Mystical Experiencer: Male in early eighties
Current location: U.S.A.
Age at time of experience: 31
[There were] two events prior [to my mystical experience], one when I was eight years old (a multi-colored sunset) and the second when thirty years old (the face of a young girl) – I called them both ‘experiences of beauty’. I believe they might now be called ‘Stendhal Syndrome’. They make me believe that true beauty is felt as an emotion rather than a judgement. It seems to grip the heart in an almost painful, breathless feeling in the depth of my being. The second one occurred shortly before what I call my ‘mystical experience’.
Also, I had been attending some AA meetings due to a problem with alcohol but was having some difficulty with the Higher Power thing due to being an atheist. At this time (1968) there was quite stir over the country about the statement “God is dead”. I found that interesting. Not having Google to help me, I had to resort to asking people that I thought might know, where that came from? Finally, someone told me about Friedrich Nietzsche’s writings. I followed up on that and while trying to read some of his stuff and looking through the New Testament (King James Version), skipping back and forth between the two, I just got more tired and confused. Put them aside and tried think but it only seemed to be a jumble instead of a clear thought.
It came to me to try to clear my mind and make a fresh start. (For some reason the thought of St. Paul’s admonition to the Philippians to ‘think on these things’ whatsoever things are true, honest, just, lovely, of good report), came to mind and I thought immediately of the emotion I had felt only recently on seeing the girl’s face. I could still recall a bit of that feeling and remembered reading somewhere that to close off the thinking process a person could imagine standing in front of and very near a huge billboard that was painted white with nothing on it, the whole field of vision filled with only whiteness and blankness everywhere, concentrating on the whiteness and blankness. I did exactly that while still feeling some of the emotion of beauty in my heart. I had no thought or image of any sort in mind, just blank white awareness.
I will try to relate what I can recall of what came next.
Suddenly, the whiteness gave way to a surrounding darkness and a feeling of coolness and quiet.
In the distance a light appeared. A sort of soft white light. The light seemed to have a compelling force, in that I seemed to be drawn to it and seemed to be moving toward it without any effort. When I approached near enough to determine its source, it seemed to be coming from what appeared to be a Dutch door, the upper half of which, was open. A beam of light shining through the upper half of the door, from some place above and behind the door. The light beam illuminated a small area of something like a floor or patio in front of the door. I could feel a strong urge to enter into the light and started to do so. When I neared the light, I could feel some sort of resistance or barrier and had to exert quite a bit of force to get beyond the point of resistance. I seemed to roll over some obstacle and into the light.
I will make an attempt to describe what came next (it is true that words cannot truly describe it).
I seemed melt into and become one with the light. A complete union. (here the word light is the only one that comes close) There is no self. There is no time. There is no place. No before, no after. All that was, all that is, all that will be are one. There is absolute perfection. There is absolute beauty. There is absolute truth. There is absolute knowledge. There is absolute peace. This ‘unity’ had no ‘sense’ of all these things, it was all these things and infinitely more.
This description does not even begin to tell what the experience is like. That all these words have been used over and over is a matter of history and they still fall short. Words have been used many times by many people in many languages and still cannot tell what it is really like.
I cannot say how long in our time the union lasted. Perhaps seconds or minutes. It ended when a clear thought entered my mind. The thought was ‘ I have to get back’ and instantly it was over.
On coming out of the union my first thought was, where was I? What was that? I could feel a great awe or feeling of reverence. I now had no fear of death. I could see how someone might equate this with some divine source. How it may be used to found a religion.
After the experience was over, I felt compelled to go out in the yard. The weather was warm and summery. I was barefoot and as I walked on the grass with the sun shining warmly, a soft breeze blowing. I could feel life stirring in the grass and soil and sun and in the very air that I breathed. I could feel myself reconnecting with the physical world. The air seemed to sparkle and to have a sweet taste and smell of life. A true feeling of reunion with nature. (I have never read or heard of others having this same feeling after a mystical experience.)