Mystical, Mysticism, Mystic
All behavior involves learned games but only that rare Westerner, we call “mystic” or
who has had a visionary experience sees clearly the game structure of behavior.
An over-awing type of beauty is seen that makes people experience certain mystical
Are they outlawed because we fear drugs or because we fear the social effects of altered
states of awareness, religious intensity, and mysticism?
As the retina enables us to see countless pulses of energy as a single light, so the mystical
experience shows us innumerable individuals as a single Self.
Beauty is the object of our most spiritual, as well as our most material perceptions of
mystical vision and of sense and feeling.
Certain forms of Eastern “mysticism,” in particular Taoism and Buddhism, don’t
presuppose a universe divided into the spiritual and the material.
Creative vision and mystical illumination are a function of the cortex when it is
temporarily relieved of word and ego games.
Direct perception of unity is the very heart of mystic experience, accompanied by
powerful feelings of joy.
Direct spiritual experiences are perfectly compatible with the mystical branches of the
great religions of the world.
During mystical experiences, one can feel that one has access to ultimate knowledge and
wisdom in matters of cosmic relevance.
Elements of mystical consciousness can occur in psychedelic sessions of well-educated,
skeptical and scientifically oriented individuals.
Every religion uses the term infinite to describe its highest conception and all mystics
have seen infinity.
Experiencing one’s self as one with the universe or with God is the hallmark of the
mystic experience, regardless of its cultural context.
Experiential identification with organic matter is often accompanied by fascinating
insights of a philosophical, mythological, religious, and mystical nature.
Expressions of mystical experience will not stand the test of logic, but the mystic doesn’t
claim to be logical. His sphere of experience is the unspeakable.
For the mystical consciousness, “God is love” is a self-evident truth not a piece of
wishful positive thinking.
For those who have lived a lifetime of conformity and spiritual neglect, freedom is
impossible, that is, short of mystical revelation.
Historically, mystical experience has filled man with wondrous awe and has been able to
change his style of life and values.
If one talks about experiences for which the listener has no concepts, then he is defined,
at best, as a mystic.
If the religious vigor of a Westerner is enhanced by rich mystical understanding, this is
certainly preferable to a foolish allegiance to a dead faith.
In addition to being instruments of philosophic revelation, mystical unity and
evolutionary insight, psychedelic drugs are very powerful aphrodisiacs.
In their ceaseless search for self-transcendence, millions of would-be mystics become
addicts (or drunks).
In traditional psychiatry, mystical experiences of any kind are usually treated in the
context of serious psychopathology.
Inherent in the nondifferentiated unity of mystical consciousness is a profound sense of
holiness and sacredness.
It does not happen to everyone, although the capacity for mystical experience belongs to
the essence of human spirituality.
It is a perennial theme in literature, as in mystical religion, this distrust of the intellect,
the agency of ego, as the sole or dominant vehicle of life.
Leary links the psychedelic experience to Oriental mysticism as well as to the most up-to-
date concepts of modern biology and brain physiology.
LSD experiments gave new impetus to exploration into the essence of religious and
LSD is extraordinary because of the rich view of the unconscious which it permits.
Somewhere in this rich view of the unconscious lies the mystic experience.
LSD propels them into hitherto unmapped regions of the mind while the mystical lore of
the East serves as a guide through this virgin territory.
Modern Church religion is little concerned with giving any consciousness of union with
Most of our culture does not recognize the significance and value of the mystical domains
within human beings.
Mystical consciousness is not primarily an emotion. It is a perception. (The perception
comes first and then there can be an emotional feeling about the new perception.)
Mystical experiences should not be considered pathological; it seems more appropriate to
view them as supernormal.
Mystical transcendence of time and space involves an experience described as eternity or
Mysticism in the broadest sense is “the experience of communion with Ultimate Reality,”
a communion that has no limits.
Mysticism in the form of realizing that one’s true self is the Godhead is something that
Western society would not tolerate.
Mystics of all faiths teach that understanding comes only when logic and intellect are
Mystics emphasize the direct experience of cosmic consciousness that goes beyond the
One who has the courage to undergo the shattering of the illusion will die, but will die in
the mystical sense, “…so that he may live again.” (The ego is the illusion which dies.)
People may come to understand better through psychedelic drugs the visionary and
mystical language of poets like Blake, Wordsworth and Whitman.
Persons who take drugs on their own are most interested in aesthetic and mystical
Plants seem to represent pure being in the here and now, in full contact with the
immediate environment, which is the ideal of many mystical schools.
Plunge into the whitewater of this new experience and reach the calm mystic pools
Psychedelic drugs opened to mass tourism mental territories previously explored only by
small parties of particularly intrepid adventurers, mainly religious mystics.
Psychedelics provide opportunities for mystical insight in much the same way that well-
prepared paints and brushes provide opportunities for fine painting.
Psychological problems may have to be encountered before a “breakthrough” into
mystical consciousness is possible.
Significant aspects of mystical consciousness are felt by the experiencer to be true, in
spite of the fact that they violate the laws of Aristotelian logic.
Some of the bloodiest wars and massacres of history have involved campaigns against
groups of mystics.
The animality of the mystic is always richer, more refined and more subtly sensuous than
the animality of the merely animal man.
The basic structure of experience is given by our sense of space and passage of time.
Both are profoundly altered in psychedelic mystical states.
The Church has always been highly suspicious of mystics because they seem to be
insubordinate and to claim equality or worse, identity with God.
The essential principle of mysticism is perception, though usually accompanied by strong
emotions which the uninformed may mistake for the perception itself.
The goal is to shed all ego sensations completely and in mystical experience, merge with
the totality of the cosmos.
The healthy mystical core that inspired and nourished all great spiritual systems is now
being rediscovered and reformulated in modern scientific terms.
The moment of revelation when you’re turned on to the whole process, which men of old
called the mystic, is the purpose of life.
The mystic is able to enlarge his vision, to look more deeply into the unfathomable
miracle of existence.
