Jo A's Experience

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Experience description:   

As I have said above-I was standing before the kitchen window-smoking a cigarette. I recall thinking 'I must pray for a friend' and 'I shouldn't be smoking a cigarette when I pray' then 'I don't want to know the sort of God who is THAT petty'- and smoking and praying and my mind continually playing over the heart-felt plea 'Take this cup from me if it be thy will.' This was surprising as although reared as a Christian I had been an atheist for years before becoming interested in Spiritualism and Buddhism. I just though it was a well-remembered phrase from childhood that suited the moment.

Then it happened. Without warning the hillside lit up with this unearthly glow. And I was -while still standing before the sink- soaring somewhere else in utter bliss- fused with the elements-every atom-raindrop-beetle-rock.  And in that moment of bliss I KNEW that ALL WAS WELL......somehow.  Somewhere. As an incest survivor with a mother who had also had a terrible childhood, I studied and wrote about inexcusable child abuse...........and in this unity experience I remember thinking that EVERYTHING MADE SENSE-SOMEWHERE-SOMEHOW....BEYOND MY UNDERSTANDING........IT MADE SENSE AND ALL WAS WELL.

The experience lasted moments as I was still smoking the cigarette when it finished. Yet it seemed to have encompassed eons. As I came back into myself-so to speak- I noticed that my hands and feet were tingling and throbbing 'as I I had been plugged into a giant electric socket.  ' This feeling quickly dispersed and all returned to normal. Such was my tension and distress at what was going on in my life that I actually forgot about this incident until-weeks later-I reached into the medicine chest for drugs to end my mental torment. And so it can be said to have saved my life.

When I recovered -finishing a book I had been writing of my early childhood (see web site) begun in 1972 and then studying to get to university-I would come to see this experience as just one more spiritual 'gift' that had sprinkled my whole life and probably helped me to stay sane again so much adversity and loneliness.

Any associated medications or substances with the potential to affect the experience?     No

Was the kind of experience difficult to express in words? Yes

There was a feeling of 'knowing everything' -later I would find St John of the Cross poem that articulated this 'Transcending knowledge with a thought.' In that moment I knew everything- and all was profoundly well.  I did not know about 'unity' experiences then but later would recognize that this was typical. In my distress, standing at the kitchen window looking down a valley, taut with the tensions of the last few days, I had remembered to try to pray for a friend. But such was my own need I kept repeating this mantra 'Please God, Take this cup from me if it be thy will.' And in a moment the valley became suffused with a golden memory it seems like summer but in fact it was late autumn...........And I was -while still standing before the sink- in complete union with the sky and hills, the stars, the trees, and every thing that ever was. I could hear the grass growing and the insects moving about and I was those things too.

At the time of this experience, was there an associated life threatening event?          Yes

I had been through so many custody battles with my husband and my nervous system was stretched beyond the limits of endurance. I kept going for the children but would have preferred to die rather than fight any more.  Indeed I had tried to commit suicide some years before after an unsuccessful attempt at leaving my husband. In fact-one of the main outcomes of this experience was that, in terrible pain at leaving my son, ill and exhausted and alone apart from a five year old child- I WOULD have committed suicide had I not recalled this 'unity' experience and KNOWN I had to see it through-that I was not allowed to opt out. I recall sobbing with despair that even THAT door was closed to me. Yet- other doors opened and I would soon know that I DID have the strength to do amazing things with my life-once I had accepted what could not be altered.

What was your level of consciousness and alertness during the experience?           I would say I was extremely alert as danger was threatening and I knew I needed all my wits about me if I was to have any chance of saving myself and my youngest child from the domestic nightmare that, under Scottish law, was unlikely to end in my favor and damage the children further.

Was the experience dream like in any way?   No

Did you experience a separation of your consciousness from your body?     Yes

My body was standing before the kitchen mind/soul/spirit was soaring elsewhere.

What emotions did you feel during the experience?            Wonder.............Surprise.....Bliss...............Elation........

Did you hear any unusual sounds or noises?           Only a slight sound of grass growing-earth breathing////insects scurrying.....and of me being part of all that.

LOCATION DESCRIPTION:  Did you recognize any familiar locations or any locations from familiar religious teachings or encounter any locations inhabited by incredible or amazing creatures?    Yes

The location was always-I am standing in the kitchen-but I am also somewhere else. The landscape outside the window remained the same but suffused with light. I am very shortsighted -and was not wearing glasses-yet I seemed to see separate blades of grass-well defined branches etc.,

Did you see a light?           Yes

The light that suffused the experience was bright-golden-unearthly even-yet did not hurt the eyes...........I feel there were no shadows......

