A religious experience

Really. I had one.

Alan Watts wrote something like this: If Christians believed what they profess to believe, they wouldn’t be able to live “normal” lives. They would be consumed with converting and “saving” others, not in a convincing people way, but in a desperate attempt at making them see what they saw. It would drive them mad.

I don’t know that the thought process I had was even relevant. But something clicked in me this afternoon and I was overcome with a wave of empathy for every human being. I was nauseated. I really thought I might get sick from it, from this sense that I can’t really put into words. But. It was something like this. It was not a knowledge, but an incredibly visceral sense of the pain and isolation in this world and of how trying to escape the pain causes people to do all these things that just make it worse, for themselves and for others. There wasn’t any tiny bit of me being separate from that, no sense or egotistical belief that I’d figured anything out or was any different. I could just see it. That was all. When I didn’t feel like I was going to be sick, I thought I might fall to the ground sobbing. But neither thing happened. It was very discombobulating. Then it was over.

It wasn’t a wholly new kind of experience. I’ve had bits of things like it before. It was like any experience of its kind that I’ve had before turned up to 11, different in degree than in kind. But, wow, what a difference in degree. To feel like that all the time would prevent you from living a normal life. It would drive you mad.