The Question of Inner Experience

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The Question of Inner Experience

Postby SDP on Mon Jul 05, 2010 2:53 pm

A visitor to this web site wrote recently. He wanted to see a dialogue on Inner Experience.

What leads to spiritual experiences and how important are they?

What is the difference between those who explore spirituality out of curiosity and those who continue with a spiritual path their whole lives? Is there a difference in their inner experiences?

Why are some people not gaining any conscious awareness of inner experiences?

What should our goal be, or our expectations?

How do we judge our progress?

This should make a great topic for open discussion. Please join in with your thoughts - or more questions.
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Re: The Question of Inner Experience

Postby Music Child on Mon Jul 05, 2010 11:36 pm

Hi.

I suppose a clarification of terms would help (me) to understand some of the questions that might be discussable. For example, when you say "He wanted to see a dialogue on inner experiences", what is meant by 'inner experiences'? In the same context, when you mention "spiritual experiences", please indicate your perspective on which experiences are not spiritual.

Since I'm new to this setting, if I need to read something that I missed, please feel free to refer me.

Respectfully, Music Child
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Re: The Question of Inner Experience

Postby Clayton on Tue Jul 06, 2010 8:34 am

Music Child wrote:what is meant by 'inner experiences'? In the same context, when you mention "spiritual experiences", please indicate your perspective on which experiences are not spiritual.


To me "inner experiences" are the events that occur beyond the physical senses. For me "spiritual experiences" would be those that occur beyond the realm of duality. Now many would want to add that even a physical event such as a waking dream could be spiritual but I would view that more as a divinely inspired event in the physical realm.

Way back in the mid 1970's I read Key to Secret Worlds and I wanted to return to the Atma realm more than anything else. I read Letters to a Chela and thought that possibly within five years and certainly ten years that I would be well on my way. I did the daily exercises and kept a dream journal and I did get an amazing quickening in the dream realm. Waves of blue light washed over me in my quiet inward contemplations. Yet after fifteen years I had not seen the Inner Master even once. I had a number of OOB type experiences but they were so infrequent that I really did not understand what to make of them. Despite the admonitions against Astral Projection I began to grow curious about what that really was and how did it differ from Soul Travel. (I have since gained some experience in this and I think that what some are calling Soul travel is really Astral Projection).

At any rate, long story short, I finally had a clear, undeniable experience of the Sound of the Flute a few months ago. After over thirty five years!

What I am curious about is how expectations are built on the words of a book yet the actual reality is really something very different. I found that among friends who were also following the Path, very little in the way of genuine inner experience was occurring for the vast majority of initiates. I remember sitting in a meeting when this came up in discussion and the 6th Initiate, Mahdis, RESA just up and announced that she had never experienced Soul Travel and she never heard the Sound and had never even seen the Inner Light. !? :o :?:
She could barely remember her dreams half the time! I just shook my head and wondered. What was she doing still hanging around? Was this a social club for her?

My viewpoint towards my Path has changed so much over the decades. My attitude toward outer groups has changed radically. I have been searching. I want to find an organization where the members actually make significant daily effort and actually do gain conscious experience of the inner realms on a fairly regular basis. I am making some unexpected discoveries.
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Re: The Question of Inner Experience

Postby SDP on Tue Jul 06, 2010 9:39 am

Music child,

Good question. Everyone uses terms so differently, especially when we starting talking about the fields of consciousness.

I agree with Clayton's way of using the term.

To me Inner Experience is any subjective experience. When a new idea dawns and we have that AHA! feeling hit us, that is an inner experience. When we suddenly grasp a great truth, or are moved by a poem or song, or we feel a connection with another person, or we feel lifted up in our awareness or inspiration. Those are all inner experiences.

However, what is often more important are those inner experiences that reveal to us the deeper aspects of who we are and why we are here, or help us see our connection to all of life. These can be experiences with what are often called the Light and Sound of God, since it can feel as if a light is suddenly turning on or bathing us, and we can feel the vibrations and sometimes actual sounds, like an ethereal song that seems so familiar.

Some people actually see inner dimensions and the landscape of their own inner worlds, you might say, or the inner side of the world or planet.

