The Dazzling Dark by John Wren-Lewis
1983 as I lay in a hospital bed in Thailand, after eating a poisoned candy given me by a would-be thief on a long-distance bus, there were some hours when the medical staff thought I'd gone beyond recall.
Although I'd lost all fear of death when eventually resuscitated, this had nothing to do with believing in an immortal soul that will survive death. On the contrary, it has everything to do with a dimension of aliveness here and now which makes each present instant so utterly satisfying that time, success or failure becomes relatively unimportant.
I didn't even notice the change straightaway. My mind was too busy catching up on why I was in a hospital at night, with a policeman sitting at the foot of the bed, when the last thing I could remember was feeling drowsy on the bus in the early morning and settling down for a comfortable snooze on what was scheduled to be a seven-hour journey across the jungle-covered mountains. I'd suspected nothing, because the donor of the candy, a charming and well-dressed young man who'd been very helpful with our luggage had left the bus some miles back. With hindsight, I guess he decided that retreat was the order of the day when he saw that my partner, Dr. Ann Faraday, wasn't eating the candy he'd given her.
The fact that I'd undergone a radical consciousness shift began to become apparent only after everyone in the hospital had settled down for the night and I was left awake, feeling as if I'd had enough sleep to last a lifetime. By stages I became aware that when I'd awakened a few hours earlier, it hadn't been from a state of ordinary unconsciousness at all. It was as if I'd emerged freshly made from a vast blackness that was somehow radiant, a kind of infinitely concentrated aliveness that had no separation within it.
That's no mere metaphor for a vague sensation; it was so palpably real that I put my hand up to probe the back of my skull, half wondering if the doctors had sawn part of it away to open my head to infinity. Yet it wasn't in the least a feeling of being damaged; it was more like having had a cataract taken off my brain, letting me experience the world and myself properly for the first time, for that lovely dark radiance seemed to reveal the essence of everything.
Later, when the eternity consciousness continued into the following days, weeks, months, and years, my bewilderment was intensified as I discovered how all kinds of negative human experiences became marvels of creation when experienced by the Dazzling Dark. However, perhaps the most extraordinary feature of eternity consciousness is that it doesn't feel extraordinary at all. It feels quintessentially natural: the realization that I never really left home and never could.