I was speaking with a group of people about “mystical” experience. As we talked it became clear to me that many think that “mystical” has something to do with “feeling” a certain way. In my experience mystical has nothing to do with feeling; it has to do with a sudden comprehension of how the whole fits together, of the fact THAT the whole fits together! After that moment, one then spends the rest of life breaking that singular comprehension down into component parts in order to understand them. I have had this experience a few times in my life, and those moments have definitely affected the trajectory of my life’s journey.
We broke for lunch. “X” asked if he could speak with me privately. When we were alone, he asked that I tell him how to go about having a mystical experience. I discussed various meditative methods which he could practice which might enable him to be more receptive to the mystical moment, but in the end I had to say that, in my experience, I have never been able to induce such a moment, but only to be open to it if it occurs. With growing agitation he kept shoving aside the fact that I could not give him a detailed “mystical” program until he finally launched himself out of his chair, yanked me up out of my chair by my shirt, bellowed “f… you!” in my face, and charged from the room.
I sort of collapsed back into my chair. Having unexpectedly come so close to physical rage, I spent a few minutes trembling until I could calm myself again. And then I reflected upon what had just happened, trying to understand what had really been going on. Gradually, it became clear to me that he was actually saying, “Help me to understand my frustration!”
Out of our inner frustration we sometimes form the habit of keeping secrets, choosing to hide some truth from ourselves and from others. Having dealt with people’s inner lives for so many years, I have seen that some of the big “secrets” can be: Sexual orientation, envy of others, embezzlement, and hatred. We think that to hide something is the easier thing to do, or at least easier than telling the truth, but the fact is that hiding a secret takes work and exacts a toll on our inner life as well as on our physical immune system.
No one can understand for another. Others can point us to look at issues, can even tell us to not run away from issues, but in the end we are powerless to prevent someone from choosing to “not know”.
An interesting question to ask ourselves if we seem to be in a period where everything is frustrating us, is: What secrets might I be running away from knowing? What am I expending energy in hiding? What don’t I want to find out that my heart yearns for?