PANDIT VAMADEVA SHASTRI (DR. DAVID FRAWLEY)
If we take up any form of higher yoga practice, Pranayama, mantra or meditation, we are likely to have various experiences, some of which may be quite dramatic. These experiences may be spiritual, psychological or even physical in nature or some combination thereof. Most of these experiences are likely to be exhilarating and elevating, but some may prove disturbing or agitating. Sometimes an exhilarating experience may turn disturbing for us, or what began as a disturbing experience may end up providing us wisdom or peace.
Some of these experiences may change our lives forever. Others may fade away after a short period of time and leave no trace. Generally our first spiritual experiences, like our first romances, may be exaggerated. Later on as we have more spiritual experiences, we tend to take them more as a natural part of our lives.
The range of potential yogic experiences is vast and many-sided. It is important to have a sense of what it is, so that we learn how to handle our experiences properly. In addition, it is not enough to seek experiences. We must prepare ourselves to have them, so that when they do arise, we are ready to hold their energy. Developing a higher consciousness is not a mere casual matter, hobby or another outer pursuit. It requires discipline, dedication and an inner orientation of life. Let us examine the nature of spiritual experiences and how we can best relate with them.
The Beauty of Spiritual Experiences
Spiritual experiences can deepen and enrich our lives in many ways. They are largely to be welcomed as part of the beauty and abundance of the spiritual life. Just as the cultivation of an artistic lifestyle will naturally result in the development of artistic skills and perceptions, thus unfolding the vast realm of art appreciation; similarly the cultivation of the spiritual life will unfold the vast realm of cosmic consciousness and an appreciation of the bliss that pervades all things in the universe. To develop a life enhanced by ongoing spiritual experiences, with an ability to relate to the universe as a whole at the level of the heart, is one of the main reasons why we take to such practices in the first place.
If we persist in our yogic practices, over time, our inner flow of spiritual experiences will become more vivid and important than our outer sensory and worldly experiences. We will develop our own vast inner life and inner world beyond the stress and sorrow, the ups and downs of our outer existence. We will gain a capacity to directly experience reality, the universe and the depths of consciousness spontaneously and immediately at every moment, without having to rely on any external equipment or outer mediators. We will no longer need any external forms of entertainment or stimulation to distract us. Even when there may be nothing happening around us, we will experience a fullness and a depth that will create contentment and peace within.