A kind and soft-spoken grey-haired man was leading a unique mix of yoga and martial art forms. As I carefully followed his movements, I began to feel my hands tingle and pulse. It started off quite pleasantly; I found myself intrigued, studying my hands as they continued to move through the various forms. And then something happened: the tingling sensation started to intensify and spread upwards into my arms, torso, and lower extremities. My entire body was vibrating and seething with energy. A voice inside me said, “Calm the rising energy — you're pushing too far too quickly.” So I began expending energy by moving through the forms rapidly and with a great deal of muscular exertion and heavy breathing. After some time the energy began to subside.
I walked to the edge of the large still pond, enjoying the sunrise while reflecting on the experience, when in the distance, a thickset Japanese man with long black hair came into view. He was engaged in a kind of solitary swordplay involving highly fluid and graceful turning movements. As I watched, I began to feel a shift in my awareness, where I ‘stepped’ out of myself. My awareness was no longer limited to my physical body alone, but I was larger, more complete, as if I extended several feet outside my physical body. And the answer to an unspoken question suddenly came to me: “You mean, ‘I’ don't exist!?” The Japanese swordsman abruptly ended his swordplay, looking up to the heavens in a gesture of exultation, laughing and nodding his head in approval.
It was an experience of what it means to be free of the egoic sense of ‘I’ even if for only a brief moment. Of course, the ego came rushing back with all kinds of conceptualizations, explanations, and justifications. But there was a deep clarity, confidence, and security that pervaded the experience, as if anything I needed to know, I would know. Sensory perceptions were heightened, interactions between people came alive, and there was a silent knowing of why we were all here.