WHAT ARE ‘innerviews’ or religious experiences? From what I gather there are as many different types of innerviews as there are people. Religious experiences are as old as mankind. The bible tells us of visions, revelations, dreams and other divine experiences, in which they have happened to the prophets. Moses for example, was looking after a flock of sheep when be noticed a bush on fire, but not burning. Suddenly a voice spoke to Moses, telling him to take off his shoes because he was standing on Holy ground. Then God revealed himself to Moses as “I am who I am”. The Buddha, after much searching came to enlightenment during three nights of contemplation. He saw his previous lives pass before him and had revealed to him the holy truths; the knowledge of suffering and the removal of suffering was also revealed to him. Jesus Christ was baptised in the river Jordan when suddenly a voice from above proclaimed, “This is my Son, the Beloved; with whom I am well pleased”.
More than a few Christian Saints have written down their religious experiences. Julian of Norwich, wrote with insight and vision of her religious experiences. This makes her a favourite today. Her expression “All shall be well, and all manner of things shall be well” is now a beloved phrase. In Lourdes, Bernadette Soubirous had an experience in which the Virgin Mary, revealed herself as ‘The Immaculate Conception,’ and promised Bernadette happiness in ‘the next world’. Bernadette, was to receive more messages from the apparition; one led to the miraculous discovery of water, and another, for a chapel to be built in the Grotto. Bernadette’s experiences were recorded and people from all over the world came to the small grotto in Lourdes, for healing. Today, it is a pilgrimage centre for Christians.
However, spiritual experiences are not exclusive to the prophets, saints, mystics or even the good. Religious experiences happen in all cultures and in all religions. Prophets, tell us time and again, to treasure our inner voice. ‘ Our insights are a spontaneous gifts of grace from the divine to his beloved children. I’ve have chosen a few recorded insights or if you like, spiritual experiences to share with you today. I hope they will inspire and delight the reader. I would be interested in readers comments on this topic. Perhaps you too have experiences insights that you might like to share. Oh! please do!
A MOMENT IN TIME
“A few years ago, I was feeling rather low and depressed. My life seemed to be falling to pieces around me. I was laying on my bed trying to make sense of it all, when suddenly I felt a light all around me. The next thing I was aware of, was being taken upward towards something of intense brightness. From the brightness, there appeared a figure and a voice said, “Go in peace and everything will be shown unto you.”
From that day forward, I have not worried over difficulties. I know I am guided and protected. I believe I always will be.”
NECTAR OF THE GODS -Sathya Sai Baba’s Ashram – 1991
“During a lengthy stay in Sai Baba’s ashram in 1991, I devoted extensive time to meditation. I rose at dawn to attend morning chants in the Mandir. (Temple). Afterwards, I would join the lines for darshan and remain in the Mandir compound until after bhajans. My morning austerities would end with a steep climb up the hill leading to the meditation tree. There, I would sit for around 15 minutes enjoying the peace and the gentle cooling breeze. This routine lasted for weeks. I never felt tired or hungry. On the contrary I felt elated. The elation increased as the weeks passed by, my often nervous nature disappeared and for the rest of my trip, I became utterly at peace with myself and others.
Towards the end of my visit, I sat for some time under the meditation tree. On one particular morning, I heard an inner voice say: “Stay always sweet – remember sweetness is the nectar of the Gods.”I am sure it was not my imagination playing tricks, because the phrase ‘nectar of the Gods,’ was unknown to me.”
– family member
ALL WILL BE WELL Heidelberg, Germany, 1973
“At birth, my daughter was two months premature. The doctors had only let me see her for a few seconds before she was rushed off to intensive care and placed in an incubator. The doctors told me that her chances for survival were not good. I was given a room by myself to recover from the shock of her birth. The little room was dark, dingy and cold. I remember feeling incredibly lonely and afraid. Suddenly, the room became filled with a presence. It was not a single presence but many. I don’t know how to describe accurately what actually happened – but the presence seemed to be sending me waves of love and peace. I fell asleep within seconds. I knew I was being looked after and everything would be well. It was!”
ONE WITH THE UNIVERSE
“For many years I kept African Violets. They were my favourite house plants. One day, I was admiring one that had made a remarkable recovery from over watering.
Mentally, I began to talk to it. Suddenly, I became aware of a tremendous feeling of love flowing from the plant to me! In fact, I felt that I became the plant, and it became me and that we both were one with the universe! It was a beautiful feeling. I suppose I can only describe it as a deep peace. The feeling only lasted for a few seconds, but was like nothing else I have ever experienced.”
-Meg Maxwell and Verena Tschudin from “Seeing The Invisible” *
The 50th Birthday Present – an Out of Body Experience!
