The Cost of Spiritual Experience

December 21, 2012

Recently, I have been thinking about the cost of spiritual experience.

  • What are the drawbacks of spiritual experiences?
  • What are the benefits of not having spiritual experiences?

It seems to me that “good” spiritual experiences have a tendency to give rise to undesirable personality traits. So good experiences are not so good after all and not worth missing. I think the key lies in not overvaluing them.

Anyone who values one state of conscious over another is speaking from their own values and from the point of view of individuality with a localised, partial memory. Yes, higher states certainly appear to be better for the individual, but that preference is at the expense of the totality of life.

Maharishi used to say, “Every last drop of bliss has to be transcended.” In other words, what you can’t let go of, you become a slave to.

So in my mind it is far better to be grateful for what you have, than to be absorbed in some fantasy that some relative state is better/worse than another. In the end time destroys all, even relative states of consciousness.

So what to do? Follow your inner genius (dharma) without attachment to results. Look to the wholeness of Brahman rather than to parts that are the product of time and space, memory and fear. Stay with the process (devata aspect) rather than the parenthesis (of subject and object).

In a slightly different direction, some say that it is necessary to master all seven areas of your life, or all seven chakras, etc. But Patanjali says,

3.49:     Solely from perception of the distinction between buddhi and purusha comes all-knowingness and supremacy over all that exists. 

3.50:     Through non-attachment even to that – when the source of imbalance has collapsed – there is singularity, kaivalya.

3.51:      There is no cause for attachment or pride upon invitation from those who are well-established, because the undesirable may occur again. 

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