What the **** was That?

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Note: what follows is a more or less verbatim copy from a written account I made in 1983.

I had the strangest experience last week. I have never experienced anything quite so odd in my life.

Time, about twenty past three, in the morning. I'd gone to bed at around two o'clock Saturday morning and fallen asleep. I awoke, not gripped by fear or evil so much as intense surprise. I kept saying to myself, "what the hell was that?".  

Well, we'd has a big thunderstorm the previous evening, and it had gone very dark under the thick clouds. Heavy rain fell, many overpoweringly bright flashes and bangs came. I remember looking out at the darkness caused by the cloud.

That was one reality.

In my sleeping reality, I was with my family, and there was a heavy storm approaching. I don't remember it raining. We looked at some buildings, as one does when in a street, perhaps standing in a doorway and looking out at the houses opposite. The darkening of the sky was extreme and the buildings looked odd in the dimming light. So far normality, everyday reality ruled. But then a new reality, dimly remembered perhaps: the darkness rapidly fell, within two or three seconds the whole world had become black. And silent. The effect was as if the whole world had stopped. No motion no time no light no sound. Within myself was a powerful sensation, a recognition that this was a profound change, a crux, cusp, turning point. It was perhaps as if all life was a ball thrown in the air and still rising. This was the moment at the top of its flight, that moment when it comes to a halt.

But I felt odd, frightened a little, aware that "it" had happened. It was as if all matter had disappeared. There was no air. I did not feel any discomfort of suffocation or breathlessness, but felt as if all air had been sucked from my body as the atmospheric pressure fell to zero. With the loss of all matter, sound, light, there was also no time. The moment was eternity. (That sounds now to me like repetition of a cliché, but it is a fair description of my experience). And I felt infinitely small. There was still some sort of universe and I was in it, very small, reduced to a pinpoint. It was as if my body was a rubber glove and had been turned inside-out. That appears to contradict being point-sized. What I mean is, I seemed to shrink to a point and pass through it, whatever that may mean.

There was a vague sense of falling, but normally one falls relative to something eg a cliff, a building or just the ground. Here I had no point of reference and the "falling" is more a way to describe the sensation than a factual description.

(The original account goes on at some length, repeating itself somewhat, attempting to emphasise the profoundness of the change).

The sky was dark, the light heavily filtered through the clouds. Then the world ended. This illusion we live ground to a halt, as if we were watching a cinema film and the projector was turned off. The motion ceased and the light dimmed. I seemed to exhale every last breath from my body as the world shut off. There was an eerie sensation, perhaps from a forgotten but half-remembered  famililiarity with this experience. I was a little confused, rather frightened, perhaps as one would be if one was walking along and the ground disappeared beneath one's feet.

Shortly afterwards I awoke in my bedroom. I felt somewhat overwhelmed at what had just happened. Although it seems to start with a dream, and end with an awakening, what took place in between was something other. I had a few ideas at the time as to what it meant. Since so many years have since elapsed, it seems odd that the part I now remember best is not even recorded in the above written account. There was a sound that was so deep and powerful that it wasn't a sound. As the light faded and the world ground to a halt, there was an indescribable sound, almost a feeling, a sort of grinding or rumbling as all motion ceased. The biggest difficulty in all of this is attempting to describe the indescribable.  
(This post was last modified: 2018-06-28, 06:04 PM by Typoz.)
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I hope you can find an answer to WTF that was all about but I'm not sure I can add much. I do quite often get little glimpses of something "other". Like just the other day I was momentarily stopped in my tracks by the feeling that this day-to-day reality was but a small part of something unimaginably bigger. I don't know what triggered the feeling but it was very strong. Likewise another occasion when I suddenly started "remembering" scenes from a life that could have been, had I taken different decisions earlier in this life. This sort of thing happens out of the blue but so very intense for just a moment that it kind of shakes my equilibrium. I'm betting a psychiatrist would start prescribing pills for schizophrenia without much hesitation.

By the way, did anyone tell you that you have a talent for descriptive writing?
I do not make any clear distinction between mind and God. God is what mind becomes when it has passed beyond the scale of our comprehension.
Freeman Dyson
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(2018-06-28, 09:30 PM)Kamarling Wrote: I hope you can find an answer to WTF that was all about but I'm not sure I can add much. I do quite often get little glimpses of something "other". Like just the other day I was momentarily stopped in my tracks by the feeling that this day-to-day reality was but a small part of something unimaginably bigger. I don't know what triggered the feeling but it was very strong. Likewise another occasion when I suddenly started "remembering" scenes from a life that could have been, had I taken different decisions earlier in this life. This sort of thing happens out of the blue but so very intense for just a moment that it kind of shakes my equilibrium. I'm betting a psychiatrist would start prescribing pills for schizophrenia without much hesitation.
I'm sure most of us, from time to time, have some occurrences which "shake our equilibrium". Though individual responses may vary. The ability to experience wonderment can be very worthwhile - I though I say this as someone who still takes delight in seeing rainbow colours on a wall or ceiling when a stray sunbeam reflects from a compact disc.

