Peaking Through the Looking Glass.
6/13/93. I was slowly moving through the various levels consciousness that were familiar to me, as I allowed my meditation to deepen. Suddenly, things began to speed up, as if my awareness was racing through a tunnel. At the tunnels end, I found myself in a strange landscape. It was an almost lunar like surface of ashen grey/white powder. In front of me was a huge star. I recognized this as a tetrahedron or Star of David. It was about 30 feet in height and rotated slowly, as if on an axis. This experience was very visual and I stood mystified as to what it meant for me. The reply came instantly from somewhere inside or outside of me, I couldn’t tell which. “Allow the star to enter your heart”.
Brimming with confidence, I said “Sure….come on in”. Whappppppp! The force hit me in such a way that I felt almost shattered. It wasn’t painful at all. In fact, after the initial surprise of impact to my chest, the feeling was rather peaceful. After impact, my vignette shifted once again. I was enveloped in the deep dark, that I can only imagine is experienced by those who have been outside of the Earth’s atmosphere. I noticed that all around me were tiny glimmering lights, like pieces of a shattered mirror reflecting sunlight. As a matter of fact, I too, if there was really an “I” at this point, was one of them. My consciousness seemed to be encapsulated in this tiny shimmering light.
To my amazement, I realized that I could move my consciousness from one piece of the “mirror” to another. I did this for some time, trying to discern any subtle differences, until finally it dawned on me. All of these pieces are pieces of me, but somehow a me that I had been previously unaware of. Pieces of a whole that transcended the concept of me as an individual, yet at the same time, I was able to maintain a distinct sense of self. I am not sure I can adequately put this experience into words, but I knew I would never look at life the same way again. I somehow knew that I was connected to all things while at the same time, able to appreciate my own individuality more deeply.
The preceding is an excerpt taken from my personal journal of an experience I had while in deep meditation at The Monroe Institute. The experience obviously had a profound impact me and I share it with you to give you some insight to what is referred to in clinical research circles, as the peak or transcendent experience. The transcendent experience is a transformative experience, often spiritual in nature, which causes a shift in one’s world view. Peak experiences are usually the result of an altered state of consciousness, like meditation. Although I have been a practitioner of meditation for many years, I have never had an experience such as that, prior to. I can also say with certainty, that almost 20 years latter, the experience has stayed with me and leaves me even more curious.
Such experiences are as old as recorded history. Because the peak experience creates a philosophical shift and is often spiritually uplifting, its power can transcend the experiencer to include many others who stand in awe of the experience. Religions often originate with the peak experience and the apparent wisdom that follows as a result. The experiences of The Buddha, Saul of Tarsus and Moses are just three examples of peak experiences that have radically shifted the world view of the experiencer and had lasting effects upon the consciousness of humanity. While I cannot claim to be as influential as they, nor do I have any desire to be, I can say that the experience I had did have a lasting effect on my consciousness. I can also say that when I share the experience with others, I am often times struck by their sense awe. In my research, it brings up two questions for me. The first being, why do human beings have such experiences? The second being, why do human beings seek such experiences?
The root cause of the peak experience can be the subject for debate. I can easily imagine two distinct branches of science weighing in on what happened to me /others and why. The Anthropologist, sociologists and psychologists might all agree that the experience was brought on by some inherent need to have such an experience. All might agree that in ancient times, when the Gods were considered intricately involved in human affairs, that such an experience would be desirable as it would mean that the experiencer had made contact with supernatural forces. Being in contact with such supernatural wisdom would be a real boon to the experiencer and would elevate his/her position in the social structure. Being a product of the modern era, I can tell you that the experience I had doesn’t not elevate my social status in any way. In some circles, it might depreciate my status.
The psychologist might add that perhaps there was perhaps a subconscious need on my part at the time to feel a part of something larger than myself, while at the same time preserving a need to remain an individual. Couldn’t argue with that logic, but can accurately report that I wasn’t aware of that need. As a matter of fact at the time, I was probably more oriented towards expressing my own individuality rather than being part of a larger whole. I can also say with confidence, that the experience was not forcibly imagined.The experience simply and organically emerged while in I was meditation. As far as I can tell, I had no need for such an experience.
If we were to add a neurologist to this debate, he or she might say that I had a seizure of sorts. Researchers have found evidence of brainwave patterns correlated to peak experiences. It is a “seizure of sorts” (not like epilepsy) in the temporal lobe regions the brain that produces fast wave electrical data on EEG’s. This “seizure” can be replicated by applying electro magnetic stimulus to these regions, causing test subjects to see things which others cannot. In my case, the altered state was the direct result of meditation. The altered state was not drug induced, but was created though through my intention and with the aid of binaural beat stimulus. The difference being that the binaural beat stimulus was not applied to the temporal regions specifically.
Yet two things don’t add up for me with regards to this explanation. First is that there were others listening to the exact same stimulus that I was. None of them had this type of experience. The second is that if it were some sort of seizure activity, wouldn’t there had been some sort of lasting effect? A headache at the very least? Perhaps. Perhaps not. I can accurately report that there was no discomfort of any sort and the experience had never happened again, although there have been other strange experiences.
No doubt this is intriguing neurological data and psychological theory may one day prompt western society to wholly negate the peak experience as mere flights of fancy or temporary delusion. While this may be true in some cases, it is my opinion that this line of thinking is a bit premature and wonder if this dismissal could actually be detrimental to our evolution as a species. With regards to my personal experience, my questions remain unanswered. All I know is that I had the experience and that it has subtly changed me.
The quest for transcendent spiritual experiences remains important to many people. Many spiritual seekers today are practicing meditation in the hopes of reaching the appropriate state of consciousness that will enable them to have a transcendent experience. For them it is the peak experience that brings them closer to the divine and helps them understand the nature of their being. Perhaps this is because of a psychological need to experience a connection to something larger than themselves. Perhaps there is something larger than ourselves that is trying to make a connection with us. Maybe peak experiences are the byproducts of temporal lobe seizures causing people to imagine beings which cannot be seen by others. Maybe, just maybe……these beings are there all the time and we can only experience them when we open our minds, which on an EEG, looks like a temporal lobe seizure.
What I find most interesting is that all of us seem to have an inherent knowledge that we are part of something larger. The cosmos is a good example. Even if we go about our daily activities rarely thinking about our connection, we know we are connected. Even though we think of ourselves as ultimately alone, we know deep inside of ourselves, that we are connected. Perhaps this is the single most important message of the peak or transcendent experience, regardless of its root cause. I believe there is even more to the story. I believe, that the human brain is “hard wired” for such experiences to occur and that in peeking through the looking glass of consciousness, our evolutionary growth is motivated. We seek answers and in seeking, our consciousness evolves. Fortunately for the sake of consciousness and its evolution, we really cannot know. The mystery of the human experience is after all…… a journey.
The Triad Mind offers a means of reaching altered states through the use of binaural beats. The results of the stimulus can be much like the one exemplified in the above journal entry. Perhaps the resulting effects did not change the course of human history, but it certainly changed this person’s life philosophy in a positive way. It was a discreet shift that included an experience of unity and love for the mystery of life. Personally speaking, what can be more valuable than that?
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