It is quite a wide range of experience that can fit into this category!

Doug.
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Re: The Question of Inner Experience

Postby Jane on Wed Jul 07, 2010 11:28 am

I think commitment has a lot to do with what we experience. That said, I have read (& experienced this myself) that a person's experiences are what he needs & can handle at that moment; experiences already mastered in other lifetimes don't necessarily need to be repeated in this life.
I joined a spiritual path 40 years ago, based on the ecstatic joy I felt when I found my teacher. I tried Soul Travel & found that I could not do it the way books described. I could do it another way, but never got "good" at it. What came naturally to me was knowingness, where I would suddenly know something I had not known before. I also learned to recognize open doors & go through them in daily life.
Then I "lost it" for many years. I drifted along in that path but not putting anything of myself into it. All my focus was on my outer life, which eventually shattered.
After several years of trying to pick up the pieces of my life, I realized I couldn't do it alone & turned back to my teacher. Once I reached the point where I was really ready to commit to the path, & particuarly to learning divine love, everything changed. Everything from my perspective on life to health to how I make my living. Inner changes came from finally beginning to face myself: anger & fear became things that no longer had power over me once my teacher showed me how to let them go (via dreams, contemplation, outer life experiences). Love became a vibrant reality in my outer life as well as the inner. Most of what I experience is awareness of the gifts that are given to me every day. The more I become aware, the more gifts I recognize. The gifts are all divine love in one form or another.
Bottom line: commitment makes a huge difference.
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Re: The Question of Inner Experience

Postby Doug Marman on Sat Jul 10, 2010 6:17 pm

Clayton,

I enjoyed your post.

About 15 years ago, I decided to hold a class on Soul Travel to see if others could gain the ability to have inner experiences under their own will. I don't mean Astral Projection. As you point out, those are fairly easy for people to learn. Soul Travel is different in many ways.

The class had about 12-15 people. We met monthly. Many had been studying Eckankar for more than 10 years.

It became clear in the first class that they all wanted to learn how to do Soul Travel. Most had some type of inner experience, but more as a sense of inner knowingness or feelings. They were using their imagination without any problem, but were not stepping beyond their own consciousness.

It took three months before the first person in the class had a real spiritual experience. This sparked the whole class, and soon others were experiencing real Soul Travel. By the end of the year, all except 3 had experienced it. This showed me that it is possible for most people.

Not only were they able to have inner experiences, but they were able to see what each other were doing inwardly and it was confirmed by the others that this was in fact what they were doing. Plus, some of the students learned enough to meet during dreams and when they talked later they confirmed that they had seen and experienced the same things that they had seen each other doing their dreams. This proved to them that this was real.

It helped to have a group studying this together, but it was most important to have someone who could show them what it meant. However, while almost everyone was able to have real inner experiences, the deeper spiritual experiences with the higher worlds, that you are talking about, those were barely being touched by anyone even after one year. That is something that would have taken many years to get to that point.

Attaining the higher states of consciousness is not something that comes from an organization, but it does help to meet individuals who are citizens of these higher states, if you know what I mean. However, the work is mainly accomplished on the inner, not the outer, and we usually are the ones who limit our own selves. How do we learn something beyond our own understanding? If we continue to rely on our own perceptions alone, it isn't possible.

Doug.
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Re: The Question of Inner Experience

Postby signon77 on Tue Jul 13, 2010 4:13 am

Chapter 4 of the Shariyat-Ki-Sugmad Book 1, Chapter 4 makes the following assertion: “The ECKist must always practice the Kundun, the presence, whether or not he can see this inner body of the Master. It can, however, be noted many times by the outer manifestations of things such as the protection gained, the great feeling of love which surrounds the chela, the improvement of his welfare and the attainment of spiritual knowledge. All is given freely to the ECKist after he has passed into the inner worlds via Soul Travel”.

Sri Harold alludes to this very same paragraph in his book "Past Life, Dreams and Soul Travel". Not an easy discipline, I can personally attest to the dramatic improvement in one's ability to Soul Travel that this discipline brings.

