Categorising Types of Spiritual Experience

Types of Spiritual Experience

Have you ever had a spiritual breakthrough or insight?

As with any type of personal experience, spirituality is essentially subjective and contains an element of attributing personal meaning to the situation. But what is different about spiritual experiences, as oppose to everyday events, is that they often share a common 'knowing' about the very nature of existence. They can help us transcend our regular view of the world, and potentially offer insights into the nature of life.

So, with this in mind, here are ten common types of spiritual experiences.

1 - Synchronicity:  Awareness of the complex and inter-connected nature of life, and the coherence contained within it. This can show up as thinking about a person, and then they appear in your life shortly after. Or simply being aware of the co-incidences of life which occur on a regular basis - the coming together of all the right pieces at just the right time and place.

2 - Sacredness. Associated with deep levels of awareness and awe. Sacredness can be directed toward anything, because everything is part of life. So, some people may have a calling towards caring for the environment as their sacred path, others may be drawn towards spiritual pastimes, whilst some people may see the sacred in mundane everyday life or activities.

3 - Prayer or meditation. These type of experiences are when we feel a direct communication with the fundamental nature of who we are. This may take the form of prayer to a God or deity. Or a feeling of connection with life on an existential level.. This does not have to occur during deliberate practices, but can also be felt when spending time in nature.

4 - Altered states of consciousness. This group of experiences includes any type of altered state which is associated with increased insights into the nature of life. These include any altered perception states which are given spiritual significance. From meditation, prayer, or trance states, to drug-related insights into the nature of consciousness.

5 - Energy awareness. People who are spiritually are inclined to have an awareness of the non-physical dimensions of life. They are naturally more sensitive to the thoughts and emotions of others because they are aware of the inter-connected nature of life. This awareness may be expressed through many forms, including religion, spiritual practices, healing therapies, or compassion.

6 - Being out-of-body. These are experiences where your sense of self is located outside of your body. Examples of these phenomena include: near-death experiences, out-of-body events, feelings of dissociation, astral projection, chemically-induced, or altered states of consciousness. There are multiple ways of interpreting these events, depending on your cultural, religious or personal beliefs.

7 - Extra-sensory experiences. These are realms of experience which occur outside of the 'normal' range. Typically, this group includes heightened sensory abilities like sentience (feeling), audience (hearing), or clairvoyance (seeing) which exist outside normal ranges of perception. Paranormal events also fall into this group by definition, because they are outside 'normal' parameters of sensory measurement, as does mediumship, or communication with non-physical entities, or consciousness.

8 - Inner peace. This is where a person is not focused primarily on the egoic self, and so they let go of the usual preoccupations associated with the self. They release fear, or personal agendas, and become very present to each moment. This experience presents as a feeling of bliss, flow, or grace, and feeling truly aligned and at one with life.

9 - Religious experience. This group of spiritual experiences are more closely linked to religious traditions. Usually occurring within a religious context or belief system, this group of experiences may include visions, hearing messages from God, or feelings of divine presence.

10 - Unification, awakening or enlightenment. These are considered the deepest spiritual experiences - and the pinnacle of spiritual awareness. States where the physical body is transcended, and there is a deep recognition of the unity, or non-dual, nature of life which exists beyond the individual self. The awareness which lies at the core of all spiritual or religious endeavours.