The unitive mystical experience can be compared to falling into a black hole. When compared this way, it doesn’t sound like a nice experience. Likewise, for many mystics throughout history, their divine experiences weren’t always a merry venture, sometimes encountering hellish realms along the way (see, for example, St. Teresa of Ávila, or St. John of the Cross’s Dark Night of the Soul).
But the similarities between the mystical encounter and theoretically travelling into a black hole are quite interesting to consider. It makes me wonder if there is more to it than mere analogy. Is there something fundamental to the nature of the universe that mystics are actually experiencing that may also be found in black holes?
Knowledge of the Divine Singularity (the One) remains hidden behind a dark cloud, a thick darkness, a veil, an event horizon, and cannot be directly observed with our natural senses. We cannot prove God is there, because the direct knowledge of God is hidden, as it were, behind that dark void. Neither can we see the singularity inside of the event horizon of a black hole, even though we may intuit that it is there.
As you practice the contemplative exercises and approach the event horizon, this dark cloud, you reach a point where you are truly observing yourself, moment by moment. What you perceive is what you are, your True Self. In regards to black holes this might be compared to the “photon sphere” where light bends all the way around the black hole, and you can see the back of your head. In contemplation, consciousness begins to become aware of itself, being aware of being, awareness aware of itself.
Once you pass through that event horizon, into the dark cloud, no light or knowledge or information can ever escape back out to be directly analyzed; it becomes completely ineffable to the outside world, and is never possible to fully describe or understand on the outside. What happens within the dark cloud, within the event horizon, is known only to the mystic, and is completely shut off from all other observers on the outside.
In falling into that mystical “luminous darkness,” that “bright night,” that “dazzling dark,” all prior meaning starts to break down. The normal rules of logic, reason, and rationality fall apart, or we go beyond them, we transcend them, and all known laws dissolve. It can’t be conceptualized or put into any kind of systematic system of meaning. It goes beyond all meaning. So too with a black hole; the laws of physics break down as you approach the singularity.
And then you approach the Divine Singularity itself, that nonduality, that oneness at the center, that Love towards which all things are drawn. As you approach and get closer, your ego gets pulled apart by the intensely powerful gravitational force of the Divine. What you think of as “you” gets spaghettified as you get near, as would happen in a black hole. Your ego finally “dies” when you become One in It. You are emptied of self, and filled with the Infinite Self.
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“You” disappear completely in that center place of no dimensions. No longer separate from It, you realize you are One with the Singularity, the Omega Point, the Absolute, infinitely dense with all things, with infinite gravity of extreme and alarming importance, weight and consequence, and you realize you are Infinite and Eternal in space-time, and there is no space-time.
You realize that this is the “God” of all things in the Universe, as the singularity at the Big Bang was the origin of our Universe.
And pretty soon you pass through a wormhole into a different universe, as some physicists think may exist in a black hole singularity. “You” emerge from the One and suddenly you find yourself in a brand new world, a cosmos where everything has changed and paradoxically nothing has changed. You realize that you are One with the Source of everything. You are One with the Creator. You are Life itself. The One has birthed you anew into Itself.
The spiritual teacher Eckhart Tolle described his first major mystical experience in these terms:
…all thinking stopped. For a moment, there was complete inner silence. Suddenly I felt myself drawn into a whirlpool or a vortex of energy. I was gripped by an intense fear, and my body started to shake. I heard the words, “Resist nothing,” as if spoken inside my chest. I could feel myself being sucked into a void. Suddenly, all fear disappeared, and I let myself fall into that void.