Graced with a Profound Gift

Mystical Experiencer:  Female in early seventies
Current location:  U.S.A.
Age at time of experience:  19

I would describe this occasion as a “sudden enlightenment experience.”

I was on the campus of the small women’s college, Queens, where I was a junior. I was between classes when I simply “knew” I had to find a private place to be. I found my way to a little-used classroom in the basement of the old brick music building. I intuitively knew to go into the bathroom and sit down on the floor where I was safe and would not be disturbed.

Then, I found myself rapidly shifting consciousness in a way that was most unusual. (I had never used drugs, never smoked, used little alcohol, and didn’t even drink coffee.) I became one with the all-encompassing awareness of being. Although the altered State I moved into had never happened before, it somehow felt safe and familiar. I had a sense of trust and perhaps even welcoming.

This altered state lasted at the most 20 minutes, and I shifted easily back into ordinary reality. I had a sense of awe and curiosity, and I knew that I had been graced with a profound gift—a gift that influences my life to this day, at age 73. Shortly after, I wrote this simple poem, which comes as close as words can do to describing my experience:

I AM wide wide above my eyes,

And so I break the compass

And expand so I encompass

All the small things, soft and gentle,

All the great things, monumental,

I lose the sense of difference

In the whole of the space above my eyes.

– Johanna Rucker, 1967

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