Using one of the three methods described in requirement 6, describe in depth a single experience you had while in the trance state from an experiential point of view (i.e. what did you feel, see, sense, etc.) (minimum 300 words)
During the summer of 2009, I had attended a men’s spiritual retreat that was hosted at the local Sufi retreat center in north central Arkansas. One of the hosts offered to lead a Sufi meditation. He explained that it was called a Zikr and would involve us chanting while dancing in alternating circles. In the center were several drummers along with a flute player who provided the rhythmic beat which we danced too. At first I did not experience a great deal other than the physical effort of dancing in this pattern while chanting for 20 minutes. My body was becoming very tired. I was soaked in sweat even with the windows open and several fans in the temple blowing. Then suddenly it happened. I felt my consciousness shift. It was not nearly as subtle as I had expected it would be. It was so sudden and dramatic it nearly caused me to be drawn out of the trance state. I was no longer in the dance but part of the swirling energy that was building in the center of our circles. I felt myself move from the other circle moving counter clockwise into the center circle that was moving clockwise. I could feel all the other men who were with me, not as bodies but as other flowing energy that moved swiftly with my own energetic body. There were colors everywhere. I saw reds, greens, purples, blues, some yellows. This was most interesting to me as I have spent my life red-green color blind. However, I knew the colors. I could almost smell them. There were hints of roses, apples, and green grass. The purples and blues smelled of like the sea while the yellows smelled of spring flowers and honey. I was swiftly pulled into the very center where a vortex was forming and flowed up through the temple roof in the dark starry night. The other dispersed. They were no longer flowing with me. I felt the cool air as I soared higher and higher into the night sky. I could see the arm of the galaxy extended before me as I left our planet behind. I floated there, bodiless seeing the earth below and the heavens above. I found sense all the living things on the planet as it slowly turned below me and I could sense faint pulls of life out in the light of the heavens. There was a feeling of wholeness, of being eternal not as “David” but as a part of the whole. I did not feel I had lost my individual identity, on the contrary I felt as if I had touched on the real ‘me.’ I honestly do not know how long this lasted before I was back in my body and we were all lying in the floor with our heads toward the center vocalizing a single tone with only our voices, as one. The temple felt as if it were shaking with the power of the tone we were making as one. And above everything else I had been experiencing, I felt a bond to the men who had participated in the Zikr that I have never felt in a group setting before. They were more than my brothers. I am not sure I can put into words what I felt and still feel for them. It was the most powerful experience I have ever been a part of. I felt energies, renewed. I felt as if I had been reborn from the dance alone. And though I was happy beyond belief I found myself weeping. Partly because I wanted this to continue forever, partly because I felt healed in some way, and partly because I was sad for those that chose not to join us in this experience.