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
If you would like to submit a “First Vision” account, either personal or found, for inclusion on this website, please click here.
2 thoughts on “Eugène Ionesco's "First Vision" Account”
I’ve been following your work for awhile and checked back now and then to your TempleStudy.com blog to see if you have posted anything new about the Temple and see now that you’ve taken a different direction in terms of your journey of discovery. You and I have spoken before as I am based in New Zealand and am an indigenous Latter-day Saint. I travel around Aotearoa (NZ) and hold wananga (esoteric lore) and teach people about our Ancient School of Learning. “Mystical” experiences are common among our people and we even have old Pre-European teachings about these matters as well as the practices that lead to mystical experiences. I had one gentleman from Turkey attend one of my wananga and he shared with me in private during one of the breaks his mystical experience of which is identical to the one above. However he gave gave a little more added detail. He said that time and space did not exist and that he was self aware yet his identity was swallowed up in a expansive universal expansion of the infinite. He also described it as pure bliss and total inhibited awareness of all heights and depths. He said he was disappointed that he did not discover God – but used maori terminology to describe the plane or state that he was in as “Te Kore.” Te Kore in maori thinking is an epoch of time that proceeded the creation of the material universe. “Kore” means “is not.” “Te Kore” as a pre-existent state as taught by our tupuna (ancient ancestors) means “The nothingness that is everything.”
Here is a tapu (godly/sacred hard to translate) recital of a cosmogenesis whakapapa (genealogy of the creation) of the Tainui whare wananga. This whakapapa (genealogy)was taught at the highest initiate levels of the whare wananga (Ancient School of Learning – Whare = House, Wananga = Cosmology)
Ko te Aha? (The What)
Te Kore (The nothingness yet everything)
Kotahi-te-Kī (The One thought)
Kotahi-te-Kōrero (The One Spoken Word)
Kotahi-te-Wānanga (The One Discussion)
Te-Kore-Whiwhia (The Nothingness that cannot be grasped)
Te-Kore-Makiki-hīrere (The nothingness expands)
Makaka (The great curvature of heaven)
Io (The Supreme Being)
This maori terms this recital of a rather long genealogy explains how God (Io) went through through these epochs or stages of eventual self-awareness and to the realization that he was the “I AM that I AM.”
So this Turkish gentleman described his experience using maori metaphysical thought. However his journey took an interesting turn – after the experience he didn’t see the point of this life and fell into depression so he asked me to help him find meaning to his experience and the meaning for this life.
His experience I must add was not brought on because of his achieving sanctification because he is a wicked man – but his mystical experience was induced by a type of physical death.
I guess some of the theophanies are achieved by a type of death brought on a person by God who needs to temporarily separate him from his body so the receiver is spiritually uninhibited to receive all that God has for him to understand.
The Ngati Rauru tribe teach in there school of learning that their are 3 levels of “Wairuatanga” – mystic experience. (I wont go into detail about them at this time)
I have had my own spiritual experience where the “The eye of my understanding was opened” a experience I never had before or since. A state of being that is hard to describe for it cannot be taught but must be experienced. Where a flow of of pure-intelligence (a perfect description) flowed into my mind and all awareness of surrounding “noise” disappeared and a narration of teachings was set before my spiritual and physical eyes though the my physical eyes played a lesser role in my heavenly tuition. I knew that this experience while I was sitting in Sacrament Meeting was given to me as a reward for righteousness. I was taught things that I have never heard a single mortal teach before and I know will never teach ever as this was teachings from heaven itself.
I would like to however encourage you to be cautious in the sources that you study and from what quarter you receive your knowledge as some of these items are not of God. Your best source in understanding your experience is God himself. Don’t over-look direct tutelage from God in lieu of books. Because sooner or latter we have to put aside “The Best Books” and enter into practices God has set in the scriptures of cutting edge discipleship (ie fasting for 40 days – considered a mystic practice).
Thanks for sharing Phillip. Very interesting thoughts.