Living with a Question, Holding
It as a Vessel to Be Filled
ever brooded on something to the point to where one day you get the uncanny
feeling it's 'brooding' you? Over the years a pressing quandary that
eventually acquired 'a presence' of this sort for me was,
possibly make enough difference to save us from ourselves in terms of our
ever-escalating social and environmental difficulties of every description?
Not with any hope of discovering 'the answer'; it
just became almost a ritual response for every time the latest "awful" made the
headlines, which got added to the moldering mental pile. This
probably isn't far from the truth for most of us who pay even a little regular
attention to the daily news. Don't you find yourself wondering
sometimes if we as a species are going to make it even another fifty years on
this beautiful, yet beleaguered planet? The way we are going, who will
finally watch our planet die, and of course our physical selves with it?
Us? Our children? Our grandchildren? ..
Merely trying to stay on top of the endless
crises or improving outer circumstances, of course, can never be the whole
answer. For one thing, plenty of people will continue to abuse our physical world and
fellow-beings with little or no concern for the harm they may cause unless or
until they -- in fact all of us -- know better and possess the wherewithal to do
However we may ultimately discover such an answer,
without doubt, it will
require a profound Awakening from within, a change of heart in every human being
that so cuts to the core, is so gripping, it would dramatically alter people the
world over, for good -- and of course, for the greater good. This
individual and collective transformation would necessarily manifest as a
unifying and motivational force, expressing as our highest values-in-action.
by One .. Something Is Happening
There are people among us who have gone through such changes that tend to
present themselves as totally out-of-the-blue 'visitations' of sorts.
As the range in variability of such experiences go, they may visit us as
anything from literally death-defying dramas [i.e., near-death experiences] to moments as quiet and subtle as
the flow of one steady breath to the next [a sense of Holy Immanence, Presence,
or everything lit up as if from the inside, vibrantly alive and connected in a
way we are not accustomed to experiencing LIFE]. In all cases, the
defining feature is some kind of AHA or inner / paranormal -- I just flat say spiritual
-- experience, which causes the inner shift that rocks us to the very foundation of our inmost being.
Regardless of former beliefs, values and behavior, after these events, which are
invariably described as 'the most important thing that ever happened to me',
Experiencers tend to share a recognizable pattern of traits and worldview, at
once individuating, yet unifying in expression.
Some of the
observable aftereffects these people almost unanimously attribute to such
experiences are --
An increased reverence for all life.
A more positive, confident outlook on life, in spite of continued evidence that doesn’t support a positive outlook.
A realization that all of life is rich with meaning and that each person's life is invested with sacred purpose. They have a passionate drive to know and to fulfill their own life's mission. These experiences of all types, unless we deny or suppress or ignore them, open us to this – again, some more than others.
Increased powers of higher sense perception, increased psychic abilities, intuitive awareness, and/or the gift of healing. One of the more commonly noticed changes is an increase of serendipitous synchronicities in their lives.
A more universalistic orientation in religious/spiritual life.
A more inclusive and spiritual orientation in feeling and expression.
Decreased interest in the rewards of competitive ambition, in purely materialistic and self-seeking values which are taken for granted in the business and professional world. It is easy to see how these more magnetic personalities can become outstanding leaders, even if not intentionally, based instead on a natural sense of caring that invokes service-in-action for its own sake.
“A spontaneous development of profoundly affecting moral consciousness and reverence for all life” (per Rhea A. White, who had a near-death experience). This is not a come-and-go, childish 'ok, I'll be better now'; it is a visceral, heart-palpitating awareness of all Life as Living Spirit-manifest. This is a knowing of the heart that manifests in everyday action and awareness.
A heightened ecological sensitivity and protective concern and a compelling need to place their whole lives and beings in service to others and / or to the Earth. Moral consciousness also factors into the need to be of service in this way. It is possible that many-to-most of our vocationally committed activists and service-devoted leaders in many fields are so because of having had such experiences.
