After discussing my last blog post with my school brothers, I realized how many ideas of mine (and others) were in there, and how little personal experience it contained. In order to supplement my last post, I will elaborate here on how I came to some of those ideas, and the experiences which have led me to an appreciation of what might be called "mystical" experience.
Much of my upbringing was Catholic. When I was young, I went to church every Sunday. Surely, some good advice was shared in the sermons, but I never really had an "experience" of something more than myself (other than the community, and even that felt disconnected). I fell out of this practice, and began searching for a personal connection with "something more".
Meditation was the next step for me. From where I started, this practice narrowed my focus and tended to remove me from context. As such, I ended up delving deeply into subjectivity, and lost track of how I fit in, but gained some interesting insights into my personal responsibility for my thoughts and feelings, meaning that I could have some choice in this area.
So right now, I'm experiencing more of the "re-connective mysticism" I talked about in the previous article. What happens is, when I do my practices in the woods or in nature (I'm sure these experiences aren't contingent upon the setting... that's just where it happens for me now) sometimes I have a wonderful feeling of belonging, and my thoughts focus on my relations to everything around me. There is also often an accompanying sense of beauty and wonder. For example, noticing myself standing in relation to a tree, or trees, or blades of grass, and feeling like I have a place along side of, and in connection with, those things as part of the grand scheme of life. It feels like a connection with truth in some way, and an appreciation of "things as they are". I got this feeling walking down the street one day, and I saw a street sign and thought about all that went into it... the miners who harvested the metal, the refiners, the people at the sign factory, the installers... and I appreciated how that sign was not just an object, but the result of work and humanity and cooperation. Occasionally, I've even thought the silliness of calling anything that exists "unnatural". Even a car came about by processes of nature. Nature created people, people created cars, ipso facto - nature made cars.
Anyway, there may be more thoughts and experiences on the way about this, as it really is such a rich and important topic to me.
I also am really curious about other peoples' experiences of "something more", and I would love if you would share yours in the comments. Thanks so much!