When your mind and heart are truly open abundance will flow to you effortlessly and easily.
Thirteen years ago I lived an incredible experience as a result of studying a doctrine which promised God-like powers for human beings. The experience seems to have been set off mainly by a sudden profound belief in my immortality as an individual conscious being.
It started as a tremendous relief of all of the stress that was in my body (stress I didn’t even know I had until I felt it suddenly leaving me) and a sensation of absolute well being. At that point I felt that I was meeting with a celestial protector or guardian angel of some sorts. This encounter was very surreal because I felt that I WAS this guardian angel, looking at my earthly self lovingly, proudly, with beautiful compassion for past sufferings.
At this point, I felt my entire body and especially my brain transform, feeling a sort of energy flowing especially through the back portion of my head and down my spine. I felt that I had super-natural powers and was able to read an entire page of a book in about two seconds (each and every letter seemed to be individually and sequentially absorbed by my mind at an incomprehensible speed, as if it was flowing from the page to my consciousness automatically). I felt like everything was possible for me and that I had many great powers waiting to be discovered and experienced. It also felt like I was some sort of being occupying a human body.
I then experienced (not conceptually but empirically) the fact that the entire universe, every single quirk and quark, was a unique continuous flow of inseparable unity, which is odd because nothing in the doctrine I had studied explained oneness (note that the unity I felt concerned the material world only and not the spiritual world or other conscious beings).
At one point I lay down and closed my eyes only to automatically feel a joy that started taking over my entire mind and body. This joy or happiness started big and only got bigger, expanding tremendously and uncontrollably, making my entire being vibrate and pulse with happiness for no apparent reason. It was the most amazing extreme experience of pure joy and happiness.
I then felt an intuition that something even more transcendental was within my reach, like an uncertain feeling that I was going to evaporate into thin air.
Suddenly, I focused my attention on the streets and buildings I could see through the window of my 7th floor apartment bedroom and it seems like I got the intuition that I was not going to be a part of this world anymore.
At that point I started experiencing a fear so immense that I cannot describe it other than to say that if a lion was eating me alive and I didn’t go into shock, I would not be as terrorised as I was at that moment. It was the exact mirror opposite of the joyous experience I had felt moments earlier. It started as a great fear which just uncontrollably and exponentially expanded in to absolute and sheer terror. I instinctively lay down in my bed in the foetal position and braced myself as best I could until I either fell asleep or passed out or went into shock.
As you can imagine, I have a lot of questions regarding this experience, which I have not been able to reproduce ever since it happened. I will only ask the following:
1. Was this experience what one could call awakening spiritual enlightenment and has anyone else ever described something similar to you?
Please note that I did not believe in God and had no clue as to the spiritual oneness of consciousness. The rational explanation I had for immortality prior to the experience was based on the idea of a transfer of individual consciousness via space-time technology put in place by other, more evolved individual conscious human-like beings on another planet!
2. Is it possible to experience this state of being on a permanent basis here on earth or is it intrinsically a fleeting state of being? It seemed stable until the fear came over me.
3. What triggered this experience?
I believe it was the quantum leap of faith about my immortality which was, oddly enough, partly based on a faulty inner logic that I created in my own mind, actually tricking myself into believing!
4. I believe I know now what the joy I experienced was (it was God laughing; thank you for that wonderful book) but what in God’s name was that terror I experienced and how can I overcome it or even find out what it is?
My intuition is that my ego basically reacted to its impending doom, therefore literally making it a fear of death.
5. If I overcome the fear, which I think is still somewhere inside me, is it possible that I would instantly return to this sublime state of consciousness?
I wish to tell all spiritual seekers never to get discouraged on their path to enlightenment. What is in store for all of us is amazing and wonderful. I can say without a doubt that everyone will live unbelievably beautiful experiences for all eternity (believe me, if I was graced with this glimpse of beautiful eternity, EVERYONE can and will be). The mystery of life, as Mr. Chopra put it, is absolutely real even if it seems so out of reach. I can say that because it more than often seems out of reach to me; luckily, I have the vivid memory of my experience to help me keep the faith and I hope it will do the same for anyone reading this.
This is a beautiful and very real experience of unity consciousness. To take your questions in order:
Yes this is a recognizable opening of awareness to its own unlimited nature. The basic components of your experience are found in all the major wisdom traditions. Other people have conveyed similar experiences to me, and I’ve had my own private experiences of unity to corroborate what you have relayed here.
2. It is possible to make this state of consciousness permanent, but when it is stabilized and integrated into your life and personality it won’t be shocking and other-worldly as the initial experience was. When unity consciousness is fully established, that same cognition of the oneness of life now dominates your awareness, but the rest of your life looks, sounds and behaves just like before. The state you experienced was wondrous, but initially it is not very practical and functional. Fully developed enlightenment is a practical living reality where you can be a productive, functioning person with that awakened consciousness.
3. It is nearly impossible to say what triggered the experience. A better way to look at it may be that something had matured in your soul, and you were ripe for it. The rose was ready to bloom. You were not quite ready to completely assimilate the full impact of the experience at the time, but enough factors lined up in order for you to get a taste of that enlightened state.
4. I agree with you that the terror you experienced was likely the ego’s fear of annihilation in the wake of that expansiveness. To explain how it is possible to experience transcendence even before all the blocks to that experience have been removed, Maharishi used an analogy of how it’s like tiptoeing past a herd of sleeping elephants. To extend the analogy, sometimes we wake up the elephants on the way back. I think that is what happened with your experience of terror.
5. By overcoming whatever fears remain in you, yes, you will return to that state of unity. It works the other way as well; by continuing to experience the unified state of consciousness in meditation, the fear will dissolve. The Upanishads declare that fear is born of duality. By moving beyond duality we remove fear. That experience of unity is our true nature, so our destiny is really just to come back to our true self.