PREFACE: This is a reprint of booklet published in 1972 documenting a narrative describing a spontaneous transcendent episode which I experienced back in 1970. I believe it describes what is commonly associated with a Tantra yoga scenario where sexual union culminated (for me but not my partner Patti Brown in a supreme transcendence- a nirvikalpa samadhi. In this case however the event occurred in an environment devoid of any religious symbolism, belief or significance as we were an agnostic couple in a significant relationship and simply intent on "making love". It does suggest that all the discipline and ritual associated with Tantra doctrine for attaining God realization is incidental to achieving a quality of ecstasy- inducing a momentary state of absolute fulfillment and desirelessness- that can trigger the transcendent event.
Recently (December, 1998) I was hurrying by a table of used books our local library was selling and a slim volume kindof called out to me from where it was wedged between other volumes. Turned out to be Subtle Body, Essence and Shadow by David V. Tansley, one of a "Art and Imagination" series published by Thames and Hudson of London. Over the next few weeks I casually skimmed the text and came to a kind of summary near the very end that deals directly with a very specific feature of the transcendent scenario described below. See if you don't agree that the original phrase I used to describe the moment where I was launched on my journey- "a dark, horizontal slot" doesn't coincide in an extraordinary way with the fundamental subject of the last chapter of the book entitled The Quantum Leap in Consciousness?
A MYSTICAL EXPERIENCE
Published 1972 by The Wholeness Foundation,
Duke Station, Durham, NC
The following account was written more than eighteen months after the experience, however, the concepts, language and terms used throughout are those used when it was first described (with the exception of certain items duly noted). In the past few months I've done considerable skimming of material dealing with psychical and mystical phenomena but at the time of the event I was in an almost completely naive state regarding these subjects.
I haven't included any details of the lovemaking session which triggered the event since I think those would be relevant only to Patti and myself. With this exception, what follows is as exact and accurate an account of the experience as I am capable of writing with particular care not to mix after-the-fact insight.
The first time I remember anything remotely mystical, spiritual or religious was when I was about seven or eight years old. Just before sleeping I had a vision of being inside a long, narrow tunnel. Far away at the opposite end I saw a tiny, silhouetted figure with a conical cap, dancing. I thought it was God. It gave me an icky feeling. When I was 16, suffering from an extremely inhibited, introverted personality, I had read a book on self-hypnosis and helped my condition through a combination of breath control and auto-suggestion. Throughout the balance of my adult life, up to the time of the experience, I had lived with an extremely vague philosophy which evolved from atheism to maybe deism around the time I turned thirty. For some brief moments thereafter, I rather pretended to have faith in ancient Greek, Norse, etc. gods, and during a time when my diving work seemed particularly hazardous due to frequent contact with sharks, I conjured up great, black shark gods which circled me protectively when I was fearful decompressing in turbid water. I had not read or discussed mystical, or religious literature although I had a vague idea of what ESP was supposed to be and had an ordinary curiosity about things such as ghosts, flying saucers, abominable snow-men and the like. I had heard the terms astral projection and psi force without knowledge or curiosity.
During the period of a few years immediately preceding the experience, my life was enriched by a number of young women who encouraged me to be less materialistic and project-oriented. Living had become a more joyful experience and these relationships suggested that emotional and sensual joy had no necessary limits. It appeared that I was the classic middle-age guy [age 42] given a "new lease on life" but in my case it was better than ever before. For the past year, I'd been into a beautiful, upward relationship with Patti- a sensitive, open-minded girl, and we were experiencing a mutual, sensual and emotional growth of great magnitude. Neither of us have used psychedelic drugs.
Some time in 1970, Ed Fisher, in relation with Patti Brown, was blessed with a profound experience.
