Sarlo's Guru Rating Service
Awakening Stories

Though these stories are often described as at best irrelevant and possibly hindrances on the pathless path in that they might give the impression that "this is the only way," they can nevertheless be inspiring. Especially if many such stories are considered, the resulting overview can liberate the seeker from any fixed and limiting particular awakening story. Possibilities open up, i don't have to do it this way, i have affinity for that way but see there can be much more. In fact, the more i read, the more i see that each way is unique, therefore my way will be unique. Enjoy!
A snippet for each is included, a letter to indicate their category page and a link to their whole story as presented on their sites.
Other sites which have small compilations of awakening stories include When I Awoke, The Awakening Experience in the Modern Era, Enlightenment Stories and Message From Masters. The last may be going into this in a big way.

Adyashanti (A)
Today I awoke, finally I see the Self has re-turned to the Self.
The Self is none other than the Self.
I am deathless. I am endless. I am free.
The birds outside sing ..
The birds outside sing and there am I.
The seeing of leaves on the trees, that seeing am I.
The body breathes, breathing am I.
I am awake and I know that I am awake.
Seen from the old eyes, everything is asleep, a game, a delusion.
But now I am awake. I am the play. I am the game. I am the delusion.
I am the enlightenment I sought, looking everywhere.
Nothing is separate, nothing is alone.
I am all that I see. All that I smell, taste, touch, feel, think and know.
I am awake and this awakeness is the same as Shyakyamuni Buddha's.
Today the leaf has returned to the root.
I am all name and form and beyond all name and form.
I am Spirit, no longer trapped in a body.
I am free. I am free because I am awake.
So ordinary. Who would have thought ? Who could have guessed?
I am home. I am really home. Ten thousand life times.
Ten thousand life times but today I am home.
Ten thousand life times but today I am home.
This is not an experience. This is me.
I am awake. Finally, I am awake.
Nothing has changed, but I am awake.
Before I tasted the root many times and felt, how delicious.
Today I became the root. How ordinary.

[Adyashanti's actual awakening story is a long one, 
50 pages of pdf accessible via the link above]

Aruna Byers (N)
The actual moment of realization happened while I was having dinner with some Papaji devotees who had been with him for some time. I was telling them how blissful my body felt and how my mind just wouldn't work well enough to write Papaji a letter. In a soft and gentle voice the man sitting across from me said, " The bliss you are feeling doesn’t mean a thing. It will eventually leave. Go to the source of your thoughts and you will know who you are." I focused my attention inward to find that place where my thoughts were coming from. Suddenly I knew, without a doubt, that every thought I ever had was only my imagination. It was so clear. In that moment the whole story of "me and my life" disappeared into silence. All that remained was Papaji’s laughter

Aziz Kristof (A) [from a long general autobio page, now no longer available]
Guidance sent me to do a solo retreat in South India and predicted the shift to the Absolute for the middle of December. I went to Kerala and started my retreat by the beach. How to reach the Absolute? [Ranjit] Maharaj spoke only about the Absolute as such, but nothing about how to get there! He was saying that I am already THAT, but for some reason, I was not yet THAT! The intellectual conviction of being THAT does not actually help you become THAT. At that time I wasn't THAT in any way. Maharaj spoke about the witnessing of I Am. I Am itself is the witness. How could the witness be witnessed? Soon I discovered that whatever gymnastics I made with awareness, I was still locked within this awareness. It was in Pune that I kept demonstrating everyday to Guidance a different realisation, hoping that it was the Absolute. Each time Guidance patiently answered, 'not yet.' Yes, the only way to go beyond it is to surrender into Being. The key words which pointed in the right direction were: 'no-will' and 'absence.' I sat in absorption and tried various experiments. I contemplated the moment of falling asleep, just trying to recognise the condition of no-will and absence. I discovered that the place where the Absolute lives is at the bottom of the breath. To breakthrough this gate is to move to the Other Side. I was completely desperate! I was full of doubts, anxieties and impatience. It was a very difficult time. All my life seemed to culminate in this retreat. It was the final battle to reach the Absolute.

The shift happened on the 15th day of December 1996 around one in the morning. It was such a relief! I found myself slipping to the Other Side, to the Beyond. This implosion cannot be expressed in words. It was like diving to the bottom of the ocean and piercing through this bottom into the space on the other side. I experienced the absolute freedom. But the next day the passage closed again! I was so desperate and broken. But in a few days managed to slip into the Absolute State again. I needed to use a very subtle will to reach the condition of no-will. Guidance told me that Maharaj himself did hundreds of such attempts. On the 31st day of December 1996 I became stabilised in the Absolute. It felt like I had died and I had not been fully reborn. It was a mysterious time. For many lifetimes on the Buddhist Path, in my Soul there was imprinted a deep longing to reach the Unborn, to reach Nirvana. Upon reaching the Absolute State, I completed my Buddhist karma. I had reached complete disidentification and freedom from the apparent reality. My whole life of search reached culmination. The next few months I was completely absorbed inside, I was without any desire to do anything. The energy needed to settle down and integrate. Contemplating my life, I could see myself sitting in my little room in Poland reading 'I Am THAT' and now already in the Absolute, free at last. At that point I could have said that 'I am THAT,' but it would not have been a precise statement.

