Experience of the Divine and the Forms of the Divine

While a spiritual experience is a subjective event, we can reference the accumulated reports from around the world and throughout human history to provide an accurate picture of the types of experiences and the reality of the experience. Sometimes these experiences come after undertaking various practices or disciplines, but it must be noted that long periods of practice do not guarantee a spiritual experience will result. The practices may prepare the being for its development and growth, and spiritual experiences may result; yet we also find that people may have what we can identify as a spiritual experience without overt preparation or practice. Some pressure within the being, some key life event, or just an opening to a particular environment or circumstance may trigger such a moment in the life of an individual.

Regardless of the form the experience takes, whether it be an ineffable sense of peace and acceptance, a sudden illumination as of a great light or inspiration, or a sense of bliss that goes beyond the feeling of joy or excitement we may experience in a momentary activity or achievement in the world, the seeker knows that this is something different and extraordinary and carries the memory of it alive as a flame within, reminding of itself and providing the seeker with both certainty and motivation. Some experiences come in locales that focus the energy, such as a temple or other place of worship, and sometimes in Nature, and sometimes in an otherwise normal circumstance or location, as the individual lets go of the ego-sense and feels something other than and greater than, the personal egoistic consciousness. These experiences sometimes come with a concrete sense of a being, a God or Goddess, or an Angel, Guide or Guardian, depending on the cultural and spiritual or religious background of the seeker.

Sri Aurobindo observes: “When the Ananda comes into you, it is the Divine who comes into you, just as when the Peace flows into you, it is the Divine who is invading you, or when you are flooded with Light, it is the flood of the Divine himself that is around you. Of course, the Divine is something much more, many other things besides, and in them all a Presence, a Being, a Divine Person; for the Divine is Krishna, is Shiva, is the Supreme Mother. But through the Ananda you can perceive the Anandamaya Krishna; through the Peace you can perceive the Shantimaya Shiva; in the Light in the delivering Knowledge, the Love, the fulfilling and uplifting Power you can meet the presence of the Divine Mother.”

Sri Aurobindo, Integral Yoga: Sri Aurobindo’s Teaching and Method of Practice, Chapter 4 The Divine, the Gods and the Divine Force, The Divine pp. 77-82


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