Beyond Oneness: Challenging the Dominant Narrative of Mystical Experience

For many of the influential philosophers and psychologists who have studied mystical experiences, the feeling of unity or oneness is an essential feature of these states. Thinkers have described the unitive experience in different ways: as the unification of opposites or the union of oneself with the outside world, the entire universe, ultimate reality, or…

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Book Review: I and Thou by Martin Buber

I first heard about the Jewish philosopher Martin Buber (1878–1965) and his book I and Thou (1923) from a therapist I used to see. I remember that out of nowhere and for a period of several weeks, I was feeling unusually elated and blissful, and I would have (what felt like) these very deep and meaningful…

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Metaphysical Insight: Psychedelics, Noetic Experiences, and Spinoza’s God

The feeling of gaining direct knowledge of something grand or important about reality is a common aspect of mystical experiences generally and psychedelic mystical states more specifically. This is known as a noetic experience, one of the four defining qualities of a mystical experience, as propounded by the American psychologist and philosopher William James in…

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How to Integrate Those Difficult-to-Remember DMT Experiences

One of the most common features (and frustrations) associated with the DMT experience is that despite being profound, it can also be very difficult to recall. DMT has a dream-like quality to it, in that you quickly lose your memory of the DMT trip as you return to normal waking consciousness. Terence McKenna drew attention…

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Secular Ecstasy: Mystical States Without the Supernatural Element

It is possible for anyone, regardless of his or her religious or metaphysical beliefs, to have a mystical experience. These mystical states of consciousness have been accessible since time immemorial. You can find accounts of profound altered states in ancient Hindu and Buddhist scriptures and in the descriptions of the Eleusinian Mysteries, those secret rituals…

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