Poets, mystics and spiritual teachers have been talking
about states of oneness- also called
higher states of consciousness, transpersonal experiences,
non-dualistic experiences, mystical experiences, transcendent
experiences and peak experiences- for centuries.
They claim that in our normal state of existence we only
see a tiny fraction of reality but with disciplined spiritual
practice of paths such as yoga, meditation, chanting, drumming
and with ritual use of psychedelics we can "expand"
our consciousness to take in more. They call this process
"lifting the veil" or "breaking through the
illusion" or "transcending the ego".
Many studies now suggest
that these experiences are so common as to be considered
normal - and up to 40% of people have them at some time
in their life. (Back and Bourque,
1970; Greeley, 1974, 1987; Hay and Morisy, 1978; Hood, 1974,
1975, 1977; Thomas and Cooper, 1980 - see
Kevin Williams has collected
a number of cases where various triggers have created an
experience of expanded consciousness. These include: Surgical
procedures, Dreams, Psychedelic drugs, Extreme stress, Extreme
gravity, Brain stimulation, Extreme meditation, Deathbed
visions, Relaxation, Seizures, Psychic visions, Coma, Astral
projection, After-death vision, Trance, mirror gazing, Eye
movement, Falling, Alien abduction, Sexual orgasm, Mental
Dr Charles Tart reports that over the years he has had hundreds
of fellow scientists from all sorts of fields quietly come
up to him at meetings to tell him about their unusual experiences
apparently going beyond everyday reality, challenging their
concepts of what the world is.
It is surprisingly
common for people to report having experience like the following: " After a while I realized
that I had expanded. I was no longer a small discrete consciousness
located in my head - I encompassed the whole valley. I was
HUGE. I was part of everything - or rather everything was
part of me. I was ancient and unbelievably powerful. It
was wonderful." TASTE
or this one:
this point, I merged with the light and everything, including
myself, became one unified whole. There was no separation
between myself and the rest of the universe. In fact, to
say that there was a universe, a self, or any ‘thing’
would be misleading — it would be an equally correct
description to say that there was ‘nothing’
as to say that there was ‘everything’."
for a long time regarded these experiences as indicating
psychiatric illness but psychologists, beginning with Maslow,
are realizing that they are healthy, life enhancing, and
Recent quantum physics discoveries of the connectedness
of all things at the sub-atomic level suggest that these
experiences are glimpses of the reality that spiritual teachers
have taught for centuries underlies all things.
Chopra on Oneness
Dr. Stanislav Grof, M.D., is a psychiatrist and one of the
leading researchers into non-ordinary states of consciousness.
He has a theory of consciousness based
on these non-ordinary states.
It assumes that consciousness exists as
an electromagnetic field outside the body. The brain functions
as a "reducing valve" which reduces the amount
of input of the cosmic energy that our brains can cope with.
When the reducing function is altered (through various triggers
such as drugs, psychosis, psychic ability, etc.) or even
shut down completely (producing a NDE), the cosmic energy
and input that once made up our consciousness is then free
to expand. This expansion is what explains these various
types of mental visions.
Evidential Transpersonal experiences
Every spiritual practice in the world has developed methods
for helping people to have these kinds of experiences in
rituals. Most common are chanting, repetition of prayers
or mantras, controlling the breath, rhythmic dancing, drumming,
fasting, long periods of isolation and the ritual use of
psychedelic plants and substances.
Dr Stan Grof studied these for more than forty years. (Grof
1998, p. 7).
Using both LSD and holotropic breathwork,
the technique he developed, he routinely witnessed people
being “flooded with new information on a variety of
subjects...(including) profound psychological insights concerning
our personal history, unconscious dynamics, emotional difficulties,
and interpersonal problems…(and) extraordinary revelations
concerning various aspects of nature and the cosmos that
transcend our educational insights and intellectual background.”
(Grof 1998, p. 7).
On the basis of his research he reached the conclusion that:
“…Our universe that appears to contain countless
myriads of separate entities and elements, is in its deepest
nature just one being of immense proportions
and unimaginable complexity.” (Grof 1998, p. 39).
like Dr Llewellyn Vaughan-Lee in the
video below, have claimed a connection between these
experiences and growing movements toward global consciousness
such as ecology.
ERWIN LASZLO, the
recipient of the highest degree in philosophy and human
sciences of the Sorbonne, the University of Paris, as well
as of the coveted Artist Diploma of the Franz Liszt Academy
of Budapest. His numerous prizes and awards include four
Honorary Doctorates.He is the author of 69 books and over
400 articles and research papers including New
Concepts of Matter, Life and Mind
Here he talks about the impact of the new sciences.
THE MONK AND THE RABBI- MYSTICISM AND THE PEAK EXPERIENCE
THE PRIMACY OF CONSCIOUSNESS
given at "Physics of Consciousness" conference,
Virginia, 2004, in which Peter
Russell explores the mystery of consciousness from both
scientific and mystical perspectives, showing how light
is intrinsic to both, and giving a coherent argument as
to why consciousness is fundamental essence of the cosmos.
(Includes beautiful graphics and images.)
PROFESSOR AMIT GOSWAMI on THE SCIENCE
OF QUANTUM CONSCIOUSNESS