Peak Experiences


Lost Pilgrim

"American psychologist and philosopher Abraham H. Maslow (1908-1970) coined this term to describe nonreligious quasi-mystical and mystical experiences. Peak experiences are sudden feelings of intense happiness and well-being, and possibly the awareness of "ultimate truth" and the unity of all things. Accompanying these experiences is a heightened sense of control over the body and emotions, and a wider sense of awareness, as though one was standing upon a mountaintop. The experience fills the individual with wonder and awe. He feels at one with the world and is pleased with it; he or she has seen the ultimate truth or the essence of all things.

Maslow's work has been called groundbreaking because it concerned the spiritual yearnings of humankind and focused a scientific interest on mysticism. Such an endeavor had been absent since the work of psychologist and philosopher William James at the beginning of the twentieth century.

Maslow described peak experiences as self-validating, self-justifying moments with their own intrinsic value; never negative, unpleasant or evil; disoriented in time and space; and accompanied by a loss of fear, anxiety, doubts, and inhibitions.

The two types of peak experiences are relative and absolute. Relative characterize those peak experiences in which there remains an awareness of subject and object, and which are extensions of the individual's own experiences. They are not true mystical experiences, but rather inspirations, ecstasies, and raptures. It is thought that probably the majority of peak experiences fall into this category. Absolute peak experiences are characteristic of mystical experiences, and are comparable to experiences of great mystics in history. They are timeless, spaceless, and characterized by unity, in which the subject and object becomes one."

Religion, Values and Peak Experiences PDF
By Abraham Maslow
"The most unusual part of this story was the “peak experience” I had after surgery. I have never been unconscious before in my life, except for sleep, which I guess is different. I replay the scene in the operating room because my mind has difficulty comprehending it: one minute I was awake and the next I was waking up to voices talking about me. Time had passed and the operation was over. The five days in the hospital were a bit blurry, but the first morning I woke up in my own bed it hit me. I felt like I had had a near- death experience. I was dead and now living again. There was this absolutely incredible feeling of at-one-ness with the universe. Everything was all right, I was connected to everything and everyone, we were all part of one organism. There were no problems. This was such an unusual feeling that it seems indescribable."

To see a World in a Grain of Sand
And a Heaven in a Wild Flower
Hold Infinity in the palm of your hand
And Eternity in an hour
(William Blake)

Colin Wilson Video
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Lost Pilgrim
Abraham Maslow resources

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Primary Evidence Categories
  1. Evidence that brain activity in and of itself cannot account for consciousness.
  2. Evidence for our ability to exist and function separately without the brain.
  3. Evidence that Near-Death Experiences are valid, real phenomena and not hallucinations, seizures or some other aberration.
Secondary Evidence Categories
  1. Evidence for intelligence outside of the human brain—down to the electron, photon and C Unit levels.
  2. Evidence for coherence and resonance as underlying mechanisms for communication at multiple levels.
  3. Evidence for a holographic type of organization underlying our brains and our universe.
  4. Evidence for a C Field as a basic underlying matrix or fabric for reality (as we experience it here and in other dimensions) and for some unit of this (C Unit) as the most fundamental building block of the universe.
  5. Evidence for various types of Peak Experiences and other related phenomena being associated with discoveries, creativity and other types of uncommon insight and understanding.
  6. Evidence for other “finer” levels of existence enfolded into the same space and time as this physical plane.
  7. Evidence for particle and wave aspects to subatomic structures (as documented by physicists) and for how these components parallel the particle and wave aspects of consciousness, energy and matter.
  8. Evidence that “empty space” is not at all empty and that it instead contains an incredibly vast amount of energy and provides insight into what is hidden from our materialistic senses and a materialistic conceptualization of the universe.
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