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Published Collections of Mystical Experiences

Pathways Through to Space

Franklin Merrell-Wolff (NY: Julian Press, 1983)

The work of Franklin Merrell-Wolff was brought to light in the early 1970s by the LSD researcher, Dr. John C. Lilly. Dr. Lilly was struck by the detailed descriptions of Merrell-Wolff's mystical experiences. Trained in mathematics, physics, and philosophy, Merrell-Wolff brought an academic's eye and mind to these encounters.

His experiences seemed to fall into a Eastern (Hindu) framework of the the tension between the ego and the non-ego.

Experience 1

"I had been sitting in a porch swing, reading as previously stated. Ahead of the sequence in the book, I turned to the section devoted to "Liberation," as I seemed to feel an especial hunger for this. I covered the material quickly and it all seemed very clear and satisfactory. Then, as I sat afterward dwelling in thought upon the subject just read, suddenly it dawned upon me that a common mistake made in higher mediation---i.e., meditation for Liberation---is the seeking for a subtle object of Recognition, in other words, something that could be experienced. Of course, I had long known the falseness of this position theoretically, yet had failed to recognize it.

At once, I dropped expectation of having anything happen. Then, with eyes open and no sense stopped in functioning---hence no trance---I abstracted the subjective moment---the "I AM" or "Atman" element---from the totality of the objective consciousness manifold. Upon this I focused. Naturally, I found what, from the relative point of view, is Darkness and Emptiness. But I Realized It as Absolute Light and Fullness and that I was That. Of course, I cannot tell what IT was in Its own nature. The relative forms of consciousness inevitably distort nonrelative consciousness.

Presently I felt the Ambrosia-quality in the breath with the purifying benediction that it casts over the whole personality, even including the physical body. I found myself above the universe, not in the sense of leaving the physical body and being taken out in space, but in the sense of being above space, time, and causality. My karma seemed to drop away from me as an individual responsibility. I felt intangibly, yet wonderfully, free. I sustained the universe and was not bound by it. Desires and ambitions grew perceptibly more and more shadowy. All worldly honors were without power to exalt me. Physical life seemed undesirable.

Repeatedly, through the days that followed, I was in a state of deep brooding, thinking thoughts that were so abstract that there were no concepts to represent them. I seemed to comprehend a veritable library of Knowledge, all less concrete than the most abstract mathematics. The personality rested in a gentle glow of happiness, but while it was very gentle, yet it was so potent as to dull the keenest sensuous delight. Likewise the sense of world-pain was absorbed. I looked, as it were, over the world, asking: "what is there of interest here? What is there worth doing?"

Since that day I have been repeatedly in the Current of Ambrosia. Often I turn to It with the ease of a subtle movement of thought. Sometimes It breaks out spontaneously." (pp. 4-5)

Experience 2

"After retiring last night I lay awake for some time. My mind, instead of being calm, as has been its dominant quality during the last month, was rather agitated...I first became aware of being enveloped in an extraordinary State of Consciousness when I found myself seemingly surrounded by, and interpenetrated through and through with, a quality for which there is no adequate word but which is most nearly represented by calling it "Satisfaction." I do not simply mean that the State was satisfactory. It was Satisfaction...He who is enveloped in this Satisfaction is in need of nothing whatsoever to satisfy him. The Satisfaction I realized is a real and substantial Existence prior to all experiencing.

Throughout this whole experience and the following more profound state, the egoistic or subject-object consciousness was actively present. It was present, however, as a witness on the sidelines, while all about and through and through there was an immeasurably vaster Consciousness.

How long the state of complete Satisfaction continued I do not know, save that it was for a protracted interval as measured in terms of objective consciousness. But as time went on there was a gradual dimming, or fusing, or being enveloped, on the part of the Satisfaction, by another and considerably more profound state. The only expression that reasonably well represents this higher State is the term "High Indifference." Along with this was a sense of simply tremendous Authority. It was an Authority of such stupendous Majesty as to reduce the power all Caesars relatively to the level of insects.

In this State I was not enveloped with satisfaction, but there was no feeling, in connection with that fact, of something having been lost. Literally, I now had no need of Satisfaction." (pp. 115 - 119).



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