlessness.
Though the visions are all different, each one tailor made to the visioner, the general theme is the same; the connection between every soul that has ever existed is a singular one, and all are connected in turn to the Great One who some call God, Source, It or Self.
Many life~changing visions have been recorded, including the famous atheist A. J. Ayer who, it can be said, did not die as such. I searched for comments online from people who have shared their experiences with the magic that awaits, finding a website which hopes to become the compendium for religious/mystical experience. If you have an experience to share you should post it there. Feel free to write any such experiences here as well.
Mystical Experience Registry http://www.bodysoulandspirit.net/index.shtml
Carl Jung: “It was as if I were in an ecstasy. I felt as though I were floating in space, as though I were safe in the womb of the universe—in a tremendous void, but filled with the highest possible feeling of happiness. Everything around me seemed enchanted…Night after night I floated in a state of purest bliss, thronged round with images of all creation.”
Virginia Woolf: “If life has a base that it stands upon, if it is a bowl that one fills and fills and fills—then my bowl without a doubt stands upon this memory. It is of hearing the waves breaking, one, tow, one, two, and sending a splash of water over the beach; and then breaking, one, two, one, two, behind a yellow blind. It is of hearing the blind draw its little acrorn across the floor as the wind blew the blind out. It is of lying and hearing this splash and seeing this light, and feeling, it is almost impossible that I should be here; of feeling the purest ecstasy I can conceive.”
Jane Goodall: “It was at though the music itself was alive. That moment, a suddenly captured moment of eternity, was perhaps the closest I have ever come to experiencing ecstasy, the ecstasy of the mystic….it is hard now, after twenty years, to recapture that moment of ecstasy in the cathedral—although the experience has never left me. It became incorporated into the warp and woof of my very being. If I hear Bach’s fugue, no matter where I am, the result is the same: just as the chimes of Big Ben trigger an unconscious spasm of fear, so that music floods my whole being with love, joy, and a sort of spiritual exaltation.”
Arthur Koestler: “Verbal transcriptions that come nearest to it are: the unity and interlocking of everything that exists, an interdependence like that of gravitational fields or communicating vessels. The “I” ceases to exist because it has, by a kind of mental osmosis, established communication with, and been dissolved in, the universal pool. It is the process of dissolution and limitless expansion which is sensed as the “oceanic feeling,” as the draining of all tension, the absolute catharsis, the peace that passeth all understanding.”
The sign of a truly religious experience is that it drastically and permanently changes the way one sees and reacts to the world. The prime reason for that change is not meeting “god” or traveling to distant realms, but attaining a comprehension of self-love which leads to a love for all. When we learn that we are beautiful and perfect just as we are, it becomes much easier to understand the good and bad aspects of those around us as equal in benefit. As we learn to accept ourselves just as we are, we learn to accept others in the same manner and the world becomes an incredible, magical, amazing place to live.
That does not mean, however, that one becomes Mother Teresa overnight. In my experience I lived every life ever lived, experienced every experience ever experienced, and yet I am still prey to the most subtle judgments about others. The difference now is that I am (sometimes painfully) aware of these judgments as they happen. I see this as nothing less than a benefit, as the work of retraining the mind towards positivity is a process we should all become familiar with as quickly as possible.
Once we become aware of the subtle judgments we make about others, we look around and think it is no wonder that the world is as racially/socially/materially discriminatory as it is. Those of the Narrow Way are few, as any book on the subject of ascension will tell you. The rest of us, those who have not yet “awakened” to our true purpose, merely follow our thoughts wherever they take us. We do this every day of our lives, causing great suffering to ourselves and others. We judge others for the most audacious reasons.
The single reason behind the judgments we make of others is the way we feel about ourselves. My father used to remind me of this quite often when I was of school age, a ‘metalhead’ of the eighties with a particular disgust for ‘preps’. “What you hate in others is what you hate about yourself,” he would say. It would infuriate me, because in my mind I hated them for all the reasons they were different than me. And yet, looking back, I shared their same need to fit in, their same judgment of others. Pappa was right.
Therefore, it behooves each and every one of us to think about those we judge and then search for the origin of that trait in ourselves. This is what some mean by humans as mirrors of one another. To be aware of our own disdain for others is to root out the aspects of ourselves that we disdain. When we find these bruises within ourselves we can stop ‘beating up’ those parts of us which we have deemed ‘unworthy’ and begin to accept that every single aspect of ourselves is worthy of the whole.
