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Is it Wise to Talk About Spiritual Experiences?

Jan 31, 1995 01:08 PM
by Eldon Tucker

Is it Wise to Talk About Spiritual Experiences?

This is in response to a question by Martin Euser.

-- Eldon Tucker

Should we talk about our mystical experiences? The answer
lies in a combination of common sense and looking at the
example of the great Teachers of the world.

There is really two senses of talking about the experiences.
In one case, we are with an individual in private, or before
a specific group of people. In this case, we see their
reaction and can adjust what we say, or do not say, to how
they respond to us. In the other case, we are writing for
people in general, with no direct interaction with the
reader, and no way to adjust what we say to their reactions.
In this case, we would speak with greater reserve.

How do the great Teachers express their understanding and
experiences? Publicly, they speak in allegory, using symbols
rather than plain speech, veiling what they would say. They
do not write plainly, nor go as far as they could in
speaking of higher things. Often, a simple, plain
description is used to hide a deeper meaning from all but
those who know what to look for.

How do they communicate in private? In a very direct,
personal way, needing to hide nothing, but still responsive
to the people they are with. The occult truths, though, are
not readily communicated by simply talking about them; an
inner readiness, an inner ripeness is needed in the student
in order to understand what he is taught.

Speaking of us, now, as theosophical students, these rules
also apply. We speak with care publicly, and may have to
veil what we say; privately, we may be more open in talking
one-on-one with others.

What is it that we can communicate? Some experiences are too
new, too foreign to us, insufficiently understood and
integrated in our lives for us to be ready to share them.
Others are solidly a part of our lives, and can be shared;
these bear the ring of truth, a sense of genuineness that
others readily detect.

We cannot easily separate understandings from experiences.
An experience is not truly part of our lives until it is
clearly understood. And an idea is not real, not a genuine
part of us until it is experienced. The two--understanding
and experience--go hand in hand.

We may have visions, dramatic events in our lives that are
almost initiatory in nature. There is a sense of magic as we
are born into some new area of life. These experiences,
though, are not the important ones. They dazzle us, but they
are insufficient for us to go out into the world and be and
do something new.

The real types of experiences that lead to Wisdom that we
can share come slowly. They grow on one over time. There is
no dramatic sense of their arrival; rather, they introduce
themselves quietly, in the background, like an acorn slowly
growing to become a giant tree. These experiences build up
in us skills of the spirit, training in the Hierarchy of

Picture the acorn, first poking its green shoot abvoe the
ground. This is a dramatic event! Something new exists where
nothing was before. But the long, slow growth of that green
shoot into a giant tree happens slowly, imperceptibly,
without dramatic fanfare. The green shoot is not ready to
share, but the giant tree certainly is!

Considering our inner experiences, they enter into our
lives, go through an embryonic stage, then finally reach the
point where they are ready to be born into the world. It is
in the embryonic stage that we take the new contents of
consciousness and make them a real, solid part of our lives,
something worthy of sharing.

In a broader sense, we find the same process described in
terms of a study of Theosophy itself. With the first
Initiation, we have come to an intellectual exposure to the
Teachings, to the dead-letter books and the ideas that we
quickly learn to parrot. With the second Initiation, we dive
beyond the printed words, going deeply within, partaking of
Mahat, and have an inner font of learning, though still
needing to keep our lips sealed. And finally with the third
Initiation, we have solidified our relationship to the
Teachings to the point where they are a living part of our
lives, and we can start to share them in a genuine way. We
have then become, in some small degree, spiritual teachers

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