Expanding Into The Unknown
I am often asked about my own experiences and most of the time I only tell people a little bit. Because these experiences are my private insights, what is the use of my experiences? However, recently I was asked if I could share some of them more publicly. So here I go, sharing one of my most life-changing experiences.
In November 2011, at a retreat center in the middle of a sequoia forest, I had a life changing experience which changed my whole concept of who I was, what being a teacher is, what life is about, and much more. In fact this experience, now in 2015, is still unfolding.
About 19 years ago, when I first started to practice meditation techniques and to teach, I thought that I had blinkers on (sometimes called blinders in the USA). I walked through life like a horse with blinkers on the side, not seeing clearly. But after this experience, between the majestic trees, I realized that I was not seeing through blinkers at all. Instead, I realized that my eyes had been covered over completely! I had been stumbling in the dark for all these years!
Having had the experience I describe here doesn't mean that I can see clearly now; I often still feel that I am stumbling in the dark. However, I have now seen glimpses of what is possible and I have faith in the methods which I am practicing, faith that one day I might be able to take those blinkers off completely, once and for all. And even if this happens on my deathbed, then I will be perfectly happy.
So what really happened? I had been teaching and doing one on one sessions intensively for 3 weeks in a row in different cities. This was going to be my last day of a 4 day meditation retreat, before I would fly home. It was early morning when I woke up; the day looked glorious and I felt great. I took a shower, got dressed, and walked into the common area, ready to take a walk into the forest before teaching began. Suddenly I felt this energy expanding inside of me and I fell over, collapsing on the floor. I knew I was lying there - my consciousness was so clear - but I couldn't move my body. It felt like Frans had left the building.
Some might say that I was having an out of body experience, but that wasn't what it felt like. I was deep inside and outside of my body at the same time. My consciousness had become so big, so huge, that there was no beginning or end to it.
Some students heard something falling and rushed over to where I lay. I could still mumble a bit but had a hard time finding this body-jacket called Frans. One of the students started to get dizzy, as the energy became too much. Another student was almost vomiting, but luckily one stood ground. I asked them to punch me so that I could feel my body again. Very slowly I started to move this thing called Frans, first my hands, then my legs and slowly I started to sit up. But now I wanted to claw away my skin. I ripped off my shirt, buttons flying everywhere, because I felt that my clothes, my body, were restricting my consciousness. It didn't seem to fit in this thing called Frans anymore; it was too big. I had to get out of the common room because I wanted to smash it in pieces; it too felt too constrained for my consciousness. It scared the hell out of me. I managed to crawl outside into the forest were I spotted some big gallons of water which I started to pour over my head and body. Oh, that felt so good!
Slowly, so very slowly, I started to be able to use my body again, but it felt so small, so insignificant. This body was not who I was anymore; it had just become a jacket.
I had only an hour or two before I had to teach again, and I wasn't sure if I could do it. But I did. However, it took all my focus and effort, and I have to thank my personal meditation practice for this. Without my stable daily practice I am not sure how I would have dealt with the changes that came with this experience. These changes took place physically, emotionally, energetically, mentally, spiritually and much more...in fact it took me more than 6 months to feel a little settled with the changes that had occurred. As I said in the beginning of this article, it still continues to unfold until this current day. And these changes, this unfolding, likely will continue for as long as I am here in this body-jacket called Frans, and beyond.