Mystical Experience of Barbara Ehrenreich

Barbara Ehrenreich (August 26, 1941 – ) is an American writer and political activist.  She is the author of numerous books, including Living with a Wild God: A Nonbeliever’s Search for the Truth about Everything.

Ehrenreich recounts her mystical experience as follows:

“[S]omething happened when I was 17 that shook my safely rationalist worldview and left me with a lifelong puzzle … that morning in 1959 when I stepped out alone, [I] walked into the streets of Lone Pine, Calif., and saw the world – the mountains, the sky, the low scattered buildings – suddenly flame into life.

There were no visions, no prophetic voices or visits by totemic animals, just this blazing everywhere. Something poured into me and I poured out into it. This was not the passive beatific merger with “the All,” as promised by the Eastern mystics. It was a furious encounter with a living substance that was coming at me through all things at once, too vast and violent to hold on to, too heartbreakingly beautiful to let go of. It seemed to me that whether you start as a twig or a gorgeous tapestry, you will be recruited into the flame and made indistinguishable from the rest of the blaze. I felt ecstatic and somehow completed, but also shattered.”

From “A Rationalist’s Mystical Moment” by Barbara Ehrenreich, as printed in the April 5, 2014 New York Times.

Photo Credit:  Barbara Ehrenreich 2 by David Shankbone, New York City.

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