This afternoon Patti and I made love and later- our climax was spectacular and mine was of such profound intensity and depth that I felt I had experienced the most complete, Earthly ecstasy possible. After some moments, when I normally would have felt the orgasmic spasms subside, the physical or physiological symptoms rapidly diminished but the emotional ecstasy not only persisted, but seemed to be growing in intensity. There was the feeling that maybe something even more profound was about to happen and I rolled over onto the adjacent bed and arranged a position where I was flat on my back with my hands crossed over my chest. The sexual quality was now completely replaced by a feeling of radiant joy throughout my entire being, accompanied by an increasingly poignant sense of emotional ecstasy which was rapidly becoming a spiritual sensation. (About a minute had passed since lying on my back.) As this sensation intensified, my regular physical senses started to become numbed. Through my art appreciation studies, I was familiar with the Bodhisattva smile and I semi-consciously helped my facial muscles, which seemed to be pulled by a warm, electric-like force, transform my expression into a similar smile of absolute ecstasy. The electric-like sensation grew in intensity and rapidly spread throughout my entire body and I became enveloped in a soft "glow" of exquisitely sweet energy. Although I had no sense of hearing outside sounds, there was an impression of a soft, rushing noise associated with this feeling. My eyes were closed but the dark field which normally seems filled with minute sparkles of varicolored light was clearing to a truly black intensity, my hearing and sense of touch were attenuated until finally I was physically numb and the electric feeling, the ecstasy and the darkening field was all there was to my consciousness save for the awareness that I was about to be "launched" out on a profound journey...outward, inward of wherever. I felt the kind of anticipatory excitement that you get as a passenger in a jet at the moment the tremendous thrust just starts to develop to drive the plane down the runway to takeoff.
All these sensations seemed to be peaking; the dark field seemed to squeeze into an even darker horizontal, rectangular slot and with a gentle lurch that seemed to kick my head back , I shot through the slot into the very blackest void for the merest fraction of a second. Instantly the light returned and I was on my way, completely aware of my naked body with arms crossed on my chest being carried "upwards" at fantastic speed in a stream of energy. I was in an exhilarated state of sharp consciousness and clearly aware that I was on a supreme adventure. There was the impression of pale, green and peach-colored rivulets of energy rippling in the stream, the diameter of which seemed just large enough to accommodate my body and the whole, appeared to undulate as if in response to the great force and speed of the energy involved. I experienced an extremely pleasant sensation as the "plasmic" stream rushed over my body.
Very soon, my consciousness rapidly intensified and as the stream sped me on, an ever-increasing clarity seemed to reveal all personal and collective memory, knowledge and wisdom. As fast as this immense body of intelligence was presented, it was realized, first as awesome, almost immediately became insignificant and then was left far behind in irrelevance.
After a few moments of traveling and getting the impression I'd been transported far from Earth, I felt myself slowing down in the stream (as if the stream continued at the same speed but with lessening energy) and as this happened, I became aware of a message "coming-down-to-me" to the effect that-IF I WERE TO CONTINUE, I MUST AGREE TO DIE. I received the unmistakable impression that I was being offered a choice from some external, cosmic intelligence...to live and return now, or to accept earthly, physical, permanent death and continue this journey to the unknown. Without hesitation, and in fact without losing a great deal of my ecstatic feeling, I generated a clearly conscious YES...and accepted death. With this, my speed again increased in the stream and I traveled even longer and further than before without much change in my condition.
At some point, my self-conscious awareness began to be superceded by a radiant sense of cosmic awareness which seemed to approach the absolute. I recall a blazing light starting at my feet, and in a relentless rush, coursing up my body, annihilating my physical substance (kindof like a Fourth of July sparkler consuming itself) and when it came to my head, (still speeding in the stream) all form and consciousness, in a kind of slow-motion burst, transformed the last trace of my physical or conscious "self" into a dazzling, expanding, gigantic light. As this rapidly expanding "I" was thrown out free by the stream into a cosmic void where "I" almost immediately became joined with a cosmic entirety in a state of absolute, ecstatic equilibrium...a separate but joined, immense, dazzling pure light of cosmic awareness. (The impression I have which may not be accurate memory of this particular instant, but something I conceptualized later during recall, is that "I" was in union with infinite cosmic forces; "my" light was white, intense, immense but finite as "I" was aware of its outer limits; there was the feeling that there were other similar systems "out there". There was in this cosmic ecstasy a dimension of cosmic family love and it was infused throughout this infinite system.
This state persisted for some time- then "my" light started to retract.