A little more on the original experience at the start of this thread. Within about 30 seconds of my 'waking' from the experience, I heard the sound of other occupants in the house getting up to use the bathroom. Since it was night time, there was no sound of voices, all was done quietly. At first I had the idea that all of us had had a shared experience - perhaps even the whole street ... who knows. But then I suspected instead that I myself had woken them since during my experience I was disconcerted and mentally calling out. Perhaps it was this psychic call which disturbed their sleep. At any rate, the fact that it was immediately afterwards is worth noting.

After I returned to an ordinary waking state, I noted that I was very alert, not dreamy, and was breathing very slowly and calmly. Afterwards I considered that perhaps I had been breathing very slowly, and had taken an unusually long pause between breaths - in effect I may have stopped breathing briefly. This is a recognised phenomenon during sleep.  

A couple of days later I came across some photographs in a book of the city of Pompeii, destroyed by a volcanic eruption. Plaster casts had been made of the bodies of the people as they fell, entombed by the ash and lava. (Many people were first suffocated by poisonous gases as they attempted to flee). For some reason these human figures in their deathly postures struck me very deeply and poignantly. It was only after seeing those images that I was reminded of my experience of a few days previous, and was prompted to write it down.

So even at the time I was considering what had happened as a kind of death experience. Now, decades later I would not be surprised to next read something like: "in the distance, I saw a point of light, which became larger and brighter and ...". That is to say, with the benefit of hindsight, it sounds not unlike the very earliest part of a near-death experience. Had it lasted a hundred or a thousand times longer, maybe it would have unfolded that way - as it was, it seems it was just a short pause between one breath and the next.

Another thing which, with the benefit of hindsight, stands out, is the similarity of the start of the experience with a total solar eclipse. The rapid onset of darkness sounds quite similar. But not entirely the same of course.

Quote:By the way, did anyone tell you that you have a talent for descriptive writing?
Maybe my English teacher did. But I think he was addressing the whole class, all thirty of us, at the time. Still, as that was a compliment, then thank you. (I'm not sure I write as well now as I did thirty-five years ago).
(This post was last modified: 2018-07-01, 07:34 AM by Typoz.)
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Typoz - That was beautiful, thank you so much for sharing that!

A couple of short quotes that may resonate.......cheers!:

Quote:“The Omkar vibrates like a storm in the sky. It has neither beginning nor end. It is the stage manager of the divine drama. The body of man is a string of Om, it is filled with Om. All that is, inside us, outside us, everywhere, is born of Om. It is present in everything. The Shakti [Power] that is the Omkar is not finite, it is infinite and indivisible. It exists in all creatures. Pranava is Om. When Om unites with prana and moves in the body, this is Pranava. When nature and the subtle are separate, it is Pranava; when both are felt to be one, there is the Oneness: Om. Om is seen everywhere. The Shakti that is Om fills and penetrates the universe, it is formless, it is the light in all directions” (Avadhuta Nityananda Paramhansa, Nitya Sutra 95).

“The energy of the Omkar is like an infinite ocean, it moves in all directions, it pervades all, both inside and outside. In the form of buddhi it becomes creation, preservation, dissolution; it becomes soundless. The unstruck sound merges in buddhi. Buddhi dissolves in the Omkar, all merge and become one. Om and reason, the world and buddhi, the world and Om merge into the heart-sky, the heart-sky merges in buddhi, buddhi into akasha, akasha and buddhi into Omkar, the imperishable and the buddhi merge” (Avadhuta Nityananda Paramhansa, Nitya Sutra 96).


Quote:> As one drawn to his lost spiritual home
> Feels now the closeness of a waiting love,
> Into a passage dim and tremulous
> That clasped him in from day and night’s pursuit,
> He travelled led by a mysterious sound.

> A murmur multitudinous and lone,
> All sounds it was in turn, yet still the same.

> A hidden call to unforeseen delight
> In the summoning voice of one long-known, well-loved,
> But nameless to the unremembering mind,
> It led to rapture back the truant heart.

> Sri Aurobindo, [_Savitri - I: The World-Soul_](http://incarnateword.in/cwsa/33/the-world-soul#p5,p6,p7)
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Thank you Typoz.  It's those odd experiences that are hard to categorize that interest me the most.
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