Everyone has had a spiritual experience. Maybe it was having a prayer answered. Maybe it was a profound sense of Presence. Maybe it was a dream that felt like a visitation from a higher being, an angel, or a spiritual teacher from the other side. Perhaps it was an intuition into the consciousness of nature, or the sense that you have lived other lives. It could even be something as indefinable as the conviction that God is real and not just an idea taught in seminaries. It could be any of these or something else entirely. But whatever you experienced, you know the feeling of it – you know its vibratory signature.
There is a Sanskrit word, marga. It means the path or way made by an animal, a sign of passage. That is what we are looking for. This is what makes a mystery different from a belief. A mystery is based on a piece of evidence, a thread that when followed leads to more evidence, more clues. And these clues are actual, spiritually tangible experiences, not merely ideas or insights. They are feelings, but not emotions. In fact, they might have no emotional content at all but only a sense of something greater or larger than yourself, the way your body can tell when it walks past an open doorway in the dark. There is an opening, and you can feel it.
It is possible to follow Jesus Christ and not be a Christian. Being a “Christian” can mean a lot of different things, few of which have anything to do with God or Christ. Too much religious knowledge can actually get in the way of having a real spiritual experience, because the mind is ruthlessly biased toward the conclusions it has already made. Not a good formula for success. “A bird in the hand is worth two in the bush,” as the saying goes. The sense of a thing trumps the idea of it every time. And this is what a “mystery” is – a sense.
In detective work, physical evidence is the cold hard cash of a case. Hunches are fine, but unless there’s some form of proof, no matter how slight or thin, you don’t really have anything to go on. You have to take the one thing you have and build on it, regardless of where it leads. As Sherlock Holmes says, “When you eliminate everything but the impossible, that is where you look!” For a spiritual detective, this means taking the sense that you have and sitting with it. You block everything else out and isolate the feeling, not the emotion, but the feeling. You let it work on you until it gets real familiar, and then you watch for it in your everyday life, like a scout watches for signs of passage.
Vibrations are real things. Inner experiences have their distinct vibratory pattern. The challenge is to connect the instances of that one vibration as they occur in your life, to connect them in a meaningful way. Why did you feel it that day on the street corner the same way you felt it in church as a child? The two settings have nothing in common, but the feeling was the same. Was the source of the vibration coming from outside, or was it coming from within? And if so, what opening is being provided?
Sometimes, our helpers from above leave a track for us to follow, a scent, a feeling. Christian Mystics know this as the Way. Far from being a set of rules or a prescription for living, the Way is an energy, a spirit, that has its own distinct vibratory signature. We might not see what or who is making the track, but we can feel it. We learn to savor that feeling and to remember it (not that we could ever forget). Whenever that feeling comes up, we recognize it. We know that it will ultimately take us home. So we focus on it; we hold it close. We place it on our inner altar as though it were our direct link to God. If we feel lost or confused, we call on it to return us to our center, our true north. It does not matter if what we are experiencing is the “highest” spiritual experience we could ever have, because if we are true to it, it will lead us to ever higher states of realization. The path, as Sinclair Lewis puts it, “leads deeper in and higher up.” As long as we trust God, we cannot be deceived. God protects God’s own.
The Way cannot be found in books or in speeches. It is as real as a radio signal or a beam of light. We feel our way along it, like walking a path in a forest at night. Each step you take either confirms that you are headed in the right direction or warns you that you have strayed. And each step is all you have. But the path is sure; it has been travelled by many who have gone before you. And it is an easy path; nothing about it is meant to trick or mislead you. As long as you stay true to the high, exalted sense you have been given, you cannot go wrong. You will find home.