The pathway to enlightenment is for most of us very experiential.
While you may accept the philosophical concepts that are handed down with meditation - a belief in the reincarnation of the soul; the stateless state of nirvana; a sense of dharma, that there is a code of right and that when we follow the highest good we become the highest good; cycles and theories of cosmic evolution; the different lokas and planes of reality - while we may acknowledge that all of these things exist to some extent, what really brings us forward on the pathway to enlightenment is the need for spiritual experiences and visions.
Spiritual experiences fall into many different classifications. The most common type of spiritual experience is the one that you're having at the moment. We call it life. We're not apt to think of life as a spiritual experience. We feel that life, as we've come to know it, is flat or bland. But life for one who has not lived is a spiritual experience. It is not so much that life is flat or bland, it's just that we see it that way. Or perhaps it would be more accurate to say that we don't see it.
Life is energy, constantly moving, changing, recycling, becoming new. The energy of eternity takes on countless new forms and we experience them. We experience them through our senses, through our mind, through our reflections, through our emotions and through our spiritual bodies.
It's enough sometimes. It's enough to watch, to sit in front of a fireplace and listen to the crackling of the wood and stare into the flame and to contemplate immortality, without thinking about it too much.
The spiritual experience of life is never ending. As you sit listening to me, you're having a spiritual experience. Later, in the day or the evening, your spiritual experience will continue. Life will precisely direct you through a variety of different experiences. These experiences are not the experience. The experiencer has left and gone someplace else. There are no plans to dream, no visions to keep. These experiences are the beginning and end of existence because that's all there really is.
We sit on an island in the middle of eternity, thinking to ourselves how important we are because we sit on an island in the middle of eternity, not knowing all the while that eternity is an island. We feel we've come to know something, that as perceivers with intelligence we've developed clarity and order and form, but we're only an island. The island of eternity.
We wait. We wait for our loves, we wait for our completion, we wait for the fulfillment of our desires. We wait with hope, apathy, resignation, belief. We become despondent, elated; we wait. We wait for the final experience, the vision, the dream quest that will lead us above the ebb and flow of this life and will place us into that which we have not experienced, that which is new, that which will command all of our attention to the point of complete absorption.
Life is the only spiritual experience there is, life and death. Death is but another part of life. There is no beginning and there is no ending. We're marvelously eternal. And our perception of existence changes as we change, which changes existence. Perception not only defines existence, but it creates existence. It gives it form. Without perception, there is no existence.
When we dream, we create. All of life is a dream or a series of waking dreams. We dream our surroundings, we dream our friends, our relations, we dream our bodies, we dream our dreams. There is no beginning and there is no end. Some days there's not even a middle.