I had to move to Yellow Springs, OH in 2002. Once there, I had a ridiculous amount of free time, I was spending it watching a certain televangelist (there is one in particular who appears to me to be speaking about Truth more than religion and I have always enjoyed hearing the Truth wherever I find it even if there is societal prejudice against the source) and reading. I purchased and began reading a book of the Upanishads. While I had been studying Hinduism for years, I had never gotten around to reading the Upanishads before. What I found in them was profound. They were like nothing I had ever read. I didn’t want to do anything but read them and contemplate them. They brought together so many things I had thought about over the years. They said it with authority and they meant it all. And as hard as it may be to believe, the Upanishads and this televangelist were consistently saying the same thing.
At some point that fall, during or after reading these, I don’t remember, something happened. I remember sitting on the couch watching tv with my significant other at the time. My right leg was crossed over the other. I can still see it in my mind’s eye. An irrelevant scene. I realized that nothing that was happening in my life said anything about who I am. That I am beyond all of that. These words I am typing mean nothing, but the revelation was of a magnitude that I cannot begin to describe.
A few minutes later I walked into the kitchen. I remember standing in front of a cabinet and reaching for seran wrap. Again, irrelevant. And realizing that every single one of us is exactly the same thing. That we have different apparent characteristics based on what we were taught we were from a young age. I realized that if I had been taught something other than I had, that I would have displayed different personality characteristics, made different choices, and gotten different results based on what I believed to be true. The only difference between me and anyone else on the planet is our programming. Much of programming is emotional and social and some is biological, but outside of our programming we are all identical.
I spent about three days doing I have no idea what. I sat on the couch full/empty of all of what I have just described. I don’t for a minute want to try to put a label on this. It was what it was. No more, no less.
After those three days the experience changed. I felt quite blissed out for about three months. The way the trees moved in the wind seemed to be significant, seemed to be saying something, and seemed intimate. Not in any literal way, in a connection kind of way. Any words I can choose to talk about this makes it all seem ridiculous. Everything I saw seemed perfect, absolutely beautiful, and the perfect thing to be right where it was. There were cabinets in the house we were renting that were crooked and seemed to have been painted over numerous times; and as ugly as they had been before, now they were perfect, with indescribable perfect beauty. They were the exact right thing to be there and they looked exactly perfect! I also experienced cold differently. I usually feel cold quite easily, but when the weather got cold enough that everyone was wearing winter coats, I didn’t feel the need for one. I felt that there was cold, but it wasn’t a feeling I felt bothered by. My sleep requirement reduced by hours. I also didn’t desire food. My significant other would make food for me for lunch and leave it for me and tell me I needed to have eaten at least part of it when he got back from work. When I would see myself in the mirror it was always such a surprise. I would smile at myself and feel, “Ah! It’s you!” as if I were seeing an old friend who I loved deeply and hadn’t seen in a long time. And I felt like I was madly in love. But I couldn’t say with whom. I just felt it. And I can’t say for sure to whom these feelings were occurring. It was as if at that time I was someone else who is more me than I actually am now. At the time I wasn’t thinking about it all in terms of a spiritual experience – I wasn’t thinking about it at all.
Then three months after it started, a friend was over. A friend who had been coming to me for a lot of spiritual conversation and questioning. I was watching my friend do something to his photography equipment while we were listening to George Harrison’s new (posthumous) cd. We were discussing some of the spiritual content of this cd. We were discussing some of the lyrics and my friend just didn’t seem to get it. I believe we may have been discussing the translation of “Sat Chit Ananda”. My friend just didn’t seem to get it. No matter what I said he just wasn’t getting it. And then I so badly wanted him to understand. (I’m sure you immediately see the problem – at the time I did not, it just happened.) The next thing I knew, my friend was in front of me, he took my hands and put them in prayer position grasped between his own, and he bowed on his knees in front of me. That seemed strange and I told him to stop it. We talked about other things and had a nice visit. He left a few hours later. Once he left I realized that I felt miserable. For no reason. He soon called me on his drive back to Kansas. He said that he felt amazing and peaceful in a way that he never had before and that he had no idea why.
Crap. He took it! Or more accurately, I wanted him to understand so much that I gave it to him. But I really hadn’t meant to and I wanted it back.
I wanted to find out what had happened to me in terms of the experience itself and in terms of how to get it back. That is how I discovered Ramana Mahrshi, Tony Parsons, Ramesh Balsekar, and Lester Levenson. I read a book about realized Masters. I don’t remember the name of it. I felt comforted by the stories I read about various peoples’ experiences. I recognized the not needing food, not needing as much sleep, and the general feelings that went with the whole experience.
This was my experience. Looking back, it was beautiful and blissful. At the time, it just was.