Advaita Vision

Advaita for the 21st Century

Spiritual Experiences
Philip T. Mistlberger

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Philp Mistlberger's new website is coming soon.

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The following is extracted from the above book, 'A Natural Awakening: Realizing the True Self in Everyday Life', which can be purchased from Philip's website. N.B. Only a few copies left!

The longing for freedom eventually directs us to set out on a path— usually called “the spiritual path .” The basis of this path is the intention to realize truth. The path actually goes from nowhere to nowhere, in the sense that what we are really doing is re-discovering our true nature—a true nature that is already the case, underlying the layer of dust created by our minds. But unfortunately the spiritual path is rarely used in this way. Usually it becomes a lengthy, drawn out, progressive affair.

Progressive approaches to spiritual realization can go on forever. The so-called spiritual path is usually the ego’s version of the desire for enlightenment. It is based on the doctrine “seek but never find,” and it keeps the seeking going by its fascination with spiritual experiences.

Spiritual experiences—sometimes also called peak experiences—are not a problem in themselves, but they get used by the ego in order to maintain the appearance of time and the sense of separation. These peak experiences become memories, filed away, to be showcased, discussed, compared, or even bragged about. They happened in the past, and more of them are anticipated in the future.

Our True Self exists in the timeless dimension of the present moment, and thus is not an experience. It is simply what is already the case. Spiritual experiences, when collected on the trophy case of memories, can actually serve to strengthen the ego’s sense of separate identity. The ego identifies with these memories, and usually becomes proud of them, which is part and parcel of the spiritualized ego.

Our true nature, pure consciousness itself, does not recognize time and thus has no need to collect memories of experiences. It does not compare, and is free of all attachment to “what I went through in the past.” It can consider memories, and experiences, and even talk about them, but there is no identification with them. They are simply events in consciousness.

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Page last updated: 10-Jul-2012