5 Characteristics of a Mystical Experience
What comes into your mind when you hear the term ‘mystical experience’? An otherworldly experience? Spirituality? Transcendence? Transformation? Well, mystical experiences actually have something to do with all of these things. A mystical experience is basically an otherworldly and transformative experience that supplies a person with knowledge of a transcendental reality, cosmic unity, and ultimate truths. It can occur to anyone anytime and anywhere. Oftentimes, a mystical experience is linked to spirituality. One of the common results of going through it is spiritual awakening. Dr. Ronald T. Tyler has an in-depth discussion about this topic in his thought-provoking literary masterpiece, The Spiritual Discernment Guide: How to Detect and Correct False Teachings, Scripture Twisting, and New Age Counterfeits. This book contains comprehensive accounts and explanations of mysticism and spiritual discernment. The mystical experiences in Dr. Tyler’s book can give you a good picture and grasp of what the experience looks and feels like. In general, there are numerous distinctive characteristics of a mystical experience.
The experience takes away your sense of identity
When going through a mystical experience, you tend to become oblivious of who you are individually. Your understanding of how your individual identity begins and ends completely disappears. In other words, your sense of identity goes away during a mystical experience. This is sometimes called the ‘ego death’. You transcend your ego or self-identity, and you become boundlessly and infinitely united with everything that is around you instead. In essence, ego death is an experience of completely embodying your true nature – who you really are before anything else.
The experience fills you with gratitude
A mystical experience provides you with an abundance of ecstatic feelings. These feelings are the finest emotions of which human beings are capable of. They give you a kind of fulfillment that is out of this world. More often than not, these ecstatic feelings come from an immense sense of gratitude. A mystic experience basically allows you to realize the vastness of existence, and this realization makes you feel almost undeserving of having the chance to encounter such a miracle. When this occurs, you tend to not help but be overwhelmed with gratefulness and a sense of awe.
The experience cannot be described
If there is one thing that people who have undergone mystical experiences can say in common, it would be that the experience is mostly indescribable. When you go through a mystical experience, you tend to become too overwhelmed by the magnitude of emotions and intuitive understanding you embody that it limits your ability to describe the experience in words. You feel as if no word can ever describe the depth of your experience with justice. The mystical experience leaves you speechless with a limited language.
The experience is transient
Mystical experiences are transient. This means that they occur momentarily and do not last long. Transience is basically the very nature of a mystical experience. The immense emotions and intuitive understanding that you gain during the experience do not remain forever. You eventually need to return to your ‘normal’ frame of mind. In other words, you go back to your habitual way of life. Nonetheless, despite occurring temporarily, a mystical experience often changes something deep inside people permanently.
The experience changes your life
Most, if not all, people who have gone through mystical experiences say that the experience brought significant changes to their lives. Oftentimes, after undergoing a mystical experience, people tend to suddenly become fearless of death. The experience makes them realize that death is not as scary as they used to think it was. More so, the ambitions and beliefs that they once believed are significant tend to lose their meaning immediately. To put it simply, having a mystical experience leads you to a process of spiritual awakening that changes your life eternally.
Overall, a mystical experience is an out of this world experience of awakening and transformation. It makes you transcend your ego; fills you with ecstatic emotions and gratitude; leaves you tongue-tied and in awe; and changes your life enormously. A mystical experience brings you a kind of spiritual awakening that helps you understand life and existence more profoundly. It essentially allows you to recognize the vastness of God’s creations and discern heavenly truths from deception. The mystical experiences in Dr. Tyler’s book can give you a better illustration of what a mystical experience looks and feels like. At the core of it, a mystical experience is transformative. Once you go through it, you can never be the same again.