This is my personal experience of the Impersonal that I was so lucky to live when I was in Bali - Indonesia in 1986.
The Spiritual Experience
One morning, I decided to rent a little motorbike to have a look round the island. The person renting the bikes gave me the only one he had left, a good old Japanese model which must have been twenty years old and been up and down all the roads on the island many, many times. After checking that everything was in working order, I paid what I owed, climbed onto the bike and set off along the coast road towards the north of the island.
The weather was glorious, with an ideal temperature and breathtakingly beautiful landscapes. So as to admire, or rather contemplate, the sublime beauty around me, I decided to ride as slowly as possible, about 10 or 15 km/hour, according to the venerable speedometer which, curiously, still worked.
The road was narrow and poorly maintained; I sometimes had to avoid potholes or vehicles coming the other way.
From the start of this ride round the island, I was in a meditative frame of mind. It was not a mere ride, but a meditation. I was in a state of deep peace, without cares, without worries of any sort. My spirit was totally calm. I was living for the present moment, here and now.
I rode through wonderful landscapes. On my left, I saw magnificent mountains, covered with terraces of sublime paddy fields and, on my right, vines on stakes by a turquoise sea. This magnificent landscape was not something separate from me, I was part of it.
I was in perfect harmony with everything surrounding me.
During my peaceful, meditative ride, I stopped for a moment here and there at the roadside, without getting off the motorbike, so as to enter into deeper communion with everything around me.
Then I came to a place where men were hard at work repairing the road. I slowed down to see what they were doing. They looked at me briefly, waved me through and returned to their heavy work.
The sun was now at its peak. A gentle warmth enveloped me and the sublime beauty of the place seeped ever further into my whole being.
The journey was more and more beautiful and more and more intense. Life flowed through every cell in my body and through my whole being.
At one point, something on my right caught my eye, a place that seemed a little strange. It was a sort of small valley which rolled softly 150 or 200 metres down to the sea. Right at the bottom was a lonely house by a little beach. I don't know why, but I felt that I had to stop there a long while. I was intrigued by the lonely house. I stayed looking at it a long time. A little path led down through the small valley as far as the house. Part of me wanted to go down and visit whoever lived there. But I could not make up my mind to go down. I could not take my eyes off the house. The idea came to me that maybe a Wise Man lived there. I stood there for a long time, so it seemed, without being able to make my mind up.
Then, little by little, the attraction for the place slowly lifted and I continued my meditative ride. I would never know who the house was inhabited by, if even at all, but the moment and the image of that place have remained forever fixed in my mind.
The road rolled out in front of me, through ever more magnificent landscapes. I was still chugging along on my old machine at 10 - 15 km/hour when, seemingly for a fraction of a second, everything around me went completely black. The world as I had seen it up to then had totally disappeared. Then, suddenly, I emerged into a Sublime White Light, a new state of consciousness, a new state of being where everything was Perfect Light, Perfect Unity, Perfect Life. Human forms, nature, trees, plants, animals and stones were, in truth, Light. Their shapes were still there but were no longer living by themselves. They were a manifestation of Life and of the Eternal and Universal Light that animates all things.
Everything was now bathed in Perfect Light, Life, Harmony and Unity. And I gradually became aware of the fact that I, too, as a physical body, a human being, was a manifestation and expression of this Life and Infinite Light.
But I was also infinitely more than this mortal body, this little human personality. I was Soul or Divine fragment. I was also this Light, this infinite Life. I was the life of all Lives. I was the other human being, nature, the animal, the tree, the flower, the blade of grass, the grain of sand, the stone, the mountain, the ocean, the stars in the universe, the whole universe and much more besides. I was Infinite, Unlimited.
There were no more thoughts, no more breathing, no more emotions. I was beyond the mind, beyond breathing, beyond emotions, beyond the duality of good and evil, man and woman, darkness and light, beyond life and death. In One's Supreme Self, the Ultimate Reality. In the Absolute Evidence.
I was bathed in a Silence of Unfathomable Depth and Intensity, which is Eternal Eloquence. That Silence taught me without words, by deliciously intense waves of Love and Bliss. It Is Infinite Presence. Perfect Peace. In a Perfect Unity, it made me aware that I am Soul, Infinite, Unlimited, Immortal, Eternal, Indestructible. Eternally and perfectly happy, peaceful and free.
All cares, all thoughts, all worries, all fears and all desires had completely disappeared. The very idea of death no longer existed. The past and future were no more. I also became aware that in this blessed state, I was beyond space and time. I was at once point A and point B and beyond. I was omnipresent. I was eternal.
I was in the eternal present, Here and Now.
I understood that what is called life and what is called death, in the state of human consciousness, are the two facets of the same Eternal and Universal Life in this relative dimension of existence. Of space-time.
I was perfectly detached from everything, absolutely everything. Not only things which seem so important in this life and in this world, but also from what is called life and what is called death in the state of human consciousness.
I was also aware that down, way down, far from the Immensity of the Being that I AM, (that we all are, in truth), a tiny dark spot, which had been my me, and which was now no more than a pile of matter, was moving slowly along on a tiny motorbike. That tiny body had been me, but was no longer me, it was the Evidence itself, the Absolute Evidence. I was perfectly free of it. If it had been burnt, crushed, cut into pieces or given to animals to eat, I would have felt no pain, no frustration, no discomfort and no anxiety. None of that was important any more. It was quite simply no longer me.
