Mystical Experiencer: Female in mid-forties
Current location: U.S.A.
Age at time of experience: Not provided
I am having great difficulty finding a most significant experience to describe. I’ve written many essays and poems on their collective feel. The excerpt below probably best captures the detail.
I cannot say that anything disappeared. On the contrary, a veil was taken away from my eyes and I saw a different reality, an unfiltered one for which my mind did not hold the capacity. Suddenly I knew something that was not there before – it was not that something was gone, but rather something new was there. As if I became part of something that had always been there, and that feeling was new to me.
It was somehow related to vision and sound, as opposed to smell, taste, or touch, although I did not have obvious hallucinations and did not hear sounds or words that I can imitate. Sometimes it was like music without sound, simply the feeling it instills, a repeated pattern: beating fingers on a guitar, strumming up and down. But not the sound of it. Only the feeling, the way it passes from the mind and vibrates in the chest.
I believe sometimes that I saw a song; the scene before me took on a rhythm. I could not see the scene move, but I knew it wanted to and had the potential. That perhaps captures it best – that I saw not only the things before me, but what they hoped to be and could be if someone would let them. It was the view of the world in the perfect way, unified, accurate, precise, beautiful, unfathomable and large, yet welcoming and close. It washed me over with a feeling of certainty. The scene took on an utter absence of doubt.
But, at the same time that it was something new, it was also a memory, a déjà vu. I knew that each thought I was to have over the next few minutes would be simultaneous with the thoughts I just had. Not just a memory, but a co-occurrence, collapsed time. It was the difference between the first conversation with a person and the second. It was the difference between riding the number ten bus to downtown Portland on Monday and riding the same bus on Tuesday.
The light was different or an object was out of place. The river under the bridge had not really changed, but the water that had been under there the first day was now down toward the sea. I knew something and yet the very same thing I did not know. The chance seems small that I could take this thing that I don’t even know and tell you so that you will know it.
Imagine you live through your life seeing only two dimensions and then wake one morning perceiving depth. It is simply a new, vivid reality. It makes you a little sick to your stomach. I wish I could capture the moment and give it to you.
One of my most vivid experiences was during college when I went with a friend to the library to work on a poem while he read about art. At one point, he whispered for me to look at a passage in an art book, a small caption under a photo of a Japanese clay vessel. It explained that the sound of the word Fuyo is identical to that of a word meaning unnecessary or useless; Fuyo implies that nothing can add to the beauty of an object, because its beauty is already unsurpassable.
For example, he told me, a flower cannot enhance the beauty of a well-made clay vessel, which is already perfect in form. I was amazed by this description, which was precisely the quality of my mystical experiences that I was trying to put down in a poem. The word captured the quality that made things so clearly and purely perfect to me, this thing I had always wanted to write about, and I adopted the word immediately as a part of my personal vocabulary. At the time, I did not know what mysticism was or that my experiences were just that. I just knew that things had the qualities of perfection, unity, and reality that I was helpless to convey.