by A.F. van der Meijden © 2006
I counted, I wrote 18 articles on mysticism and how to have such an experience. This is no 19. I also just collected two files with quotes on “Making Mistakes”. The one I like is by Edison: “Results! Why, man, I have gotten a lot of results. I know several thousand things that won’t work.” To have a mystical experience you want the results, don’t you? Then ignore all the mistakes you will make doing some Housecleaning. A champion player practices to learn from his mistakes. The only reason you have not had one yet is being misinformed. Science too is about eliminating errors and misconceptions.
Finally science is catching up with mythology and admitting our ancestors knew a thing or two, and especially about mind blowing experiences. Alan Aspect, in 1992, showed particles are telepathic and if particles are, so are we. We’re born that way but soon enough unlearn that, mainly when we start talking. Having your thinking done for you imports problems you did not ask for. Most of that happens while you are a child. Mysticism is getting pop again and many people today are having various styles of mystical experiences without even trying. Under Kundalini rising internet has lots of stuff. Kundalini yoga tells us an energy rises up the spine to over the top of the head. It can actually happen in various ways, and this is one of them.
Mysticism is not so much an experience as a kind of awareness, a conscious awareness. When the right insight and understanding hits you, people call it an experience, which is a side effect, more or less a bodily reaction to it. Sufism heavily frowns on such extravagance and Zen even more so. The experience is more or less to prove to yourself you’re having one. It marks a total shift in one’s awareness that has long term after effects which is what matters. Our standard awareness is locked in with the body and five external senses plus intellect which relies on words and a so-called ego which you won’t find anyway. What puzzles me about babies is that they are born quite able to use their minds but spend into their teenage mastering the body, after which we tend to forget we have a mind. Experience is the kick you get out of getting there. How many times does a baby fall over before the glory of walking?
In fact we are a mind using a body to explore and learn. If we did not have a soul our body would be dead matter. It’s also called a soul or life force and dozens of other labels. You cannot observe it or watch it, only use it. It’s the uses you put it too that can mislead you about that soul. You’re alive, that’s it. You can be distracted all your life by things that come at you from outside the body. The joke is that it is all projected by the soul. Yes, projected like a film projector and a screen. But before it comes to you as an insight and understanding there’s a lot of housecleaning to do, although some folks can do it fast. Vaughan, the poet, did it in three months and one Indian guru, wanting nothing else, held his breath for fifteen minutes and it happened.
Forget about maps, models, books, meditation, courses, it’s all there already, built in. You’re only borrowing from other people doing that. “Yet I repeat once more,” declares William James, “the existence of mystical states absolutely overthrows the pretension of non-mystical states to be the sole and ultimate dictators of what we may believe.” Notice James calls it a state. Anybody who tells you otherwise is denying you your birth right. The experience happens to a body, which is only part of you. So let me add something about the power of belief. Belief is the most misused word in the language. Go to Africa where people believe in ghosts and they even see them. Here for us, all you get is a sneer. Ghosts exist, sort of, like the lingering smell of burnt potatoes. It’s a bit tricky to explain, but I’ll have a go.
The soul, spirit, life force is not an object or a word but an energy with the power to project what it imagines. Belief amounts to a strongly imagined experience or a content of that soul, yours to choose. When we die the soul can carry along that content or life experience in what is called the astral. In the astral we can move faster than light, shape change, bilocate, enter other bodies, walk through walls and where your imagination has free reign seeing in 3D what it imagines. Most people rely on their memory which they imagine is fixed. But if you are aware enough you can notice to ask: ‘but who or what makes this happen?’. It’s actually not you who makes this happen. It’s a power of the universe also known as god and other names like creative energy and consciousness.
Your ego makes you believe you make it happen. That’s wrong, so let us drop that lot. It’s body talk not soul talk.
“What should one do when one does not take up a single thing?” Yen-yang asked Chao-chou.
“Put it down,” Chao-chou replied.
“If you do not take anything, how can you put it down?”
“Then carry it with you.” Zen Mondo
Antiquity distinguished between what we can make happen and what we cannot and there’s more of that than we imagine. All you can make happen is input, the throughput comes courtesy of the universe and the output lands on your lap. You can get what you imagine, anything else or nothing at all. As long as you don’t get what you imagine, here on earth, you’re doing something wrong or not well enough. This creative energy prefers for you to want to get more, deeper and better understanding. As long as you don’t seek that it will let us have other things like bodies to learn with.