A direct, experiential knowing or conviction that even though the physical body dies, one's conscious sense of self or "I" does not, which becomes unshakable and a source of enormous comfort and strength. This is especially the case with those who have death-transcendent types of experience, such as near-death and out-of-body experiences, after-death communication with a loved one, mystical and cosmic consciousness experiences.
No matter what one's previous belief or
nonbelief, an experiential certainty that, by whatever name one may prefer, God - Goddess - Allah - Brahman - Yahweh - Manitou - the Tao - Spirit - All That Is – Consciousness – eternal LIFE as Consciousness IS. It’s always a matter of degree, and some experiences gift us more directly with this realization than others. E.g., déjà vu or synchronicities may not tap us into this per se, but we at least are given the opportunity to feel there is Something More to life, even if we are not the least disposed to see this in spiritual terms. So in this sense, every exceptional experience is a seed planted that will bear fruit, if not in this life, then in the next.
A direct knowing that our physical consensus reality with all its scientifically verifiable laws is but one minor note in the symphonic majesty of an all-encompassing, larger reality.
You Imagine ...
how different our world would be if the determining majority
humanity shared this worldview based on direct experience and knowing??
Some people might understandably respond with, 'Yeah right, and why make up
fairytales like this that are never going to happen? Besides, what
could possibly have this kind of influence on billions of us … short of
something like the sudden and world-wide awareness of the imminent impact of a
You may be surprised to know there are knowledgeable sources, people whose lives
are devoted to studying such events and those who have had them, who say this Awakening
already well underway. Many people
are aware of this as a result of their inner, unifying experiences, and like me,
feel an urgency to bring this to the studied attention of as many people as
possible. We may use quite different languaging and contexts --
"ascension," the second coming of Christ, the return of Buddha as
Maitreya, even "the end of the world" [as we have known it], as well
as nonreligious frames of reference -- altered states of consciousness, new
cosmologies, even the latest "new physics." But to whatever degree,
great or small, this underlying message [described by the bullets above] is able to shine through the various
means of acknowledgement and expression, it
is the same. The more of us who
awaken to the MORE in us that
it means to be Human in the greatest sense, living out of the
Heart of compassion, love and reverence for all life, a recognizable higher
knowing, a direct Spirit-awareness, the more
fulfilled is this one great Possibility: that we together can become the changing
course of events that can make the critical difference.
Those who will take time to examine this
a world-wide escalation of these types of experiences to people from all walks
of life, particularly during the last half of the 20th century, to the present, will discover an explosive revelation of
inestimable value to each and all of us. Together, we could begin to ask
ourselves such useful questions as,
What will it take for this phenomenon and what is behind it to impact on enough
of us to achieve a critical mass of people who have been
transformed to live out of the characteristics mentioned above?
What far-reaching consequences will this evolutionary trend in consciousness
have on us individually and collectively?
What might we do to bring this quiet if emphatic revolution into the
everyday consciousness of our worldwide human family, that it may fully live within us and through
us, heal us and transform our world?
How long will it take for enough of us to become aware of the incomparable
worth this type of event is to us -- that it is a must-have, a
personal and collective imperative? As something so powerfully persuasive,
compelling, alluring, irresistible, magnetically attractive, you -- and we
-- just cannot live without it!?
And on the other hand, what will it take for us to realize that without such
awareness, such experience and understanding,
our lives are tragically compromised and depleted of any lasting meaning,
fulfillment, or hope? We must understand the choice we are making
What will it take for the vast majority of us to become aware of the fact
that such transformative events are quite personally accessible, learnable,
and achievable for everyone?
How long before a snowball effect propels this phenomenon into becoming a
sweeping, global focus, a living Consciousness Movement, heart-sourced in the experiential
certainty of who and what we are individually and together --
Spirit-Incarnate -- without the need for a mile-wide meteor to get
our necessary attention?
And will it be in time to make the critical difference for our continued
habitation of this blessed Earth?
of Things to Come
Over the course of the last many years, I've pursued an avid interest in what I
call "death-transcendent" exceptional human experiences (DT-EHEs).
