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Tennyson, Alfred Lord – The loss of personality far from being an extinction, was revealed to me as the only and true life

Identifier

027937

Type of Spiritual Experience

Background

A description of the experience

extracted from Professor Ernest Bozzano Les phénomènes de bilocation Traduit de l’italien par Gabriel Gobron and translated further into English by Serge Patlavskiy

And to all of them applies the description of this extraordinary feeling as it sometimes manifested itself to the consciousness, raised by the great English poet Alfred Tennyson. He writes:

"I have never had any experiences of revelation through the effect of anesthetics, but I have often experienced a kind of "trance" (I couldn't find a better term) since my childhood and in the moments when I was alone.

The experience was easily achieved if I mentally repeated my name with a monotonous insistence.

In this case it happened to me - as if the intense consciousness of my individuality caused the phenomenon - to enter a state where individuality seemed to dissolve and transform into a supranormal condition, a condition that was not at all confused, but clear among the clearest, some among the most certain, although literally inexplicable by words, and in which death became a ridiculous impossibility.

The loss of personality (if one could say so), far from being an extinction, was revealed to me as the only and true life.

 I am sorry for the inadequacy of my expressions, but hadn't I already indicated that such a state was inexplicable in human language?"

Cosmic Consciousness, by Richard Maurice Bucke, [1901]

This poet (for though not absolutely entitled to rank in the divine order, yet he has worthily served for and must be allowed that name) passed the greater part of a long life in that region of self consciousness which lies close upon the lower side of the Cosmic Sense. His "weird seizures" mentioned in "The Princess," in which he seemed to "move among a world of ghosts, and feel (himself) the shadow of a dream" [185: 11], belong to that spiritual realm; but far more certainly a condition well described in the following lines of the "Ancient Sage":

More than once when I
Sat all alone, revolving in myself
The word that is the symbol of myself,
The mortal limit of the Self was loosed,
And passed into the nameless, as a cloud
Melts into heaven. I touch’d my limbs, the limbs
Were strange, not mine—and yet no shade of doubt,
But utter clearness, and thro’ loss of Self
The gain of such large life as matched with ours
Were sun to spark—unshadowable in words,
Themselves but shadows of a shadow-world [186:48].
 
And again in the "Holy Grail":

Let visions of the night, or of the day
Come as they will; and many a time they come
Until this earth he walks on seems not earth,
This light that strikes his eyeball is not light,
This air that smites his forehead is not air,
But vision—yea his very hand and foot
In moments when he feels he cannot die,
And knows himself no vision to himself,
Nor the high God a vision, nor that one
Who rose again; ye have seen what ye have seen [184: 290].

And yet once more in plain prose:

A kind of walking trance I have frequently had, quite up from boyhood,  when I have been all alone. This has often come upon me through repeating my own name* to myself silently till, all at once, as it were, out of the intensity of the consciousness of individuality, the individuality itself seemed to dissolve and fade away into boundless being; and this not a confused state, but the clearest of the clearest, the surest of the surest, the weirdest of the weirdest, utterly beyond words, where death was an almost laughable impossibility, the loss of personality (if so it were) seeming no extinction, but the only true life [182:320].

"Religion was no nebulous abstraction for him. He consistently emphasized his own belief in what he called the eternal truths, in an omnipotent, omnipresent and all-loving God, who has revealed himself through the human attribute of the highest self-sacrificing love, and in the immortality of the soul" [182: 311].

The source of the experience

Tennyson, Alfred Lord

Concepts, symbols and science items

Concepts

Symbols

Science Items

Activities and commonsteps

Activities

Overloads

Befuddling

Commonsteps

References