Bankei (P)
[no "whole story" elsewhere, this is it]
I fashioned a small hut and shut myself up in it. There I would meditate day and night and go long periods without sleep. I tried everything I could think of, but still I got nowhere. As I pushed myself past the bounds of physical endurance with this complete lack of regard for my health, the skin of my buttocks became lacerated, making it extremely painful for me to sit. But I must have had a constitution of iron in those days, because I was able to go right on without spending even a single day lying down to recuperate. To lessen the pain from my buttocks, I placed several layers of soft paper over the ground and sat on them, changing them frequently. Unless I did, there was considerable bleeding from the torn skin, and that, together with the pain would have made sitting impossible. I also tried used cotton wadding to sit on. Despite these difficulties, never once, day or night, did I lie down to rest.

But the adverse effects of the long years of physical punishment built up and led to serious illness. And I still hadn’t clarified the meaning of “bright virtue”, in spite of all the time and effort I had spent wrestling with it. My illness steadily worsened. I grew weaker and weaker. Whenever I spat, gouts of bloody sputum as big as thumbheads appeared. Once, I spat against a wall and the globule stuck and slid to the ground in bright red beads.

The kindly people who lived nearby said that I should recuperate my health in the hut. They arranged for someone to look after me. But the illness now reached a critical stage. For a whole week, I couldn’t swallow anything except some thin rice broth. I became resigned to the idea to the fact that I was going to die. I viewed it as inevitable and felt no great regret. The only thing that really bothered me was having to die without discovering the meaning of bright virtue, which had had the sole possession of my thought for so long. Then I felt a strange sensation in my throat. I spat against a wall. A mass of black phlegm large as a soapberry rolled down the side. Suddenly, just at that moment, it came to me. I realized what it was that had escaped me until now: All things are perfectly resolved in the Unborn. I realized too that what I had been doing all this time had been mistaken. I knew that all my efforts had been in vain.

At the same time, my illness showed definite signs of improvement. Overjoyed, I found that my appetite had returned.

Bob Fergeson (O)
I was out cross-country skiing. I was climbing a long ridge. The slow, easy ascent would take a couple of hours, freeing my thoughts to go where they may. I was relaxed, being in familiar territory where I felt safe, free from worry or concern. As I continued up the hill, I felt that something was trying to get my attention, that perhaps there was someone behind me. I turned around, but was alone on the hill. Still, I could not shake the feeling. It grew steadily though quietly. I soon came to see that it was not in the surroundings, but somewhere within the inner field of the mind. It was as if a still voice were saying, `turn round and look within, and all you seek will be answered'. So, I did. As I looked within at whatever this silent prodding was, a dam burst, and my long pent up questioning could no longer be contained. Over the next couple of hours, all my questions were answered, as my attention was now free to go into the mysterious unknown source within from which all springs.
I saw, without a shadow of a doubt, that whatever looked out from my eyes, was the same in all men. There was no individual, but only Universal Man. Now this was traumatic. It ran counter to the dualistic belief I held that I was either better than, or worse than, everyone else. Not only was I the same, I didn't even exist! As the stream of false notions I took as my `self' came to the surface, they were burned away in the light of truth that was so obviously present, but had been hidden within. I became more and more shaken, and soon found myself laying in the snow, weeping. I came to see that everything was in the same place, at the same time. That everything is One, contained in Nothing. All was possible, all was available, depending on what the Heart desired, and the Heart desired nothing but Itself. Nothing was separate, for no things existed. 

Jeff Foster (N)*  [scroll to page bottom for "A Walk in the Rain"]
As the story goes (and I can barely remember any of it now) I was walking through the rain on a cold Autumn evening in Oxford. The sky was getting dark; I was wrapped up warm in my new coat. And suddenly and without warning, the search for something more apparently fell away, and with it all separation and loneliness.

And with the death of separation, I was everything that arose: I was the darkening sky, I was the middle aged man walking his golden retriever, I was the little old lady hobbling along in her waterproofs. I was the ducks, the swans, the geese, the funny looking bird with the red streak on its forehead. I was the trees in all their autumnal glory, I was the sludge sticking to my feet, I was my body, all of it, arms and legs and torso and face and hands and feet and neck and hair and genitals, the whole damn lot. I was the raindrops falling on my head (although it was not my head, I did not own it, but it was undeniably there, and so to call it "my head" is as good as anything). I was the splish-splash of water on the ground, I was the water collecting into puddles, I was the water swelling the pond until it looked fit to burst its banks, I was the trees soaked by water, I was my coat soaked by water, I was the water soaking everything, I was everything being soaked, I was the water soaking itself.