The mystic knows that in some mysterious and indescribable manner, God and his
universe are one.
The mystic perceives all things as one, all men as his brothers, all creatures as his fellows
and all matter holy.
The mystic vision is one of unity and modern physics lends support to this perception
when it asserts that the world and its living forms are variations of the same elements.
The mystical consciousness is so much more deeply rooted than any other human
impulse and is characterized by an experience that goes beyond death.
The mystical experience enables the individual to be so open and sensitive to organic
reality that the ego begins to be seen for the transparent abstraction that it is.
The mystical experience is neither a particular state of mind nor blankness of mind. (It’s
not a “particular” state of mind which can be described.)
The mystical experience is the consciousness of the “living primordial cosmic fact of
love,” “the Gratuitous Grace.”
The mystical view of consciousness is based on the experience of reality in non-ordinary
modes of awareness.
The new model of the psyche shows great similarity to those developed over centuries
and even millennia by various great mystical traditions.
The new physics seem to be approaching the mystic vision of which seers and sages of all
traditions have spoken.
The process of getting beyond the game structure, beyond the subject-object
commitments, the dualities, this process is called the mystic experience.
The recognition of the love aspects of the mystical experience and the implications for
new forms of social communication are especially important.
The sense of physical separateness may be lost—moving towards a mystical-type
The substitution of interminable chatter for mystical experience or immediate realization
of our union with God is the basic reason why the Church has no spiritual power.
The time of dreams is different than the time of waking. The time of mystical or
psychedelic states is different again.
The true religious ascetic has no particular interest in mystical religion. He is totally
under the domination of the symbol and does not actually understand its meaning at all.
The very fact of mystical experience belies the oft repeated assertion that human
consciousness can never rise above the level of formal religious symbolism.
The visionary and the mystic wait upon inspiration in a state of wise, nonverbal
passiveness, of dynamic vacuity.
The vivid experiences of the mystics may be our only means of testing the truth of
religious and metaphysical hypotheses.
The ways of liberation are concerned with making mystical consciousness the normal
The Western scientific view considers matter as primary. The mystical view regards
consciousness as the primary reality and ground of all being.
There has been no recognition of spirituality in Western psychiatry and no notion that
there might be some difference between mysticism and psychosis.
There is no “higher religion” without mysticism because there is no apprehension of the
meaning of reality without mysticism.
They describe the state as definitely not blank or empty but as filled with intense,
profound, vivid perception which they regard as the ultimate goal of the mystic path.
Thoughts, even of the saints and Jesus, are hindrances to the sight of the pure God, the
To clear awareness there is neither past not future, but just this one moment which
Western mystics have called the Eternal Now.
To the ordinary institutional-type psychiatrist, any patient who gives the least hint of
mystical or religious experience is automatically diagnosed as deranged.
Traditional psychology makes no distinction between psychotic reactions and mystical
Under the weight of mental knapsacks, receptivity to the voice of mystical and magical
thinking is limited.
Upon the certainty of this union with God depends the entire joy, power and world-
transforming character of the mystical experience.
Very few people, and we Westerns call them mystics, are willing and able to admit that
the game is a game.
Western theology has tended to be out of touch with the mystical roots of religious
A Christianity which is not basically mystical must become either a political ideology or
a mindless fundamentalism. Biblical idolatory is one of the most depressing and sterile
fixations of the religious mind.
A conception of the ultimate unity in being and consciousness of man and the universe is
common to all the main religious traditions and is based on the experience of the mystics
in each tradition.
Almost all mystics and visionaries have experienced reality in terms of light—either of
light in its naked purity or of light infusing and radiating out of things and persons, seen
with the inner eye or in the external world.
Certain drugs can produce in otherwise normal individuals deep mystical and religious
states. Matrices for such experiences exist in the unconscious as a normal constituent of
the human personality.
cosmological mysticism—It’s an ecstatic experience of Nature and Process which leaves
the subject with a sense of having acquired important insight into, as well as identity
with, the fundamental nature and structure of the universe.
Due in part to their ineffable and boundless nature, the divine domains are difficult to
describe, although poets and mystics of all ages have created beautiful metaphors to
Every person who has a genuine mystical experience reports that he sees the unity, reality
and infinity in space and time of all creation. He feels joy, peace and a sense of the
sacred. He knows that his experience is true.
For most people, this discovery is a glorious surprise. Mystics come back raving about
higher levels of perception where one sees realities a hundred times more beautiful and
meaningful than the familiar scripts of normal life.
Hallucinations could lead to deepened understanding of religious and mystical content
and to a new and fresh experience of the great works of art. (Actually, with LSD,
whatever you look at becomes a great work of art, even if it’s dust or garbage.)
I doubt if this can possibly be made to seem meaningful at the ordinary level of
consciousness. No wonder the mystics of all faiths teach that understanding comes only
when logic and intellect are transcended!
Ideation, images, body sensation and emotion are fused in what is felt as an absolutely
purposive process culminating in a sense of total understanding, self-transformation,
religious enlightenment and possibly mystical union.
If mysticism and mystical experiences can be freed of their supernatural connotations,
there is no reason why modern science cannot acknowledge and even absorb them into its
In academic circles, there is hardly a more cutting comment than to brand an opponent
“mystica.l” (Such academic types are ignorant, hung up in ego games and have no idea
what “mystical” means.)
In the paradisal vision, the individual has a different sense of identity. It is not merely
itself, bounded rigidly by its own skin. Its identity is also its whole field, which, in
mystical terms, is to say that it is one with the universe.
In the spiritual and mystical literature of all ages, one can find numerous descriptions of
spectacular physiological changes in the body or seemingly impossible achievements of
people in various extraordinary states of mind.
