Brian Wilcox 'Imbibing of the Sweetness'
The Way is you becoming. You see yourself as a stable reality, which is not true. You are a being becoming.
* * *
Yongey Mingyur Rinpoche, a Tibetan Buddhist monk, in The Joy of Living tells of an experience his father had when residing in Tibet.
One of his students, a monk, retreated to a mountain cave for spiritual exercises. The monk, after a time, sent his Teacher an urgent message to come to the cave. Yongey's father arrived, and the monk enthusiastically told him, "I've become enlightened. I can fly. I know it. But, since you're my teacher, I need your permission."
The Teacher discerned the student had only had a glimpse of enlightenment. He told the monk, bluntly, "Forget about it. You can't fly."
"No, no," The student excitedly replied, and he said, "If I jump from the top of the cave ...
Yongey's father interrupted him, "No."
The two argued for a while. The student seemed to yield, finally, and said, "Well, if you say so, I won't try."
Being noon was approaching, the monk offered his Teacher lunch. After serving Yongey's father, he left the cave. Soon afterward, the Teacher heard an odd noise, like a Blump, and from well below the cave came a wail: "Please help me! I've broken my leg!"
The Teacher climbed down to where his student was lying. He said, "You told me you were enlightened. Where is your experience now?"
"Forget about my experience!" cried the student. "I'm in pain!"
Yongey's father carried the monk to the cave. He splinted his leg and gave him some Tibetan medicine to help heal the leg.
* * *
On the Way, we can distinguish between momentary experiences and stable realization. Spiritual realization is always where we have become at-home, while the experiences often are beyond what we have become. The experiences can be from where we were or where we are, also. Again, in the realization, it is always in the moment, where our consciousness lives daily.
We can have any number of forms of spiritual experiences. For example, we can have an experience of self-transcending love in the silence. Afterward, we might return to a level of love that is far from what we fleetingly knew in the quiet. We can experience an intimacy with the Sacred in a devotional time, one we are far from knowing as true to our everyday life. Likewise, we may have visions or locutions, or other paranormal experiences, while these are not where we are. We can only be where we are, one step at a time.
Spiritual experiences are fleeting. They foreshadow what we can be in time. The experiences are not of much help, however, except to encourage us along the Way. And they can be distracting. They can lead to spiritual pride, by our posturing to be more evolved than we are. They can, also, become something we cling to, trying to have the experience again.
When a young boy, I lived in Georgia USA. We rarely went anywhere, mostly staying about our home, the farm, and a small nearby town. My favorite trip was to Six Flags Over Georgia, a theme park in Atlanta, GA, over four hours north of our home. One day there was a delight beyond words to the little boy I was, but it was one day. On the same day, we returned to our home, work on the farm, and occasional trips to the small town. Spiritual experiences are like trips to Six Flags - they can be wonderful, yet that is not real life for us, not until we grow into those experiences. Then, they are no longer infrequent trips, they are who we are, so who we are.
* * *
Stable realization refers to becoming what we spiritually had experienced for a time, but only briefly. For example, self-transcending love we had glimpses of now-and-then in Prayer, we can grow to be more over time, with the hope that we will become fully that love by Grace, choice, and practice.
* * *
Being faithful to where the Grace has grown you does not mean trying to act like you are more spiritually mature than you are. Also, faithfulness does not mean pushing yourself to become a more spiritually evolved person. Faithfulness to the Way means being where you are spiritually and, concurrently, being prayerfully receptive to where Grace is leading you - even if you have no clarity where Grace is leading you.
So, yes, welcome and be thankful for experiences of the Divine that are beyond who you are at present. But, likewise, accept where you are and each day begin from there. Keep walking onward, being patient, and know the Beloved has so much more for you to become than you can dream now of. How amazing!
* * *
(C) Brian K. Wilcox, 2020