The Transcendent is the ultimate experience of being alive. This experience is both the most challenging for us to encounter and the most rewarding when we do experience it.
The Transcendent experience is made possible by universal consciousness.
We have three other forms of consciousness. We can experience being alive in the outer world, we can experience being alive in the inner world, and we can experience being alive in both worlds together at the same time. We can experience being a self that is at the center of all this experience. At this point, it would appear that we are complete. After all, what more can there be other than self, inner world and outer world?
Enter the Transcendent. The Transcendent — as its names suggests — transcends our experience of being consciousness in a body. This consciousness can help us experience dimensions of life that go far beyond what we normally experience with our body.
The consciousness that is always with us yet we rarely experience it.
The scientific discovery of the transcendent is recent. But the knowledge of this universal consciousness is ancient. It has been known for thousands of years in the Far East. People have been having transcendent experiences for a long, long time.
What they understand in the Far East — but is not well understood here — is that we cannot make the transcendent happen. We are used to living from our head center where we take command of our life. When we take charge, we crowd out any possibility for the transcendent can come to us.
The receptive mode of the Heart Center is open to receiving all life. It is based on feeling. The openness of the inner world and of the heart center creates a space for the transcendent to enter in. And when we open up and create such space, the transcendent will often arrive.
The Transcendent is not about us.
The first three forms of consciousness are aspects of our life in a body. They are self-referencing. That is, we are at the center of our experience of being alive at this moment. We are focused on either the world outside of us, inside if us, or just on “me”. The me is the epicenter of our experience of life in these forms of consciousness.
This changes when the Transcendent enters in and becomes part of our experience of being alive. The Transcendent introduces a universal reality of one-ness into our experience of this present moment. The “me” disappears. The sense of being a separate self disappears. Suddenly we feel ourself opening up into a global sense of oneness. The “self “of self-awareness disappears.
The words we use to describe it — oneness, love, infinite, eternal — sound hollow when heard in the context of our normal me-centered consciousness. They sound vague, elusive and perhaps grandiose. We cannot convey what the experience is like.
Well, actually we can. People who have ingested magic mushrooms speak evocatively of their “trip.” The consistency in what these people have described lends credibility to their reports. The uniformity of these reports would suggest there is some reality here that goes beyond our individual experience of being alive.
Everything changes when we slip into universal consciousness. Life is no longer personal to us. We start to realize that there is a dimension to our existence which goes far beyond our immediate existence here on earth. We see that life is vast and we are an inseparable part of this vastness.
Imagine that you have lived your entire life inside one room of your home. That room would become very personal to you. Everything in this room would have special meaning to you. This room would be all about you.
Then one day you open the door to your room and discovered that your home has more rooms in it. Imagine your excitement at exploring these different rooms. No two rooms are the same. Some rooms have windows. Some are in the basement. Your life has more facets to it now. There is more variety and interesting things to do in these other rooms. But this is still your house and you spend all your life here. What you experience in all of your home — although more varied in nature — is still all about you.
Then one day you discover a front door. You are curious: what kind of life is there outside my home? Slowly, little by little, you open the door and peer out. And what you discover is a vast world that is not about you. This world has its own reality beyond the walls of your home.
You intuitively know that this world has been here forever and that you are — in some mysterious way — a part of this vast outer world. Your life inside your home now seems small and insular. To protect and care for your body, you still need to live mostly in your home. But you now have a different idea about the nature of life in general.
The Transcendent adds to the fullness of Life.
The Transcendent adds another dimension to our experience of being alive. There is nothing else like it on earth. The Transcendent gives us a view of life that might be somewhat like what an extra-terrestrial would experience if they came here and observed us. This is a perspective that is elevated above our everyday perceptions of life.
It is a bit like climbing the highest tree in a jungle and then looking out over and beyond the tops of all the trees around you. The jungle looks very different when you are high up here.
Life on earth looks very different when you can see it from the transcendent.
There are many ways that we can experience the Transcendent.
For a long time I thought of the Transcendent as a place I would have to travel toin order to experience it. The fact that this world seemed so different than the life I knew suggested that the it must be far, far away. I knew of course that this distance was not a physical distance, like flying from here to the moon. It is more of a psychological distance, such as not being in a proper state of mind to receive the Transcendent.
This picture of a great yawning gulf between where we are and where we want to be creates a disincentive for people who might otherwise want to experience the Transcendent. Closing this gap is often equated with the idea of Enlightenment. This is partially true.
Enlightenment is when the Transcendent enters into our consciousness and takes up permanent residence there. It does not push out our existing consciousness, but is more like an overlay on top of our regular consciousness. Our relationship to both our inner and outer worlds is permanently changed. We now intuitively live with the oneness of everything.
This change does not come all at once. The change is catalyzed by a brief experience called an “awakening”. Our awakening sets in motion a transition which last about 5 years. During this time we are often disoriented, especially in the beginning. This disorientation may feel like dementia. Eventually we emerge into a new awareness of life itself. (This process is described in more detail in our website Story of Enlightenment).
We do not have to become enlightened to experience the Transcendent. People who begin the process of opening up to their inner world will start to experience the Transcendent. The more they open, the more they feel the presence of the Transcendent within them.
Here are 3 examples of different kinds of Transcendent experience. Each of these is usually a brief encounter.
Sometimes it just happens. There is nothing we do to try to induce the experience; it just happens on its own. We go for a walk in the woods and we sense that something is starting to change. Everything seems to go still. There is no sound. All of a suddenly we have the sense that we are the trees and the trees are us. Nothing separates us. As one woman put it: all of a sudden I realized that I am walking inside myself. I and the forest are one.
2) Induced by an outside force.
This is when we try to make it happen. The easiest and most common way to make it happen is to ingest drugs, especially psilocybin. Psilocybin is the active ingredient in “magic mushrooms” and most people who take it have a true opening experience. Neuroscientists who are studying the experiences of people who take the drug report that there is a common thread to the experiences that people describe.
One of my experiences was catalyzed in a most unusual way. The experience occurred on a Saturday afternoon on a bluff overlooking the Pacific Ocean. I had driven out there because the night before I had attended a small group meeting lead by beings who claimed to be extra-terrestrials in human bodies. Whatever they were their energy was incredible and I became disoriented as a result. I had gone out to the ocean in hopes that the ocean air would help stabilize my consciousness.
Instead, as I was looking down at the breaking waves below me, the outer world suddenly disappeared. In its place was a great void. As I stood there looking into that opening, I noticed what look like tiny effervescent bubbles floating up from the bottom to the surface. Instinctively I knew these were new life forms coming forward into this world. I was looking at the origin of the universe. This is a universal experience that has been described by others for thousands of years. It is referred to as the “great void” experience.
3) Encounters in the Deep Inner World.
In deep meditation the moment comes when our thoughts finally dissipate. Now we sit in pure silence, deep, deep silence.
There is a sensation of slowly drifting downwards deep within ourself. We come to rest in the midst of a vast space which seems to have no limits. It is silent here. It is serene and still. It feels spacious and vast. In this place we feel that everything is fine just as it is. Nothing needs to change. The old problems are not import. They shrink in importance. Yes, they are still there. But knowing what we know now, they have become insignificant. There is nothing to worry about, nothing to complain about, nothing to stress about.
It feels like we have always been here. It is new and yet it seems familiar. In fact, we have never left. This is a reality that exists underneath the outer world of matter and form. We were never aware of it before. This space seems deep inside of us. If it is inside of us now, we realize it must always be inside if us. It is always close by even though we might not always be aware of it. We can leave here in our mind, but here never leaves us. It is always with us. It always has been. It always will be.