Reply To: Expanded account of grizzly bear encounter

  • Shannon McCarthy

    May 18, 2024 at 2:55 pm

    Hi again, Jeff, just read your account again. I love all the subtle details you share, especially the balance between looking big and strong to her/ defending your food, while communicating your awe and respect. I was telling my eleven year-old son this morning about your encounter, and he said, “Mom that has to be a joke. A grizzly mother bear with her cub?” He just finished reading a book about grizzly attacks. I assured him that it was real, then told him about your sense of being unified with the mountains and the woods. He said, “Wow maybe I’ll feel like that today.” He’s going camping with his Boy Scout troop in the New England woods.

    My friend told me that his guru says that peak states can never be over-recalled, that we should contemplate them as much as possible so that they elevate our everyday consciousness to their higher plane.

    I did have an experience when I was 21 that was kind of similar. When Jill Bolte Taylor’s Ted talk came out after it happened, that was the first time I wondered if it was a hemisphere-based event. I was crossing the street on my bike in gridlocked traffic (or so I thought). I failed to see the car speeding in the left hand lane, and it struck me. The left side of my body smashed against the car, and I soared upside down through the air for a long time. Time dilated, and I saw a vast web of lines, like a web of lovingness. My body was filled with ecstasy to know and be known by this beautiful is-ness. Each juncture of the lines had a bell, a bell unlike our mechanical ones, instead knowing bells of subtle abilities that could ring-speak near or far depending on the needs of the loving responsive web. I said, “but I don’t want to die,” knowing the fate of watermelons dropped on concrete. The web coagulated into an angel, which embraced my body, and the angel landed me in a miraculous way- first bouncing perfectly vertically on my helmet, then rolling so that my backpack and the groceries it held absorbed the impact and road lacerations. I do have injuries from it, but I have life. For weeks I could only think of life in terms of the field. A glorious wonder that we are. Then I fell into a dark depression. I white knuckled my hold on life for a year, mostly by reading Hafiz in Daniel Ladinsky’s translation, The Gift. I later came to Vedanta and the Net of Indra and was over the moon to read Iain’s mention of it in the Sacred chapter in the Matter with Things.