If you felt stuck in your life this last year, you’re not alone. It’s been a two steps forward, one step back, kind of year. We’re all sort of direction-less as we shift into a “new normal” or the “old normal”. What’s even normal anymore?
If you’re wondering how to get your spark back? Enlightened experiences! I’ll show you how to recognize and practice enlightened experiences, and eventually adopt an enlightened mindset so you’ll have more of these experiences.
An enlightened experience is to see, understand, comprehend and feel something differently or with clarity.
For instance, a numinous experience, as described by Paul Walker in his book, “Complex PTSD: From Surviving to Thriving” explains, is a powerful moving feeling of wellbeing accompanied by a sense that there is more to life than what’s in front of us; that there is a positive, benign force behind the universe and within yourself.
Have your ever felt an overwhelming sense of wellbeing; feeling good like you own the day no matter what comes your way, and you were just riding that high for as long as you could milk it? Or maybe you were out in nature and spontaneously felt connected to everything.
These are an enlightened experience- it gives you a boost of confidence, hope, connectedness, or clarity even during tough times! It can spark incredible insight, positive feelings, and dramatic changes!
Maybe you or someone you know of, suddenly heard the “voice of God” or a voice of wisdom in their head that changed their life, gave them a new outlook and put them on the right track?
These things happen and they’re very powerful!
Have you ever experienced something unexplainable and also unforgettable?
Can you recall a book or an event that changed your life? You suddenly saw your life through a whole new pair of eyes.
Have you ever awakened from a dream that felt so real, it lingered with you throughout the day?
Have you had a spiritual awakening or spiritual experience?
Have you felt one with nature?
Spontaneous insight during a meditation?
Premonition? A voice telling you to do something or not do something?
How about a flash of insight that shifted your perspective, an Aha! moment?
You may suddenly view a situation with complete clarity or come up with creative solution that weren’t apparent to you before. These inspirational experiences can produce meaningful insight, a new perspective, or a feeling like life is a gift!
In his book, Walker goes on to explain why these experiences are important to survivors of abuse or those with (C)PTSD.
Often, as children, we are betrayed by the people who are supposed to love us most and this can impair our belief or involvement in a higher power or religion. Religion itself can mimic dysfunction within families. Rather than slipping into hopelessness or despair, people can cultivate these enlightening or numinous experiences.
How do enlightened experiences occur?
While enlightened experiences may seem rare or random, you can also purposefully create and practice them as a state of being or a state of mind.
You can begin to know exactly what creates these feelings and experiences and become open to them, intending and expecting them to occur while also tailoring them to your life and your goals!
Enlightened experiences typically involve a certain state associated with relaxation, curiosity, flow, or openness.
This state occurs in a few ways that you can regularly practice:
- Meditation or a meditative.
- Hypnotic trance.
- A creative project or regularly using your imagination.
- Spending time in nature.
- Deep, focused “flow” state.
- Experiencing something new with openness.
- Relaxing and reading spiritual or enlightening books.
- Shared experiences, equally enjoyed, with someone else.
Needless to say, most of us rush around in a hurry to catch up with the next demand ahead of us. Relaxed and open do not come naturally to us anymore (mostly busy and distracted) so we must make it a practice.
An enlightened experience is often a subconscious knowing or feeling that comes into conscious awareness. It may be felt as a sense of belonging to something larger than yourself or perhaps a deep understanding you didn’t have before.
Relaxing and experiencing yourself or your environment without the monkey mind, is what I refer to as “no mind”.
We have to be open to receive either our inner knowing’s (subconscious/ soul/ higher self) or something bigger than us (universe, God, divine).
What does it mean to have an Enlightened Experience?
Signs of an enlightened experience are a change in perspective and enhanced clarity. They leave a lasting impression and can spark a strong enough feeling or emotion that inspires change in one’s life or simply comfort and belonging.
They’re described by some as a state of Nirvana, awakening, oneness, inner peace or inner knowing, realizations, miracles, a sense of wonderment, serendipity, synchronicity, meditations, awareness, trance, transcendence, alignment, flow, manifestation, even hallucinations (out-of-body experiences, a visit by a spirit or deceased loved one, encounter with the “voice of God”, etc.).
While the heightened emotion(s) that occur may be only briefly enhanced, the changes that result from these are transformative and impactful. If you can establish a purposeful practice around enlightened experiences, you can essentially adopt an enlightened mindset to experience your life in a more meaningful way.
The Hero’s Journey for instance, is a “full circle” path of enlightenment.
It’s a comeback story made popular in folklore, fairytales, and myth. It’s when a person goes through a challenging experience that transforms his/her attitude and lifts their perspective to greater heights.
