Collage of 6 pictures: the concentration camp and the captured, searching for meaning, peace, a solder with PTSD, and spiritual awakening.

Unraveling the Unfathomable: Capturing the Essence of Profound Experiences*

Impactful experiences critically affect a person’s choices, life direction, meaning, and perspective.

Finding the right words to describe the indescribable

Difficulty describing profound and highly impactful events is a challenge for most, as words cannot capture the essence and totality of the happening. There are talented writers, poets, spiritual masters, and philosophers who have come close to conveying the mystery and otherworldliness of personal and profound, unique experiences. Experiences can be momentary, powerful, ecstatic, liberating, and enlightening, or painful, life-threatening, tragic, traumatic, and damaging. The event can occur over time with duress until circumstances change.

Finding the meaning and purpose of what happened and translating it into something beneficial, educative, and inspiring for others is a valuable gift for those capable of doing so. What is revealed and effectively communicated can bring value, meaning, and purpose to others. When it is a story of loss, pain, trauma, and suffering, with the finding of meaning, purpose, and recovery, others may find inspiration and hope to see a path forward for change and healing.

Some will profess that these profound momentary, insightful revelations or insights speak the truth or tell the deep wisdom which guides them in finding a more authentic life direction or meaning. Attempts to describe such unusual and profound happenings are difficult. Many expressions come up to capture the essence, such as revelation, epiphany, spiritually enlightening instant, expansive, spontaneous, highly charged, or insightful, emotional experience. Most fall short of imparting the occurrence’s depth, the whole meaning, and value.

The devotion and the impactful experiences that brought ecstasy and joy to the world—Rumi, the divine poet of the ages

Rumi, one of the world’s most revered poets and communicators of the ecstatic mystical experience, beautifully expresses his release from the bonds of shallow, mundane mental preoccupations to the embrace of love and union with the divine. He was a 13th-century Persian poet and Sufi mystic who famously expressed his experiences of love, longing, and loss through mystical love. Rumi’s philosophy emphasized the practice of love to achieve union with the divine, with the guidance of spiritual mentors. His poetry, which incorporated various languages, gained popularity worldwide. His quotes encourage self-reflection, love, pursuing wisdom and profound insights into the universe’s interconnectedness, and the importance of using words wisely.

Some of Rumi’s famous quotes include:

“Yesterday I was clever, so I wanted to change the world. Today I am wise, so I am changing myself.” “Everything that is made beautiful and fair and lovely is made for the eye of one who sees.” “Seek the wisdom that will untie your knot. Seek the path that demands your whole being.” “You were born with wings. Why prefer to crawl through life?” “Raise your words, not your voice.”1

The beyond traumatic life experience that brought profound insight into the world – Viktor Frankl and Logotherapy

Viktor Frankl was an Austrian neurologist, psychiatrist, and Holocaust World War II survivor. His experience with excruciating trauma and often near-death experiences while in the Nazi concentration camps profoundly influenced his writing and the formation of his therapeutic approach called Logotherapy. It had a profound impact on the field of psychology. Frankl’s book, “Man’s Search for Meaning,” has been translated into 24 languages and is an all-time best seller. It is a testament to his journey during his time in the concentration camp, with his transcendent experiences and enlightenment amid extreme suffering and revelation about the human moral prerogative.

During his time in the camp, Frankl witnessed unimaginable suffering and saw firsthand the devastating consequences of a lack of meaning in life. These experiences shaped his belief in finding purpose and meaning even in the most challenging circumstances, even in extreme suffering. He highlights the human capacity for resilience and the power of the mind to transcend difficult circumstances.

Logotherapy, the therapeutic approach developed by Frankl, emphasizes the spiritual dimension of human beings and the inherent desire to find purpose. Frankl believed individuals are driven by a “will to meaning” and that a lack of meaning can lead to negative behaviors and emotions. Logotherapy aims to help individuals discover their unique purpose and take responsibility for their lives—to find meaning, purpose, meaningful goals, and values, even amid adversity. By integrating human beings’ physical, psychological, and spiritual aspects, Logotherapy is a holistic approach to the therapeutic encounter. The outcome of his personal trauma, tragedy, and realizations have inspired and guided many.2

Finding a path forward or out of a mental or emotional quagmire to inspiration and freedom

Doing an intentional and intensive therapeutic intervention in a professionally supervised setting can be critical when stuck in mental torment and frustration, with a loss of direction and meaning. The hope is to unlock or get beyond the intelligent, thinking, planning, contriving, and patterning mind, which can get stuck in a brain neuro loop of unproductive mental activity. Getting free from fixation or beyond a sticking place sometimes requires feedback, and working with a responsible and well-trained therapist or teacher to get new input or guidance that can help us see the larger context or perspective beyond the present hampered mental reasoning.

Sometimes there is a push or drive to seek an enlightening experience and clarity to help change a dark outlook. Sometimes changes are sought to allow completion of something deemed essential to achieve, as for gratification of accomplishment. To grow and mature can also be a compelling underlying driving force. The chosen means might be in a conducive therapeutic setting in group psychotherapy, with an individual therapist, or with the conjunctive use of mind-altering or expanding agents as psychedelic substances. 

