Graham Dawson (real name) initially earned a B.Sc. in Physics and Meteorology and went on to a Ph.D. in Dynamical Coastal Oceanography from Reading University, UK, in 1982. From 1982 until 1992, he has worked in information technology in a number of major oil companies and petroleum consultancies, and since 1992 he has worked as a software developer and company director in his own business. His experience occurred in Adelaide, Australia, in 1990.
Peace That Passeth All Understanding
It was a typical Monday in the office. However, I first noticed something different, (but not especially noteworthy at that stage) whilst waiting for a bus after work. Normally, when the bus was delayed beyond the typical 5 to 10 minutes waiting time, I took the attitude of “grin and bear it” whilst trying to occupy my thoughts with whatever I could to ease the boredom.
But on this occasion I felt not only totally unconcerned by the delay, but was instead quite enjoying just standing there watching the world go by. Eventually the bus arrived and by the time I got home (where I lived alone) I was feeling “blissed out.” I spent most of the evening just sitting – first gazing at the shifting the patterns caused by evening sunlight filtered through leaves, and then later just sitting and contemplating. I cannot remember what I contemplated, but I do remember quite vividly at one point being struck suddenly by the thought that if I had died at that very instant, it would have not mattered to me in the slightest. The sense of peace which had come over me was very very profound – the idea of which can be conveyed, but the feeling of which is beyond my ability to convey. The next morning I went in to work still feeling somewhat more peaceful than usual, but this gradually wore off further as the day went by – until I was back to normal again.
Contributor’s Comments on the Experience
I had not taken any drugs, alcohol, medication or even any unusual foods that I can recall. Given the nature of the experience, I would almost certainly have noted and remembered shortly after the event anything unusual that I thought could have related to the triggering of this event.
This experience was totally unexpected. I had been a meditator for many years, and was interested in the altered states of consciousness which the literature indicates are possible for some, but I had never experienced anything like this. In fact I did not meditate during the period described – I did not feel any need or desire to. The closest description I could find elsewhere to describe my experience is a “peace which passeth all understanding” – a term which I believe is of biblical origin or derivation. I have never had a comparable experience since. However, the profundity of the experience and deep desire to re-attain that state at some point again in the future, has prompted me to put a lot of time and energy into investigating the spiritual side of life.
About three months after this event, I started an astrology course. During the course I discovered that a specific astronomical event had occurred during the event described above. Specifically, during the night of my experience, the planet Uranus crossed the exact position of the Sun as it had been placed at my instant of birth (by tropical longitude). Astrologically, each planet is attributed with archetypal qualities, and the attributes of the Sun are “identity” and “personality”, and those of Uranus relate to sudden or erratic events, and to consciousness. I found the co-incidence of the timing of the astronomical event with my experience to be extremely striking. I had no significant knowledge of astronomy or astrology before the course. Since then, I have been developing astrological software, including a program designed to perform astrological research and statistical analysis. Whilst I find that much that is written about astrology is of questionable scientific merit, my experience has convinced me that there is at least some element of truth in astrology.
Editors Note: You state that you were a “meditator” before the event, although you didn’t see any obvious connection. I have stated in many places, though, that the word “meditation” is used to mean so many different things by different people that it has almost no descriptive value. Could you be more specific about just what kind of meditation you had done before?
I first started meditating in 1980 using the “Transcendental Meditation” technique (i.e. persistent repetition of a one-word mantra), and maintained the practice fairly regularly, but with some lapses from time to time, meditating typically once or twice per day, usually for a twenty minute period. During the initial few months of practice I had some brief experiences (whilst meditating) of losing all awareness of my body, but in the following years had nothing more to report than the impression that I felt generally more relaxed and composed when I meditated regularly. Over time, my usage of the mantra decreased somewhat, and my meditations became more contemplative (i.e. aiming for an absence of thought rather than focusing on a single thought).
Since my experience in 1990, and largely as a result of my renewed interest in such matters, I undertook some esoteric studies relating to the books of Alice Bailey, which is closely related to Theosophy. Consequently I learnt and tried some different forms of meditation – for example using seed thoughts or objects of contemplation, recitation of mantrams, guided visualizations etc. However, I have no really noteworthy phenomena to report from this – other than that I generally find it beneficial, and am motivated to continue the practice on a daily basis.
If there was a technique that would help me rediscover the sense of peace I felt during my experience, I would love to find it! It is perplexing to have experienced such a blissful state, and yet be unable to attain it again despite persisting with various mystical/spiritual techniques which are claimed to lead ultimately to that result. In any case, the memory of the event and the knowledge that such a state of consciousness is possible have been a great comfort and motivation to me ever since, and have added to the quality of my life.