A great example of a Hero’s Journey is one carpenter’s struggle to keep his dream alive- his wooden toy company. After two major fires that completely destroyed the workshops, his wife dying, the world sinking into the Great Depression, and personal bankruptcy, Ole Kirk Christiansen and his son decided to start small once again and take a leap into plastics, creating the first toy brick mold which would ultimately become LEGO. Lego’s motto: “If you can dream it, you can build it.” This was literally his vision, and his vision was stronger than his doubts.
Enlightened living: People who create more and better for themselves, people who overcome, find inspiration in the world around them, all have stories of enlightened experiences, visions, and strong direction or clarity.
Of course you don’t always have to encounter something tragic to rise up better than ever, you can also create them with a new and novel experience such as traveling to another culture or rekindling a childhood passion as an adult.
Other ways people have created them is through Shamanic insight or hallucinogenic drugs. (I’m in no way recommending the latter and have no experience in the former).
The Recipe for an Enlightened Experience:
- State of mind- open and relaxed.
- Prior learnings, events, and wisdom- Your unique foundation, even your traumas and tragedy, lays the groundwork for enlightened experiences to affect you in a meaningful way.
- An experience and/or thought- the trigger that precipitates or creates something profound, inspiring or novel.
- A feeling- emotion enhances everything and we remember it longer when the emotion is stronger.
I’ll use the pandemic example of Netflix shows:
State of mind: When you settle in to watch a show, you’re somewhat relaxed and in an open state of mind to receive (same with hypnosis and meditation)- relaxation and openness are key. This creates the perfect state of mind.
Experiences and thoughts: You may get involved with a TV drama and this creates an experience. Your thoughts may match the main character and you become invested. Your heart races during the climax.
A feeling: Your feelings become spontaneously involved- you laugh, you cry, you cringe, you’re really into it. It affects you because it involves your emotions.
Prior Learnings, events and wisdom: Your experience of the show depends upon how you relate. This is the foundation and includes your life events (present and past), life lessons, values and accumulated wisdom. That’s why no two people will experience something exactly alike.
Shows and movies have the power to change the way you think or feel about something too! A Netflix documentary turned me into a vegan for 3 years! Plus, a beautiful story and Hero’s Journey is “Maid”- must watch!
The subconscious is a powerful tool for creating your own Enlightened Experiences. Often, a flash of insight is simply something that was stored in the subconscious for many years. A feeling of deep connectedness is your soul or collective conscience.
You have the power to spark your own enlightened experiences.
Some people realize how to use this power through manifestation. There’s an element of magical thinking to The Law of Attraction and the idea of manifesting.
Using imagination (another powerful tool), I take people on guided imagery journeys that have changed the way they live their life!
Imagery journeys are produced in a meditative or light hypnotic state, using guided visualizations. Guided visualization is also used to prepare elite athletes for superior performance and dipping into the “flow” state where all conscious obstacles, limited beliefs and concerns magically subside.
What if you could be the hero or heroine in your own story?
What if you could be transported to another time, another realm, or past life and bring back insight for your life now?
What if you could problem-solve something through your dreams?
It’s all available to us!
Once you start opening your mind to what’s possible, practicing relaxed awareness through creativity, meditation, nature, etc. you start living in the enlightened mindset, more often.
- You must have good rapport with your subconscious– establish ways to regularly connect with your subconscious mind to bring the subconscious to your conscious awareness. 5 Ways to Communicate With Your Subconscious.
- Have at least one creative hobby to stir your creative juices.
- Setting intentions for your dreams at night or keeping a dream journal. Thomas Edison said, “Never go to bed without a request to your subconscious.”
- Savor a few moments each day to daydream or reflect. We need to shut off the trying, striving, busyness of the conscious monkey mind. In other words, get off the hamster wheel from time to time.
- Build in spontaneity, adventure, and be open to new ideas and experiences.
- Try Transcendental Meditation… or any meditation habit.
- Use your imagination.
- Spend time in nature.
- Challenge your thinking habits and question your beliefs. ‘Why do I believe this?’
- Do or read more things that inspire you- I love the book by Elizabeth Gilbert, “Big Magic.“
- Let go and surrender more. This leaves us open to more!
- Pay attention to symbols, things that are special to you, and serendipity.
Everyday enlightened practices: The other day, I was listening to my own “Higher Self” guided meditation and an image of Athena appeared. I’m not exactly familiar with what she looks like or how she’s depicted in mythology, but this image had Greek features and my mind kept repeating Athena so I went with it. The power and confidence I felt were amazing and I was riding the high afterwards, channeling her energy into my workday with clients.
Since I’ve felt that energy now, I can practice it and channel it when I need it.
Later I looked up something about Athena, and her positive qualities mentioned definitely resonate with me!
Having told my daughter about this too, she immediately piped up and said, “Wow mom that’s funny. When I was studying Greek Mythology, I always thought of you when we discussed Athena and how she reminded me of you.”
Peace and Be Well,