After my experience of God, and the experiences I had learning about a spiritual side of life, I truly believed I was going crazy. Having been raised in a skeptical household and being the child of a doctor and a psychologist, I knew the signs of schizophrenia. I worked with people with schizophrenia in my internships and in my later jobs. I knew the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, 4th Edition (DSM IV, now the DSM V) as much as I knew the Torah portion for my Bat Mitzvah – that is to say, fairly well.
It was very confusing to have a beautiful and peaceful experience that I technically didn’t believe in. I wrestled with it a lot. I spent months and years ignoring it, deciding it was crazy, and grappling with it, in never ending circles. I would love to say I decided once and for all that I knew I had made it up, but I couldn’t. My mind couldn’t reason it away. My experiences would not vanish. They remained with me, and they changed me.
I decided my experiences were real because they made me a better person. They opened my heart. They were helpful to me, and to others. I became more open, loving, calm, and caring. To me, that was real.