In developing the concept of exceptional human experience (EHE) White
suggested that all EHEs begin as anomalous experiences or experiences
inexplicable in terms of accepted scientific principles. If you
have an anomalous experience that cannot be explained away and if it
tugs at you personally, giving you a feeling that you ought to do
something about it, then it is an exceptional
(EE). An EE is an anomalous experience that cannot be dismissed
rationally or personally. The experiencer feels compelled to
pursue it for some distance, at least.
There are a number of ways to follow up on your EEs. In general,
we can say do your best to find out more about the experience and others
like it, stay open to any personal feelings / ideas it engenders, and
conscientiously follow up every lead for at least a few months. By
then it is likely that one of two things will have happened:
Either you were unable to cast any light on the experience and it will
fade from memory, or you will feel "guided" in some way to
find the information you need. Some of this guidance will likely
come in the form of additional EEs, which hint that there is a track for
you to follow and that you have traveled some distance on it. When
you begin to feel compelled to follow up on your EEs in this way, you
are at the early stage of the EHE process....
When you get to the point where you have experienced the More that you
are, and are aware of an inner/outer reciprocity of experience that
loosens the boundaries of your ego-self, and you have strong intimations
that there is more to you and to life than you and been taught even to
imagine, your EE has become an EHE[, sometimes] an EE/EHE occurs
simultaneously, as in some near-death experiences. For purposes of
working with EE/EHEs and thinking about them, we lave grouped them in
the five broad classes described below. ...
are varied experiences whose core consists of a sense of greater
connection, sometimes amounting to union, with the divine, or other
people, life-forms, objects, and one's surroundings, up to and including
the universe itself. ...
are varied experiences whose core consists of a sense of personal
interaction with other people, life forms, objects, and environments in
ways that cannot be explained by known sensory, perceptual, or
mechanical means, or by rational inferences. The types of
experience in this class are often those people first think about when
they hear the terms "anomalous phenomena," paranormal
abilities, and psychic perceptions. ...
are experiences whose core consists of sensing, perceiving, or otherwise
"knowing" that an unusual or unexpected being, object, or
place that is not supposed to exist is nonetheless in your immediate
proximity, perceived either with the physical eye, or a form of
"inner seeing," or a combination of the two. Encounters
can be with recognizable beings such as Marian visions, or
recognizable classes of beings such as aliens or the phantom
hitchhiker phenomenon, or other "anomalous" beings such as Big
Foot or the so-called Loch Ness Monster, or the "little
people" (brownies and fairies). What is important here is not
simply whether these encounters are physically real but whether their
reality is imaginal [inwardly real] as opposed to "fabricated"
common denominator of these experiences is death. Included are
experiences in which these is a sense of a separation of the physical
from the nonphysical self, particularly occurring prior to, during , or
after your own or another's death, and memories of being between lives
or before a new birth. Also included are encounters with persons
or animals known to be dead or claiming to be so, some verifiable, some
not; or from persons or animals who have died, but you did not
know it when you "saw" or "communicated" with
them. This group also includes experiences of dying or being dead,
as in near-death experiences, as well as strange experiennces associated
with the moment of death, such as clocks stopping and pictures falling
as a person is dying at a distance, and after death, such as various
forms of apparent communication with the dead.
last group contains a variety of experiences whose core consists of
those that are at the very limits of what Euro-American culture
considers "normal." Often they take the form of
"personal bests" that extend the known limits of mental and
physical abilities and of emotional depths and heights. They also
include "normal" encounters with an exceptional component that
is conducive to exceptional human experience, such as encounters with a
holy person, a teacher, a mentor, or a charismatic individual.
Also included are encounters with holy places, such as temples, mosques,
cathedrals; or places associated with ancient events: the plains
of Marathon, the fields of the Olympiad, the Great Pyramid, and the
ruins of Mayan and Aztec temples. Most common, but not the least
wondrous, is the experience of being in love. Also included here
are gratuitous acts of kindness, altruistic endeavors, and the
experience of "personal bests" in any area of endeavor.
Running a sub-four-minute mile and trying your shoelaces for the first
time are both extensions of and enhancements of your being. Being
carried away by music, rhetoric, reading, art, witnessing acts of giving
or wondrous feats can all lead up to the brink of and sometimes over
into an EHE. A person who extends the boundaries for the whole
species, such as running the first four-minute mile or walking on the
moon in some way immediately potentiates the entire human species, at
least those members who know about the feat. It becomes a part of
our common human potentiality, and realizing human potentiality at the
individual and species levels is what EHEs are all about.
from RR: This is a slightly shortened version.