The idea of revelation goes back through history, including those described as spiritual or religious experiences. People often felt transpersonal and inspired ideas closer to truth and reality. There can be a trap in the belief that the generated idea is an authentic perspective, which may be biased by prior felt needs, wishes, and desires.

The thought that there has been the transmission of supernal ideas or communications to the deserving or as a gift for adherence to intense rituals and practices may reinforce a person’s self-centered, selfish needs. There also may be the unconscious need to be special with entitlement to act out against others and social norms. Individuals may embrace an absolute authority to give meaning, order, and comfort to counter the feeling of vulnerability to life’s struggle and suffering. If caught in an inflexible mindset with a loss of meaning and clear purpose, emotional bleakness of helplessness and hopelessness can lead to a downward spiral, loss of spirit, and ill health.

For a profound, revelatory, enlightening experience to have a meaningful impact and benefit, the person may need a supportive, safe, communal, or therapeutic setting. Of further help would be having the presence of experienced guides and prior preparation through study and practices for the acquisition of wisdom and enhancement of the love of self and others beyond one’s personal and selfish ideas and needs.

Vulnerabilities when falling into despair

Falling into despair might intensify the desire to find relief with rituals and practices. A spiritually enlightening instant, or a spontaneous, highly charged, insightful, emotional experience can occur, that there is a larger essence and potentialities from an untapped, more extraordinary infinite resource. Eastern religions sometimes phrase it as the ground of all-being or as G-d in Western religions. When coming out of despair and hopelessness, the experience might include intense feelings of happiness, ecstasy, love, inclusiveness, and acceptance by something more significant than the isolated, self-absorbed person.

When there is too much clinging to self-interests or tribal interests, eventually, there can be a shift from love to hatred, fighting, and destruction between individuals and groups. Acting on a profound feeling, revelation, spiritual awakening, ecstatic connectedness, or communication believed to be from a divine agency is perhaps not the best time to make any critical decisions about significant life changes until the experience has had time to mature and integrate with one personal life and the practical needs of self and significant others. 

Tips and Points to Ponder:

1.    It is natural sometimes to feel overwhelmed, confused, or have a loss of perspective, mainly when suffering arises in one’s life. It is at these times primarily that one seeks change and alternatives. When in a dilemma on how to proceed, there can be emotional distress, interference with health, relationships, work, creative endeavors, productivity, or the ability to make accurate risk assessments. Getting direct advice from biased others with self-serving points of view may not be beneficial.3

When necessary, find an experienced and professional helper you can trust to engage in dialogue to help you explore all the issues, allowing you to find your clarity and perspective with your decision-making, integrating new insight from intensive experiences, or getting unstuck in making wiser choices. Doing so can be critical for resolving dilemmas, especially when caught in confusing and complicated situations.

2.    If wanting to expand your horizons and grow beyond the limitations of your habits and constrictive inner narrative, fears, emotions, or other felt limitations, carefully search for alternatives that may provide guidance and insight. Take time to be sure that the services or offers are with trustworthy people with experience, certification, and professional training when required. Some positive choices would be services such as a holistic mental health program, settings that teach trusted ways from other traditions and cultures such as yoga, mindfulness, and meditation, or practices and techniques deeper in your own religious or spiritual community. Get help from your own research or community resources where services are reviewed and evaluated. You certainly, and hopefully, would at least do this if looking for someone to do home repairs or a surgeon to do an intricate critical procedure.

*A continuation and Part Two of the article – Impactful Moments and Experiences

Mind Wise newsletter is a valuable resource for your search and interest in mental health and well-being by Ron Parks, MD, MPH, an Integrative Psychiatrist, Holistic Medicine consultant, and writer.

Dr. Parks offers sessions for help in gaining clarity and perspective. If interested, click here to schedule a session. 

*The present article is a continuation and Part Two of the article: Impactful Moments and Experiences

Featured Image Caption: Searching for the why, meaning, and the spirit – by RRP design with Canva & stock photos

The original article in its entirety, along with the archives of all Dr. Parks’ articles, can be found at:

  1. Rumi References: Rumi | Biography, Poems, & Facts; 100+ Rumi Quotes on Love, Life, Nature & the Universe; Rumi – Wikipedia

2. Victor Frankl References:

 [1] Survival and Dignity in Viktor Frankl’s Legacy; Viktor Frankl, a survivor of four concentration camps, had a secret to happiness: Don’t strive for it.

[2] Viktor Frankl’s Revelation of Hope

[3] The Question of God. Other Voices. Viktor Frankl

3. The article the-art-of-decision-making-and-more-predictable-outcomes explored ways to avoid dubious or destructive outcomes from unwise choices and decisions.

anxiety, depression, enlightenment, holistic therapies, integrative approaches, Integrative Psychiatry, logotherapy, meditation, PTSD, Rumi, transpersonal experience, trauma


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