The Spiritual Progress of Brian Hines
(2) Why do you think you never had a spiritual experience despite 30 years of devoted meditation?
Like I've been saying in several posts lately, including here, I'm not sure what "spiritual" means anymore. I had plenty of experiences in meditation. What I didn't have was the sort of out-of-body, astral projecting, soul-flying, blasts of cosmic light and sound experiences that the Radha Soami Satsang Beas version of Sant Mat tells disciples to expect in meditation. A few days after I was initiated I heard loud bell sounds inside my head while I was meditating. These never came back. I've had other glimpses of inner light and hearings of inner sound, but these could be (and probably are) produced by the brain, not immaterial soul or spirit*.
ED: I thought I would post two comments by Brian Hines of Church of the Churchless who is so very critical of RSSB for seekers and satsangis who are wondering how a person after so many years can leave the path. Well, after initiation you can’t leave the path, you only make spiritual progress. Brian may not recognize the progress he has made. He heard the loud bell sounds and saw inner lights. That was a preview of what could be if one worked for it. He mistakenly thinks that this was produced by the brain. He must be influenced by neuroscience. Quantum mechanic physicists, on the other hand, would disagree by stating that the brain (which is material) is produced by consciousness.
Over the years, as I've become less and less religious, my take on "spirituality" has become similarly pared down. I used to believe that a being a spiritual person had something to do with rising above or beyond this world into some ethereal realm. Now, I consider that being fully present is most, if not all, of what it means to be spiritual -- which removes supernatural connotations from this world and places it firmly in this world, not the next. The older and more churchless I get (the two qualities being closely tied together in me) the more frequently a strong intuitive feeling* bursts into my awareness that whatever I'm experiencing at this moment, I'd damn well better appreciate it, because it's never coming my way again. Like how religious grace is described, this feeling arrives unbidden. However, it seems more like a recognition of what always is there, but dimly perceived, than a mystery newly revealed.
This paragraph shows that Brian is making progress in spite of himself. Signs of spiritual progress are in bold face type. Brian is getting rid of false concepts of spirituality. The purpose of constant simran is to help one become fully present in the moment. Supernatural is a term used for something one does not understand. Brian's initial experiences. The experiences mentioned in Radha Soami books are a product of spiritual growth which one has to earn by constant practice. *Intution is a function of the soul, not the mind.
Great master Sawan Singh writes about premature uplifting of the soul that is so strongly attached to the body.
“And just as everyone you come across leaves an impression, so a loving, faithful, devotee will leave an impression upon you, which will induce you to go on the Path. Making no secret of not having seen the Master within, as yet although he has been at it a long time. There must be something within him which keeps him going on. It cannot be sheer obstinacy. Even if you were in the presence of one who has traveled through the regions of Brahmand, and he were to tell of his experienced in that field, you would not go in much. Your curiosity will be excited and you will have been induced to go in and look for yourself, but nothing beyond this. He will not exert his influence over your mind. Why should he waste his energy? And suppose, for the time being some one does exert his influence and pulls you up? In the first place you will not be able to stand it, because the soul that is now permeating every part of your body, hand, feet, and fingertips, if suddenly withdrawn, will cause extreme pain. And again, if it were brought to the eye focus, you would not be able to stand that bright light within. If a fine cloth is spread over a prickly bush, as the soul is in the body; and some one would hurriedly detach the cloth, the only consequence would be that the cloth would be torn away. The soul is tied down to the body by such powerful chains (karma) that it has practically lost its identity and has forgotten its true course. You have been connected with the Source through the Sound Current, and in proportion to your ability to catch the Sound Current, your upward progress depends. ”
Brian's initial experiences prove that he has been connected to the Source thorough the Sound Current but to have repeated, conscious contact with the bell sound requires purification of mind and body and is a result of much hard work at spiritual practice. The masters never say that it is easy or quick. In fact, just the opposite. They say it is the work of a lifetime to learn to die while living.
“I can speak to the trauma of being dragged up too quickly. Two things result. First, there is no doubt about Who is Boss. But the second is that we approach such things with much more caution and are in no particular rush to be shot through that cannon into that shower of exploding colored lights anytime soon. We're happy in the darkness just sitting with Him.”
(S.T. satsangi friend.)