How a Magical God Experience Transforms People
by Charles L. Wang
(People seem very interested in the Question of God… So here’s another paper on God and Mysticism and Human Progression…)
‘Characteristics and experiences perceived during the mystical state have been examined in many scientific studies, the majority falling into the 1950’s and 60’s, in the period after their discovery before politics made scientific investigation difficult. Such notables as Timothy Leary, Aldous Huxley, Richard Alpert, Albert Hoffman, and Alexander T. Shultes have extensively worked in this area.
Some of these qualities have been integrated into a nine-category typology of the mystical state by Walter H. Pahnke, a physician and minister completing his PhD in religion and society at Harvard. Pahnke conducted the double-blind, famous “Good Friday” experiment with Timothy Leary in 1962.’
‘Walter Houston Clark, 1961 recipient of the American Psychological Associationês William James Memorial Award for contributions to the psychology of religion, states “There are no experiments known to me in the history of scientific study of religion better designed or clearer in their conclusions than this one.”
The experiment was carried out on twenty Protestant divinity students in Boston Universityês Marsh Chapel on Good Friday, 1962. Pahnke administered small capsules, either containing 30mg of psilocybin or active placebo (nicotinic acid; niacin), then surveyed the volunteers. The group receiving psilocybin scored significantly higher on the testing than the placebo, in all eight of the categories scored, and 9 of the 10 felt they had a life-transforming religious experience.’
The nine universal characteristics, which Pahnke believes are shared in the mystical experience, cross-culturally and historically. They are:
Unity. There is a feeling of oneness with the universe and a loss of ego boundaries. Self is experienced as pure awareness.
Transcendence of Time and Space. There is a loss of usual references of time and space. Time seems to slow down or even stop. Experiences of eternity and infinity are common.
Deeply Felt Positive Mood. There are feelings of blessedness, joy, and peace, and a sense of unconditional love. The uniqueness of these emotions is in the level to which they are elevated, the intensity of the experience.
Sense of Sacredness. There is an intuitive sense of wonder and peace, a sense of special value, and a feeling of the holy and divine.
Subjective Nature of the Experience. The knowledge seems remarkably insightful. It is conveyed not through words, but through the experience itself, and there is a certainty that this knowledge is authentic and direct.
Paradoxical. When attempting to explain the experience to others, there are frequently logical contradictions in explanations, such as emptiness in which one simultaneously feels full and complete, or a dissolution of self in which something of the individual remains to experience the phenomenon. There is both separateness from and unity with the surroundings.
Alleged Ineffability. The experience seems to be beyond what words can define. Logical descriptions or interpretations are incapable of accurately describing the experience, partially due to the paradoxical nature of the phenomena.
Transiency. The actual time spent in the mystical state is temporary. A return to the everyday surroundings occurs after a short period, whether through sudden awakening or a gradual shift of awareness to the immediate environment.
Persisting Positive Changes in Mood and Behavior. In many cases, the individual integrates these revelations into future life experiences. Pahnke divides these attitude changes into four areas: toward self, toward others, toward life, and toward the mystical experience itself. The individual is more able to recognize and deal with the negative aspects of his own personality; acts more open to others and are more authentic and more tolerant. The attitude is frequently more optimistic. Purpose and meaning are more prominent in everyday life. There is a new, deeper understanding of the mystical experience and the individual feels more connected with spirituality and religion.
‘Though the scientific method has its bounds, enlightenment for the mystic lies not in explanation, but in direct experience. Mysticism has the potentials of enhancing the human experience, and the mystical journey is a lifelong path which culminates in direct encounter with the unknown. Irrespective of verification, mystical experiences remain the zenith of human endeavor into the hidden regions of the mind, opening doorways to the core of conscious experience itself.’ This non-explainable, non-definable feeling, non-characterizable experienced during mysticism can also be the essential key to turning and opening up the best side of people, the most honorable side of men, the most caring side of women, and the most harmonious, non-prejudice, and progressing side of society.
The following is a personal account of a mystical experience of seeing God and all of His Glory put into men.
(This is completely a metaphorical and metaphysical, internal dialog. Am I in no such mood to give up my Fifth-Amendment Rights or jeopardizing my Security Clearance in the military…)
I remember vividly and distinctly the 1st time when I tripped on LSD. According to Dr. Timothy Leary, “LSD is philosophy in a pill.” And right he was, because the experiences of an alternative reality changed my life forever. When the drug enters your body, the first things you feel is this warm glow of love. Then your senses begin to float — like you’re drifting — until you slowly rise to the edge of this world. Your spirit finally settles by edge of reality — as we know it. And standing there on the edge of everything we ever known, you can see the masses of this world. Looking down upon them, orbiting predictably after shadows and dusts casted by the invisible, you feel a sense of fate — biological and social determinism. And looking at the ground, you can see boundaries of epistemology shinning a dim light on what is invisible for those who are curious over their own fate.
But when you look up and beyond the human horizon — into the deep, mysterious unknown — something sacred and ambient shines on your face. It is a light of mythical beauty never experienced before by mankind; it gave us wonder and hope and such a strong sense of awe that it prompts some of us to worship. Such radiating beauty lit up pieces of our beings yearning for the transcendental and for eternity. Many people who have seen this light become “born-again.” They hear a calling to overcome their biologically and socially determined fate and transcend into products of their own rationality — their inherent, transcendental purpose to existence, just like Plato’s allegory 2000 years ago. (Plato’s allegory of the Cave described how happy-slaves overcame their chained destiny of chasing after shadows and dusts after seeing the light of the cave’s opening.)
Standing on the edge of humanity and touched by divinity, a sudden association between our being, our reality of existence, and the celestial became clear to me. Since the beginning of time, countless individuals have been pursuing for something better and more transcendental than what is ordinary reality. They paint, they carve, they invent, and they make everyday “being” more beautiful through their poetry, art, passion, and inspiration. These individuals have this unexplained drive (a calling perhaps) to go somewhere where no other men have gone before — to overcome fate. It is this unexplained phenomenon of individuals that took the rest of humanity out of the caves (literally), built large civilizations, and launched sophisticated ships into space blessed with the transcendental name of ancient-Greek, unity god — Apollo. As these “enlightened” individuals take their giant leaps of “faith,” they take the rest of the humanity and their “civilizations” with them, into the unknown, into the divine…
These individuals saw the “light,” went out of their “cave” (Plato’s Allegory), and overcame destiny!! After witnessing beauty-divine, I fell into a deep, peaceful sleep — having felt “the truth” surrounding our reality and our being.