My husband and I were walking the cliff path from St. Ives in Cornwall to Zennot. It was a bright sunny day in September, bright but not a garish mid-summer sun. My husband was walking his usual forty yards ahead and disappeared over the prow of an incline, so to all intents and purposes I was entirely alone.
Although there was no mist the light seemed suddenly white and diffused and I experienced the most incredible sense of oneness and at the same time ‘knew what it was all about’ – it being existence. Of course, seconds later I hadn’t the faintest idea what it was all about. However it struck me that the oneness was in part explained by the sensation that the air and space and light was somehow tangible, one could almost grasp it, so that there was not a space which stopped because my human form was there but that my form was merely a continuity of the apparently solid space.
The experience was unbelievably beautiful, and I will never forget the quality of that bright white light. It was awesome.
I was sitting one evening, listening to a Brahms symphony. My eyes were closed and I must have been completely relaxed for I became aware of a feeling of ‘expansion’, I seemed to be beyond the boundary of my physical self. Then an intense feeling of ‘light’ and ‘love’ uplifted and enfolded me. It was so wonderful and gave me such an emotional release that tears streamed down my cheeks. For several days I seemed to bathe in its glow and when it subsided I was free from my fears.
I didn’t feel happy about the world situation but seemed to see it from a different angle. So with my personal sorrow. I can truly say that it changed my life and the subsequent years have brought no dimming of the experience.
One night of, I should think, neurotic misery I suddenly had an experience as if I was buoyed up by waves and waves of utterly sustaining power and love. The only words which came near to describing it were ‘underneath are the everlasting arms’ though this sounds like a picture, and my experience was not a picture but a feeling, and there were the arms.
……it came from outside unasked. No wishful thinking was involved, my unhappiness did not matter if the world was sustained by love in that way.
Briefly speaking the experience is of deep peace a feeling of well-being when everyday life is reduced to a trivial level. I lose track of time and may be two or three hours sitting still experiencing a peaceful joyful sort of feeling. I seem to become insulated from the outside world. Sound, for instance, is not noticeable and it is only as the feeling withdraws that I become conscious of my surroundings which at that time always seem imbued with great beauty, even ordinary objects.
These feelings can sometimes be brought on by music but more often occur when I am alone and quite frequently when life seems tasteless and dark. It is as if the feelings come to give me comfort and strength to go on. I have not found a way to induce these feelings though I have tried meditation and prayer, neither work for me.
I find it difficult to describe my experience, only to say it seems to be outside of me and enormous and yet at the same time I am part of it, everything is. It helps me to live and to love others. It is difficult to describe, but in some way because of this feeling I feel united to all people, to all living things.
Descriptions above are from the archive of the Religious Experience Research Centre (RERC) at the Alister Hardy Society for the Study of Spiritual Experience.