|This question came in an email from a Seeker.
One answer from someone who has experienced MER (Mystical Experience of Reality) is :
What you seek, seeks you … You can’t earn it, you can’t demand it, you can’t qualify for it or get it because you want it or think you need it or because you’re ‘good’ or hugely charitable, even well educated, live simply, or are an enthusiastic member of a religion or a political “ism”.
The only way you can get it is through experiencing MER. Anything else is mind stuff, culture, emotion, ego and need.
But surely, you might ask, morality and ethics are important? To humans perhaps, but not to Reality. It is axiomatic, automatic, however, that you will be legal, decent and honest, moral and ethical when you have experienced MER, without even asking or trying … On top of which, humans have all they need. Their wants deform their being.
It’s unlikely anyone can pass MER on. It comes from who-knows where and smites seemingly at random. Even being human doesn’t qualify you. But if you’re not a Seeker anyway, haven’t got that “hunger and thirst”, don’t worry, no-one’s left behind, there are no failures, Reality’s in charge, humans haven’t been given stewardship of existence. Humans are nowhere near being wired enough to take in the whole of Reality, yet.
But of all humans, the physicists are the nearest, and they are only in process of being born and will only ever be able to reveal what already exists within the common grasp of humans, even at the height of their future powers, whereas Reality will show us everything …
Reality is; then, now and forever and we are that. All is well.
“Without eyes and ears, the free flying soul is as dark and silent as the mind of a person who has gone blind and deaf. ” JAN STENGREN, Physicist.
Are “Near Death Experiences” anything to do with the mystical experiences of reality that are the subject of this Blog? I’ve never thought so.
Now a letter in The July/August issue, 2015, of ATLANTIC MONTHLY by Jan Stengren, who has a Masters Degree in Physics from the University of Lund in Sweden, seems to explain why.
NDE’s are usually about bright lights, human like figures sending you back to the world because you’re not ready yet, about sounds, and colours. None of those appeared in any of my experiences. Now Mr Stengren offers a scientific suggestion as to why this may be so:
He writes, “Assuming for the sake of argument that the soul or mind actually does leave the body and floats high above, as NDErs claim, how does it see and hear?” He says there are no “sounds” in the real world for the soul to pick up, there are only sound waves. It is our ears that turn sound waves into sounds.
Neither is there any imagery or colour, he says. The lens in the eye focuses light and creates an image, and the cone cells in the retina turn colourless wave lengths of light into colours.
“Without eyes and ears, the free flying soul is as dark and silent as the mind of a person who has gone blind and deaf. The only imagery would be memories from the past, real or fantasised – the stuff dreams are made of.”
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Professor Harry Hunt of the Psychology Department of Brock University, Canada, suggests in a paper called, “The Truth Value in Mystical Experience”, pub. Journal of Consciousness, that what the mystics know by what he calls “intuition” physicists have to calculate …
His ($27.68 plus tax) paper identifies “truth values” from the mystical experience, such as “intuition/epiphany, pragmatism, coherence and correspondence”. He notes ‘coherence’ or ‘representation’ as the definition of the core of modern science.
He also records the mystical experiences of “gratitude”, “compassion”, “faith”, and “inner freedom”
He says modern science and mysticism “may have much in common” and “may eventually allow a contemporary reformulation of the macrocoscm-microcosm unities basic to traditional cultures”.
I think this heavily academically guarded, not to say defensive sentence might mean the Professor thinks science and mysticism might have a lot in common. This is not news to traditional mysticism but we must not forget what other scientists have already suggested, that while science is inside trying to look out, mystics have been experiencing outside for millennia …
” … advanced mystics and cosmological physicists seem to be describing similar things ..” Douglas G. Lockhart, pp.172 , FIRE IN THE MIND, Vol.1 of 3.
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Here is the contents list of Abraham Maslow’s fascinating book, Religions, Values, and Peak Experiences. It could do with a contemporary review. Anyone up to it? If so, I can send them a .pdf file. Please click COMMENT to let me know. Thank you.
- Editorial Introduction and Preface I.
- Introduction II.
- Dichotomized Science and Dichotomized Religion III.
- The “Core-Religious” or “Transcendent” Experience IV.
- Organizational Dangers to Transcendent Experiences V.
- Hope, Skepticism, and Man’s Higher Nature VI.
- Science and the Religious Liberals and Non-Theists VII.