An exceptional human experience or EHE, according to Rhea A. White (see
life story), alludes to any "unusual, nonordinary,
anomalous, supernatural, transpersonal, metanormal, transcendent experience …
that [is] instrumental in transforming the identity, life, and worldview of [an
experiencer] in the direction of realizing their full human potential." By death-transcendent, I mean any EHE that provides a direct, personal
breakthrough awareness into an all-inclusive reality innate to, yet outside the
measuring / labeling five-sensory reach of our more immediately familiar
physical consensus reality. Such an
experience leaves its recipient with an absolute knowing that even though the physical body
may cease to function, one's sense of self, the I-consciousness, survives.
[This is a helpful hint alluding to the MORE that it means to be Human,
per William James and Rhea White, which is beautifully described in one of
There are many types of death-transcendent EHEs, including the now
household-word varieties -- near-death experiences, out-of-body experiences,
after-death communications, visionary and mystical experiences. The
single-most telling feature that underscores the authenticity of these events,
aside from the various features in common, is the fact that experiencers are transformed by their personal encounters with this
supersensible or transcendent
reality in a fairly universal way, although the degree and expression of that is
unique to each person. Also, please know, although I
place emphasis on this particular type, White is very clear from her decades of
resulting values, worldview, and behavioral shift
associated with these are a nearly universal outcome
associated with any and all
types of EHEs. DT-EHEs do tend to stick in a more permanent way than some
other types -- the only reason I emphasize them at all.
Here’s the point:
Regardless of EHEers' former worldview and values, the universal nature of this
transformation includes, as mentioned earlier, a deepening or spontaneous
development of profoundly affecting moral consciousness and reverence for all
life and a genuine need to serve and help others in whatever way they can.
These fortunates share an exquisitely, inwardly orchestrated congruency in their
post-EHE values and larger-than-life perspective. For most DT-EHEers
and EHEers in general, such 'realer-than-real' events become the outstanding guiding light
of the remainder of their lives.
Be Known, It Must Be Experienced
Sounds so obvious but useful to recognize, EHEers
also have their Experiences in common. There's just no getting around the
fact that hearing someone else tell about the "Secret Garden" is not
the same as peering over the wall, much less jumping in for a visit!
Atwater, for example, remarks, "As
a researcher I can assure you that any type of near-death experience can be
life-changing," having observed this in
thousands of Experiencers she has studied.
"But as an experiencer, I can positively affirm that being
bathed in The Light on the other side of death is more than life changing."
Speaking of the Light she experienced, she
says, "You know it’s God.
No one has to
tell you. You know you no longer believe in God, for belief implies doubt.
There is no more doubt. None. You now KNOW God. And
you know that you know. And you’re never the same again."
Again, White's commentary comes to
mind. Also as a researcher of many years and as an Experiencer, she has said:
to be known,
they must be
Our imaginations and empathy and even possibly
forgotten such experiences and memories / dreams of Otherwhere may make us
imagine what this is like. But this is the very real difference between
belief and experience. It is one thing to watch a skydiver fall
intentionally out of an airplane at 40,000 feet; it's quite another and very
visceral thing to fall into the open sky yourself, at 40,000 feet up! It
is one thing to hear someone tell about hir
memory of surrendering a last breath into dying, knowing heshe
is experiencing the moment of death, lapsing into unconsciousness with that
thought, then becoming stunningly aware of a very other ['realer than real']
Living Reality. And: then coming back to this world with that absolute
memory. It is literally a world-removed to experience this
With all due respect to belief
[faith is a whole other species, a harbinger of things to come! See *** at
end of this article.] -- we would have surely
destroyed our world and each other long before now without this mana to sustain
belief is belief, experience is experience. Belief is fed largely by the [in this context, Exceptional] Experiences of others. You really can't
have belief without experience and vice versa. But we also
can't get around the fact that you can't have belief without doubt; they are the
two sides of the same coin. Yvonne
Kason, who also had a life-shattering
near-death experience tells us, "I believed in a God both because I had
been taught to do so and because the belief gave me hope that the world -- and
humankind -- might somehow survive its history of senseless violence and
repeated wars." During her experience, she says, "I was still in
that beautiful, peaceful state of mind, and I knew with absolute certainty
that death held nothing to fear. I felt only a vague intellectual
curiosity and can remember thinking 'Oh, I see, I am meant to die here in the
life play I'm acting in just now.' Blissfully I surrendered to the divine
speaking from the period just following her NDE, the whole tenor of her inner
Shift is gripping: "For some time I remained in a state of awe.