"My" light quickly coalesced and "I" became aware of a process reversing. As "my" light diminished and dim consciousness started to return, "I" rushed from space, was picked up by the plasmic stream and sped me in a reverse journey. Now all cosmic presence disappeared; 'I' had an almost sleepy consciousness but was fully aware once again of 'my' body with arms crossed rushing with the stream (feet first this time) and aware of the rushing sound and pleasant feeling. ('I' had a sense of self but absolutely no sense of what or who I was.) The sensation at this point was not ecstatic but more one of total, rather euphoric satisfaction and not sure or particularly concerned where 'I' was going. Again cosmic intelligence came down to me; more like a calling after me, that, 'I' WAS RETURNING, THAT DEATH WAS ONLY TEMPORARY. Near overwhelmed with the magnitude of this blessing, 'I' hurtled down with the stream but soon felt my first slight anxiety, that after all this miracle, 'I' might not remember. Several times during the descent 'I' "asked" that 'I' (be permitted to) remember after 'I' returned..."let 'me' remember, let 'me' remember". As 'I' became aware that 'I' was nearing the end of 'my' journey, just as 'I' neared the end of the stream, there was a flash cognition of the following scene: The open end of the stream was surrounded by a kind of separate entity; a filamentous, fallopian tube-like form, with a funnel-like opening at the top somewhat enclosing the end of the stream. It's consistency ranged from near-invisible, to filamentous to where the stream shot 'me' out and it increased in density and consistency to become a rather pale-brown tapered tube as it uniformly narrowed and formed several turns to where it was connected to the top of the head of what appeared to be the body of a small, brown "dormouse-type" creature in a supine position some distance below. As 'I' shot from the stream into the funnel end of the tube, 'I' felt my shoulders and the rest of 'me' slip smoothly and exquisitely, comfortably down the opening and in a split second 'my' whole body had shot snugly thru the tube (diminishing in size to conform to the narrowing of the tube rather than deforming the tube) through the top of 'my' head- injected into the matrix of 'my' sleeping body and swelled up quickly (as if I were the air which filled 'my' body like a rubber beach toy) tight against 'my' skin. At no time during the entire return journey did 'I' envision that 'I' had a human identity or that there was a phenomenal world that 'I' was returning to, except that 'I' was injected into the unrecognized object described. The whole process of slipping thru the tube took only a fraction of a second but evoked an immensely pleasant rush of that feeling you get "coming home". I was instantly asleep in my body. Early that evening I awoke and remembered nothing of my journey but the next morning, after a full night's sleep, I remembered all I've described here.
SpaceTime Warp Wormhole Samadhi I Return From Samadhi III
Consciousness Wormholes - an extended presentation of images and references to the numinous 'funnel' epiphenomenon 'I' experienced during 'my' return journey from Nirvikalpa Samadhi.
Update 12 05 11
An animated Flash portrayal of the moment in my samadhi journey when I had emerged from the transporting energy stream and a brilliant white light appeared at my feet, steadily coursed up my body annihilating my substance and when it enveloped my head - my consciousness inflated in a slow-motion explosion to Nirvikalpa samadhi non dual/no self - like a drop dissolving in a cosmic ocean of purest light/bliss/love. See Optional Samadhi Animated Gif
Update 01 07 12
A slow-mo animated gif portraying the moment in returning from my Nirvikalpa non-dual episode (now back in a state of conscious duality) when the energy stream injected me into a funnel opening to an astral cord connected to the top of the head of my unconscious body - some 30 or so feet below. I felt myself slip instantaneously through the tube and fill the volume of my body like the air filling a beach toy - evoking a distinct feeling of "coming home" well-being and was immediately swept into unconscious sleep.
Another Contemporary Samadhi Account with synchronicity of features of being sucked into a tunnel, a manifestation of a God consciousness communicating that- "IF YOU WANT TO CONTINUE YOU MUST BE PREPARED TO DIE"! -and apon agreeing- shooting upwards, at seemingly unbelievable velocity, into the Brilliant White Light and total Bliss of Samadhi."
My Psycho/Sexual Profile A brief autobiography to help explain my social dysfunction and psycho/sexual immaturity.
Update 03 08 10 Upanishad Synchronicity I discover some extraordinary synchronicities of both specific features and the entire scenario of the ascent in my Nirvikalpa Samadhi to the Brihadaranyaka and Katha Upanishads.