- Value-Free Education? VIII. Conclusions
- APPENDIXES: A. Religious Aspects of Peak Experiences B.
- The Third Psychology C.
- Ethnocentric Phrasings of Peak-Experiences D.
- What is the Validity of Knowledge Gained in Peak-Experiences? E.
- Preface to “New Knowledge in Human Values” F.
- Rhapsodic, Isomorphic Communications G.
- B-Values as Descriptions of Perception in Peak-Experiences H.
- Naturalistic Reasons for Preferring Growth-Values Over Regression-Values Under Good Conditions I.
- An Example of B-Analysis Bibliography
Abraham Harold Maslow (April 1, 1908 – June 8, 1970) was an American psychologist who was best known for creating a theory of psychological health for self-actualization. He was a psychology professor at Brandeis University, Brooklyn College, New School for Social Research and Columbia University.
As one of Maslow’s steps to self actualisation included the description of the personal experience of Reality he called “Peak experiences”, I’ve paraphrased the article, 9 Characteristics of Self-actualized People by Kendra Cherry:
- “Self actualised people tend to accept themselves and others as they are. They tend to lack inhibition, enjoy themselves and are free of guilt. They treat everyone the same way.”
That could be a description of me. I always thought it was just me. I never linked it to my experiences of Reality.
- “A sense of realism” that enables self actualised people “to view things logically and rationally.”
Very much so! The mythomanias on which human cultures, practices and beliefs are based are incredulous.
- A “strong sense of personal ethics and responsibility” “motivates” such people. They have “problem solving skills” and “like helping others improve their own lives.”
Yes, but not the helping other people bit. I developed a discinclination to identify with human beings apart from attending my duties and responsibilities as a human. I long ago decided all humanity could expect from me is Legality, Decency and Honesty. There are more important things afoot than being merely human.
- Frequent “peak experiences”. According to Maslow, “Feelings of limitless horizons opening up to the vision, the feeling of being simultaneously more powerful and also more helpless than one ever was before, the feeling of ecstacy and wonder and awe, the loss of placement in time and space with, finally, the conviction that something extremely important and valuable had happened, so that the subject was to some extent transformed and strengthened even in his daily life …”
“Vision” didn’t come into my experiences, nor did “power” or “helplessness”, which sound suspiciously like human ego-expressions adulterating an experience pure of all humanity (in my experience).
- Non conformist when it comes to other people’s ideas of happiness and contentment.
With a vengeance.
- Value their privacy and enjoy solitude, which is not to say they don’t enjoy the company of others.
But Cherry also suggests here that Maslow thought “taking time to themselves” as being “essential for personal discovery and cultivating individual potential” as if it is a personal determination. This is not true. After the Experience the Experience’s process in charge. It develops the experiencer’s potential, the knowledge of which is something humans are apparently not wired to understand, as yet …
- A thoughtful sense of humour and can laugh at themselves.
I don’t know about “thoughtful”. Spontaneous might be a better word.
- “… a tendency to be open, unconventional and spontaneous”, not confined by social expectations.
Yes, but that can be a lonely, alienating effect.
- ” … they do not see things simply as a means to an end. Their journey towards achieving a goal is just as important and enjoyable as accomplishing the goal”.
This sounds suspiciously like self will. The Experience does not give you a goal, it IS the goal … Deus Sufficit, or, in this case, Reality is enough. I think a Quaker Elder who said to me, “Let go and let God” was nearer the truth of the experience of Reality than this expression of human interference.
A correspondent suggested I need humour in the Blog, and this is what I replied. I thought it might amuse you:
“Good words and thoughts to go by. But my Blog is aimed not only at those who have had the Experience of Reality, but those who study it, scholars and scholarly readers.
Scholars are a very sensitive lot, with strict thinking disciplines and presentations. Humour has to be very carefully used, in case the humourist is labelled, “flippant”. Humour is best avoided by ”noobies” in any context scholars consider to be their domain. This is an ironic state of affairs because those who have had the Experience are noted for their profound sense of humour; they take human affairs very lightly and the presence of their like has been noted in the appointment in the courts of the wise as “jesters”. Very often they are great personal advisors to emperors and kings, even presidents. Nevertheless, the truth when wrapped in “flippancy” can be even more cause for offence to those who are tenured to take the human condition seriously.
“Good point though, many thanks.”