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Mystic Experiences ...


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Hello All:

 

It's been years since I've participated in conversation here at Ex-C. I stopped by the Chat room tonight, for the first time in forever. During a chat, about mysticism, Orbit asked me if I'd ever had a mystic experience.

 

Orbit asked me to describe my experience and I felt the Chat room didn't provide an ample forum for a description of a mystic experience. As a result... Orbit suggested I start this thread.

 

So... here goes ...

 

Firstly, I've had multiple mystic experiences. I've meditated since the age of 17, so.. I've been meditating for decades. The most prominent experience I've had lasted for weeks.

 

That prominent experience was proceeded by, what is commonly called, a "Dark Night". At the height of the "Dark Night" I experienced a 12 hour darkness, where my soul was in complete withdrawl from the mundane. I've no memories of this 12 hour period. My last memory before it happened was laying down in my bed. My next memory is "awakening to the mundane".

 

Writing it here, I can see that the words on this page could point to sleep - but this was not sleep. This was a spiritual darkness, an experience of having the soul veiled for 12 hours. Since this experience is so subjective, it is not verifiable. The only thing I can say is that the "Dark Night" is documented through-out history. Before this happened, to me, I did not give "the dark night" much credit, for exactly the same reason a lot of folks won't give my experience much credit. Because the writings, the words used to describe these experiences are limited. Words can not encumpass the actuality...

 

Anyway, within a week of the Dark Night experience I experienced the most profound awakening I've ever experienced. I was walking through my yard. The day was beautiful and I felt really connected nature. Then, just as I rounded the corner of my home reality "Shifted" for lack of a better word. I felt an actual shift in my brain. Within a split second I became aware of the oneness of all that is. This was not an intellectual awareness, I was actually perceiving Oneness in all, through all, and beyond all. It is a living Oneness, a conscious Oneness.

 

It is not perceived with our usual senses, but is perceived with our whole being. Unlike other mystic experiences, this one stayed with me for weeks. I was able to go about my usual business, but at all times I was aware of this Oneness. Even, now, years later ... if I take the time to calm myself and practice intentionall awareness this Oneness returns. Not as intense as it was at first, but it there - like an old friend. ...

 

===========================================

 

Now I invite all of you to write about your mystical experiences. biggrin.png

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Once when I was in high-school, I woke up slowly one morning, remembered nothing of dreams, but felt so utterly and completely at peace that I likened it to being cradled in the arms of god. I recall a dim yellow light chasing its tail in a clockwise circle, but nothing else. I didn't even want to speak the rest of the day. Everyone around me was still "normal" and when I tried to explain it to my mom, I got a "That's nice dear". So I stayed quiet the rest of the day.

 

Here is one by a neuroscientist who had a stroke and experienced oneness: http://www.ted.com/talks/jill_bolte_taylor_s_powerful_stroke_of_insight?language=en

 

As a believer, I heard a voice speak to me twice in response to prayer, and once without seeking. There was no question in my Christian mind that it was god. Now I really don't know. Once it gave me information I couldn't have known, another time told me definitely NOT to marry a particular woman, and lastly to not be mean to a clown lady at a church who was bugging me with her silliness.

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Everyone around me was still "normal" and when I tried to explain it to my mom, I got a "That's nice dear". So I stayed quiet the rest of the day.

It's hard for people, who have never had such an experience, to relate. After decades of meditation, and multiple experiences, I've learned to only tell certain people. If a person doesn't have an open mind, or has never experienced anything like it, they have no way to respond...

 

 

Here is one by a neuroscientist who had a stroke and experienced oneness: http://www.ted.com/t...ght?language=en

 

 

Nice - but there are untold numbers of documented mystic experiences (throughout history) that are not related to illness. Every experience I've ever had was not related to illness. Rather they paved the way for a shift in my meditation awareness and practices. They preceded a rise in my ability to meditate...

 

As a believer, I heard a voice speak to me twice in response to prayer, and once without seeking. There was no question in my Christian mind that it was god. Now I really don't know. Once it gave me information I couldn't have known,

 

It can be real without being attached to literalist religion. It can just simply be what it is, without attaching anything to it....

