When I was young, I used to have these weird moments of extreme awareness. For instance, I would be partying with my friends and all of a sudden, in an instant, I would notice the experience as an outsider – almost as if I was floating above my body and looking at everything with a clarity (that I didn’t have at that time) instead of being wrapped up in the moment. I could still see my friends, but it was as though I had withdrawn from the situation and all of a sudden become acutely aware of the moment and what it entailed – as if the lights had been turned on after a long night of darkness.
It didn’t just happen during moments of partying though. It would happen when I was sitting quietly by myself at work without any distractions or while I was on the bus by myself. I was always surprised when it happened. There was never any warning.
I hated the feeling. It was a feeling of intensity of the moment (as if time was standing still), and it made me feel too aware of myself, others, and the experiences happening. And, at that time, ignorance was really bliss for me. I would rather go along having fun and being oblivious to reality than completely aware of what was going on and what various actions meant.
For instance, I remember having one of those experiences and looking at a close friend of mine. As usual, everything slowed down and I could see everything with extreme clarity, including the look of annoyance in her eyes that I never saw in my normal state. At that time, I wanted to believe that everyone loved me and conflict was not in my life. Now I know that she was not a very good friend, but ignorance helped me believe she was.
The worst part was that nobody else in my friend group was having these weird moments. And, everyone that I’ve talked to about it since has not had these moments either.
Anywase, looking back on it, they happened throughout the span of a year where I was trying to figure out where I wanted my life to go. Not long after, I released negative friends from my life (including the one who looked at me with annoyance), started on a journey of personal development, fulfillment, and happiness, and I expanded my awareness.
I haven’t had that feeling for a long time, so I had always wondered if it was just all in my head.
Then today, Deepak talked about peak experiences on his 21 day meditation for energy of attraction, and it hit me…those were peak experiences!
What Is A Peak Experience?
The psychologist, Abraham Maslow (the guy in the video below), described a peak experience as a moment of extreme happiness and fulfillment or a moment that stands out among everyday moments and makes me you feel very large or small with the world around you. He said that it plays a role in one’s self-actualization. And, people who have had them say that they are like a spiritual experience. That is the first time I’ve heard my experience described by someone else.
Peak experiences are characterized by:
- extreme awareness
- a higher level of consciousness
- intense pleasure
Maslow On Peak Experiences
Looking back on it, I would say they were moments of not just extreme awareness, but also meaning. They gave me insight into the fact that there was much more going on than just the experience I was having.
Even though I didn’t consciously understand it, they let me see that every noise, person, movement, and action, was a part of something much bigger than I realized in a normal state.
I wonder if I were to have a peak experience like that again, if it would comfort me and make me feel as though life is very meaningful or if it would still be a moment of being too aware? I assume that I would no longer be uncomfortable like I was in my younger years because I don’t feel I live in ignorance as much – but I would have to experience it to be sure.
If you have had a peak experience, please share in the comments below.