May 13, 2014
Andrew is a featured guest contributor in the Summer 2014 edition of Buddhadharma Magazine.
In this article, Andrew writes that temporary experiences such as flashes of bliss or clarity can be encouraging moments in your practice, but only if you know how to handle them. If you don’t, beware. They can be traps.
“Sooner or later it’s going to happen— it might be the very first time you meditate or only after years of dedicated practice, but someday you’re going to have a spiritual experience. These experiences come in many forms, ranging from simple tranquility to radiant ecstasy. In their fullest expression, they are spiritual earthquakes that can transform your life. The Tibetan sage Marpa shared one such experience:
I was overwhelmed with joy. The hairs on my body stood on end, and I was moved to tears… My body was intoxicated with undefiled bliss… There dawned an experience beyond words.
—from The Rain of Wisdom, translated by the Nalanda Translation Committee
At more modest levels, they can manifest as the total cessation of thought, an out-of-body experience, or sensations of bliss and clarity. You might have an experience of profound meditation, or of union with the entire cosmos, and say to yourself, “This is it! This is what I’ve been waiting for.” Like the endorphins released in a runner’s high, these experiences are the meditator’s high. And they are addicting.”