In Review: What Does Mysticism Have To Teach Us About Consciousness? By Robert K.C. Forman, The Forge Institute and Program in Religion, Hunter College, CUNY. Originally published in Journal of Consciousness Studies, Vol. 5, No. 2, 1998, pp. 185–201.


“A key strategy for understanding a complex phenomenon is to look at its simplest manifestations. The gene structure of E. coli, for example, has contributed significantly to our understanding of gene functioning in more complex organisms.

“Mystical experiences may represent the simplest form of human consciousness and thus, by the same token, may provide valuable insights into the nature of human consciousness.”

“Not everyone who meditates encounters these sorts of unitive experiences. This suggests that some may be genetically or temperamentally predisposed to mystical ability; borrowing from Weber, the “mystically musical.”

“One might suggest that the mystic’s awareness is categorically different than other peoples’, i.e. that it is connected to the world in an ontologically deep way that the rest of ours is not.

“I find this unconvincing since every mystic I have read says he or she began as an “ordinary,” i.e. non-mystical, person and only came to realize something of what he or she “had always been.”

“Whichever explanation we opt for, however, it is clear that there is some ability the mystics have been able to develop — through meditation or whatever — that most of us have not.”


Dr. Forman’s thoughts seem to be predicated on the mystical experience of Reality (MER) being a human emanation. Also that it’s directed to the human condition. In my mystical experiences over several times a year for 15 years, neither of these limited anthropologic conclusions are evident.

I am more inclined to accept there are fields of non-human consciousness some humans experience spontaneously, as in my case, not necessarily by will, and that the brain is a receptor of an outer, non-human consciousness.

smiling bobDr. Robert K. C. Forman is a long-term TM-practitioner and a critic of the constructionist approach to mystical experience. He was a professor of religion at the City University of New York, author of several studies on religious experience, and co-editor of the Journal of Consciousness Studies. (Wikipedia).


Are we at the beginning of the next stage of human evolution? materialismDr. Charles T. Tart explains why he wrote his seminal book: The End Of Materialism – How Evidence Of The Paranormal Is Bringing Science And Spirit Together, published by New Harbinger, USA (2009).


“The main thrust of The End of Materialism is to give readers the kind of data that allowed me to reach a personal resolution where I can be both devoted to science and trying to develop and practice my spiritual side. If two living people, for example, can occasionally demonstrate telepathic communication under tightly controlled laboratory conditions, something we have considerable evidence for, is the idea of prayer, an inherently telepathic kind of communication with someone/something beyond us inherently nonsensical? I don’t think so!”

Tart says The End Of Materialism is perhaps his most important work. One of many testimonials for Tart’s book reads as follows:

“Prescient! This book represents the next step in the geotransformational processes that are altering modern concepts of borders, social structures, wealth and governance.”  – John B. Alexander, Ph.D., Society for Scientific Exploration

profile_charles_tartDr. Charles T. Tart is internationally known for his more than 50 years of research on the nature of consciousness, altered states of consciousness (ASCs) and parapsychology, and is one of the founders of the field of Transpersonal (spiritual) Psychology. His and other scientists’ work convinced him that there is a real and vitally important sense in which we are spiritual beings, but the too dominant, scientistic, materialist philosophy of our times, “masquerading as genuine science, dogmatically denies any possible reality to the spiritual.” He says this hurts people, it pressures them to reject vital aspects of their being.


INDIA AND SPIRITUAL REALITY – “Only Reality is constant, real and lasting.”

I didn’t answer your other questions so now here are my belated answers:

Q:  The author states that the spiritual lethargy and poverty of India reflects centuries of meditation. The yogi goes inward to still the mind and his goal is to attain bliss and joy and become one with GOD, unaware that union with God is not possible.

A:  The whole point of existence and meditation is personal realisation of oneness with Reality. This leads to surrender and spiritual discrimination, a different attitude to poverty versus material “richness”, for instance

So far as the assertion that union with “God” is not possible is concerned, I have experienced Reality many times and know Reality is far bigger than “God” or gods or human ambitions and goals and that union with it is all life is about.

