Immersion. Expansion. Reverie.

Having decided to embrace the unknown, we take confident steps forward, aware of our part in the greater design. Scent of ritual, sight of stars, and a refreshing breeze that revives us. The atmosphere takes us out of our formerly stagnant, limiting state. Everything is aligned perfectly. We are here for a purpose. We are here to forget some things and remember others. We are here to let go. To accept. To integrate. To be. Piercing eyes are not invasive here. Each soulful gaze feels like home. I can see myself in them. I am a vital part of something special and I can feel its grandeur, yet my core is still untouched, unexploited, consistent. My focus is selective, the concept of pain is utterly nonsensical here- a faraway notion, neurosis removed, as each step gets me closer to a perception that I would have previously described as godlike. Pieces of narratives overlap, discourse becomes unnecessary. The power I could only vaguely fantasise about and partially conceive of before, becomes reality. In a total paradigm shift, the peaceful, blissful nature of an uncorrupted, spiritual power supersedes previous understandings of power, as it’s no longer conceived by a self that’s trapped in the temptation of existential nihilism or materialism or restricted by the limitations of an ego held captive by negative attachments.

There is a sense of complete, beautiful harmony between body and spirit, as well as a liberating, soothing awareness that we are more than embodied selves. Yet we choose to experience our surroundings by inhabiting a body, even in this realm. Still, we have the power to make that choice, so we are now no longer confined to experiencing reality in merely one plane of existence, as consciousness merges with wholeness, with our eternal higher selves. We no longer process the world merely through our brains, on a physical level. I had a glimpse of this state before on a conceptual level, but back then I wasn’t fully in control, or at least the part I identified with and had access to wasn’t, and I felt pulled towards that state, perceived in a fragmented way.

Back then, I recall it also felt like there was another presence inside me, a godlike presence I was having an inner dialogue with. I remember wondering– Is this God? The Devil? Someone from another world? Or am I a Goddess temporarily stuck in a human body with only a piece of my divine consciousness? (I used to identify as an agnostic with atheist tendencies) I couldn’t really tell if that presence was me, or something separate. It felt like something external, an ‘Other’, but at the same time like there was something of my self within this uncanny Other. We were communicating in a weird “language”. Through vibrations within. The presence was asking me or telling me something telepathically and if I resonated with what was said I would feel ecstasy. Was that an unconscious mind process echoing religious beliefs I had drifted away from? The episode happened during an otherwise dark chapter of my life; For a long time, I have repressed it and avoided revisiting it because of the darkness associated with that time and because I needed to move on as I just wanted peace of mind. In an instance of curious chronological symmetry, towards the end of the same challenging life chapter, I had another episode involving an agonising amount of inexplicable physical pain. Ecstasy and agony. Like something entered me and a few months later it was purged. For the record, I mean it symbolically.

The doom and the gloom were perhaps aspects of a fragmented psyche, the experience itself couldn’t be separated from these haunting states of mind, since I experienced all of that through the filter of my consciousness. I attributed the experience to a fleeting disturbance in my brain, a glitch in the matrix of my otherwise sane mind, rather than one in the fabric of the universe as I knew it, because of my agnostic beliefs and because I couldn’t pinpoint the nature of it; yet I couldn’t stop thinking about it, hoping (and partly fearing) it had a greater connotation. Once the darkness no longer had power over me and I could remove it from my psyche, I redefined the experience, attributing a different meaning to it. I removed the absurd beliefs that were just echoes of trauma and I kept the mystical side in the hope that it was a first step towards experiencing spiritual awakening, an insight not solely generated by a deluded mind, rather a deeper truth about what it means to be human and about my journey. Because let me tell you, an agnostic leaning towards atheism does not feel at peace, especially when they are ego-led. In integrating the experience, I became more open to the mystery of existence, and implicitly to the possibility that consciousness can persist independently of the brain- a view that was a cure to my ontological obsession and to the despair brought by thoughts about death. Of course, I still had doubts eating away at my newly found existential relief: Was my experience a sign of shifting towards a higher level of awareness or did it not carry any more truth than some pathological psychotic state? And, more importantly, was I simply replacing one religious framework supporting the idea of a make-believe world beyond our brief life on Earth (that I was skeptical about) with a different belief supporting the same idea, but a refined, more acceptable version, anchored in eastern spirituality? Was I still ego-led, refuting at all costs the idea that there is no grand scheme of things or that humans are insignificant in the grand scheme if there is one (for me, existential transience implied insignificance no matter how accomplished or meaningful one felt their existence on Earth was; in fact, the more relevant and interesting someone was in life, the stronger I felt the tragedy of the fleeting nature of human life) leading a transient life on a floating planet- a wonderful planet that is, however, just a small piece among myriads of pieces making up the cosmos? The cosmos and the exact nature of our consciousness may indeed have been a mystery, but potentially nothing more than a result of a series of lucky accidents of physics? After all, to take a moral stance, there was so much suffering in our world, in this small piece of the puzzling cosmos. Could all that suffering ever really be part of a bigger plan? Could those horrifying people who moved away from kindness, towards sinister acts of inflicting pain on others ever be an extension of something as beautiful and awe-inspiring as the Source or oneness?

Still, I had a sense of self-importance, which had always been unshakeable, even in my most nihilistic state. This had to transition into the realm of spirituality. Yet even when I became interested in spirituality, most of my beliefs were still anchored in science. I was still inclined to believe I was in control of most of the things happening in my life and the rest of the events were random rather than predestined or under divine control. Considering my glimpse into a higher self, I had to wonder: did that self have any power to influence what was happening in my current life, at any time? Could she act as a guardian angel? Or was it just that one ambiguous, interpretable intervention? I was on a quest, seeking a system of mystical esoteric beliefs that could meaningfully co-exist with science and make sense to me. At the same time, seeking to experience something extraordinary, “otherworldly” that didn’t “make sense” or only made sense from a spiritual perspective.

[…] To be continued

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