The Moment Described: My First Spiritual Experience (maybe?)
I’ve been trying to digest it and since I’ve already started sharing the experience online I might as well try to explain it a little better, so… here goes.
I hit somewhat of a low point, hopefully the bottom, on Friday. I guess you can say that the move out West and my change in career path was a little more turbulent than I thought it might be. I got depressed.
All week long I was trying to muster the energy/will/ambition to do the things that needed to get done; apply to several job openings, clean the house in preperation for my Mom’s visit, work on the yard, e-mail several friends/family/ex-co-workers that all still deserve a reply. It wasn’t happening. I don’t know why. I hate blaming something as vague as “depression”, but I guess that’s what it is.
Instead I spent a lot of time reading. Jenny and I have been going through the Ender series together and I was sneaking ahead. If you can imagine me home alone wandering around looking at all the possible tasks to do but instead picking up the book for 20-30 minutes. I’d soon put it down, feel horrible about my weakness and slacker lifestyle and go off looking for something to be productive, always returning to the book within an hour or less. This went on all week.
Friday afternoon, the day before Mom was flying in, I still was no where close to getting even a quarter of the things I had planned done. I was feeling like crap. I knew Jenny would be getting home from school soon and I’d have nothing to show for my day except that I’d read further along in the book that we were supposed to be reading together.
I then did a thing that I’m very ashamed of. I left. I think of it as that Fight-or-Flight instinct and my instinct is almost always Flight. I didn’t leave a note. I just got in the car and drove. I soon found my way up into the Catalina Mountains where I tried to think. Or meditate. Or whatever. It was mostly just a bunch of self-doubt, self-loathing, and in general more bad thoughts to infect my mind. The sunset was pretty though.
I came home around 7:00pm and carefully explained to Jenny what happened. Actually, I cried into her shoulder and if I didn’t say it outloud then, what I was probably doing was asking for her forgiveness. We went for a walk around the neighborhood and I told her about all the depressive feelings I was having and what I thought about them. She listened — and cared.
That was all Friday. Like I said, “a low point”.
Saturday morning I was determined to get a smaller subset of tasks accomplished before I needed to pick up Mom from the airport. Jenny was proctoring the PSAT that morning, so I’d be on my own to kick my butt into gear.
I was doing pretty well. Scrubbing both bathrooms, dusting everywhere, running the sweeper. I had loaded up 5 cd’s in the changer and was basically cranking. Even though I still had to mop the kitchen floor and get my shower I guess I started to realize that I’d have plenty of time so I might as well read a few pages from Xenocide.
With the music still blasting, I sat down in our rocking chair and started reading.
Now I don’t know about the rest of you, but I seem to have more compassionate responses for the characters in fictional literature than I do for the real live people around me. I’m guessing I’m not alone. Some type of detachment skill?
I was deep into the book that I’d already shed some tears over when during a dialog passage between the characters Qing-jao and her Father, I started tearing up again. Qing-jao was determined to keep her faith in the gods even after her own Father had presented her with plenty of evidence to a condition of the brain that caused her to be “godspoken”. I know this won’t make much sense if you haven’t read the book but I’m trying to give as much detail as to the surroundings of my possible spiritual experience.
You know how you can be reading one thing and thinking about one, two or a dozen other things. Well, it was like that. I was crying and reading and thinking about my own life and beliefs wondering if someone could show me proof of god if I would be as stubborn as Qing-jao was being. I think I could. I guess I also really like some of the deeper ideas about souls that Orson Scott Card uses within this book, and so I might have been assimulating some of those ideas into my own view of life, the universe and most importantly the meaning of it.
At some point I started to tingle. Tingle is the only word I can think of that describes it. A cross between goose-bumps, paraesthesia, and orgasm. It started on my arms. I didn’t know what was going on. I was still crying, still reading, and now I was starting to become more aware of my surroundings.
That’s when I heard the lyrics of this song playing. Rush’s “The Pass” from their Presto album.
Proud swagger out of the schoolyard
Waiting for the world’s applause
Rebel without a conscience
Martyr without a cause
Static on your frequency
Electrical storm in your veins
Raging at unreachable glory
Straining at invisible chains
And now you’re trembling on a rocky ledge
Staring down into a heartless sea
Can’t face life on a razor’s edge
Nothing’s what you thought it would be
All of us get lost in the darkness
Dreamers learn to steer by the stars
All of us do time in the gutter
Dreamers turn to look at the cars
Turn around and turn around and turn around
Turn around and walk the razor’s edge
Don’t turn your back
And slam the door on me
I might just be reading into it way too far, but the whole first verse and chorus seemed to be speaking directly to so many different things going on in my head at that moment.
I started crying more. I put the book down beside me. I shifted position on the rocking chair just to make sure the tingling wasn’t from a pinched nerve. I was acutely aware that something very, very strange was going on. My internal dialog kept trying to talk myself down, just like you might need to if you were on certain psychedelic substances. The tingling became intensifed and spread all over my body. My senses felt heightened. I heard the clock ticking in the other room. Noises from outside the house. Awareness.
The whole thing lasted several minutes in various states of intensity. At some point I decided to slide to the floor and lie on my back. Then I got to my knees and assumed a prayerful position although I don’t think that what I did was pray. I just wanted to know if it was real. Why was this happening? How? Of course I got no answers. That’s what I came to the computer for. Maybe I could ask others.
So what do you think? Am I just losing it. Should I seek medical or psychiatric attention? Is there a rational explination for this kinda thing? Does it happen to you and if so when?
I’m really still not sure what to make of it, but because of writing about it here and thus reviewing it in my mind again and again I’m sure that I won’t forget about it very quickly. Was it life changing? I think it’s too early to say, and maybe because of that, the answer is probably not. Who knows.
BTW, last week I uploaded two new sets of photos, and today is my 27th birthday.
Originally published on Wednesday October 29, 2003 at 3:05 am
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