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Have you ever had a spiritual experience?

  1. Yes

    7 vote(s)
  2. No

    3 vote(s)
  1. Aug 3, 2003 #1


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    Let's define spiritual experience as "a period of time in which you perceived a profound unity and interconnectedness to existence, an unusually piercing clarity, and/or a sense that 'everything is just as it should be,' far, far above and beyond whatever your normal intellectual and emotional apprehension of reality may tell you."

    A couple of things to point out here. First and foremost, having a spiritual experience DOES NOT REQUIRE A BELIEF IN GOD or any other metaphysical system. I am not interested here in what people believe or don't believe, only whether or not they have had a spiritual experience as described above. The most passionate atheist may have a spiritual experience, while the most fervent clergyman may not.

    Second, do not take the "far, far above and beyond" qualifier lightly. It is quite normal for people to take a step back, look at things, and appreciate them in a profound new light. But this does not constitute a spiritual experience as I am defining it for the purposes of this poll. What I am looking for is the type of experience so intense and powerful that you never forget it, perhaps powerful enough to have a lasting impact on your life. Such an experience is markedly, blatantly distinct from the vast majority of your waking experiences and most probably has the flavor of an altered state of consciousness. If you are unsure of whether or not you have had such a spiritual experience, then you most probably have not had one.

    Third, it doesn't matter whether you may have attained such a state spontaneously, or via some intentional means such as drugs or meditation. Again, all I'm looking for is whether or not you have experienced such a state.

    Be honest! If anyone here has experienced such a thing, sharing the details might be nice too. :smile:
  2. jcsd
  3. Aug 3, 2003 #2
    yes! one word, raaaave! i'm entirely serious it's so hard to describe unless you've experienced it though. it's ony really happened to me once, seeing Underworld at the 2003 big day out, and the place was packed, everyone going crazy with the lights almost epilepsy inducing and all you can feel is the music and it just builds and builds until you forget yourself as an individual and just become the music, all i could do was grin manically, and then the music climaxes and for a brief instant you experience infinity!
  4. Aug 3, 2003 #3
    I'd don't think being high should count. Does that smilie look like he's having a spiritual experience or does he look high? I've anwsered yes to the poll also, though mine was more of a transformation than experience. It came about as a result of being deathly ill for a time.
  5. Aug 3, 2003 #4
    Sure, I've had a number of spiritual experiences under different circumstances. My first was when I was five years old and being whipped with a belt by my mother. It redefined my life.

    My second was when I was six years old, and that one waited until I was almost thirty to redefine my life.

    I'm waiting to see what happens next, if anything.
  6. Aug 3, 2003 #5
  7. Aug 3, 2003 #6


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    Why should anything not count? Doesn't matter how you get there, long as you get there...
    I'm not saying you have a spiritual experience everytime you toke a joint. But psychedelics in particular are well known and well documented to induce intense spiritual experiences if the conditions are right. I have a feeling that anyone who hasn't experienced that directly for themselves is bound to underestimate it.
  8. Aug 3, 2003 #7
    Yes, a number of times while meditating. One such experience was being totally connected with the universe and everything and everyone in it, being in and of the ONE.

    Another was being bathed and suffused in incrediably bright light without the pain or heat normally associated with such bright light. I experienced a warm comforting loving feeling that everthing including myself was all right and that everything would be all right.

    Another experience was being totally disconnected from the physical world and reality with no place to put my feet, no where to stand but drifting free in space with my true self not my physical self or self image.

    There have been other less intense or extreme experiences all having to do with meditation but they were more confirming and supporting and being truly self aware and aware of anothers constant presence.
    They were not life impacting but life affirming.

    None of these events were brought about by my will or desire but happened spontaniously while meditating. While I have been able to repeat some of these experiences it is not done by my will. I can't make it happen I can only let it happen if it will and accept whatever does or does not happen.
  9. Aug 3, 2003 #8


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    See, I'm skeptical of this claim and this is why I tried to go to great lengths to establish the rare and important nature of what I meant... If you have spiritual experiences of this kind on a daily basis then you are basically what is called 'enlightened,' and it has been estimated that only a couple thousand or so people in the history of humanity have attained such a level. Of course, there is no good measure of what it means to be enlightened, but the very very conservative estimate should at least tell you something.