A body needs an environment and so we have one, called earth. Earth is limited to time and space by which things are strung out and spread out so we can have a long slow look at it detail by detail. That, by the way, is why it is there. We have the opportunity to broaden our ability to encompass and grasp big bundles of details all together and at once. Actually our intuition does that but it can fool us as well as have us learn and turn wise. Intuition keeps us in illusions too, anything to keep you “happy”. The astral is still partly limited to forms like time and space in a silly putty kind of way but when it turns mystical all that fades away and turns into formless, pure energy. The standard metaphor for that is light.
When I took people into re-incarnational experiences the first thing they mentioned when forgetting the body and into their spirit was to say: “but it’s dark!”. So I told them to turn on the light and they did. We don’t actually get out of the body, we merely switch an attention track into the astral and mystical as it is called and often named as a transcendental experience. It can be a bit of a shock when it first happens. The one I had was when looking into a mirror and seeing the mirror image look at me. That stopped me for about five years until I had carefully thought this nitpickingly through. It was not a mistake, just another chance to learn something. That’s what time and space are for. It might not scare you, something else may, but getting scared is a waste of time. Tell your body that and it won’t believe you. Yes, it’s got a mind of its own too, just like your stomach when it gets hungry. One may call this “en cascade” task switching, like a fountain, quite spectacular but what makes it happen?
With 3D vision, no senses needed, you can do that too. We’re not going anywhere, we are always and only HERE, wherever that is. All we do is shift attention into subtler levels until we don’t need a body any more. That’s neither here nor there, in or out of the body. Whatever we imagine projects around our soul. So if you don’t imagine anything it’s dark but you’re still there. You just don’t need proof anymore to be sure you are. It’s like closing your eyes but a bit stronger as there are no body sensations either. It’s called subtler as compared with the body. Without a body there’s nothing subtle about it.
In effect it gets more and more powerful. In some cases people having it direct can incinerate their body, called spontaneous combustion, rare, but it happens. We can also revive being quite dead, also rare, but it happens. If so what makes that happen? Halton Arp, on the electric universe, mentions that the electric is a zillion times more powerful than gravity. It created the universe, it did. How? Dunno, just that it did. We have the use of it, so perhaps we should not be too eager, although the soul cannot be destroyed. It’s immortal. It has nix to do with love either, affinity is the better word for it. It’s a case of getting “with it”, staying in tune; whatever turns you on and off.
That’s about it, although I could put in a lot more padding. First is that a mystical experience is just as real as any other and entitled in its own right. Second that you should explore it in your own right because somebody else’s recipe is just as likely not to work for you. Thirdly, once your soulmind gets the message it will organise it all for you, after all it is you. The general mystical recommendation is to keep silent. I believe that is because talking about it with others, if they are not of a like mind, can slow you down, getting into doubts and all that. It is said to be secret, which, if so, it’s the best advertised secret ever. The only secret known about worldwide.
“1378 (n.), 1399 (adj.), from L. secretus “set apart, withdrawn, hidden,” originally pp. of secernere “to set apart,” from se- “without, apart,” prop. “on one’s own” (from PIE *sed-, from base *s(w)e-; see idiom) + cernere “separate” (see crisis). The verb meaning “to keep secret” (described in OED as “obsolete”) is attested from 1595. Secretive is attested from 1853. Secret agent first recorded 1715; secret service is from 1737; secret weapon is from 1936.”
That’s a load of nonsense, not etymology but history, etymology is about origins. A secret-ary knows all about you and your business but she keeps mum. The Latin is “occultus” as in occluded, like the sun when there’s a cloud in front of it. So too what you know occludes what you are. The recent fad in etymology is to go only as far as English. Nobody is concealing anything from you, except your own ignorance. Mystic comes from Greek mystae, peerers into mysteries, which is what science does today, or is supposed to: an unknown as in mysterious. Onelook Dictionary does better, with meaning no 3: “Something that baffles understanding”, like puzzles and riddles, which is a game some people enjoy, nowadays called problem solving and data crunching. Mysticism is a quality of understanding. One has AN experience, one after another, until you start experiencing as a pastime.
I finally found an online Sancrit dictionary. Secret goes with sacred and sacrament and sacred grove. As hrdaya it means heart, symbolic of a centre and what suppies the whole body. making it known as an – somewhat vague non-sensory- overall sensation for the body. Mystic comes as vidyesa: “lord of knowledge” or yogesvara: “Lord of mystic knowledge”. Kings of old used to call themselves navel of the Universe, also meaning centre. The basic idea is centre of one’s knowing in various kinds of knowledge. ‘Vid’ goes with video and visual which makes it a kind of seeing.