Nowadays, I realise that this body is just a vehicle allowing the Divine Soul, that we all are, to be incarnate in this world, in this space-time, for a short period of time. A garment we put on at birth and which we cast off when it is worn out, in a process we call death.
What I really am, what we all really are, is Evidence itself. The rest, this body, this human life in space-time, is an illusion stemming from our attachment to the body and from our ignorance of our true spiritual nature.
All desires had totally disappeared. Love, Happiness, Peace and the perfect, eternal and indestructible Freedom in which I was submerged had no beginning and no end and could not be destroyed, as they are the very nature of Life, one's Divine Self.
I was perfectly satisfied and would have liked to live in that state for all eternity, whatever the physical and human condition. Nothing else mattered any more. I did not have love, happiness, peace and freedom to be taken away or destroyed. I was Love, Happiness, Peace and perfect, eternal and indestructible Freedom.
When we are in this state of Perfect Bliss, in the Ultimate Reality of the universe and ourselves, at the Ultimate Spiritual Source of all life and all creation, what we call reality in the state of human consciousness, in our ignorance, is a dream. And the ultimate aim of us all, in this life or in another, is to awaken from this dream and to reach what is, for the one who has awoken, one's true nature, the Absolute Evidence, the Ultimate Reality.
But there is nothing to reach which has not already been there for all eternity. Nothing to create which has not been created for all eternity.
I do not know how this body arrived in Singaraja, a little town in the north of Bali. Even after years of thought and reflection, I am convinced that Universal Life and the Absolute took total control of my body and guided me there. I can find no other explanations.
I stopped at a little supermarket to buy a drink. At the exit, I happened upon a child who looked about fifteen and whose face was completely deformed. His face was something like an elephant's. I was deeply touched to see that he lived in great unhappiness, due of course to his illness, but also to the fact that he was convinced, in his ignorance and attachment, that his body, that deformed face before me, was his me, his true identity. I wanted to go up to him and say, "look, you are not this deformed body, you too are Immortal Soul, you too are already, here and now, Love, Happiness, Peace and Perfect Freedom."
But the Universal Life which had guided me there turned my attention away from that unfortunate boy and I went on my way. He went towards his destiny. He had to live through his experiences. One day, he too will experience Perfect Love, Perfect Happiness, Perfect Peace and Ultimate Freedom. He too will know his true Identity. He too will one day experience Ultimate Reality. He too will know his true Self.
This is the ultimate aim of all of us, whoever we are or believe we are in this life.
Back on my old motorbike, I left Singaraja to return to the south of the island, along one of the two roads that cross Bali from north to south through the mountains. I moved progressively inland, along a little winding road that climbed gently up the mountains. I rode through magnificent landscapes dotted with terraces of paddy fields, forests and mountain valleys sheltering little villages, seemingly resting in peace in those beautiful surroundings. Everything was bathed in serene beauty.
As I rode quietly along, I became aware that I was beyond the cycle of reincarnations, the cycle of successive births and deaths. It is impossible to describe with words. Quite simply, I saw and knew it in the deepest part of my being.
At one point, I decided to stop and admire the way I had come. The view of the road, winding down towards the bottom of the valley, towards the infinite ocean, plunged me into profound contemplation. I do not know how long I stayed there.
As if from nowhere, a young man suddenly appeared on my left. Humbly and silently, he looked at me and held out his hand to ask for a coin. I took a coin out of my pocket and gave it to him. He nodded his thanks and went on his way. Still today, I do not know where he came from. There was no path on my left, no house as far as the eye could see and, a few moments after turning away, he had completely disappeared from view.
My old motorbike was inexhaustible. It took me up to an isolated pass in the middle of a heavenly mountain landscape. On the other side, I saw a lake, further down in the distance, and decided to go there. After a few kilometres along a small, winding road, I finally came to the lakeside.
The water was calm and clear and the place was permeated with a serene beauty, shaded with a touch of mystery. A few hundred metres away to my left, I noticed an old wooden temple by the lakeside and I decided to go there. It was a little temple, all made of wood in the Balinese style, decorated with magnificent sculptures. The perfectly still water of the lake reflected the beauty of the temple and the surrounding mountains. The atmosphere was permeated with mystery and great serenity.
I edged round the lake along a little path and finally came to a small restaurant with a pretty terrace by the water. They served a Balinese buffet. At the sight of such beautiful colours, my attention was drawn to these earthly foods and their fragrances quickly reminded me that it was time to feed my body.
After tasting some of the dishes and embracing the calm of the area, I headed off again. After a certain time climbing the winding road I saw, in the distance, a valley descending towards the south.
The sky slowly clouded over and a light rain accompanied me for the last part of the journey. The road was long, downhill all the way, leading through little villages or past isolated houses, seemingly floating on magnificent terraces of paddy fields. People were simply going about their business.
I arrived at last at the bottom of the valley and quickly reached the coast road. Now I only had to ride back to Candi Dasa. Night fell during the last stage of the trip and, after returning the old motorbike, I arrived at my chalet during the night. I was exhausted. I had a shower and fell into a deep sleep.
The following days were given over quite simply to living. I was still permeated by my sublime spiritual experience and spent my days between bathing in a turquoise sea, decorated with magnificent corals and fish of all colours, pleasant times shared with very friendly Balinese people and some delicious cooking.
After several days' intense living, without fears or cares, in happiness, peace and intense freedom, bathed in the unity of all things, I decided to leave for Australia in the hope of earning a bit of money to continue my journey.