One of my mails to a friend of mine:
What I experience is not actually a trance. A person in a trance like state becomes oblivious to his surroundings and himself. I, on the other hand, become much more aware of my surroundings and myself. I become aware of my heart beats, my breathing, slightest disturbances in the surroundings, and whatever is happening, or is, around me in those moments, and a peace beyond words.
It is easier to work yourself in a state of trance. That is why you will find many people either faking or actually being in a trance. The oblivion Ramakrishna used to experience as Gajadhar was something much higher than a trance. That happens when the body is not able to withstand the bliss one feels, so it balks and loses consciousness. Apparently it looks like a trance like state, but it is not.
What you experienced in the monastery, I experienced in the Elephanta caves in front of the Shiva’s Trimoorti in the year 1979 when I was thirteen. It is difficult to describe what I felt as I didn’t have enough awareness to put that experience in words then. I can only say this much that I suddenly felt all alone in that cave and was mesmerized by that sculpture. I had the experience once again when I revisited that cave in 1996 with my family. I told them to wait outside for me, and I sat there facing Shiva for around 10-15 minutes. This time I was able to recognise that I was feeling the familiar peace which I first experienced in 1993, and which can’t be disturbed by anything from outside. I think that the sculptors of those statues must have been meditators themselves, otherwise it is not possible to create something with mystical touch.
Sea beaches and jungles (if you can manage to not feel afraid) are places which can give glimpses of such experiences more easily. Sunrises and sunsets are events which can do the same. That is why they were called “Sandhya Kaal”, and meditators practice during such times. You have surely had the glimpses, but need to have more to concretise them, and prepare yourself for the descent of peace in your being. Once it starts crystallising, you will find that there are many things which can trigger the experience. Your heart will open up more and more, but you will also become more and more susceptible and vulnerable.
Trust doesn’t come easily.