The following list of spiritual safeguards help confirm the individual in their spiritual practices is becoming aware or attuned to the authentic guiding "voice" of Ultimate Reality within them as opposed to their own ego, conscience, desires, need projections or delusions caused by psychological immaturity or imbalance. To promote transformational direct spiritual experiences of Ultimate Reality without also providing these safeguards would be grossly irresponsible and potentially harmful to the sincere spiritual adventurer unaware of them.
Below you will find both the qualities of authentic spiritual experience as well as the qualities of inauthentic spiritual experience to help you on your spiritual journey. At the end of these lists are more helpful links to help you keep your spiritual practices healthy and growing both safely and effectively.
The Traditional Qualities of Authentic Spiritual Experience
The following are qualities that are most often associated with authentic spiritual experiences in connection with the Infinite. The authentic guiding voice of the Infinite within also has some of the qualities below, but not necessarily all of them.
It is difficult to describe exactly what Spiritual experiences are, since they vary, are often so profound they cannot be verbalized and not all spiritual experiences have all of the following characteristics. Some of the qualities below are not necessarily part of the actual experience. Some are the personal qualities that will accrue after the fact. Some only take effect years after the event.
1. Knowing - One knows that one is experiencing Ultimate Reality essence. There is sense of near objectivity and realness to the subjective experience.
2. Love - There are often (though not always) deep feelings of identification - one might even call it love - with Ultimate Reality or the cosmos. Included in this love might also be the feeling of delight, blessedness, joy, happiness, satisfaction, etc.
3. Unity/Oneness - Consciousness of the Oneness of everything - the experience of unity, as All in One and One in All. There is a recognition that One is (or we all are) an aspect or part of Ultimate Reality. The ordinary separations between what's me and not-me either momentarily disappear or becomes ambiguous.
4. Perfection - Everything (oneself included), and the way the cosmos or one’s life is unfolding, is seen as perfect and/or becoming perfect.
5. Eternity - One experiences being in the eternal, a place that always was and always will be.
6. Truth - Value is experienced as self-evidential, not a matter of opinion or fashion.
7. Beauty - One sees beauty in all things.
8. Sense of timelessness - The experience cannot be described in terms of normal clock time, or past, present and future. They have a timeless quality in which "all is always now". One "knows" this place is always there to be tapped into.
9. True Self - Conviction that the familiar phenomenal ego is not the deepest broadest or real I - that within us there is another, true higher Self (variously described by different mystical traditions as, for example, the Ultimate Reality presence within, the Atman, spark, centre, apex of the soul, or ground of the spirit).
10. Awe and Wonder - There is both awe or wonder and a feeling of personal insignificance, where the mundane concerns and emotions around self-enhancement and self-protection seem trivial and almost beside the point.
11. Ineffability – Parts or most of the experience cannot easily be put into words if at all.
12. Sacredness - The feeling that what is apprehended is holy, sacred, or divine.
13. Practicality - The outcome is personally practical, not theoretical. Spiritualized direct experience and action mark the outcome. Not speculation or passivity.
14. Emotion - There is no fear or fear is greatly reduced, because there is nothing left to fear or an old fear has been porportionalized or put into a new releasing perspective. This cessation or significant reduction of fear is one of the most marvelously feelings that can occur. It can bring deep relaxation on levels one didn't even know existed. So-called negative emotions - anger, resentment jealousy, etc. - can seem not only unnecessary, but silly and based on illusions.
15. Humility - The experience creates a healthy humility and increased openness to the surprises of life. There is insight that humility is a precursor to loving, being loved and being open to the divine.
16. Discernment - One is more easily able to discern that which is spirit-motivated and that which is not. One may also now be able to discern or consider new options and possibilities to life problems that were not visible or considerable.
17 Willingness and Acceptance – One becomes more willing and accepting of new options or their own or others current life conditions. This improved willingness and acceptance often allows for completely new insights or ideas for improvement of situations needing changes and it reduces the stress caused by being unwilling and unaccepting of the actual realities of one’s current life.
18. Creativity – Personal creativity almost always increases in direct proportion to the depth and quality of the spiritual connection and experience. This increased creativity can also surface completely new ways of resolving some problem.
19. Expansion of Beingness – Repeated deep, direct experiences of Ultimate Reality expand the quality and "size" of the beingness of the individual so that they see and actually experience their personal identity or identities and/or highest self in expanded new ways. From this expanded sense of authentic quality of being and identity, the individual is more able to use the power of their free will in creative and responsible ways to improve their lives and the lives of those around them.
