Mystical Quiz

Children have spiritual experiences-profound moments that shape their lives in enduring ways. These moments are sometimes stunning, often tender and they reveal a remarkable spiritual world that has been kept largely secret. And these children are in good company. Surprisingly, many of the great mystics and sages of our world tell us that their own spiritual realizations began in childhood. How many of the names below can you match to the descriptions? While many of these accounts are somewhat dramatic, the simple spirituality of a compassionate act, an open heart, a small moment of courage are just as much the stuff of a spiritual life. It is just a bit easier to see the more dramatic stories; their greatest value may be to remind us to notice the more subtle impulses of spirit in our children and ourselves.

Match the names with the stories below.


A. The Little Prince F. Abraham Lincoln K. Albert Einstein
B. Ramana Maharishi G. Ramakrishna L. William Blake
C. Black Elk H. Martin Buber M. Hildegard von Bingen
D. Lao-Tze I. Carl Jung N. Joan of Arc
E. genie J. Teilhard de Chardin  

1. When I was a young boy, “I walked through a rainbow doorway into a teepee where there were six old men sitting in a row. An eagle and a horse had talked to me and led me there. The old men said ‘your grandfathers from all over the world have called you here to teach you.'”

2. My name is Jeanne. Beginning at thirteen, I saw a brilliant light and touched, smelled and heard various saints. The first time occurred in my father’s garden when “God sent a voice to guide me. At first I was frightened.” But in time I came to trust and rely on this guidance. At seventeen the voice told me to leave home and join the army. I was also persecuted because others didn’t like it that I could hear this inner voice.

3. Beginning at age 3, I “saw so great a brightness that my soul trembled.” born 1098; I “saw things, had “visions” throughout my life. Sometimes I was able to predict future events.

4. At 9 years old I saw “Bright angelic wings bespangling every bough like stars.” I was an English poet. I think that “Jesus Christ is the only God and so am I and so are you.”

5. One day when I was 6 years old, I was in an open meadow where a black rain cloud hovered above me. Looking up, I saw white cranes passing across the dark cloud. In that moment I saw light, felt joy and felt the upsurge of a great current in my chest, like the bursting of a rocket. Since that day I have been a different person. I began to see another person within me.” I lived in India and was born in 1836.

6. I come from the word genius, which meant guardian spirit, in the middle ages I came to be known as a guardian angel.

7. I asked big questions like “Who am I?” As I really pondered the question it took me down and down into my deepest Self; I found my Self at 6 years old.

8. “Often, when I was a alone as a child, I sat down on this stone, and began an imaginary game that went something like this: ‘I am sitting on the top of this stone and it is underneath.’ But the stone could also say ‘I’ and think: ‘I am lying her on the slope and he is sitting on top of me.’ The question then arose: ‘Am I the one who is sitting on top of the stone, or am I the stone on which he is sitting?’ You may know me as a famous psychologist.

9. As a child, I had trouble in school and people didn’t think I was very smart. I did “thought experiments” and discovered that energy and matter are pretty much the same thing. I think that “imagination is more important that reason.”

10. I was one of the great philosophers of China. My name means “old child.”

11. When I was five, I fell into a rain swollen creek and drowned. Fortunately, my older friend Austin pounded on my chest and revived me; thank goodness. From that time on I had a great hunger for knowledge. I insisted on being taught to read; I read every book I could find. I guess it paid off, I became President of the United States.

12. “I was certainly no more than 6 or 7 when I began to feel myself drawn to Matter-or more exactly by something that ‘shone’ in the heart of matter.” I think that “the day will come when, after harnessing the ether, the winds, the waves, the tides and gravitation, we shall harness for God the energies of love. And, on that day, for the second time in the history of the world, man will have discovered fire.”

13. I am a philosopher and theologian; I think that “spirit is not in the I, it is between the I and you.” As a child I had a great love for my horse, and this led to my understanding that spirit comes in “the between,” as we meet and try to understand each other.

14. I live on a very small planet. “I have a secret, a very simple secret: it is only with the heart that one can see right; what is essential is invisible to the eye.”

Tobin Hart * ChildSpirit 2001

Answers: 1. C, 2. N, 3. M, 4. L, 5. G, 6. E, 7. B, 8. I, 9. K, 10. D, 11. F, 12. J, 13. H, 14. A