Exceptional Human Experiences and Human Evolution
Exceptional Human Experiences, or EHE, is a term coined by psychologist Dr Rhea White and used to describe a wide range of events that act as a catalyst for human transformation and a major shift in perspective. These “non-ordinary” experiences include near death experiences (NDEs), out of body experiences (OBEs), alien abductions or contact experiences (UFOs), angelic contact, crop circle viewing and/or walking, déjà vu, levitation, ghost encounters, demonic encounters, fire-walking, apparitions (eg the Virgin Mary), miraculous phenomena and mystical experiences to name a few. These types of EHEs are usually referred to as “anomalous” meaning unexpected, but EHEs can also be triggered by more “ordinary” or non-paranormal experiences such as serious or life threatening illness, getting into athletic “zones”, car accidents, dreams (both day & night), listening to music, sitting in a quiet place such as a church or quiet garden, childbirth, abortion, bushwalking, dance, death of a loved one and divorce.
EHEs are usually spontaneous and unsought and can leave individuals reeling in their wake, but have the remarkable capacity to create a change in an individual’s world-view, transforming them through an “awakening” process. In this new wide-awake consciousness, the world seems to be full of possibilities and the EHE-er possesses a strong sense of rediscovered meaning. This may be mystical in nature, but it may also essentially be ordinary consciousness operating for once at its proper efficiency.
The first stage of the EHE is the anomalous event which may be dismissed due to its odd nature. However, once ordinary explanations for the experience have failed, the EHE-er is left with the reality that something did indeed happen to them, even though it contradicts mainstream western culture view. They may find themselves asking the question “Why did this happen to me?” and this is where the EHE can either take on the form of an ally or an enemy depending on the individual’s sense of meaning of the experience and personal interpretation.
The experience usually then has the flow-on effect of estranging individuals from the rest of society, yet the effects of the experience keep on bubbling away deep within them. Gradually there is a shift in the EHE-ers focus so that the individual begins to see, think, and experience the world at large in a wider, deeper and fuller way, more than they did before their experience. As the EHE-er begins to respond constructively to the changes within them, the original seemingly anomalous event continues to alter their daily life and consciousness well into the future.
Dr Rhea White explains, ”a potentially long-term process has been initiated that can eventually partly or fully transform the experiencer’s identity and worldview in a direction that is outside consensus reality but is more fully human. This transformation not only involves self-actualization but also an experienced connectedness with the All-Self, including other humans, life forms, the earth, and the cosmos. One could say that the person has gained a sense that “the personal is the cosmic.” It is because these experiences, when one accepts them and changes sufficiently to assimilate them, help experiencers to reach their fuller human potential that one can call them exceptional human experiences. Experiencers become more human than they were before they had the EHE.”
It may be the unexpected nature of the EHE that is the trigger for the transformation but research shows this is still unclear. People who begin to explore their EHEs and question conventional answers may undergo a series of predictable developmental steps that are referred to as the EHE process. Over time, or with a tremendous burst of insight, an experiencer can find their world view radically changed, leaving them with a new perspective and fresh insights about themselves and the world they live in. This transformation process is not always easy and can be accompanied by a touch of the absurd and bizarre which magnifies its challenge.
EHE events seem to either create a feeling of being “special” or singled out by the experience, or feelings of isolation, being alone and abandoned. It can be a watershed event catapulting people towards a different and richer life or it can leave people forever spinning round in circles, becoming stuck in the event itself rather than mining it for it’s riches while moving through it.
Acceptance of the experience, whatever it may be, can be immediate but usually happens over a period of time. From my observations one of the major components that a person undergoes during this acceptance stage is the grieving for who they used to be before the experience, and the loss of that identity. This grief must be identified, understood and processed correctly for the individual to move through the experience to be reborn.
Taking on a new persona and reconstructing oneself from the inside out, complete with a new world view, can take time and a great amount of courage but it can be achieved and has been by many. Once this process has begun it then seems as if there is no turning back. This is the challenge to be undertaken. Many may choose to postpone the process due to fears of disrupting the status quo within themselves, their partners and family, their friendship and work relationships and ultimately society in general, but eventually, once the door is opened it is impossible to put the “genie” back in the bottle.
Eventually, as the transformation process draws the experiencer forever forward into someone or something new, a strong sense of purpose often emerges. This begins on the inside but can often be accompanied by external synchronous events that seem to confirm for the experiencer that something quite profound and significant is taking place in their life. This may be likened to a “calling” that individuals feel they answer, or a sense of mission or vocation. As Dr Rhea White states, “it is as if before an EHE one is a seeker; afterwards one is a finder”.
After an EHE individuals can feel they have a much broader, deeper and richer perspective of their life and those they share it with. They seem to gain a holistic consciousness that serves them better. The interesting thing about EHEs is that they reveal a path in life that, if not for the EHE, would not ordinarily have been taken.
It would seem then that EHEs have the potential to mould and direct individuals and eventually societies if honoured and allowed. However this is not usually the case and experiencers can feel frustrated in their search for answers, torn by their need to satisfy their families desire to have them back the way they “used to be”, isolated and withdrawn nearly to the point of being a hermit and abandoned by society in general. They constantly receive unspoken messages from the status quo to “get back in the box”. Some try but because of their experience they have been stretched beyond who they were and now they no longer “fit”.
Often experiencers are more sensitive to their environment than most people, being able to sense others moods and emotions, are more sensitive to harsh acts and violence, and can feel overwhelmed by bright lights, loud noise and strong smells. Many also avoid large groups of people wanting to stay away from cities, shopping centres and cinemas. Being highly sensitive in a tough, competitive, dog-eat-dog world, it is easy to understand why experiencers might find it difficult to find a place to belong. All of this can add to their strong sense of feeling like a square peg in a round hole and it is understandable why they may feel so different to the rest of humanity.
Through my own observations, the people who have successfully integrated their EHEs and gone on to lead fulfilling lives have done so by allowing themselves to be transformed by their experience. They also transcend their experience through their willingness to develop a greater understanding of themselves and the world they live in, even if the world no longer understands them.
Reports of these impactual experiences seem to be on the rise globally, which begs the question “Could we be undergoing some sort of readjustment as a species?” Is this a foretaste of an evolutionary jump for humanity and in essence, what the so-called New Age is all about? Is it a new level of maturity in mental development, an awakening outlining a new conception of who we are and why we are here on planet Earth?
Whatever is taking place, it is my belief that people who have EHEs act as a channel for a greater reality to trickle through to mankind, thus changing the world forever.