What separates mystical experiences from ordinary ones? Hint: it’s not your left brain.
You may have heard that the brain consists of two subsystems: the left and right brain.
The left region includes thinking that is:
The right region includes thinking that is:
Mystical experience is based on intuitive gut reactions, instead of analytical thinking. It is similar to the experience of creativity.
Some psychologists speculate that a person who has a spiritual experience faces a crisis and attempts to address it within fixed cognitive structures embedded in the brain’s left hemisphere, which yields no solution (Batson, Schoenrade, & Ventis, 1993).
The person then undergoes a transforming spiritual experience with the brain switching from left-hemisphere to right-hemisphere dominance.
This alters allows for insight “beyond” the person’s conceptual structure.
The switch then restructures the left-hemisphere conceptual network that can adaptively deal with the crisis.
The right-hemisphere switch can account for the sense of “ineffability,” since the right hemisphere is not analytic or verbal.
Because the shift involves “transcending” the cognitive, it may explain the sense of having contact with a “transcendent realm.”
Thus, mystical experiences could be understood as part of a problem-solving process and so have a natural adaptive function.
Dreams, Symbols, and IntuitioN
Many people’s stories of mystical experience emphasize the strange non-rational guidance of:
Mystical experience is contact with the divinity, unity, and transcendence of symbolism. Symbols reveal new levels of reality otherwise closed for us.
Because the tiniest symbol can reflect the whole of the psyche, it is easy to see how symbols carry full potential for a deep and wide nexus of interpreted meaning.
There are other “ways of knowing.”
Science and logic are not the only kind of way of gaining knowledge.
What makes intuition (and mystical experience) special is the unique way of learning about truths that cannot be proven to be true.
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