In the past I've had experiences of merging into the All-One, overwhelmed by Universal Love. I've also had experiences of nothingness, of confronting the Nihil which underlies all being; I found this to be distinctly different from Oneness, but also intensely blissful. Then a few years ago I had an experience which involved both of these states, as well as something totally new and unexpected.
I woke up in the middle of the night, which can be a good time for consciousness expansion. I made my usual efforts to get into a meditative state, mainly by focusing one-pointedly on stopping thought. I kept falling asleep and waking up, and didn't get into a high state. Then suddenly I saw stars and the bright planet Venus on the darkened ceiling above me. This meant that I was in the twilight state between waking and sleeping, and I was fully conscious in it ~ an ideal situation for altered consciousness. So now my efforts to shift to a higher state were wildly successful: I went into the Nihil and floated in ecstatic emptiness for what seemed like a very long time. Finally a disturbing sound caused me to come fully awake, bringing me out of the state.
I decided to make still another meditational effort, and this time something different happened. The nothingness seemed to coalesce into an eye, a big numinous eye floating in the center of my field of vision, looking at me. This eye was the All-One, filling me with the radiance of unconditional love. The Oneness was so perfect and all-consuming that it didn't even occur to me until afterwards to wonder about how it was that the eye and me were clearly two entities, yet subsumed into One by our love. I had never experienced anything like this before ~ in previous experiences, my 'I' itself was the One, even if it was way beyond my ego.
The Eye was perfectly tangible and alive, as perceptually real as any physical object or person, in fact more so. This in itself was new for me: I had never before witnessed such seemingly solid external numena, even in the days when I used to do LSD.
Finally the vision faded. I stepped outside and saw the full moon at the peak of the sky, a marvelous aftermath. I recalled a Zen story in which the master said that after enlightenment there's nothing to say or do ~ you can only sigh and look at the full moon. Then I realized that there might be more than just poetic synchronicity involved ~ surely the energy of the full moon, especially at the zenith, must be a potentizing factor for such experiences, like a catalyst in the crucible.
For some time after the experience, I thought of the apparition as the Eye of God. After awhile, though, another layer of meaning manifested: it became clear that the experience was intimately meshed with my love life and with my overall emotional and interpersonal development. My relationship with divinity is lucidly reflected in my human relationships. With this realization, I began to think of it as the Eye of the Beloved ~ a visible emanation of a subtle loving presence that always surrounds me, if only I have the eye to see.