20. Transformative - It has a some level of profound transformative effect on one's life, imbuing it with an enhanced sense of purpose, meaning and sometimes even a new sense of one’s most essential identity.
21. Strength and Courage – These increase and sometimes one also feels immune from being affected by the judgments of others, and free from such petty responses as vengeance and competitiveness.
22. Sharing – Because of the sense of oneness often associated with spiritual experiences, one often becomes less selfish and more interested in better balancing ones own legitimate life needs with service to society or a larger group.
It is good to keep a healthy balanced perspective on the above. Profound transformative spiritual experiences or enlightenments can do many great things to improve one’s life and the world, but they are not the single, magic silver bullet that solves everything for all time! They do not negate or replace ongoing education at every level. For example, enlightened individuals can and will still pollute the environment if they are not educated regarding the environment and pollution. The enlightenments of these profound transformative spiritual experiences do not automatically or magically create developed moral compasses. Therefore, ongoing moral education and new habit building is always going to be the vital partner of transformative direct spiritual experience.
The New Qualities of Authentic Spiritual Experience
The principles of progressive evolution contained within the New Universe Worldview offer another set of science-grounded checks and balances to demonstrate that you are "hearing" the guidance of Ultimate Reality in your spiritual practices. If you are moving closer to manifesting the Universe Principles of successful action and attitude as they are listed you can be assured your guidance is good and your spiritual practices are authentic.
The reason for this is that the fruit must reflect the qualities and intentions contained within its seed. The physical universe is the fruit of the seed, (Ultimate Reality,) which came before it. The Universe Principles of successful action and attitude contain are the fruit as they are the most repeated patterns of the physical universe as well as reflections of its deepest intrinsic qualities. If you are not increasingly reflecting more of the Universe Principles in your life you are not reflecting the guidance of the seed Ultimate Reality of the universe.
The New Universe Principles Part 1: The 9 Most Proven and Critical Actions Needed to Create a Sustainable and Successful Life or Organization
The New Universe Principles Part 2: The 9 Primary and 14 Secondary Essential and Integral Attitudes for Successful and Sustainable Action in Life
How to know you are NOT becoming aware or attuned to the authentic guiding "voice" of Ultimate Reality within you.
By the positive or negative fruits of the experience one will get a good idea if one was "hearing the authentic guiding "voice" of Ultimate Reality within you. You most likely did not hear authentic guiding "voice" if the experience induces, advises or leads you to:
1. any type of fanaticism or zealotry,
2. exclusiveness or inordinate personal specialness,
3. lowered compassion or empathy or become hardened, unloving, unforgiving,
4. intolerance towards people whose beliefs are different than their own,
5. suddenly sever normal or functional relationships and/or loyalties or obligations,
6. work or give so much that your reasonable loyalties, obligations or mental or physical health is harmed,
7. become fearful or to use disproportionate or inappropriate fear as your dominant method to influence the choices of others,
8. not question or think carefully about all of your free will choice options and their consequences,
9. acts of individual or collective violence against others because Ultimate Reality or their spiritual decrees or prophets demand it,
10. become more self centered and selfish,
11. an increased sense of personal isolation,
12. other disembodied personalities or mediums (channeled or not) in these internal dialogs do not honor your personal free will and authoritatively tell you they know what is best for you and/or you should do what they say,
13. becoming irrational or mentally unbalanced.
The authentic guiding "voice" of Ultimate Reality within you has most often been described as subtle and almost never heard as sound or as an actual voice. One has to rigorously keep asking whether or not one is experiencing the noise of the ego, one's own conscience (which often has a communal origin,) or other sources and that which is universally true, good and emanates from Ultimate Reality. If you’re in doubt after reviewing the above, you are considerably better off to error on the side of caution and treat the guidance as coming from ego, your conscience or one of the numerous other non spiritual causes.
Inauthentic Spiritual Guidance from Spiritual or Religious Groups
Not only can one receive poor quality or dangerous guidance from what one incorrectly thinks is the authentic guiding "voice" of Ultimate Reality within you, one can also be intentionally or unintentionally misled and even harmed by dishonest, immature or insincere religious or spiritual groups. To protect yourself and your spiritual adventure from being diverted or harmed by such organizations or having an "umbrella being held over you while you are allegedly being told about the "sun" please see the following links.