Imagine a beautiful, safe natural setting. You are sitting or lying comfortably on the ground. Your senses open to the beauty around you. You feel the warmth of the sun on your skin. You hear the sounds of nature and smell the fresh moist air and warm soil. You close your eyes to take in the way the earth holds you.
Now imagine a sudden loud blast of sound.
The instinctive response that you have developed over thousands of generations gives you a jolt of adrenaline and creates instant tension through your whole body. Your heart rate jumps. Your breathing gets faster. Your eyes and ears search for the source of the sound.
Now imagine that as you listen, you recognize that the sound is the sweetest music you have ever heard. There is no threat. Your emotional reaction changes: apprehension gives way to pleasure and joy. You appreciate the music as another aspect of the beauty you were relaxing into before the sound shattered the silence and your peace. Emotionally and mentally, you begin to relax.
Your body, however, continues to react. Your blood is still charged with adrenaline. Your heart rate, breathing, pupil diameter, and muscular tension remain elevated. Your limbic system, the lizard brain, is still looking for a threat.
It will take several minutes for your physical systems to relax. In the meantime, you continue to feel the agitated energy of the fight/flight/freeze response even though your mind knows that there is no danger.
Eventually, you are fully relaxed again.
Now imagine that instead of that sudden intense stimulus being physical – beautiful music – it is spiritual. Imagine that your state of expanded appreciation of your surroundings is disrupted by a powerful spiritual stimulus—if your sleep, for example, is disrupted by a powerful spiritual experience that is completely outside your worldview.
Initially, you will react same way as you reacted to the blast of sound. Your feelings and body responses are the same: survival instincts kick in, and physical activation will continue even after your heart and mind recognize that this is a loving gift, communication, or vision.
You may have had an experience like this, but found it too much of a shock, too far beyond the familiar, or disturbing for other reasons. You may have responded by pushing it away. You may have decided to resist or refuse spiritual experiences of any kind.
Don’t do that. Recognize that what you have been given a gift, a level of natural ability to connect that needs nurturing, protecting, and guidance. Don’t deny this gift any more than you would deny the gift of being able to appreciate beautiful music.
Find a teacher and an environment in which you can learn a framework of belief and understanding, a place and people where you feel safe. Learn techniques for exploration of that vast reality and learn how to be safe there. Find people of like mind who will affirm your experience and support you from a place of their own knowing.
You will learn to attain a state of awareness within which you will seek out and welcome powerful spiritual experiences rather than being disturbed by them. You will know that you are guided and loved by wonderful beings who exist all around and within you.
Published June 22, 2021.