Here I will relate my first big spiritual awakening and experience of oneness.
I was in college in Vermont, having a bad day. After classes and meetings with teachers, I went back to my dorm room and sat down to meditate. When I sat down, I just surrendered. Not that I knew what surrender was but looking back on it, that was what I did. I didn't practice a meditation technique; I just accepted all of the insanity that had accumulated that day and gave up, not holding on to anything, not figuring anything out.
This happened automatically. And automatically I fell into silence, a place of just blackness. And for about half an hour there was just this blackness. It was nothing profound, no spiritual awakening, just almost like being in deep sleep yet fully conscious.
It was when I came out of this meditation that things got quite amazing. And this spiritual awakening wasn't a feeling of attaining something, but rather a feeling that something was gone. That personal sense of me with all of its problems and conflicts was not there. I was still there, still aware of the body, still functioning through the senses, but that stress that I recognized as myself was gone.
And in that loss there was the sense that I was part of everything. I would say the experience was being one with everything, of oneness but that seems to imply something spiritual. And I knew nothing about spirituality then, nothing about enlightenment or spiritual awakening or yoga. I was completely innocent in that regard. I knew a tiny bit about meditating and that was it. Not enough to even really say I could meditate properly. But if I look back on it, it was the experience of yoga which means union.
The experience was that this little me was so utterly meaningless. There was the undeniable sense that I was actually a part of the infinite universe, I was not separate from it. I could feel that connection, or rather, the lack of separation from it. There was still the sense of me but it was not separate from everything else. The borders of separation were gone. And the feeling of this was incredible bliss and peace. A sense of freedom like a huge weight had been lifted off of me. I was happy for no reason. I felt my true nature as joy.
Over the years I have had incredible spiritual awakenings including cosmic consciousness, realization of the self, witness consciousness, various samadhis. But there was something really pure and beautiful about this particular spiritual awakening. One, because it was the first real spiritual awakening and because at the time although I yearned for enlightenment I did not even knew if it existed let alone had read any books about it. And so here after years of mental anguish was this pure state of happiness. The feeling of being connected to the universe and that the nature of this oneness was delight.
I made my way to the dining hall to have lunch. I remember because I had a vegetarian burger which was one of my favorites. I found my roommate sitting at a table and tried to tell him what I was experiencing. But he was deep in his own suffering over a woman he was in love with. Which was quite funny because it was usually me in that suffering and here I was trying to explain, quite innocently about how this little me is totally meaningless and that we are actually a part of everything and the nature of that was delight.
But I noticed that in trying to explain my spiritual awakening that it did no good. Because it was so new, I thought that if I just told him this secret, he would experience it too. It was not out of pride I told him, pride was not there. It was out of love and wanting him to feel this happiness too, this feeling of peace and love that had no reason for being there except that it was naturally there at the essence.
But my words could not reach him. My state could not reach him or anyone. I could feel this almost solid wall of stress in the room that was actively separating itself from oneness, from the experience I was having. I could feel the stress of the room pressing against me.
And I knew in that feeling that once I started to eat my veggie burger that I would also come down from this state. I say come down but I realized that this experience of spiritual awakening was the natural state and that the sense of separation was unnatural, it was something placed on top of what was already here. I guess contraction would be a better word. I knew that once I ate my lunch, I would contract back into my body and mind, back into a sense of being a separate me and I would lose this experience of oneness. And that this was the way it was supposed to be.
So I did not try to hold on to my sense of oneness. I ate my lunch and watched as this sense of freedom dissipated. And by the next day it was pretty much gone, yet there was a new sense of peace, because I had experienced the truth. In that spiritual awakening I had experienced my natural state of being one with everything and therefore I would experience it again. I thought it would come the next day or the next week but it didn't. Yet it left behind a sense of confidence, that this was exactly what I wanted out of life and if I experienced it once, I could realize it again. That it was possible to actually live in this natural state of oneness.
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