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I have had several mystic experiences in my life. The one I describe here happened when I was a Christian. I felt God's love and perfect compassion for all humans. As I looked at the people around me, I saw them as children at heart, and had the thought "they don't understand what they're doing but they will all be ok". It's hard to describe the intensity of the feeling of love, compassion, and understanding that permeated everything like light. I felt I was one with God, that God was flowing through me, around me, suffusing everything. I think part of the reason that I meditate is to try to reconnect with that.

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I have had several mystic experiences in my life. The one I describe here happened when I was a Christian. I felt God's love and perfect compassion for all humans. As I looked at the people around me, I saw them as children at heart, and had the thought "they don't understand what they're doing but they will all be ok". It's hard to describe the intensity of the feeling of love, compassion, and understanding that permeated everything like light. I felt I was one with God, that God was flowing through me, around me, suffusing everything. I think part of the reason that I meditate is to try to reconnect with that.

Now - as an Atheist - how do you interpret the experience. How do you take "God" out of it?

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I have had several mystic experiences in my life. The one I describe here happened when I was a Christian. I felt God's love and perfect compassion for all humans. As I looked at the people around me, I saw them as children at heart, and had the thought "they don't understand what they're doing but they will all be ok". It's hard to describe the intensity of the feeling of love, compassion, and understanding that permeated everything like light. I felt I was one with God, that God was flowing through me, around me, suffusing everything. I think part of the reason that I meditate is to try to reconnect with that.

Now - as an Atheist - how do you interpret the experience. How do you take "God" out of it?

 

I'm an atheist with respect to all mythic/literal gods, including biblegod. But I am also a panentheist, and believed that I connected not to something outside myself, but to something deep inside my own consciousness, which is itself a manifestation of an unknowable creative force of the universe. My panentheistic definition of "god" is the unknowable creative force of the universe.

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I'm an atheist with respect to all mythic/literal gods, including biblegod. But I am also a panentheist, and believed that I connected not to something outside myself, but to something deep inside my own consciousness, which is itself a manifestation of an unknowable creative force of the universe. My panentheistic definition of "god" is the unknowable creative force of the universe.

 

 

We have a lot in common. :)

 

Although ... my take on it is that when we humans have these experiences we are (in a way) "knowing" this creative force ...

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I'm an atheist with respect to all mythic/literal gods, including biblegod. But I am also a panentheist, and believed that I connected not to something outside myself, but to something deep inside my own consciousness, which is itself a manifestation of an unknowable creative force of the universe. My panentheistic definition of "god" is the unknowable creative force of the universe.

 

 

We have a lot in common. smile.png

 

Although ... my take on it is that when we humans have these experiences we are (in a way) "knowing" this creative force ...

 

I would agree with that.

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I had a traumatic, jerk myself back into reality situation one evening. Long story short, I was in that state between going to bed and found myself identifying with existence itself on an eternal level. It felt like I was just going to melt away into the whole and loose all personal identity. And my ego consciousness survival instinct kicked in and I jerked myself out of it. That was the first time that I really got it, you know, the reality of existing within a realm where we are the realm itself formed into little objects in some region that appear as separate from the totality. But it's just whole, oneness underlies all of it. Beyond that initial fear oriented experience I learned to make friends with the unknown and uncertainty and the fear dissolved. It was like a pivotal point where I went to head with a childhood fear of the great unknown and then laid it to rest. 

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I think what may be more interesting than just recounting our experiences would be to discuss what those experiences mean, where they come from, and what is their source. Also what is the history of mystic experiences in human history? Anyone up for that?

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I had a traumatic, jerk myself back into reality situation one evening. Long story short, I was in that state between going to bed and found myself identifying with existence itself on an eternal level. It felt like I was just going to melt away into the whole and loose all personal identity. And my ego consciousness survival instinct kicked in and I jerked myself out of it. That was the first time that I really got it, you know, the reality of existing within a realm where we are the realm itself formed into little objects in some region that appear as separate from the totality. But it's just whole, oneness underlies all of it. Beyond that initial fear oriented experience I learned to make friends with the unknown and uncertainty and the fear dissolved. It was like a pivotal point where I went to head with a childhood fear of the great unknown and then laid it to rest. 

There can be a fear element... And it can be hard to get beyond.

 

Several years ago... while meditating... I felt this sinking fear well up from within me. The fear caused me to back out of the meditation... all these years later I wonder what would have happened had I persisted. But, it's hard to get beyond ...

