One of the experiences that is common with self actualizers is regular peak moments. Peak moments are often referred to as the total attention experience. Researchers investigating these peak moments find that during these times there is a temporary reversal in cultural conditioning. These brief flashes of “awakening” have been termed “peak experiences”, “total attention states”, “flow state”, being “in the zone”, and “absorbed attention states”. At these times, attention is focused, no longer in drift mode, and as such, allows us to regain access to our authentic self.
These peak experiences require a single-minded, intense focus of our attention, in order to break through cultural conditioning. This brings an enhanced vividness, greater clarity, feelings of more aliveness and being at peace, among many others. With regular exposure to these peak experiences, we awaken to our “real” or Authentic self, creating new neural networks that help to establish this as the primary life experience.
With these more permanent breakthroughs in countering the effects of enculturation, we free ourselves, becoming more self-actualizing and breakthrough to new levels of our creative expression in life. The following common characteristics describe these total attention peak experiences:
• a non-evaluating, non-judging cognition;
• heightening of perception, accompanied by a greater clarity, vividness and objectivity;
• ego-transcendence and an experience of the real self, behind the personality facade;
• suspension of time, an experience of being here-and-now, rooted in the present moment;
• illumination, as if everything appears brighter;
• a loss of fear, anxiety, inhibition, defense, confusion, and restraint;
• an increase in spontaneity, creativity, playfulness;
• a deeply felt positive mood – joy, ecstasy, exaltation, love;
• a sense of sacredness, awe, wonder, gratitude;
• a total surrender to the experience, similar to “letting go” in Taoist philosophies, an effortlessness or flow;
• deeper flashes of insight into the true nature of reality, behind the illusions;
• . an experience of unity consciousness or oneness.
These purely in the here-and-now moments, are characterized by a sense of union, a merging, self-forgetfulness, an expansion in consciousness and feelings of oneness. During these moments, that which was in the background of awareness, the authentic self, comes to the foreground of perception. The false self or mask is transcended and the inner voices of our sub-personalities fade away. Reports of those experiencing these peak moments typify spiritual awakening and experience of truth behind the illusions.
Being fully attentive in the moment means really being HERE. It requires constant vigilance to not be adrift in your ongoing parade of illusions, past regrets, future wishes, the chatter of our inner voices vying for our attention, fears, daydreams, memories and false beliefs. It’s called being fully Awake!