It is not easy for the pious Christian to realize that Jesus was not an expert on the history
of religion and had probably never met anyone whose mystical vision was as deep as his
Many great scientists who have revolutionized modern physics, such as Einstein have
found their scientific thinking quite compatible with spirituality and the mystical world
Mysticism has revolutionized, again and again, the philosophies of mankind. (In today’s
“modern” world, there is surely a need for it to happen again because we are spiritually
Mysticism may be the ultimate source of ethics, morality and the life of righteousness,
mystical and ecstatic religious experiences the sources of astonishing vitality and
efficiency in the pursuit of good works.
Mystics who believe that God is everywhere but is invisible to us due to our ego-centered
nature, will find it easy to believe that a drug that occasionally obliterates the ego can
also make God more visible.
One transcends the dichotomy set up in one’s mind between “inner” and “outer” worlds
of experience and sees reality only from the standpoint of the mystical vision and many
experience life beyond all dualities.
People perceive the mystical realms to be pervaded by a sacred essence and an
unfathomable beauty, and they frequently see visions of precious gold, sparkling jewels,
unearthly radiance, luminescence, and brilliant light. (eyes closed)
Physicists and mystics agree that what we call “objects” are really patterns in an
inseparable cosmic process and they also agree that these patterns are intrinsically
Plants seem to represent pure being in the here and now, the ideal of many mystical and
religious schools. Not exploiting and hurting other organisms, most plants serve
themselves as a source of food and bring beauty and joy into the life of others.
Pleasure, like mystical insight itself, must always come unsought. Pleasure cannot be
given unless the senses are in a state of accepting rather than taking. Pleasure as
ordinarily pursued is never a true fulfillment.
Religious, mystical, visionary states are powerful and wonderful—they open the doors of
perception, polish our sensory lenses, shake up our autonomic nervous system, and get
our hormones swinging—but they’re intimate and precious.
Sexual union that occurs in the context of a powerful emotional bond can take the form of
a profound mystical experience. All individual boundaries seem to dissolve and the
partners feel reconnected to their divine source.
Since experiences with psychoactive plants have traditionally been described in mystical
or mythical language, Leary may have been the first person to recognize and identify
them as evolutionary visions or genetic memories.
the clearly mystical sensation of self-and-universe as a unified field or process—The
sensation of man as an island-ego in a hostile, stupid or indifferent universe seems more
of a dangerous hallucination.
The concepts and practices found in the Buddhist, Hindu, Christian, Islamic and other
mystical traditions, based on centuries of deep psychological exploration and
experimentation, are indiscriminately ignored and dismissed.
The experience quite regularly has a definite spiritual and mystical emphasis and this
typically takes the form of enchantment with the mysteries of nature and the creative
forces of the Universe.
The Hindus, the Moslems, the Buddhists, the Taoists, all the major religions have had
their sexual mystics and have honored them. Christianity is alone in thinking that sex is
entirely the Devil’s business and an offense to God.
The individual can be flooded with feelings of love and mystical connection to other
people, nature, the entire cosmos and God. Experiences of this kind are extremely
The individual sees the world as incredibly beautiful, radiant, safe and nourishing. This is
associated with a deep awareness of the spiritual and mystical dimensions in the universal
scheme of things and with a sense of oneness and belonging.
The members of the official religion have tended to look upon the mystics as difficult
trouble-making people. (That’s because they have no idea what the mystics are talking
The mind must be prepared and the conditions right for a profound mystical or religious
experience to occur. And even then, the drug user may go through a descent into torment
and even a seeming death agony before attaining joyous unity and rebirth.
The most beautiful emotion we can experience is the mystical. It is the source of all true
art and science. He to whom this emotion is a stranger is as good as dead. (That was
Albert Einstein. That’s right, Albert Einstein.)
The mystic consciousness is part of the heritage of the human race. In every religion,
creed, country and language one finds the mystics who have had this greater
The mystic’s subjective experience of his identity with “the All” is the scientist’s
objective description of ecological relationship, of the organism/environment as a unified
The mystical experience is essentially the being aware of and being identified with a form
of pure consciousness, of unstructured transpersonal consciousness which lies, so to
speak, upstream from the ordinary discursive consciousness of everyday.
The overcoming of the usual barriers between the individual and the Absolute is the great
mystic achievement. In mystic states we both become one with the Absolute and we
become aware of our oneness. This is the everlasting and triumphant mystical tradition.
The participation of archetypal elements in the death-rebirth process reflects the fact that
deep experiential confrontation with the phenomena of death and birth typically results in
a spiritual and mystical opening and mediates access to the transpersonal realm.
The psychedelic mystical experience can lead to a profound sense of inspiration,
reverential awe and humility, perhaps correlated with the feeling that the experience is
essentially a gift from a transcendent source.
The really important division in the world of spirituality is not the line that separates the
individual mainstream religions from each other, but the one that separates all of them
from their mystical branches.
The recent rapid convergence between mysticism, modern consciousness research and
quantum-relativistic physics suggests that psychedelic research could contribute in the
future to our understanding of reality.
The wonder of LSD is that it can bring within the capabilities of ordinary people the
experience of universal love and the reality of our divine nature which was once possible
only to the mystics.
There are unusual manifestations of human mental function, ordinarily inaccessible. The
ability to produce them chemically clarifies similar obscure and puzzling experiences
found in religious, historical and mystical literature.
There can be direct acquaintance with the world’s unity. This immediate mystical
experience of being at one with the fundamental Oneness that manifests itself in the
infinite diversity of things and minds, can never be adequately expressed in words.
There is no doubt that a genuine comprehension of religion, mysticism, shamanism, rites
of passage or mythology is impossible without intimate knowledge of the death
experience and the death-rebirth process.
To construct a more adequate picture of man and the universe, we have to redefine
science as well as demystify mysticism. (That doesn’t mean taking the mystery out of
mysticism, but waking up and respecting mysticism at least as much as science.)
Total awareness opens the way to understanding and when any given situation is
understood, the nature of all reality is made manifest and the nonsensical utterances of
the mystics are seen to be true.
