Monday, May 24, 2010

Mystical experience

Mystical Experience:
The question of how I got to this point in my life is difficult to describe. It does not stem from one single factor or influence. In 1989 Joseph Campbell gave a series of interviews that moved me to read his books and many of the books he discussed such as The Golden Bough. It is important to emphasize that I read some of his books many times trying to understand and absorb these strange concepts that he explained. Another author who influenced me greatly was Nikos Kazantzakis who wrote a modern Odyssey. Reading these books and related works were the capstone of a lifetime of reading. My parents read to me as a child and our home was filled with books. We would turn off the TV and read for hours. I read everything I could get my hands on and at times read 2-3 books a week. At the age of 25 I began searching for something I could not name. I bought several cameras and began to take long walks in a nature preserve and photograph and observe animal behavior. On the weekend I would walk for four hours or more in the woods stalking deer and photographing every life form imaginable. When stalking deer I became so attuned that I could sense their proximity even when I could not see or hear them. I began to identify with wildlife in a very personal manner. If I could not spend my weekend walking in the woods I felt deprived. After years of using the camera to capture nature I began to feel like the camera was in the way and I put the camera down in the seventh year and absorbed what I saw with the same eye, the eye of a nature photographer. I had developed a strong identification with the natural world and all living things, in religious terms it might be referred to as Jainism. This was my very own intense religion, the only one I have ever had and the woods and forests were my only church.
Part of what has transformed me was intense human suffering that went on for years. In 1995 while traveling in Central America I became very ill and developed an autoimmune disease that left me physically disabled and unable to work. I set about researching and writing books and for the next few years whenever I wasn’t too sick I read books constantly. After four years of progressive deterioration due to illness I was disabled mentally and physically to the point where for most of an entire year I was reduced to sitting in a chair. My central nervous system was under attack and the symptoms were those of a late stage encephalopathy, a brain disease. My eyes rolled halfway back into my head, I could not stand bright light, or loud sounds, it was physically painful. When I walked from the bed to the chair I had a terror of falling down and not being able to get back up. I could not watch TV or listen to music or read. The sounds and images moved too fast for me to follow and interpret them, it was all a confusing painful blur. I could only speak in very short simple sentences and any effort to talk left me exhausted. After months I started to come out of the worst and gradually recovered by listening to classical music for months. As the cathedrals of sound made sense to me on a deeper level I began to write the music in my head and anticipate the next note while listening to the baroque masterpieces. After months of this slow recovery I began to hear music in my head like I was listening to the radio. It had a quality of spontaneity and I could turn it on or off at will. At first it was music I had heard but later it was music I had written in my head. The degradation of my mental capacity and the subsequent recovery listening to music changed the nature of my consciousness. For about six months before the mystical experience I heard music playing in my head constantly but it was not oppressive because I could turn it on or off at will. As soon as I recovered I headed up into the mountains where my family had been going for several generations. I believe that the illness accomplished what mystics spend a lifetime trying to do which is to get past their own conscious minds that are holding them back and obscuring a deeper reality.
“I was on my mountain in New Mexico and I sat down on a large boulder in the river. As the first rays of the longest day crested the top of the mountain a faint prism formed above the rapids. Soon a small rainbow was dancing from right to left and back again, 2-3 feet tall on top of the rapids, given birth by the spray. The colors became more brilliant and the light strands became taller as the moments passed. The strands of rainbow light rose gradually higher up into the air so that sitting on the boulder I had to tilt my head back and look up higher and higher at the display 20 feet in front of me. As it slowly grew larger I started to hear music. A magical symphony began playing in my head. Tentative at first and growing stronger. It was my spontaneous music so all I had to do was to listen. The music was some of the most beautiful music I had ever heard. I wanted to grab a pin and write it down but I realized if I went for the pen I'd break contact. I realized I would lose the music as it flowed out of me but it was the only way to experience it. I mourned for a moment for the loss of the incredible music but quickly resigned myself. I started to place notes exactly where the columns of light danced. Gradually the music and light strands became syncopated. The light seemed to dance to the lines of music coming out of my head. It now became my very own light harp that responded to the music playing in my head. The intensity of pure joy that the light harp and the music made me feel was overpowering. It was as if my sense of the beauty of the universe was overwhelming me and making me pass out but I did not lose consciousness, quite the opposite. After about 20 minutes of experiencing this profound sense of wonder at the spectacle I was completely overcome. My eyes started to rise upwards and to slowly roll back in my head and the image of a streaming river of yellow and gold colored light opened in a vision. I was completely unaware of my immediate surroundings. The golden light seemed to flow to me as the river flowed to me and spread across my entire field of vision. After a few moments of traversing the golden yellow zone a far light began to shine. At the far end of the river of yellow and gold there was a single ray of white light as if from the opening of a pinhole or a small doorway that grew larger and the distant beacon concentrated itself on me. I felt