Jesse Watkins Experience of Enlightenment
Because each person, in their conversation with their wholeness, converses with the highest authority, I will quote from R. D. Laing’s book “The Politics of Experience.” The book mentions the experience of Jesse Watkins. In the chapter ‘A Ten Day Voyage,’ Dr Laing quotes Jesse Watkins’s own description of his inner experiences. The barriers between Jesse’s known self, and wider self had been broken down by overwork, fatigue, a dog bite, and a visit to hospital. Below is quoted some of his description of what he saw of himself.
“But I had a feeling at times of an enormous journey in front, quite, er, a fantastic journey, and it seemed that I had got an understanding of things which I’d been trying to understand for a long time, problems of good and evil and so on, and that I had solved it inasmuch that I had come to the conclusion, with all the feelings that I had at the time, that I was more—more than I had always imagined myself, not just existing now, but I had existed since the very beginning, from the lowest form of life to the present time, and that that was the sum of my real experiences, and that what I was doing was experiencing them again. And that then, occasionally I had this sort of vista ahead of me … ahead of me was lying the most horrific journey, the only way I can describe it is a journey to the final sort of business of being aware of all—everything. It was such a horrifying experience to suddenly feel, that I immediately shut myself off from it because I couldn’t contemplate it, because it sort of shivered me up—I was unable to take it…”
He goes on to say, “I had feelings of gods, not only God but gods as it were, of beings which are far above us capable of, er, dealing with the situation that I was incapable of dealing with, that were in charge and running things and, urn, at the end of it, everybody had to take on the job at the top. And it was this business that made it such a devastating thing to contemplate, that at some period in the existence of oneself, one had to take on this job, even for only a momentary period, because you had arrived then at an awareness of everything. What was beyond that I don’t know. At the time I felt that God himself was a madman… because he’s got this enormous load of having to be aware and governing and running things—and that all of us had to come up and finally get to the point where we had to experience that ourselves.., the journey is there and every single one of us has got to go through it, and everything— you can’t dodge it… the purpose of everything and the whole of existence is, er, to equip you to take another step, and another step, and another step, and so on.
It’s an experience that, um, we have at some stage to go through, but that was only one, and that many more—a fantastic number of things have got to impinge upon us until we gradually build ourselves up into an acceptance of reality, and a greater and greater acceptance of reality and what really exists.”
Jesse was “at sea” in this inner condition for ten whole days. Finally he felt that he couldn’t take it any more and closed down the barriers again. He says, “I was suddenly confronted with something so much greater than oneself, with so many more experiences, with so much awareness, so much that you couldn’t take it.”
“I didn’t have the capacity for experiencing it. I experienced it for a moment or two but it was like a sudden blast of light, wind, or whatever you like to put it as, against you so that you feel that you’re too naked and alone to be able to withstand it; you’re not strong enough. It’s like a child or an animal suddenly confronted—or being aware of—an adult’s experiences for him, for instance. The grown-up person has experienced a lot in their life time, they’ve built up gradually their capacity for experiencing life and looking at things… And I was facing things then that I just hadn’t got the equipment to deal with.
Jesse goes on to say that most of us are only equipped for just the very experiences we are going through in life. Any more, or any suddenly widened consciousness, might be too much. Just as the baby is not equipped to face the full sexual experience, or of being alone, nor are most of us equipped for any full cosmic experience, or for “taking it all by ourselves.” Those great souls who appear to have this ability, usually say that repeated earth lives have prepared them for it.
Edgar Cayce, on the same theme, (in “There is a River” by Thomas Sugrue) says that “The plan for the soul was a cycle of experience, unlimited in scope and duration, in which the new individual would come to know creation in all its aspects, at the discretion of will. The cycle would be completed when the desire of will was no longer different from the thought of God. The consciousness of the new individual would then merge with its spiritual consciousness of identity with God, and the soul would return to its source as the companion it was intended to be.”
Cayce has also, with the synthesis of Sugrue, explained this return to God. “The idea that a return to God means a loss of individuality is paradoxical, since God is aware of everything that happens and must therefore be aware of the consciousness of each individual (we might understand this if we realise that our memory is aware—or records—all we do, yet we are not consciously aware of all our memory. Author’s note). Thus the return of the soul is the return of the image to that which imagined it. . . When a soul returns to God it becomes aware of itself not only as part of God, but as part of every other soul, and everything. What is lost is the ego—the desire to do other than the will of God. When the soul returns to God the ego is voluntarily relinquished; this is the symbology of the crucifixion.”
Naturally, there are those who have returned to their Self (God, Source, Atman, etc.) in this way. Sometimes they incarnate, or take on a body again, to help those of us still trapped in our own ego. We may name these as Jesus, Buddha, Mohammed, and the modern avatars such as Ramana, Ramakrishna and Sai Baba. Cayce says that during man’s early involvement in matter, there was still direct realisation of the Source, but, “gradually, life after life, they descended into earthiness, into less mentality, less consciousness of the mind force. They remembered their true selves only in dreams, in stories and fables handed down from one generation to another. Religion came into being: a ritual of longing for lost memories. The arts were born: music, numbers, and geometry. Finally man was left with a conscious mind definitely separated from his own individuality. (i.e. awareness of wholeness). He now calls this individuality the subconscious mind; his awareness of earth is the conscious mind. The subconscious mind influenced the conscious mind—gave it, in fact, its stature, breadth, and quality. It became the body under the suit of clothes. Only in sleep was it disrobed.”
In this state—”He built up theories for what he felt— but no longer knew—to be true. Philosophy and theology resulted. He began to look around him and discover, in the earth, secrets which he carried within himself but could no longer reach with his consciousness. The result was science.”
Taking the word ‘individuality’ to mean whole awareness, and complete remembrance of all earth lives, Cayce explains how man realises his lost paradise. “Man is at all times the total of what he has been and done, what he has fought and defended, what he has hated and loved… No soul takes on flesh without a general plan for the experience ahead. The personality expressed through the body is one of many the individuality might have assumed. Its job is to work on one or several phases of Karma of the individuality. No task is undertaken which is too much for the personality to which it is assigned. Choice of incarnation is usually made at conception, when the channel of expression is opened by the parents. A pattern is made by the mingling of the soul patterns of the parents. A soul whose karma approximates to these conditions will be attracted by the opportunity presented. The body is formed in the womb according to the pattern made by the mingling soul forces of the parents. This is the metaphysical symbolism of the 47th problem of Euclid: the square of the hypotenuse of a right angled triangle is equal to the sum of the squares of the other two sides.
“Thus a personality is only an aspect of an individuality.
A soul deciding to experience earth again, might assume any of several personalities . . . Because the incarnations only reflect their problems (their blessings as well as their handicaps), usually the Karma of more than one (previous life) can be undertaken in a single life; if the life is successful, considerable progress is made towards freedom from flesh. The personality is shaped by three or four incarnations, the portions of the earthly experience on which the individuality wants to work. The emotions and talents of the person reflect the incarnations. The dreams, visions, meditations—the deep, closely guarded self-consciousness of the personality is the pattern of experience.”
Concerning our times, Cayce says, “At present man is in a state of great spiritual darkness—the darkness which precedes dawn. He has carried his scepticism to the point where it is forcing him to conclusions he knows intuitively are wrong. At the same time he has carried his investigation of natural phenomena to the point where it is disproving all it seemed to prove in the beginning. Free will is finding that all roads lead to the same destination. Science, theology, and philosophy, having no desire to join forces, are approaching a point of merger. Scepticism faces destruction by its own hand.”