    Can you look at the world in a profound, spiritual way everyday? Of course. Can you have a spiritual experience as I've described it everyday? I really doubt it. Not unless you've been meditating vigorously for years upon years upon years, or unless you regularly ingest potent psychedelics 2 or 3 times a week (and the latter would be more apt to just drive you insane). I'm talking about something way above and beyond anything that you would normally associate with human consciousness. You dig? :smile:
  10. Aug 3, 2003 #9


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    Royce, would you mind sharing your techniques for meditation? :smile: I only have a very basic understanding of it-- fold your legs, close your eyes, clear your mind, control your breathing. But since you seem to have had a lot of success with it, I'm curious as to your own personal methods. Please be as detailed as possible. :wink: I realize the practice may be idiosynchratic to a high degree (and some people definitely are more prone to have transcendental experiences while meditating than others), but I figure whatever you're doing must be a good place to start.
  11. Aug 3, 2003 #10
    Everyone has their own way to meditate. My way may not work for someone else. It is a very simple unritualistic method that can be done anywhere anytime.
    I simply breathe in through my nose down to my belly using my diaphram to breathe. I mentally follow my breath up my nostrils down my wind pipe into my lungs and down into my belly. I then breathe out through my mouth. I let myself breathe in but gently blow the air out.
    I do not concentrate on my breathing, nor count my breath nor inhale good air or energy and exhale bad negative air as I have read that other do. I simply notice it, am conscious of it. This gives me a method to quieten by mind. If random thoughts distract me and I become involved with them, as soon as I notice it, I let the thoughts go and return to watching my breathing. I watch as thoughts pop into my mind. I see where they come from and where they go. As my mind learns to be quiet and listen I enter a medatative state and let it carry me wherever it will. I let whatever may happen happen. I do not and can not make anything happen. I expect nothing and desire nothing. I let go and let whatever happen. As I enter this state I no longer breathe out through my mouth but breathe normally through my nose

    I do this in bed at night before going to sleep as a way of relaxing and falling asleep. I do this in the morning sometimes while sitting on the john letting whatever happens there happen too. At times I do this while driving to or from work, seeing everything but looking at nothing.

    When I really want to meditate deeply I sit is a comfortable straight backed chair arms together resting on a table in subdued lighting with no loud sounds to distract me. I may or may not close my eyes. I find my center and go there. I mentally look inside me or outside me through my forehead whichever way I am directed. I try not to get carried way by my thoughts but simply observe them and quieten them.
    I LET whatever happens happen and try to not let my ego or imagination distract me or scare me away from whatever it is that I must see.

    It is not easy, yet it is the easiest thing in the world. Intention and willpower make it impossible. We can only train our minds to be quiet and listen and see. We cannot make it listen or see or do anything. We only sit quietly and let it be.
  12. Aug 3, 2003 #11
    Once you've cracked open the nut and gotten to the meat inside and, you just happen to have a big bag of nuts in the other room, yes, you can crack the nuts pretty much whenever you feel like it. Did you check out either of my links by the way? Also, if you refer to the thread about my Avatar, The Advent of Color, it gives an idea about the nature of the meditation I practice (which really isn't altogether different from what you mention above). I also have an illustrated link to how the colors (in association with numbers) are derived on my website ... http://www.dionysus.org/7_colors.html

    Yep, I went crazy once too. In fact it was in the process of putting my mind back together again that I learned an effective way of cracking nuts. :wink:

    I establish a spiritual connection every morning after waking up from my dreams (literally) while practicing an "extended form" of my meditation. In many ways it's like being in a theater or an arena.

    In case you didn't check out either of the links above, here they are again ...

