5/26/2014 | Share this article: View CommentsBy Carl S. ~
It‘s not unusual to ﬁnd individuals testifying to their spiritual experiences, while others describe themselves as “spiritual” persons. We can be sure, with the new pentecostal movements in the Christian religion alone, that churches are loaded with those sharing personal testimonies of spiritual experiences. Have you had your “spiritual” experience yet, and aren't you tempted to join this fad - movement? Wouldn't you want to experience just one of those moments that in current parlance, “changed your life forever”? Well, drugs have brought many to experience the “spiritual,” the “transcendental,” and opened the doors of sensory perception to a hyper-reality. (Henry James, in his book, “The Varieties of Religious Experience,” cites alcoholic beverages as also causing them.) we hear of ordinary people describing some experiences as “surreal.” You don't need admittance to an American Indian peyote-included, religious ceremony, or money to pay for a sweat lodge gathering.
This recipe for “spiritual experiences” does not involve drugs. It is something anyone can do who can stand it. So many of those spiritual experiences, commonly described by the “spiritual” people in our culture, are like bland watered-down beverages, compared to the “real thing.” Here is the recipe, the Tradition, the Access, of prophets, John the Baptist, Jesus, Mohammed, Buddha, St. Anthony of the Desert, isolated monks, and Peter the Hermit, whose sermons inspired the crusaders to die for the faith:
Go off alone. Cut yourself off from all human contact. The typical minimum amount of time for this isolation for the experiences to take hold is forty days and nights. The desert is the ideal, and the usual environment.
It is absolutely essential that you enforce sleep deprivation.
Severely deprive yourself of food, especially nutritional foods.
Physical punishment is a must. This may include scarring yourself and not bathing, banishing evil thoughts about physical pleasures, most especially, sexual thoughts, and any other “urges” ﬁghting with your soul for control of your body are to be warred against for the puriﬁcation of your soul.
You must pray continually throughout to spiritual beings for wisdom, understanding, enlightenment and assurance, all the while opening yourself to receive their messages, in all these practices.
If you persist, you will receive “spiritual understanding” surpassing all human understanding. Perhaps you may hear the very Voice of God speaking to you. Nevertheless, profound experiences will come to you, convictions of truth and personal contact with the Divine. There are many who can attest to these things. Some are well known as charismatic founders of faiths, others merely as charismatic speakers. All will attest to their profound experiences and utter convictions of Truth derived from personal "spiritual” experiences triumphing over everyday ones.
Now maybe you are thinking, “Why, the Recipe sounds like the tortures practiced at Gitmo, in the Inquisition, etc., without the ‘spiritual’ quest.” You are right. In fact, though the ends may be different, the means to achieve the ends are the same. The difference lies between other-inflicted and self-inﬂicted tortures. (It is not known how many have become completely or partially insane as a result of them.) And believe it or not, even those “personal spiritually-intense-life-altering -experiences” we commonly hear about (thank you, Francis Collins and Barbara Ehrenreich) can be attributed to natural extreme stress on the body/mind!
So, if you want to convince yourself that you're having a spiritual experience, just mess with your body.