We are going to see many of the hypotheses of our Christian mystics and many of the
cosmological and ontological theories of Eastern philosophers spelled objectively in
We see that there is no conflict between the mystical approach to religion and the
scientific approach, because one is not committed by mysticism to any cut-and-dried
statement about the structure of the universe.
What we call “respectability” whether in church or in secular society, serves in part to
protect social and ecclesiastical institutions from the explosive influence of the prophet
and the mystic.
When they observe mystical reactions, psychiatrists employ the labels of pathology.
Psychiatrists are hung up on psychosis and think that LSD causes normal people to act
When we speak about mysticism as a field of investigation out there somewhere, we have
already missed the point. It is your own mysticism that we are talking about—or else it is
nothing at all.
An individual who has a transcendental experience develops an entirely new image of his
or her identity and cosmic status. The materialistic image of the universe in which the
individual is a meaningless speck of dust in the vastness of the cosmos is instantly
replaced by the mystical alternative.
As many began to experience the kinds of images and symbols Jung ascribed to the
collective unconscious, as well as episodes of a classic mystical nature, this wave brought
strong supportive evidence for Jungian ideas and a powerful validation of the mystical
traditions of the world, Eastern as well as Western.
Drug use may be criticized as an escape from reality. However, this criticism assumes
unjustly that the mystical experiences themselves are escapist or unreal. LSD is by no
means a soft and cushy escape from reality. It can easily be an experience in which you
have to test your soul against all the devils in hell (the ego’s fight for its life).
For us, a proposition is either true or false, a or not-a, God exists or does not exist and
countless gallons of ink and blood have been shed in disputes stemming from this kind of
rigid either-or logic. Indian and Chinese thought, as well as mystical and psychedelic
experiences, lead one to a logic of levels, rather than of propositions.
“Holy madness” or “divine madness” is known and acknowledged by various spiritual
traditions and is distinguished from ordinary insanity; it is seen as a form of intoxication
by the Divine. Revered seers, mystics, and prophets are often described as inspired by
Individuals experiencing mystical consciousness of this type have a sense of leaving
ordinary reality, where space has three dimensions and time is linear, and entering a
timeless, mythical realm where these categories no longer apply. In this state, eternity and
infinity can be experienced within seconds of clock time.
It is significant that those who have been surprised by a mystical experience seldom fail
to feel that their experience is religious. Intuitively they become aware—at least
subjectively— that their state of mind somehow links them with the saints and prophets
of the ages. This is the case even with atheists.
Mainstream psychiatry and psychology in general make no distinction between
mysticism and mental illness. These fields do not officially recognize that the great
spiritual traditions that have been involved in the systematic study of human
consciousness for millennia have anything to offer.
Mainstream psychiatry and psychology in general make no distinction between
mysticism and psychopathology. There is no official recognition that the great spiritual
traditions that have been involved in the systematic study of consciousness for centuries
have anything to offer to our understanding of the psyche and of human nature.
Many leading humanistic psychologists exhibited a growing interest in a variety of
previously neglected areas and topics of psychology, such as mystical experiences,
transcendence, ecstasy, cosmic consciousness, theory and practice of meditation, or
interindividual and interspecies synergy.
Metanoia is that profound state of consciousness which mystical experience aims at—the
state in which we transcend or dissolve all the barriers of ego and selfishness that
separate us from God. It is the state of direct knowing, immediate perception of our total
unity with God.
Organized religion had little offer. Faith in an invisible divinity was not enough. What
LSD promised was the direct, unmediated experience of self-transcendence—the
mystical enlightenment where we KNOW what the philosophers and the prophets talk
The discoveries of the last few decades strongly suggest that the psyche is not limited to
the Freudian individual unconscious and confirm the perennial truth, found in many
mystical traditions, that human beings might be commensurate with all there is.
Transpersonal experiences and their extraordinary potential certainly attests to this fact.
The height of sexual love, coming upon us of itself, is one of the most total experiences
of relationship to the other of which we are capable, but prejudice and insensitivity have
prevented us from seeing that in any other circumstances such delight would be called
The language of cultures with ancient spiritual traditions that are based on experiential
self-exploration have a rich and sophisticated vocabulary describing various mystical
states of consciousness. However, even then the terms adequately convey the meaning
only if we can relate them to a personal experience.
The mystical teachings of all ages revolve around the idea that the exclusive pursuit of
material goals and values by no means expresses the full potential of human beings.
According to this point of view, humanity is an integral part of the creative cosmic
energy and intelligence and is, in a sense, identical to and commensurate with it.
The mystical world-view is surprisingly compatible with revolutionary discoveries in
modern science, such as relativity theory and quantum physics. Both modern physics and
the mystical world-view violate common sense and are inconsistent with what can be
called “the pedestrian consciousness and world-view.”
The mythological image is what gives sense and organization to experience. Myth
embodies the nearest approach to absolute truth that can be stated in words because the
poetic, mythical or mystical mode of vision perceives orders and relationships which
escape factual description.
The new data support quite unambiguously the view that has been held by the mystical
traditions of all ages: under certain circumstances, human beings can also function as vast
fields of consciousness, transcending the limitations of the physical body, of Newtonian
time and space and of linear causality.
The person is at one with the universe. In his mystic selflessness he awakens with a
feeling of rebirth, often physically felt and he is provided with a new beginning, a new
sense of values. He becomes aware of the richness of the unconscious at his disposal; the
energies bound up in and by repression become available to him.
These experiences have been known for millennia. Descriptions of them can be found in
the holy scriptures of all the great religions of the world, as well as in written documents
of countless minor sects, factions and religious movements. They have also played a
crucial role in the visionary states of individual saints, mystics and religious teachers.
They had understood for the first time what the sages of pre-scientific and anti-scientific
traditions were talking about. Psychedelic drugs opened to mass tourism mental
territories previously explored only by small parties of particularly intrepid adventurers,
mainly religious mystics.
