Back on The Rapture, I touched on the experience of unending, unimaginable bliss.
|Photo by skinr|
The traditional Christian Rapture is portrayed as an event in time associated with the second coming. However I have seen some evidence that this is not an event in time but rather a point in evolution. As we reach that level of connection with the divine within, the divine descends through us and we carry that into the world.
The human physiology is a remarkably flexible and adaptable organism and construct. We can have an experience of happiness beyond imagining then soon get used to it, forgetting that it didn’t used to be like this. Because we experience the world through the value of consciousness we reflect, we soon forget what it was like before. Just consider your memories of being 8 years old. You remember that through how you are now. Memories do not return the state of awareness, just the impressions. After awakening, we forget what it’s like to have an ego until we see one in action. We forget what it’s like to not be happy when happiness is the dominant experience.
As I further explore this process of opening to the divine, there seems to be what one might call a series of raptures. As we open to the divine, if the process is gradual there will be no contrasting experience. Just a nice subtle growth of fullness of the heart. But sometimes in the journey, we allow a door to open that suddenly pours in a much higher grade of experience than before.
You may recall an experience standing before a magnificent sunset, a moving piece of music or a member of the opposite sex that made our hearts leap. A sweeping feeling of love and joy that washed over us.
What I mean by rapture is much like this, only exponentially more so. As a friend joked, it’s preferable it not happen in public. (laughs)
2 examples that are simple to relate.
I was driving down a main road in my truck. Suddenly a wave of happiness washed over me with such intensity that I was laughing out loud and crying at the same time. The sun came through the clouds and bathed the truck in warmth and the radio played a song about being so “f***ing happy I could cry”. Fortunately, the body took care of driving in traffic.
Over at a friend’s house listening to a conference call with an enlightened teacher, a wave of happiness washed over me that was incredibly intense. I was crying profusely with happiness yet attempting to maintain an air of normalcy. Although I wanted to just surrender to it, it was not the place to laugh uncontrollably during a quiet talk. I had to get up and move around to back it off a bit. Most of the people there were concerned that something was wrong. (laughs)
Similarly, when someone awakens in a group or that you know, there can be a sense of opening within that can trigger tears of happiness or laughter. Self just stepped out some more.
Please note that NONE of these are about awakening or enlightenment. They are simply experiences on the path we may encounter. If you have such an experience, be confident that it will never be more than you can take. It may sometimes feel like this but that is the resistance. If you fully allow, you will have opened the door fully.
Amazingly, this intensity soon becomes the usual experience. The overwhelming happiness becomes normal, all the time. Then we approach a new grade of happiness beyond that. And another…
In that sense, we can see a series of raptures, of peak experiences that become integrated and normal with time. Different types of rapture and progressive grades or levels.
Raptures of Happiness or bliss, as suggested above.
Raptures of Love, when we are absorbed in divine love. As I outline in Love Is, just as there are self and Self, there is love and Love. Emotional love and real Love, Love that flows unconditionally without need or lack.
Raptures of Compassion, when we can hold suffering within love. For a sense of scale, we can experience all of the pain and suffering of all beings at once. This is easily contained in infinite love.
Raptures of Union, the goal of Tantra. The complete merger of two awake persons – body, mind, and soul.
Raptures of Intellect, where the intellect cognizes or downloads complete knowledge, such as that of the universe.
Raptures of the World, where the senses are absorbed into wholeness and the divine is fully expressing through form. See After Unity.
There would certainly be other raptures possible in the integration of Oneness. One person is unlikely to experience all of them. Some of these openings will not be experienced as raptures but rather build to a smooth opening and quick integration. In many ways this is superior. Flash is trash and all that. But it is certainly a nice marker to spiritual life to be overwhelmed by God.