From Thursday, September 12, to Sunday, September 15, 1996, I underwent a spontaneous spiritual experience. I was aware at all times that I was in my home but most of my awareness was in another poignant reality. For three days the phone didn’t ring and no one came to the door. I trusted the process because I knew it was created by Someone much greater than me. This experience involved a mostly three-fold theme: Coming to peace with my deepest fears; releasing my attachments to people, places and things; and experiencing a flow of events from the ancient past, to the present, and into the future. Vivid challenges were presented, easy ones developed into ones I found ultimately difficult. I experienced two ‘deaths’, and at the moment of the second and more difficult one, the journey was over as suddenly as it began. As you might imagine, I said my prayers and paced the floor asking, “What was that!?”
I didn’t eat or sleep those three days, and after two days’ recovery I left home and headed for the bookstores for answers. The first clear reference I found was in ‘Dark Night of the Soul’, by St. John of the Cross. Over time I discovered that every culture and religion has reference to such phenomena: In Eastern Traditions there’s Kundalini Awakening; the American Indians call it the Spirit Quest; Shamans might refer to it as a Shamanic Journey.
Research reveals that since about the 1960’s the number of people encountering this type of challenge is multiplying exponentially. I’m convinced we’re being inundated with Divine transformational energy and that, one by one, our spirits are responding. Sometimes these experiences are spontaneous, sometimes people quest for them.
Contemporary writer Dr. Stanislov Grof has written several books on this subject including ‘Transpersonal Vision’, which I highly recommend. An excellent resource from the Buddhist perspective is ‘A Path With Heart’ by Jack Kornfield.
Six months later, I looked on the calendar and saw that the experience took place over Rosh Hashanah. That inspired me to attend Rosh Hashanah in 1997 with a small, modest congregation in Marblehead, MA, a wonderful experience! The night prior, I’d meditated while focusing upon Psalms 19:14, a verse about prayer and meditation. If I had any reservations about being at this Jewish ceremony, they vanished when the Rabbi opened with that same verse. Also, to my surprise, I experienced another period of inner challenge similar to, though milder than, the first one. It continues to occur to some degree every year during Rosh Hashanah.
The benefits of these experiences are staggering in their possibilities. They can include deep and sure spiritual knowledge, healings and cures in the spiritual, mental/emotional and physical bodies, the lifting of karmic debt, and the awakening of various spiritual gifts.