And everything that for so long had seemed so ordinary had suddenly become so extraordinary, and I wondered if, in fact, it hadn't been this way all along: that perhaps for my whole life it had been this way, so utterly alive, so clear, so vibrant. Perhaps in my lifelong quest to reach the spectacular and the dramatic, I had missed the ordinary, and with it, and through it, and in it, the utterly extraordinary.

Dada Gavand (I)
As I was observing the play of my mind, I suddenly realized that the established pattern of thought-emotion was disturbed, and the whole mind-structure was in turmoil. There were no layers, no orderly arranged movements of thought any more. Intellect and logic lost their validity, and the consciousness was in flux. Everything was in intense motion, like boiling water.

The ego itself became highly disturbed, agitated and sensitive. I came face- to - face with fear. I had to sense that fear fully and stay with it without reacting to it. With this challenge, my watchfulness and alertness grew much deeper, keeping me in the moment of the present, creating room – a space in my inner being – to absorb the thrust of thought. This was a prelude to change – a jump.”

Such a jump, beyond the mind, appears to be a totally unpredictable and unexpected occurrence. As Dada describes, “Something inside me literally exploded, giving me the shock of my life. In a split second, a fountain of unknown energy sprang forth from within. This surprising energy flow was of a truly new kind, different from anything I had ever sensed or experienced before. It felt soft, sensitive, joyful and dynamic yet peaceful. It filled me with profound reverence, deep awe and love. Such a mystical and powerful explosion in my inner domain was a miraculous event.”

With this change in Dada’s life came a tranquility, joy and understanding never known to him before. Moreover, his creativity increased manyfold and he began to compose poetry. Thereafter, he continued his inner journey, staying in semi-solitude for 19 years in a small cottage in Mahableshwar.

Nathan Gill (N)*  [click on "Nathan Gill"]
As it happened, in September 1998 an event did occur. I was gardening and it was drizzling with rain. I looked up and there was a subtle sense of 'me' not being there. I got on my bike and cycled around the lanes and it seemed like there was a movie going on without any effort needed on my behalf to be taking part in it.

Even though Tony had pointed out that no event is necessarily associated with the recognition of your nature as Consciousness, I had obviously still been subtly waiting for one because now that this event, or experience, was occurring I gave myself 'permission' to be awake. I had been waiting for confirmation.

Greg Goode (N)*  [at top of page]
One day while I was reading a book by Ramesh Balsekar, standing on the Grand Central subway platform, the answer came by way of the world imploding and my phenomenal self expanding, disappearing to merge with it. No separate independent entity was seen anywhere. All "willings," "desirings," "thoughts," etc., were seen deeply deeply as spontaneous arisings in consciousness, happening around no fixed point or location. Not only the entity "Greg," but also *all* personal entities
dissolved, became appearances in consciousness.

Lightness, sweetness, brightness, and a certain fluidity of the world followed immediately as sensory qualities of everything, and became one with all experiences. There were psychological aftereffects as well, like more resiliency, more psychological peace and happiness. At the time, it was really a non-event. Even now, it's not something I ever noticed or thought about at the time, unless I'm asked and then try to reconstruct it.

I do remember that people at work noticed, my friends and parents noticed. I didn't have a real good intellectual understanding of it at the time, and didn't seek one. I'd never met anyone else to talk to about this.

Then more attending. Another several-year constant inquiry, but very light, almost with an aesthetic, playful, artful, no-big-deal appeal. This time the inquiry was on the dualism between the appearances and the background.

Douglas Harding ( A)  [regrettably not his site, which redirects the visitor away from specific pages back to the home page]
The best day of my life - my rebirthday, so to speak - was when I found I had no head. This is not a literary gambit, a witticism designed to arouse interest at any cost. I mean it in all seriousness: I have no head.

It was eighteen years ago, when I was thirty-three, that I made the discovery. Though it certainly came out of the blue, it did so in response to an urgent enquiry; I had for several months been absorbed in the question: what am I? The fact that I happened to be walking in the Himalayas at the time probably had little to do with it; though in that country unusual states of mind are said to come more easily. However that may be, a very still clear day, and a view from the ridge where I stood, over misty blue valleys to the highest mountain range in the world, with Kangchenjunga and Everest unprominent among its snow-peaks, made a setting worthy of the grandest vision.

What actually happened was something absurdly simple and unspectacular: I stopped thinking. A peculiar quiet, an odd kind of alert limpness or numbness, came over me. Reason and imagination and all mental chatter died down. For once, words really failed me. Past and future dropped away. I forgot who and what I was, my name, manhood, animalhood, all that could be called mine. It was as if I had been born that instant, brand new, mindless, innocent of all memories. There existed only the Now, that present moment and what was clearly given in it. To look was enough. And what I found was khaki trouserlegs terminating downwards in a pair of brown shoes, khaki sleeves terminating sideways in a pair of pink hands, and a khaki shirtfront terminating upwards in - absolutely nothing whatever! Certainly not in a head. 

