A Motorcycle, a Concrete Wall, and the Spontaneous Altered State of Consciousness That Saved Me
This unexplainable experience changed my concept of reality and my future.
It was a typical practice day on the racetrack. Hot weather, miles of sunshine and tarmac, looking ahead at hours of great riding on a wide-open track. I was a ‘die-hard’ motorcycle road racer and instructor with a track school. Practice days like this were a routine occurrence, and this routine was my happy place. I always looked forward to ending the day a better rider.
But that‘s not what happened. Practice would go very wrong. I still can’t explain what exactly did, but it changed my understanding of cosnciousness. I found myself at the limit of my conscious mind and then, felt it let go. ‘Reality’ was replaced by something much more expansive. Where impossible and effortless lives. All triggered by momentary lapse in my attention, an instant of distraction.
Not a Peak Experience or a Flow State
Riding a motorcycle on the racetrack at speed lends itself to peak experiences. According to Abraham Maslow, these are “powerful, meaningful experiences in which individuals seem to transcend the self, be at one with the world, and feel completely self-fulfilled.” They are are not uncommon in extreme sports. They are amazing, like unforgettable moments of complete and utter happiness and ecstasy.
Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi describes flow as ‘a state in which you are completely involved and totally absorbed in an activity that offers both enjoyment and challenge. The experience is one of intense focus, creativity and a loss of the sense of yourself and time.’
Here, your mind is fully engaged at the highest level, absorbed in effortless ‘mastery’ of whatever you are doing. These experiences are also not unusual. We can all experience them in persuit of what we love.
My experience this day was triggered by the instantaneous realization that ‘this moment could be my last.’ An altered state of consciousness broke through.
Broadly defined, an altered state of consciousness is a temporary change in the experience of reality outside of normal waking…