On reflection, due to mystical and psychical experiences that came later in my own life, I recall what is now taken to be my own first encounter with an anomalous life enhancing experience. This event took place at the age of five whilst I was a child in London during the blitz. A popular pursuit for children of that time and place was that of exploring the debris found on bomb sites, which comprised what seemed to be half of London in those days. Moreover, they were the playground of the local tribes. Early one bright spring morning I found myself running (full of the uninhibited childhood joys of existence) across such a dereliction. I have no idea now as to what was on my mind at that time; but one was probably seeking anything that might be found on such a site that could be deemed useful, like bits of string, tools, bicycle wheels, and who knows what other such childhood artefacts of great value.
The part I will never forget however, was that for some unknown reason I suddenly stopped dead in my tracks (whilst running quite fast), almost rooted to the spot in fact. Suddenly thoughts came gushing into my head; thoughts which would never have occurred to me to think about, yet alone I as a mere child to have any interest in. As I stood rooted to the spot, it was as though another part of myself were talking to me. Questions came, such questions that I would never have dreamed of asking myself or even thinking about. I asked myself: What am I doing here? What am I? Why am I me? Why am I not somebody else? Why am I not a cat that lived on earth many years ago, or a dog that will not exist here for many years yet to come? Why me, here, and now? What am I; where have I come from: and why am I here?
We know well enough from hindsight that these are the perennial questions that Humankind has asked, in rational and philosophic terms, ever since we were first on earth. Naturally I did not know that at the time. But these questions popped up in mind of their own accord and without any forethought, intent, or deliberation. I later came to call these ‘pop-in thoughts’. Children of five are not philosophers. However, that weird experience indeed made me begin to think and ask questions even at that age. They had a direct and motivating effect upon my topside daily consciousness. An intangible little experience acted upon and motivated the tangible and volitional thought process—and even directed it.
Only from the hindsight of many years and many levels of experience can one see the connection, the flow, the relevance. Hindsight is a wonderful thing—it is a pity we are not born with it. It also becomes obvious from hindsight that one person’s profound new finding is another person’s normal daily reality. On occasions, we each naturally feel that we have made the discovery and insight that the world has been in need of for millennia, only to find it is old hat to somebody else. This, of course puts things, and ourselves, into some kind of perspective and places our feet firmly back on terra firma, albeit with a shock. Naturally enough a child of five soon puts away such things and concentrates on the more practical activities of the day in conscious terms. Nevertheless, a seed has been implanted in conscious awareness which, like it or not, accept it or not, begins to shape the way one thinks and gives rise to the questions to which one seeks answers. And the process goes on, both consciously and subconsciously, for the rest of one’s life; a kind of revealed path to follow.
Our existence, or life experience, could be said to be many things. It is unarguably a learning process, but it is more than just that. It is also an interaction with life and existence itself. One directly learns that there are levels of conscious existence that are not discrete isolated existential phenomena existing in their own independent insular condition. Rather, they are varying levels of inner reality that are intrinsically tied together and that work in harmony and accord with a cosmological function within existence.
The How questions, to some extent at least, can be analysed and got at by scientific methodology as regards tangible phenomena. But the nature of the mind and consciousness itself are the most mysterious of all the known intangibles. And it is the mind itself which asks itself the Why questions—as well as such How questions as, “How do I exist on earth (or at all for that matter)?,” which require, indeed demand, different answers from the “Why do I exist” type of questions. And yet, the questions are justified questions.
We observe that every phenomenon in the known universe has a function to play in the scheme of things. We could all think of many functions that a tree has, or the sun has, or indeed, the earth itself. Not only is there nothing in the known universe that has no part to play in its existence within the sum of the whole, but also nothing that we know of in the universe contains its own causation. That is to say, every known phenomenon is a product and emanation of roots that go deeper than the surface level of that particular perceived extant phenomenon. It would thence be seen to be an isolated one-off coincidence if human consciousness had no role to play in the cosmological unfolding of all that exists—Consciousness exists; so how and why; and what are its cosmological roots and function?
Consciousness experiences itself to be the centre of all that it perceives and experiences. Everything that is not ‘‘I” is out there and all around me. In that sense, we could say that two things exist in creation. One is “I” the observer, and the other is all that which is not “I”—the observed. What then is the cosmological role and function of these two phenomena; the observer and the observed? Moreover, what is the absolute nature or essence of the observer when everything which is not its essential core is removed; and what is the absolute nature and essence of the observed whilst not being observed?
How could one even begin to understand what the observer is while remaining independent of the observed, and vice versa? What is objectivity when not observed, and what is the observer when not observing objectivity; and is either case possible? How much of the observer, in reality, is also a part of the observed and how much of the observed is in fact the observer? The question then becomes: “What am I (the observer) when everything which is not really “I” is stripped away from that which is really the essential “I”?
In spiritual and mystical traditions, for millennia there has existed a phenomenal process known as Purgation and another known as Redemption. Purgation (irrespective of some doctrinal religious beliefs) is a process of stripping things away from a system. Redeeming something means regaining something which has been lost or hidden from sight (or knowledge).
Of all the spontaneous anomalous experiences known to humankind there is one which, in direct experiential terms, does just that (coincidentally or otherwise). In this experience consciousness undergoes an event wherein everything which is not “I” is seemingly stripped away from conscious perception, leaving only that essential central core or depth conscious experience of the raw primordial phenomenon of what that “I” is in absolute terms. It is experienced as being beyond time (changing events), space (as we normally know it), and memory of ever having existed on earth, and all personality that is attached to the personal I AM. Thus, it involves transcendence of time, space, and memory.
