Tony S's Experience
What follows is a contemporary account written immediately afterwards:
Sat 17 Nov 90
I was up until 4.30am printing proofs of healing photographs. When I go to bed
after a long session I find I am unable to go straight to sleep, and usually I
have a cup of tea and relax for a few minutes in bed. We have a TV in the
bedroom and Marina had gone to sleep leaving it on. I began watching but the
program was uninteresting and I felt I wanted to think about something Gordon
Smith had said, that there is no science of consciousness yet. This seems a
rather obvious oversight on the part of scientists. Geoff Boltwood had talked of
reality being created by perception, and his feeling that neither were fixed. I
laid on my back - something I have avoided since my twenties because I have many
times gone to sleep then woken in discomfort to find I had stopped breathing.
An image of the sea came to mind. I wondered if perhaps we are singularities in that sea - all part of the sea of consciousness, but at the anti-nodes where the crests of waves are formed then the energy of consciousness is of such concentration that living, physical beings are formed where energy coheres to matter. This seemed a useful concept: as peaks of consciousness we might experience ourselves as separate beings, but still be connected beneath the surface. As a wave forms a new being is born, then the wave decays, our lives pass and finally we return to the sea. Some individuals might be flatter waves, more connected to that sea than others. Many healers seem to discover their abilities through illness when perhaps the wave has minimal energy and greatest connectedness to the sea. Somehow they seem to be able to dip into it and re-energize themselves and others. Maybe that is why many healers look younger and more vigorous than their ages would suggest.
This brought me to wondering how meditation might fit, and how it might help to penetrate beneath the surface, and I think I took a few deep breaths just to see what happened. What happened was totally unexpected - it was as if a switch had been thrown and I was connected to the mains, only this was not electricity, it was the energy one encounters in healing. In healing it is gentle, subtle, but this was fizzing, raw power rushing through me, 10,000 volts compared to the 12 volt trickle-charge of healing. It had a striated texture, like the run-off from a dam, and a feel of blue, white, yellow color, but I could not say whether it passed up or down me, it seemed to be both. It was awesome, ecstatic, not threatening, and I seemed to know it would stop soon.
However I wanted to share what was happening with Marina, asleep beside me on my left side. With my right arm I reached across, and to my alarm I could see the television right through it. I could see my shoulders, and I could feel my arm move, but it was totally invisible. I tried again a few times with each arm before I figured out there was a disconnectedness between my physical and "other" body, then thought what the hell, if I can feel it move then what does it matter, I'll try and rouse her using my transparent arm.
The result was another surprise - Marina's body remained asleep, but a near transparent Marina responded happily and immediately. I said "look, this is exactly the same energy that you get in healing". She smiled and said "yes, it is". Then, quite naturally she placed herself so I could make love to her orally, which I began to do. Instantly the rushing power became a turbulent hammering in and on my genitals, as if someone was pummeling me. It was so uncomfortable we had to stop, but from then on the energy began to diminish, first in my hands. As it ebbed away, a feeling of weight, a residue of the energy remained in my genitals, an area of weakness for me where I have an apparent susceptibility to disease.
About 10 minutes had passed. I was utterly awake and felt extraordinarily alive. I woke Marina by caressing her - something I know she always likes, fortunately - and we made love for longer and with more intensity than ever before. I felt liberated, more able to give, to love. Eventually Alex, our baby awoke and I felt it would be selfish to continue, but the feeling of energy remains, now, after only 3 hours sleep.
A few further (non-contemporaneous) notes:-
1. During the experience, I was both within and beyond my body. I 'saw' space, the surface of the moon, everywhere simultaneously. This perception is completely beyond explanation, was both transient and eternal. The enduring sense was one of the universe as a sentience, of which I and all people living and dead are parts, yet indivisibly of the whole. A religious person would probably say this whole is God, yet my sense is that - if it is God - God is not 'out there' and 'other'. Such a dualist view betrays my perception of unity. A truer approximation is the Buddhist allegory, that we are all 'sparks of the eternal flame'.
2. In the immediate aftermath of the 'event', I experienced occasional strange small black implosions within a few feet of where I was. These seemed to be small annihilation events, with much the same energy and sound as a mains plug fuse blowing. Nobody else was ever in the room on the 4-5 occasions they happened. EG on one occasion I was ironing a shirt, and there was a spontaneous 'black flash' and small explosive sound. It seemed almost that some of the excess energy I had acquired during the event had suddenly leaked back to earth.
3. There was a strong sense of insight and new knowledge, that 'consciousness is a dimensional energy' - an answer, perhaps, to the question which had been on my mind when the event initiated. Of course, the 'answer' is tantalizingly obtuse and I spent much of the next 2 years trying to figure out what it meant.
Any associated medications or substances with the potential to affect the experience: No
Was the experience difficult to express in words? Yes
What was it about the experience that makes it hard to communicate? Ineffability, and sheer intensity - as if I had been given an enormous inspirational jolt of energy which required much work and grounded ness to interpret rationally. It was a vertiginous feeling, I can understand why people can become religious zealots, or lose touch with reason to an extent. It took me 2 years to assimilate.
