I've been dipping into Phil Bolsta's new book, Sixty Seconds (subtitled 'One Moment Changes Everything'), in which forty-five prominent people recount brief moments of spiritual awakening. It's an intriguing and often uplifting book, and as each contribution is short, it's ideal for dipping into when you have a moment to spare.The contributors include spiritual teachers such as Caroline Myss, Joan Borysenko, Wayne Dyer, Neale Donald Walsch, James Redfield, Gregg Braden, Deepak Chopra, and Bernie Siegel, along with people from other walks of life, including geneticist Francis Collins, movie producer Stephen Simon, and basketball star Trent Tucker. The experiences encompass visions, premonitions, out of body experiences, guardian angels, healings, and - above all - sudden moments of realization.
A recurrent idea I find in them is a falling away of the world we know to reveal a deeper reality within. It's as though we're on a theatrical stage, with cardboard scenery all around us. Then the scenery falls away to reveal the welcome and familiar sight of real hills, trees, and flowers which have been waiting there behind it all along.
In Sixty Seconds, this new world reveals itself in many different ways: as a vision of a treasure chest, as love and compassion, as connectedness, as a sense of 'all-rightness'... The revelations take many different forms, and perhaps people see what they need to see at the time. Yet this begs the question: what exactly is the point of such revelations? What are they for?
For many people in the book, these extraordinary moments have changed their outlook on life. Author Andrew Harvey embarks on a life of 'sacred activism'; Dr Janis Amatuzio becomes more sensitive to her patients; psychic Echo Bodine begins to follow her intuition... Yet I have also heard warnings that such experiences can be an impediment to spiritual development. People can get hung up on trying to recreate these peak experiences and lose sight of the lasting changes which really matter.
Speaking personally, none of my own moments of revelation have transformed me in the short term - perhaps because I'm stubborn and set in my ways! - but they've piqued my interest in spiritual matters and encouraged me to believe that spiritual transformation can be a reality.
What about you? Have you experienced such moments? Do leave a comment if you have - or even if you haven't. What did you experience? And how - if at all - did it change you?