Father Peter wrote:David, Dan and Kevin asked me to describe my opinion of what determines what is valid or invalid in spiritual experience.
I cannot say that I care much if something can be verified with the cognitive process. What is valid is what works.
If it works, then it is useful for what it is designed to accomplish.
I am interested in spiritual experience, not cognitive sense. Most of my spiritual experience does not make any sense to a logically constrained mind. That kind of mind is interested in one thing: pridefully compartmentalizing ideas into appropriate postal slots to be used against people in the future who don't know what slot to put those ideas in. It is a mind game. There is a slot for the logical, for the non-dual folks, for the personalizers of God, for the ridiculous, for the believers, for the deluded, for the stupid and for many kinds of people that will get new names shortly if we are patient.
My spiritual experiences are valid, but not justifiable to you perhaps, and certainly not defensible. They are valid because they produced profound changes in my consciousness and a Realization of God. A healing of my body, emotions and mental state is valid by virtue of the change, not by whether the explanation fits into some confining mail slot in someone's head. Does something work is the question.
Even if something does not work for everyone, still does not make it invalid.
So these questions are really infantile. What is the state of your heart? Do you care about anyone? Do you love anyone? Does anyone know that you love them? Can you feel anything or do you rebel against feeling because it hurts sometime? Can you see in the spiritual world? If you can't, then you are limited to the three dimensional world. Communication between people who have such experience and those who are bound in the three dimensional world of sense is almost impossible because they speak different languages.
If Jesus is valid because he said he was or you say he was, why don't do what he says? If Jesus' experience of oneness with God is something you respect, why is it so hard to respect anyone else who might be having that experience?
You all seem to treat everything as mental scraps that you pounce on like ravenous dogs to tear and shred and devour, but I don't see any openness for experiences that are not like what you expect, or any apprecation for devotion to God that does not fit into your picture.
That makes you aggressive and angry and mean from an intellectual point of view. I don't actually want to use that much energy to figujre out where your heads are at, so I can't even go so far as to disagree. I just feel there is nowhere to connect because everything is deciphered and chopped up and dissected and rejected. Kevin rationalizes everything into meaninglessness. Dan scoffs at most everything. And the others do whatever gnarling on the scraps of what's left that makes sense to them.
There is no celebration of life or love or heart or humanity in these interactions. Where is your peace?
Are you mad at God for taking a loved one away?
Are you scared of letting people in so you stay in the tower of your mind?
Those are sad postures in a world with so many people to love and so many people who are capable of loving you.
There are all sorts of people on this forum who are here for different reasons, but I suspect that a lot of them are the type who don't want to be deceived by false attainments. They would prefer to be dissatisfied in a relationship to truth, rather than at peace in a relationship to what is false. Although this isn't ideal - the ideal would be perfect satisfaction in a life of truth - it nevertheless displays some real hunger for truth.
My main concern with you is whether you have settled too easily for a more superficial attainment - one that boosts the ego and gives it confidence and peace - and whether this has closed your mind and soul from the highest that life has to offer.
As an illustration, imagine that you meet a young man who has just discovered the joys of sex and has become utterly bewitched by the experience of orgasm. Imagine that the experience overwhelms him so much that he has become utterly convinced it is the highest that life has to offer. You might say to him, "Yes, it is certainly a pleasurable experience, but there is so much more to life than this. It is a long way from the being the highest." And he might reply, "For you to say that, you cannot have experienced what I have experienced. I have experienced orgasm at its most intense and nothing whatsoever can beat it."
Imagine further that he starts a religion which focuses upon the experience of orgasm. He starts wearing a special uniform and adopts the title of "Master", appoints a select few to be his special helpers, develops techniques for inducing intense orgasms, writes books, creates retreat centers, and gathers together a substantial following. Everywhere he goes he is praised for his special techniques, which gives him a warm glow and makes him feel at peace with the world. Indeed, the peace and happiness that he feels convinces him even more, if that were possible, that he is on the right path.
But note that his peace and happiness doesn't really come from the experience of orgasm itself (or in your case, the experience of "God"), but from the conviction that he is on the right path. That, at root, is what gives him the warm glow. It is a psychological happiness borne out of settling for a limited attainment and closing oneself from what is higher.