Mystical Experiencer: Male in mid-fifties
Current Location: Australia
Age at time of experience: 40
Before my mystical experience (ME) I had been socially isolated and psychologically dependent on alcohol for a long time. Late at night after a long Saturday of lone chronic drinking in bars I was walking unsteadily home and suddenly became aware that I did not have my keys with me anymore – lost through a hole in my pocket, which meant I was locked out of my flat until Monday morning. This significant problem on top of pre-existing chronic psychological fragility dropped me into a state of extreme acute despair, and I didn't care whether I continued to live any more.
I lied down on the ground and became serene in correspondence with this detachment from the will to live. As I settled towards sleep I consciously recognized that it genuinely meant nothing to me if someone kicked me to death for my wallet. This is where things became wonderfully strange. I was re-stimulated to wakefulness by a rising sensation of internal power which reached a level of almost overwhelming joy, peace and positive psychic energy. With it came an unambiguous sense that everything in reality is absolute perfection.
After some time (moments?) I consciously framed the question "What's going on?" This moment corresponded to a retrospective recognition that my ego boundary had temporarily dissolved (a reaction to acute despair?). As the experience attenuated back down to "normal" reality, a voice spoke: "Try your pocket again". I did so and immediately found the keys that I was convinced were lost. I made it home to sleep for what was left of the night.
It is very significant that the voice communicated objective real information – without this element I could conceivably write off the experience as a highly unusual manifestation of mere neurological dysfunction. It was also not a simple direct outcome of being drunk – I've been drunk probably a couple of thousand times, but this experience was as different from drunkenness as any experience can possibly be.
The experience has so far been a one-off – nothing remotely similar since. My immediate analysis of the experience was to reject atheism, and immediately following that I considered that I could not seriously do science anymore (at the time I was employed in university biological science research). It's not that I think science is invalid – it's more that the typical problems science addresses have become less compelling to me. I have subsequently engineered myself into a different and more satisfying career path.
A sense of well-being persisted for weeks after the experience, and my compulsion to drink was absent over this subsequent period. However, a stressful circumstance caused me to drink again and I was back to my old habit. But this time, drinking was completely hopeless like never before and the consequences reached a sudden new low of appalling which drove me into an AA meeting. I have been free of alcohol ever since (nearly 14 years) and I have met and married my soul-mate (now married for nearly 10 years). There is no more social isolation. The experience marked a distinct positive turning point in the course of my subsequent life.