In this excerpt from his excellently illuminating book, The Fifth Dimension – An Exploration of the Spiritual Realm, Dr Hick acknowledges a general, but mistaken, public attitude to the mystical experience of Reality, namely:
Excerpt: “Experience of the natural environment is forced upon us, as we noted earlier, whereas experience of any supra-natural environment seems to be optional.”
No! There was nothing “optional” about my spontaneous MER experiences.
This spontenaity is not generally mentioned in the academic literature on the subject. It is commonly assumed it is experienced after much scholarly reading, the presence of a guru, or a strong adherement to religious doctrines. It is not.
Ancient and modern eastern literature agrees with me. It stresses MER cannot be achieved by learning. It’s “caught, not taught”. Did the biblical Jesus hint at this in his reference to the wind? The Dr Puri who wrote a book about Guru Nanak, (pub. SANT MAT), claimed it is spontanious too. The buddhists recognise this spontenaity, they call it pratyeka. Otherwise I haven’t come across any scholarly works that even mention the word “spontaneous”. But such scholarly works are mostly anthropomorphic anyway. They give the impression they believe the sun and moon only exist to revolve around the earth exclusively for humans ,,.
Dr Hick set out to show there is more than just matter, the physical existence of things, that there is also non matter – a “fifth dimension” not known by science, experiment, religion, philosophy, physics, the senses, logic or reason, only through experience of It: “the spiritual realm”.
All Is Well.
John Harwood Hick (20 January 1922 – 9 February 2012) was a philosopher of religion and theologian born in England who taught in the United States for the larger part of his career. In philosophical theology, he made contributions in the areas of theodicy, eschatology, and Christology, and in the philosophy of religion he contributed to the areas of epistemology of religion and religious pluralism. (Google).
There are a lot of misconceptions about mysticism. Many religious people believe it is nonsense, heretical or both. There are atheists who have had mystical experiences, but they don’t attribute it to a divine source.
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“There are atheists who have had mystical experiences, but they don’t attribute it to a divine source”,.
Me, for one!
A lot of mystics had no option in the “old” days. They had to conform to the concept of God of the prevailing religions ofvtheir time. Those religions were the only allowed interpretation of spiritual experience. “Apostacy” and its consequences still prevail today.
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And many non religious people believe that religion is nonsense. At least atheists are not “usually” so bigotted and dangerous. It would be difficult to imagine an atheist jihad….
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