Editor’s Introduction

This anonymous scientist is trained in neurophysiology, in which (she) earned a Ph.D. She has worked as a Senior Research Fellow in various research institutions.

This experience occurred in Antarctica when she was 34. This anonymous scientist reports no unusual experiences before this one.

Expansion of Self in the Antarctic

I was about 34 I think and working as a scientist in Antarctica for the summer. We had been flown in to Lake Vanda in the dry valleys to clean up an oil spill that happened when a drum being dropped from a Hercules on a routine delivery run split on hitting the surface of the frozen lake. It took 2 days to chip the polluted surface ice off the lake with ice-picks. Then there was a blizzard back at base so the chopper pilots couldn’t come and pick us up and we had a (much needed) 2 day holiday. As you do on holiday, we went for a walk.

We walked (or rather rock-hopped) up to the end of the valley and then climbed up Bull Pass. We all went up the hill at our own pace, so I was separated from my companions by the time I reached the top and sat down to recover. My mind was totally blank. After a while I realized that I had expanded. I was no longer a small discrete consciousness located in my head – I encompassed the whole valley. I was HUGE. I was part of everything – or rather everything was part of me. I was ancient and unbelievably powerful. It was wonderful.

After some time, I don’t have much idea how long but it might have been about 10 minutes, my friends appeared and my state snapped back to normal. I was very sorry about this, but also fairly relieved! We ate some Spam, regretted that no one had brought anything to drink, and slid off down the hill again. And that was that.

Contributor’s Comments on the Experience

At this time I had never felt any inclination towards spiritual seeking. I was a regulation, standard-issue scientific atheist and didn’t even know what meditation was, let alone what it was supposed to accomplish.