Ok, I will try not to make this too long. I have undergone a handful of Christian Mystical experiences and I'm currently seeking some guidance, heres a quick breakdown:
Im 30 years old. 5 years ago, I got indwelled with the Holy Spirit (it wasnt kundalini, that comes from below and flows up) this Spirit indwelled me from the Top of my head to the bottom of my feet, then would come out of me and float aorund my living room, bedrooms, and other people could sense this presence floating around.
WHen I get this Baptism of the Spirit, my meditations were AWSOME, I loved strangers more than myself, everyone and everything was beautiful , I experienced ego death and was practically reborn having to relearn how to function in society and within in this new manner of rebirth.
Few months later I experienced Illumination. While meditating, eyes closed and all lights off, this awsome divine light came forth within me with eyes closed and completely indwelled me and when I opened my eyes, I could see through solid matter, everything was crystalline like and I could even see through my own flesh and neighbors upstairs in the apt.
About a year later, still holding on to old ways, still looking at porn and addicted to it, I went through the dark night of the soul. THis state lasted almost 2 years, and it made Depression look like disney land. I prayed to come out of it for almost this whole time, it was the darkest, deepest abyss of nothingness as if the spirit, God and all of heaven and everything else abandoned me to be left alone with this nothingness of a deep abyss. During this time I never laughed at a joke, never enjoyed the presence of friends/family, favorite foods sucked, comedy movies failed to brighten me up, meditations sucked so I gave up, I didint care about anything anymore. Chruch and reading also became empty.
But I learned how to be. To just "be" because there was no other way except to leave myself completey in God's hands. I often wonder during this period if God is this deep nothing. All my mental constructs and ideas of who God was were always finite ones, of a Infinite God...but this Infinite Nothingness was something else, it was a nothingness but with a substance. Still it sucked, but I finally came out of it slowly and little by little began to enjoy my favorite foods, meditations got a little better, friends and family were fun to be around and I appreciated the smallest things now.
Looking back it taught me about this deep dark nothingness, helped kill of the rest of the ego, I completey gave everything up in my life in my search for God and make that my priority that everything else rotates around. And it forced me to always at all times to be in the "Now" I mean I know my past and I look forward to the future but again they are just constructs, time does not exist for me there is only now.
Few months after that, I got a cyst on my head that grew to the size of a golfball. With no health insurance being self employed, I really didnt care about it because I was in the Now, I was "being" and I just didnt care. The cyst grew for 2.5 months then a friend visited me and completely freaked out about my cyst saying for sure he thinks I have cancer, but I didnt budge. Until the next day when on the news Teddy Kennedy gets diagnosed with brain cancer in the exact same spot where my cyst was. I cry out to God and pray hardcore for 3 days stright thinking I only have months left and that its a gonner for me.
On the third day while praying and crying, this awsome subtle Grace of God came over me and I just didnt care again, no worries and only peace and it let me know God is still there. This Grace/Peace was amazing!!!!!
So here I am now. I try to Love God but I feel empty, just being, and in the Now. Im like a shell of my former self, wherebefore I was a shell guided and indwelled with the Spirit, I felt complete. Now, I still feel incomplete, though I have peace and Im content and have conquered my thought life and most aspects in my life. My highlight being when the Spirit was with me.
I try to Love God....but its as if this nothingness/emptiness within wont let me...I mean I love God and the Love is real, but it's a wierd kind of vaporiss trails of what I used to have for God.
According to St. Teresa of Avila and many other Christian Mystics. first comes the indwelling of the Spirit, then Illumination, Then Dark Night of The Soul, and Finally Union with God. I've had these all except Union!!!!!
I want this Union where all things become one and you dont know where you begin and God ends. To experieince this non-duality. It's my utmost desire to be given this grace.....but I've been desiring this for a year now and am still in the same place.
I get glimpses of this Union where there is only God, experienciing Godself through me and everything else...but these are fleeting glimpses. Other mystics I talk to say I need a guide, but try finding a Christian Mystic guide that has gone through these things and is taking students!!!! Thats like a needle in a haystack.
I did find a Christain Mystic organization, but when seeking guidance with them, they keep doubting my experiences and keep saying, join us, start over again, and we will give you the true experiences. It's always just join us, whereas thusfar I have undergone all these things on my own, just me and God.