Philip Kapleau ( M)*  [page has some others' accounts of awakening as well]
A warm spot began to grow in my abdomen, slowly spreading to my spine, and gradually creeping up the spinal column.

I was so physically exhausted I could scarcely speak. Imperceptibly my mind had slipped into a state of unearthly clarity and awareness. I knew, and I knew I knew.

Never before had the road been so roadlike, the shops such perfect shops, nor the winter sky so unutterably a starry sky. Joy bubbled up like a fresh spring.

The days and weeks that followed were the most deeply happy and serene of my life. There was no such thing as a "problem." Things were either done or not done, but in any case there was neither worry or consternation ... For the first time in my life I was able to move like the air, in any direction, free at last from the self which had always been such a tormenting bond to me.

... I suddenly felt as though I were being struck by a bolt of lightning, and I began to tremble ... "I'm dead! There's nothing to call me! It's an allegory, a mental image, a pattern upon which nothing was ever modeled." I grew dizzy with delight. Solid objects appeared as shadows, and everything my eyes fell upon was radiantly beautiful. 

Byron Katie (A)
Less than two weeks after I entered the halfway house [for eating disorders], my life changed completely. What follows is a very approximate account.

One morning I woke up. I had been sleeping on the floor as usual. Nothing special had happened the night before; I just opened my eyes. But I was seeing without concepts, without thoughts or an internal story. There was no me. It was as if something else had woken up. It opened its eyes. It was looking through Katie's eyes. And it was crisp, it was clear, it was new, it had never been here before. Everything was unrecognizable. And it was so delighted! Laughter welled up from the depths and just poured out. It breathed and was ecstasy. It was intoxicated with joy: totally greedy for everything. There was nothing separate, nothing unacceptable to it. Everything was its very own self. For the first time I — it — experienced the love of its own life. I — it —was amazed!

In trying to be as accurate as possible, I am using the word “it” for this delighted, loving awareness, in which there was no me or world, and in which everything was included. There just isn't another way to say how completely new and fresh the awareness was. There was no I observing the “it.” There was nothing but the “it.” And even the realization of an “it” came later.

Let me say this in a different way. A foot appeared; there was a cockroach crawling over it. It opened its eyes, and there was something on the foot; or there was something on the foot, and then it opened its eyes — I don't know the sequence, because there was no time in any of this. So, to put it in slow motion: it opened its eyes, looked down at the foot, a cockroach was crawling across the ankle, and … it was awake! It was born. And from then on, it's been observing. But there wasn't a subject or an object. It was — is — everything it saw. There's no separation in it, anywhere. 

Jan Kersschot (N)*  [click on "Jan Kersschot"]
Nevertheless I still had a spiritual path in my head, a future goal, even if I didn't realize it as such. Ego games were still going on somewhere at a very subtle level: comparison, longing, expectations, idealizations, and so on.

On the other hand I felt that I was sitting on a melting iceberg and that the sea I was floating on was getting warmer and warmer. What I did not yet understand was that I was made of ice myself and that I would finally also melt away. As I still thought that I (as Jan) was on a path to somewhere, I believed I had to make progress on the spiritual path. I was still waiting for an event. Until I met Tony Parsons. During the very first meeting all my expectations evaporated just by hearing these three words: 'This is it'. The idea of there being a path was unmasked, right at the spot. It was like a gentle 'wham'. But this was not some spectacular revelation. No mystical event or anything like that. In a timeless moment, everything became completely clear in a very simple and natural way. The whole house of cards tumbled down, in all simplicity and ordinariness. All questions had disappeared.

Dan "Anubuddha" McKee (X)   [oh well, he has disappeared but his story can remain]
Life is full of the unexpected. I was living in Sedona, Arizona, in the fall of 1997, doing psychic readings and mind-body healing just like thousands of other gifted spiritual people living there. A friend invited me to sit in Satsang with an awakened American guy named Ram Tzu over a weekend. I went Friday night. He was funny. He was pretty quiet. He didn’t say a lot but I felt a very clear presence. He was in the lineage of Ramana Maharshi
[sic] and was sent by his teacher in India, Ramesh Balsekar, to spread the word. All I really wanted was to experience his energy directly. Well, during his short 30 second answer I felt something inside of me dramatically shift, but I didn’t know what. The rest of the day was uneventful and I went to bed early. Upon awakening, I awoke a different person. Please bear with me as I try to find metaphors and words to explain it.

What we call the desiring-planning mind had disappeared. All the energy that normally went out into the world to achieve, had been turned off, just like pulling out an electric plug. No energy went out, everything came pouring in. I could not “do” anything. I could only “receive” everything.

