Following is the Abstract of a paper by George Drazenovich and Celia Kouric of the University of South Africa called Mysticism and Mental Health, published September 2010.
Selected excerpts follow the Abstract. They warn of the dangers of ignoring the mystic experience:
“Contemporary research suggests that a path is now open for critical dialogue between mysticism and mental health.
“Data are accumulating regarding the frequency which mystic experience occurs in the general population.
“Social science researchers are undertaking studies to determine whether people can differentiate between the pressure of a mystical experience and other types of experiences that occur in their lives.
“Psychologists are developing clinical criteria by which the mystical experience can be differentiated.
“Neuropsychotic researchers are experiencing the effects of the mystical experience by the way of enhanced brain energy.
“Theologians are opening up the received wisdom of the mystical tradition and applying it to present historical content.
“This paper drew these diverse disciplines together to demonstrate an emerging consensus with respect to the efficacy of mysticism in the field of mental health.”
(Saint Ignatius of Loyola’s mystical experiences are mentioned. Having taken his lengthy stringent emotional course, “The Spiritual Exercises”, with an experienced Jesuit Master, I was interested in the reference that reveals Saint Loyola’s battle-battered personal history. After that apparently he had profound, life changing recurring spiritual revelations. It’s said they lead him to create the Jesuits.
“Saint Ignatius warned about the ‘battlefield…on which our souls are engaged in the struggle that frustrates the integration of our destiny’ “.
“…the neurological basis of the mystical mind allowing us to appreciate the fact that the mystical experience is a constitutive aspect of our natural human life.”
“Given the frequency of reported mystical experiences, the scientific exploration of this dimension of human experience is important.”
“Contemporary research in mysticism illustrates that the mystical experience is an integral aspect of the human person and the recovery of the mystical experience will fulfill a much needed void in society.”
“A society that denies the mystical…will fall into various forms of pathological pseudo mysticism…nationalism, militarism, fascism, technology, consumerism, fundamentalism, new ageism, asceticism, and psychologism.”
“Neuropsychology and the social sciences have joined with spirituality in the articulation of mysticism…leading to an emerging consensus with respect to the efficacy of the mystical experience in people’s lives.”
It is good to see you holding fast in a world where most scientists seem determined to reduce consciousness to the purely materialistic. So many these days appear to believe that the self is an illusion – an apparition produced by the wiring in our brain.
It follows of course that the idea of any separate existence for a soul is routinely despised.
Who knows, but it certainly doesn’t feel that way.