I've read a lot on here, and I have a high level of respect for the people and stories I hear. It is truly amazing to see the variety of different types of experiences people have. It is interesting as well to note that there are some that involve some fantastic events with things like angels, the grim reaper (or death personified), Satori's, meditation practice experiences, kundalini awakening, full of the Holy Spirit. It seems that a person will explain their story based on their frame of reference. In other words (and this also puzzled me for a lot of years as well) in authentic spiritual experiences, you can SAY what your experience was, what you saw, etc., but unless there is a total surrendering to the experience, it will always conform to your ideas, thoughts, beliefs, concepts, and so on. So if an experience happens and it involves something that you personally are not familiar with (and I don't mean in a religious way, or intellectual way, but in more in the way of seeing color that you've never seen) then the experience will manifest in a way that you can best understand it.
The color example might not be a good one, but it's the best I can think of. Most of us are aware of the color spectrum and have seen the whole thing, including the variations (like the color wheel in a Word document where you can even lighten/darken anything you pick from the wheel), but try to imagine that you were looking at something new! Some color that did not fit into the spectrum, and in fact just dazzled, you not by it's beauty, but by the simple fact that it does not fit in with your programming and understanding of color as you know it. How would you describe that to someone who hasn't seen it? A simpler metaphor I've heard is how do you explain the sensation/taste of sour like a lemon to someone who has never tasted that before? It's quite difficult, and similarly, it's hard to explain a spiritual experience to someone who hasn't had one, and if you add to that fact that your only frame of reference to describe it is in (for example) Christian concepts, terminology, and so on, it can make it even harder because then you are battling against someone's disbelief in such things instead of communicating the importance YOU FELT/KNEW was part of the experience.
So okay, on to my story. If you are a religious/spiritual person you might wonder about someone like me. You might wonder how, as a skeptic, as a person who had no belief in any religious or spiritual path at all, is involved in no effort to attain to much of anything except to survive in the world, what does a spiritual experience look like to such a person? What frame of reference does such a person use to talk about this?
Well, I never saw Jesus. Or Buddha. Or angels/demons or anything that I can really find in the history of religious and spiritual history that we have. I can say that at several points along the way to having this experience (and truly it had begun before I knew anything was going on) that things like this manifest themselves. I never took it as real. I took it as part of the collective imagination and as a sort of manifestation of things heard or feared or recognized from childhood to adulthood. So, some of these things would happen, and while it was at times disturbing, or it seemed elating, I questioned my own sanity before I accepted any notion of spirituality for a long time. Even after I begin to lighten up my skepticism enough to say "okay, I may not believe in this or that, but by the same token I also don't know anything for certain either." That was the first time I got honest with myself... And as a result, all the weird and religiously themed or spiritually themed experiences stopped.
It was puzzling, the first time in my life, I let my head soften enough to make room for the possibility that I don't know anything for certain, and suddenly life becomes very normal. No inclination towards seeking a God of anyone else' understanding (as they may say in the rooms of AA or NA) but with a VERY HIGH curiosity for what is ultimately true about the nature of God. When I say God, I didn't think about it that way at the time, and I still don't really, because the word itself just seemed overused to the point of making it devoid of any meaning. But looking back, to me "God" was just a word to describe whatever is the highest TRUTH that a person can attain to. Whether it be some kind of universal force like in Star Wars... I just got really honest, admitted what I knew, confessed what I did not know. THAT was the only natural progression for me, is to get real. Getting real meant wanting the Truth so bad I'd do anything to get it. If it turns out that God really is tribal, and partial to some religious organization on the planet, I was ready to accept that. If God was non-existent, and just a mosaic of our thoughts and heritage, I was ready to accept that. If both of these were untrue I was ready to accept that.
In 2006, the story of "me", of being a person in the world looking for Truth came to an end. I was at a park, and in despair, I perceived very clearly without any thought what-so-ever the nature of thought, the mind, and anything that followed as a projection of the God-consciousness that is always present, whether any individual observes it or not. That sort of seeing and being was all there has ever been, in fact, it is even wrong to say that because there is no past, no future, no present. There is only the steady humming of the universal mind at work, and in seeing this what followed was not a very pleasant experience. In fact it would not become anything of the sort until about 4 years later. In 2010, as if coming out of a fog, I began to come out of what friends and family thought was a depression. I was never depressed, at least not in the sense of true depression. It's not that life sucked, or that I wasn't getting what I wanted from the world, life, or whatever. Neither was it blissful or something I enjoyed either. I would just say that it sort of put me on my ass...LOL. I really just blew my mind, and I felt daily tasks were getting done, things were happening same as always, but "I" was missing from the equation. As if I were watching a show about me, but never really taking it seriously because...it's just a show! Now as humans, we get into our shows, movies and stories... We DO NOT attempt to run into the screen and change anything, or mess with the characters... Not unless we're fit to be medicated to the gills and occupying a room somewhere while coming off a psychotic break.
It's 2014 today. I still do not mistake who I am with the character, the person I always thought I was, but I dare not say who I am except to say that "I am." I find all sorts of interesting things to do, I have no sense of being fearful, like my life is at stake anymore. That and the loss of anxiety, the inclination towards solitude (meditation, sitting on the porch, walking in a park or around the block alone) are really all that's different. I still go along with normal life stuff like I always have. The only feeling I truly identify with is gratitude. I am grateful, and for no reason. I only trouble myself with what is happening now. I do feel 'my body and mind' get easily fatigued still by doing things like this (writing my story, etc.) but only because I seem to be losing interest in talking about spiritual matters as though it is something surprising or new. After a life of up and down, of knowing and not knowing, of this and that... What is happening now is not me living life, but life being lived through 'me' and doing what it's supposed to do. And IT DOES EXACTLY WHAT IT IS SUPPOSED TO DO. So I don't really worry... The fact of my own death is a non-issue because nothing dies. Nothing was born and nothing ever will be. All there is is the very basic awareness of being, and that awareness is like wind, or the atmosphere. It goes where it pleases, and has it's being wherever it likes. Like air going through a saxophone makes a different sound than going through a tuba, awareness coming through a human life is very different than other lives. Even all humans make a different and unique expression, and this awareness, or God-consciousness, or whatever you want to call it, is the author of all that is. There is no time. No space. No one to even ask about such things. To ask questions is ignorance manifest. To answer is much the same. And yet, the hilarious thing is the paradoxical nature of this... To believe, to doubt, to live, to die, all happen perfectly with an effortless ease.
In other words, life is very ordinary... Only made complex by a restless mind. Make the mind be still, and life as you know it will end, and allow something that is familiar, but long since forgotten move into it's place.