How a Magical God Experience Transforms People

How a Magical God Experience Transforms People

by Charles L. Wang

(People seem very interested in the Question of God… So here’s another paper on God and Mysticism and Human Progression…)

‘Characteristics and experiences perceived during the mystical state have been examined in many scientific studies, the majority falling into the 1950’s and 60’s, in the period after their discovery before politics made scientific investigation difficult. Such notables as Timothy Leary, Aldous Huxley, Richard Alpert, Albert Hoffman, and Alexander T. Shultes have extensively worked in this area.

Some of these qualities have been integrated into a nine-category typology of the mystical state by Walter H. Pahnke, a physician and minister completing his PhD in religion and society at Harvard. Pahnke conducted the double-blind, famous “Good Friday” experiment with Timothy Leary in 1962.’

‘Walter Houston Clark, 1961 recipient of the American Psychological Associationês William James Memorial Award for contributions to the psychology of religion, states “There are no experiments known to me in the history of scientific study of religion better designed or clearer in their conclusions than this one.”

The experiment was carried out on twenty Protestant divinity students in Boston Universityês Marsh Chapel on Good Friday, 1962. Pahnke administered small capsules, either containing 30mg of psilocybin or active placebo (nicotinic acid; niacin), then surveyed the volunteers. The group receiving psilocybin scored significantly higher on the testing than the placebo, in all eight of the categories scored, and 9 of the 10 felt they had a life-transforming religious experience.’

The nine universal characteristics, which Pahnke believes are shared in the mystical experience, cross-culturally and historically. They are:

Unity. There is a feeling of oneness with the universe and a loss of ego boundaries. Self is experienced as pure awareness.

Transcendence of Time and Space. There is a loss of usual references of time and space. Time seems to slow down or even stop. Experiences of eternity and infinity are common.

Deeply Felt Positive Mood. There are feelings of blessedness, joy, and peace, and a sense of unconditional love. The uniqueness of these emotions is in the level to which they are elevated, the intensity of the experience.

Sense of Sacredness. There is an intuitive sense of wonder and peace, a sense of special value, and a feeling of the holy and divine.

Subjective Nature of the Experience. The knowledge seems remarkably insightful. It is conveyed not through words, but through the experience itself, and there is a certainty that this knowledge is authentic and direct.

Paradoxical. When attempting to explain the experience to others, there are frequently logical contradictions in explanations, such as emptiness in which one simultaneously feels full and complete, or a dissolution of self in which something of the individual remains to experience the phenomenon. There is both separateness from and unity with the surroundings.

Alleged Ineffability. The experience seems to be beyond what words can define. Logical descriptions or interpretations are incapable of accurately describing the experience, partially due to the paradoxical nature of the phenomena.

Transiency. The actual time spent in the mystical state is temporary. A return to the everyday surroundings occurs after a short period, whether through sudden awakening or a gradual shift of awareness to the immediate environment.

Persisting Positive Changes in Mood and Behavior. In many cases, the individual integrates these revelations into future life experiences. Pahnke divides these attitude changes into four areas: toward self, toward others, toward life, and toward the mystical experience itself. The individual is more able to recognize and deal with the negative aspects of his own personality; acts more open to others and are more authentic and more tolerant. The attitude is frequently more optimistic. Purpose and meaning are more prominent in everyday life. There is a new, deeper understanding of the mystical experience and the individual feels more connected with spirituality and religion.

‘Though the scientific method has its bounds, enlightenment for the mystic lies not in explanation, but in direct experience. Mysticism has the potentials of enhancing the human experience, and the mystical journey is a lifelong path which culminates in direct encounter with the unknown. Irrespective of verification, mystical experiences remain the zenith of human endeavor into the hidden regions of the mind, opening doorways to the core of conscious experience itself.’ This non-explainable, non-definable feeling, non-characterizable experienced during mysticism can also be the essential key to turning and opening up the best side of people, the most honorable side of men, the most caring side of women, and the most harmonious, non-prejudice, and progressing side of society.

The following is a personal account of a mystical experience of seeing God and all of His Glory put into men.

(This is completely a metaphorical and metaphysical, internal dialog. Am I in no such mood to give up my Fifth-Amendment Rights or jeopardizing my Security Clearance in the military…)

I remember vividly and distinctly the 1st time when I tripped on LSD. According to Dr. Timothy Leary, “LSD is philosophy in a pill.” And right he was, because the experiences of an alternative reality changed my life forever. When the drug enters your body, the first things you feel is this warm glow of love. Then your senses begin to float — like you’re drifting — until you slowly rise to the edge of this world. Your spirit finally settles by edge of reality — as we know it. And standing there on the edge of everything we ever known, you can see the masses of this world. Looking down upon them, orbiting predictably after shadows and dusts casted by the invisible, you feel a sense of fate — biological and social determinism. And looking at the ground, you can see boundaries of epistemology shinning a dim light on what is invisible for those who are curious over their own fate.

