The other evening I was hanging around my apartment eating dinner. At some point after I finished eating, and for several hours afterwards until I went to sleep, I experienced a state of mind I can only describe as "mystical", or perhaps hyper-awareness. Whatever it was, it was so different from anything I can remember experiencing that it threw me completely off balance and I'm still trying to figure out what happened. Looking for insight from others who may have had a similar experience. Details inside.
Possibly relevant details
- Late 20's male in good health. Work an office job during the day. Fairly rational thinker / computer nerd. Not a drug user of any kind, not on any medications. Not traditionally religious, but have always enjoyed studying religion and philosophy. I'm posting this anon because I have coworkers who browse askmefi and I don't want them to find something like this and accuse me of going wackadoo.
- This past Sunday evening I was eating dinner alone and watching TV. I was eating a stir fry I'd made (nothing out of the ordinary) , and flipping around on the TV a bit. When I was done I turned the TV off and sat there for a moment and started to think about an upcoming meeting at work I wasn't looking forward to. What happened next reminded me of a passage from Jerry Mander's book In the Absence of the Sacred
. The passage is from a chapter about television and the mental experience of turning the TV on and off - returning to ordinary slow existence from the hyperactive existence of watching TV. I'll try to paraphrase because I couldn't find the book:
Suddenly the set goes off. The viewer returns to the room. The room does not rise up or whirl about. The scene does not change from one moment to the next. There is only the the same furniture, the same four walls as before. Nothing is really happening now. It is slow, ...boring. ...Anxiety sets in.
Indeed, at this moment I felt like anxiety did set in. As I mentioned I started thinking about my job, and I could feel my anxiety building as the minutes passed. But suddenly, as I was walking across the floor,it felt like some ......entity....outside of myself (or should I say deep within myself?) asked a question in my mind "Why are you concerned about this? It is not important". With that, a switch in my brain was flipped, I stopped dead in my tracks, and realized I really shouldn't worry about these things. Standing there, in the course of just a few seconds, my brain felt completely different.
A strange feeling washed over me, suddenly, intensely, almost violently, though I didn't feel afraid whatsoever. My mind seemed to expand in size. I felt energetic yet relaxed, excited but serene, tranquil. Hyper aware of my thoughts in the present moment. Of the past and future, I felt my attention shrink, and any concerns I might have in either direction fade away. I stood there in awe of this indescribable feeling, as though I had become accustomed to floating along on the river of time in my tiny craft, being moved about by random emotional currents, but in this moment I had jumped overboard, and like a great tree sent down deep unshakable roots into the present.
For 5 or so minutes I felt too overwhelmed to even move from the spot where I was standing. Eventually I was able to take a seat, smiling at nothing. At one point I was on the verge of tears, but in a good way. The feeling continued throughout the night, slowly diminishing over time, though it was still present the next morning. After 24 hours it was gone.
Please excuse my literary/metaphorical description, but I'm not sure how to fully describe it. It was unlike anything I've ever felt before, which is why I used the term "mystical experience" . In general I'm a very skeptical person, so maybe that is why a part of me wants to dismiss the whole experience, that perhaps I'm just exaggerating. After all, all I was doing was just standing around in my apartment. The problem is the other part of me that has been studying meditation, awareness / mindfulness, and philosophy, that there might be some connection there. The experience was so wonderful that I have a desire to get back to it again, even though I can't explain it and I'm not sure what it even was. Though I've read a bit about "Flow" and "Awareness" , I feel like these terms are inadequate to describe the totality of the experience, hopefully I'm not sounding pompous by saying that.
So....I know this is all completely subjective but.....
-Did I just go crazy for a few minutes? Is the term "mystical experience" not warranted here?
-Has anyone felt something similar before? If so please share.
-Are there any meditation practitioners here who have had an experience like this?
-If this is a more common experience for people than I'm thinking, am I blowing this out of proportion?
Throwaway email: email@example.com
Apologies for the length and strangeness.