How about this for an experience?
I'd first like to point out that there's a lot of difference between 'religious experiences' and enlightenment experiences, as I've mentioned earlier. Enlightenment is solely concerned with ultimate reality and its nature, with you as it in its entirety (or in lesser experiences, as 'Sunyata') As a guide, if the event contains god, buddha, jesus, the soul, god's love, angels, a presence, fear, a trance or loss of consciousness then it isn't realisation - though obviously it may well be a religious event of some kind.
Trying to describe any of these experiences is almost a pointless exercise. No matter what I say there really aren’t the words in our language to describe them. I’d always thought that the nebulous, quasi-religious things that people said about them was another indication that not a lot was really going on within them, just a few lights and odd feelings that people were far too eager to interpret as being ‘God’. But it’s like trying to describe a sneeze or an orgasm to anyone who has never had one. You might be able to show the general sense of things, but really, the words can never reflect the real event.
I have to miss out a couple of details here for one reason or another, there are some things that the casual reader may misinterpret and find worrying. This is one of a few experiences that have happened over the years, which usually come and go in seconds, but certainly the deepest and longest.
It was the end of a meditation session when I was just about to pack up and go and eat. I decided to try a very simple technique to finish off with – no deep focus or mental gymnastics, just a quick movement of the mind. As I held the technique I began to enter a bliss state (these are common and not really what you're looking for, they're just a sign that your mind is growing more pliable, it isn't any form of 'trance'). In a few seconds the bliss began to deepen into a very pleasant glow that became more and more over-whelming. I sat with it for awhile, until a white, pea-sized light appeared in front of my closed eyes. The light, at first wavering and indistinct at the edges, steadied itself as I looked at it, and quickly became a brilliant sphere, almost too bright for me to look at. Whereas in the first few minutes of this I was in control of things, as the experience progressed the light was there no matter what I thought or did. I was in a state of neither thinking nor not-thinking, unable to do anything at all but be immersed in light that now seemed all around me, although my sense of self seemed somehow lost, there was just light.
Then, slowly at first, the light began to move towards me until it went in through my forehead and deepened the immersion. But, though deeper than previous blisses I'd had, this one didn’t really seem to go anywhere, just moved in and out of deeper and lesser states for a while. It got to a stage where I just couldn’t take the intensity of it anymore, so, at a point where I felt it lessen, I opened my eyes to take a rest – which is where the real experience seemed to begin. As I looked at the room around me I was aware of a lot of things all at the same time, and you have to remember when reading the below that everything was pretty much happening simultaneously.
Firstly, I was incredibly lucid, not in a state of focus or half-awake, and in fact this was the most aware and 'here' I’d ever been in my whole life. Objects around me were brilliantly clear, reality seemed crisp and almost surreally vivid. Understanding that I was within some sort of event (but not sure what) I closed my eyes to see if I could enter back into the bliss to try and up whatever was happening. As I did so, a ‘life review’ began, a kind of slideshow of different events from my life racing through my mind. Though it might sound odd now, as I'd had a car crash a few months before and experienced the same 'life flashing before me', I was disappointed. Was this what meditators were experiencing? A light, a bit of a life review, bliss and vivid awareness? I was not impressed.
As the life review faded I opened my eyes again – and the world was now even more vivid than before. But now I also saw that everything around me was covered in an electric green field of energy, that I seemed to understood perfectly. Although what it was makes perfect sense to me, I have no words to describe what it was that do it justice; not life and yet not-not life, awareness without mind, reaching and exploring.
A small table, the TV, a book case in front of me, all had the same dome of green-ness within them and covering them, projecting about a foot from their surfaces. I looked out through the windows into our garden and saw the same green over trees and bushes and covering the ground, and knew beyond doubt that it filled the entire Universe (thought earth was not its source). I was surrounded by domes of green, and of course it covered me too. I waved my hands in front of my face and could see the green field moved in whorls and eddies as I did so, like slow moving water. Every breath I took I drew it into myself and, breathing out, saw it flow and twist within the rest of the greenness.
