Spiritual Metaphor vs Historical Reality

I have been asked on a number of occasions how I can believe in any religion that uses texts that are not historically accurate. What most do not understand is that lack of historical accuracy does not tarnish the truth of mystical writing. Many years ago, I came to the realization that spiritual texts are all about explaining the feelings, sensations, and thought patterns that a spiritual student encounters during mystical transformation.

It was a Helen Keller style moment. This one realization opened the door to all future understanding. Just as Helen was able to connect the water pouring onto her hand with the signing that Anne Sullivan was using, in the blink of an eye, I was able to decipher the language of mysticism and understand what the spiritual texts were trying to teach. For me, it felt like an awakening. It was the moment when all the random information clicked together in an understandable way.

Once I understood that describing feelings and sensations was the goal of spiritual texts, it became clear that the ancient spiritual masters used multiple ways to explain mystical phenomena. They used the environment, human tendencies, as well as historical events to get the point across. The uprising of the Kundalini or Earth Mother’s energy, when the spiritual student first experiences it, can be described as “thundering of horses.” You have to imagine working in a field, minding your own business, when suddenly you hear or feel the thunder of oncoming horsemen. This is the sensation that the mystic is trying to describe. The text is using a commonly known experience so that the student can relate to the sensation that is now taking place within the body.

Few of us in the modern world would have direct experience of a band of galloping horses that bring complete devastation to our lives, homes, and lifestyle. So, the closest metaphor for a modern person would be feeling the vibrations of a train as it is coming into the station or the feeling of racecars approaching as they are coming around the track. The experience of the senses is what the story is about, not the historical timeline.

When archeologists found that the city of Jericho did not even exist during the time that Joshua supposedly knocked the walls down, I was not perturbed. Jericho did suffer the collapse of its walls but it happened at least one hundred years after Joshua died. Instead of using this as a historical reference, I use it as a spiritual metaphor. I asked myself, “What feeling, sensation, or intuition does the Battle of Jericho represent?” For me, it describes the feeling when the ego collapses and the forces of Light are now able to flood into the soul. Spiritual experience is personal and unfathomable. So, it is both truth and metaphorical.

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