Wales University has over 6,000 case histories of spiritual xperiences. The archives were originally established by Dr Alister Hardy at Oxford University. (See post “JOURNAL FOR THE STUDY OF RELIGIOUS EXPERIENCE”, University of Wales).
Here are some of the answers the University is looking for in inviting scientists from all over the world to add to and study their growing archive. Mysticexperiences.net has answered as follows:
Q: In what ways do people negotiate, interpret, and integrate ordinary experiences into their beliefs systems?
A: This question seems to be prompting/presuming anthropological answers. Not everyone has “belief systems”. Even if they did their “belief systems” would be of no interest to Reality. In my experiences, mystical experiences are out of this world, ineffable, untranslateable by present human abilities or understanding.
In my case there has been no negotiation or integration into any belief systems. There was no such thought, proposition or accommodation. For instance, I was absorbed into Reality, from which there is no such thing as negotiating or deliberating anything, not “integration”, no implication of free will whatsoever. Reality was revealed as everything – of which “I/me” is a part.
Q: Can such experiences account for the origins of religious beliefs?
A: I assume so, though I have no empirical evidence. It’s possible the originators of religions thought the phenomena could be evangelised, propagated. However, my inclination is to think it’s caught not taught. Is this why religions failed from lack of spiritual experience – just became purveyors of human morality and ethics, of mental, emotional manifestations of human excitement?
Q: Are extraordinary experiences ‘all in the brain’?
A: I’m not aware of any empirical proof of that. My feeling is that the brain is a receiver for these true mystical experiences of Reality.They reveal but don’t demand,. (Like a gardener watering streams of revelation?).
Q: In what ways does culture influence experience?
A: Not at all in my experiences. I was disappointed my cultural expectation of the existence of God, for instance, was nowhere to be experienced during and after my mystical experiences of Reality. Nor was my expectation of being “taken up” at least. Hitherto, I had not experienced anything like my MERs. They made no human sense at that time.
Q: Do extraordinary experiences challenge or support cultural-linguistic constructivist assumptions concerning religious phenomena?
A: In my experiences of the phenomena, Reality does not challenge Itself, nor anything going on in Itself. The concepts in this question ( “ …challenge or support cultural-linguistic constructivist assumptions concerning religious phenomena”) have no meaning or relevance in Reality. They are anthropological concepts. These academic words denote merely human constructs, jargon limited to human interests.
Q: What are the implications of extraordinary experiences for debates surrounding terminology in the Study of Religions (e.g., ‘religion’, ‘religious experience’)?”
A: I frequently ask myself that! So far, I can only assume religions are nothing to do with Reality or Reality with religion and that religions are therefore not a lasting requirement in the development of the human condition or in any exploration of the existence of Reality.