Validating Spiritual Experiences

By George A. Boyd ©2017

Q: How do I verify my experiences are genuine? For example: If I see Jesus in my meditation, how do I really know that was Him? If I’m told I should do something, how do I know if it’s something I should carry out? If I receive a vision or revelation, how do I know if the knowledge I received was accurate?

A: During certain stages of spiritual development, it is sometimes hard to ascertain what is true and what is not in your inner experiences. Your task is to find something to validate your experiences.

Spiritual experiences tend to fit into one of six frameworks

  • Astral (Imaginative)
  • Causal (Karmic)
  • Visionary (Revelatory)
  • Purposive (Divine Plan)
  • Mastery (Divine Command and Empowerment)
  • Lineage Founding (Dispensation)

Each of these “containers” of spiritual experiences operates outside the empirical framework of factual evidence based on your senses and reason. So you cannot validate these experiences the way you validate a physical object, a logical problem, or the accuracy of your recollection. We will explore in this article methods to validate these experiences using the faculty of discernment.

First, let’s examine what your experiences are in these different frameworks, plus the foundation state of consensus and foundation reality in which you function in your waking state of consciousness.

  1. Physical evidence (facts) – You note an object is present in the environment using your senses. Its behavior is logically consistent, and it obeys the known laws of the physical universe. This is the consensus reality that you experience in the waking state of awareness.
  2. Astral Imaginative (fantasy) – You construct a scenario in astral matter where you picture that your dreams and desires are fulfilled. You create something new that improves and transforms your current condition. What you visualize may or may not be realized in your life—your “dreams” may not necessarily come true, despite your efforts to manifest them.
  3. Causal Karmic (passion) – You enact certain patterns from your unconscious mind. You feel driven to perform certain actions. Craving, obsession, overwhelming desire and drive to achieve or have something may guide your actions in this state. This passionate behavior may feel like it operates outside of your voluntary and rational channels—you feel you have to do it.
  4. Visionary Revelatory (revelation) – You enter a state of meditation or hypnosis and you see spiritual beings, archetypes, or forms of the Divine. These numinous beings may tell you “mysterious and wonderful” things. You may be told that you are a special, chosen one, or an emissary or prophet of God. You may be guided to carry out a religious or spiritual project, such as writing a scripture or holy book, doing charitable work on behalf of those who are needy or suffering, founding a religious organization, building a temple, or bringing forward a new religious teaching.
  5. Divine Purpose and Plan (Spiritual Destiny) – In this state, you discover your unique spiritual destiny and service. You see the spiritual work you are to do mirrored in the archetypes in your unconscious mind, and you gain insight into what you are meant to accomplish. You enact the steps to carry out this plan, which might involve education and training, skill acquisition, or career development that ultimately enables you to live your Soul’s purpose.
  6. Divine Command and Empowerment (Mastery) – This state brings direct knowledge of the Will of God. This is the station of an Initiate, who ministers from an Office in the Hierarchy or as a lineage holder of a Cosmic, Supracosmic, or Transcendental Path. Here you serve the Divine and humanity through Light Immersion, guiding, and teaching.
  7. Dispensation (Establishment of a Lineage) – This aegis of the Divine appoints select individuals to found new lineages, to colonize and seed new aspects of the Continuum of Consciousness, and to act as Avatars or Divine Incarnations.

The spiritual teachings of the New Thought and New Age groups typically tap into the layer we call the Astral Imaginative. Followers of these groups are taught to “create” their experience. They are told that they have to do is visualize and intend, and they will manifest what they desire through the Laws of Mind or the Law of Attraction.

Other individuals appear to be passion-driven. They are motivated from within, for example, to go to designated places in the world, to embrace specific careers, to marry a particular person, to study selected subjects in school, or to join a certain spiritual group. This powerful motivation arises from passion or strong desire. This can impel great achievement; its dark side can lead people into addiction, criminality, and patterns of self-destruction.

