Into the state of your soul trapped in duality some light begins to shine. At the turning point a critical event shakes the soul. Everyday life is interrupted, either by a crisis or by a sudden epiphany, or by both, in what is described as “the dark night of the soul.” For Christians this is the moment when a sinner sees the light, but the same imagery occurs in every spiritual tradition: The blind can see; the voice of God speaks; a holy presence descends; a heavy weight is lifted; rescue appears in the midst of danger; a loveless world radiates love.
It doesn’t matter how many of these elements are present (and for some people it isn’t even a personal experience, but an outside source of inspirationóa scripture or teacheróthat convinces them of the existence of a higher reality).
At this moment, something profound happens. It feels like being reborn, not simply because the old self drops away, but because the world itself shifts like a kaleidoscope. Your eyes register brighter colors, and a hidden light seems to be trying to break through the thin membrane of the world. Sounds become sweeter; nature seems to sing. Ordinary sensations acquire a delicious texture, like velvet or warm liquid, suffusing the body.
To an outsider the whole experience sounds dubious, like some kind of hallucination. But Jesus doesn’t deny that this is the case; he just ascribes a different value to it. Salvation is a glimpse of reality; perception begins to detect illusion.
Adapted from The Third Jesus, by Deepak Chopra (Harmony Books, 2008).