Sublime Experience Beyond the Consciousness

Chelsea football club, one of the top clubs in the English Premier League, traveled north to Everton to take on a team struggling to stay in the top league. For clubs outside the US, the bottom teams in the table are relegated to a minor league being replaced by the top teams of that league. So, teams lower in the table have a lot to play for.

Yesterday, Sunday May 1, Everton played all out. The goalkeeper made many fantastic saves. Two key defenders were tough against the Chelsea line. The forward converted his opportunity to score the game’s only goal. Fans sang club songs and cheered the entire 90 minutes. At the final whistle with an Everton 1-0 victory, 40,000 fans stayed and sang the club songs and cheered the team’s victory.

I was moved by the outstanding play and the fan’s emotion. My spine tingled and tears actually welled up. And I am not an Everton fan. But the experience was sublime.

Tor Nørretranders, writing in his study of consciousness, The User Illusion: Cutting Consciousness Down to Size, “The word sublime comes from Latin and means elevated, raised above the ordinary and humdrum.” He concludes his study discussing the sublime which is experience beyond consciousness.

I’ve explored such experiences for my entire adult life. Perhaps that’s why I’m moved by experiences such as that Everton sporting event. Contemplation for 55 years or longer has led to sublime experiences of God beyond rational interpretations of the Bible or of some major theologian. My touch of the sublime comes through quiet and contemplation. For others it is through charismatic gatherings of singing and praise. However you experience it, once you have experienced the sublime beyond consciousness, you are not going back.

Nørretranders’ book is not an easy read. The trail he forges through varieties of science fascinates and intrigues those willing to take the trip.

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