7673Re: An easy way to facilitate mystical experience?
- Mar 15, 2014Hi Dan, so good to hear from you again. Sounds like retirement is treating you well! Glad to know. Have you completed work on the 'Shi'ur Qomah in the Light of Neuropsychological Research' article?Update about me: I have moved from the Far East to the Middle East and I am now living in Saudi Arabia. I am about as close to Mecca as a non-Muslim can get. Tantalizingly close to see the ultimate cubical shrine but I can't get at it. I took up a position at a newly founded university near Jeddah and the job is great! Living on a compound (similar to how most Americans live when working on the oil refineries) so life is pretty much as one finds it in N.America; however, alcohol is not permitted here and I haven't had a drink in a month. That's something of a feat after having lived in Japan! I am looking forward to exploring some of the nearby areas such as the city of Petra in Jordon and also Istanbul in Turkey. I will keep you updated. For now, I can say that I attended the national museum in the capital of Saudi and I passed a few cubical markers on the way throughout. The faces of the cube were inscribed with passages from the Koran. I believe that Muslims would see that as a reference to the Ka'bah shrine but to my mind it was a reference to cubical spiritual centers around the world. Anyway, it was just something I observed that I hadn't expected to see there.I have been thinking about your post, How to induce a mystical experience. How has it been working for you? I am definitely a dreamer (I frequently recall my dreams, often in vivid detail) but they have not been tools to mystical experience for me. Instead, my dreams tend toward the introspective side, sometimes offering me a glimpse of things about myself or my attitudes or beliefs that I missed. But I agree that the pre-dream stage is crucial to many altered states. I have yet to achieve out-of-body experiences but based on my research that is most likely to happen in the pre-sleep stage.That said, I did have one mystical experience during the pre-dream state but it was connected to music. And in my experience, music is my mystical inducer. The sound washes over me, enveloping me in a wall of vibration and this creates the right sensory stimulus to sense something larger than just "me". This particular time, I had stayed up all night and was tired. I wasn't at home (where I might have just gone to sleep completely) but I felt I was in a relatively "safe" environment (crucial to letting one's guard down enough to permit an altered state of consciousness). I was in my friend's sandwich shop which he was preparing to open. The door was still locked so no other customers were there (i.e., no one was disturbing me). But the clincher was the music he had playing over the shop speakers. It was new and alien to me, some type of Indian music with unfamiliar stringed instruments and note progressions (maybe it was a sitar but I have no idea now). I believe that this combination of factors joined together to take me out of myself and open my awareness to something larger than me: (1) fatigue but not able to just go to sleep completely; (2) safe and relatively free from disturbances; and (3) some musical catalyst to propel me into a new state.There have been other times in my life when music also accompanied me as I experienced heightened or hyper awarenesses of the world around me. It can be an unfamiliar style of music (as I mentioned above) or, alternatively, it can be music presented in a non-standard way (ceiling speaker in a store playing "overhead", music playing in a passing vehicle with a fleeting phantom effect that combines to change my mood and how I perceive where I am at that instant, etc.). This delivery of song can at times lift me outside of my immediate environment and I experience a rich glimpse of things greater than my own limited vision. I suppose it is the urban equivalent of a grand panorama one finds overlooking the plains, canyons, or any expanse where you can spy the curvature of the earth itself.Incidentally, I just looked up the etymology of catalyst and perhaps it is germane to the discussion. While the use of the term in chemistry today carries the sense of change caused by an agent which itself remains unchanged, the original use is the Latinized form of the Greek word "katalysis", meaning complete dissolution or dissolving. In a way, that is exactly what I am suggesting: for me, music and a few other factors combine to dissolve my immediate view into a larger expression of that which is around me. In other words, most of my mystical experiences re-confirm that I am just a part of the all.How about you? What are the factors that most lead you to a mystical sense of life?Great to hear from you, as ever~Chris
---In firstname.lastname@example.org, <danw@...> wrote :
I have been reading Ralph Hood’s Handbook of Religious Experience and came up with an idea for easily facilitating mystical experience.
Pp 338-9 (Cognitive Theory and Religious Experience) talks about pre-sleep thoughts being the main determinant of dream content. There is also a reference to pre-sleep instructions being effective.
In the article on The Facilitation of Religious Experience pp 579ff, re the psychedelic Marsh Chapel Experiment and Tim Leary’s two psychiatrist drug study, there were dramatic differences in religious experience based on whether the sessions had a religious context or not. So the content of psychedelic experience is way more likely to be mystical when the setting of the session and its directed imagery is religious.
Dreams have been a traditional altered state route for prophetic, ecstatic, and psychic content. Joel 2:28 I will pour out my spirit upon all flesh; and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, your old men shall dream dreams, your young men shall see visions
Theoretically then, if someone listens to a pre-sleep tape/cd/mp-3 that instructs them to have mystical experiences during their dreams with unitive feelings, a deep sense of truth, indescribable ineffable beauty, awe, serenity, compassion, bliss, transcendence of space and time, fusion of the opposites, and a profound feeling of sacredness, their dreams should begin to reflect these instructions. If you also instruct them to remember their dreams, they should begin to carry these experiences in the dream altered state over into waking consciousness.
Experiments could be done by altering the instructions given to different groups.
Alternatively, in the sleep laboratory one could give instructions for a mystical experience during REM sleep and then wake the subject to get a dream report.
I have been spending a good deal of my time since retirement thinking about the facilitation of mystical experience.
Hope everything is going well with you
All my best
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