Dr. Mitchell: It was on the way home. I was a Lunar Module Pilot and my major duties had been completed. On the way back home, I was systems engineer on a well-functioning spacecraft. So I got to look out at the heavens, kind of relax, and be a tourist a little bit. And because we were rotating every two minutes, the earth, the moon, and the sun would come in and out of view. That was a pretty overwhelming experience in itself. And then suddenly, from my experiences at Harvard and MIT getting a doctorate in astronomy I realized that the molecules in my body and the molecules in the body of the spacecraft were created from some ancient generation of stars. And so suddenly in my mind being manufactured from those stars made this a personal experience instead of an intellectual experience of separateness. I had never had this experience before. It was pretty spellbinding. It was an overwhelming joy and experience, and this continued whenever I had a few moments to look out the window. I experienced connectedness. An absolute bliss and joy associated with it every time I looked out the window for three days on the way home. It was so powerful I couldn’t let go of that. I had to know what in the world it was. What did it mean? I didn’t know.
So I started reading science literature, and especially religious literature, and I got in touch with scholars, with university anthropologists, archeologists, and others to help me to try and find some of the answers. And they came back to me a few weeks later with an experience described out of the Sanskrit of India called savikalpa samadhi that described the same thing. A perception of unity accompanied by ecstasy. Exactly what I had been feeling. So what does all of this mean? Nobody knew what it meant.
# # # # # #
The Earth reminded us of a Christmas tree ornament hanging in the blackness of space. As we got farther and farther away it diminished in size. Finally it shrank to the size of a marble, the most beautiful marble you can imagine. That beautiful, warm, living object looked so fragile, so delicate, that if you touched it with a finger it would crumble and fall apart. Seeing this has to change a man.