Did you meet or see any other beings?           No

Did you experiment while out of the body or in another, altered state? No

Did you observe or hear anything regarding people or events during your experience that could be verified later? No

Did you notice how your 5 senses were working, and if so, how were they different?          Yes

As above. I feel that my short sighted eyes took in much more detail than normal.  Hearing must have become very acute to 'link' into the sound of grass growing-insects scurrying...................And of course the hands and feet 'glowing' indicates that touch would have been affected

Did you have any sense of altered space or time?   Yes

Timeless..................time did not exist.

Did you have a sense of knowing, special knowledge, universal order and/or purpose?    Yes

As above. Knew that somewhere even wars, famines.....children being sexually abused..........were all part of a coherent pattern beyond my understanding-that all was well.............................and just and good and wonderful. That everything was exactly as it should be at that moment in time.....

Did you reach a boundary or limiting physical structure?             No

Did you become aware of future events?       No

Were you involved in or aware of a decision regarding your return to the body?       No

Did you have any psychic, paranormal or other special gifts following the experience that you did not have prior to the experience?         Uncertain

I have had man 'co-incidences 'in my life - more than most. Although my life has been one of toil and stress and often cruelty..........I tend to feel (on my good days) that I was BORN UNDER A LUCKY STAR. I must say the experience was the first real mystical experience-other than as a very small child- and I held onto it through thick and thin as if my life depended upon it. I have a very logical mind-was married to a scientist who reduced everything to basics.......and it has taken much conscious effort to persuade myself that life is not just some sort of 'cosmic joke.' I still often feel that is so intellectually-and have always to have a mystical book near hand to physically remind me of this other dimension-where 'no shadows fall.'

Did you have any changes of attitudes or beliefs following the experience?   No response

How has the experience affected your relationships? Daily life? Religious practices? Career choices?       I was always extremely honest-perhaps often too much for my own good. I was also a born pacifist-at the heart of a very violent family. The experience ensured that bitterness was not my portion along with often unbearable sadness at man's inhumanity to man. Throughout my life I have often been misunderstood-as if people cannot believe that one has no hidden agenda. As a minor celebrity I have to explain to people that I am not interested in POWER, POSITION OR POSSESSIONS.   I am, in financial terms, poor because I cannot be part of a materialist culture at the expense of my beliefs. I do not understand mind games and feel my intuition is so honed over so many years that I 'read' people and that makes them feel uncomfortable. As a result I have a very small number of trusted friends.............and otherwise live very reclusively. All my friends are spiritual.....various denominations but basically good people with no hidden agenda who, like me, feel gifts are for sharing.

Have you shared this experience with others?         Yes

I think that people like my ex husband thinks I am a nut case-certainly he has convinced both of our daughters that I am a fantasist who lied about his violence. Thankfully my son knows the truth-but it is a constant heart-ache. I cannot unlearn what I known to be true and of cosmic importance. I try not to  tell of these things inappropriately but would always share my experiences without embarrassment when the time seemed right.

What emotions did you experience following your experience?  Later-when I had time to examine the phenomena, I was so very very glad to have been thought worthy of such a gift. I tried to see if as some sort of ethereal medal -for being brave in the face of so many odds- for caring for children's minds and spirits rather than just materially-not just my own but others. By writing of my childhood I have alienated myself from what was left of my seriously dysfunctional family (my autobiography-first volume -is called 'Light in the Dust.' By Jo Mary Stafford. Published by John Blake. Available from Amazon (see web site)   I have never thought the price too high because I know the book has helped so many people and opened the yes of many more. I stress I am not brave -am a fully paid up coward- but will stand up and be counted often at huger cost to myself. And yet-somehow-I seem to be supported and sustained at a n unseen level. When I say these things it sounds trite-but it is so.  My faith is not strong enough for me to lean on it constantly-it comes and goes-and in the worst times it just isn't there except intellectually. But I always act as if......and always will............thanks to my vision.

Following the experience, have you had any other events in your life, medications or substances which reproduced any part of the experience?         No

Did the questions asked and information you provided accurately and comprehensively describe your experience?               Yes

Please offer any suggestions you may have to improve this questionnaire.    You could have tacked onto the end another set of questions regarding other experiences...Then I could have told you about my prophetic dream......perhaps I'll do so soon. Have only just discovered the web. Maybe my lonely days are over and I can now communicate with others of a like mind. If I spoke of these things to neighbors they would send for the white van........