I wept with joy at the thought of being alive and at having been given a second
chance. When I looked at the world, a rapturous love flooded out of me
towards everyone and everything. During those weeks, wonder filled my
life, and I frequently wept with joy. Any song that mentioned love, life,
children, parents, animals, or righting any type of social injustice made me
weep often and triggered feelings of bliss. I felt a powerful, personal
connection to God, and I realized that every other person on the planet was
connected to God in the same way."
So the bottom
line is, Experience is experience. What so
many Experiencers today are realizing one by
one: if there is one thing that can save us from ourselves and save our
planet, it is our having and being transformed by these singular sacred Experiences. Nothing so shores up Belief as a good
dose of Experience now and then!
One day, out of the blue, the obvious struck
me like the
How would our lives be different if most-to-all
of humanity took for granted such experiences as an essential right-of-passage toward
realizing and manifesting our highest potential and purpose, as well as the
ultimate Healing for ourselves and for our Earth? [... which of course they are for each and all of us, but we have to manage to
comprehend this.] Also, what if we could
generate these life-transforming experiences / processes safely, without dire threat to our physical
existence? [… there are many
methods and technologies that greatly increase our potential for manifesting
just such experiences. It is, nevertheless, up to us what we do with them,
once we are touched by them.]
Put aside for the moment the question of
what it might take to make this a passionate priority in most people's lives, and
let's just imagine that most of us do actively seek the opportunity to
have the kind of direct experiences that would grace us with such Knowing.
Wouldn't you agree that under these conditions we might have a real chance to
create together the world we long to experience? As a result of this insight, the
'onamission' that possesses me is to contribute
to the special movement nurturing this awareness into a global phenomenon, to
feed the flame of its unfoldment within the consciousness of an actively
interested, EHE-conscious and -inspired humanity.
These apparent events, by the way,
are merely the trigger to a whole process -- White labeled it
the EHE Process, which
is where the actual transformation unfolds, like the opening of a flower,
germinated from a seedling, in its own time and way and in the
presence of that knowing within. Yvonne Kason had a month of respite after
her NDE, and during that time, she began to integrate the fact of these
"two Worlds" of which she was now aware that we inhabit. Each
has profound significance for the other, in all things, in all ways. She
saw this world so differently in [literally!] Light of the other! Also she
mentions another occurrence typical of EHEers; other types of exceptional
experiences began to happen that reinforced and expanded what she had learned
from the first event. The acceptance and receptivity seem to draw them
forth and at the same time one's otherworldly sensory abilities are also
growing. This becomes a lifelong unfolding of a whole new order of
ever-expanding awareness and understanding.
Key Is "The Sum of the Many" ... Waking Up!
I have every confidence that, like cars, computers and grassroots environmental groups, this Idea's time is upon us and may just be the next
evolutionary LEAP we are collectively moving into; I call it a Consciousness Shift.
I also call it a Global Movement of many millions of people that is poised on the very edge of its own self/Self discovery, thinking too of the
"Self that we all
the Oneness factor so many EHEers mention. PMH Atwater
has a gift for articulating so sensitively about EHEs, NDEs being her primary
focus. She has had at least three near-death experiences and has been immersed for decades in
Beyond the Light, she commented, "The real power that emerges from near-death experiences is a collective one--not what one person saw or heard, but the sum of the many."
We together, "the
sum of the many" are about to Wake Up!
[O]ur faith is not foolish; it is not a credulous stupidity but a fore-knowledge,
something in us that knows before we do, sees before we do, and which sends its
vision and knowledge to the surface in the form of a yearning, a seeking, an
inexplicable faith. Faith, says Sri Aurobindo, is an intuition
not only waiting for experience to justify it, but leading towards experience.
* * *
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