Ever since I was tiny, I remember having a rich inner life that was so magical it was difficult to reconcile the outer experiences of the world. As a child I would share how it was to swim with the fish or to fly as the birds and see the world from other perspectives. Those were the only ways I knew how to describe my mystical experiences at the time. My family would laugh and acknowledge my vivid imagination, but I knew they didn’t understand that it was more real for me than our everyday lives!
When reading The Varieties of Religious Experiences by William James during my ministerial training at Unity, I found validation.
William James describes mystical experiences in his book as having four key identifiers in this way:
- Ineffability—The subject of it immediately says that it defies expression, that no adequate report of its contents can be given in words. It follows from this that its quality must be directly experienced; it cannot be imparted or transferred to others.
- Noetic Quality—Although so similar to states of feeling, mystical states seem to those who experience them to be also states of knowledge. They are states of insight into depths of truth unplumbed by the discursive intellect. They are illuminations, revelations full of significance and importance, all inarticulate though they remain; and as a rule they carry with them a curious sense of authority for after-time.
- Transiency—Mystical states cannot be sustained for long…. Often, when faded, their quality can but imperfectly be reproduced in memory; but when they recur it is recognized; and from one recurrence to another it is susceptible of continuous development in what is felt as inner richness and importance.
- Passivity—Although the oncoming of mystical states may be facilitated by preliminary voluntary operations, as by fixing the attention, or going through certain bodily performances, or in other ways which manuals of mysticism prescribe; yet when the characteristic sort of consciousness once has set in, the mystic feels as if his own will were in abeyance, and indeed sometimes as if he were grasped and held by a superior power.
My mystical experiences followed these patterns. They were the most profound gifts of Spirit and a soothing balm to my hungry soul. Until I found Unity, I struggled with confusion from the lack of congruence of an outer world that did not reflect the inner knowing of oneness. I so desired a community where I could share and ask questions and explore what was being revealed internally. And, as others, I was reluctant to share this sacred inner journey for fear that I was alone or crazy.
In my inner experiences, I melted into nothing and found everything. The “I” that proclaimed an earthly journey and struggled and strove along the way to prove its existence and significance was dissolved again and again. Each mystical moment returned me to awareness of Essence—an Infinite creative flow that I did not always have language to describe.
The mystical journey led to more than just an ethereal experience. I received a very practical outcome of transformed living because I was changed at the core.
Integration with My Inner Child
From childhood days of singing, “Jesus loves me, this I know,” I would remind myself of Jesus’ Presence and love when I felt lost in the emotional turmoil of life. He would appear and hold me—sometimes as I pictured him from early Sunday school days, but sometimes as a Light Being. Later, Jesus and I would meet in a sacred place envisioned in my heart that was a lovely wooded area with beautiful trees, dappled sunlight, birds singing, and a gentle swing hung on a tree limb. Jesus would hold the woman/child of me as we sat on a log or he would push me on the swing and we would talk.
One day I noticed a tiny child peering out from a dark shadowed area at the edge of our sacred woods. As soon as “she” would see me, this child would scowl and disappear. Jesus began to coax my “wounded inner child” out of the shadows and into the light. Eventually, she spoke her “truth” that had been withheld in the shadows—her anger at life and at me for not protecting her, her distrust, her years of being “silenced.”
All that she desired to express came pouring out in the midst of this precious Christ Presence. I made new commitments to honor her at the urging of Christ and she opened to play and laugh again as we became the happy threesome. My inner magical child grew up over time and her inner joy became an outer expression for me.
What I perceived as a Jesus “out there” orchestrated several levels of ceremonies over a period of time for conscious merging and integration. First, there was a ceremony to bring my magical child and adult self into one unified whole. Next, was a ritual to know Christ was within me, then that I was also within Christ, and eventually, to realize that we are one embodied expression.
This mystical awakening was one small example of the spiritual experiences that happened for me over the years. Eventually, my experiences became less personal and more transcendent. As I became aware of the Infinite in every moment of life vibrating in and through everyone and everything, I knew that all that I am and do is in service to the One.
Finding and Creating a Safe Place
Unity became the first place I felt confident enough to share these experiences and know I would be accepted and understood. As a Unity leader, I share more and more of my own mystical journey these days. I find that the more I empower and invite others to explore their own inner awakening, the more connected they feel and the more depth is shared.
Our mystical experiences become an access point to our Christ Self and
the application of Unity and Universal Truth Principles
in our understanding and in our everyday lives.
Living Christ Consciousness melts boundaries and barriers to acceptance and love. Through mystical awareness a field of receptivity is created and we no longer seek, but find fulfillment in a community alive with spiritual exploration. We make sense of our dreams, visions, and mystical experiences and grow our consciousness together. Life becomes a playground of curiosity and our lives are devoted to serving conscious awakening for everyone.
I am fascinated with mystical experiences because I know it will always lead to revelations of oneness or Christ in action. Knowing you and your inner awareness means knowing another part of the One that I AM.
Mystical experiences are definitely welcome here!