The understanding of why we are the way we are, who we are, why are we here and where are we going, is fed to us in the slow incremental development of our consciousness. But for some people – occasionally – they get a sudden infusion of consciousness which gives them a massive insight as to whom they are, which is outside of what they know as their day to day physical experience of the world. Such experiences are known as Peak experiences
A Peak experience, should it happen to us, sheds further light into understanding ourselves when it comes to who are we, why are we here and where are we going. We find ourselves in a place way beyond our present evolutionary development state that contains more truth, more love, more bliss, and in really huge experiences, a place where we are completely outside the experience of the physical plane of the universe so trying to use language to describe them fails abysmally.
If you haven’t read my biography, I worked as a counsellor for an organisation that helped people understand peak experiences. My client Alison described her experience:
“I was camping in the summer and was lying on my back looking at the stars – I hadn’t been drinking alcohol or smoking pot or anything – just enjoying the incredible sight of the stars in the Milky Way when a sense of awe started to move through me. It was quite wonderful and then I felt myself expanding and expanding but at the same time felt I was immersing myself in it – and I knew I was being it –while at the same time I felt this incredible sense of love, but it wasn’t like a boyfriend emotional type of love, it was like a state of connection – that I was somehow the stars and the stars were me and along with this a timelessness, – that I was completely in the Present. What was amazing also was the sense of beauty, peace, of utter stillness that I was experiencing – I was one with it all. I have no idea how long I was in that state of………. bliss? But bliss is too cheap a word to describe what I felt – oh yes, also there was a sense of wisdom, of knowing, that I cannot even hope to describe because there isn’t a language for me to describe it.
And then the expansiveness was gone and I was back looking at the Milky Way again – though I was left with a stability and peace that stayed with me for months.
Such experiences aren’t a figment of the imagination as some schools of thought believe. Such schools argue that the mind will conjure up any ‘proof’ you want it to and therefore Peak Experiences are no different. They are wrong. Peak experiences have been fully researched by the likes of William James , ‘Carl Jung and Abraham Maslow , (the latter giving them the label of ‘peak experiences’) and are part of the expanded human consciousness – which lie within all of us.
Research by Maslow of people who had peak experiences will have some or all of the following qualities:
• Loss of judgment to time and space
• The feeling of being one whole and harmonious self, free of dissociation or inner conflict
• The feeling of using all capacities and capabilities at their highest potential, or being “fully functioning”
• Functioning effortlessly and easily without strain or struggle
• Feeling completely responsible for perceptions and behaviour. Use of self-determination to becoming stronger, more single-minded, and fully volitional
• Being without inhibition, fear, doubt, and self-criticism
• Spontaneity, expressiveness, and naturally flowing behaviour that is not constrained by conformity
• A free mind that is flexible and open to creative thoughts and ideas
• Complete mindfulness of the present moment without influence of past or expected future experiences
• A physical feeling of warmth, along with a sensation of pleasant vibrations emanating from the heart area outward into the limbs.
The difference between the minds normal thinking process with its unconscious and conscious assessment of what it has available to it, will do what minds do – provide answers – while Peak experiences remove you from the mind we use in a daily basis. Free from the constant racket of the lower mind a Peak Experience provides answers of what we may be.
And because I was fortunate enough to experience a huge peak experience I can talk from the reality of what they are about.
For me it was just an ordinary day for me in my hometown of Durban, South Africa. I had to pick up a book from the library which was in the city centre so I hopped into my car and drove into town. Having driven a few times around the block looking for a parking and been unsuccessful, I decided to risk a fine and double park. I stopped the car, jumped out and sprinted into the library. As I flew down the aisle a particular title on the spine of a book grabbed my attention. I came to an abrupt halt, back peddled, and pulled the book from the shelf. It fell open and I read one line from it .
What happened next was the most profound thing that ever happened to me. I felt the most amazing peace start to move up my body making me aware for the first time what the parts of my body actually felt like, while at the same time began to own the space around me – I was part of it and somehow it was part of me. Within that space was love, though it had very different quality to the normal feeling of love. I saw that that this love was a state of being of incredible quality rather than a feeling. But perhaps the most profound sense was that of timelessness, a sense that there was no past or future – just this instant Now.
Simultaneously I became aware that hundreds of deeply instilled beliefs that had governed my existence were just dissolving –the very things that held me together, that I used to run my life on – which was frightening to say the least as I thought that I was losing my mind. (Which in fact I was doing – but in a good way!).
I put the book back on the shelf (all of this had taken no more that 10 seconds) and sprinted again for the book I intended to pick up, grabbed it and shot back into my doubly parked car. Sitting in the seat I tried to work out what had happened, and of course I couldn’t. All I was aware of was this sense of incredible peace – no longer the incessant chatter of the mind – that continued to envelop everything around me, only it seemed alive. Driving home I was aware that while I had travelled the route a thousand times it was like I was seeing the trees, the parks, the flowers for the first time. Words were too glib to describe what I was experiencing.
The scary part though was the loss of my mind. Naturally I wasn’t losing it per se, but I hadn’t realised how much I had unconsciously referred to my beliefs, my ethics, my values etc in the moment to moment experience of my daily living until they were suddenly gone, or more precisely, no longer had merit. It was like the jury was out! It took me a long time to first work out what had happened but with the help of spiritual teachers I was able to understand the experience more. And “losing my mind” opened my contact with greater or more profound truths.
What I found out later was that I had experienced a Peak experience, and I saw that I was in a state of enlightenment, that I had awakened to a new state of consciousness. I need to point out that I am not enlightened, just perhaps a little wiser for this experience. Many people who have peak experiences believe they have attained enlightenment but they haven’t – observe them closely and you will see that some of their negative behaviours still manifest – such as being controlling, prideful, materialistic, judgemental …..
I realised that what I had found was what everyone is looking for- Me – but the pure me – the awareness of the awareness unit. It is who we are all looking for – but need to realise this
Peak experiences are mystical experiences that can be evoked through meditation or can ‘just happen’, as in my case. They can also be brought about by taking LSD or other similar hallucinogens, which the Hippies discovered in the sixties – a sort of fast track road to our Higher Self.
You might be asking yourself what peak experiences have to do with the Stages of Consciousness? Depending on the quality of the experience we open the door to what we will be and what we will become as we move beyond Stage 6 on the Consciousness scale -. a greater connection to every living creature, a greater connection to humanity, a greater connection to the universe and a greater connection to yourself.
Thanks for watching