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There can be a fear element... And it can be hard to get beyond.

 

Several years ago... while meditating... I felt this sinking fear well up from within me. The fear caused me to back out of the meditation... all these years later I wonder what would have happened had I persisted. But, it's hard to get beyond ...

I quite recently felt that fear while meditating and just rode it through. I was glad I did. It wasn't comfortable, but it was beneficial.

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There can be a fear element... And it can be hard to get beyond.

 

Several years ago... while meditating... I felt this sinking fear well up from within me. The fear caused me to back out of the meditation... all these years later I wonder what would have happened had I persisted. But, it's hard to get beyond ...

I quite recently felt that fear while meditating and just rode it through. I was glad I did. It wasn't comfortable, but it was beneficial.

 

How was it beneficial ...just curious ... was the experience necessary to go to "another level"????

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There can be a fear element... And it can be hard to get beyond.

 

Several years ago... while meditating... I felt this sinking fear well up from within me. The fear caused me to back out of the meditation... all these years later I wonder what would have happened had I persisted. But, it's hard to get beyond ...

I quite recently felt that fear while meditating and just rode it through. I was glad I did. It wasn't comfortable, but it was beneficial.

 

How was it beneficial ...just curious ... was the experience necessary to go to "another level"????

 

Antlerman describes it like "peeling an onion". The fear comes up before you move to another level yes, but it's like a spiral. It's not like you get rid of the fear once and it's over, it's something that comes back in different and surprising forms. The key is to not let it make you be afraid to continue meditating. It was beneficial in that I felt I "got something out" that needed to come out at a deep level. It was disturbing when it happened, but I've now learned to trust the process. Just keep meditating...

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Antlerman describes it like "peeling an onion". The fear comes up before you move to another level yes, but it's like a spiral. It's not like you get rid of the fear once and it's over, it's something that comes back in different and surprising forms. The key is to not let it make you be afraid to continue meditating. It was beneficial in that I felt I "got something out" that needed to come out at a deep level. It was disturbing when it happened, but I've now learned to trust the process. Just keep meditating...

 

Yeah ... that's what it was like when I experienced fear during the Dark Night. And it does come back. Dark Nights can come back as well...

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I've been thinking about the different comments in this thread....

 

Joshpantera wrote...

 

 

I learned to make friends with the unknown and uncertainty and the fear dissolved. It was like a pivotal point where I went to head with a childhood fear of the great unknown and then laid it to rest.

 

Orbit wrote...

 

 

I quite recently felt that fear while meditating and just rode it through. I was glad I did. It wasn't comfortable, but it was beneficial.

 

And ....

 

 

he key is to not let it make you be afraid to continue meditating. It was beneficial in that I felt I "got something out" that needed to come out at a deep level. It was disturbing when it happened, but I've now learned to trust the process. Just keep meditating...

 

All these comments speak to an intentional and conscious effort in meditation. Intentional effort is required to move beyond fear. We humans take intention for granted. Because we are capable of intention, we don't think about it. But, intention is an act of Consciousness. And intention, in regards to meditation, has been studied. ....

 

The Buddha's Brain: Neuroplasticity and Meditation was done at the University of Wisconsin, Madison.

 

 

 

In a recent visit to the United States, the Dalai Lama gave a speech at the Society for Neuroscience's annual meeting in Washington, D.C. Over the past several years, he has helped recruit Tibetan Buddhist monks for, and directly encouraged research on the brain and meditation in the Waisman Laboratory for Brain Imaging and Behavior at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. The findings from studies in this unusual sample as well as related research efforts, suggest that, over the course of meditating for tens of thousands of hours, the long-term practitioners had actually altered the structure and function of their brains. In this article we discuss neuroplasticity, which encompasses such alterations, and the findings from these studies. Further, we comment on the associated signal processing (SP) challenges, current status and how SP can contribute to advance these studies.

 

We humans can alter the structure of our brains through intention. When we sit down and meditate we are using intention to exercise our brains. This changes the structure of our brains.....

 

As I mentioned - when I talked about my own mystic experience....

 

 

 

Then, just as I rounded the corner of my home reality "Shifted" for lack of a better word. I felt an actual shift in my brain. Within a split second I became aware of the oneness of all that is. This was not an intellectual awareness, I was actually perceiving Oneness in all, through all, and beyond all. It is a living Oneness, a conscious Oneness.

