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Mystical Experience Essay

1317 words - 5 pages

A mystical experience is a type of religious experience. It is when a person has an experience of having apprehended an ultimate reality, which is almost impossible to express using normal language. It is beyond regular experience, a normal experience such as falling down is repeatable and easy to recall, the person who experience it can simply repeat the circumstances which led up to the event but a religious experience is differently; it can not be repeated, once it happens it is extremely unlikely to reoccur. A mystical experience may involve gaining insight into the divine. Those who have experienced these mystical experiences realise that that the everyday world is not the whole reality. Usually the experience involves some sense of unity, of all things as a whole. The person may feel immersed in the divine, they fell as a drop in an ocean a tiny part of the whole of creation; they loose a sense of individuality and personal identity. The experience also has feeling of freedom from the limitations of time, space and the human ego, which is 'switched off' during an experience. Mysticism is seen as the closest that a human being can be to the divine whilst being fixed in this reality. Mystical experiences can have different circumstances; some are profound and feature heavenly creatures such as angels but others can come through the appreciation of nature. F. C. Happold believed it is a sense of unity with all things, a sense of timelessness, and a sense that there is an immortal unchanging self and that our ego is not our true self.
William James commented on the idea of mystical experience. He believed the term mystical is used in many different contexts but that this suggestion is too broad "any person who believes in thought transference or spirit return". Therefore in his book he offers four characteristics, which he claims, will enable us to identify a mystical experience. These characteristics are that the experience will be ineffable, this means the experience is beyond verbal description, it is impossible to fully recall and explain ones own experience. The experience would also have a noetic quality, which is to say that the experience produces insight into truths the type that cannot be understood by intellect alone. The experience is also seen as transient which means it is not a prolonged experience it last long and it is not remembered perfectly and finally it is to be passive, the mystic is taken over. This can result in phenomena that suggest alternative personality stakes, mystic may speak in tongues for example.
Walter Stace wanted to give an objective description of the phenomena; we need to distinguish between the experiences itself and the interpretation. The experience is out of this world it is non temporal, a feeling of peace and holy. Stace saw two types of mystical experience, one is introvertive, the experience is centred in the mind rather than in life and it arises spontaneously or extrovertive, the experience is...

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