Thursday, February 28, 2013

Mystical Experience & Spiritual Experience

‘The melting voice through mazes running;/Untwisting all the chains that tie/The hidden soul of harmony.’ (John Milton)

- Is there any difference between mysticism and spiritualism?
- I would use mysticism and spiritualism to refer to different things, mysticism more about short lived "mystical experience" and spiritualism to a whole continuous ethical way of life.
- Give me some examples.
- A mystical experience can be as sudden and simple as working on your computer all evening and stepping outside, looking up at the moon, and you're out. You feel a relation to the moon, but neither the moon nor yourself is an object of your attention. Your own altered state has caught you.
- An epiphany.
- Yes. Now compare spiritual experience. Can I tell you a story?
- We love your stories.
- You remember how I was living in Budapest and my wife, urged by her ex-boyfriend, had decided to rob me with him. He showed up at the apartment, gave me a few demonstration pushes and jabs, and demanded I hand over my wallet. I did, saying I'd see him at the police station in a few hours. That's what happened.
- You mean you knew him?
- Yes.
- He wasn't afraid?
- This is Budapest, corruption is omnipresent. He told me he could handle the police.
- What happened then?
- My wife and her friend the robber left, I called the police, who arrived, asked questions, decided they'd drive me to the station. I was told to take a seat on a bench, and as I predicted, robber, with wife, soon were escorted through the door into the station lobby. They went into a room off to the side, the door closed, and I waited. Now for the spiritual experience.
- In the police station?.
- Yes. Unlike the experience of me and the moon, I wasn't particularly aware of my relation to the world. I was aware that I was certain nothing had changed in my relation to my wife. That what was happening here was entirely without significance.
- You didn't feel betrayed by her?
- No. I was used to being betrayed by her. It wasn't interesting.
- What was interesting then?
- Holding onto love.
- You were astonished you could do it, and that was the spiritual experience?
- Yes. The experience of no change, no matter how much appearances changed.
- You weren't ashamed of being duped?
- No. If anything I was somewhat grateful.
- Grateful for being robbed by your wife?
- Grateful I could find amusement sitting on that bench, watching the closed door behind which my wife and robber friend were negotiating with the Budapest Police.
- But didn't you want anything? Why did you call the police in the first place?
- I had to report my passport stolen to apply for a replacement. And I wanted to see what would happen.
- What happened?
- The police came out, handed me my passport, asked if I was satisfied.
- Were you?
- My wife marched out of the room and without turning her head left the station. I knew I'd see her again.

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