Mystical Experience of Forrest Reid

Forrest Reid (1875 – 1947) was a Northern Irish novelist and critic.  Reid was born in Belfast and was the youngest son of a twelve-child Protestant family in which only six of the children survived.  Reid is most well-known for his charming novels about boyhood and adolescence.  He is also known for his 1926 autobiography, Apostate, and his 1940 autobiography, Private Road, the companion volume to Apostate, in which Reid continues his “chronicle of a prolonged personal adventure…”

Forrest Reid described his mystical experience in his 1912 book, Following Darkness, as follows:

“It was as if I had never realized before how lovely the world was.  I lay down on my back in the warm, dry moss and listened to the skylark singing as it mounted up from the fields near the sea into the dark clear sky.  No other music ever gave me the same pleasure as that passionately joyous singing.  It was a kind of leaping, exultant ecstasy, a bright, flame-like sound, rejoicing in itself.  And then a curious experience befell me.  It was as if everything that had seemed to be external and around me were suddenly within me. The whole world seemed to be within me.  It was within me that the trees waved their green branches, it was within me that the skylark was singing, it was within me that the hot sun shone, and that the shade was cool.  A cloud rose in the sky, and passed in a light shower that pattered on the leaves, and I felt its freshness dropping into my soul, and I felt in all my being the delicious fragrance of the earth and the grass and the plants and the rich brown soil.  I could have sobbed with joy.”

Quoted from Reid’s Following Darkness in Josh Baran’s Mindfulness, Day by Day: How to Find Peace in the Present Moment.

Photo Credit: Forrest Reid from

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