But I just feeling like getting some advice or hearing what some of you here have to say. I feel trapped in this nothingness/abyss/being a shell and Im ready for the next state/stage, to climb higher in Love with God, to be in this ecstacy but to no avail it alludes me.
Also, I want that Illumination experience again. I mean, I dont rely me whole being on expereinces, which is what a benedictine monk advised me....but the paradox is that everything is experience...even not expreiencing spiritual experiences is still an experience just as experiencing them is an experience.
I have contentment expect for this full blown desire always in the back or front of my head to have Union with God, but how to get it????
Do I go deep within, do I go within the observer within...what about the kingdom of heaven within you??? I'd like to find that to, but supposedly its mustard seed sized in the cave of the heart, like passing through the eye of a needle. Also known as Accessing the divine spark within. But how, where, I've been trying to find this also to no avail...but I know its there, I can almost feel it within.
I want these things, but again Im just a shell of nothingness, a casualty of divine ego death, with just these fragments that continue to exist because there is only the Now. However I would never ever ever want to go back to how I used to be before all this hahpened.
I am free of anxieties, peace, contentment, happiness, and transcendence. But there's more...I know there's more or else I wouldnt have gone through all these things I have gone through thus far if it hasnt been in preparation for something more.
Besides, all I did was seek out God with all my power/strength/might and I have been given all these graces and experiences I never asked for. They just all came as the gifts in the proverbial cereal box that is finding God, comes with the territory.
I need him as close as possible, to feel and know and have God as Love in me and all around me and to have this Union I would do anything. I have already denied myself and taking up my cross, considered monasteries, practically sold all my belongings, all on this search for more God....I got a little taste when I got the Spirit and it BLEW ME AWAY!!!!!! and turned me into a God addict.
What now???????????? Sitting here wondering!!!!
Welcome to Shalom Place.
That's a lot to respond to, so hopefully you'll stick around long enough to get a feel for the folks who are here. Phil has extensive experience as a spiritual director, and this website has a link to his program where a variety of directors are available. However, spiritual direction involves a slow process of building a relationship with its attendant frustrations, and it sounds like that sort of thing has been hard for you to tolerate.
Do you think there is a connection between your isolation, addiction history, and the spiritual intensities you are seeking? I know for myself that close relationships can bring a kind of awareness that is uncomfortable, even threatening, but healing in a way that is impossible for me to procure on my own. This is probably one reason why the early church emphasized community, and even understood spiritual growth in terms of the whole body of Christ. St. Paul struggled throughout his ministry to keep people from wandering off on their own, and it seems this effort wasn't simply in order to combat heresies, but to keep people aware of their growth as a place within the Mystical Body.
So spiritual direction, small group prayer, regular attendance in a church of imperfect people, all work together to generate humility and expose our tendencies so they can be healed and transformed. I'd also throw in psychotherapy, or group psychotherapy, as a means to uncover motivations we can't be aware of that can be part of the transfer of addiction from the physical to the energetic/spiritual. In my experience, addictions almost always involve unresolved childhood attachment issues, and turning to spirituality, rather than to intimate contact with others, can be a way of avoiding certain painful truths.
Most of the answers with real value probably won't come from advice on a internet forum, although it can be a good place to start if you are patient and actually follow up on the leads.
Yeah, I hear you on all that. Thing is I still atent a regular non-denom church, have Friends with all types of religious backgrounds, (although my yogi friends undestand me better than my Christian friends. Go Figure!!!!) I balance my life between solitude and society pretty well, though the former gets the bigger slice of time.
Bottom line is, Christian Mystics are rarities in this world...so finding some-one who understands me and can get advice has been impossible thus far exceot for when I bring everything to Jesus.
Mnay books say, find a teacher/guide. I have enough humility to do so but thus far, nobody that I've approached really, "knows" whats up!!!
Look at the early Desert fathers. Most of those guys were in solitude and went through all these things with no teachers for the most part....later on they did take students who later themselves became teachers.
Thus far all these things have happened to me in solitude and I'm fine with that. This forum I respect allot. I posted on here many years ago and forgot about it and came around full circle when somebody mentioned to look for some advice on here.
