Preface to Dwelling in the Mirror
The following is part of a blurb of (at that time) a best-selling book about a woman’s supposed enlightenment:
“One day over twelve years ago, as a young American woman living in Paris, she stepped onto a city bus and suddenly and unexpectedly found herself egoless, stripped of any sense of a personal self. Struggling for years to make sense of her mental state, she consulted therapist after therapist. Eventually, she turned to spiritual teachers, coming at last to understand that this was the egoless state, the Holy Grail of so many spiritual traditions, that elusive consciousness to which so many aspire. This book is her story, her own account of what such a terrifying event meant to her when it crashed into her everyday life, and what it means to her now.”
The book is no longer in print, but I can tell you what her experience means to her now: Nothing. Because she is dead from the brain tumor that caused it.
Over and over people have mistaken trivial and pathological conditions for enlightenment, written books, given seminars and gained a devoted following. I have encountered quite a few myself, including people who believed they were the Divine Mother, Jesus Christ, the Virgin Mary, Saint Francis of Assisi, Archangel Michael, Lucifer and assorted famous masters of the past. One called our monastery and left lengthy narratives on our answering machine about herself because, she said, she did not want to die without anyone knowing about her experiences and attainment. Another one wrote me a note that simply said: “I am the Goddess!”
I have known more than one person who believed all their dreams were revelations of truth. And I have known some that continually predicted their imminent death for decades. Others told me how enlightened they were, including the one that had whiplash from “crashing into the divine light.” What did they all have in common? They had an experience! Not of one of them was an intentional fraud. They believed their delusions based on their experience.
Most of these unfortunate people were completely unreachable with reason. Yet there are those who can have an experience and realize that it really cannot be real, but a vagary of their mind. Some may not understand that on their own, but can be shown by others the truth about it. For them and those that may one day be in danger of meditation-produced delusions I have written this brief study.
Read the first chapter of Dwelling in the Mirror: Getting Lost in the Mirror
Dwelling in the Mirror: A Study of Illusions Produced by Delusive Meditation and How to Be Free from Them