True science has more than one case study and more than just a few observations. But for now, this is my best attempt at observational recordings of what I have experienced that could have been explained as being “spiritual.”
(1) Kansas City International House of Prayer, 2011, as an Evangelical Pentecostal Christian. Extremely charismatic, gifts of the spirit, other-worldly. Filled with the Holy Spirit constantly through the whole conference. Prophecies, by and for me. Healings, in part supposedly from my prayer. My body physically trembling. Fasting off and on for 3 days without feeling hunger. Touched by an anointed one and I immediately collapse seemingly out of my control. Spontaneous uncontrollable laughter. Warmth. Closed eyes see warm sunlight even in a dark room. And sparkles. Closed eyelids trembling. Upon “releasing,” whole body trembles. The voice of Christ/The Spirit talking to me easily and constantly. These sorts of experiences continued throughout Spring 2011, especially as I listened to emotional worship music and prayed.
(2) Fall/Winter 2013. Recently unbelieving in anything spiritual. Taking a hypnosis/self-relaxation birthing class for learning how to have a relaxed, pain-free birth. During our deep relaxation/hypnosis sessions, I would consistently experience out-of-body, eyelid-trembling, warmth-seeing moments just like I would when “filled with the Holy Spirit.”
(3) Winter 2013/14. Recently unbelieving. Depressed. Cold. Going for a walk to the sunset lookout. Still catching myself talking to God in my head and sensing his reply in my mind, out of habit. –> voices in head. The same as the voices above, despite my belief that they were in my mind the whole time.
(3) Present day. Just started Yoga a couple weeks ago. At my last session, I went into the class in a particularly good mood. During our meditation time, I felt nearly identical to how I felt in #1. Super spiritual-feeling high, warmth, trembling eyelids, and a very loud voice in my mind giving me strong encouragement and self-love.
Does this shake my unbelief? Absolutely not — in fact, these anecdotes strengthen it. What conclusions can I draw from this tiny bit of experiential evidence? I believe our psychological processes in our mind, especially during times of elation, deep relaxation, deep inward focus, etc. release chemicals that feel completely abnormal. I need to do more research on this, but it seems that perhaps these times block absorption of serotonin or epinephrin, giving us an out-of-body feeling. I also believe that perhaps our subconscious knows us better than we consciously know ourselves and is able to pick up on cues that we wouldn’t otherwise recognize, explaining the encouraging or directing voices in my head.