I recently came across a site "devoted to transcendent experiences that scientists have reported" and thought it was interesting enough to share
(given the richness of the accounts/descriptions and the people doing the describing):
The Archives of Scientists' Transcendent Experiences
"The Archives of Scientists' Transcendent Experiences (TASTE) is an online journal devoted to transcendent experiences that scientists have
reported. It lets scientists express these experiences in a safe space, collects and shares them to debunk the stereotype that 'real' scientists don't
have 'spiritual' or 'mystical' or 'psychic' experiences, builds a database of these experiences for future research, and helps us understand the full
range of the human mind."
Now, I don't mean to imply that a scientist's experience/account of these matters carries more weight (or is more legitimate) than anyone else's.
Just that, in addition to them being fascinating accounts in their own right, they do offer a unique and interesting perspective. Plus, I like how
they're gathered in one place and laid out in a clear, accessible way. And they aren't trying to sell you anything (as Joe Friday would say, "just
the facts"). Some of the scientists use pseudonyms, but the majority of them give their real names and all of them offer up their scientific/academic
For some whose experience occurred early in life, it inspired them to pursue a career in science, for others who had their experiences later in life,
it didn't completely sway them from their career but it made them question some of their fundamental assumptions/beliefs, helped refine or shift their
pursuits, and/or gave them a new perspective on life.
Most interesting (to me) are those instances of “Cosmic Consciousness” and the effect it had on the experiencer. My favorite is entitled
My Experience of Cosmic Consciousness
and comes from a medical researcher who
was (at the time) a self-identified materialist-atheist. It occurred spontaneously one evening in his living room while the sun was setting
My Experience of Cosmic Consciousness
"At this point, I merged with the light and everything, including myself, became one unified whole. There was no separation between myself and the
rest of the universe. In fact, to say that there was a universe, a self, or any 'thing' would be misleading - it would be an equally correct
description to say that there was 'nothing' as to say that there was 'everything'. To say that subject merged with object might be almost adequate as
a description of the entrance into Cosmic Consciousness, but during Cosmic Consciousness there was neither 'subject' nor 'object'. All words or
discursive thinking had stopped and there was no sense of an 'observer' to comment or to categorize what was 'happening'. In fact, there were no
discrete events to 'happen' - just a timeless, unitary state of being.
Cosmic Consciousness is impossible to describe, partly because describing involves words and the state is one in which there were no words. My
attempts at description here originated from reflecting on Cosmic Consciousness soon after it had passed and while there was still some 'taste' of the
Perhaps the most significant element of Cosmic Consciousness was the absolute knowingness that it involves. This knowingness is a deep understanding
that occurs without words. I was certain that the universe was one whole and that it was benign and loving at its ground. Bucke's experience was
similar. He knew, '. . . that the universe is so built and ordered that without any peradventure all things work together for the good of each and
all, that the foundation principle of the world is what we call love and that the happiness of every one is in the long run absolutely certain'.
The benign nature and ground of being, with which I was united, was God. However, there is little relation between my experience of God as ground of
being and the anthropomorphic God of the Bible. That God is separate from the world and has many human characteristics. 'He' demonstrates love, anger
and vengeance, makes demands, gives rewards, punishes, forgives, etc.
The complete account is available at the link (with both more set-up and additional commentary). Other instances of "Cosmic Consciousness" (in
varying degrees) are:
Cosmic Consciousness Experience at Age 16
A Taste of Kensho
Turn-Around at Delphi
THE DARKNESS OF GOD
Suddenly, the Pervasiveness of Love
Humans, the Earth, the Sun and Stars
Expansion of Self in the Antarctic
(this account reminded me of Douglass Harding's somewhat famous description of his "awakening" that he turned into the book On Having No Head
Harding's Moment of Discovery
The site also includes reports of NDEs, OBEs, and Psi phenomenon - but, like I said, I just focused on the CC accounts here. Every account is a
worthwhile read, really (took me a couple days to make it through). The site doesn't contain any and every "transcendent experience" ever reported by
a scientist on record, just from those who submitted to it while it was still active. For instance, here's a more recent one from Dr. Jill Bolte
Taylor that would have fit right in:
Does Our Planet Need a Stroke of Insight?
Seems the site ceased taking submissions around 2004, which is unfortunate. Would be nice to have something like that around/active again.
If anyone else has had similar experiences, please feel free to share!