Many readers will feel that this experience, if transcendent at all, is nothing more than a variation of happenings reported throughout the spiritual literature by Egyptian, Hindu, Buddhist, Tao and Christian mystics as well as by countless "primitive" shamans and the like. Modern yogis and persons tripping on psychedelic drugs claim similar experiences. Out-of-the-body experiences of a less than spiritual nature and the whole spectrum of psychic and occult phenomena, undoubtedly related to the transcendent event in a fuzzy way, are attracting serious scientific attention world-wide.
It appears that the light of transcendence has fallen on ordinary folk as well as Jesus, Gautama and Teresa of Avila. For the former, it may be remembered as a dream too absurd to speak of. Others grasped the cosmic wisdom and tried to show us a path revealed in the context of their own nature, time and experience.
Although there may be little that is new in this account, it is close to the here-and-now and as free of symbols and interpretation as subjective words allow.
Whether the transcendent experience represents a truly mystical event or is rather some archetypal expression of the human unconscious as Jung proposed, it is as essential a part of the human condition as all the other phenomenally "provable" aspects.
A Separate Reality, Carlos Castaneda, Simon and Schuster, 1971
Be Here Now, Baba Ram Das, Lama Foundation, 1972
Dark Night of the Soul, St. John of the Cross, Image, 1959
Ecstatic Religion, I.M. Lewis, Penguian, 1971
Intimations of Immortality, Robert Crookall, James Clarke and Company, 1965
The Interpretation of Cosmic and Mystical Experiences, Robert Crookall, James Clarke and Company, 1969
Nature, Man and Woman, Alan Watts, Vintage, 1958
Out of the Body Experiences- A Fourth Analysis, Robert Crookall, University Books, 1970
Pleasure, Alexander Lowen, Lancer, 1970
Sex Energy, Robert S. de Ropp, Delta, 1969
The Doors of Perception, Aldous Huxley, Perennial Library, 1970
The Projection of the Astral Body, Mulddon and Carring, S. Weiser, 1970 (first 1929)
The Secrete Oral Teachings in Tibetan Buddhist Sects, A. David-Neel and Lama Yongden, City Lights, 1967
The Tantric Tradition, Agehananda Bharati, Anchor, 1965
Transcendental Meditation, Maharish Mahesh Yogi, Signet, 1968
The Varieties of Psychedelic Experience, Masters and Houston, Delta, 1966
Theta, Bulletin of the Psychical Research Foundation, Inc., -W.G. Roll, Chapel Hill, NC
Other books in print by Robert Crookall
Interpretation of Cosmic and Mystical Experiences 1969
Intimations of Immortality 1987 - A carefully researched study of near-death and out-of-the-body experiences, and the evidence they provide for survival after physical death.
The Supreme Adventure: Analyses of Psychic Communications 1961.
1. Wholeness is an invented term expressing the ultimate reality (or non reality) partially revealed through transcendent experience. The feeling is that this account describes one infinitesimal step towards awareness of an ultimate state similar but not identical to the Buddhist concept of Suchness. Update about this comment
As the notion of a personified or personal God is as uncomfortable for me as it is for the Buddhist, so is the idea that a perfect, unchanging model of Truth (and paths leading to it) has been revealed. Although we can learn the ways of other paths we should be open to the sometimes subtle, sometimes dramatic insights we can receive from our personal earthly/cosmic interfacing (meditating or spontaneous transcendence). Wholeness therefore allows for feedback between these two states suggesting ultimate reality is continually evolving.
3. Crookall (see reading list) reports persons describing their astral transport as a feeling of being underwater. Since I've been a diver for many years, I can say that only in a vague sense is the feeling similar to being enveloped by fast-flowing water such as I've experienced while diving in subterranean springs when you enter a hydrant (usually a narrow tunnel where water velocity increases). A much better descriptive term is plasmic stream or, a phrase I picked up later- plasmic or ionic wind.
