Christiaan Thiers (real name) is a retired General Manager of a technical department of a major international photographic products company. He has a B.S. degree and is the holder of a number of patents that developed various photographic processes, such as color masking, avoiding color crossover, and two-sided document handling in photocopiers. His experience happened in 1945 when he was 18 years old.
Suddenly, the Pervasiveness of Love
That morning, I sat in my intern cubicle, at the Jesuit school, waiting for the bell that would begin the day.
I suppose our superior quality professor must have brainwashed us to such an extent that I sat there wondering how far I truly loved people around me; I wanted to do so.
“Love” as I understood it was the “agapè” of the old Greeks, the striving for the self development of others, without expecting anything in return and emphatically not the common sort of love where love is given, as long as there is love returned: “do ut des” sort of love.
In fact, it looks like we know little about love, for we do not have even different names for disparate types of love: the Eskimo knows about ice, and has a dozen names for different ice, and similarly, the Polynesian knows a dozen different names for coconut
Anyway, back to my experience: My sweetheart at the time, I forget who she was, presented no problem. My family and friends, I could love all right, but of my schoolmates, there was one who was not only ugly looking, but who sported a real mean character as well. Only after some hard thinking could I see him positively and love him at least a little
At that point, the active will to love changed into a passive global feeling which included not only everybody but everything, so that, to my amazement, I even loved the stool I was sitting on!
Everything became one, and this “one” looked like a uniform grey patch without the slightest information. Also, this “one” was pure bliss. The bliss was also felt bodily, as akin to an orgasm. This looked suspicious to an, at that time, practicing Roman Catholic like me! Yet, there was no erection involved.
I have never been happier in my life!
At that point the bell rang to summon us to Mass, and I fairly floated down the stairs. As soon as I got downstairs the exaltation was gone.
Contributor’s Comments on the Experience
The experience may not have made me a better man, but it made me believe in the “One,” and view everything in that light.
Editor’s note: Christiaan Thiers, the reporter of this experience, submitted some further clarifications and comments on his experience two months after his original submission.
In what follows, I will refer to several submissions to the TASTE-site simply by their number, no disrespect is intended. My experience 64 was sent to you, on purpose, before reading the collected archives, because I rather agree with 46 where it is said: “State the data and sit down” Later we can interpret at leisure.
I should add one small detail to the data I submitted in 64, a detail I left out because it did not look relevant, but it was there: Between the moment I felt I loved not only everyone but everything, and the consciousness of the “one,” I had a feeling as if I floated up in a wide spiral staircase, leading up to limitless platform, if you will, where all I could experience was the “one” as the grey patch without dimensions or information.
It had all the properties other experiences report about, and in particular the ones found in 50, which is eloquent in stating the ineffable, or at least in comparison to others.
Here, I leave the facts, and move to interpretation
In reading the collected archives, I find the categories of ESP (extrasensory perception), OBE (out-of-body experience), NDE (near-death experience) and CC (Cosmic Consciousness).
My interest is almost exclusively with CC.
I have not yet read on the subject, because of my allergy for New Age loose claims, but I will. What should I read first? (Editor’s note: R. M. Bucke’s classic book, Cosmic Consciousness is the best place to start. There is a link to a source for an in print edition at my www.paradigm-sys.com/cttart/ site in the Recommended Reading section) I did read a few books on mystical experience, and from them I thought one can add the mystics to the CC category, when abstraction is made of their religious “straight jackets.” Within the CC category, I am very happy now to know of the experiences 3, 4, 48, 50, and 67 in particular, although many others deal with it in a less clear way, and, as I said, many mystics also.
I am particularly enthused about 67: an experience absolutely related to mine. You should realize that, in his case 35 years, and, in mine, 55 years of being alone is a bit hard on one. So, the TASTE website is a godsend: finally here are related souls without the allergenic loose claims of many New Age people
Besides the 35-55 years of non-communication, many other similarities exist between 67 and 64:
–Age 16 and 18,a youthful, uncomplicated approach.
–The ecstatic feeling.
–The absence of time and of spatial dimensions.
–The having to learn to live with Paradox, which is, as you state in the introduction to 67, a mature outlook. I have deep respect for the hard paradox 67 is confronted with. My problem was more benign. I remember, shortly after the experience, pondering whether I should choose a career where I might develop my innate ability to feel or rather first make a living? I am a bit ashamed: I decided to first make a living. I was, after all, part of the Humphrey Bogart generation: no nonsense guys with crew cuts. I should more clearly have chosen for both.
–Where the introduction to a CC experience is widely different, and the interpretations vary widely, because they are made by very different people, the essential part of the experience, the passive part, is extremely similar. The “one” may have ineffable properties, I enumerate with pleasure what 50 and others state:
-Absolute Reality – Unitary state of being
-Extraordinary viewing but no viewer, no subject-object
-Eternal state of affairs
-There is nothing more to do
-Benign and loving as its ground
-Empty place with everything in it
-No frame of reference
-Everything is as it should be
-The universe is a living presence, and I might add, a loving presence
Mystics call attention to the absence of any kind of dualism, no mind-matter, subject-object, good-bad, life-non life etc.
My, and, I trust, many others’ leap of faith is that the “one,” the ultimate reality, is Love.
Is this a loose claim of a New Age fan? It is, of course, safer to withdraw behind an agnostic defense, but the mystery of being demands an attitude towards life.
Now I come to some hunches, to be labeled as such. Like everyone else, I guess, I am fascinated by what the experience is and means.
I think I notice the following:
–People having a CC experience are in the strength of their life: 10-40 years of age. Few of them are old. (Editor’s note: R. M Bucke could not find any historical figure who experienced CC after the age of 35.)
–I suspect that some wishful thinking makes us take a vivid memory of CC for a weaker version of the real thing.
–They are in a very relaxed state of mind and body.
–In my case I am a morning active person and the experience happened in the early morning.
–They are super healthy: I for one, floated rather than walked.
–On average they grow old, confirming their excellent health.
–Super intelligence is not required.
This is not much, but here it is.
The “one” looks like a sort of consciousness, and if so, a comparison with ordinary consciousness may be in order. Not much proof is available for a “consciousness as a shared field experience,” (10) and in spite of some intuition in that direction, the loneliness of the “I” remains impressive.
Why are we not aware of our constituting cells? Without them, no consciousness, and they must have some of their own? No doubt, consciousness is based in physics and chemistry and a rather delicate state it is.
At the CC level, the intriguing thing is the similarity or perhaps identity of experience, among varying individuals. Perhaps it is a reaching, for a rare and fleeting moment, of an awareness, not by the individual involved but by total humanity, or rather by total reality? The “one” is not composed of separate beings, while not existing without them. It looks reasonable to think that this awareness is also based in physics and chemistry (perhaps some endorphin like products? the “one” certainly does not exclude matter).
Do we have an ongoing creation wherein a consciousness of total reality emerges?