The whole universe of energies fell inwards. It was and still is a total orgasm. It’s a very physical experience, not just some mental concept. Bring to your body-mind consciousness the most incredible sexual orgasmic experience and then multiply it. Words themselves are empty but please contemplate the only words that point to the experience of self realization; total peace, profound contentment, radiating joy and deep-deep silence. It continues 24 hours a day. All desires to understand anything about God or the future have vanished. I fell into the moment. Everything has become new, fresh and alive, without having any preconceived ideas, as if looking through the eyes of a child. My perception of the world comes through my heart which now senses only the love and perfection of creation. Total acceptance of , what is-as is , has become my only way of encountering any person or experience. I laugh-deep belly laughs so often that I actually embarrass myself in public.

Bobby Meizer (N)
After a few minutes John's attention moved to me and he asked me why I'd come. So I framed my question for him pretty much as I have here, and he replied by telling me what Bob Adamson had told him (actually, asked him). Bob asked him if he knew what Nisargadatta was talking about, what Ramana was talking about, and John, after 15 years of studying the stuff, had to admit that the answer was no, not really. As John was telling me about it I had to make the same admission to him. Then Bob had asked him, and John asked me, "Do you exist?" I had to agree; it seemed like the only thing I knew for sure. Then Bob/John asked, "Do you have awareness?", and I was immediately conscious of spacetime, of the room, of my body, of my consciousness, and I had to say that yes, I have awareness, and I’m aware of it. "That’s it!" Bob/John declared, "That’s what they’re talking about." I was enlightened by this.

Joel Morwood (G)

Eventually, walking a spiritual path became the priority of my life. I abandoned my career, friends, and family in search of the Truth to which all the mystics seemed to point. And yet, no matter how hard I tried or how far I traveled, that Holy Grail continued to elude me. Finally, after I had given up all hope of attaining my goal, it happened. In a cheap motel room on the night of August 13, 1983, I Awoke to a Reality at once far more astonishing and, at the same time, far more simple than anything I could have ever imagined. Here is part of what I wrote shortly thereafter:

I jump up, turn on the light, and look around. Sure enough, I no longer see through a glass darkly. The veil has been lifted and the glass has cleared—no, more than cleared—it has vanished! I see the Kingdom, and now I am laughing wildly, because the great joke of it all is that this exalted Kingdom I have been searching for in such anguish and despair is none other than the very room I have been sleeping in, with its dirty, cinder block walls, frayed curtains, and horribly grungy, blue-green rug! I could have shouted! I could have danced! I could have done anything for that matter, because it really didn’t matter. It didn’t even exist and never had. I was free.

Nirmala (N)
One night as I was sitting there under the full moon, I recognized that the rock that I was leaning on was me—"Oh, yeah, this is me; this rock is inside of me." Once I realized that about that rock, I saw the same was true of all the rocks in the huge field of boulders along the river’s edge. Then since the rocks were so obviously "me," the river was obviously "me" too, not just this stretch of the river but the entire Ganges from one end of India to the other. Very quickly, I saw that not just the river but the whole continent was "me." It struck me as obvious that it was all inside "me"—and then it was the whole world, and the whole solar system, the entire galaxy and universe. This kept going until the mind could not keep up. There was no longer any possibility of my mind containing all of this endless space, and yet it was all "me" in the same way that one of my limbs was "me."

Then there was a wonderful moment when "me" included not only infinity in terms of space but "popped" to include all time. It was obviously who I had always been, and it included all the past and all the future. Then I laughed and laughed and rolled around in the gravel because it was suddenly so silly that I had imagined myself to have suffered. I had always been so free that I was even free to have this illusion of not being free. That’s how complete the freedom is. So I just laughed and laughed. 

Osho (M)
That night another reality opened its door, another dimension became available. Suddenly it was there, the other reality, the separate reality, the really real, or whatsoever you want to call it -- call it god, call it truth, call it dhamma, call it tao, or whatsoever you will. It was nameless. But it was there -- so opaque, so transparent, and yet so solid one could have touched it. It was almost suffocating me in that room. It was too much and I was not yet capable of absorbing it.

A deep urge arose in me to rush out of the room, to go under the sky -- it was suffocating me. It was too much! It will kill me! If I had remained a few moments more, it would have suffocated me -- it looked like that.

I rushed out of the room, came out in the street. A great urge was there just to be under the sky with the stars, with the trees, with the earth... to be with nature. And immediately as I came out, the feeling of being suffocated disappeared. It was too small a place for such a big phenomenon. Even the sky is a small place for that big phenomenon. It is bigger than the sky. Even the sky is not the limit for it. But then I felt more at ease. 

Prajnaparamita (N)[click on "Susan Frank"]
Imagine that you take a walk in the mist and that your jacket, your clothing and your skin slowly get damp. By the time you come home you are drenched, but you have not even noticed it, it happened so gradually. And your buddy says to you: 'Wow, aren't you wet!'

That's the way it actually happened with me, I hardly noticed it, it was so thin, so rarefied, there was no question of: aha, yes look: now there is realization.

