Maybe it has already happened to you. It doesn't happen to everyone. But those lives to which it happens are drastically changed. Changed for the better. When this happens, all the things that make life such a burden are magically lifted from one's shoulders resulting in a sudden, unexpected freedom that appears to come out of nowhere.

This is not an intellectual thing, which is something to be studied and applied to one‘s life. It's not in the self-help books or uttered by life coaches. This is an experience, sometimes called a spiritual experience. However the experience is not spiritual at all. The experience comes from the same old mind that previously may have been full of fear and conflict. But for one brief moment, that ordinary mind becomes quite extraordinary, reminding us of the power of an unrestricted, deprogrammed mind.

You have heard the stories: "I was looking at an oak tree and suddenly something came over me, and when I woke up, I understood things that I never understood before." Of course, when asked what they now understood, they are at a loss for words except that life has taken on a new meaning and they are no longer afraid.

This type of epiphany is quite usual for accident victims and victims of tragic circumstances. It's as if the normal mind, not being able to cope with the distressful situation, drops into another level or realm for just a moment. Enough time to completely change one's personality. For one brief, exceptional moment, pure, fundamental mind is touched. And all it takes is one touch of this powerful, unrestricted mind to change one's life forever.

What becomes clear to the fortunate ones who experience this shift in consciousness as described, is that they now understand in a very subtle way that they are not the concrete, unchanging, master of their minds as previously thought. It's as if a part of them dissolves into something greater, and in that something greater lies the freedom to just be.

Usually after an experience such as this, normal everyday mind will look back on the experience and attempt to fit it into it's little box of knowledge, thus unfortunately shutting the door to deeper insight.

The everyday mind only knows what it has been conditioned to think, and since a shift in consciousness is far beyond thought, everyday mind cannot understand what has happened but tries to control the situation anyway. Because that's the job of everyday mind. Everyday mind will then try to explain away what happened by applying it to whatever religion or belief system it has been conditioned with, and all further possibility of true spiritual experience is lost.

Everyday mind is only interested in survival even though the person who has had the shift in consciousness now understands that survival is a relative, losing battle actually. Illness, old age and death will take them over in no time, and therefore reliance on the everyday mind is deferred to the new consciousness that, although cannot be understood, opens up the heart so that the heart becomes the heart of a lion, facing up to reality in a way that reality could never be faced up to before.

Now life changes, from basic urges of selfish survival connected to greed, hatred and the delusion of a separate self, to openness where one sees the needs of others and thinks more of other's concerns than their own. This is truly a spiritual leap, where one's root greed, hatred and delusion are replaced by compassion, loving kindness, and a personal dispassion and disenchantment with the temptations of the world.

It's as if the mind suddenly understands the vulgarity of blind urges involved with satisfying one‘s own lust, be it the lust of sex or the lust of pleasure. And sees the destruction and heartache that results in the wake of such lustful ambition.

Real peace replaces the previous restlessness and desire for action. And authentic disillusionment with the world replaces the previous love of the world. Once the spiritual aspect is touched, although it cannot be explained or understood, the outside world and all its complications lose their appeal as the heart finds refuge and security now inside.

And this is where many stop. They feel that they have to go no further; that this is good enough.

But it isn't.

Now one needs to cultivate that spirituality until the belief in an individual self is completely seen through. Until all doubt about whether the experience that changed one‘s life is authentic. One needs to end the illusion that ceremonies, rites and rituals will make a fundamental shift in their consciousness - these won't. And one needs to see through the false promises of all sensual desire.

One now needs to root out all ill will toward others if there is any left, and give up any attachment or desire for future existences in either a physical reality of sense experience, or a formless, spiritual reality in the heavens.

And further, one needs to end all pride in oneself, all conceit and arrogance, as well as any boredom and resulting restlessness and distractions. And finally, one needs to end all ignorance, which is the tendency to turn one's back on the truth of things and blindly indulge in illusions.

Without taking one's epiphany to these final levels, one's next existence, be it in the heavens or with the Gods, will only last until the merit gained in one's understandings of the way things are is exhausted. Then the mind will find itself back in physical existence starting from square one again, with no guarantee of another epiphany the next time.

The next time might involve total delusion, which those without the epiphanies of freedom must endure lifetime after lifetime.

Author's Bio: 

E. Raymond Rock (anagarika addie) is a meditation teacher at: and author of “A Year to Enlightenment:

His 30 years of meditation experience has taken him across four continents including two stopovers in Thailand where he practiced in the remote northeast forests as an ordained Theravada Buddhist monk.

He lived at Wat Pah Nanachat under Ajahn Chah, at Wat Pah Baan Taad under Ajahn Maha Boowa, and at Wat Pah Daan Wi Weg under Ajahn Tui. He had been a postulant at Shasta Abbey, a Zen Buddhist monastery in northern California under Roshi Kennett; and a Theravada Buddhist anagarika at both Amaravati Monastery in the UK and Bodhinyanarama Monastery in New Zealand, both under Ajahn Sumedho. The author has meditated with the Korean Master Sueng Sahn Sunim; with Bhante Gunaratana at the Bhavana Society in West Virginia; and with the Tibetan Master Trungpa Rinpoche in Boulder, Colorado. He has also practiced at the Insight Meditation Society in Barre, Massachusetts, and the Zen Center in San Francisco.