Many are pursuing bliss, ecstasy, joy, a spiritual high and variations thereof. To reach peak experiences, millions misuse both street and prescription drugs such as heroin, crack, speed, marijuana, Valium and Prozac. New Age followers more often select what they think of as "spiritual" drugs, including peyote, mescaline, button mushrooms, LSD, group highs, Ecstasy, hallucinogenic psychedelics and herbal concoctions.
Supposedly, one achieves spiritual experiences using these drugs. But have you listened carefully to how these experiences are described? "Wow," "sublime" and "ecstasy," are the types of words used to describe peak experiences. When you really ask about and examine the value of such experiences, most appear shallow and probably no more valuable than a good orgasm. Many peak experiences are unreal and only serve to help the person avoid the current reality of difficult feelings such as boredom, pain, suffering, and helplessness. The major purpose of all addictions is to help us feel good and avoid pain. While people sometimes get some good information or insights with these drugs, they rarely follow through. They wanted the peak experience (spiritual high), not some lasting gain that might need ongoing work or effort.
So, is it possible to have real peak experiences? I say yes. The experience of recognized and validated essence contact (see Chapter 15) is one example of an experience that will give you feelings of genuine bliss and ecstasy. Essence contact will also likely cause you to see and feel the lack of value in popular peak experiences pursued by so many. In the previous chapter, I discussed enlightenment, but did not discuss the often-reported blissful feelings associated with that state. Because enlightenment is so rare, however, whether it is ecstatic or not does not make much difference to the vast majority of us.
Let me slightly rephrase my earlier suggestion:
Spiritual Group Suggestion: If you attend any spiritual group (and especially groups headed by a person-with-special-knowledge) for more than six hours a month, then I recommend that you read and study about cults. Cult-like behaviors are insidious, widespread and generally feel good. I suggest Singer's Cults In Our Midst.
© 2008 by Thayer White
Finding Your Soul in the Spirituality Maze
Table of Contents for this Online Spiritual Book
|Excerpt from Be Your Own Therapist: "On the playgrounds of our youth we all heard the old phrase, "Sticks and stones may break my bones but words will never hurt me." Unfortunately, many societal groups seem intent today upon claiming that words too always hurt."|