Terror and Mystical Experience
“Guest Blogger: Vegter Animus. Read more of his articles on ProjectiAmYouBlog.wordpress.com“
It has long been documented that mystical experiences have often been accompanied by terror at the onset, as well as the fear that one is about to die from such an experience. Many of the prophets in the Bible write about their initial terror at the sight of other-worldly angels. People who have mystical experiences in modern times, either as a result of a near-death experience, induced by fervent meditation or assisted by entheogens, have also reported such fears.
I have personally experienced terror along my path. Although many hippies and yoga instructors go on and on about the blissful states that you can reach through spiritual pursuits, I have learned from a number of credible shamans and gurus that you first have to mitigate the shadows along the path before you gain entry into these sort of nirvana-like states. The reason for this is because we all hold onto baggage and negativity that weigh us down. These lower vibrational states literally hold us back. We have to detox or purge these things from our minds before we are able to experience the higher states. See Abdi Assadi’s book Shadows on the Path for more insight.
A major part of this terror is rooted in the left-brain dominated Western worldview and paradigm. This worldview is characterized by a habit pattern of categorizing, compartmentalizing and generally segregating all that can be perceived into structures and models that can easily be organized into existing systems. The inherent problem with this mode of interacting with reality, when taken to the extreme, as has occurred in America and many Western nations, is made apparent each and every time a new “discovery” is made. It is impossible to organize new information into a framework that does not already exist, nor is it possible anticipate the consequence of such information. We saw this with Einstein’s theory of relativity and the Newton’s theory of gravity.
When our mind is dominated by left-brain thinking we meet with resistance every step of the way towards greater knowledge and spiritual realization. Right-brain thinking, on the other hand, accepts new evidence without judgment and valuation and allows the information to speak for itself. I liken this to the penetration of rain through the dense canopy of the rainforest. Our Western mode of agriculture would dictate that we need to clear mass areas of rainforest so that our crops can get adequate sunlight and rain. However, nature finds a way to thrive regardless of this condition which Western science would deem “less than favorable” in relation to our preconceived goal. Plants of all variety grow on all levels of the rainforest, from the floor to the branches and even at the tops of the canopy.
Right-brain thoughts flow where information naturally fits. Right-brain theory finds the area of least resistance and just as easily discards those ideas and concepts which no longer seem to work. But because of our arrogance and ego, we find scientific epiphanies and spiritual evolution progressing at a snail’s pace relative to the rate of progress we would experience with greater detachment from an already existing set of theories or notions. See “What is Ego” for more information on how to free yourself from the ego.
Terror is a common emotional byproduct of mystical experiences but it takes much longer to overcome this emotion in left-brain dominate cultures. Once the initial terror is conquered through the conscious process of surrender, this gives way to much more complex and, some would say, “beautiful” experiences. See Dissolving the Ego.
Compassion, Love & the Mystical
The surest way to overcome terror is not by waging a war against it. This only spirals off into fractal reverberations of more terror. Rather, one must learn to cultivate compassion and love for everything, even that which you may think of as negative forces or evil. The dark cannot combat the dark. Only the light can do that.
During my own mystical experience, I came to the epiphany that that which I was terrified of was merely an aspect of myself which I had closed off and hidden away from awareness, qualities and aspects of myself that I had tried to ignore at all costs. After this realization, I surrendered to compassion.
My gut reaction (as a result of years of habit) was to struggle against it but I was amazingly lucid and sensitive during this ordeal. I could feel myself struggling against myself in ways that literally hurt. Like a dog that had been chasing its own tail and had caught it in its mouth and had begun gnawing away. When I sent out love and compassion, I felt these aspects of myself heal and reintegrate back into my psyche so as to give way to more healthy expressions of my previously repressed nature. I’m sure Freud would have a lot to say about this if I were laying on his couch telling him what you are reading now.
I hope this has helped in some way with the personal struggles that you may be dealing with. The spiritual path is not always rainbows and sunshine. Many saints and gurus know this. Just remember, “Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me.”
Until next time,