Sunday, January 25, 2009

38.Stages of spiritual development ( sixth installment) afnta, afnta-questforallah, Allah, God, love for God, quest

We were talking of sorrow and suffering in spiritual journey

Sorrow and depression are something different from suffering. For spiritual travelers sadness is mostly due to aridity or lack of spiritual progress. Ah! Aridity. We will discuss it when we discuss the two dark nights of the soul. It should be noted, though, that this spiritual depression , is different from clinical depression, in two important aspects: one , that it is directly related to spiritual progress, or meditation sessions; two, that it is readily, sometimes in the twinkling of an eye, reversible, which is never the case with clinical depression. One is hilariously happy for hours, days or weeks after a great session or spiritual event.

The difference in stage 2a and 2b is arbitrary. It just reflects greater depth of meditation in 2b. But it is still second stage. One may get so absorbed in meditation that one forgets his surroundings and time. One may experience the phenomena (posting 33) which come with great concentration of mind on one point, or by silencing of thoughts. St Teresa is the only saint that I know, who experienced all of them (a to f) and described them. I will narrate them sometimes in the future.

However, it is not necessary to enter into stage 2b before 3rd stage. If God’s grace is with him/her, he/she may get the contact with Divine current (stage 3) straight from 2a, as Nancy Mayorga did. She had contact with the great spiritual current, on the first day she sat for meditation according to Patanjali’s method.

Contact with the Divine current, or entry into the third stage, is one of the most important events, if not the most important event, in one’s life. It is reassuring. It is affirmation of the correctness of one’s doing. It is awesome, stupendous, beyond words, that God Almighty, Master of the universe, has paid attention to you, responded to you. You----who is so insignificant compared to the vastness of the limitless universe. It reaffirms your beliefs, which were so far theoretical, that there is a God, who though remote , is approachable, and kind, and compassionate, to have responded to an infinitely small particle like you. You and Him are a like mote caught in the sunlight pouring through a window and the great sun himself.

How does it feel when first contact takes place?

"I did not always believe in God……….…….And one day when my soul was open and receptive, it was charged through and through by something shocking, galvanic, almost frighteningly vibrant, was suddenly flooded, irradiated by something inexplicable and beautiful and altogether overwhelming..…….But to cover the impressive magnitude of my soul’s experience, I found only one word----God. It was wrung from my lips and I said it loud, “God!” “ I was at once grabbed, swept upwards, completely out of myself, farther than I could have imagined in my life, beyond space, beyond time, into an unlocated , timeless, inexpressible bliss”

(See sidebar: 'hunger of the soul')

Now, everybody is not lucky like her. Here is what Mayorga noted:

" Yesterday I learned that after thirty-five years of spiritual practice , the most faithful devotee I know has not been with one such contact as came to me, unsought, at the first try…….then I wanted to cry ----out of pity and admiration, too. I don’t know whether I would have that kind of patience and perseverance”

( see sidebar; 'hunger of the soul' )

But we are jumping ahead. We still have to cross the two terrible dark nights of the soul, which will be discussed now

To be continued

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