Despite what we generally see, hear and feel as humans, not all here is what it seems. Reality is winning. All is well.

By the way, the aforementioned fruits of oneness like bliss and joy are just two of many gifts of the Experience. They’re spiritual gifts, not ephemeral worldly objects of human want.

Q:  Then the author continues: It is within the destiny of Soul however, to become a Co-worker with God and enter into the true realm of heaven.

A:  No.

Is this pure, mistaken human ego and ignorance? There is no evidence, experiential or experimental, for such an assertion.

Reality doesn’t need humans. It draws us to Itself. It can’t be commanded, invoked, evangelised or proselytised, in my experience. It is caught, not taught or thought.

Q:  Do you think there is any truth to his belief that the present state of India has been effected by meditation versus contemplation?

A:  The author’s declaration of the “present state of India” sounds as if the author is referring to India’s worldly, non spiritual, contemporary state we know from the news. The wordly state has nothing to do with spirituality.

Individual Indians however are in evolutionary spiritual transition, like us, and their experience of Reality is ancient and has made them fatalistic, surrendering to mankind’s unstoppable spiritual evolution into Reality.

(They tend to “let go and let god whereas we try to use “God” as a magic spell to deliver our worldly wants).

Indian culture has traditionally been unimpressed by the western world’s realities, while western culture has become more and more materialistic.

All earthly anchored cultures are dying,  dead ends.

Only Reality is constant, real and lasting.

Mankind as such may or may not survive the transition into Reality but it doesn’t matter. There is more than being merely human.

Reality is in charge. All is well, as your meditation will reveal if you persist, (or if Reality doesn’t get you first …).




BOOK REVIEW: Infinite You

infinite you_BOOK REVIEW: “Infinite You, A Journey to Your Greater Self and Beyond” by Pamala Oslie

After decades of living with enhanced abilities, exploring spiritual principles, and delving into quantum physics (see her post on this web site) Pamala Oslie discovered there is more to reality and who we are.

She does not believe we are mere biological machines that age and cease to exist. “There is more to our existence than biology,” she says. We are “infinite beings”.

From the experiences of her consltancy clients she believes everyone reaches a state of “bliss and unconditional love”.

Everything is one consciousness, she says, one mind and one being.

The spiritual experiences give us a knowledge of our true abilities. “We appear to be transforming”.

She approves of the quote by Nikola Tesla (1836 – 1943), the famed futurist, inventor and engineer:

“The day science begins to study non physical phenomenon, it will make more progress in one decade than it has in all the previous centuries of its existence.”

She thinks quantum physics seems to be the bridge that is bringing science and spirituality together.

A list of physicists questioning “our old narrow materialistic definition of reality” is published in her book.

She asserts consciousness is not limited to the brain and draws on her observations of her client’s “unusual experiences and phenomena”.

We rely on technology to do things for us now that we are inherently capable of doing without technology at all, she claims. “Our brains have the same capabilities.”

“Holding fast to our old beliefs about reality … prevent us from reaching our ultimate potential.”

She suggests spiritual experiences seem to be introducing us to the wider, deeper, profounder realities of our existence.

However, she gets into the perennial controversy of whether such experiences are spontaneous or taught. My many experiences every year for over 15 years lead me to believe the experience is only spontaneous. It is caught, not taught. You can not evangelise the experience of reality.

Finally, one of the impressions of this readable book is the power and authenticity that comes from the clarity and honest simplicity of its language. This is a true mark of the mystic tradition.

La Penita. 2016.


Clearly the makers of this production have not experienced the Mystical Experience of Reality.

The film is not about Higher Consciousness. It is about the human spirit, not the higher spirit of MER. The Real Experience of the higher reality is completely outside human imagination, as mystics have attested. This video uses human criteria to “prove” higher consciousness, and as such is stuck at the lower, human level.

It’s as if a salesman at the time radio was discovered is introducing wireless programmng as if it’s the radio set that’s doing the programming.

MER is not about how Reality is Experienced. It is about what is Experienced.

This video offering is a distraction to Seekers because it suggests this higher consciousness it talks about can be achieved by human effort. It can’t. The real MER is spontaneous and comes to people without any human attributes that would qualify them for the phenomenon, as history shows and the sudden burst of interest in the worlds of modern scientific and scholarly research since the 60’s is beginning to reveal.

