The Doorway to Mystical Experience

Jeff Carreira Philosophy 8 Comments

The Mystic knows that the key to entering into mystical realms of experience is the ability to let go of the familiar. Our ordinary and familiar perception of reality is exactly what we must learn to see beyond if we are to taste the miraculous. To do this we must discover how to consciously not know.

The habit of knowing in us is so strong. We compulsively feel the need to know everything. When confronted with even a small amount of uncertainty we tend to become uneasy and immediately scramble to know again. The experience of knowing is a relief from the discomfort of uncertainty. When we find ourselves not-knowing we begin to sift through ideas until we find thoughts in our heads that explain reality to us. When we find an adequate explanation the feeling of uncertainty disappears and we relax.

If we look more closely at the experience of not-knowing we will see that there is more than just the uncomfortable tension of uncertainty. When we do-not-know we are open, receptive and awake. Because we do-not-know we are looking, our senses are wide open, and we find ourselves feeling into reality in search of knowledge. This open and receptive stance is exactly the stance that the mystic is able to consciously adopt in relationship to the possibility of the miraculous.

Another term we could use for this state of open receptivity is suspended limitation. When we know, we feel secure; we are comfortably nestled in a sense of limitation. We know where the edges are. We know what is and what is not. We have a protective boundary of limitation encompassing what is possible so that we feel safe from anything unexpected happening. The possibilities are bound up tight and we can relax.

If we are pursuing the mystical and the miraculous this boundary of limitation is exactly what we want to remove. We are actively searching for something unexpected! We want something new and unpredictable to occur because nothing less could ever be miraculous. When you suspend limitation, you simply don’t know what is possible.

I remember a very profound moment in my life when I realized that I didn’t really know what was possible. The moment of this realization was a quiet one. I was outside looking up at a beautiful blue sky and I just realized that I really didn’t know what was possible. In that moment I could see that my ordinary experience of reality was surrounded by a sense of limitation – an unspoken invisible assumption that some things were possible and others were not and I knew the difference.

I felt certain that I could be this kind of person and not that kind of person. My acquaintances could act in certain ways but would never act in others. The world was this way and never that way. Some things are possible and others are not and I know the difference.

When that invisible assumption of limitation fell away I was overcome by a sense of awe and wonder. It wasn’t a discovery of what was possible. It was simply the realization that I didn’t know what was possible and that meant that anything was possible.

If you slip into a state of suspended limitation you will feel dizzy with possibility. You will see that the ideas of what is and what is not possible have always been only ideas and never truly were a limit to reality. You will realize that it is you that either holds on to these limiting ideas or lets them go.

About the Author

Jeff Carreira
Jeff Carreira is a mystical philosopher and spiritual guide. He is the author of eleven books on meditation and philosophy. He teaches online programs and leads retreats throughout the world that teach people how to let go of their current perceptual habits so they are free to participate in the creation of a new paradigm. To put it simply, he supports people to live a spiritually inspired life, free from the constraints of fear, worry and self-doubt, and aligned with their own deepest sense of meaning and purpose.
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portailevolutif
9 years ago

Love this Jeff and it applies as well to our judgments on other cultures no ? ( kidding you ! ) not put undue limitations on each other s potential because human potential is sacred.

Margo Ritchie
Margo Ritchie
9 years ago

Jeff,
I very much appreciated your reflection…it leaves open the possibility that the future could actually be different from the present…we are not destined to repeat it with just a little touch-up here or there. Whay I also know [as opposed to not knowing!!] is that this has significance for our personal lives and relationships as well as in areas of systemic justice. Perhap sthe mystical stance is what integrates all aspects of life.
Margo

Judy Fox
Judy Fox
9 years ago

Dear Jeff,
I love what you have written and the expression that I have never heard before, “suspended limitation.” As I read your piece, I could feel and experience that openness and receptivity to life; reality, that comes when one no longer is so certain and the doorway to the miraculous opens up. Thank you for this beautiful piece. Judy

dwhogg
9 years ago

Jeff Thanks,  as always, for your blog, Jeff. I really resonated with the power (and challenge) of not knowing. It also reminded me of a powerful experience I had as a teenager – although this was one of knowing everything. For a time I found myself feeling a deep sense that everything was just as it should be – a sense that everything was perfect as is accompanied with an experience that there was nothing I didn’t already know.  Thinking about it now, perhaps it wasn’t that I “knew everything” (since there was no content, no ideas or words accompanying… Read more »

Frank Luke
Frank Luke
9 years ago

Hi Jeff! I found so many things in your article that resonated with me. The wanting to know everything is something I can relate to and why the idea of becoming enlightened so intrigued me since that would mean that I indeed would “know everything”, so I thought. Naively and innocently, I earnestly set about to become so, meditating and living in the way I understood a monk would. This went on for some time, months of a very strict monklike existence. One day while meditating on my prayer rug, lo and behold, I experienced what I now realize was… Read more »

ftkl1234
9 years ago

I maintained that I believe mere mortals cannot be fully Enlightened and that becoming fully Awakened is the most that can be attained. I believe Enlightenment can be ascertained only when someone has died, left this mortal plane of existence and can only be judged Enlightened by others who knew the person well. I wonder what the Dalai Lama would have to say about this. Any opinions, folks, Jeff ?

Matt Kent
9 years ago

Just reading this post has a liberating quality and I experientially feel both profoundly compelled to this ‘suspension of limitation’ and terrified at the thought because it is such a completely different way of seeing the world.

The funny part is that all of the times I’ve really let go and stepped into the unknown have been free of fear because that’s invariably a part of this whole world that we step beyond. Very cool distinction between seeing a bigger possibility and simply not knowing what’s possible.

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