And why do some mystics claim that everything is spiritual,
…and others claim that nothing is real?
You would like to have a real spiritual experience, and you have a sense of what this would be, having read accounts of mystics, psychics, dreamers, metaphysical experts, and spiritual specialists of all kinds. It would seem that a proper spiritual experience makes contact with a subtle level of awareness, or a deeper level of reality. But you have recognized that it is not enough to simply read about such things. This becomes especially clear when you begin to have your own explorations, because it brings up the wonderfully mysterious issue that will beguile you as you delve ever-deeper into matters metaphysical…
The deeper you probe into the real world around you, the more you see and feel the mysteriously multidimensional presence of this seemingly solid reality in which we live. And when you let yourself sense into the energy of the people and objects of this world, made of the spinning patterns of energy we call atoms, you are amazed to find that they are only waves of energy, possessing little stability to speak of. And this might seem to prove the metaphysical claim that this is all a dream.
But then, what can you say about the vivid multisensory clarity with which your own body experiences this physical world? After all, the airy metaphysical masters who claim that this world is a dream would be upset if you were to literally step on their toes, because they would suddenly proclaim that you had brought discomfort to the body that they had, only a moment before, proclaimed as unreal.
So maybe this world is not merely a dream. Nor is it a dull brick of solidity. What if your experiences in this world were all opportunities for you to examine this world through the super microscope of your own consciousness — a psychic lens that reveals an infinitely deep metaphysical experience? And, what if that lens into your deeper reality was most deeply perceived when you became deeply aware of this physical world? This would mean that to have a spiritual experience, you must become exceedingly aware of the physical world, so as to bring your consciousness into alignment with it. For when you do that, the mystery of this world, and of spiritual experience, reveals itself…
If your world is made of atoms that are only non-physical patterns of energy, this doesn’t mean that the world is not real. Rather, it reveals that the world is entirely real — but not in the solid physical way that people have supposed. Your experiences in this physical world do not limit you from having spiritual experiences. This world is actually the gateway to your spiritual experiences.
The paradox is that the more deeply you bring yourself into this physical world, the more you can sense the non-physical level of reality. So attempting to escape from the so-called mundane world into the so-called spiritual world is a misunderstanding.
The secret to solving this mystery is to include two seemingly contradictory realities in your awareness. Let yourself sense your way through the following little experiment. Feel it in your body, breathe it in, and let your heart and mind include these two possibilities…
First, let your consciousness sweep through any object in your environment. Use your imagination, and let your mind move through it, as if it were made of waves of energy. You can sweep your mind through your own physical body as well, or you can let your awareness sweep through anyone else’s physical body. When you let yourself sense through objects, you find that there is a non-physical space within everything and everyone.
But don’t reach any conclusions yet, because there is more to discover here…
Next, you let yourself sense the surface of the objects around you. Let yourself sense the surface of your skin, and the surface of people — notice their appearance: their texture, shape, color, and size. When you sense these surface characteristics, you find yourself immersed in the physical plane, and it all feels quite real. This is because reality is not defined by physical solidity and surface appearances only.
But what about the the non-physical energy space that you detected when your awareness was sweeping through things a moment ago? Is that the real reality? No, that’s not the one true reality, either.
Reality actually includes all of these elements — the physical and the non-physical together, because they form a continuum. And contradictory though these two elements may seem to be, the Reality they comprise is not a single thing, or a single place. This is because Reality is a complex interaction between your awareness and your multi-dimensional environment — you sense it, while it senses you.
You sense your world at many levels, and in sensing everything, you experience the interaction between your body, your mind, your soul, and the deep world around you. This complex interaction becomes a rich energetic harmony that is a conversation between all these elements — that conversation is Reality.
Just because atoms have a non-physical essence doesn’t make them unreal. Your experiences are quite real, and your experiences are the elements from which your spiritual experiences are made. And this begins to show you what a spiritual experience is.
When you are working with your consciousness, and feeling the interaction between your body, your mind, your energy, and your soul, exploring your environment, you are exploring consciousness itself. You are discovering how your thoughts and feelings arise, shift, and release. In other words, you are having a real spiritual experience that you can feel, know, understand, hear, see, and experience — throughout the many levels of your being.
When you realize that this world is a splendid place to explore reality, as deeply as you would like to go into it, then you may wonder about the familiar descriptions you’ve heard of what a spiritual experience is supposed to be. The charming symbolic descriptions, such as people describing conversations with their ancestors, or with celestial beings, though interesting and perhaps of value, are revealed as quaint sentimental descriptions of spiritual experience. The juicy reality of your own consciousness, interacting with the rich world within you and around you, is the way to a life filled with useful spiritual experiences.
