Spiritual Experiences

In addition to harmonising the actions of mind, life and body, the psychic opening and influence on the surface being also leads to various spiritual experiences. For those who have no prior conscious spiritual experiences, it is hard to recognise either the immediacy or verity of the experience when it comes; however, it leaves no doubt for the person experiencing it about its reality and its importance. Most people who have some kind of spiritual experience immediately want to find ways to repeat them, as they clearly are outside the normal scope of what we experience in our surface being, and there is undoubtedly an aspiration that arises as a result of even a taste of the spiritual force when it manifests in an overpowering and concrete way in someone’s life. There is no doubt that many practices undertaken by seekers are the result of gaining a glimpse and then through the force of desire, wanting “more”, and it must be cautioned that there is some amount of danger of being misled or overpowered by experiences brought about by raw force of effort by someone unprepared to integrate them effectively in a prepared outer nature. The story of the “unbaked jar” unable to hold the flow of water and bursting is often related apropos this discussion.

Sri Aurobindo describes some of the various types of spiritual experiences that may be forthcoming as a result of the psychic opening on the surface of the being. “experience of the Self, experience of the Ishwara and the Divine Shakti, experience of cosmic consciousness, a direct touch with cosmic forces and with the occult movements of universal Nature, a psychic sympathy and unity and inner communication and interchanges of all kinds with other beings and with Nature, illuminations of the mind by knowledge, illuminations of the heart by love and devotion and spiritual joy and ecstasy, illuminations of the sense and the body by higher experience, illuminations of dynamic action in the truth and largeness of a purified mind and heart and soul, the certitudes of the divine light and guidance, the joy and power of the divine force working in the will and the conduct. These experiences are the result of an opening outward of the inner and inmost being and nature; for then there comes into play the soul’s power of unerring inherent consciousness, its vision, its touch on things which is superior to any mental cognition; there is there, native to the psychic consciousness in its pure working, an immediate sense of the world and its beings, a direct inner contact with them and a direct contact with the Self and with the Divine,–a direct knowledge, a direct sight of Truth and of all truths, a direct penetrating spiritual emotion and feeling, a direct intuition of right will and right action, a power to rule and to create an order of the being not by the gropings of the superficial self, but from within, from the inner truth of self and things and the occult realities of Nature.”

Sri Aurobindo, The Life Divine, Book 2, Part 2, Chapter 25, “The Triple Transformation”