Spiritual revelatory experiences are commonly seen in the First and Second Planetary Initiations, in the teachings of Yogi Preceptors of the First Cosmic Initiation, on Supracosmic Paths, and during the opening of the channels of the Nada in the Transcendental Sphere. In this state, meditators go into states of trance or deep absorption, where they are shown something or told something. A spiritual being or guide may tell them that they have reached a certain spiritual state, or they get the impression that God or the spiritual Master wants them to do something. These visions are poignant, powerful, and moving—those who enter these states feel compelled to share what they have seen or heard with others, or to carry out what “God is telling them to do.”

These revelations are commonly disorganized, chaotic, and lack any theme or consistency; material received in successive meditations may be contradictory. [For an example of this revelations received at this level, look at the book of “The Revelations of St. John the Divine” in the Bible.]

Aspirants undergoing this stage of spiritual development experience the most confusion, as there is nothing to tie together these mysterious communications and mystic disclosures. This forces many of those who function at this level to “live in the moment” and try to gather what meaning and insight that they can from this visionary cascade.

Those undergoing the 3rd and 4th Planetary Initiations commonly get in touch with their crown of purpose or the overarching vision of the Great Plan of their spiritual destiny. This brings clarity and understanding of a coherent framework that ties all spiritual experience together. This brings integration and aligns the personality with the Soul’s purpose and spiritual destiny.

The last two stages—Divine Command and Empowerment and Dispensation—are in the purview of those rare individuals who become Initiates. These beings directly move into the Presence of the Divine and operate as Masters under the Divine Will.

In those stages before the Divine Purpose and Plan—stages two to four—you often do not have a way to validate the veracity of what you are experiencing. You visualize creating something and believe your dreams will come true. Powerful passions move you, but you don’t know if you’re doing the right thing. You have visions of inner worlds; voices tell you things about yourself, the world, the future, your spiritual attainment, and what spiritual worlds are like—but you have no way to verify if what you are experiencing is real.

If you are in this situation, there are three things you can do that will help.

  1. Recognize the stage you are experiencing. Are you creating something? (Stage two) Do your gut level feelings and passions powerfully move you to do something? (Stage three) Are you having visions and voices in your meditation? (Stage four)
  2. Establish criteria to evaluate your experiences. For stage two, do your metaphysical treatments or processes yield results—did you get what you intend or desire? For stage three, when you achieve what you seek, do you experience a sense of completion and release? For stage four, you can use, for example, historical or philosophical criteria.
    • An example of using a historical criterion, if you receive a vision telling you that in a past life, you were traveling in a flying saucer with particle beam weapons in the time of the great war described in the Bhagavad Gita. At 3,500 BCE, humanity was still in the Bronze Age. You conclude that it is unlikely that there would be flying saucers at that time, or particle beam weapons, so you determine your revelation was likely fanciful.
    • An example of using philosophical reasoning is when your visions and voices are telling you that you have now become the savior of mankind. You could examine what is the actual state in which the great Masters dwell in the Hierarchy, and notice if your Soul has reached this state. If you haven’t, your intimation of your greatness is likely delusional. [If you were nurturing delusions of your greatness, perfection, and grandeur, you would deconstruct each of them through this means.]
  3. For anything you cannot examine using your testing criteria, place it in abeyance in the category of unconfirmed hypotheses. Until you know something is true, you don’t automatically believe it because Lazarus [a popular entity channeled in New Age circles] said it was true, an angel you saw in a vision told you it is true, or a beautiful, Christ-like guide you think resembles Jesus affirms it is true.

To guide your actions, align with your Self and your Soul, and check in to see if you are acting on that which is correct, appropriate, and honors your integrity, and not on suggestions that come from these revelatory sources.

Until you reach the stage of knowing your Soul Purpose and what is the Great Work that you were sent to do, you may be led down a lot of dead ends and chase a lot of mirages. If you can put discernment in place, however—recognizing what you are experiencing, establishing criteria to determine its veracity, and holding in abeyance what you can not now verify—you will save yourself a lot of grief, confusion, and consternation, and avoid wasting your valuable time.