Peak Experience

Today’s Gospel reading is about the Transfiguration Experience ( Lk 9:28-36) :in Mt. Tabor in the life of Jesus. This is one of my favorite celebration for a personal reason. I would like to believe that my family name “Figuracion” was taken from this event in the life of Christ. Moreover, this event is really one of the highest point in the disciples’ experience with the Son of God.
Early in life I was exposed to the ocean. My grandparents’ house in Bantayan Island was just fifteen meters away from the sea. Even at night, I remember, I could hear the melodious and hypnotic sound of the waves. I realized that life was like the sea. It is made up of high tides and low tides; ups and downs; low moments and high moments. The low moments bring sadness and discouragement. But the high moments become a source of joy and encouragement. The psychologist Abraham Maslow called these as peak experiences. The Transfiguration was a peak experience for the three disciples: Peter, James and John.
The magic of a peak experience is that it is life-changing. It tends to be uplifting and affirms the meaning and value of one’s existence. It is a push to move on in order to find purpose to the individual. And everyone has the possibility to have peak experiences in life.
Peak experience can happen because of several factors. It can be had because of a person. The disciples experience of the person of Jesus was just mystifying and awesome. Great leaders and founders of congregations were usually charismatic personalities like Don Bosco. He had the aura that attracts followers to his cause.
Peak experience can happen because of the place. One of my most unforgettable experience was walking up to Mt. Sinai at night with only flashlights guiding our steps. The most ecstatic was the majestic view of the rising sun at dawn on top of Mt. Sinai while spending the whole night in cold and trembling just to watch the first streaks of dawn.
Peak experience can also happen because of the event itself like the Olympics. It’s a lifetime experience which for some cannot be repeated. Watching Michael Phelps being awarded for being the best Olympian of all time is exhilarating; or seeing Maria Sharapova play tennis or Kobe Bryant in the court can be an experience of “high.”
Peak experiences are important. It can be a source of inspiration, of comfort and of strength. While we need to sustain and return to our peak experiences in life. The real challenge is to find meaning and significance in our experiences so that we can turn them into life-transforming peak experiences. Through them, we find God in our experience.
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