Damien R's Experience
6.40pm, 1st December 2012
God opened a channel to me. I was at work doing a sleepover shift as sole staff person in a community house with five high-needs, elderly male clients with intellectual disabilities. At about 6.40pm during a meditation I was doing in the staffroom after tea, the mind switched off almost completely. I was pretty tired, having worked most of the day and slept maybe four hours the night before. I decided to work this in my favor, to dis-identify as much as possible with physical discomfort. I sat kneeling on the staff bed with my back against the wall and my toes tucked in under my rear, between the wall and the mattress beneath.
I had spent the previous five days cultivating and allowing ever-greater relaxation in my body. Through this process the body system had gradually released a lot of tension. This was my second shift back at work after such a mini-retreat at home so I was still relatively relaxed, I would say. The breath in meditation was considerably slow, maybe 15 seconds for an out-breath. I naturally was breathing through the heart but thoughts could still intrude. I found it helpful to be listening to a spiritual talk, shall we say, someone who I trusted had experienced the Truth. This helped to distract my mind and allowed me to become more absorbed in the heart. So by this stage I was almost fully breathing through the heart. I was diving pretty deep. After several years of cultivating the most powerful concentration I could, I was now able to focus on the sensation of the breath passing the upper lip with some success. My concentration was near-total. I wanted to escape all thoughts and knew that I needed a point of focus. Then it happened: it was like I had achieved 99% of the process, and then there was a jumping-off point. I kept concentrating more, and more, and more, and more, and something in me pushed through, and I felt myself dying, that if I kept going I would leave behind the breath entirely. And in that moment, because I had come a little bit close to this jumping-off point before, I trusted. I released the breath and pushed on, and it was like something caught me. Some immense force grabbed hold of me and I left behind all thoughts, feelings, emotions and identity of Damien.
Through my heart I could feel a massive channel of pure energy coursing. I felt my body (physical and emotional) was still so dense and blocked by memories and limiting concepts. This denseness constrained the energy. Yet I felt it fully, perfectly. It was tremendously powerful, like a thick rope of solid energy running vertically through me. It was more than a feeling of love. It was knowing that I am love. I am energy. That is the nature underlying the mind and perceived reality. There was no separation. Only my mind had separated me. It was wonderful, extraordinary. It was the coming home I had yearned for all my life. "I", Damien, was still present like an observer but I knew that my so-called identity was not lasting or real, only words and images and feelings I had assumed for this lifetime. I basked in this reality for as long as I could bear it, which was about four minutes. The body-system was so dense and clogged up energetically. I focused on keeping the breathing as slow and calm as possible. Any erratic breathing stirred things up inside me and slightly or briefly blocked the channel. But I did not have to control the breathing. I was in harmony with God, like we were breathing together for we were now one. We always had been but now I was conscious of it. It was more than any worldly love, it was my heart and soul's true calling.
I was listening to a Thich Nhat Hanh dharma talk entitled ''The Ultimate Dimension''. This was relatively immaterial in a way, as I'd been listening to several of his dharma talks for the past couple of weeks with increasing frequency. They all had the underlying message of coming back to the present moment and discovering the joy, peace and happiness of God in the here and now. Somehow it definitely helped me stay there. Like having a rudder or a wing-man. Listening helped me keep my mind out of the way, though the words I heard now mattered little. However, any violent or unconscious speech would not have been good.
When I couldn't bear it any more I instinctively got down on my knees on the thin rug covering the hard tiles of the staffroom floor. I knelt over with my fingers knitted between my forehead and the rug. I repeated over and over,
Thank you so much, Thank you so much
Thank you very much, Thank you very much
Thank you very much, Thank you very much!
I wept freely out of joy as I said this. I repeated these words for maybe four minutes. I did not feel deserving, and told God so.
I was told clearly and strongly that I was being given this experience for a reason: to help specific people, and that God would show me who they were. I must stay focused on this narrow channel of energy, as it were, and not get distracted. But now that I knew the ultimate reality I knew that I would not want to stray far from the Heart, the gateway.
I started to fret about the sometimes grumpy 82 year-old client who sat in a wheelchair in the lounge down the hallway. I went down to him and sure enough he wanted to go to bed even though it was only 6.55pm. A biscuit kept him very happy for a bit. I wanted to come back to the staffroom and write this down while I could still remember everything.
I feel that I know the way back now. I can go whenever I want to just by calming mind and body with the breath, smiling at the joy and having an open intention. God wants me to connect with this true nature, I am sure, to allow the mind to be absorbed into the heart and to dive deeply.
I feel strongly that I should not tell anyone about this for quite some time.
There is no striving to achieve enlightenment. You are already there. If you can't feel it right now, or are even suffering or suffering terribly, that is meant to be right now. Just having the want is enough, and totally natural. You will find your own way there, with help from the right people or spirit guides. I felt there was faraway rejoicing from entities I couldn't see or feel directly. But they knew me. This crude mind and matter are temporal, not actually real. The true reality of unlimited, pure energy is more than any human love. It is inside you and wanting you to come home. Right here. Right now.
At the time of your experience was there an associated life-threatening event? No
Was the experience difficult to express in words? Yes
At what time during the experience were you at your highest level of consciousness and alertness? More consciousness and alertness than normal all of it. Duration, four minutes. this question is being asked by the mind. It is impossible to answer with the mind, or for the mind to properly comprehend the answer.