Determined to test and explore what was happening, I reached out to touch a book beside me that was open at a picture of a galaxy, and found instantly that looking at the centre of this galaxy – or simply thinking about stars and planets - gave the state a push and made it deeper. Around this point the deepest stage came on – although as I said earlier most things happened all at once so it’s hard to give a real starting point. The light of the galaxy in the picture made a small bliss return and suddenly, with eyes wide open, I was growing and hurtling away from the Earth, watching it recede into the distance in no more than a second or two until I was outside the Universe completely, watching even that shrink within me as I continued to grow.
But 'I'...there was no 'I' and hadn't been for some minutes, there was just me as a 'something', outside of time looking at the Universe as a tiny, insignificant star point in my vastness. How can anyone know or even recognise a state where they're outside of time? I have no idea, but it was beyond doubt for me as this new thing. I was awareness, and everything from this reality, that I could plainly feel within my 'body', was a simple image on my surface that had no reality of its own. There was only an evenness, an infinite sameness that was me. Our Universe and reality weren't illusory or unreal, but dimensionally far less than me, inconsequential. I felt minds in their thousands, just a part of the single awareness I was. I felt I could have changed the nature of reality with a thought, transformed objects into other forms, floated within this reality like a leaf on the breeze, but, due to a fear of losing the experience through trying to manifest 'powers' I didn't try.
It's very hard to explain how I could be sitting in a chair, perfectly lucidly in my room, and at the same time have another broader view from outside of the universe, but that's how it was. I could see my normal POV from the chair, and at times, actually looked at myself from a few feet away, and looked down at the Universe, all at the same time. As I looked at myself I felt sadness for the image that believed it was other than what it was. All that life, all that time not understanding what I was, what we are. There was also a sense of ridiculousness that made me want to laugh at the simplicity of what it was all truly about.
I was immense – beyond what anyone could even imagine as being immense – and at the same time knew that 3D space was another illusion manifesting within myself that again didn't have any real meaning. Looking down at the now star-sized universe, slowly disappearing within me, I felt that I could have re-entered it at any time or place, as it was all just sameness. There was no time, no future or past, just a pre-existing nothing/not-nothing, without divisions into before and after, a 'one-time' that encompassed it all, hanging in null space, simply consciousness. It and everything I could see were 'me' – in fact even everything I couldn't see was me too, and I could feel it all in every direction, just as naturally as you feel your own body.
Although you might think that you'd feel a certain amount of anxiety, strangeness, or even wonder at this kind of experience, all 'I' felt was a perfectly happy sense of normality, that I was what and where I should be. I had an all-consuming feeling of relief, such a strong nostalgia of knowing that I was back in my original form that for a time I wanted to cry with happiness. It was like waking up from amnesia. Everything I’d now become was so familiar to me, I was back where I should be, home again. Though ‘my’ brain still made comments, looked, thought and felt to some degree, the illusion that I was a person had gone, and the mind that I now thought with – though thinking isn’t really the right term for it – was far, far more real and complex.
Somewhere inside me the old me was still trying to explore and struggled to think. Anything I thought about, the new ‘I’ - understood it on a completely different level of knowledge and brought up images and ideas far beyond what the old I could possibly know. I thought about time, life and death, the nature of what I had become, and everything about it all was instantly there in millions of images and concepts that I instantly recognised. I understood it because I was it. It was all just as accessible to me as my own thoughts are now - but the old 'me' wasn’t learning - the new 'me' was remembering.
As I write this my brain is screaming 'this is not how it was!', because these are just words that don't even begin to say what else, where else, I saw and what I felt. I was. I am. This is a pale shadow, an annoyingly empty set of concepts that don't explain what it was like in any way. It's so filled with instant understanding, authority, certainty, thoughts and images that there are no words for that I keep laughing at the stupidity of even trying to write it down.
After about 10 minutes the experience began to drop away, but it never entirely left me, though it did fade over the following four years until I began to do practises to help get back to it. W