In 1978 when I had my initial major experience my reaction to it wasn’t one of surprise, bewilderment, or panic. On the contrary, I felt as though I’d been waiting for it to happen all my life and it was about time. Finally! It was the first time in my life that I felt “normal”, that I felt like I knew who I was and what I was doing. When I looked at the world and saw the “central sun” shining through it I knew I was seeing myself; and when I sat in the rain and saw tiny Buddhas in each raindrop I knew I was seeing myself. When I read accounts of “enlightenment” that talked about kundalini rising to the top chakra I knew I’d been there and done that for many life times, but what I didn’t know was where to go next because I knew that those accounts and descriptions of “enlightenment” were only partially true; in fact they were descriptions of views seen from false summits. For the past twenty years I’ve explored and grown into the “next”.
After the 1978 experience I began meditating regularly and sometimes intensely, and a fairly regular sensation would be that I’d start off being in my physical body, sitting there meditating, and I’d feel the energy change—sometimes as if rising up my spine, sometimes just as a sort of blip, after which I would distinctly feel as though I had a body inside my body, but not as a second body that you might use in out of body experiences. Rather, it was as though I was in a large body with my physical body extending from the tailbone of that body to the solar plexus, and I would experience both bodies simultaneously. From the larger body I could see the smaller body, and could see all the classical signs of kundalini rising in that body—I would experience the crown chakra of the small body, my physical body, at the height of the solar plexus of my larger body, and see the energy rise up the spine of the smaller body to reach the crown chakra of that body (at the solar plexus of the larger body). (I think I should say here that while I’m using the term “physical body”, that term actually includes the whole body-mind continuum—physical body, thoughts, emotions, etc.) Sometimes, instead of either experiencing the kundalini going up my spine and then going to the larger body, or “blipping” to get to the larger body, I’d experience myself as moving with the kundalini up to the crown chakra and then I’d move to the larger body. When this happened I’d usually experience myself to be moving through a tunnel of lights, or rings or wheels of lights, or spheres of lights, with a very bright light at the end of the tunnel. This latter experience directly parallels accounts of near-death experiences, except that I’ve always experienced myself as moving inside myself and into the larger body.
I’ve taken to calling this larger body my “universal” body because I tend to experience it as filled with stars and space, as filled with the universe. I can also expand and contract myself inside this universal body in much the same way that we become conscious or unconscious of parts of our physical bodies by paying attention to them, by being in them. This is a body I enjoy very much—I enjoy the feeling and sense of complete expansion, and find it a huge relief from being focused and located in a physical body, which I’m coming to regard as more of a nuisance than anything else. In this universal body I can feel myself moving through the universe, and physical life more or less springs up in suitable environments as I pass through those environments and interact with them—an example of this: I’m moving through open space and find myself sort of rising up through a planet from underneath it; as I finish my pass through the planet I see a small organism on the planet’s face, a sort of sea anemone creature, but on land, and half covered with a coating of ice. I realize the planet can only support life to this level and that the ice coating helps to preserve the organism’s core temperature during the planet’s night. I also realize that the organism is there as a result of my interaction with the planet—the organism is the best life that I can produce in that environment. I love the little ice covered anemone intensely.
(This has caused me no end of grief being physical in this world because I basically have to make myself very numb to my feelings about the beings here if I want to participate in this life. Beings here survive by eating each other, either directly or indirectly—directly by literally swallowing and digesting each other; or indirectly, consuming each other’s money, property, and so on. When I participate in this and allow myself to feel much of anything at all I distinctly feel as though I’m eating my own children, and that my own children have been reduced to eating each other in order to survive on this planet. And I don’t know what to do about it, I don’t know how to change it.)
Some corollary experiences to the universal body in the physical world are that I frequently feel other people’s emotions as my own, and in very many cases also feel their physical sensations as my own. In some cases, usually with people that I am particularly fond of, I can look at them and have the very distinct feeling that when they are looking back at me I am actually looking at myself looking back at me—not that I am in two places at once, but that I am in both them and me, like the ocean being in two underwater bottles at the same time.
Another example: I’ve just completed an out-of-body experience and I’m above my physical body looking at it when I suddenly realize that my relationship to it has changed drastically—instead of the normal sensation of looking at a sleeping organism I realize that I’m looking at a shell, a husk, much like a cicadas shell or a shed snake skin, and that I’ve “downloaded” all the information stored in the DNA of that body into me. I know that I can recreate all of the life stored in all of that DNA information, and that I can do it by making that life out of myself.
Still another example: when I was living in the cabin in Nelson I once heard a small squeaking sound and followed it outside the cabin to a tiny baby mouse who had fallen from a nest and landed on a window ledge. The little guy would have fit in a teaspoon and had obviously been out there for some time so I carried him/her inside and just sat there holding him in my hands trying to warm him up. It became obvious that he wasn’t going to last long and he eventually died in my hands. When he died there was a sort of tiny explosion in my hand, a flash of light and a release of what I can only describe as joy, and the light rose up and disappeared into me, directly into the center of my chest. Some years later I had a distinct dream in which one of my dogs was running toward me and then jumped into the center of my chest. Two days later my dog died and returned into me just as the baby mouse had.
When I move beyond the universal body I experience another distinct “octave” change, as I call it, much in the same way there’s an octave change between the physical body and the universal body. This time, however, it’s a bit more difficult to describe so I’ll resort to an analogy that I use to think about it: what comes to mind for me is the image of a tennis ball turning itself inside out so that the fuzz is on the inside, without the ball splitting or deforming in any way—just “pop” and the fuzz is on the inside, or maybe “pop” and the fuzz is on the outside. In any case, what I experience is the “pop” and then being in front of a huge white luminous sun, the same sun that I saw shining through everything, and I’m this huge white luminous face that’s the other half of this huge white luminous sun—the sun and I are the same, we are the same “entity”, the same being, there is no difference between us, except that as this face I’m “sweating”, for want of a better word, in the presence of the sun, and the beads of sweat roll down my face as brilliant blue stars, blue-white pearls. And I experience each blue star as a creation, each blue pearl as an “everything”, and there are drops of my sweat as numerous as there are grains of sand on the beach, there are oceans of blue stars, there are seas of “everythings”. During the “tennis ball pop” I have jumped from being the universal life of one of these stars (and all of these stars) to being the source of these stars. And yet I’m continuous from the presence in the physical body to the universal body to this first body—I am the same all the way through because I am the same as the central sun.
When I move beyond this first body giving birth to creations I do so only because I am continuous and the same as the central sun —and I become ONLY “presence”, again for want of a better word. When I wrote in the original letters about following yourself back, this is what I meant. At any point, from physical body to universal body to first body, you can always, always follow yourself back because first and foremost we—you and I—are “presence”.