Transpersonal psychology and the mystical world-view are frequently and erroneously
referred to as unscientific. This reflects the fact that psychology and psychiatry, as well as
the general public, still adhere to the old model of the world, based on the Newtonian
image of the universe and the Cartesian dichotomy between mind and matter.
Until Western science is able to offer plausible explanations of all the observations
surrounding such phenomena as spiritual experiences, the concepts found in mystical and
occult literature have to be seen as superior to the present approach of most Western
scientists, who either do not know the facts or ignore them.
We are dealing with an issue that is not new, an issue that has been considered for
centuries by mystics, by philosophers of the religious experience, by those rare and truly
great scientists who have been able to move in and then out beyond the limits of the
If mystical experiences are integrated into the personality, they are highly therapeutic.
Single-state scholars and theoreticians are hard-pressed to explain this therapeutic value.
Denial is easier. But if an enlarged map of reality includes altered states of consciousness,
then experiencing such states logically leads to a fuller view of reality, and therapists tell
us that a fuller view of reality is therapeutic.
In nonordinary states of consciousness, visions of various universal symbols can play a
significant role even in experiences of individuals who previously had no interest in
mysticism or were strongly opposed to anything esoteric. These visions tend to convey
instant intuitive understanding of the various levels of meaning of these symbols and
generate a deep interest in the spiritual path. (visions seen with eyes closed)
In the Western world, visionaries and mystics are a good deal less common than they
used to be. In the currently fashionable picture of the universe, there is no place for valid
transcendental experiences. Consequently, those who have had what they regard as valid
transcendental experiences are looked upon with suspicion, as being either lunatics or
In traditional psychiatry, mystical experiences of any kind are usually treated in the
context of serious psychopathology; they are seen as indications of a psychotic process.
In his comprehensive and careful study, Maslow was able to demonstrate that persons
who had spontaneous “peak” experiences frequently benefited from them and showed a
distinct trend toward “self- realization” or “self-actualization.”
It has been shown that LSD experiences of death and rebirth and mystical states of
consciousness can change patients’ concepts of death and life and alleviate their fears of
dying. Psychedelic therapy has proved to be more than an important tool in the control of
mental and physical pain, it has contributed greatly to our understanding of the
experience of death.
Loss of self may be experienced as an actual death and rebirth, undergone with anguish
and joy of overwhelming intensity. In some cases, the culmination is a mystical ecstasy in
which for an eternal moment all contradictions seem reconciled, all questions answered,
all wants irrelevant or satisfied, all existence encompassed by an experience that is felt to
define the ultimate reality, boundless, timeless, and ineffable.
Mystical insight in no more in the chemical itself than biological knowledge is in the
microscope. There is no difference in principle between sharpening perception with an
external instrument, such as a microscope and sharpening it with an internal instrument,
such as one of these drugs. If they are an affront to the dignity of the mind, the
microscope is an affront to the dignity of the eye.
One may enter one’s visions and seem to be walking through gardens, art museums,
medieval castles, futuristic cities, etc. Archetypal imagery may appear, and one thus finds
oneself encountering mythological characters such as angels, demons, dragons, and
Grecian gods. On the boundary of mystical consciousness, it is not uncommon for
Christians to encounter an image intuitively identified as the Christ.
Opposing terms like psychosis vs. revelation, hallucination vs. vision, regression vs.
mystical insight, and sensory distortion vs. sensory enhancement embodied two different
attitudes toward the experience and even suggested two different world views.
Psychedelic drug users thought that the words of psychiatry and medicine were being
used as a weapon against them.
Our capacity to think, except in the service of what we are dangerously deluded in
supposing is our self-interest and in conformity with common sense, is pitifully limited:
our capacity to even see, hear, touch, taste and smell is so shrouded in veils of
mystification that an intensive discipline of unlearning is necessary for anyone before one
can begin to experience the world afresh, with innocence, truth and love.
Perceptions of encompassing light, infinite energy, ineffable visions, and
incommunicable knowledge are remarkable in their seeming distinction from perceptions
of the phenomena of the “natural world.” According to mystics, these experiences are
different because they pertain to a higher transcendent reality. What is perceived is said
to come from another world, or at least another dimension.
Profound transcendental experiences, such as consciousness of the Universal Mind or of
the Void, in addition to having a very beneficial effect on the subject’s physical and
emotional well-being, are usually central in creating in him a keen interest in religion,
mystical and philosophical issues, and a strong need to incorporate the spiritual
dimension into his way of life.
The findings from psychedelic explorations throw entirely new light on the material from
history, comparative religion and anthropology concerning the ancient mysteries of death
and rebirth, rites of passage of various cultures, shamanic procedures of all times,
aboriginal healing ceremonies, spiritual practices of various religious and mystical
traditions and other phenomena of great cultural significance.
The mystical experience was not a band-aid for my unfulfilled dreams. What I longed to
catch a glimpse of was a dimension that includes, yet far exceeds, the human world. I
hungered for the experience of the MORE without which life, to me, was not worth
living. I believed the words of the mystics and poets, but I wanted to experience them
The mystics continuously get in trouble with religious authorities, but often also with
political authorities. By his teaching and by the very way he lives, Jesus appeals to
common sense and blows the pretense of public opinion to pieces. Common people said,
“Wow, this man speaks with authority, not like our authorities”. You can imagine how
the authorities felt about it and how they reacted: “This man has to die!”
They’re not interested in mystical experience at divinity schools. They’re interested only
in words and in history. If someone had a mystical vision a safe 2000 years ago and left
some record of it, that might interest them. But mystical experience, the raw and vital
force that gives rise to a religion, is too much for them to cram into their semantic,
pseudoscientific endeavor to understand God.
This transcendence of space and time is a key concept in all mystical experience. In our
present mode of mental consciousness, we experience the world in terms of space and
time; we experience everything separated in space and going from point to point in time.
It is well known that modern physics calls the whole space-time system in question, and
the transcendence of the space-time dimension is central in mystical experience.
