"My friend, the sufi is the friend of the present moment. To say tomorrow is not our way."~ Rumi ~
The delightful laughter of a child. The majestic sight of a glorious sunset. The fragrance of the air after a summer rain. The love felt when two people open their hearts and connect in an authentic way. Special moments like these – when time seems to stand still – help us realize that there is something beyond our normal, daily experience of life. There exists, even for brief a moment, a space that opens for us to realize clarity or insight into life.
These moments in time, however brief, can provide a shift in our perception and open us to a new context and meaning for life. Some call these moments "mystical" experiences when the veil between the worlds part, and we are given a fresh understanding or perspective on life.
Every culture has a tradition of recognizing certain individuals who seem to possess an awareness of something beyond the ordinary, mundane life. Whether it’s the medicine man, the yogi, the shaman, the sufi, or the monk, they possess the capacity to tap into an awareness of the Divine. Often these teachers are perceived to have simply been born with a unique gift that gives them access to some heightened awareness, or perhaps they have earned it through years of deep meditation and seclusion in a remote cave or monastery.
But you and I also have the innate capacity to access these mystical or intuitive experiences in our everyday life. I recall a special moment many years ago when I attended my first retreat in the mountains outside Estes Park, Colorado. A group of us took an adventure ride in an open-air truck up the side of the mountain and stopped in the middle of a beautiful aspen grove to stretch our legs and enjoy the scenery. While we rested, our driver explained that the stand of aspen trees we were sitting in was actually a single living organism and that the root system of all the individual trees were connected together.
In that moment, I had a clear revelation that these trees were a living metaphor for how human beings are connected to one another. That despite the outer appearance that we are separate and unique individuals, at a deeper level, we are all truly "one," connected together in a unified field of consciousness. In that present moment, I experienced a greater understanding of life that no book or lecture could ever impart to me.
Mystical Journey is one of the most sought-after programs offered by Conscious Transformation and is always sold-out with a long waiting list to attend. In this program, participants go to a secluded retreat center in the mountains of Colorado to come apart from modern life for a few days. Silence is observed throughout the weekend to allow the mind and emotions to settle down without unnecessary stimulation from our environment. We turn off cell phones and unplug from computers, and enjoy the rare opportunity to allow the nervous system to relax and open.
Joey leads participants through a series of breathing and meditation practices to calm the thoughts, settle the feelings, and create an opening for an experience beyond the mind, body, and emotions. Each person’s experience is unique. Some tap into a profound sense of peace or love, others an experience of oneness with creation, and some simply feel relaxed and open, perhaps for the very first time.
While a focused and intense training of this kind can certainly accelerate these so-called mystical experiences, we don’t need to run off to the mountains or hide in a cave for years to access them. Simply being in the present moment throughout our day can open us to a mystical or intuitive experience.
Buddhist author and teacher Thich Nhat Hanh said it well: "Life is available only in the present moment. Breathing in, I calm body and mind. Breathing out, I smile. Dwelling in the present moment, I know this is the only moment."
When we are in the present moment, our mind is not focused on the past or worrying about the future. Instead, the mind is still and open, and our emotions are calm and centered. In that space, our intuition can speak to us, and new realizations can occur. Perhaps it doesn’t happen every time, but with consistent practice, we can become more aligned with the mystery of life all around us.
Many of the daily internal training practices offered by Conscious Transformation give us simple tools we can easily use to cultivate an awareness of the present moment. Practicing the four-sided breath, focusing on the space between the thoughts, and aligning our emotions with love-based states are all ways we can position ourselves to fully experience the present moment.
Some of the ancient meditation practices used by mystics are simply different forms of focusing and cultivating love-based states within the practitioner. Our prefrontal cortex, the part of the brain which is right behind the forehead, is responsible for our higher emotional experiences such as peace and joy. This part of the brain shuts down when we are in a fear-based state, and we lose access to intuition.
In contrast, when we are experiencing a love-based state, the prefrontal cortex is active, the brainstem calms down, and we can more readily gain access to experiences such as peace, love, or joy. In this state, we align ourselves with our intuition.
Author R.M. Jones observed that "Mystical experiences do not necessarily supply new ideas to the mind, rather, they transform what one believes into what one knows, converting abstract concepts, such as divine love, into vivid, personal, realities."
Enjoy the present moment and the new understandings that come to you!
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J.D. is a certified trainer and Conscious Transformation energy practitioner. He has been a student of Joey Klein since 2005. J.D. is committed to sharing this work with the world because of the profound impact it has had on his own life, as well as witnessing first-hand the transformation that others experience. J.D. discovered Joey’s teachings at a time of deep despair in his own life when nothing seemed to alleviate his suffering. But through applying the tools of Conscious Transformation, he quickly shifted into a state of great passion and joy for life.