the Spiritual MomentOnce I began to quiet my mind, I discovered that there were many moments in my life which lent themselves towards a vibrant type of spiritual experience. By spiritual experience, I don't mean anything as dramatic as speaking in tongues, having a vision or hearing voices; rather, I mean to describe the moments that arise when one is simply neck-deep, perhaps overwhelmed, by the experience of being alive.
Such experiences have become more common as I have learned how hateful and destructive I can be towards myself. I used to be plagued by memories of awkward moments from my life (typically my adolescence) and I would find myself constantly criticizing what I had done in the past -- this, despite the fact that I could not change what had happened. In my mind, I would relive the worst moments of my growing-up in an almost sadistic manner, never content to cut myself a break.
Alternatively, there were times when my focus would be on the future instead of the past. How brainwashed we are to compete with others, to constantly compare our successes and shortcomings with anyone and everyone. What if I don't pass the important test, or don't get the right job? What if I am not as important or famous as my friend or some other contact? What if I never meet my true love? Such thoughts can wreck endless havoc in a person who has yet to take time to get to know himself in any meaningful capacity.
Yet the moment someone can sit down and get to really examine what makes him or her tick and begins the process of observing the mind in it all its wrappings, these fears fade away and never return. I started to realize how meaningless these thoughts and anxieties were, as they involved things I could not change (the past) and things I did not know (the future). The moment that actually mattered -- the present -- was being overlooked in a forest of worry which I was needlessly sustaining.
The geniune spiritual experience does not involve an alter, a prayer, or a priest of any kind. It is a true connection with oneself. The more a person examines the perhaps endless depths of his own being, the more he begins to realize that the Almighty holds court within each of us, providing a silent sustenance even in the most desperate of hours. It is we who insist on creating our own mental prisons which mask this presence in our everyday lives. If we might only remove the shroud of fear, we might see the presence of the holy of holies within ourselves. At such a moment, there is a complete understanding of the mystery and beauty of our own place in the universe, and that each of us -- despite whatever illusion to the contrary -- is in fact the universe.