So I've been leqad back here and I respect the power of words. ANy advice would be greatly appreciated and thanks for all the info and advice thus far
"Mnay books say, find a teacher/guide. I have enough humility to do so but thus far, nobody that I've approached really, "knows" whats up!!!"
Could you share some examples of your frustration in the spiritual direction you've received so far? In what sense did they not understand you?
"Look at the early Desert fathers. Most of those guys were in solitude and went through all these things with no teachers for the most part....later on they did take students who later themselves became teachers."
As you're probably aware, the hermetic experience is the most rare of Christian monastic arrangements. And these days, at least as I understand, they are more like hermit communities where spiritual direction is a regular activity along with gathering for the celebration of the Eucharist. Otherwise Christian monasticism, in its many forms, involves regular contact between personalities that don't always get along and have to show their narcissistic sides as well.
Some advice I've recieved from some Christian mytsic authors Im friends with and correspond with....they basically say to just "Be" which somewhere that I'm already at. I have no choice but to just "be" in the "now" there is no other existence for me except that.
Second, a certain Christian Mystic community that has many centers...I've sought guidance with them....its always the same..."you didnt go thrugh the dark night of the soul," or "you never went through that...you just thought you did....join our community and start all over again and then you will experience and know"
The best advice thus far has come from an Abbot friend of mine from a benedictine monastery. Basically, "bring it all to Christ, tell him whats up, how you feel and that you want this Union and to proceed deeper, then just wait on him"
As far as my remark of teachers/guides not knowing whats up...had to do with me mentioning some of my experiences and "them" not knowing at all what I'm describing...leading me to conclude how can a teacher/guide understand me if they themselves havent went through what I have....its not meant to be a ego puffed up chest realization...just simply a fact...If I want to climb everest...Im not going to seek advice from somebody who hasnt been there. Plus its a rather humble thing in itself to find a teacher/guide and humble one's self to them.
My conclusion thus far is that Ive gone it alone so far....why start asking questions now??? I should judt bring it to Jesus, deny myself, take up my cross and continue on...even though it sure would be nice to have some advice from time to time.
Have any of your Yogi friends mention that you might be experiencing a form of Enlightenment?
[QUOTE]Originally posted by Dominicus:
[QB] Yeah, I hear you on all that. Thing is I still atent a regular non-denom church, have Friends with all types of religious backgrounds, (although my yogi friends undestand me better than my Christian friends. Go Figure!!!!)
Yes, all my Yogi friends have basically told me "Welcome to the club!!!!"
I've realized my soul, remembered prexistence, and a whole bunch of other things that 99.9% of most Christians dont go through....at least the ones that I know.
Best thing is, everything Ive gone through so far lines up with what Teresa of Avila wrote along with St. John of the Cross (The Cloud of Unknowing and the Dark Night of the Soul books)
Still at the end of the day, it kind of sucks not being able to talk about deeper things with most people. Christianity in the U.S. is more outer based Sunday/Saturday for an hour or 2 only type of path.
Very few go deeper than that and fewer still go within. That's why a Christian mystic in the U.S. is a needle in a haystack.
At one point in my journey my teacher said that I've come to a point where he can't teach me anymore only God's Holy Spirit can. I think that in the 1st book of John in the new testament it says that if you have an anointing from the Holy you don't need anyone to teach you, because the Holy Spirit will teach you. And Jesus also taught that Holy Spirit is our guide.
I was taught that once the presence of God within the temple is stabilized one should allow the constant flow of Holy Spirit from Heaven to nourish the God's presence within. If I translate this into a meditation technique then it goes like this: While feeling and loving the presence of God within you reach up into Heaven and give Jesus a loving hug then feel the Jesus' love flowing into you (Jesus baptizes with the Holy Spirit). If you do this you can expect to feel the energy flow coming into your forehead and chest and filling you and the area around you. We are just a vessel that God occupies and we don't mind and are happy to have Him. And the energy/Spirit from Heaven flows from Heaven to the Divine Presence the dwells within your "temple". This energy/Spirit from Heaven first gathers around your "temple" from the top down and then becomes one with the Presence of God that dwells within your temple.
Based on my experience so far doing this works.
This is also something that I was taught, which is part of what I wrote above:
"Jesus said, "Be prepared for my coming! It will be soon and I will be like a thief in the night!"