Until the government gets its bloody, reeking paws off our sacred psychedelics and
ceases to harass and persecute our members, until, indeed, every poor wretch now
suffering in prison because he preferred the mystical uplift of pot to the slobbering
alcoholism of the politicians, is set free, our attitude must be one of uncompromising
We felt that we were involved in a fascinating historical event—the first research project
in which experimentally induced mystical experiences were being woven into the fabric
of daily work and play. We saw ourselves as pioneers developing modern versions of the
traditional techniques for philosophic inquiry and personal growth. (That was Timothy
We were not to be limited by the pathological point of view. We were not to interpret
ecstasy as mania or calm serenity as catatonia; we were not to diagnose Buddha as a
detached schizoid; nor Christ as an exhibitionist masochist; nor the mystic experience as
a symptom; nor the visionary state as a model psychosis. (That was Timothy Leary and
Aldous Huxley agreeing.)
You are holding in your hand a great human document. But unless you are one of the few
Westerners who have experienced a mystical minute of expanded consciousness, you will
probably not understand what the author is saying. Too bad, but still not a cause for
surprise. The history of ideas reminds us that new concepts and new visions have always
been non-understood. We cannot understand that for which we have no words.
Leary the scientist, Alpert the intellectual and later the mystic, Metzner the scholar: what
held these three together was their shared faith in the power of the transcendent
experience to remove the blinders that keep us at odds with each other. A world where all
humans have access to the mystical experience would be a world transformed, they
believed. Everyone would then directly see what Jesus, Buddha, Moses and Mohammed
Our attitudes towards psychedelic drugs involve response to certain kinds of experience
as well as certain substances. We have a mysticism problem as well as a drug problem,
and its historical causes are older and more complicated than the causes of the drug
controversy. Mystical, messianic, and shamanistic religion always comes into conflict
with established authority after social evolution has reached the stage of hierarchal state
All religious traditions start from mystical experience.
As the mystics of all traditions say, “Those who have seen KNOW”.
Biochemical mysticism is a demonstrated fact.
Cosmological mysticism is an experience of reality illuminated from within.
Drug-induced mysticism is an expression of grace in modern form.
Drug-induced religious and mystical experience is unusually intense.
I will understand the mystics much better having had the experience.
It is not the mystics who have trashed the planet.
It is the very ground of mysticism that God and man are at essence one.
Mystics call the highest knowledge unknowing.
Mystics have declared their experience ineffable.
Mystical insight is fresh and deep.
Mystical religion is in no sense superficial.
Mystical states seem to those who experience them to be also states of knowledge.
Mystical teachings all agree that the source of wisdom is within.
Mysticism belongs to every human being. It is universal.
Mysticism is a frontier experience.
Mysticism is the “exploration into God”.
Mysticism is the heart of all religion.
Personal religious experience has its root and centre in mystical states of consciousness.
Psychedelic drugs enhance mysticism.
Religious doctrines and ideas are quite distinct from mystical experience.
Religious experience has its roots and center in mystical states of consciousness.
Sexual communion has a strongly spiritual and mystical character when spontaneous.
The content of the mystic experience reflects its unusual mode of consciousness.
The drugs produce valuable states of self-transcendence and mystical unity.
The essence of mystical awareness is a sense of ultimate belonging.
The essence of mystical religion is the consciousness of union with God.
The essence of the authentic mystical experience is insight.
The great kick of the mystic experience is the sudden relief from emotional pressure.
The highest mystical awareness comes only when there is freedom from the known.
The LSD trip is the classic visionary-mystic voyage.
The memory of mystical consciousness itself is regarded as deeply meaningful.
The mystic experience can be ecstatic, profound, therapeutic.
The mystic experience is the measure, the standard for what is real.
The mystic or visionary is always in opposition to or outside of social institutions.
The mystical consciousness is the root of all religions.
The mystical consciousness is ineffable.
The mystical effects of LSD transcending ego barriers may lead to creativity.
The mystical experience may help to lead a less self-centered and more creative life.
The potential for a mystical experience is the natural birthright of all human beings.
The sexual orgasm has lost much of its mystical meaning in the West.
Traditional approaches tend to pathologize mystical states.
Transpersonal experiences have a definite religious and mystical emphasis.
We are all mystics. (Too few people realize that.)
Where are the laughing Christians? Mystics, prophets, holy men are all laughers.
His features showed an unusual mixture of infantile bliss and mystical rapture. (This
“infinite bliss” is positive and mature.)
I sank into a delicious lethargy almost mystical in essence where my personal problems
seemed absurdly unimportant.
It would modulate from beauty and the intense presence of life to love on all levels, the
human as well as the mystical.
The experience had deeper levels that were mythical and mystical and these dimensions
were intertwined with the physical aspects of nature.
There was a huge opening in the sky, I saw God. I had a tremendously mystical
experience. I was deeply moved, deeply in love. And when I say love, it’s not like the
level we know from analysis. It was the absence of all anger, the absence of all conflict.
I gave way to delight, as mystics have for centuries when they peeked through the
curtains and discovered that this world, so manifestly real, was actually a tiny stage set
constructed by the mind. There was a sea of possibilities out there (in there?), other
realities, an infinite array of programs for other futures.
My understanding of mystical teachings, both Eastern and Western, Hindu, Buddhist,
Christian, and Sufi alike, took on a quantum leap. I became aware of the transcendental
unity at the core of all great religions, and understood for the first time the meaning of
I realized, “My God, every single second is really eternity.” I felt I’d dipped into eternity
and was experiencing a glimpse of it along with a hint of its vastness. I was blown away
by the enormity of these revelations. By now, I was flying so high, I felt I was in an
exalted state, that I was having a mystical experience of the highest order, something I
always dreamed of.
Large trees known for their longevity, such as sequoias and redwoods, were experienced
in the sessions as representing timeless and centered consciousness uninfluenced by the
turmoils and upheavals in the external world. Other insights associated with similar
experiences were related to the mystical consciousness and deep religious significance of
Now I could hear, as if for the first time, the depth of the wisdom in their teachings and in
the mystical doctrines of all ages and all cultures. As I sought for words to express my
own ineffable experience I gained a new appreciation for those individuals who had
attempted to communicate their own insights in writing or art. I also became interested in
understanding intuitive ways of knowing.