 

Really think about what it means, that we have the ability to alter our brains by the simple act of meditation...

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Mystic experiences...

 

Well, I suppose as a child and really up until the time that Christianity's dead hand gripped me I could find a profound sense of "oneness with being", generally in the context of a sort of innate meditation when out in the countryside.  I've been able to recapture that since - it is possible to reach a stage of apparent awareness of extreme detail, as if every blade of grass and leaf around me is within my sphere of consciousness.

 

A couple of apparently precognitive dreams.  I'm in two minds about saying a couple of lucid dreams as they were perhaps more entertaining that mystical.

 

I once woke to a voice saying "the gift of Mithras is reason".  I've never had any particular interest in Mithraism or studied it and it wasn't on my mind at that time, but I was subsequently told by a person who knows more of the subject that it was a perfectly... well... "reasonable" concept.

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I know the meaning of the traumatic experience was that I had a fear of past and future eternal as a child. I would change my focus if I ever got caught up in thinking about how in the world God was never created - that he or they simply existed without beginning. The whole no beginning thing bothered me. Later I realized that God symbolizes existence and that the past eternal issue is still in play, even from a naturalist view. That led to processing it and having the traumatic experience. Afterward I considered it thoroughly and accepted that identifying with the whole is a sound position, not just some mystical fantasy. 

 

The only meditation that I do now is for short periods here and there - I work all the time. I haven't faced anything fearful since the above mentioned, so I must not be doing it right. Orbit, do you have any pointers on getting to a fearful state? Is it just length of time to get to that level? 

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I've been thinking about the different comments in this thread....

 

Joshpantera wrote...

 

 

I learned to make friends with the unknown and uncertainty and the fear dissolved. It was like a pivotal point where I went to head with a childhood fear of the great unknown and then laid it to rest.

 

Orbit wrote...

 

 

I quite recently felt that fear while meditating and just rode it through. I was glad I did. It wasn't comfortable, but it was beneficial.

 

And ....

 

 

he key is to not let it make you be afraid to continue meditating. It was beneficial in that I felt I "got something out" that needed to come out at a deep level. It was disturbing when it happened, but I've now learned to trust the process. Just keep meditating...

 

All these comments speak to an intentional and conscious effort in meditation. Intentional effort is required to move beyond fear. We humans take intention for granted. Because we are capable of intention, we don't think about it. But, intention is an act of Consciousness. And intention, in regards to meditation, has been studied. ....

 

The Buddha's Brain: Neuroplasticity and Meditation was done at the University of Wisconsin, Madison.

 

 

 

In a recent visit to the United States, the Dalai Lama gave a speech at the Society for Neuroscience's annual meeting in Washington, D.C. Over the past several years, he has helped recruit Tibetan Buddhist monks for, and directly encouraged research on the brain and meditation in the Waisman Laboratory for Brain Imaging and Behavior at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. The findings from studies in this unusual sample as well as related research efforts, suggest that, over the course of meditating for tens of thousands of hours, the long-term practitioners had actually altered the structure and function of their brains. In this article we discuss neuroplasticity, which encompasses such alterations, and the findings from these studies. Further, we comment on the associated signal processing (SP) challenges, current status and how SP can contribute to advance these studies.

 

We humans can alter the structure of our brains through intention. When we sit down and meditate we are using intention to exercise our brains. This changes the structure of our brains.....

 

As I mentioned - when I talked about my own mystic experience....

 

 

 

Then, just as I rounded the corner of my home reality "Shifted" for lack of a better word. I felt an actual shift in my brain. Within a split second I became aware of the oneness of all that is. This was not an intellectual awareness, I was actually perceiving Oneness in all, through all, and beyond all. It is a living Oneness, a conscious Oneness.

 

Really think about what it means, that we have the ability to alter our brains by the simple act of meditation...

I know the idea is that we burn grooves into our thinking - we default back to these grooves. By consciously changing our thinking we burn new grooves, which can change negative thinking to positive and then default to the new position. I've done this and experienced the results.