The big thing nowadays is to be in the "Now". Not! Satan is missleading people. You need to be 1 or 2 seconds into the future. You can feel the flow of time/future coming at you up close and personal. You need to be in a state of expectation because it is the "Unknown" and you are expecting something big. You just don't know when or what is going to happen. But you expect it at any instant to happen and, "you are looking for it just a tiny bit into the future"."
I'm still trying to figure out what this actually means.
Dominicus, I would be interested in hearing how you have tied in what you are experiencing with St. Teresa of Avila & St. John of the Cross ect.
There are some discussions on this list, that you may find a benefit in regards to what your experiencing. One thread is on Enlightenment, another one about Bernadette Roberts. Bernadettetalks about experiencing the God center leaving her. There's also a thread on E. Tolle.
I understand the frustration of finding Traditional Christians who can relate to what your saying. In reading these threads i suggested, i finally began to understand why some of what i was experiencing & asking about was met with such
hostility & was not considered Christian.
Phil, the list owner has been able to integrate
a form of Christian Enlightenment with a personal
relationship with God. I don't believe all forms
of Enlightenment will be able to be integrated
with a Traditional Christian journey. I was advised that i was going to have to make a decision which direction i wished to go. I have been painfully going through the process of making this decision.
So i am very interested in hearing what you have
to say about your journey.
Greetings, Dominicus, and thank you for sharing your story with us.
From what you describe, it does sound like you've been through a Dark Night -- that you are even still in it. There's nothing to do in this state but to be in the present moment, waiting on God, doing whatever you're doing, and using your freedom to love as best you can. It is also good to continue with spiritual disciplines such as prayer, even though they might seem fruitless. Sometimes just sitting in the silence is all that one can do, and that is enough.
As you already know, God is very much in the Dark Night, but we do long for the sense of aliveness and intimacy of earlier times. Those came, in large part, from the overflow of grace into the emotional part of our being. The Dark Night pretty much puts that part of our nature out of commission for awhile -- at least until it's been healed, and we've learned to use our minds to direct our lives. It sounds like you're in touch with that inner freedom, only the desert has gotten old. Well, sure, only there's life in the desert as well -- an acquired tast, to be sure.
You don't mention Christian community, Mass, Sacraments, etc. at this time in your life. I think it's good to stay connected with all those channels of grace, even though you might not feel like doing much. Eucharist, in particular, is important; it's the most important way we connect with him, imo. Through Eucharist, we have assurance of union with Him, and can trust that what is going on is His work.
w.c. mentioned spiritual direction -- a good idea, imo.
(What'd you do about that cyst?)
Lots of great wisdom and advice so far. I will reply to the 3 last posts sequentially:
TTB: I received the baptism of the Holy Spirit many years ago and the intensity lasted for 8-9 months and it was an internal thought dialogue and direct guidance from the Spirit. I rebelled allot against the Spirit because my ego, having just underwent ego death...was trying to reform its fragments and I didnt understand this letting go and letting God. There was still selfishness. But after that period, its as if the Spirit left me in a high and dry desert...kind of like..."let's see what you do without me." type of deal. Although I would do anything to have those Holy Spirit High's again
I have no choice but to be in the "Now" and to just "Be" after experiencing time as an illusion and getting a taste of transcendence beyond earthly "time." This state is my normal everyday waking state for the last 3-4 years. I dont know future or past except as concepts of other "nows" that I've either already experienced or potentially will. I know its big and Eckhart Tolle really blew it up on Oprah....but its so misleading. Seek God and accept Jesus...then when you get the Spirit....being in the "now" becomes second nature and it really isn't all its cracked up to be...at least not like getting all the fireworks that come from the Spirit.
Ajoy: With Terest of Avila....she has these lists of experiences she breaks down sequentially and I got to her book upon getting to a third or firth experience all of which correspond exactly with what I have been going through. These two others are really good at discussing those things which it's hard to find words for, but personally everything I have gone through matches up to a "T" what they describe as the deeper inner path in our quest to Love and find God.
