The Romanian-French playwright Eugène Ionesco (1909-1994) described the following experience he once had:
On a May morning, just before noon, a day that seemed full of sap, in a leafy park where the light streamed down, white, blue green: that day it all began with a senseless, inexplicable joy that I have never again felt so concretely, so carnally, so obviously a joie de vivre sustained by an indescribable astonishment at being alive. As a matter of fact, the consciousness of being and the astonishment at being were one and the same thing. I suddenly woke up—from what sleep?—I woke to a light which dislocated the old meanings of things, of the time when my consciousness had gone to sleep.
The intense astonishment that took possession of me was only the realization that I was. There was no more fear, no more anxiety, only calm, certainty, joy. Either abandoning or waking from a sleep peopled by the phantoms of everyday existence, I suddenly entered the heart of a reality so blindingly obvious, so total, so enlightening, so luminous, that I wondered how I had never before realized how easy this reality was to find and how easily I found myself in it. How can one not be anxious, how can one not feel lost and distressed, I said to myself, if one doesn’t know this, if one is not at the very center of this astonishment?
Some similarities to Joseph Smith’s First Vision may include:
- A sense of indescribable joy
- The realness or matter-of-factness of the experience, objectivity
- Suddenly seeing a beautiful light unlike any other
- Feeling a sense of reconciliation in oneself, a release from fear and anxiety
- A reality described in terms of extreme brightness: blinding, enlightening, luminous
- Being astonished
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