This experiential event, in academic terms, is referred to as Introverted Mystical Experiences opposed to Extroverted Mystical Experience, in which the latter takes place in otherwise normal daily reality. It is perhaps the most profound and far reaching of all known human experiences. It is, from hindsight (a wonderful thing is hindsight) seen to be the very experience that all religions were initially founded upon—hence a direct human experience or personal revelation of the transcendent realm and of that part of our self which exists there and which is the root foundation of our personal conscious being.
Irrespective of what that experiences is in terms of absolute reality, the “coincidental” fact is that it directly addresses the “why” questions of life, those which no other known avenue of experience or research methodology can even address. Such an experiential event (which I have always called the Paradise Event) may be thought of by some as an irrelevant anomaly of human experience, which many have undergone personally, but the fact remains that it does address life’s perennial questions. Also it is a great catalyst for human understanding and inner transformative change; a perennial wisdom indeed. The effects of these encounters are tangible facts operating in this world here and now. Moreover, such an experience also addresses such questions as life and death, meaning, beginnings and endings, and absolute rock bottom causation, and more. But, in all pragmatic terms, all one need take on board is the fact that such an event causes change in this world, in the human beings themselves; and perhaps to the depth and degree of effect and change which no other known anomalous experience can quite achieve in one experience/event.
From hindsight of over 60 years of anomalous mystical and psychical experiences which I have had over the course of that time, it often strikes me as both profound, and in a way humorous, that life itself makes us ask questions, indeed forces us to ask questions; and then mysteriously supplies the answers to those very questions which it made us ask in the first place. There are a few coincidences too many to be accepted as mere coincidences to be sure. We then have direct demonstrable justification for the term ‘Spirit’ or Essence of our being. We also then have direct justification for the term ‘Spiritualising Process’. An analogy I once used in a book for a conceptual model of this process is as follows…..
Imagine a very deep water well. Imagine consciousness to be the surface skin of the water within the well at the surface at the top of the well. Imagine the phenomenon of the mind to be the actual water in the well. The water in the spring is pure water (well, as pure as it can get anyway). However, on the covering of the water in the well there is stuff of the outside world—bits floating around on the skin of the water which are not the water itself. Therefore the surface water is polluted, not pure in the sense that the source water is pure. Imagine, then, that the water level could fall back right down to the source of the well on occasions to experience its own root or ground of existence.
The fountain of the water is its essential existence whereas the water up the well is an extended emanation of it. Spiritualisation would then be the process of cleaning up of the topside surface of the water in order that the topside water (human incarnate consciousness) can be a living incarnate reflection of what it is at root in its ground of being.
In so doing the outer (consciousness/personality) becomes as the inner essential core, and what is above reflects the essence of what is below. The process involves the unfolding of an implicate seed into the outer and extended reality. It seems to me that evolution is doing just that—becoming in form what it is in essence. This applies (it seems to me) to everything which exists within the space/time levels of existence, including human beings and our own individuality. Are not even roses more beautiful than they were millions of years ago on earth?
The big bang may well be the dead centre of physical creation, but what is that mysterious yet knowable dead centre of the conscious mind? Just as a house brick is connected to the big bang inwards and downwards through the stuff of its own interdimensional vortex of emanation; in much the same way the mind itself contains its own inner vortex of emanation back to its own ground. It is interesting that near-death experiences and introverted mystical experiences initially travel down a perceived tunnel of some kind. Indeed, back down the well of its own vortex of emanation at which root we are all connected in the Paradise Event. (Hence the basis of my own ‘Double Vortex Theory’).
It is perhaps ironic that life provides us with spontaneous anomalous experiences which are at first highly mysterious but which later make absolute sense to the rational and enquiring mind itself. Mystics (so called alas) see no dichotomy between spirit and matter (essence and form). These connections and experiences then are the ultimate coincidence. Or are they? As rational and highly pragmatic beings (as well as being life’s most mysterious phenomenon) we can take coincidence only so far. We fully realise that there is more to be experienced in life than simply that which presents itself to us by way of the five outer senses, and which are in analogy seen as mere periscopes above the waves of creation. Throughout the evolution of human consciousness on earth we have seemingly come a long way in a short time; but that journey is not over. Much of what we now do and aspire to do is a matter of our own determination, or will. Every act which we each perform affects the world around us.
But what is power without something to direct the mind in the wise use of it? And what is it that gives this mysterious yet substantial guideline to personal behaviour; a moral and dignified approach to the wise use of our freedom of choice, and the aspirations that are judged best to go for? The answers, coincidentally or otherwise, are the very intangible and anomalous experiences that come to shape our being here and now. The rational discursive mind without a base wisdom to guide us is potentially dangerous. Yet ironically or otherwise, this wisdom is innate and built into our system itself. It is certainly food for thought for the millennium to come. And, as the world’s genuine mystics of all times have said: ‘Search within for the deepest answers; and ‘Know Thy Self’. Objectivity is indeed a mystery, but no more so than the mysteries which abound within the depths of the observers themselves. And we must take into full account that such experiential events, and the change which they engender, are spontaneous—yet another coincidence too far even for the rational discursive mind. We have much yet to learn, to strive for, and thence achieve; and whilst in accord with the dignity of man.