Prem Nirmal (C) 
t was a beautiful morning of August 1993, I was driving to go to the work place. The high way was washed clean with the previous night’s rain. As motorcycle attained the steady speed of 55 km/hr, every minute vibration of it was felt intensely. The sudden surge of expansion was felt. There was no one in the body riding the bike. The bike was in me, the road, the trees and buildings were in me. The birds flying up on the mountain and the mountain itself were in me. This amazing feeling of expansion continued for some time.

The bike slowed down seeing the traffic halting at the signal. I reached factory in a very quiet mood with rejuvenated being.

It was a beautiful evening at Vasant Vihar, Thane. I was standing on the terrace seeing few openings of deep blue sky and sun playing hide and seek with dark clouds on the west side, above hills. The whole scene made me ponder, how divine plays hide and seek with a sadhak! In a short while, as the awareness deepened, there was a kind of expansion happening. Nothing was done to cause it, nor was it an effect of anything. It was just felt, to be there. 

In one such moment a bird flying up in the sky was noticed. As it approached near, the magnanimity of the gliding bird was enjoyed. Simultaneously, one felt the pulse of it, as if it was part of oneself. The communion with bird was felt intensely and the joy of flying high was shared, up in the sky. The experience made me understand the meaning of “kinship with nature” that was first-hand.

A. Ramana (N)  
In the summer of 1973, Ramana’s spiritual search was concluded and his abidance in the Self at last stabilized or made permanent by his "discovery" of Bhagavan Sri Ramana Maharshi, his real and Ultimate Teacher (Guru). This occurred by means of an unexpected, mystical experience. Ramana’s body was forcefully "taken" to a bookstore in Houston, Texas (where he was living at the time), and his hand and sight simultaneously directed to a specific book of Sri Bhagavan’s teachings. Opening the book the pages unexpectedly parted at the picture of the gentle Sage. As he simply peered into the intense compassion, beauty and wisdom radiating from the Sage’s eyes, Ramana directly experienced an immediate, engulfing and radical transformation throughout his entire being, reawakening him once and for all into that very awareness he lost during his childhood, and which he learned or again understood to be the very Self. With his spiritual Heart now fully re-Awakened, when any thought arose Ramana simply used the newly found Self-Inquiry process of Sri Bhagavan, and gently and easily settled back into the Self, or the Heart.

Richard Rose (M)  [part of chap 4 of "After the Absolute," a book by Dave Gold, one of Richard Rose's students]
Then, at the peak of the pain, I went out the window. I could see the Cascade mountains from my hotel room, and that's where I went--out the window and towards those snow-capped mountains. I was aware of seeing people on the street, except that I was above them. I passed over the people, and then over the mountains, and I watched this just like I was in an airplane. And I kept going out until I arrived at a 'place.' I don't say where. It wasn't the Cascades or anywhere else I knew. It wasn't on Earth because there was no sun, there was no sky. I simply arrived at a high place, and it was beautiful.

I became aware at some point that I was in a causal realm--that I was the reason for its existence, that whatever I thought became a reality. In other words, I was causing things to happen, to be created, merely by desiring or thinking about them. The thought passed through me then that I was alone and that I wanted to see humanity--all of it. And so they appeared, all of humanity--everyone who had ever lived, everyone who ever would live--covering a huge mountain below me, crawling over each other like maggots, trying to get to the top. I was aware that they were engaged in a struggle that had an ultimate spiritual goal, but their immediate lives and pleasures were pathetic. I was still in some sort of astral form at this point--still maintaining an attachment to the body and to these people--and so I felt a tremendous amount of grief and sadness for their seemingly senseless struggle.

I knew that if I desired I could pick out individuals, that I could see any man or woman who ever lived or ever would live. Because there was no such thing as time. These people were all living now--no matter what the earth time was for their lives--and all I had to do was pick them out, if I wished.

So I thought to myself, if everyone is down there, then I must be there, too. And I looked down into the maggot pile, and there I was--Richard Rose. I could see myself struggling down there, the little man, happy in his illusion. I could see his whole life pattern.

And then I thought, 'If that's Richard Rose down there, who's watching all this?' Suddenly I realized I was not just my individual self. I was the whole mass of humanity and the Observer watching it all--I was Everything. This propelled me into an indescribable experience of what I can only call ‘Everything-ness.’

Alexander Smit (A)
There came a moment that I just plain had enough of it. Really just so much … I would not say that I became angry, but a shift took place in me, a shift of the accent on all authorities outside of myself, including Nisargadatta, to an authority inside myself. He was talking, and at a given moment he said 'nobody'. He said : 'Naturally there is nobody here who talks.' That was too much for me. And I said: 'If you don't talk then why don't you shut up then? Why say anything then?'

