Thursday, September 21, 2006

The Mystical Experience

There are experiences that most of us are hesitant to speak about, because they do not conform to everyday reality and defy rational explanation. These are not particular external occurrences, but rather events of our inner lives, which are generally dismissed as figments of the imagination and barred from our memory. Suddenly, the familiar view of our surroundings is transformed in a strange, delightful, or alarming way: it appears to us in a new light, takes on a special meaning. Such an experience can be as light and fleeting as a breath of air, or it can imprint itself deeply upon our minds.

One enchantment of that kind, which I experienced in childhood, has remained remarkably vivid in my memory ever since. It happened on a May morning - I have forgotten the year - but I can still point to the exact spot where it occurred, on a forest path on Martinsberg above Baden, Switzerland. As I strolled through the freshly greened woods filled with bird song and lit up by the morning sun, all at once everything appeared in an uncommonly clear light. Was this something I had simply failed to notice before? Was I suddenly discovering the spring forest as it actually looked? It shone with the most beautiful radiance, speaking to the heart, as though it wanted to encompass me in its majesty. I was filled with an indescribable sensation of joy, oneness, and blissful security.

I have no idea how long I stood there spellbound. But I recall the anxious concern I felt as the radiance slowly dissolved and I hiked on: how could a vision that was so real and convincing, so directly and deeply felt - how could it end so soon? And how could I tell anyone about it, as my overflowing joy compelled me to do, since I knew there were no words to describe what I had seen? It seemed strange that I, as a child, had seen something so marvelous, something that adults obviously did not perceive - for I had never heard them mention it.

While still a child, I experienced several more of these deeply euphoric moments on my rambles through forest and meadow. It was these experiences that shaped the main outlines of my world view and convinced me of the existence of a miraculous, powerful, unfathomable reality that was hidden from everyday sight.

From LSD - My Problem Child by Albert Hofmann


Blogger Baal Habos said...

For a second, you had me going there. I thought you were trying to drop some bombshell on us; a pre Rosh Hashona Born again. Till I saw the reference to the author.

Have a happy and health year.

9:35 AM  
Blogger B. Spinoza said...

BH, thanks for stopping by.

Hmmm. The author is Albert Hofmann a well respected Swiss scientist, who happened to discover LSD almost by accident. You should read his book, it's interesting. It's online for free. The link to it is in my post.

I never had a "mystical" experience, but I think there may be something to it. I'm not claiming any supernatural ideas, and I don't think Dr. Hofmann was either. Just that our everyday life experiences are not necessarily the full and complete way that we can experience life. Who knows? There maybe some truth to it. It's food for thought.

Have a good year

11:03 AM  
Blogger Orthoprax said...

In my machzor today there was a little note about how the Israelites at Mt. Sinai "saw the voice" of God based on the text of Ex. 20:18.

Sounds like synesthesia to me.

1:22 AM  
Blogger B. Spinoza said...

>Sounds like synesthesia to me.

Mass halucination due to eating magic mushrooms? Could be, could be. :)

1:31 AM  
Blogger Irviner Chasid said...

I wonder why some people like me experience these things regularly, while others apparently have never had one.

6:50 PM  
Blogger Orthoprax said...


How often do you drop LSD? ;-)

9:40 PM  
Anonymous Rabban Gamliel said...

Orthoprax there are strange experiences people experience. Science is a human creation. It's not an entity.

11:36 AM  

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