Third level – Moving from specific to abstract
The third level of a spiritual experience is when we move from others to the force that governs them; we appreciate them but now we reflect on what is it that actually moves others to do or be what they are. For example I once thanked a friend in our monastery for his consistent cooking services. I was one of the hundred plus fortunate monks who were the daily recipients of his benevolence. As he heard me patiently, I realized my appreciation was about how his cooking had given me satisfaction and nourishment. I decided to take my appreciation to the next level: I focussed on him, rather than my own needs and joy. I wondered aloud how he manages to balance his tight schedules, and the special skills that he has developed over time. His humility and willingness to learn is a great inspiration. As I genuinely praised him, I could see he felt happy and encouraged, and I had entered a spiritual space; life in general and the day in particular seemed to be blissful. My worries and anxieties seemed insignificant in comparison to the rich goodness that prevailed in our monastery.
Then I decided to take my appreciation to the third level- who is responsible for his being so wonderful. What is the energy that is common amongst many good men and women of this world; what is this force which has inspired people over millennium to contribute, love, and sacrifice for others’ welfare? How does goodness spread in a planet even as hate and anger threatens to destroy our world? Slowly, I could see my consciousness enter a larger space- from I, to him, and then to it or the real Him. This force is known in our culture as Krishna or God. I was now connecting to God or the spiritual being that inspires goodness in me and others in this cosmos.
To be continued…