Perhaps the most odd insight that’s happened to me, came on my 50th Birthday. Not sure if it was not a divine joke on this writer. Why would the universe have to pick my half century marker to show me in a most precise way, I was definitely ‘not the body’ ?
The 8th November eve, we had been out for the evening visiting Canterbury, Kent, ( U.k. ) This particular evening we had spent at a yoga meditation chant meeting. I remember even today, the chants were powerful. One lady in particular, chanted AUM over and over in a strong clear voice. For me, at least, if was a tad overwhelming.
We left around 10 p.m. and drove home. Turning down our street, there was an odd-looking truck outside our house. At that time, we lived in a cul-de-sac, where large trucks were a rare sight. Now here was one parked outside our house. (It was extremely odd.) I remember seeing it for only a short time on our arrival, for when I looked out of the window some ten minutes later, the truck had gone.
Nothing more unusual happened that evening and I went to bed. The dream preceding the OOBE, I will never forget. I was in a house somewhere, where there were bedrooms. I knew that one of the bedrooms in this dream belonged to my daughter, and on her bed was a bright pink duvet. At the moment of seeing the pink duvet, everything went blank, and the next thing I remember was floating on the ceiling above my own bed. I knew instinctvely that if I went through the ceiling to the beyond, I would not be able to return back to my body that was sleeping on the bed. Instantly, I felt an urge to return to that sleeping form below me. I willed myself to turn from my horizontal position, (I was horizontal and parallel to the ceiling) to a vertical position, and then willed myself down, down, down, back into my body. The moment I thought to return brought about an instant change in my body position to vertical, and instantly I was back in my body. The entry was through my throat area.
I awoke with a shudder. My whole body shook with the impact of re-entry. I still remember how bewildered I was. I guess the experience was the most unusual birthday present I’ve ever had. Not sure I want another quite like that! – But it was a valuable lesson…
I would really appreciate feedback from readers… thank you.
Meg Maxwell and Verena Tscgydin have written an excellent book on the subject of religious experiences. The book title is ‘Seeing The Invisible’ and is available in the New Age section of any large book sellers. The sale proceeds of the book go to the Alister Hardy Research Centre, which has in it’s archives, more than 5,000 personal letters, collected over 20 years.
The myth of Cupid and Psyche is analogous to the story of Krishna and the Gopis. We learn through the Krishna Myth, that he plays hide and seek with the gopis and no matter where they search for him, he cannot be found. They cannot see him. The gopis become afraid and almost mad for him. They cannot stop thinking of him and become absorbed in thought, thinking of the time they shared with Krishna in great love and affection. Also we read in the myth of Cupid and Psyche a similar situation occurs, where Cupid is invisible to Psyche. She yearns for her kind and gentle husband and finally finding her beloved, she drops hot wax on his shoulder because she is surprised by his great beauty. Best read the story for the full picture.
Cupid and Psyche
“Love and the Soul (for that is what Psyche means) had sought and, after sore trials, found each other; and that union could never be broken. (Cupid and Psyche)” ― Edith Hamilton, Mythology
Once upon a time there was a king with three daughters. They were all beautiful, but by far the most beautiful was the youngest, Psyche. She was so beautiful that people began to neglect the worship of Venus, the goddess of love and beauty. Venus was very jealous, and asked her son Cupid (the boy with the arrows) to make Psyche fall in love with a horrible monster.
When he saw how beautiful she was, Cupid dropped the arrow meant for her and pricked himself, and fell in love with her. Despite her great beauty no-one wanted to marry Psyche. Her parents consulted an oracle, and were told that she was destined to marry a monster, and they were to take her to the top of a mountain and leave her there.
The west wind took her and wafted her away to a palace, where she was waited on by invisible servants. When night came her new husband visited her, and told her that he would always visit her by night and she must never try to see him. Although her invisible husband was kind and gentle with her, and the invisible servants attended to her every desire, Psyche grew homesick. She persuaded her husband to allow her sisters to visit her. When they saw how she lived they became very jealous and talked Psyche into peeking at her husband, saying that he was a monster who was fattening her up to be eaten and that her only chance of safety was to kill him. Psyche took a lamp and a knife, but when she saw her beautiful husband, Cupid, she was so surprised she dripped some hot wax onto his shoulder, waking him.
He took in the situation at a glance and immediately left Psyche and the magnificent palace she had been living in disappeared in a puff of smoke.Psyche roamed about looking for her husband, and eventually in desperation approached his mother, Venus. Still angry, the goddess set various tasks for Psyche, all of which she passed, with a bit of help from ants and river gods. At last Cupid found out what was going on, and he persuaded Jupiter to order Venus to stop her persecution of Psyche. Then they were married and lived happily ever after – and it really was ever after since Psyche was made a Goddess.The similarity to modern day fairy stories such as Beauty and the Beast or Cinderella is obvious.