My personality from being a child has always been that this planet and our existence isn't right. Somethings off and you can see in my birthday videos other kids playing and i'm staring off into the sky and tree's I guess contemplating. Plus if I do/try something I will examine it to the max and take it to the extreme...and thats what I did with God....I broke down when I realized in my mid twenties all the dead-end emptiness I was living...and God answered my call. I sought God with all my strength and made this seeking extremely intense....and then was basically shocked when I got the Holy Spirit and all these inner mystical experiences that come with all these.
Some days I'm just like, "Why me God? Why give me these experiences when Im such a disgusting pig of a sinner. I did so much dirt in my life....and this hard core realization of the dirtiness of my own soul through my life's actions came when I got the Spirit. Why me? All those spiritual gifts came so easy, so automatic...whereas you have these holy-men who train for decades to reach these heights....and it was just so freely given to me. I really am grateful for this until my last breath...but still sometimes I realize how far I am down the rabbit hole and that there's no going back....I think about my old ways/days and old self. Sometimes the old self comes back to tempt me back into those lifestyles....have to always be on guard keeping Vigil. Its such a fine line and narrow path.
But everything has happened when I've been home by myself, in meditation, or in prayer or so on. I still go to a regular Christian Denomination for the pastor's preaching. He snaps and many times says mystical things that go over everyone's heads but reaches me and maybe other certain folks. Plus I've visited and have had services in a few monasteries before and I want to increase that also.
Its really just getting a sliver of a taste of God and being hooked since.
Phil: Maybe your right, maybe I still am in the dark night...but I do now its the outskirts of it because these days Im happy...whereas in the height of things there was no emotion. Its as if after having gone through it, the nothingness factor of the dark night has integrated itself into me.
For example I use this nothingness daily. If something negative or bad happens in my day, I just sit in that nothingness and I am not moved. If pride tries to creep in or other things, I sit in the nothingness, notice it right away and dispel it.
But it works against me sometimes like when I should have compassion for others or be happy to see an old friend...it ends up being an acknowledgement of that situation and I know I should react with uber happiness or comapssion...but its all filtered through this nothingness. Like the nothingness is my core and I have to struggle for emotion or reaction...though its been much easier and has been comming more naturally especially when I watch Cubs games.
Your definately right about the desert being an acquired taste. That rang so true with me when I read that. I mean Im so used to it...this dark night started over 2 years ago and the heights lasted 1.5 of those years...the rest has been a sort of integrated left-over fumes of the intense deepness of it.
But its in me, a part of me and I am a part of it. I'm fine with it and I know its what I need if I'm in it because I seek God and his will. It's been very beneficial for me going through this dark night, because in it I have set aside all things in my life to make God my number one priority with which everything else has to revolve around that.
It was like a more intense inner purgation. I mean purgation came during the 14 months of intense Bible study and prayer before I go the Spirit and while I had the Spirit...but in this Dark night came purgation of thoughts, emotions, reactions, my own will, and hope in myself...and everything shifted over to be in complete submission and in the hands of God who is my only sustenance.
I have several communities I attend in spurts of & on but have no attachments or any deep ties with any of them. I mean I love and respect the Body of Christ being all of us unified and everything...that's great, but I prefer the quietness of the solitude within. I agree tho, the sacraments are of great great value and I dont take those for granted.
I have recently joined a Monastic online yahoo group and a respected Christian Mystic Hermit runs the group. I mentioned being in need of guidance and we've had a lengthy correspondance going for the last week which seems to be the answer to my prayers as far as guide/teacher goes.
I mean I know its online, but he actually takes the time to link me to books, writings, advice....the e-mails go on to about 7-10 pages each. Its been tremendous help and priceless wisdom being that he understands me completely and has gone though all the things I have gone through thus far.
He's even revealed some secret stuff that is considered advanced mystical techniques that I'm surprised when I read them. It's really similar to the Jesus Prayer...John Cassian style but directing it to the heart where eventually a flame forms and then growing this flame to comsume the whole body/soul/mind/heart matrix...to literally be inflamed with Love for God. Real cool stuff that made me think about the term baptism by fire.
Oh as for the cyst...I went to the doctor and he said it's no big deal...its just a cyst and many males get these things in their late 20's early 30's. He did a simple procedure, numbed that area of my head with 2 painful shots of I think novocaine....I waited 40 minutes til numb, cut me open and spent 5 minutes cutting it out. Left me with 2 stitches and a 1.5 inch incision on my head. Scar still there.... but the peace that I have knowing its not cancerous or anything dangerous is priceless.
