Integrating Spiritual Experiences


#1

Two years ago I had my first significant spiritual experience and I am still working on how to integrate what happened. I would welcome any recommendations, but I will provide some details. I feel like there was a before and after contrast from being intellectually interested in many things including spirituality to realizing the embodiment or direct experience of life as a stark contrast to the world of the mind and ego. Have members here experienced such a transition from the world of "thinking’ to the way of ‘being’?
Honestly I have had a lot of distress about how to hold both perspectives. I can see intellectually that the world of duality is not actually apart from the absolute, but the embodiment of it, the holding of both while being in the world has not resolved for me. I can admit that the groundless nature of spirit is deeply unsettling for the little me on this side of the curtain. Right or wrong, I have fear around approaching what I feel is the truth. To be frank it’s the most challenging thing I have encountered in my life. It’s my first post here and I’ve never had a source of community so I will respectfully keep this short. Thank you for reading and I would welcome any recommendations or shared experiences.
-Ken


#2

@kensknowledge deeply unsettling is another fear doorway to expanding you. Your apprehension shows respect and your rational approach is healthy as I see it. Explore within as you explore without to connect the external images and interactions with your internal (spiritual) comprehension.

That inner experience is absolutely unique to you and no one else can ever join in this journey. Everything inside that you experience is you! Love it all … especially be open to what you feel negatively. I see that as the intellectual you communicating with the deeper you; or the higher you; or what ever or how ever you experience or define it.

You are experiencing deeper spiritually when realizing the embodiment and your direct experience of life is all there is. That can be scary but it’s worthy of exploration because you’re worthy. I sense that you’re already on the spiritual journey!

This information has helped me a lot if you’re curious maybe it will help you too?
https://the-spiritual-quest.com/the-spiritual-book/1-the-spiritual-quest/

~ Peace :slight_smile:


#3

Hi @kensknowledge, Experience of vs Knowing About comes to mind :-). I think Integral Theory appeals to intellectual/rational thinkers, hence us congregating here on IntegralLife.
I’ll riff from a novice practitioner of life lens as I’m definitely not so integral, spiritual, or well studied on really much of anything.
Those spiritual experiences ARE different than “knowing about”. Do know that those spiritual experiences are exercising different parts of your psyche, neurology, physiology, than you might be able to get to reliably in the “thinking about” intellectual realm.
The questions I pose for myself are:

  • Why do I have to figure that out? (and here I have the duality of trying to figure it out. :slight_smile:)
  • Does it really matter if I figure that out?
  • What if I outsource the figuring out or development of (a spiritual practice) to others?
  • Why shouldn’t I experience freedom from anxiety in my daily life? Is anxiety a close cousin to “figuring it out”?

Have fun with it. Only suggestions I might have is to do more of whatever you did to have the spiritual experiences. And sometimes (always?) it’s best to try on one spiritual practice and stick with it for a while. Otherwise our rational mind will want to take bits-and-pieces that we think we like from many practices - Christian church on Sunday’s, Buddhist changing on Wednesdays, Kabbala on Saturdays, Integral stuff on Thursdays, etc… When each practice has been developed over Millenia to reliably give us access to those spiritual experiences.

I personally love my spiritual practice(s), don’t really care if I don’t understand “the how and why” so much, and try to find that calming peace, joy, and love that’s so great to experience. :slight_smile:


#4

Hi @excecutive, First of all thank you for the feedback and sharing your perspective. I am gradually working through the book in that link and may return here with feedback when I am finished.

I don’t disagree and this is something I encountered in my experience. It’s not easy to put into words but this was something that was connected to my fear. There is an obvious contrast from being in that experience and thinking about it. When I was in the experience there really wasn’t thought in the subjective sense, but in the integration after there was fear around the ‘aloneness’ of it. To clarify, not loneliness because there was no one there, not even me or a self, just experience or being without self reference. There was an emptiness of self, of mind, which I can see in hindsight there is still a lot of attachment around.

Certainly the worth is something I need work on. That embodiment and direct experience is like the unconditioned nature that is free from the constructs of judgements and values that the ego is defined by. It seems like the fear is hooked in the same place that the worthiness is. What I mean is it seems like the idea is not to change the conditioning into a more appealing shape that becomes worthy but to ground ourselves in what is transcendent of the mind. That said given what integral says about shadow, there is obviously something to the acceptance of our conditioning, our ego, or our hang ups. Of course I have to do that work or practice for that to resolve but what are your thoughts?
Thanks again,
Ken


#5

Hi @FermentedAgave, Thank you for responding and sharing your perspective.

For sure and it was a revelation for me. Having spent so much of my life in my mind, it was the hammer that made everything look like a nail. It’s still a reflex to go through or to the mind but at least now I can see the distinction. At first after my experience, I was using the metaphor of the mind trying to understand spirit was like trying to scoop up the ocean in a paper cup. And this is still accurate in that sense that it won’t work like you want it too and the immensity of spirit is beyond your conscious capacity to understand, however it may be closer still to say it’s like trying scoop up the ocean with a hammer. Meaning you’re trying to use the mind to do something it’s not even meant to do and that spirit and mind represent different domains or dimensions of experience.

I can definitely relate to this and would benefit from sitting with these questions. After my experience I became aware of how attached I was to control. Having the answer or the understanding was what I relied on most of my life to feel in control of myself and my world. Oddly enough this creates fear around the sense of freedom, or true liberation. Like I would rather know myself as limited than to be free and embrace being a mystery unto myself.

For sure I have lacked consistent practice in one discipline and have tended to dabble in everything. I can also relate to the need for appreciation of the practice for its own sake. This something I would benefit greatly from. Thanks again for the feedback, and for providing some pointing in the right direction.
-ken


#6

This is your journey @kensknowledge … Your progress in accessing that deep place within you seems remarkable as you describe it. Touching that deep inner-space of Being is an amazing discovery. Remember that everything you discover consciously within you is just the tip of an iceberg that is massive below the conscious surface.

I was taught to track your sensations beyond the thoughts you attach to them. Like where do you feel it exactly? Is it within your head, throat, chest, stomach, etc.? What is the sensation like exactly? Is it a dull, sharp, energetic, hard, soft, heavy, light, positive, negative, etc. ?

For me I discovered that they are quite consistent across many varying experiences. Meaning a negative stressful feeling within actually feels quite similar to a positive excited feeling. When fully explored and integrated within, we now have access to consciously change the interpretations we put on things.

As we reduce our animalistic “fight or flight” reflex on our spiritual quest. We get to consciously redefine our inner world. When we consciously work at interpreting these intuitions to fit our personal ideals, this is called “clothing a spiritual sensation”.

Consciously mapping these inner triggering experiences is spiritual work. Isolate all the tiny inner discoveries with a love-hug of acknowledgement. Embrace them all consciously as friends and helpers in understanding the bigger you from within. You’ll be amazed at the clarity and space you create for yourself within. You can now work to create your own peace from within.

The spiritual quest discoveries give you control of your inner responses to external triggers. You’re in control of you. Your honest inner spiritual discoveries empower you. The courage and confidence reveals itself to you consciously and this delivers an amazing inner balance. Some have called this inner discovery the Kingdom of God, Enlightenment, Love, etc etc…

Regardless of how we describe it … always remember this not a destination It’s a never ending perpetual journey. An ever repeating process that reveals patterns and responses called cause and effects.

Your described discoveries seem quite exhilarating as they remind me of my own. ~ Peace :slight_smile: