Difference between a mystic and a yogi

This article elaborates upon the difference between a mystic and a yogi. 

Close your eyes and watch your breath. When you sit quietly you hear yourself breathing. The sound reminds you of the sea, it reminds you of the beach. And before you know it, you are walking on the sand looking for seashells, building castles and enjoying the cool breeze.

The moment you become aware of it, the stream of thoughts and images disappears and your attention returns to the breath. But then in a while, comes another thought. Silently, quietly. Didn't catch it, did you?

Once again you return to your breath. And once again a thought comes.  What do you do?

Stop your Yoga practice? Condemn yourself? None of these.

Just relax. Let the stream of thoughts, images and memories flow. Be a Witness.

Follow the stream to the Source of Wisdom. The Source is silent.

When you enter here you drop all your identities, gave up all your old roles, you go beyond all opposites, beyond pain and pleasure, beyond sorrow and happiness, beyond good and bad. You become One.

Being. Not becoming. This is Wisdom.

Spontaneous spiritual experiences lead to the systematic study of Yoga. Bhakti or Devotion is thus the beginning as well as the end of the our search.

Everyone who has had a spontaneous spiritual experiences becomes a seeker. For some fortunate ones the spontaneous spiritual experience shatters all past illusions and makes a mystic of the man.

Depending on the intensity of the spontaneous spiritual experience, it can transform a person completely so that he is never the same again. Many such dramatic experiences have been recorded in history. Saul was transformed when he saw the light and became St. Paul. In the Indian tradition mystics revel in song and dance, easily uplifted by the mere name of the Beloved One. Anandamayi Maa had many such spontaneous spiritual experiences. Others were known as Bhaktas or Bhakti Yogins such as Chaitanya Mahaprabhu or Mirabai. 

Spontaneous Spiritual Experiences in daily life

It does not have to be a great saint or yogi. Even you could have had a taste of this joyous nectar. Perhaps you experienced a stillness when you went for a walk on a moonlit night. May be  a personal tragedy or a terrible loss made you aware of a Higher Reality. Or was it in that moment of extreme pain, that you suddenly stopped and a deep calmness descended upon you?

Most of us have experienced a state of joy, sometime or the other. Childhood, a time of innocence and naturalness, is the time when many of us have had spontaneous mystical experiences. Most of us forget these beautiful moments when we get caught up in endless activities of our daily lives. But some of us don't.

A Glimpse of the Divine

All of us who have had this glimpse, even if only for a moment long for THAT.

Everyone is looking for THAT something that makes their life meaningful. Many seek THAT in fast cars or expensive clothes. Some look for THAT in alcohol, some in a promiscuous lifestyle. This seeking takes on a different quality if it is not channelized in a healthy and balanced way. 

In search of the "flow" or that moment of complete freedom from desire, longing, expectation and hope, the seeker takes to external aids. External aids such as alcohol, drugs, initially bring about a state of heightened awareness and tranquility, but alas, this state is not sustainable. In fact it takes the seeker even further away from that which is being sought. 

We don't like to talk about these personal glimpses. Some think it is too private to talk about. Others are afraid of being laughed at. And this makes it all the more difficult to regain that wonderful treasure. We are seeking something and do not even know what it is called. We cannot describe it and are unable to share this earth shattering event with others. Most of us cannot recapture THAT experience and at some point realize we need help. 

Spontaneous Spiritual Experiences and Fleeting Samadhis

It is when we except that we need help that help appears. The old Indian adage still holds true: When the student is ready the Master appears. The modern seeker does not want religion, he wants techniques that will help him recapture THAT experience at will. And that is what Yoga can provide. 

Yoga knows such spontaneous spiritual experiences as fleeting samadhis. 

Many Yoga texts speak of fleeting samadhis, most prominent among them is the Tripura Rahasya. Chapter 16 of Tripura Rahasya boldly declares that "Fleeting samadhis go undetected because people are not so conversant with it. Fleeting Samadhi is indeed being experienced by all, even in their busy moments; but it passes unnoticed by them, for want of acquaintance with it."

Using the systematic techniques of Yoga accompanied with a solid philosophy the seeker or mystic becomes a Yogi or a Master who can attain and maintain this state of joy at will and can rest in the blissful state of Samadhi.