Clearly, there are far more important things in Existence than being merely human.


In review: Ordinary People as Monks and Mystics by Dr Marsha Sinetar (Paulist Press)


“Mystics are the ones who hunger and thirst after righteousness .. the ones who yearn for continued or increased union with the other reality they themselves feel is the real reality – the real reality which heals and makes all things new again. Their yearning is their most distinctive mark and has been called by some ‘a deep and burning wound’, because it propels them towards the transcendent nature of life much as a lover is drawn toward the objective of love.

“Anyone who answers the yearning of the inner self is called, has a vocation, in the original sense of that word, which was ‘to be addressed by a voice’. The clearest of such vocations can, of course, be found in those who have a religious calling, or who are driven to express some form of genius. But I believe that the word vocation should have a broader interpretation. Those who are called to find the law of their own being, for example, who answer the call obediently, even if hesitatingly, have a vocation. Those who sacrifice the things of this world, the conventional way of living or perceiving things, have a vocation. Anyone can be called – not just the religiously inclined or the great gifted ones, since many of these may not, in fact, be true to themselves as individuals.

“In order to know what within is true and of most value, whenever these sorts of instincts come, the individual detaches experientially from the rules, customs, belief systems, conventions and various idols of the external world. Social transcendence is a way to answer this inner call – be it a physical response (such as moving one’s home, moving away from a home-town, or changing jobs etc.) or just an emotional detachment from societal conventions and expectations as with a woman, let’s say, who decides not to marry, not to have children, even though that’s what she sees her friends doing and knows that that is what her family expects her to do. These kinds of detachment may be signs that an individual has begun the process of actualisation.

“Fortunately, as time goes by, the demands of the Self are easier to hear.

“It is through hearing – and obeying – the demand to make a life-adjustment that the ability to face oneself grows.

“Thomas Merton: ‘The paradox that one must face, if he really takes the truth seriously, is the pragmatic fact that sincerity means insecurity.’

“It is this individual who ultimately overcomes the feelings of separation, fear and anxiety which are symptoms of powerlessness and an underdeveloped character structure.

“The person can feel inordinately sad, vulnerable or moved. He can be touched instantly by waves of strong emotion at little or no provocation. One person in this study told me that during a meeting, for no apparent reason, some heroic quality in a colleague so moved him that he had to fight back tears.

“… when an individual starts to grow within himself, starts to develop his intuitive, transpersonal self, he may find it necessary to pull back, to learn how to be alone.

“It is often difficult for the true mystic to find rapport with (religious organisations), his own heightened sensitivities to God made profane by the mundane perceptions of those who want to hear about – but who themselves do not experience – the sacred reverence and humility of the Transcendent.

“The remarks of the study participants may lead some readers to think that a physical break with conventional life is necessary in order to become actualised. Nothing could be further from the truth.

“Detachment from the world’s idea of what is good or proper is an absolute requisite in order to be one’s own person. But detachment does not mean withdrawal. Nor does it mean those most common types of non-conformity people use to protest society’s falsehoods: vain little adjustments of dress or diet, neurotic self-involvement and self pity, the psychosomatic inability to function, or, worse, the psychotic, perhaps even criminal, antisocial or insane outlet which so negatively poisons everything it touches.

“Anyone, of any age and any culture, having the sincerity of heart and the strength of intention to identify and express for what for him is true and good, can be whole.

“Three distinct skills of the study participants (are that they are) autonomous and authentic persons; adaptable; intuitive.

“If we cannot make it without old habits, toxic relationships, our addictions – whatever they might be – we are not free to choose our good.

“What we seek, seeks us. The goal of our life – whatever we want to call it – is within us, always present as the very life-source in us. All we need is to recognise, perhaps at first through faith, that inside is a profound, mysterious power which pervades our existence and which can heal, guide and inspire us.

“The inner journey, whatever it costs, and whatever form it may take, is necessary for anybody who wishes to embody in thought, word and action all that he truly loves. In this way, he comes to know and to be his really balanced, most wholesome and generous self: his Highest Self.”