On holiday in the Canary Islands some years ago, I decided to find out if there was any truth in the paragraph above. For a whole week, without the distraction of work, I kept my attention as best I could on various images of the Master. By the end of the week time and space collapsed with my eyes wide open and sitting out in the open waiting for the holiday representative to pick us up for the airport. If I hadn't been in touch in earlier years with a very remarkable High Initiate in Nigeria I would not have understood the experience.
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Re: The Question of Inner Experience

Postby mountainangel on Sun Jul 18, 2010 4:21 am

My understanding at the moment is that Spiritual Experiences and Inner Experiences are happening all the time for everyone. They are just a matter of awareness. Of awakening of the Inner Vision that allows us to be aware of the experience and what it means. I could describe my own experiences but it would truly mean nothing to the reader. What counts is recognizing one’s own experiences. I have always written down my dreams and they would on occasion show a clear Inner and/or Spiritual Experience as defined by the previous posts. A few years ago I began writing down even the slightest inner perception and experience during my Spiritual Exercises. One day a few months ago I thought how I had not seen the Inner Master during my contemplations and would like to. I could almost hear a sigh and see a head shake and a whisper: “read your journal.” I went back and read what I had written over the past month and saw that I had written about meeting with and speaking to the Living ECK Master several times. I had forgotten each and every one of them until I read what I had written.
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Re: The Question of Inner Experience

Postby Doug Marman on Thu Jul 22, 2010 3:58 pm

Mountainangle, thanks for your comments.

I have the same perception as you - that we are having spiritual experiences all the time, and the challenge is to see and understand them.

This brings us back to the original questions: What it is we can do to gain that inner perception, and how are we supposed to follow the spiritual path without that inner awareness?

You make a very good point, that even if we could explain exactly our inner experiences, they might mean nothing to anyone else, because they often just belong to us. This triggered a thought: I do think that while there is a personal aspect to all of our spiritual experiences, there is also often a universal element. I believe that the farther one goes into the advanced levels on the path (which the person was originally asking about that started this thread), the more we must work with the universal and it becomes less just about us.

I think much of our growth through the lower worlds of duality are more about our personal growth, but as we move into the higher pure positive God worlds, we move more into the universal work. This means that our own personal growth becomes intimately tied into the expansion of all life.

I did exactly what you did: Writing down all of my experiences, and looking for even the subtlest of inner perceptions. I was amazed at how much was going on, just as you said, even with the simplest of day to day events. This is a great answer to the question: What can we do to gain inner perception?

I think the point you were making is that it is more important to study first what is already happening in our lives, rather than trying to get to a higher level. Spirit is always most active where we need to learn the most.

Which brings me back to working in the universal. We often don't realize that the problems we are working through are not always just for ourselves alone. Sometimes there is an element to our issues that is also for the sake of others, or the world. Recognizing that can change our whole perception of what is happening. Looking for the universal aspect of our experiences can also be a good exercise.

Thanks. Doug.
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Re: The Question of Inner Experience

Postby Dietrich on Sun Jul 25, 2010 2:50 pm

Hi Mountainangle, Music child and Doug,
I have the same perception or viewpoint as you. Everyone has every moment spiritual or inner experiences. Soultravel is a spiritual necessity for every soul to survive. And soultravel is every expanding of consciousness. „that AHA! feeling that hit us, that is an inner experience. (or) When we suddenly grasp a great truth,“ as Music child writes, or the big exciting soultravel-experience when one is out of the body and explores the inner worlds, that all is soultravel. And every soul does it naturally to survive here. The difference is in the consciousness. How aware and conscious is that soul.
The Shariyat-Ki-SUGMAD II, Chapter 4, speaks about the „four states of consciousness on this physical plane. They are sleep, waking state, self-consciousness, and objective consciousness.“
Most men live mostly in the first two states of consciousness, „although this (self-consciousness) comes in rare flashes and even then he probably does not recognize it...“
But with the right spiritual exercises one can „acquire control of consciousness and can become conscious of himself, with all that it implies.“
The chapter is surely worth reading when one wants to learn how to become more conscious to understand ones own experiences.
Dietrich
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