One warm afternoon in 1996 I took a short
nap. I awoke within it to find myself standing in the presence of a huge sun or
sphere of light, quickly understanding that this sun was pure conscious
awareness. Although its surface was only swirling light and did not have a face,
it seemed as if it was smiling at me and had nothing but love for me.
I felt its thoughts as one with my own and felt it peering deeply into my own awareness, knowing everything about me all at once. Standing in its presence I was overcome by a deep sense of awe and at the same time I was surprised to find myself so fully conscious in this empty, but light-filled void. There was nothing in existence for me but myself and this bright bluish-white sun smiling its awareness at me. It was unlike any place on earth, and yet as real as waking reality. In fact, it was more real; I was super-conscious.
Suddenly I came to a profound awareness that this sun was God! I was so overwhelmed and surprised that God was real that I mentally gasped and then yelled out, “You’re Real!” I had always had a deep mistrust of religion. Years before this experience, I had decided for many seemingly valid reasons that religion and God were only a product of the human mind, yet there I was standing in the presence of what I knew without a doubt was God. What I had previously thought to be the truth about the universe was shattered and I stood there stunned, having had my world turned around so quickly.
I was happy because I had always hoped that God was real and that there was a future beyond the physical. As I stood in its presence, I perceived myself to be nothing but pure awareness and without a body. This sun of awareness fully merged with me, seeing everything inside of me. It saw everything I had ever done (and failed to do) both good and bad, and yet I did not sense or feel this Being was judging me or my past. There was no serial or motion-picture-like review of my life, just a sudden and full knowing about all things I have ever done, thought and experienced.
Because this sun of awareness/God was peering so fully and deeply into me, I felt totally naked, more naked than if I were standing without clothes in front of a million people. This Being seemed to be the consciousness of everyone I had ever known plus that of millions of others. It seemed to be everyone, but incredible as it might seem, most of all it seemed to be me.
Even though I had no awareness of having a body, this feeling of nakedness was more than I could stand. Before I had time to think about what I was doing, I began moving away from this Being as fast as I could. It wasn’t that I was afraid, nor that I wanted to get away from this wonderful sun of light, it was more like an automatic response to feeling more naked than I thought naked could be.
As I was traveling away from this Being I found myself bursting through some kind of barrier into a blackness that was filled with wonderful stars; space. As I continued moving forward at a tremendous speed through the star fields, I soon found myself slowing down as if I was up against another barrier or membrane. It seemed to stretch slightly and then I burst through it into another blackness of star-filled space.
I continued to speed away faster and faster, but regardless of how much physical distance I traveled, I was never any farther away from the sun of awareness at all. I quickly traveled through several star-filled spaces, at least six of them beyond the great sphere of light, each separated from one another by barriers that I was easily penetrating. As I passed through each layer, my speed increased each time, but its consciousness was still with me. It was still deeply within my own consciousness.
All of a sudden, I fell through the top of my bedroom ceiling, hit my body with a jolt and immediately woke up. The jolt was so strong that my bed physically bounced as my body jerked awake in response to the sudden stop. I opened my eyes and immediately spoke in a low and powerful voice, "I am that great I am." I said this almost involuntarily; the words spilled out of my mouth without even thinking about what or why I was saying it. I also knew what this meant: that I was the very consciousness that I was trying to get away from!
As much as I tried to get away from that Sun of Awareness, I could never get one fraction of an inch farther away from it, no matter how far or fast I traveled. Even after waking up, it was still with me. To this day, I still feel and know its presence. I believe that this Sun/Intelligence/God wasn't a single Being, but is the center of all beings, that it is me, you and perhaps all conscious beings.
From this experience I think that somewhere at the center of each of us is a spark of this same light, and without it we would not have consciousness, and perhaps without us it would not exist either. As I was flying away from this being, I had the impression that I was traveling through several layers within a sphere, but I was bursting through layers like the layers of an onion but between each layer was star-filled space. I can’t really tell you if I was traveling from the inside out, or the outside in, but as I traveled through them I had an impression that the farther I got from the sphere of light, the smaller I got and the more divided I became.
As I was returning I felt like I was not only traveling through spheres within spheres, but also as if I were traveling from the top of a pyramid down, the peak an all seeing eye of omni-present consciousness, the blocks below all of the individuals which make the whole. While trying to move away I could both see and feel myself splitting into more and more diverse copies of myself, each branching off into many other branches of selves which also split into their own branches, dividing and dividing into ever larger numbers.
Because of this experience, I came to see everyone around me as myself. At the same time, I also see this as equally true from everyone else’s perspective, that I am them too. They too can look around and only see other parts of themselves, other selves experiencing life from another point of view, separated by their physical bodies and world, by their individual minds and wills, but in reality they are one at their core.
These feelings and thoughts were so strong within me that I had trouble referring to other people at work as anything other than “I.” I had a tendency to think about others as just another part of myself. Just as I think about my hands as being a part of me, I would sometimes refer to others as “I” instead of the name of the person. For example, instead of saying, “He had finished working on that project” it came out as “I had finished working on that project.” I had to re-learn how to refer to others as separate from myself. After four years, I still think of others as myself, but now I can stop from verbalizing it.
If I had the chance to do it over again and stand in the presence of this sun-intelligence-God, I wouldn't run away from it no matter how startling it is to be seen to such depth. I now hope that I would stand in its presence no matter how naked I felt. I don't believe that my motive for running was because I couldn’t stand to face the light, or that I felt like a bad person, but because I was so unaccustomed to being seen so fully, so suddenly, so clearly and to such depth. Unfortunately my flight away from it took place before I could think of what I was doing and why.
The words I spoke after the experience, "I am that great I am" meant that, although I am individual here, I am also a part of every other consciousness at the great central point of consciousness; God. I am now secure in the knowledge that this presence of consciousness has always been with me, and that I have never been alone and never will be alone. I now know that this presence is closer to me than anything else in the universe. I had been so accustomed to it that I didn’t know it was there, much like becoming used to a smell in a room, once you are there with it long enough, it begins to fade into the background. Like silence, it is always there, maybe in the background, behind and between the sounds, but always there. Like a quiet pure awareness, completely silent but ever present. To find it within listen to the silence and then try to find what is behind it, it's there as strong as your own silent awareness forever smiling at you.