But when you look up and beyond the human horizon — into the deep, mysterious unknown — something sacred and ambient shines on your face. It is a light of mythical beauty never experienced before by mankind; it gave us wonder and hope and such a strong sense of awe that it prompts some of us to worship. Such radiating beauty lit up pieces of our beings yearning for the transcendental and for eternity. Many people who have seen this light become “born-again.” They hear a calling to overcome their biologically and socially determined fate and transcend into products of their own rationality — their inherent, transcendental purpose to existence, just like Plato’s allegory 2000 years ago. (Plato’s allegory of the Cave described how happy-slaves overcame their chained destiny of chasing after shadows and dusts after seeing the light of the cave’s opening.)

Standing on the edge of humanity and touched by divinity, a sudden association between our being, our reality of existence, and the celestial became clear to me. Since the beginning of time, countless individuals have been pursuing for something better and more transcendental than what is ordinary reality. They paint, they carve, they invent, and they make everyday “being” more beautiful through their poetry, art, passion, and inspiration. These individuals have this unexplained drive (a calling perhaps) to go somewhere where no other men have gone before — to overcome fate. It is this unexplained phenomenon of individuals that took the rest of humanity out of the caves (literally), built large civilizations, and launched sophisticated ships into space blessed with the transcendental name of ancient-Greek, unity god — Apollo. As these “enlightened” individuals take their giant leaps of “faith,” they take the rest of the humanity and their “civilizations” with them, into the unknown, into the divine…

These individuals saw the “light,” went out of their “cave” (Plato’s Allegory), and overcame destiny!! After witnessing beauty-divine, I fell into a deep, peaceful sleep — having felt “the truth” surrounding our reality and our being.

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Neurosciences of Religion: Meditation, Entheogens, Mysticisim

Neurosciences of Religion: Meditation, Entheogens, Mysticisim

How the Neurosciences Explain Religion or Not

by Felix Larocca

We already know how humans evolved as hunter-gatherers and how our genetic, mental, and behavioral nature was conditioned by and for this kind of life, even as we now live in a very different environment of our techno-cultural creation.  We considered how evolution had shaped our predispositions for religion and what functions and dysfunctions religion might have played in our species’ history.  We were introduced to the idea that the human mind was modular, that there were instinctive dispositions that then developed in conjunction with social and environmental factors into various inference systems in our brains.  Religion, we were told, could be understood as a potent combination of these different inference systems in our evolved brains – agency detection, ontological categories, intuitive physics, intuitive psychology, pollution-contagion templates, memory-recall patterns, and so forth, all assembled and accessed as independent mental modules.

In this entry, we are going to examine the human brain directly to see how the cognitive neurosciences try to understand and explain religious and spiritual experiences.  And we note first that there has been a tremendous amount of new research and new insights into the working of the human brain in the last few decades.  Powerful new tools also allow us to examine the function of healthy human brains and these tools have recently been used to study the brain functions of Buddhist monks, Catholic nuns, Pentecostals speaking in tongues, and others. Read more of this post

Daily Meditations

Tao gives birth to one. One gives birth to two. Two gives birth to three. Three gives birth to ten thousand things. Ten thousand things find harmony by combining forces of positive and negative.

 

A violent man will die a violent death. That will be the essence of the teaching. The wise person embraces the one and sets an example to all. Not putting on a show, he shines; not justifying himself, he is distinguished; not bragging, he receives recognition. He does not quarrel, so no one quarrels with him.

 

We barely know that which is highest. We know that which we love, that which we fear, and that which we despise. Who does not trust enough will not be trusted. He who knows others is wise. He who knows himself is enlightened. He who has little shall receive. He who has much shall be embarrassed. Those who know honor but practice humility will be as a valley receiving all the world into it. Achieve, but do not glory in the results. Achieve, but do not boast of the results. Achieve results, but not through violence. Force is followed by loss of strength. The way is sacred; you can not own it He who would win it would destroy it. He who would hold it would lose it. You will find, therefore, that sometimes things are in front and sometimes they are behind. Sometimes there will be strength and sometimes there will be weakness. Thus, the sage avoids extremes, indulgences, and complacency. Understanding comes to those who have realized their true selves. Realization of their true selves comes to those who have gained understanding.

 

To him who has reached the Tao and is master of his true self, the universe shall be dissolved. Should he find himself in the company of loud and aggressive persons, he is like a lotus flower growing in muddy water; touched by it but unsoiled. With deep self-realization, a person influences the universe with his subtle vibrations, and is less affected by the flow of events. Those who attain self-realization on earth live a twofold existence. They conscientiously perform their work in the world, but are inwardly immersed in spiritual peace. Human life is full of sorrow, until we know of the “Way” whose “right course” may be confusing to the egoistic intelligence. To reach the goal of perfect peace empty yourself of all things. All of nature stands before your eyes. The ten thousand things grow and flourish, and then return to the source, regaining perfect peace. This is the way of Nature: the way of nature is unchanging. He is enlightened who has learned this well. And he who knows of it will be tolerant; and being tolerant is therefore just. Being just you will have an open mind. With an open mind you will be open hearted. With an open minded and open heart and acts of grace you will attain the divine. Being divine, you will be at one with the Tao. Being at one with the Tao is eternal. And though he body dies, the Tao will never pass away.

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