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by David Truman

Choosing a mystic method

The mystic's secret of success: right alignment to mystical practice

Understand the goal

During the daily times we set aside for our spiritual devotions, how should we best go about pursuing mystic experience? Spiritual seekers frequently find mystical goals frustratingly elusive, especially at first. Many if not most mystical experiences arrive when we least expect them, as spontaneous gifts of Spirit. And, often, mystic success seems to result more from spiritual ardor than from technique.

Even so, serious mystics almost always take a systematic approach. And without a doubt, regular, consistent practice expresses the strong dedication upon which successful mystical ascent ultimately depends.


Choosing a mystic method

Many methods of spiritual practice, when properly performed, lead to experiences of spiritual realities, higher consciousness, and Divine communion. Proven methods include:

meditation techniques of various kinds

prayer and tuning to the still small voice

loving interaction (either face-to-face or in loving thoughts)

collective worship

private and social Unification

energy-raising of a vital nature (including physical exercise, yoga routines, etc.)

self-transcending service performed in a spirit of no-mind work-joy

direct personal association with mystics and contemplative consideration of mystic teachings

Mystic methods have evolved in endless variety; those are just a representative sampling. But all mystic techniques share a single purpose: to elevate the spirit.

No one technique of mystic pursuit fits all. When considering the usefulness of a given method for a given person, we can only gauge its efficacy by the extent to which it accomplishes its sacred purpose of elevating the spirit -- THAT particular spirit.

The effectiveness of any mystic method FOR YOU cannot be presumed from the success stories of others. YOUR success will depend on choosing an approach that is well-matched to your temperament and level of discipline. We encourage people to actually try various approaches, and find one that suits them best.

Further discussions of mystical practice and technique exceed the scope of this article, but we heartily recommend individual exploration and study to determine a fitting approach.

For further understanding and exploration, you may follow these links:

Transformation: It CAN Work

Love on the Spiritual Path

Introduction to Unification


The mystic's secret of success: right alignment to mystical practice

Often, the quest for mystic achievement may seem to resemble the pursuit of a playful child: If you run after it, it runs away from you; but if you sit still, it may just jump in your lap!

And here's another thing mystic experience has in common with a child: You'll never get close to any child if you come with an impatient, distracted, or untoward attitude. The same is true in mysticism: ANY mystical method or process, regardless of its form, will prove effectively "spiritual" only when done in the right spirit.

"Right spirit" is a profound consideration, and no easy formulas apply. Each person must tune for right spiritual alignment within themselves. Still, certain generalizations always hold true:

1. Be properly prepared. Fifty-three people attend a spiritual intensive weekend. Three of them have a profound mystic experience, the rest do not. Why? Most likely, it has to do with differences in their individual orientation/preparation. Part of preparation is a good basic understanding of your chosen technique, and reasonable competence in its practice. But also, when you begin each practice session, your intention should be clear; your energy fresh; your desire high; your attention free; and your heart open.

2. Have a constructive orientation. When it comes to spiritual experiences, skeptics need not apply -- skepticism only produces what it expects. Resistance not only creates disappointing experiences, but even worse, it forms lasting negative associations with high places. So, don't let your spiritual practice sessions deteriorate into painful battles against your own stubborn unwillingness. In most cases, you are better off skipping a session than bucking the bad odds of a poor attitude.

3. Reduce inner conflict. Sometimes an individual's desire for exalted experience is contradicted -- consciously or not -- by opposing desires. Examples of inner conflicts about mystic pursuit could include concern about outgrowing an intimate; fear of disorientation and loss of control in higher energy states; or feeling that spiritual practice is hypocritical (because of low self-esteem).

Mystics succeed because they passionately WANT to! Inner conflicts can douse the desire-fire to an ineffectual flicker. Therefore, reducing inner conflict is a "mystic essential."

4. Maintain consistently positive intentions. In every moment, our intentions -- much more than our actions -- create the results we see. Therefore, to achieve a beautiful result from our mystic practices, we must hold beautiful intentions. Examples are the intention to love God; to do His will; to share the fruits of higher consciousness with others.

But be careful: What truly counts are our OPERATING intentions -- not just our STATED intentions. Often, our operating intentions slip when we aren't looking! Such experiences happen all the time:

Example: A man goes to a meeting with high hopes of mending fences between conflicting factions in the group. However, shortly after the meeting begins, a remark from another participant hurts his feelings. He answers defensively, and suddenly, fence-mending flies out the window. Literally before he knows it, his intentions switch from peacemaking to self-defense.

It is easy to THINK we are maintaining beautiful intentions in our mystic quest when in fact lower motivations are governing our actions. For example, our motives in a spiritual practice may actually be dominated by the desire to gain status or power, the intention to look good to others -- or even the wish to get it over with and go on to whatever's next! To maximize chances of mystic success, keep track of your intentions honestly, in present time -- and adjust accordingly.

For more help understanding right alignment, see:
The Essence of Spirituality: The Spirit in Which We Live


Understand the goal

Although experiences such as spiritual raptures and visions of light may excite us and seem to provide proof of our spiritual progress, they are not the point of mystic ascent. Never forget, the real goal of spiritual practice is the permanent illumination of consciousness to the point of constant attunement and happy obedience to God's will. It doesn't matter that people vary in their susceptibility to esoteric experiences, since all God's children have equal opportunity when it comes to higher consciousness. Let's make good use of it!

by David Truman

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