Over the course of my life I have had experiences that I would call “mystical”, several of which were very profound. There have been times when I have been certain that there exists an immense, beautiful and benevolent Presence, in which we have our being, with which I have felt a deep connection, and even felt merged with. In that sense I would say I’m a mystic, but in another sense I consider myself agnostic. The reason is, that I can’t definitely say what this Presence is that I experienced. Is it “God”? I don’t know. Is it real? It felt real at the time but I really can’t say for sure. When deep in meditation I have felt bliss, but is it a merely physical experience of endorphins flooding my brain from deep relaxation, or a connection with an infinite and perhaps divine presence?
I came across a TED talk by Dr. Jill Bolte Taylor, a neuroanatomist, describing her experience of having a stroke that affected her left brain hemisphere. What she described, while her right brain hemisphere was taking over, sounded like a mystical experience. She couldn’t tell where her body ended and the rest of the world started, and experienced everything as one big connected network of energy. She described it as Nirvana.
Some might argue this indicates that consciousness arises from the physical – the brain. I wonder though, if instead it means that the brain is an interface between a non-corporeal consciousness and our bodies/sensory organs for this “reality”; a “sensory suit” we wear, kind of like a VR interface is for virtual reality environments. I can see the possibility of the left hemisphere being a filter for this conscious awareness that creates the sense of the separate individual self.