"My Master teaches that few spiritual experiences have real significance and therefore undue importance should not be attached to them as this may divert us from our goal... My Master has emphatically stated that experiences, as experiences, have no value since what should concern us is the attainment of the Goal, and not experiences en route. ...a desire or craving for experiences is definitely a wrong attitude, and should be changed forthwith.
"Speaking in a very general manner, experiences can be classified as falling into three groups. the first group contains experiences arising out of the abhyasi's own imagination, or as a result of his having projected them himself. ...Experiences depend on such diverse factors as the samskaras of the individual, his previous background, social environment, and so on. ...Master advises abhyasis not to discuss their spiritual experiences with each other, but only with Master himself or with the preceptor. Such experiences are not true spiritual experiences and have not value whatsoever.
"The second group covers all experiences arising from the cleaning process. Master has stated that when the system of the abhyasi is cleaned, then the past impressions are removed. When these impressions surface to the mind then the original experience or activity which created the impressions is once again created in the mind. So the abhyasi has an 'experience'. In general the experiences which abhyasis have are of this category. The visions of gods and goddesses that abhyasis experience during meditation are of this type. ...it is an indication of a past involvement with that particular deity. ...Some experiences may also refer to a previous life. Generally the abhyasi will not be able to know this. But Master and the preceptors will be able to correctly interpret and evaluate such experiences, particularly if they have occurred during sittings with the Master or the preceptor.
"The third category contains what Master has referred to as 'revelatory experiences'. These are of a very valuable nature as they contain messages from the inner Self of the abhyasi which, if properly interpreted, can help him considerably on his journey. Such experiences may come during meditation sittings, or as dreams. Master has also stated that orders, instructions, and advice from the Master himself can be conveyed in this way.
"...The imaginary experiences and those projected by the abhyasi himself, come very early in a person's spiritual life and, fortunately, do not last long. The experiences arising out of cleaning may be numerous, and may last for many years depending on the condition of the abhyasi. The revelatory experiences come when the abhyasi is established on the path, and devotion for the Master has filled his heart. There is no set time for this. It may be the very same day on which one commences abhyas, or never at all.
(Readers are directed to the entire chapter entitled 'Spiritual Experiences' in My Master by Shri Parthasarathi Rajagopalachari, from which these excerpts have been taken.)
It seems to me that we can react to any given experience in three pathological ways or in one positive way. We can become attached to our experience and attempt to hold it in memory for further enjoyment as time goes by. The samskara formed goes into our pleasant memories cupboard within our subconscious. Or we can run away from an unpleasant experience by attempting to forget it and concentrate on happy thoughts. These get stored in the avoided memories cupboard within. Or the third way that we can handle an experience is to forcefully suppress the memory by burying it in our subconscious in what I call Pandora's Box. These are the pathological ways of dealing with experience.
The fourth and correct way to deal with an experience is to suggest that it is Master having the experience. By doing so, there is no attachment, revulsion, or avoidance involved, thus no samskara is formed. This method is prescribed by our beloved Babuji in Reality at Dawn and is further discussed in his other works. Ultimately, we all have to adopt this practice if he is to take us up to that stage. Those whom He has lifted high, who have not fully adopted this practice have left the Mission and are sliding downwards on the slippery surface of their own ego.
We need to utilize the idea that, "This is Master's experience. He is feeling these feelings and thinking these thoughts. It is all His. He is sharing the experience with me, but it all belongs to Him." When we have this idea, all our experience takes on a different colour (grey). The emotion is gone, the pride or guilt is gone, the anger or fear is gone, and the experience does not leave any impression. Therefore no samskara is formed. Remember how Babuji described going to the toilet, doing your business there, and forgetting about it. When we learn this lesson and practise it on a regular basis - there can be no further crisis for that individual.
So, what we need to emphasize to all abhyasis is the regular practice of remembrance that it is Master, not me, who is the doer and the experiencer. Prior to our beginning this practice, we have all tucked away our experiences into their respective cupboard or box. Now He has to empty them for us.
The pleasant memories cupboard gives us fairly pleasant, blissful or egoistic experiences which do not attract a lot of attention at gatherings unless they are very dramatic. But they can prove to be a major obstacle in our progress, because they tend to aggrandize the ego by letting one think that they are special in a spiritual way and equal to the Master, or not needing the Master's assistance.
The runaway memories will chase us and catch up to us by the effect of cleaning. The re-appearance of these thoughts or feelings will make one experience the anxiety of being overtaken by a bogeyman and one will often react with panic and a feeling of wanting to run away from Master and the seminar.
The Pandora's box of suppressed memories are the most dangerous, because we have applied our will to suppress them. Because of the force used to bury them, when they come out they come with an explosive force that tends to make one lose all sense of being in control. As you are no doubt aware, it is the fear of losing control that places one into a psychiatric condition requiring sedation and hospitalization. When the over-controlling person thinks that they have lost control, they completely fall apart.
Now, all the above mentioned cupboards (and box) must be emptied if we are to get Him. When a samskara is removed, we re-experience the emotions of when it was first formed and it becomes another opportunity to feel it is Master experiencing it and let it go like an uninvited guest or to try to handle it personally and thus push it back in as another samskara waiting to be removed or experienced as bhog. Thus the need for emphasis on suggesting that whatever we are doing, thinking or feeling, it is really Master who is doing, thinking or feeling it.
(Letter from Donald Sabourin to Ferdinand Wullemier. This text appears in the new book by Ferdinand Wullemier entitled Psychology and Its Role in Spirituality, released in December 1996.)