The psychedelic experience seemed to have opened new realms of mystical and cosmic
feelings within her. The religious elements that she experienced in her session
transcended the narrow boundaries of the traditional Catholic religion she had been
brought up with. She was now precipitating toward the more universal approaches found
within Hinduism and Buddhism.
All patients, said Grof, apparently moved through similar levels during their sessions.
They passed first through aspects of their own life experiences—birth, childhood,
adulthood—and then into experiential realms described in mystical traditions,
experiences of ego-death and rebirth followed by “satori”—the dissolution of ego-
boundaries and the loss of duality, an unfolding awareness of cosmic unity, a sense of
During the experience, I felt I understood what mystics throughout the ages have claimed
to be the universal truth of existence. I had an academic background in philosophy and
comparative religion, but I realized that mystical teachings had now taken on an added
dimension. My perception seemed to have shifted from a flat, two-dimensional
intellectual understanding of the literature, to a three-dimensional sense of immersion in
the mystical reality.
Thoughts spun around in my head and everything—objects, sound, events—took on a
special meaning for me. I felt like I was putting the pieces of a puzzle together.
Childhood feelings began to come back, as symbols and bits from past conversations
went through my head. The word religious and other words from other past conversations
came back to me and seemed to take on a new significance. I increasingly began to feel
that I was experiencing something like mystical revelations.
He underwent an intense mystical episode.
His features showed an unusual mixture of infantile bliss and mystical rapture.
I felt buoyed up to a higher spiritual level by some intense mystical force.
I gazed heavenward, as one fascinated by mystical eyes.
I had a powerful experience of mystical rapture.
I had a sense of discovery, creative excitement and intense, at times mystical inspiration.
LSD gave access to aesthetic, poetic, transcendental or mystical awareness.
She smiled a mystic smile.
The experience had genuine mystical features.
The natural processes such as rain, wind, and fire had mystical dimensions.
These mystic experiences had an enormous relevance.
This wisdom was of a mystical nature.
a better understanding of the visionary and mystical language of poets like Blake,
Wordsworth and Whitman
a break from everyday perception, recognized as such by the mystic, which is regarded as
infinitely more important than everyday perception
a feeling of awe, beauty, reverence, and humility, emotions characteristic of the mystic
a mystical experience of great depth during which he felt “dissolved” in “the universal
pool” and experienced “the peace that passeth understanding”
a profound mystical or religious experience involving elements of death and rebirth,
cosmic unity or communication with God
a religious experience culminating in a sense of total self-understanding, self-
transformation, religious enlightenment and possibly mystical union
access to levels and domains of reality described by the great mystical traditions of the
an ecstasy infinitely exceeding anything describable or anything I had imagined from
what the world’s accomplished mystics have struggled to describe
beauty, fun, philosophic wonder, religious revelation, increased intelligence, mystical
romance, glamour, sexuality
episodes of oceanic ecstasy with a mystical connection to life and to the cosmic creative
experiences of a mythological, mystical, archetypal, historical, sociopolitical,
anthropological, or phylogenetic nature
full appreciation of the therapeutic potential of the mystical and religious dimension of
the LSD experience
his eternal inner spiritual core, something like the “inner Christ” in the writings of the
immediate perception of the eternal Unity, the experience which mystics universally
intellectual and emotional adventure, sensory pleasure, enhanced awareness, self-
exploration, religious and mystical insight
LSD the power to transform a combative, violent, competitive race into gentle mystics
mystical experience, visionary breakthroughs to a deeper, more comprehensive reality
than that perceived by our rational everyday consciousness
perceptions of a mystical nature that may present themselves in a variety of symbolic
permits the entry into consciousness of experiences, visionary or mystical, from “out
self-understanding, religious enlightenment, mystical experience, harmony with the
universe and with other persons
the ancient underground society of alchemists, artists, mystics, alienated visionaries,
dropouts and the disenchanted young, the sons arising
the beneficial potential of mystical experience in stimulating the ability to feel and
experience deeply and genuinely with the full harmony of both emotion and intellect
the boldness with which the mystic often asserts his convictions (The mystic knows he’s
right and comes on that way.)