What was your level of consciousness and alertness during the experience? If mundane waking consciousness = 10, then the state I was in was 100+
Was the experience dream like in any way? No. Reality seems relatively more dream-like.
Did you experience a separation of consciousness from your body? Yes
Describe your appearance or form apart from your body: I was both within my body and beyond it at the same time - what seemed to change was that the boundary of my consciousness expanded beyond my physical self without leaving it. I became, briefly, the universe. I did not have any OBE sense of 'looking down' at my body on this occasion.
What emotions did you feel during the experience? Intense curiosity, love, exhilaration, and some fear and uncertainty
Did you hear any unusual sounds or noises? Not that I recall. For several days after the event, there were the occasional implosions mentioned above.
Did you see a light? Yes
Describe: I was made of light! Striated blue-white light, with the etched quality of coherent light (like laser light).
I have had other experiences where the light remains remote (visualizing the sun is a way to connect, for me) and there is a connectedness, but on this occasion I and the light were coincident.
Did you meet or see any other beings? Yes
Describe: Not a visual awareness, but a mental connectedness to an inclusive oneness.
Did you experience a review of past events in your life? Uncertain
Describe: I am uncertain about this. Time (and dimensionality) itself seemed to have no reality, as if all events past, present and future were collapsed. Experience of any of it was experience of all of it. Doesn't make a lot of sense in words :)
Did you observe or hear anything regarding people or events during your experience that could be verified later? No
Did you see or visit any beautiful or otherwise distinctive locations, levels or dimensions? Yes
Describe: I was the universe, briefly!
Did you have any sense of altered space or time? Yes
Describe: See #12.
Did you have a sense of knowing special knowledge, universal order and/or purpose? Yes
Describe: Connection and congruence with the universe as a living entity, with an overwhelming sense of love. 'Special knowledge' only in the sense that I had been lucky enough to ask a pertinent question; it seems clearly available to all.
Did you have any psychic, paranormal or other special gifts following the experience you did not have prior to the experience? Yes
Describe: Perhaps. I felt more able to connect to the universal, or the divine, or whatever you care to call this energy. I know it is there, if I need it. However I am not motivated to want to do so.
Did you have any changes of attitudes or beliefs following the experience? Yes
Describe: I cannot undo the sense that we are all connected to each other and to the universal whatever-it-is. I have no fear of death, because I feel I now know what is beyond, but I have no intention nor expectation of dying until strictly necessary:)
Has the experience affected your relationships? Daily life? Religious practices etc.? Career choices? Made me more tolerant, perhaps. I probably tend to get less worked up about most things, which now seem rather trivial. As Zen says, though, nothing is changed - we still have to chop wood and carry water.
Have you shared this experience with others? Yes
Describe: There's no universal reaction. People bring their own beliefs and interpret accordingly. Some think I am lucky, others that I must be a fruitcake.
What emotions did you experience following your experience? Intense, both joyful/loving, and confused and disoriented. I felt that I had actually experienced something which was at times uncomfortably close to madness. I found it very important to stay grounded, and try and use the insights in a constructive manner rather than jump to unsupportable or irrational conclusions. I did not want to turn into another David Icke! :)
What was the best and worst part of your experience? Best = the transcendent sense of colossal, overwhelming love. Worst = trying to reconcile the experience with my atheistic, reductionist, scientific world view. This took me a long time, and a great deal of debate and thought.
Is there anything else you would like to add concerning the experience? Everybody should experience it sometime :)
Has your life changed specifically as a result of your experience? Uncertain
Describe: I have changed, the way I think has changed, but I don't think I live my life very differently as a result.
Following the experience, have you had any other events in your life, medications or substances which reproduced any part of the experience? Yes
Describe: A few 'spiritual healing' events which have provided weak connections to the same thing, one created by a healer, others by myself. The first was in 1989, when I was sent to photograph healers in action, for a doctors' magazine. I expected not to be able to keep a straight face, as I assumed they would be charlatans and religious maniacs. As it turned out, the writer had a long-term back injury fixed by them, and they insisted I have a 'free sample' to see what it was like. It sparked a professional journalistic curiosity into healing, and I went on to photograph and interview many healers.
As mentioned in #4, I have a history of occasional sleep apnea which has given me a lot of experience of hypnopompic visions. This was emphatically NOT one.
Did the questions asked and information you provided accurately and comprehensively describe your experience? No
Explain: Language relies on dualities for meaning - up/down, small/big, fast/slow. This class of experience is fundamentally unipolar, and all such differentiations are post hoc. Religions all attempt to describe ineffability, but it remains something which can only be experienced, not communicated. So whatever I say rather sells it short :)
Please offer any suggestions you have to improve the www.nderf.org questionnaire? I wasn't sure whether this class of experience, an enlightenment or satori, should really be included ?