4. There were some difficult decisions to be made regarding the publication of this account. First, wether to even publish it at all because as Benjamin Witchcote says, "If you say you have a revelation...I must have a revelation too, before I can believe you". Secondly- our sexual session which triggered the event is an interesting part of the story but I decided that details were not an integral component to appreciating the transcendent experience. Thirdly- I was most concerned about revealing the details of my "testing" when the cosmic message came down to me regarding a death agreement. My concern was that in revealing the terms and my answer (I later interpreted my "YES" as having arrived at a desireless state and detatching from the phenomenal world) I would be disclosing the "secret" and therefore make it difficult for any reader to be sure they weren't faking it if a time came when they experienced a mystical death.
I was so concerned about this, that a few days after writing this account, I awakened around 3:00 A.M. and tried to go into a meditative trance to establish cosmic communication. I was going to simply ask for what is commonly called "divine guidance".
I got into the physically numbed, electrically on, dark-field or take-off state and consciously formed the question, "should I reveal the test?" After a few minutes with no impression, I relaxed what I could sense was my tension or energy strain desiring an answer and felt it draining away, draining away- away- away, and when it all had disappeared, I was in a super-relaxed state. In this condition I calmly put out a conscious request directed to cosmic consciousness to please send me a message in a dream after I went to sleep. Then I went up to a normal state and went to sleep.
In the morning I woke up and couldn't remember dreaming anything at all. Since it was apparent I wasn"t going to get any cosmic help, I was resigned to try to make a rational decision that day.
At breakfast, Patti (unaware of my conflict over this point) was very anxious to tell me a dream she had last night. (Patti only occasionally tells me about her lucid dreams about her school days, or action dreams about friends, always very detailed and usually amusing or sexy. On rare occasions she has spidery or monster dreams where she is frightened and always preoccupied with escape until she either does so or wakes up.)
Patti's Dream: It was night and I was leaving an old estate which I had sneaked in to see. An eerie feeling was growing and I sensed something scary was about to happen. I walked quickly away and suddenly noticed a strange figure coming towards me across a field beyond a wire fence. It was awkwardly hurrying along as if intending to intercept me. As he neared the fence which separated us, I could see his pale, mask-like, oriental face and there was no question in my mind that he was Death. I was fearful but because he appeared so awkward, I felt I could easily escape. He looked distressed and as he struggled over the fence, his long garment caught in the barbed-wire. As I stood watching, he held his hand out bidding me to help him. I was afraid, but felt that if I didn't, I would inevitably encounter him another time and place. I walked back, took his hand, and helped him over the fence. Then I woke up.
When I heared this, I felt is was the "answer in a dream" I had asked for and that cosmic wisdom, in addition to having a Trickster sense of humor, has infinite ways to test us as well as answer our prayers. We can't cheat Death which is just a word describing a part of the cosmic process. This is why I feel O.K. about revealing the "secret" in this account.
5. By cosmic family, I mean Wholeness. The love exchanged is [like that] with symbolic mother, father, sister, brother, children, lover, self and others as well as nature, Earth and the source of all-cosmic consciousness. (Update 11 21 2011: I realize that in non duality the felt love was totally without object. End Update)
About two months ago, having just read Crookall's Fourth Analysis just before going to sleep, I became very moved by the striking correlation of features he described, to my own experience. I was internally expressing a deep-felt "thanks" to "cosmic forces" for their blessing and went into a spontaneous "trance" where I achieved the physically turned-off, electrically turned-on state. Instead of taking-off however I simply consciously projected my thanks and love to the cosmic "family" and felt it returned. There were several cycles back and forth and when a reciprocal wave surged through me, I felt a warm rush of electric-like energy which immediatly caused an ecstatic spasm to jolt my being like a spiritual orgasm. After about three or five minutes, the cosmic love-session ended, leaving me blissfully stunned for a little while.
6. The term fallopian tube was the one I used at first to describe this entity but it was a quick grab at something to express a partial concept of its function rather than its appearance since I really have no idea what a real fallopian tube looks like.
Beyond the Implicate Order- Examining the metaphysical implications of my samadhi experience.
Cosmic Electromagnetic Model A review of features in my transcendent journey suggests that electromagnetic wave action that fills universal space and its entanglement with our neurophoton fields may be the fundamental manifestation of a Conscious Cosmic Matrix.
Cosmic Consciousness - an examination of scientific perspectives.