And it seemed as if that is what had been waiting for. He said: 'Do you want that I should not talk anymore? That's good, then I won't talk anymore and if people want to know something then they can just go to Alexander. From now on there are no more translations, translators don't have to come anymore, there is no more English spoken. Only Marathi will be spoken, and if people have any problems then they can go to Alexander because he seems to know everything.'

And then began all the trouble with the others, the bootlickers and toadies who insisted that I had to offer my apologies! Not on my life. Yeah, you can't offer excuses to a nobody, eh?!

And to me he said; 'And you, you can't come here anymore.' And I said: 'What do you mean I can't come here anymore. Try and stop me. Have you gone completely crazy? ' And the translators were naturally completely upset.

They said nothing like this had ever been seen before. And he was angry! Unbelievably angry!. And he threw the presents that I had brought for him at my feet and said: 'I want nothing from you, Nothing from you I want.'

And that was the breakthrough, because something happened, there was no thinking because I was.. the shift in authority had happened. As I experienced it everything came to me from all sides: logic, understanding, on the one hand the intellect and on the other hand at the same time the heart, feelings and all phenomena, the entire manifest came directly to me from all sides to an absolute center where the whole thing exploded. Bang. After that everything became clear to me…

The next day I went there as usual. There was a lecture, but indeed no English was spoken. I can assure you that the tension could be cut with a knife, because I was the guilty party of course. He wanted to push that down my throat and the translators just went along quietly. There was not even any talking. And the next day, there was not even a lecture. He arrived in a car, and drove away when he saw me and went to a movie… Then I wrote him a letter. Twelve pages. In perfect English. I had someone bring the letter to him. Everything was running over. I wrote everything. And his answer was: let him come tomorrow at 10 o'clock. And he read my letter and said: ´You understood. This confrontation was needed to eliminate that self-consciousness. But you understood completely and I am very happy with your letter and nothing happened.' Naturally , that cleared the air. He asked if I wanted to stay longer. 'From this situation that took place on September 21, 1978, I want to be here in love .' And he said; 'that is good.' From that day on I attended all the talks and also translated sometimes, for example when Spaniards, or Frenchmen or Germans came. I was a bit of a helper then.

Richard Sylvester (N)
This was not an experience. It was not something that happened to a person in time but nevertheless we have to use language to talk about it so let me try to describe it even though it’s indescribable.

What was seen in that disappearance was that awareness is everything and everywhere. There is only awareness and awareness arises as everything. So ‘I’ and ‘you’, ‘here’ and ‘there’, ‘now’ and ‘then’, all lost their meaning. Awareness was seen to be both where the person was and where the walls were and in the space in between. Actually separation was seen to be non-existent so it is misleading to talk about a separate person and walls and the space in between. And there’s no way I can explain the next thing I’m going to say. All I can do is report on it. What was seen as well was that awareness is also unconditional love. Everything is unconditional love. This is undeniable when liberation is seen.

This way of seeing lasted for a certain amount of time during which all sense of localisation ended. So there was no person anywhere, there was simply awareness. There was no sense at all of a separate person. Yet the physical body was able to negotiate space without bumping into things with no difficulty (laughs). Then after a time the sense of localisation returned and there was once more a body-mind occupying a particular space. But the sense of a contracted separate individual, the sense of separation, had ended. I can’t explain this, all I can do is report on it. Although the sense of a localised body-mind returned, there was no sense after that of searching for anything anymore. Seeking had ended. It was seen that there was nothing to seek. What could there be to seek when there is already only liberation and ‘I’ am already that. ‘I’ am already the light in which everything arises and so are you.

Tom Thompson (N)
During the ’70s and ’80s, I had many powerful Kundalini experiences, kenshos, satoris, what have you, and some of them were without a doubt “enlightenment experiences.” But it was a “separate me” having these experiences in time/space.

And then sometime in the early ’80s there was awareness that there is no other and there is only now. I can’t say it was sudden, dramatic, life changing or anything at all except obvious. So obvious the “mind” didn’t even know about it, and so no big story was created around it or dates set or what have you. And the spiritual systems I was trained in didn’t really recognize this non-event, so I didn’t either. It was just true and obvious. For everyone and everything, always. So, no big deal. It was and is so obvious that it seems silly to even mention It or talk about It. Or think about It. It is simply reality. A big duh.

And then when I first heard Gangaji teach in the early ’90s, I realized what she was talking about was obviously This awareness. As I have said, it was like hearing someone clearly speaking your language after spending many years in a foreign culture. I knew she knew what I know. And so does everybody else, they just don’t know it.

Nothing happened. Nothing had to happen. It is already so.

Eckhart Tolle (A)  [Excerpt on Tolle's site used to be longer, now little more than the below, from The Power of Now]
One night not long after my twenty-ninth birthday, I woke up in the early hours with a feeling of absolute dread. I had woken up with such a feeling many times before, but this time it was more intense than it had ever been. The silence of the night, the vague outlines of the furniture in the dark room, the distant noise of a passing train - everything felt so alien, so hostile, and so utterly meaningless that it created in me a deep loathing of the world. The most loathsome thing of all, however, was my own existence. What was the point in continuing to live with this burden of misery? Why carry on with this continuous struggle? I could feel that a deep longing for annihilation, for nonexistence, was now becoming much stronger than the instinctive desire to continue to live.

