An Anti-religious Experience

This happened to me when I was 18 in math class, in the spring of 2005.  But first you would have to know some background story about me to get the whole picture.

It was my senior year in high school and I had spent my sophomore and junior years becoming a very devout (and a little self-righteous) Pentecostal (Charismatic Protestant) Christian.  The previous summer I had gone with a group of Christians to China on a missions trip.  There I discovered many things about Christian missions that I did not like which ultimately started the destruction of my faith.  We were a group of people who were so similar to the Chinese students there, but thought it necessary to go into another country where we had no idea about the needs, language, or even knowledge of the people and tried to impose our beliefs on them.  Luckily the language barrier kept complex ideas of religion from being communicated. 

It took me many weeks to realize this.  It was that spring day in high school and we must have just gotten back from Spring break.

I was thinking about the missions trip and about a great many things, mostly because a lecture in an easy math course is almost sure to make one's mind think about anything else.  That is when I began to think about my problems with the prospect of foreign missions.  I was also contemplating how I did not have true compassion, like most Christians claim to have.  I only acted nice because I thought it was right to do, and I was pretty sure the other Christians did, too.  I can read the difference between sincerity and put on sincerity that so many Christians act out.  True compassion would have to come from within, and be done out of love.  Also, I began to review how church was really just a ritual to affirm belief without any actual proof or reason for that belief.  It's rather like the story of the emperor's new clothes, where nobody wants to admit that they see nothing.  (Some people, like my mother consistently see God in everything, and it's really annoying if you're trying to have a real conversation with her and she brings it up)

After weighing all of these things I found that I didn't actually believe in the Christian faith, rather I convinced myself that I had been.  As soon as I came to those realizations I let go of my faith- mentally, emotionally, whatever.  I could feel myself dropping into a deep state of relaxation like nothing I had ever experienced before.  I felt light as air.  I felt extreme ecstasy, to the point I almost began crying, but hid once one of my classmates began looking at me strangely.  I also began feeling compassion for everyone around me.  I remember thinking that this must have been what Jesus had felt all the time, because this state of mind is the only one where anything he ever said made any sense.  I had a distinct knowledge that somewhere above me was a God.  I could feel glory and light shining on me from above.  I also felt immense personal power.  I felt loyalty towards my friends and a sense of worth and importance. 

This feeling of everything being as it should be is what I assumed was Jesus's kingdom of heaven.  And now that I was there I felt content with the prospect of death and security in everything.  

This lasted for the rest of the day.  The rest of the day was pretty amazing on many levels.  I asked out a very cute girl I always had a crush on.  I stood up to my oldest brother when he tried to impose one of his problems on me, and made him shut up.  I spoke with love and considerateness to my family and friends. 

When I woke up the next morning everything was a little fuzzy.  I remembered thinking that my new life had started and would continue from here until the end, but whatever it was was gone.  I began to crash into a state of despair.  Why had I been given a glimpse of heaven only to be thrust back into separation from that state of being?  It was hell.  I began to lose weight.  Teachers began to become concerned.  My coach asked if I was okay saying that it looked like I'd seen a ghost.  This downward spiral resulted in me losing weight, feeling physical pain in my chest where all these wonderful emotions had previously sprung from.  I began to understand why people would contemplate suicide.  I would have killed myself 7 times over, but I was more obsessed with getting back into that state of grace.  I couldn't kill myself as long as I knew that something so wonderful remained to be experienced, and might be experienced again.

I couldn't figure it out.  It was a religious experience which was triggered by my affirmation of the falseness of my faith.  So was it an anti-religious experience.  I eventually found comfort in wishing that I would never experience anything like it ever again.  I avoided all thoughts of spirituality and began exploring the life of freedom away from a regulated religious life.  I did drugs, had sex, and go high.  It really wasn't that bad, but it didn't compare to what I knew true happiness could be.  I remember wishing that I could think a mushroom trip was as cool as my roommates did.  Or even acid.  Or even getting drunk.  But nothing came close.  So I was rather bitter.

I would later read about Mystic experiences, but never wished to re-open the can of worms until now (hope is both wonderful and terrible).  Now I've found that these things are very common and that there are more people out there like me.  I would very much like to know more about anyone who has gone through something like this.  If you have please e-mail me; I would love to start correspondence with anyone who has had similar experiences. 

accidentalvision accidentalvision
22-25, M
3 Responses Feb 7, 2010

When the heart opens it can be strange as mystery does it go away i think not .I am prone to mystical experience but avoid interpreting them this instrument is quiet odd when it develops .

I know this thread is old, but it still is relevant.
Religion has nothing to do with spirituality.
What you experienced is profound and true.
Drugs, sex and any other physical experiences cannot compare to it. The spiritual experience of Oneness and everlasting love and beingness is supreme. What you have experienced is your true Self, your real YOU. You experienced this because you had no preconceived ideas and feelings in your mind and heart, you were completely free of past experiences and identifications, and you were simply quietly in the moment. If you forget who you think you are, than in this "empty and still space" you are able to see right through who you think you are, and can experience who you really are. You are the everlasting, undying and unborn Self.
I had experiences like that as well.
You wonder how you can have more experiences like this.
One way is through meditation in stillness. Zen meditation is a way.
There are other ways too.
Anyone who is interested in different ways how to realize your true Self can send me an email. I can find the right way for you personally. Every person is different. But generally speaking still meditation is always one of the important things to do regularly.
I am not from any religious denomination, or anything like that. I am just a normal person who has always been aware of his true everlasting Self since birth and has researched all kinds of different ways on how people can realize this most important truth for themselfes, without having to believe anybody outside of their own experience.

All the best to you all!

i cant find the shelf

Wow!<br />
Thanks for sharing!<br />
<br />
I feel very sympathetic to your experience. In my case, the most beautiful and profound experiences have been catalyzed by psychedelics, but I see that for people like yourself the best things actually did not come in that way. I suspect that you experienced, not bad things caused directly by your mystical experience, but rather a mood crash... some imbalance of neurotransmitters. At least that's what it seems like from this end of the story. Read David Pearce's "The Hedonistic Imperative" so that you can understand how we could restore that incredible feeling, not only in you, but in everyone, and for all of our lives without having to undergo a bad crash.<br />
<br />
Take care,<br />