I went to see my twin sister today and she blew my mind. By her own definition she has spent 40 years as a ‘blind follower’ of the Christian faith. She is now blooming into a beautiful Christian, everything Jesus meant for her to be. Over the years I have sent her “New Age” videos that have gone unwatched and rejected. It’s understandable for a Christian to feel this way about such Paths, lead by people named Teal Swan and Abraham (the collective non~physical entity that speaks through Esther Hicks), as well as others with names like Ram Dass, whose ‘guru’ is the Maharaji. I understood why she rejected it, but still spent many years judging her for judging me.
A couple of months ago I sent her a Ram Dass video…and it clicked. It was his blatant honesty about himself, his humility that she says she’s found little of in her own belief’s leaders. That’s not to say there are not gurus of the Christian faith, or any other faith for that matter. When something speaks to us we follow it, if it serves its purpose and we feel it departing, we move on from it. Lessons, lessons, everywhere. Part of what drew her to Ram Dass is that he is Jewish, and though she is not Jewish she has always closely related with that version of Christianity. Suddenly my religious sister began to speak of New Age concepts. She started asking questions, wanting to know what words meant that Ram Dass would say, like “guru” and “dharma”.
Today when I went to see her she said “Ram Dass is my guru.” I laughed and said “Cool!” to which she replied “No. I mean…he’s my guru, like…I feel him around me. He’s here. Teaching me.” I laughed again and said “Very cool!” He’s taught me a few things as well. I heard to him talk about guilt in a video on YouTube and it lead to an epiphany that caused me to exist in that place that Jung describes above; a couple of weeks of pure silence and acceptance of all things, lost in the pure bliss of moment~by~moment existence. When the experience began to fade I went back to listen again, hoping to catch the wave once more. Nowhere in the entire video had he ever mentioned guilt. That part that had so transformed me never existed.
In mere months my sister has advanced faster into awakening than I’d ever thought was possible. It took me 10 years of walking the Path to get this far, and in two months she has found a guru and has just about caught up with me. All it took was for her to work the steps of life that she was already working. That’s the key here, the concept most of us don’t grasp. It’s also a communal theme of the religious experience.
“Everything I do every day, every waking moment of my life is walking the Path.”
The realization I came to after experiencing every experience ever experienced is that every experience leads to the same end. We never ‘mess up’. We never ‘make mistakes’. We simply learn and change or refuse to change, both our choice. Even refusing to learn is a lesson. If we refuse to change, that lesson will come again at a later time, presenting itself once more as an opportunity to grow. Sometimes we learn parts of a lesson, and the more advanced part of it presents itself later in time. That’s the unique ability of physical reality. It’s why we came here, to learn in a physical, matter~based environment the lessons that will further our non~physical experience. When we have learned all there is to learn here we move back into the non~physical.
This is the basis for the concept of Oneness. We are ALL here doing exactly what we should be doing at the exact rate that we should be doing it. Every single one of us. To focus away from what others are “doing wrong” and towards what purpose we want for ourselves is to live the best possible life. What’s magical about this process is that the more we focus away from what displeases us about others, the less of that thing we experience around us. This is known as creating your reality. When you focus only on what you are doing and what you want to do, you move forward as quickly as possible.
The religious experience is akin to the woman who could not fully grow up until she had a child, or the man who looked down upon the poor until he lost everything. Until you have seen what is to come, the problems of Earth seem overwhelming and threaten to drive you to the point of madness. Once you step out and observe how fleeting this human life is and the vast spanse of eternity and endless possibility that awaits, you can’t ever go back to what you were before. You step one foot closer to that endlessness.
I live in these waves sometimes, where something happens that triggers me to return to that experience of living all lives at once. Yesterday in Taco Bell I saw a young couple, obviously on drugs and angry at the world. They clung together like the denial of summer in fall, two leaves that would float down to the ground to be trampled by passing feet completely unaware of their existence: proof to them that the world was every bit as cold and compassionless as they’d been taught it was. As I watched their eyes scan the room in defiance and restlessness, daring anyone to stare at them, I saw a movie playing behind my eyes, countless other stories just like theirs; every life that had played out the same way, everyone who had ever taken that road, like grains of sand sifting in a giant hourglass. I was one of those grains of sand once. There is hope for them. There is hope for us all.