as if I stood in a presence and that someone was reaching out to me to bestow a communication upon me yet no words were ever spoken. I tipped over completely into another realm of consciousness. I woke gradually as if coming out of a very deep trance. Ever so slowly I realized where and who I was and became more aware of my surroundings. My eyes had been rolled back in my head and I sat in a perfect lotus position with my hands in the lotus position thumb and forefinger forming a circle. My legs were crossed as I had never been able to do before. The sun and shadows were indicating afternoon not morning. I had no clear idea what had happened in those lost hours. I leaned forward and humbly said thank you. I concentrated hard for the meaning before I moved. Then the central idea that impressed itself upon me was that I would be destroyed, my body and my personality would be obliterated but that something very central to my core being was that same light that I had witnessed and that had transformed me forever. At our core we are all a part of this light that infuses everything everywhere and goes on forever. At our core we cannot be destroyed. I would be physically destroyed and my personality would be destroyed but at my core I would go on forever as part of the ecstatic brilliance I had experienced.”
“After this experience I had premonitions of momentous events before they occurred, usually events that affected millions of people.” “For example, say theoretically that I felt an earth quake was coming… “Sometimes it is kind of hit and miss because I don’t know where and when it will happen and sometimes I do”. “I close my eyes and concentrate hard and hear a deep rumbling sound and the earth begins to shake violently and it lasts for about fifteen to twenty seconds.” “I can tell it was morning and the event was about a six or seven on the Richter scale.” “I feel that many people will be deeply affected by the event”. “Besides knowing that it will happen in about two weeks and the entire world will know...that is about all I can tell about the earth quake event”. “In another premonition of a different earth quake I lie awake in bed at six thirty in the morning and close my eyes and feel and hear the earth rumble for about eight to ten seconds. The whole time I knew the earthquake was about a four and the location was the New Madrid Fault, and it would happen very early in the morning”. “This power is too ephemeral to predict if one can interpret the vision correctly and then to act upon it is very problematic...who am I supposed to tell” "I wanted to tell people, to warn them and save lives but could not find the courage to say I was clairvoyant and tell strangers that I knew something bad was about to happen”. “It was as if something was actively stopping me”. “The vision is drawn back down into my unconscious mind to be forgotten even as I fight to retain it”. "Like a strong undertow something sweeps away the memories of the visions back down into the unconscious".
Joseph Campbell wrote the following that applies to the journey. "Equally, the birth, life, and death of the individual may be regarded as a descent into unconsciousness and return. The hero is the one who, while still alive, knows and represents the claims of the super consciousness which throughout creation is more or less unconscious. The adventure of the hero represents the moment in his life when he achieved illumination –the nuclear moment when, while still alive, he found and opened the road to the light beyond the dark walls of our living death".
I was originally an atheist who did not believe in God but because I was told to. I struggled to believe in God and wound up eventually something of an agnostic. I believed in something larger than ourselves such as sychronicity or more simply the concept of the interconnectedness of life and our collective fate. I believed that the parts of the bible that are known as the Gospels were probably largely the true words spoken by a mortal man named Jesus who lived and died. I was searching for the truth of our existence much of my life and the focus my concentration was on philosophy and science. I am the original doubting Thomas who only believes in what my five senses tell me, but often I realize even the five sense can be wrong. I refused to take anything on faith and felt that a strictly religious education was short changing oneself even in Kindergarten and first grade it felt contrived. My parents did not give me religious indoctrination. My father took me to church infrequently when I was a pre-teen. My mother told me that religion had been the cause of more wars and death than any other cause in history. She told me that she did not believe in organized religion but she never tried to convince me there was no God. I believe that all religions began as the much same message and over time through the construction of religious doctrine the various religions became more distinct and different from each other. It is a process similar to many people sitting in a circle and whispering a message into the ear of the person next to you until at the end of the circle the message has changed. I believe that all religions become garbled in translation from the original experience. I believe that large organized religions are political and economic organizations. My religion is the result of a singular journey and a singular experience that is difficult to describe much less replicate. I believe that any human being is capable of experiencing God.
It is my belief that I have been given this ability to put to the service of mankind to save lives. I hope to repeat and capture the experience so that it can be reproduced and experienced by anyone who wishes to pass into a higher realm. This will bring humanity together spiritually, much like orbiting the earth changes people’s lives. I believe people would be more likely to avoid war and work to end human suffering. I also feel that the human race has reached a moment of decision where it will either come together and identify with each other in a very fundamental and transformational way or it will continue on the current path and ultimately we will destroy ourselves. For this reason I am proposing a shared humanitarian and scientific initiative to end disease and hunger and to decode the earth as a living system. No one nation can do this alone but it cannot be successful without the world's last superpower.
Marshall Gregory Thomas

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