The mind died completely as my consciousness took the plunge and left the breath behind. But the mind does not know it is not real.
The soul that I really am never dies, so any words to describe it can only hint at the truth. It is what remains when the body and mind die. It is pure energy, more loving than any human love.
Please compare your vision during the experience to your everyday vision that you had immediately prior to the time of the experience. it was just pure energy. I didn't see a specific object but I was all-knowing and there was no separation between my soul and what you call God.
Please compare your hearing during the experience to your everyday hearing that you had immediately prior to the time of the experience. can not comment. I heard distant voices celebrating my return.
Did you see or hear any earthly events that were occurring during a time that your consciousness / awareness was apart from your physical / earthly body? Yes I could still hear the monk talking on the CD
What emotions did you feel during the experience? emotions die with the body. I was beyond any emotion. Emotions are temporary.
Did you pass into or through a tunnel? Yes it was terrifying. Leaving the breath behind was like being squeezed through a tight tunnel and not being able to breathe. But once I let go and relaxed I was pulled with tremendous force and speed.
Did you see an unearthly light? Yes it was pure energy, so bright and powerful I was certain I would explode but I did not. Instead I became part of it.
Did you seem to encounter a mystical being or presence, or hear an unidentifiable voice? I encountered a definite being, or a voice clearly of mystical or unearthly origin there was no separation. There was no other being. We were all the same consciousness, the same energy. 'I', 'We', 'It', 'They'.... these terms can not apply.
Did you encounter or become aware of any deceased (or alive) beings? Yes far-off voices of souls who knew me, who had probably known me on earth, celebrating the fact that I had found the Truth after long persistence in meditation.
Did you become aware of past events in your life during your experience? Yes I knew that I had come to earth many times in temporary lifetimes and identities. Not specific events though.
Did you seem to enter some other, unearthly world? A clearly mystical or unearthly realm it is infinite, pure energy. It is not a place or a concept. The mind must die to experience it, but it is always there. It is the mind that is the illusion in the way.
Did time seem to speed up or slow down? Everything seemed to be happening at once; or time stopped or lost all meaning time becomes non-existent. The soul is eternal and I was the soul.
Did you suddenly seem to understand everything? Everything about the universe I feel like I'm repeating myself. The soul in me knows everything, is eternal. Every human has this in them, even if the mind is oblivious. Even if they're totally identified with the mind.
Did you reach a boundary or limiting physical structure? No
Did you come to a border or point of no return? I came to a barrier that I was not permitted to cross; or was "sent back" against my will The mind woke up and brought me back. It wasn't my time to stay there.
Did scenes from the future come to you? No
Did you have a sense of knowing special knowledge or purpose? Yes I knew everything.
Discuss any changes that might have occurred in your life after your experience: Large changes in my life I have changed my whole life. I have left my job and live off investments. I have cut out all unnecessary activity and spend 8 hours per day meditating. I want to stay close to the energy and let it flow through the heart. I don't know if it's my destiny for the mind to die permanently this lifetime but I would like to try.
I would like to marry and have a loving relationship with a husband (I'm gay). I feel I'm gradually becoming a whole and energized and loving person actually able to be a husband.
I have left behind many of my old friends and companions who now seem to me to be driven and stressed.
I have retired from work and intend to spend up to two years on meditation retreat. One day I may write a book about my life. I have an Honors degree in English from UNI.
Did you have any changes in your values or beliefs after the experience that occurred as a result of the experience? Yes it's impossible to put into words but now I know that the mind is not real. Any thought or idea is not actually real. Only the soul, pure energy and love, is real.
Do you have any psychic, non-ordinary or other special gifts after your experience that you did not have before the experience? Uncertain I'm much more relaxed, and in meditation my heart naturally absorbs the mind more and more as I practice.
Have you ever shared this experience with others? Yes a few people in the first few months. A few more after six months. Nobody really understood or was really affected.
Did you have any knowledge of near death experience (NDE) prior to your experience? Yes lots of reading
What did you believe about the reality of your experience shortly (days to weeks) after it happened: Experience was definitely real I just knew it was real
What do you believe about the reality of your experience at the current time: Experience was definitely real once the heart has been awakened, it knows.
Have your relationships changed specifically as a result of your experience? Yes I was part of a spiritual group where I had a hard taskmaster as a kind of guru-figure. She was very much like a tough parent, which I wanted at the time. I did not trust myself. She pushed me to go to university, to hold a job and pay my school fees myself. She was very good to me but the cost was high. I cried all the time.
Now I have left her, and many other similar people, behind. I still love her but we are no longer on the same page.
Have your religious beliefs/spiritual practices changed specifically as a result of your experience? Yes I just want to be still and meditate all the time. I am gradually becoming vegan.
At any time in your life, has anything ever reproduced any part of the experience? Yes some flashes in meditation.
Did the questions asked and information that you provided accurately and comprehensively describe your experience? Yes comprehensive
Are there one or several parts of your experience that are especially meaningful or significant to you? yes. I wept, sobbed in fact because all my life I had felt so cut off from the people around me. As a little child I felt tortured, that my parents were addicts and that I was the loneliest little boy in the world. I wanted to rely on human love but I knew my need was too great for what was available from my parents. So I turned to spirituality. I never in a million years imagined I would find my heart's true calling, that the truth would be beyond any human love.
Is there anything else that you would like to add about your experience? no thank you