  13. Aug 3, 2003 #12
    id have to say that i have gotten this 'above and beyondness' a few times, but the only time i can really remember well is when first thought of an amazing invention. (unfortunately it became it was physically impossible later on)
  14. Aug 4, 2003 #13


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    I read through the first link. I'm still skeptical. I don't doubt that you have vivid dreams that are meaningful to you, but that in itself doesn't constitute a spiritual experience... I might sound snobbish or something, but I don't intend to be. I just don't think that this spiritual connection that you talk about establishing is the same thing I'm referring to. You can have spiritually oriented experiences that are vivid and profound, but that doesn't make them the same animal that I'm talking about. If the greatest spiritual leaders in the history of the planet have had difficulty even attaining, let alone maintaining, consistent 'spiritual experiences' as I conceive of them, then I just find it immensely hard to believe that you yourself can flip enlightenment on and off like a switch. I suspect the problem is one of definition; either I've inadequately explained myself, or you've misinterpretted me. Probably both.
  15. Aug 4, 2003 #14
    i am just disgusted by these allegations! i was not high at the time although had been breathing in alot of second hand pot, a joint won't give you a spiritual experience, just make you feel at peace, it's not really the same thing, well not the way i see it.
  16. Aug 4, 2003 #15
    "It's nothing earthly," Kirilov
    says in the novel. "You forgive
    nothing because there is nothing
    to forgive...It is much higher than love! What is so terriying
    about it is that it's so terribly clear and such gladness. If it went on for more than five seconds
    the soul could not endure it and
    must perish. In those five seconds I live through a lifetime, and I'm
    ready to give my whole life for them, for it's worth it."

    "Take care, Kirilov," another
    character warns. "I've heard that's just how an epileptic fit begins. An epileptic described to
    me exactly that preliminary sens-
    sation before a fit, exactly as
    you've done...Be careful, Kirilov
    - it's epilepsy!"

    -The Possessed
  17. Aug 4, 2003 #16
    Well maybe that isn't the point then? I can get a good buzz out of my meditation and go through the morning maintaining it, but as soon as I'm at work and around other people, within five minutes it's gone. Simply because there's no one there to communicate it with. So, I just hold on until it dwindles out, and then go on about my business as if it never happened. Only to repeat the process all over again the next day.

    While I also noticed the same will happen even if I don't speak with anyone, but as a result of focusing on my work instead, although I think it's the effect of the workplace in general, with all of its distractions.

    Do as Joseph Campbell said, "Follow your bliss." And when you find something you truly love doing, then you will always be "enlightened."
  18. Aug 4, 2003 #17
    Yes. It was of an intensity that I would trade away the rest of my life for a day in that state.

    I'm the cheif meditation instructor at my meditation center (zen). Though we do meditate a little differently than Royce described, his description was excellent. There are many ways to meditate. All result in your mind clearing, calming both body and mind, becoming completely present in the moment. If you're interested, find the one that fits you best.

    I would add that until you have meditated a while, I would be very careful to maintain good posture while meditating. I considered this to be archaic instruction or ritualistic mumbo jumbo for a while, and it seriously impeded my meditation for some time. Being able to breath freely is important to meditation and without good posture, learning to relax your diaphram is difficult, at best. Without relaxing the diaphram, relaxing the rest of your body (in such a profound way), is all but impossible.
  19. Aug 4, 2003 #18
    I agree, Glenn. Good posture is critical at first. Later it becomes second nature so it is no longer a concern. This is why I sat in a straight backed chair when I firt began with my feet flat on the floor my back straight and my hands folded together resting comfortablly on the table in front of me.

    relaxing the diaphram and being able to breathe deeply and easily is also important. I let myself breathe in without effort by simply relaxing my diaphram the gently blow out as I contract my diapham.

    All of this is not necessary to meditation but it help especially at first to reach a meditative state. Again there is nothing unnatural mystical or spiritual about it. It happens naterally when the mind becomes quiet.

    Once we are able to reach the meditative state easily then the 'magic' starts. We each go our own way and see and experience what we need to at that time in our lives. We have to get rid of a lot of excess emotional baggage and unresolved issues so be can find the inner peace and harmony to go beyond and experience enlightenment even if, as with me and others, it is a little tiny step after step time after time occasioned by giant leaps every once in a while. This is the main reason that it takes so long and must be done regularly. As with everything in life first we learn to crawl, then walk, finally to run. If we are very luck and persistant one day we may soar in the breeze.
  20. Aug 4, 2003 #19
    Be careful, Kiriov-it is epilepsy!
  21. Aug 4, 2003 #20
    Do you meditate with a group, or is your's strickly solitary?
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