Dr Sinetar made a scientific study of individuals who have had the Mystical Experience of Reality. She does not go into the greater consequences of this phenomena, which turns all historical, religious, scientific and scholarly experience of human existence on its head.

She concentrates on the Experience itself, and its effects on her subjects and, through them, society.

It is a seminal book that should be on your library shelves, as I think you will agree, along with Williams James’ “The Varieties of Religious Experience”, Aldous Huxley’s “The Perennial Philosophy”, Evelyn Underwood’s edition of “The Cloud of Unknowing”,  Dr.Richard Maurice Bucke’s “Cosmic Consciousness”, and “What is Self”, by former nun Bernadette Roberts, all seminal works.

It is a very readable book and has been a best seller since 1986. Dr Sinetar is an educator, organisational psychologist and mediator. Her research and writings have focused on the characteristics, thinking, and work styles of gifted leaders, creative entrepreneurs and the whole, actualised person.

However, as you will see from the last few paragraphs of this review, Dr Sinetar seems to imply you can have the Transcendent Experience (M.E.R.) by your own efforts.

That was not how my Experiences happened to me, nor have I seen any evidence in this book or anywhere else that the phenomenon is anything other than purely spontaneous. They are completely outside human experience or human ability to generate, in my experience. Nor does the Experience come to make us better human beings. The M.E.R. is about much more than mere humanity, to which, in fact, it seems indifferent.

Marsha Sinetar cover


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





“Mystical Brain” is a documentary film by filmmaker Dr. Isabelle Raynauld that follows a group of researchers from the University of Montreal as they conduct a study into the role of the brain in transcendental experiences … Their efforts are inconclusive.

“Mystical Brain” reminds us of the four wise men of Sufi legend who did not know they were blind and came across an elephant. One said the elephant is a seven foot long tube. Another said it’s a short, tapered solidity with sparse hairs that twitch to no predicable rhythm.

The third wise man said an elephant is a large rumbling edifice that moves slowly by unknown propulsion, while the fourth insisted it is a long, smooth, bone like protrusion with a sharp point. All agreed it did not fit the definition of a living thing because it did not have the capacity to grow, metabolize, respond to stimuli, adapt, or reproduce.*

Are we all blind? Is the human race not wired to understand existence, or is it wired but not yet awakened, except in a few cases that have no discernible human qualifications to be awakened at all?

*There is no way to validate the claim that all three wise men had their turbans and tatooshes inexplicably whisked off their heads, only to finally find the chewed headgear at one end of the elephant smothered in a smelly paste of processed grasses and fruits…


We can supply the books free of charge as payment for your review of them. To start with we would like to see Dr. Marsha Sinetar’s books reviewed. And Karen Armstrong’s. Douglas Gulfinnan Lockhart has books on and around the Blog’s subject, too. COSMIC CONSCIOUSNESS by Dr. Bucke needs a modern reading. You can suggest others.

The more scientifically or experientially disciplined the reviewed books, studies and commentaries are the better. Every author assertion or conclusion must be backed by references and where they aren’t, or are unsatisfactory, must be exposed in your review.

Suspicious words include, religion, soteriology, doctrine, eschatology, evangelism, Christian-gnosis, Judaic-gnosis and suchlike linkages, as well as proselytising, and faith, hope and belief.

We do like words such as mystical insight, human destiny, knowledge, and insight. Only a PhD., MA., or Experiencer will be allowed to get away with the word intuition. Even then the usage will be subject to dire scrutiny …

The Experience is challenging to the human condition and to the personal lives of the Experiencers, so the aim is to keep the subject as pure as possible, without extraneous, that is, human, ie: mental, emotional distractions of the times.

Experience in writing reviews will be a big asset, especially if you hold a university professorship in a department of philosophy that includes a wide contextual study of the subject, and/or departments including physics and psychology with similar interests in the Experience.

If you’re interested, pass this request on to your friends, and please leave a comment here with your email spelled out, ie: JonSmithatGoogledotcom so as to avoid spamming bots. Or use the CONTACT box in the top right corner of the Blog. Thank you.