Years ago I was on a trip through the southwest and was camping in Zion National Park when I found what I was looking for in my quest. I was journeying in a dream at night and experienced my heart opening into a blissful and overwhelming state of unconditional love.
As I woke up and lay on the ground I realized that it was only a dream and somehow my rational mind was willing to dismiss it. The voice in my head was trying to dismiss the love I felt because it came from a dream. But something down inside me, that part of me that was feeling all the emotion, wasn’t ready to dismiss the beauty that I felt.
I was awake, but I could still feel the love radiating through my body. In all my life I had not felt such a beautiful sensation before. It was fading, but I decided that it must be possible to feel that much incredible love in real life. After all, I was awake, and I could still feel some. Maybe it was possible to feel it and live it beyond just a dream. I didn’t know if it was possible, but I decided to believe it was.
I consciously decided to believe that I could feel that much love, and to feel it all the time. I decided to believe that I could experience that much blissful love in all my relationships. I decided to believe it on the off chance that it was possible. At that point I knew what I was looking for. It was a feeling. I didn’t know how to get there or the steps I would take, but I knew it as a feeling in my body.
In different traditions it has different names. In mystery schools it might be called the Holy Grail, Your Integrity, Nirvana, Christ Consciousness, or more simply, Unconditional Love. I like to call it the Truth.
When you have this type of experience, what many call a spiritual experience of the Truth, many things become clear. The most important of these is that you know what you are looking for. Until that time I wanted to be happy but I only really knew it as an intellectual idea. Knowing it by experience is much more powerful. That feeling is like a reference beacon to your emotional integrity. You know when you are on track by how you feel, and you quickly know when you are off track in your journey.
I don’t often share experiences about my journey like this for a number of reasons. There are reasons why and I’m getting to that. I will tell you the reasons because then you will have better chance for immunity from them. All of this is necessary just because I’m planning this workshop to Zion and I felt inspired to share a bit of my history in that wonderful place. But I digress.
There are a number of reasons that I don’t share very much about these types of spiritual experiences. One simply is that these experiences of Truth don’t translate into words. People will read this and walk away with their interpretation of my experience.
In the beginning was the Word, and immediately after there was misinterpretation.
I’m okay with that part. I’ve made my peace with it a long time ago. It is the other kind of stuff that people do in their mind with this information about another person. They sometimes use these stories to activate stories in their mind and generate emotional reactions. Then I often refrain from this type of material because I know what people do with it in their mind. I know this very well because I use to do it.
Speaking from my own experience I know that before I started my journey such a story would raise a concerned reaction that someone had lost it. I would be skeptical, but that would bleed over into looking for signs that they weren’t logical and rationally sound people. My lack of understanding for these spiritual experiences made it difficult to accept people when they spoke of such things. I was a skeptic of their story, and I unknowingly became more than a skeptic of them.
Later in my process when I began having my own experiences, the judge in my mind would use the material of someone else’s experience to create envy. I would want what they had. I would be wishing I was them and living their life experiences. This is essentially the same thing as not being accepting of my self and where I was in my journey. This is a desire for love, happiness, and conscious awakening that gets distorted in the expression. I didn’t see all that at the time. It is easier to see your stumbling block issues when you go back and spend time with them.
Here is where I get to one of the points I wanted to make. (not the one on top of my head either) It is one of the biggest stumbling blocks people create in their mind when they are on a Spiritual path. I was talking with Ellen about this and we both saw this as a prominent stumbling block and is why I wanted to write this piece.
The big stumbling block that people in a spiritual quest create is that they use these spiritual images as a basis for self judgment. They read books or hear about other people’s experience and wonder, “Why not me?” With that question a critical voice in the mind is all too ready to propose that it is because they are not good enough, or there is something wrong with them, or that they are not doing everything right.
How to turn Spiritual Ideals into Spiritual Demons
When our mind uses Spiritual Ideals in this way they become personal expectations. As personal expectations they are the foundations for self judgment and self rejection. When you haven’t dealt with your inner judge inspirational experiences and stories of spiritual masters can become material for comparison. We can even create an image of what we should be as a spiritual person and judge our self compared to our imaginary self image.
When used in this way, what was a possible source of inspiration and a story about how much love you can feel in all your relationships becomes a spiritual stumbling block of self judgment. In spite of the possibility that people might do this in their minds, I will publish it anyways.
I decided to consciously share with you one of my experiences of emotional awakening to unconditional love. What you do with this information is your responsibility. You can either use it to open up to the possibility of more love and happiness in your life, Or, you can use it to judge me as a quack, feel envy, judge your self as unworthy, none of these, or all of these. These are just some of your choices.
Often we will make more progress on our Spiritual journey by focusing on the step in front of us than by dreaming and hoping about our destination.