the conscious experience of unity behind the diversity of phenomena—said by sages and
mystics of all centuries to be the most blissful and uplifting of human experiences
the cultivation of the inner life in response to the hunger for expression of the nonrational
aspects of the psyche. New forms of music, art, poetry, dance, mysticism
the growth of an unfolding process of renewal that may be awakened by the mystical
the intense thereness of natural objects seen by the transfiguring eye of the lover or the
the “invasion” of the conscious by unconscious contents which occurs in mystical
the love of metaphysics and mysticism which carry one’s interests beyond the surface of
the sensible world
the mystic non-self and the mystic self experience, flashing in and out between the two,
the flashing in and out between pure egoless-unity and lucid non-game selfhood
the rejection of classic spiritual and mystical experiences as symptoms of mental illness
by modern science and psychiatry
the sense of physical separateness may be lost—moving towards a mystical-type
the unique effects of mystical consciousness upon attitudes and interpersonal
to talk about the mystical experience simultaneously in terms of theology, psychology
levels of reality denied by Western mechanistic science, but recognized and
acknowledged by many ancient and non-Western cultures and by the great mystical
traditions of the world
mainstream psychiatric literature suggesting that direct spiritual and mystical experiences
in the lives of the great prophets, saints and founders of religions were actually
manifestations of mental diseases
orgiastic feelings of cosmic proportions, spiritual liberation and enlightenment, a sense of
ecstatic connection with all of creation and mystical union with the creative principle in
“stimulates the mystical faculties in human nature” far more powerfully and in a far more
enlightening way than alcohol and, what is more, it does so at a physiological and social
cost that is negligibly low
the fundamental importance of a mystical experience for the recovery of people in
Western industrial societies who are sickened by a one-sided, rational, materialistic world
the scope of the sacred realms, the profound insight of the sensory and physical
manifestations of mystical experiences, this enormous physical, mental, emotional and
a metaphysical mysticism
a model of the healthy psyche and included in it, was the mystical experience
a mystic philosopher
a mystical experience of unity with all of life
a mystical journey
a mystical or conversion experience
a mystical revelation
a mystical state, the unification of all immediate experience with “God”
a mystical totality experience
a mystical, transcendental, death-rebirth experience
a mystical understanding of the universe, a cosmic type of spirituality
a mystical unitive consciousness
a mythical and mystical dimension to the whole dynamic
a profound awareness of the mystical dimension of existence
a profound mystical experience of unity
a releaser of profound religious experience of an ecstatic and mystical nature
a scientific world view incorporating the mystical dimensions of existence
a stimulation of the mystical consciousness
aesthetic visionary and mystical consciousness
an experience of mystical being
an inner mountaineering expedition, a mystical journey
an intense mystical or revelatory experience
an intense religious experience, a mystical transcendent experience
an unusual potential for mediating transformative and mystical experiences
awesome mystical-religious experiences
beautiful mystical visions
beneficial magical-mystical effects of LSD
break through to a sense of mystic clarity and certainty
can discover a deep mystical meaning
direct, mystical knowledge of a Universal Self
ecstasy in the form of mystical experience
encounter with the divine, a powerful, rapturous mystical state
extended awareness of the mystical state of mind
feelings of joy, love, blessedness and peace inherent in mystical consciousness
flipped out of their conditioned mind sets into the world of magic, myth and Mysticism
genuine mystical and divine experiences
great feelings of mystical revelation
has experienced the unity of all things in mystical vision
in a mystical manner, could be “reborn”
inner mystic qualities
inner, mystical dimensions
insightful mystical states
insights of cosmic relevance, powerful mystical overtones
its power to stimulate the mystical faculties of human nature
knowledge gained through vision and mystical intuition
LSD the key to the religious or mystical state, could lead to a truer metaphysics of being
moves the individual’s life philosophy in the direction of the mystical worldview
mystical awareness of God
mystical feelings of unity
mystical understanding of the universe
mystical unifying consciousness
mystical union, liberation from ego and space-time limits
mystical union with the divinity
mysticism the realization of one’s union with God
new realms of mystical and spiritual experience
penetrate into the mystical universe which surrounds him
profound mystical contemplation
psychedelic mystical experience
religious and mystical awareness
religious, mystical, visionary or cosmic experience
sexual mysticism, a form of consciousness expansion
spiritual birth—a powerful mystical opening and reconnection with the divine
spiritual eroticism, ecstatic exuberance, mystic altered states
states of mystical intuition
that an LSD-induced mystical experience might harbor unexplored therapeutic potential
that mystic intangible relation of delights
the ability of LSD to enhance the mystical self-understanding of a person
the art of turning sexual ecstasy into mystic mind-expansion
the attainment of the mystical vision through “ego death”
the concept of religion as mysticism or vivid inner experience of Ultimate Reality
the creative, mystical impulse
the dissolution of ego boundaries, prized by mystics as a step toward unitive perception
the dream world of visions, mind-expansion, self-awareness and mystical ecstasy
the ecstatic experience of a mystical nature
the exhilaration and vastness of the mystical experience
the full-blown mystical experience
the greater depths of the human psyche, with all its mystical overtones
the mystic intensity
the mystic state of One Single Reality
the mystic vision, mystical ecstasy
the mystic visions
the mystical awareness of God
the mystical consciousness of being at one with the infinite Oneness
the mystical experience of a deeper, comprehensive reality
the mystical experience, the mindless vision, the nongame visionary experience
the mystical nature of love
the mystical nature of many experiences in nonordinary states of consciousness
the mystical nature of the universe
the mystical or conversion experience
the mystical perception of the non-rational mind
the mystical spark
the mystical union with its sense of “I am you, We are one”.
the new mystical worldview
the one thing the church should be offering and is not, spiritual and mystical experience
the profound wisdom of the great spiritual philosophies and mystical traditions
the profoundest feelings of mystical union
the psychedelic experience of mystical consciousness
the psychedelic-mystical state
the radiance of mystical states
the recent convergence of quantum-relativistic physics and various mystical traditions
the relationship between mystical states and morality
the royal road to these expanded mental states that all mystics seek
the Self discovered by the mystic in visionary raptures
the sense of mystical fusion, self-loss and bliss, mystical bliss
the sexual act as a religious sacrament, a mode of mystical knowledge
the stirrings of his own mystic depths
the sudden awakening of the mystical experience
the supreme ecstasy of mystical union
the therapeutic potential of experiences of mystical consciousness
the total experiential fusion of mystic unity
the transcendental mystical unity of all religions
the true mystic pilgrimage inward
the true union of the mystic and the man of science
the unitary mystical experience
the “unitive” experience of the mystic, the transformed sense of the self
the vision of a new world, the Mystic Vision
the wisdom embedded in the metaphors of mysticism
the wordless but all-embracing knowledge attained in the mystical state
these wonderful, magical mystical drugs
thirst for insight, adventure, strange surprises and mystical discoveries
this mystical sensation of “unity with the cosmos”
this preconceptual mystical knowledge
to bring together visionary mysticism and modern science
to deepen the consciousness of reality by way of a total mystical experience
to explore mystical realms or higher states of consciousness
to explore the mystical and religious dimensions of psychedelic experiences
transcendental, mystical, cosmic, visionary, revelatory
transcendental mystical states
true mystic brotherhood
visionary and mystical experiences
visionary states of a religious and mystical nature
was a profound and overwhelming mystical experience
what is “recovered” in mystical wisdom by deep insight
would not have had such insight without mystic super-knowledge