"I cannot live with myself any longer." This was the thought that kept repeating itself in my mind. Then suddenly I became aware of what a peculiar thought it was. "Am I one or two? If I cannot live with myself, there must be two of me: the '1' and the 'self' that 'I cannot live with." "Maybe," I thought, "only one of them is real." 

I was so stunned by this strange realization that my mind stopped. I was fully conscious, but there were no more thoughts. Then I felt drawn into what seemed like a vortex of energy. It was a slow movement at first and then accelerated. I was gripped by an intense fear, and my body started to shake. I heard the words "resist nothing," as if spoken inside my chest. I could feel myself being sucked into a void. It felt as if the void was inside myself rather than outside. Suddenly, there was no more fear, and I let myself fall into that void. I have no recollection of what happened after that.

I was awakened by the chirping of a bird outside the window. I had never heard such a sound before. My eyes were still closed, and I saw the image of a precious diamond. Yes, if a diamond could make a sound, this is what it would be like. I opened my eyes. The first light of dawn was filtering through the curtains. Without any thought, I felt, I knew, that there is infinitely more to light than we realize. That soft luminosity filtering through the curtains was love itself.

Vartman (X)
Amidst the struggle of searching for blissful states, my friend True friend Dolano repeated the same message… "You are simply addicted to states…are you willing to risk EVERYTHING that this is all there is?"

What can you trust when the mind is not capable of understanding the Truth of who You are? A point was reached that I could not continue to deny my direct experience any longer…I could no longer pretend that I was who I imagined myself to be... a moment of total abandon of all strategies ... everything.

The rope was cut of continually serving the god of "me"…

The deep realization that the only thing left to do was to surrender everything to the Truth that was revealed in glorious defeat.

John Wren-Lewis (G)
What happened in 1983 could be classified technically as a Near-Death Experience (NDE), though it lacked any of the dramatic visionary features that tend to dominate both journalistic and scholarly NDE accounts. As I lay in a hospital bed in Thailand, after eating a poisoned candy given me by a would-be thief on a long-distance bus, there were some hours when the medical staff thought I'd gone beyond recall. But I had no out-of-body vision of what was going on, no review of my life, no passage down a dark tunnel to a heavenly light or landscape, and no encounter with celestial beings or deceased relatives telling me to go back because my work on earth was not yet done. And although I'd lost all fear of death when eventually resuscitated, this had (and has) nothing to do with believing I have an immortal soul that will survive death.


The fact that I'd undergone a radical consciousness shift began to become apparent only after everyone had settled down for the night and I was left awake, feeling as if I'd had enough sleep to last a lifetime. By stages I became aware that when I'd awakened a few hours earlier, it hadn't been from a state of ordinary unconsciousness at all. It was as if I'd emerged freshly made (complete with all the memories that constitute my personal identity) from a vast blackness that was somehow radiant, a kind of infinitely concentrated aliveness or pure consciousness that had no separation within it, and therefore no space or time.

There was absolutely no sense of personal continuity. In fact the sense of a stop in time was so absolute that I'm now convinced I really did die, if only for a few seconds or fractions of a second, and was literally resurrected by the medical team, though there were no brain-wave monitors to provide objective confirmation. And if my conviction is correct, it actually counts against rather than for the claim so often made by near-death researchers that personal consciousness can exist apart from the brain. My impression is that my personal consciousness was actually snuffed out (the root meaning, according to some scholars, of the word nirvana) and then recreated by a kind of focusing-down from the infinite eternity of that radiant dark pure consciousness. An old nursery rhyme conveys it better than any high philosophy:

Where did you come from, baby dear?
Out of Everywhere into here.

Moreover that wonderful eternal life of everywhere was still there, right behind my eyes, or more accurately, at the back of my head, continually recreating my whole personal body-mind consciousness afresh, instant by instant, now! and now! and now! That's no mere metaphor for a vague sensation; it was so palpably real that I put my hand up to probe the back of my skull, half wondering if the doctors had sawn part of it away to open my head to infinity. Yet it wasn't in the least a feeling of being damaged; it was more like having had a cataract taken off my brain, letting me experience the world and myself properly for the first time, for that lovely dark radiance seemed to reveal the essence of everything as holy.

Metta Zetty (A)
On the morning of February 5, 1997, my life was changed, at a deep and fundamental level, by a completely unexpected and inexplicable experience.

The epiphany arrived suddenly, and without warning. In fact, I was asleep when the experience began.

This is an expandable page. If you've seen more of these stories, feel free to point me in that direction and i'll put a little * beside the entry, signifying that *YOU* sent it, though only you will know :-)
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