The life of the law has not been logic; it has been experience.
—Supreme Court Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes
Many nations today, think the UK, India, Hungary, Russia and yes even the U. S., are exhibiting “retro” behavior. It’s as if the people of these nations and their demagogic leaders are standing at a crossroads being attracted by the signpost that points “this way to your glorious past.” Even in our personal lives we are standing looking up at the “pointers” trying to decide which direction to take.
We have two different choices of what constitutes the truth coming from two different sources. As Justice Holmes intuited they are the “intellect” and our “heartfelt” experience. The latter, sometimes called epiphanies or “peak experiences,” which everyone has had at one time or another, are an experience of our true identity, our True self. It is an experience or perception of reality by means of a sudden intuitive realization.
We are talking about a deeper experience than Justice Holmes probably meant because descriptions from those who have had peak experiences sound as if a paradigm shift has occurred. “Natural ‘mystical’ experience, unclothed in dogma, is the original therapy that is so often distorted in ecclesiastical organizations, but it represents man’s innate recognition of his oneness with the source of his own being, and of his own experience.”
Entering a transcendent reality can feel as if the perfection of Creation itself is being experienced.
Fyodor Dostoevsky, the Russian novelist (Crime and Punishment), described it like this: “I feel a perfect harmony in myself and my surroundings, and this sensation is so strong that for a few moments of such bliss I would give ten years of my life, perhaps my whole life.”
Whether we call Simple Reality, transcendent or Oneness, or a peak experience, it is ordinary and accessible to all. Aldous Huxley termed the principles that help define the path from paradigm B to paradigm A the perennial philosophy. Paraphrasing Huxley in the language of Simple Reality they are:
- A creative intelligence exists.
- This creative intelligence is found within each and every person.
- Most of us are not conscious of the omnipresence or energy of this creative intelligence because we are in the thrall of the illusion of paradigm B.
- There is a way out of the ignorance of paradigm B and the suffering caused by that story.
- If we each follow the plan of Simple Reality we can experience the insight into paradigm A as well as the present moment which is liberating.
- In the present moment there is no suffering but only the experience of paradigm A or Simple Reality.
- In the present moment we act with compassion for all of Creation.
Insight # 113: The sacred is ordinary. –Roy Charles Henry
- Peak Experience in this blog and in print in The ABC’s of Simple Reality: The Encyclopedia of Self-Transformation, Vol 2 (2018), page 87-90, by Roy Charles Henry.
- Roberts, Jane. The Nature of Personal Reality. New York: Bantam, 1974, page 197.
- Ferrucci, Piero. Inevitable Grace. Los Angeles: Tarcher, 1990, page 59.