The Oceanic Feeling

Spirituality by Adam on 2009-07-16 12:01

“This dissolving of the ego is akin to what Freud, borrowing the expression from novelist Romain Rolland, called ‘the oceanic feeling.’ He described it as ‘a sense of indissoluble union with the great All, and of belonging to the universal,’ very much as a wave or a drop of water belongs to the ocean. Most of the time, this is indeed no more than a feeling. But occasionally it is an experience, and a powerful one - what contemporary American psychologists call an altered state of consciousness. [..]

There is nothing innately religious about the oceanic feeling. Indeed, my own experience of it is quite the opposite. When you feel ‘at one with the All,’ you need nothing more. Why would you need a God? The universe suffices. Why would you need a church? The world suffices. Why would you need faith? Experience suffices.”

From The Little Book of Athiest Spirituality by Andre Comte-Sponville

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