 

I was once plagued with depression and literally forced a change of thinking and feeling. The result is that even if I have good reason to be depressed, I can't really do it any more. My mind won't allow me to go there. Anger passes by quickly too. I still get mad at times but I can't manage to stay angry for very long or hold a grudge very well. I just default back to clear headed thinking and negative thoughts pass by without taking control. And a big part of this was the mystical realization of oneness and unity with the whole of existence. It seems that most moralities now stem forward from that foundation. I'm depressed about what? I'm angry at who? It just puts things into perspective to where "do unto others," carries more weight and meaning now than it ever did while I was monotheistic. I found that to be a generally depressive religion and blame it for much of the negative ways that I felt.  

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I know the meaning of the traumatic experience was that I had a fear of past and future eternal as a child. I would change my focus if I ever got caught up in thinking about how in the world God was never created - that he or they simply existed without beginning. The whole no beginning thing bothered me. Later I realized that God symbolizes existence and that the past eternal issue is still in play, even from a naturalist view. That led to processing it and having the traumatic experience. Afterward I considered it thoroughly and accepted that identifying with the whole is a sound position, not just some mystical fantasy. 

 

The only meditation that I do now is for short periods here and there - I work all the time. I haven't faced anything fearful since the above mentioned, so I must not be doing it right. Obit, do you have any pointers on getting to a fearful state? Is it just length of time to get to that level? 

 

Well, fear isn't something you aim for, but if you're doing "insight meditation" you'll probably run into it at some point. I meditate for about 1 - 1 hr 15 minutes. It takes me 15 minutes to get into "the zone" typically. I let whatever wants to float up from the subconscious but I don't fixate on or hold the thoughts. I really does take daily practice to start working through your subconscious stuff. Each meditation is different and unexpected.

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I need to find the time to do this more often and for long enough to see what sort of fear will arise. In the meditation that I've done I have not had anything fearful arise, yet. But then again I have followed a practice of paying attention to the thoughts and emotions that feed into my subconscious mind: http://newthoughtlibrary.com/collierRobert/secretOfTheAges/ The idea is that if you take control and cut off the negative thoughts and emotions feeding in to your subconscious mind it will respond according to the positive thoughts and emotions that you consciously feed in, with intent. 

 

I suppose fearful emotions have to get fed into our subconscious mind in order to arise back out of it which can then be monitored through meditation. That seems to be another depth of consideration to the issue. Can you tie a fear barrier back to something that you can remember feeding into your subconscious previously through thought and emotion? 

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Josh, what you're describing isn't really meditation in the way that I understand it. Rather it is conscious thought-control. This may indeed be useful for you, but what I describe as meditation involves not fixating on any one thought to replace it with a better one, or to dwell on it in any way. I am accessing the subconscious on a deeper level. It's an experience of the deepest self on a symbolic level, and on an emotional level.

 

I'm not dealing with thoughts, I'm dealing with primal forces, at the level below rational conscious thought. It is not irrational, it is non-rational. The two are different. I believe that spiritual matters are non-rational matters, best explored by the non-rational mind. I reach the non-rational mind through meditation.

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Josh, what you're describing isn't really meditation in the way that I understand it. Rather it is conscious thought-control. This may indeed be useful for you, but what I describe as meditation involves not fixating on any one thought to replace it with a better one, or to dwell on it in any way. I am accessing the subconscious on a deeper level. It's an experience of the deepest self on a symbolic level, and on an emotional level.

 

I'm not dealing with thoughts, I'm dealing with primal forces, at the level below rational conscious thought. It is not irrational, it is non-rational. The two are different. I believe that spiritual matters are non-rational matters, best explored by the non-rational mind. I reach the non-rational mind through meditation.

 

I thought you were referring to witnessing thoughts arise. As in witnessing fearful thoughts arise while trying to quite down your mind. If that were the case then the thoughts would appear to have come as a response to something you previously feed down into your subconscious mind.

 

The fears I describe did arise in some type of conceptual state. It was mystical, but it was in the realm of thought. 

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Not thoughts, but primal emotion. Fear is not a thought, it is a visceral feeling. If you're on the level of thought, you haven't gone deep enough into your meditative state.

 

Advaita Vedanta most closely describes my view of spirituality:

Advaita (not-two in Sanskrit) refers to the identity of the true Self, Atman, which is pure consciousness, and the highest Reality, Brahman, which is also pure consciousness.

 

Meditation is an attempt to access pure consciousness. Here is one example of Advaita meditation: http://www.advaitameditation.in/

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