For centuries human beings have reported having powerful spiritual experiences. These experiences can be incredibly profound, powerful, moving, and life altering. However, we may notice that people of all different faiths and belief systems make claims to these same kinds of spiritual experiences; even members of opposing religions that each claim exclusive truth. This would obviously lead one to believe that these experiences are not in fact supernatural in nature. However, that brings about a very pleasant realization. If these experiences are self generated, then we all possess the capacity to have these kinds of experiences. All one needs in order to have one of these amazing experiences is the correct circumstances and the desire to have such an experience in the first place. These kinds of experiences can be incredibly powerful, and as such, can be used as tools to help us accomplish our goals, and enrich our lives.
In order to give ourselves this kind of experiences, we can duplicate the manner that they usually would be experienced to some degree. The key components for this are elements that lead to setting a specific mood, and concentration on the right idea. Music that gives you goosebumps is a good start. Meditation or chanting could also be used. Soft, low lighting is also preferable. Start off with music that moves you; you should generally start with music that is fast paced, and work your way down to slower music as you go on, though this may differ slightly from person to person. You could set up a playlist to perform this simple function. The lighting promotes a feeling of calm, and the music actively alters your psychological and emotional states. When you move from the fast paced music down to the slower music, it creates the sensation of coming to rest, of time slowing, of calm slowly settling on the scene. If the music is right, and the lighting is right, all you need is the proper focus. You need an idea. This idea can not be too simple or too complex, or it won’t work. If the idea is too complex, your mind gets lost in the technicalities of the idea, and this type of thought process is analytical; it does not promote the kind of experience you are looking to generate. On the other hand, if the idea is too simple, there won’t be enough there for your mind to grab on to. You need there to be something of substance for you to focus on. It should be something that gives you a sense of awe and wonder, and it should be something that you feel has meaning for you. This idea is the idea that you are focused on during the entire process. As strange as it may sound, the only other things you require are a willingness to have the experience, and the suspension of disbelief. Allow the idea to become something more. Allow it to become something spiritual in your mind. Allow it to become like magic. You will be guided by your own heart and mind. So then, what can you expect from such an experience?
No two experiences are identical, and you can expect only one thing for certain: it will be something you will not soon forget. You may weep, laugh, or feel as though you are floating. You may feel as though you are radiating with some unknown power, or you may feel a sense of perfect unity. You may feel a presence with you, or within you. You may even have visions. The idea that I often hold onto for this process is actually scientific knowledge. It is the knowledge that the atoms that make up my body were forged in the heart of an ancient star… that everything that I am is composed of stardust, and that, if I trace that lineage back far enough, I find myself at one with the universe itself in the moments just before the big bang. I and the universe are one and the same. I am it, and it is me. I am the universe given consciousness experiencing itself. When I love, it loves, when I sing, it sings, for we are one and the same. An idea like that can easily carry you away if you let it. A great deal of difficulty in having these experiences is found in being too embarrassed to let yourself go; too concerned with looking foolish. You have to give yourself that permission. Each person is different, so these tactics may need to be tweaked a bit for personal preference, but on the whole, this will deliver the very same powerful, emotional experiences claimed by religions all over the world. I have felt the presence of god; it may dwell only in the mind, but the mind has a way of making things real.
So then, how can these experiences be used? They can be used in a variety of ways, but I will stick to the ones I think are most useful. First, they can be used as tools of self empowerment. These experiences are very real to those who experience them, and they have the powerful potential to be the catalyst of change. These experiences can be used to push ourselves to change the things in our lives that we are unhappy with. They can give us the motivation, and feeling of power necessary to begin difficult undertakings in our lives. They can also be used as a booster shot. They can be used in order to reinforce our dedication to a process or decision. It could even be used to reinforce our sense of purpose in life itself. Still, there is an even simpler use for them that I would argue is just as useful as the more utilitarian uses that it holds. These experiences can be used for enjoyment. I have never had an experience of this type and had a bad time doing it. In the end, it is always positive, always powerful, and I always walk away feeling amazing. This ability, to deliver something of real value, that brings us real joy, is not something that should be overlooked.
But what good are these spiritual experiences if they are just figments of our imagination? Doesn’t the fact that they are artificial destroy their value? No. However, in order to explain why, we have to examine the nature of reality itself. In order to illustrate this, I would like to use one of my favorite quotes. It is translated, so the wording isn’t perfectly smooth, but the message is still clear. “People live their lives bound by what they accept as correct and true. That’s how they define “reality”. But what does it mean to be “correct” or “true”? Merely vague concepts … their “reality” may all be a mirage. Can we consider them to simply be living in their own world, shaped by their beliefs?” The issue here is that our understanding of reality is limited by our personal perceptions. The christian and the atheist live in the same reality, and yet, they live in completely different realities due to their personal perspectives. Since we can only live in reality as we perceive it, since our understanding of reality is limited by our knowledge, experience, and beliefs, we do truly live in our own personal worlds to some extent. The nature of reality as we understand and experience it is extremely subjective. Therefor, if something is real to us, it becomes real. Our beliefs do not change what truly is, but our personal reality is subjective. It becomes real for us. If it is real in those moments, as we experience it, then it becomes something real. The feelings that it gives us are real, the emotions that it gives us are real, the desires that we have are real. The rest doesn’t really matter. These experiences have power because our minds give them power, and that power too, is real.
Understanding this view of reality is not necessary in order to have these kinds of experiences, as we operate in this manner without ever having to be aware of it. However, being aware of it does give us some interesting options. It means that we can actively alter our own reality as we see fit. But that, of course, is a different topic all together.