MYSTICISM: The Stages Of Visions

The Stages Of Visions

It is somewhat of an overwhelming challenge to come out of there’s-a-storm-that-wants-to-get-into-my-house-can-I-keep-it-out mode and think about writing.  It is equally challenging to stop shaking with concern about my daughter’s well-being, she who sat in the middle of a tree-drop zone, where trees were crashing down into houses and onto cars like flower blossom petals in the springtime, and power lines swung about like jump ropes in action.

So, a few thousand deep breaths later, and we’re off.  Well, I’m off.

But that’s nothing new.

In my extensive experience with visions, for me, the rhythm of them takes about four steps.  Not that every vision follows the same path.  Or even that all visions take the four steps.  But most do.  And mostly those are the ones I pay the most attention to.

And the four steps are…

1.  The Message

I’ve been reading a lot lately, in writings by people such as John of the Cross and Father Thomas Dubay, about discerning between visions sent to me from God and those sent to me by a bad guy.

And I’ve come to feel frustrated that there lacks in these analyses of vision-sourcing a whole lot of subtlety.

For me, it’s fairly easy to discern between received knowledge from God and received knowledge that’s not from God.  For one thing, if it doesn’t come from God, the information will not prove to be accurate.  It won’t be confirmed.  It won’t manifest itself.  It won’t, in short, follow the following four steps.  Well, three steps at this point.

UnGod visions, and I can say I’ve had at least two major ones in my lifetime, take a familiarity in their tone that ones from God do not.  A coziness.  A kind of gossipy tone.  Hey, it’s like this, they go.

God, in my experience, mostly definitely doesn’t say, hey, it’s like this.  No.  God goes, IT’S LIKE THIS.  No coziness.  No need for coziness.

And in unGod visions, the content is very, very personal.  Messages that assume that they will speak to my heart and guide me along.

(Insert sound of low laughter here.)

See, that’s the thing.  God knows how closed off my heart has always been.  He would know that appealing to my emotions would get, at most, a shrug of shoulders from me, and a scratch at my head, and pretty much nothing else.

It’s not all that hard to distinguish between God and unGod.  God gives good content.

But that’s not to say that there aren’t reasons to treat information given by God with a light hand, as John of the Cross suggests.  (Actually, he insists that people ignore their visions altogether.  But, then, isn’t suggesting that we ignore visions altogether information that he learned from God?  In a vision?  Mystics are funny people.)

God’s visions have different expressions also: they can be straight visions (THIS IS THE INFORMATION I AM GIVING YOU); they can be illusions (taken up in another post), visions that are meant to get you to the place you are going, just not in a straight line; and they can be nonsense, visions whose contents lead you somewhere, but you’ll be, well, damned to figure out where it is that you are and what it is you are supposed to learn from it.

So, going gentle on content in visions is always a great, probably the best, idea.  It’s information.  How interesting.

2. The Path

Great, you have the vision.  You have the information.  Now what?  This whole next part I tend to call, pathing.  How to find your way through a vision.

It usually starts with a prayer.  It is best to stay as silent and as still as possible and see if a prayer comes your way that sums up the content of the vision.  At the moment, I am working with, Heavenly Father, move through me and help me to use my gifts in cooperation with your plan of salvation.

You’ve got to begin your journey through your vision with the right prayer.  This prayer becomes your touchstone, your place of rest, your place of reassembling yourself as the vision gets increasingly wild and crazy (if it becomes wild and crazy).  It’s your place to remember that it’s just a vision and you are just a mystic.  And if nothing else makes any sense at the moment, then so be it.

But pathing is an immense subject, and can barely be touched on here.  It has a lot to do with learning to see what is around you, hearing what is being said to you, feeling your way through.  Increasingly you learn to become sensitive to life as it sings it song to you.  You learn to receive from everything that is around you.

And then there are omens that fall across your path, that if you take the time to notice them, are like winks from God.

One day, as I was walking with a few coworkers across an empty industrial parking lot, with nothing anywhere around us, one woman asked me, yes, but how do you know it’s all from God?  And out of the sky, falling right to the place in front of my feet, fell a quarter.

For me, the number five is associated with one of my biggest lessons.  So, five fives (a quarter) is always taken by me as a sign from God.

A quarter falling out of nowhere at my feet I took as an omen.

The other women were less than silent.

I also said nothing.

3.  Confirmation

There comes a time in a vision when it has progressed enough that it is necessary to have the content confirmed in order to progress.  Confirmation can come from anywhere, and can, and certainly does, comes from various sources.

Sometimes, the words from your prayer come out of someone’s mouth during a conversation.  Or you happen across them in a book that you are reading.

I find that the best, or my favorite, confirmations come from scripture.  During a reading in church, or in the passages read during private prayer.

When concepts collide, when they mirror each other, you have confirmation.

Which, in the end, actually means nothing.  But confirmations are, I find, pebbles on the path that you can pick up and follow.  Is this the way?

Well, we’ll have to find out.

4.  Manifestation

This is this most amazing part of a vision.

There comes a time when an opportunity is offered to actually experience the vision in reality.  It is the realization of the content of the vision in real life.

It is like meeting God face-to-face.

It is breathtaking.

The first time I remember this happening was when, a few weeks after having a vision about a crescent moon with a long-tailed star hanging on its lower lip and even embroidering this vision onto the cuff of my pants, I sat beneath a tree, looked up into the sky and saw it there.

How then could I “know” something would happen before it did? I asked.  Only through God.  Only God can poke his finger through time and bring something forward.  Or backward.  Or sideways.

And that is how manifestation feels.  What is only the vaguest shimmering of ideas becomes something that I can touch with my hand.

But manifestation is something so much more than just proof of God.  It’s also the explanation of the vision.

One very good reason to take any vision not-to-seriously is that God’s wisdom is so much greater than our own, than our own could ever be, that what a vision means is usually way beyond our capability to suggest.

Only in reality can I find out what is true and accurate about a vision, what is symbolic about a vision, and what is real about a vision.

During a manifestation, I have found that it is best to do absolutely nothing except what I am drawn to do through the experience itself.  That is, if someone talks to me, I will respond.  Otherwise, I remain silent.  If in the course of the manifestation I am to do something, I do it.  Otherwise, I do nothing.

I do nothing on my own.

I am there to watch.  I am there to study.  I am there to learn.

I am not there to impose what I think should be going on on the situation.  And I’m most certainly not there to impose what I want to happen onto the situation.

Following the manifestation comes the period of integrating the experience with the work that has been put into the vision.

Ah, integration.  Understanding.

The ultimate gift from God.

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