In February, 1971, Apollo 14 astronaut Edgar Mitchell experienced the little understood phenomenon sometimes called the “Overview Effect”.
He describes being completely engulfed by a profound sense of
universal connectedness. Without warning, he says, a feeing of bliss,
timelessness, and connectedness began to overwhelm him. He describes
becoming instantly and profoundly aware that each of his constituent
atoms were connected to the fragile planet he saw in the window and to
every other atom in the Universe.
He described experiencing an intense awareness that Earth, with
its humans, other animal species, and systems were all one synergistic
whole. He says the feeling that rushed over him was a sense of
interconnected euphoria. He was not the first—nor the last—to experience
this strange “cosmic connection”.
Rusty Schweikart experienced it on March 6th 1969 during a
spacewalk outside his Apollo 9 vehicle: “When you go around the Earth in
an hour and a half, you begin to recognize that your identity is with
that whole thing. That makes a change…it comes through to you so
powerfully that you’re the sensing element for Man.” Schweikart, similar
to what Mitchell experienced, describes intuitively sensing that
everything is profoundly connected.
Their experiences, along with dozens of other similar experiences
described by other astronauts, intrigue scientists who study the brain.
This “Overview Effect”, or acute awareness of all matter as
synergistically connected, sounds somewhat similar to certain religious
experiences described by Buddhist monks, for example. Where does it come
from and why? Read more about it.