What is a mystical experience?
Margo, first: a mystical experience is not an experience at all. It is called ‘mystical experience’ because we have to call it something, but it is not an experience at all.
An experience is always outside you. You see the clouds in the sky, or the lightning in the sky. Or, you can see the same inside too: you can close your eyes and you can see light inside that too is outside – because the seer remains always outside the seen, the observer remains outside the observed, the experiencer remains outside the experienced. And the mystical experience is not something outside you: it is very special kind of experience, unique. What is its uniqueness?
The experience and the experienced become one, the knower and the known become one. There is no division at all. It is not that you see something, but that you are it. God is never experienced as an object: God is always experienced as your innermost being. “Ana’l haq!” declares Al-Hillaj Mansoor – “I am God!” the Sufi says. Or “Aham brahmasmi!” the Upanishads declare – “I am all!” It is not an experience! All experiences have been dissolved. Nothing is left. Only pure consciousness is there, but in that pure consciousness this understanding arises. The knower and the known are no more separate.
The mystical experience is such that you are involved in it with your totality. It is not in the head, it is not in the heart either; it is not in the body, it is not in the mind, it is not in the soul only. It pulsates all over you and beyond you. It pulsates with your totality.
I have heard a very ancient parable:
Once it happened, three saints, very famous saints, well-known saints, were passing through a forest. They all had worked hard, disciplined their lives arduously. They were great seekers. One was a bhakti yogi – a follower on the path of devotion, love, prayer. Another was a gyan yogi – a follower on the path of knowledge, wisdom, intelligence, awareness. And the third was a karma yogi – a follower on the path of action, service, commitment.
They all had done all that a man can do, all that is humanly possible, but yet they had not experienced God. Now they were getting old, and getting a little bit frustrated too. Time was slipping out of their hands, and the goal was as far away as ever, and coldness was settling. But that day a miracle happened.
Suddenly, it started raining. They all had to rush into a small temple. The temple was very small; just four pillars and a roof, open from all sides, and the rain was really strong, and the wind was strong, and the wind was bringing rainwater inside the temple. It was getting wet almost over the place. So they all had to stand just in the middle, surrounding the Shivalinga – it must have been a Shiva temple. And as the water started coming more and more inwards, they had to come closer and closer.
They were coming so close that they were touching coach other. Suddenly, when they touched each other, they felt that they were not three there but four. Surprised, startled… and the fourth, and the presence of the fourth, was so strong that they asked each other, “What are you feeling?” And they all said, “Something strange is present here.”
Slowly, slowly, the presence became very, very clear and radiant. It was such ecstasy to see that presence. They all fell on their knees, and they asked the presence – because it was so clear that it was God and nobody else – they asked, “Why? We have worked our whole life and we could not even see a glimpse of you, and today what has happened? Why have you suddenly come?”
And God laughed and said, “Because you all are together here. Touching each other, you have become total. And I can only be available to you when you are total. Now, you are not fragments.
Up to now you have been fragments: one was working through the heart, another was working through the head, and the third was working through the body. You were fragmentary. And I am not available to the fragments: I am available only when somebody becomes total. In this moment, your energies met and mingled with each other.
“I have always followed you, but have remained invisible because the I can only see me when it is total. Now you can touch me! Now you can have me! You have been missing me for only one reason: you were adamant, stubborn; you were clinging to one fragment – and God is a totality.”
This is my message to you: A mystical experience is a total experience – of the body, of the mind, of the soul. All is involved in it. Nothing is outside it. So don’t reject anything in your life; let everything be absorbed. That’s why I say ’from sex to super consciousness’ – everything has to be absorbed in it, nothing has to be rejected. The person who rejects anything has rejected God himself – because God IS totality.
Accept all, appreciate all. Rejoice in all! And let your life become a total organic unity. When you are organically one, you will have that orgasmic, oceanic experience called the mystic experience. It is not an experience… you ARE it. The experience is not separate from it.
God is not seen: one becomes God.
Liberation does not happen to you: you become liberation. Nirvana is not something in your hands: you are Nirvana.
Enlightenment is not something that happens in you: you are it!
Hence, though we call it, ’spiritual experience’, it really cannot be called spiritual experience. There are sexual experiences, but no spiritual experiences. There are aesthetic experiences, but no spiritual experiences. There are many kinds of experiences, but spiritual, mystical experience is not one of them: it is absolutely a separate reality. It is all alone. It is a category in itself.
From The Perfect Master, V.1, Discourse #10
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