How do you explain? How do you talk about an instant when you gained a knowing,
deep in your core, from apparently nothing? Without sounding mad.
When I was 18, sitting in the Men’s Union at Glasgow University. Sitting, waiting for a lecture due in a couple of hours. Relaxing, not dwelling on anything in particular, having a cup of tea.
And I got from there, to looking at the cup, then instantaneously knowing I was connected to it and everything else in the room, the city, the planet, universe and knew that everything else, everyone else was as much me as I am. And with that came a change in perception, a change in looking at things. I felt as if I was for the first time seeing things in there fullness, it was like the difference between 2D and 3D viewing only more so. There was suddenly a complete unification of the senses and understanding instead of that of just looking. In some sense it also felt that I was seeing things, a step removed, from behind my eyes.
It hit like a lightning bolt, and the residual impact of it lasted extremely vividly for days, and I know I
worried parents and friends by trying to talk about it and describe what had happened, but then, like now, I didn’t have the language to do so. What I can say is what hit me that day gifted me a knowledge, not a belief, not an epistemological knowledge, but knowledge by personal revelation.
A few weeks later, when doing a Christmas job as a postie, I walked out into the thickest fog I had ever experienced. So thick you could not see the lower half of your body and your hand disappeared into it if you extended your arm. Despite having no means to navigate I managed to walk a mile and a half in it to my work, and in that half an hour or so felt a rekindling of the connectedness I had experienced weeks earlier. I was at one with everything and was in a blissful state. On arriving at the post office, no one was going out, vans were grounded, and I sat there thinking, I had been gifted by a valve or something being loosened in my head to temporarily switch off the filters we normally operate with in our daily lives. Without wishing to overstate, I felt Holy. Now I am not an adherent of any organised religion, but that feeling stays with me to this day.
It makes me wonder if experiences like this are felt by most of us. And if it is part of of our evolution as a species, these experiences, senses so developing. Excuse the departure from the poetry norm, but I felt it was time I put this down in ink.


4 thoughts on “Gnosis?

  1. I loved reading this departure from your poetry. Now I know why I’m so drawn to it: It has the scent of holiness. As you know, I’ve experienced this too. I’ve found this quote helpful:

    “The religious part of the psyche is at work whenever you pay attention to something that is numinous to you, whether or not other people feel it is important.” -Jungian Analyst Janet O. Dallett

    Jungians believe that everyone has a “religious function,” what he called the Self. Mystical experiences of the Self take us beyond belief systems into what is truly Holy. Although everyone has the capability to experience this initiation, I don’t think most people do. They seem to happen more often to people of certain temperaments and personality types and traits.

    I think these must be inherited from similarly disposed ancestors. I have a long line of Calvinists from my mother’s Dutch ancestors and several serious-minded British protestants from my father’s! Perhaps you have a similar inheritance?

    • When it comes to family background, Jeanie, I was incredibly incurious, only finding out after my father died that his family were the world’s most spectacularly non-practicing Roman Catholics where religion was never mentioned, a curious thing in this religion torn footballing city.
      My mothers family however, were a different kettle of fish… Some of them Descended from Ulster Scots who came back to Glasgow with a fierce Protestantism and some good-natured bigotry to boot! Mums half-brother Willie McNicol descended from highland Protestants became an evangelical preacher and settled down south near Exeter .
      Mum went through years of searching for a church that would accommodate her lively spirit, and put herself through the mill when she couldn’t live up to the requirements of whatever branch of the church she was currently involved in.
      She had a love of the “supernatural”. I remember her, teaching me as a youngster, how to stop a pendulum on a clock by Will-power alone!…I haven’t tested that recently though!

  2. Fascinating! Yes, “fierce protestantism” would describe some of my forebears as well. If you ever decide to retry stopping a clock pendulum, let me know how it goes!

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