Who has a mystical experience?

Anyone has the potential to have a mystical experience.  Some people have had mystical experiences seemingly generated, at least in part, by their own conscious efforts (e.g., through meditation or other spiritual practice).  Other individuals have had seemingly spontaneous mystical experiences (typically extrovertive mystical experiences).

Mystical experiences have been reported by people of all races and religions, including Christians, Jews, Muslims, Hindus, Buddhists, Taoists, Zoroastrians, Native Americans, “spiritual but not religious” individuals, atheists, and agnostics.  It is important to emphasize that, as W.T. Stace noted in Mysticism and Philosophy, “The question whether mystical consciousness favors one creed, one world religion rather than another, can plainly be answered by saying that it does not[emphasis ours].  The mystic in any culture usually interprets his experience in terms of the religion in which he has been reared.  But if he is sufficiently sophisticated, he can throw off that religious creed and still retain his mystical consciousness.”

Moreover, Psychology Professor Ralph Hood, Jr., who has performed extensive psychometric studies of mystical experience, wrote in his book, Dimensions of Mystical Experience: Empirical Studies and Psychological Links, that, “Insofar as mysticism is empirically assessed, empirical criteria can be used to support a common core thesis.”  In other words, the data support the idea that there is a universal core to mystical experiences reported by people who have various beliefs and who come from different parts of the world.

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