Glad to hear that cyst was benign, Dominicus. I've had two different instances of these on my neck and they were removed with no problem.
It sounds like you've found a good spiritual director/mentor. Excellent!
Perhaps you'd resonate with a discussion we one had, here on the loss of the affective ego. I think this is one of the consequences of the Dark Night. It leaves us firmly established in the present moment, which is not eternity, but sits at its doorstep. I consider it a foundational condition for the development of mature spiritual life. Problem is, however, that there is little motivation to do anything, whereas before the Dark Night, there was all this inner intentionality that needed to be discerned and properly directed. The ancient Fathers called this profound detachment apatheia and considered it a very important development -- a sign of true inner freedom (the modern term, apathy, has a different connotation). One is now free to choose the good without the pull of the false self/evil compromising one's intent and actions. Without inner movement, however, one is ill-disposed to choose, but to simply "be," so now what?
The answer is that we must first and foremost fulfill our responsibilities and duties; the energy will be there to do so. We should also strive for a balance in living -- getting up and doing the exercising, reading, eating properly, associating with others, working, etc. The monastic schedule takes care of all this for monks who've come to apatheia, but for the rest of us, we need to develop our own "rule of life" that will assure wholesome, ongoing growth.
Phil, I looked at the discussion a little. Loss of Affective Ego is what i mean by a new ego being created. There is a death & rebirth. Although this is probably experienced uniquely by each. There is a peace for me now.
thanks so much for posting to this list. For the first time i'm finally making a connection. I have not had the words to express as this was spontaeous
for me also. You are allowing me to see beyond where i am presently and i'm very grateful to you.
Have you taken the physical aspect into account? I believe many so called spiritual problems are really caused by imbalances in the body chemistry. Also some of what you say sounds like anhedonia.
We each have our own experiences and our own interpretation of our experiences, which may be difficult to convey to others, esp. in a web site forum, so forgive me if I'm way off base. It's just that I think too many spiritual/religious people overlook the physical aspect of their being.
Such as: How is your diet? Exercise? Do you breathe "right"? Do you make use of Nature's 7 Doctors? Water, Sunshine, exercise, nutrition, sleep, thought control, fresh air?
Just my 2 cents worth.. but I hope something is helpful.
That's great, Ajoy! Glad to hear you found that helpful.
You definately hit the nail on the head with this description of apatheia. Soon as I read your post I was like. "yup thats it." It a real peculiar state and I've grown to like it, but I know I can't be in this staye forever.....I feel its a preparation to enter the inner jerusalem.
Either way, I would like to know if there are others on here with this "apatheia" and if anyone has gone through this to the next state that comes after this successfully and might possibly relate that description here. Thanks Phil!!!!!
Don't thank me...thank the Father for bringing me full circle back to this forum.
It's definately not Anhedonia. My days are filled with fresh air, jogging, yoga, alternate nostril breath exercises, meditations, prayer, and many other activities.
While the descriptions of Anhedonia are very similar to the states I was in the Dark Night of the Soul...I know for sure it's the latter because it came gradually and last almost 2 years, and then slowly in a subtle way I shifted out of it. Plus during that time I never lost the desire to Love and Know God in a deeper way.
I mean I've had depression before...but this Dark Night was a direct effect of seeking God with all my strength and making this seeking quest my primary activity in life. Prior to that I had illumination where this white divine light showed itself to me in my meditation. Plus I never went through any drastic changes in my life that might cause Anhedonia....no pills, no medicines, all natural eating, and all the exercises I did then i still do now...plus I'm not really in the dark night anymore....I just have a few of it's features integrated into my being....it was a great experience for me to go through in retrospect...it made me set all my priorities to be spiritual, and it was a deep inner spring cleaning of allot of crap I was still hording from childhood and my past....all of those things were cleaned up and feel so free inside
Good, Dominicus, that you made full circle and found this site... and that you don't have anhedonia
I just always like to "check on" one's physical health.. Too many Christians don't eat properly, etc. which brings me to another topic I might start here.
Thanks for those inspiring/encouraging descriptions, Dominicus.
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