Tag Archives: Stace

The Universality of the Mystical Experience

18 Apr

The Universality of the Mystical Experience
Over the centuries and throughout many cultures, ordinary people as well as monks and mystics, have reported personal experiences that transformed their lives and perspective on life and existence. While interpretations of this experience have differed, researcher Walter Stace outlined important common characteristics which distinguish them from any other kind of experience. These include: * The Unitary Consciousness; the One; pure consciousness. * All life is interconnected and the One is in all things. * Non-spatiality, non-temporality. *Sense of objectivity or reality. * Peace, bliss, serenity, rapture. *Feeling of the sacred or mysterious. * To be transcendent, immanent, indescribable, ineffable. *No judgmental quality. *”Insight into depths of truth unplumbed by the discursive intellect.” *Transiency
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Most transcendent experiences have a short occurrence, but their effect persists. While the discernment of this Reality is subjective, it is not exclusively personal as the experience has been shared often throughout different epochs and localities. Although a supramundane experience can occur spontaneously, it is usually discerned profoundly after living virtuously and immersion in deep states of meditation. In that consummate state of awareness, the illusory boundaries of the separate self dissolve and there is no longer any cognitive distinction between subject and object, and time and space disappear.
To paraphrase psychologist William James: ‘This overcoming of all the usual barriers between the individual and the Absolute … we become aware of our oneness, however, (labeling it as) “union with God” is only one possible interpretation of it, which should not, therefore, be given as its definition. The same experience can be interpreted non theistically as in Buddhism…. All this can be experienced and felt without any creed at all. … The mystic in any culture usually interprets his experience in terms of the religion in which he has been reared. But if he is sufficiently sophisticated, he can throw off that religious creed and still retain his mystical experience.’ All this can be experienced and felt without any creed at all. … The mystic in any culture usually interprets his experience in terms of the religion in which he has been reared. But if he is sufficiently sophisticated, he can throw off that religious creed and still retain his mystical experience.’ This discernment can be experienced without any ideology at all and it is still understood as sacred and spiritual.
The Apophatic theology proposes that instead of aiming for worldly glory, wealth, or power, it is far more worthwhile that we become fulfilled with our own existence and strive for virtue, goodness, and a quiet mind to eventually gain access to the essence of Being or ‘God’. In fact, as Angelus Silesius wrote, ‘God’ is a pure No-thing; concealed in now and here; the less you reach for ‘Him’, the more ‘He’ will appear.’ The All is the divine immanence that embraces all.