Alchemy tells us there’s three keys: lead, silver and gold or silver, gold and diamond, the last because finally it’s as clear as glass. The first key is about what you falsely believe. The second key is finding a grain of truth to remove the dross from what was obscure and the last one is when you are on the right track which is uncertain until the final stage. The first level is dismemberment, being analytic about your self and what you’re up to. Or, again, as: mundane to be rid of, mental: to explore and spiritual to BE. The second stage is like drama, peripateia, the turning point midway to remove dross and gain truth. Keep the dross, it comes in handy later, but for the moment you’re on a quest or hunt. Once you found it, what else is there to do? Anything you choose. John Curtisss Gowan called these stages trance, art and psychedelic or integrated for first being illuded, next playing around with it and lastly making it yours. A. Roob, Alchemy and Mysticism, Taschen, 1996, page 301-302 has a nice medieval picture of it with an explanation. And what is truth? Whatever you make it out to be, yours to live with; a never ending story. You can use your imagination seriously or playfully, playfully is undogmatically better.
Mystics are said to be woolly headed dimwits. So what makes you read this? Are you a dimwit? Swami Vivekananda read the entire Encyclopedia Brittanica just before he died. Einstein was a mystic. “People like us, who believe in physics, know that the distinction between past, present, and future is only a stubbornly persistent illusion.” “The most beautiful and profound emotion we can experience is the sensation of the mystical. He to whom this emotion is a stranger, who can no longer wonder and stand rapt in awe, is as good as dead. To know that what is impenetrable to us really exists, manifesting itself as the highest wisdom and the most radiant beauty, which our dull faculties can comprehend only in their primitive forms — this knowledge, this feeling, is at the center of true religion.” Albert Einstein.
I know what he means, I just would not put it that way. Don’t believe a word I wrote, just test it, thoroughly, giving it the best of YOUR belief, of course, until you are satisfied one way or the other. “For this is the Journey men make to find themselves, if they fail it does not matter much what else they find.” James A. Michener. Some folks will tell you that before you die you have to die to a false self. I doubt that for once and after you’re on track you can do only what you came here to find out, live your life.
St Theresa of Avila, Mother Superior, was once watched gutsing on chicken by a prim nun who told her off. She replied: “When it’s chicken time chicken, when it’s prayer time pray, with all your heart and all your might.” Saint Francis when he got there levitated, also done by Dunglas Holmes. Interestingly the unusual feats of Catholic saints were stolen and copied from mythology. It makes a long list. One schoolboy told his biology teacher many things teach did not know about plants. Asked how he knew the boy said: “They talk to me”. I’ve never been much interested in such spectaculars but if you are, have fun. I cannot imagine anything more boring than to wallow in bliss. Gopi Krishna did only to give it up again later.
Because they don’t grumble any more,
Because they don’t make a nuisance of themselves!
desire and passion is
enlightenment. One thought of
folly makes a man an ordinary
man. The next enlightened
thought and he is Buddha.
How this works is so far rather unclear but we may speak of raw experience. A simple example is how we know almost immediately whether we can get on with another person or not, including downright hostility. In discussions on channeling mediums we can read that the channel has to have a fair degree of control over a medium which cannot be direct in any way. Hypnosis is a more physical example. Mrs Attwood on alchemy delicately mentions that hypnosis is involved. One personal example was when an airplane did a sharp turn at 7000 feet above the sea and my baby son promptly decided he no longer wanted to sit on my lap. I did not enjoy a sudden change into looking down that distance.
Courtship is but another example as is healing. Tantric yoga uses it, which has nothing to do with sex. If we can stay in close proximity with another person in a relaxed and acceptant mindframe it will happen. Antiquity’s sacred places may well belong here. A simple example is staring at the nape of people’s neck and they will turn around, look surprised and puzzled at what’s doing that. We know when we are being started at. When Luke Skywalker is told: “Feel the force, Luke”, we all accept that. T’ai C’i evokes it. Max Freedom Long mentions that Hawaiian Kahuna could knock a person unconscious at a distance. We all know about people with charisma. It is not something just there like space but alive and moving. India uses the word “darshan” for just sitting in the presence of a guru and feeling good.
Often called love it is an affinity across what we may call fields that set an overall feeling or atmosphere we find pretty difficult to gainsay. It’s very likely part of what Freud called the ID which he feared and did not want to know about, being into the rationally mechanical. Recent acceptance of telepathy as real suggests some such thing as this ‘action at a distance’ without touching is involved. Obviously some people will be more sensitive and responsive to this than others just as for any other of our potentials and abilities. And quite non-obviously, in terms of knowledge, we can learn to both detect it and manipulate it. If this accounts for mystical awareness then it explains how come some people can develop this and others cannot. And, curiouser, we are more sensitive to weak than strong fields.