Now these old ideas in your head of what a spiritual experience is supposed to be won’t readily go away, because you have read about them and heard about them for years. And so it is only through your own experiences that you will take ownership of your own spiritual life, and create your own definitions of what your own spiritual experiences truly are. When you realize that your divine soul incarnated here to make these discoveries, and when you acknowledge that your soul is its own uniquely distinct soul vibration, then you can begin to honor your own subtle perceptions, moment by moment, as legitimate spiritual experiences.
You will free yourself from the old idea that this physical world is of little account, because you will find that the interaction between your body, your consciousness, and this world is a harmony of possibilities that await your awareness. You need not wait about to have a symbolic spiritual experience where you can chat with a celestial being, and you need not wait to meet the Creator at the gates of heaven. Such experiences, though common in the popular mind as to what a spiritual experience would be, are only popular over-simplified symbolic expressions — they only give only a hint of your own personal spiritual discoveries.
Popular beliefs about the spiritual life seem to reflect symbols and appearances, and these are rarely questioned, as it is considered improper to doubt them. Presenting the right spiritual symbols, such as manner of dress, style of behavior, talking in a way considered as spiritual, or cultivating an environment that has the proper look and conveys the correct spiritual associations — these are all considered as evidence of spirituality. But can these symbols ever be a substitute for your own real spiritual experience?
Are you ready to acknowledge that a real spiritual experience comes from your willingness to sense deeply within? It is your own spiritual experience, and it cannot be defined by another person. Your real spiritual experiences emerge from the realizations that you uncover within each moment, in which you choose to examine yourself, your world, and everything in it. You come to realize that meeting so-called spiritual experts, though at times instructive and inspiring, can not substitute for the genuine spiritual experience that takes place within your own deep reflections and perceptions.
Symbolic spiritual experiences, such as being in a building considered to be a spiritual building, or listening to a person considered to be a spiritual person, are not in themselves necessarily spiritual, because these symbolic elements to not confer automatic spirituality. In fact, there is no automatic spiritual experience. The real spiritual experience is one in which you are utilizing your consciousness. And it doesn’t matter whether anyone believes you. And it doesn’t matter whether your experience fits anybody’s definition of spirituality.
Each moment is entirely real, and each moment provides the ingredients for you to have a spiritual experience. And so the conditions for a spiritual experience are simply this… you are conscious that you are using your consciousness. A legitimate spiritual experience is only that interaction of consciousness with consciousness — you might call it a cosmic intelligent feedback loop.
Spiritual experiences are conscious ones, and consciousness is a deep well of infinite depth. You will become more aware tomorrow than you are today. There is no final place of complete enlightenment, and there is no such thing as an entirely enlightened being. The more you explore the depth of your self and this world, the more you realize that this world is neither a spiritual place, nor a non-spiritual place. It is the lens through which you experience the deeper reality. And yet, that deeper reality paradoxically includes this very world in which you live.
The divine essence — the deeper cosmic reality — is not a different place from your current environment. The deeper reality can be found within this place where you are, here and now. Here is the cosmic paradox:
1. This world in which you live always refers to the deeper non-physical reality.
2. The non-physical subtle world always refers back to this physical world.
And that is why any claim that this world is unreal reflects an incomplete understanding of the mystery. Likewise, any claim that this world is real, and that everything else is unreal, is similarly wrong. So what will happen when you go about claiming that this physical world is a reflection of a deeper subtle non-physical world? And to further confuse everyone, you also claim that the subtle world is only a reflection of our own physical world?
You will be revealed to all who listen to you as a hopeless mystic, incapable of making sense. You will be seen for what you really are — a being who has transcended ordinary common sense, whether the tidy mundane perceptions of the materialist, or the comfortably sentimental musings of the metaphysical experts. You will have ever-deeper understandings, but your subtle revelations will not fit into the comfortable categories of experience that people want to hear from you. And so you will be free to have your spiritual experiences, unbounded by the limitations and conventions of the materialists and the spiritualists.
So is everything a spiritual experience? Maybe that is the wrong question. Although this world is a lens through which you can experience the deeper reality, the depth of your spiritual experience comes from the depth of your perception. So when you question whether everything is spiritual, or whether nothing is spiritual, just bring yourself back to your breathing. And notice what is happening now — on the many levels of reality.
Look and feel as deeply as you like into yourself, into anyone, or into any situation. Everything you examine contains the universal essence, but that is not the end of the story. The universal gets its definition from those seemingly mundane details in your immediate environment. So everything may be potentially spiritual, because everything is a worthy vehicle for your consciousness exploration. And that is the secret to how you can have a real spiritual experience within this curiously wonderfully multidimensional world.
Joel Bruce Wallach
Founder, Cosmic Living for spiritual empowerment – teleclasses and home-study mp3’s
Love this paradox. I look forward to when it seeps into my understanding. Keep them coming!