Editor’s Introduction

This anonymous scientist  was trained in Molecular Genetics and has a Ph.D. in Biochemistry. She is currently a Full Professor at an American university. This experience occurred when she was 42 years old.

Her original account did not mention her scientific activities, so I asked her if she wanted to elaborate on that. Her response was most interesting:

“I present myself as a spiritual seeker, because that is what I am. It is precisely because I am a spiritual seeker, that I became a scientist. Where else is God more clearly present, than in the workings of a living cell? Where else is the great creative force of the universe more clearly manifest, than in the evolution of a gene, or of a genome, or in the movement of a transposon, or in the molecular structure of a voltage-gated ion channel? I study cell biology and molecular genetics, in order to know God.”


The following experience occurred while I was earning a PhD. in biochemistry. I was studying at a medical school, and responded to an advertisement for a class that offered instruction in meditation. The class was taught by the director of the cancer center affiliated with the hospital. The instructors taught meditation in the tradition of the Himalayan Institute. From these instructors, I was introduced to the leaders of this tradition.

At the time this experience occurred, I had been practicing Raja Yoga meditation in this tradition of Swami Rama and the HImalayan Institute sporadically, for a few years. I went to the Institute to attend retreats and courses on various aspects of that tradition.

On one retreat, I was sitting in the reading room, in the middle of the day. I got up to go over to a bookcase, and suddenly felt myself being occupied by another person. I felt someone come inside of me (through my mind), and occupy both my mind and body. My boundaries dissolved, and I expanded, and expanded. I felt myself becoming the space of the entire universe. A feeling of ecstasy overcame me, which showed on my face. Others in the room saw this look on my face, and immediately turned around, and saw Swami Rama standing just outside the doorway. They immediately began to go to him, and this experience ended. The whole thing probably did not last longer than a minute or two.

Contributor’s Comments on the Experience

I have met one other person who described an almost identical experience with Swami Rama. I have no idea how common it is.

There is no doubt in my mind that the active agent in this experience was the teacher, Swami Rama. Whether such an experience is perceived as intimacy or violation depends not only on the mindset of the student, but also on the intent of the teacher: whether it is done for love or for power. I felt it a great gift, which subsequently made it very difficult for me to leave that group. After extensive reflection on the things I experienced and witnessed with that group, I have come to believe that it is indeed possible to achieve the powers of the mind without the spiritual advancement that is meant to accompany them. A lifetime of the mental practices of that tradition lead to such powers. If the molecular or biophysical mechanism of action of these practices could be elucidated scientifically, our understanding of both spiritual growth and neuropsychology would be greatly advanced.

I asked this contributor if she would care to speculate any further on the meaning of her experience – Ed.

I am also unsure of how to respond to your second request, for greater reflection on the experience. In general, I tend to favor the European style of presentation of material (“State the data and sit down”), rather than the American style of presentation (“Turn on the tap and speculate for seven pages.”).

In addition, I am not a neurobiologist. My understanding of the creation of mind from the material brain is very rudimentary (almost non-existent). When I think about such experiences, I tend to try to understand them in terms of ion channels and neural connections. This leads to frustration. Then I question if the mind, like chromatin, is not an order-higher, a higher order structure, in which the neural connections, like the sequence of nucleotides in DNA, is just the most basic level. Can there be domains of the mind (and domain delimiters), perhaps related to the structural brain but at the level of electric or magnetic energy? My ignorance is very clearly evident in this type of speculation, which is why I try to avoid it.