"Cosmic religious feeling is the strongest and noblest incitement to scientific research" and "the most important function of art and science [is] to awaken this feeling and keep it alive in those who are capable of it." Albert Einstein 
...the Christian sees Christian symbols: the Cross, Christ, the Virgin, and so forth the Muslim percieves Arabic letters and non-figurative designs; the Buddhist contemplates projections or visualizations of the respective community's myth dream which the subject has chosen...as his own personal myth-dream. This does not mean that mystic do not have visions at all; visionary experiences and hallucinatory states are a reality about which psychologists and physicians give us ample scientific information. But as far as investigation of mystical experience and the comparative study of mysticism are concerned, the analysis of reports on visionary phenomenon does not lead beyond the comparison of divergent myth-dreams. 
Sometime in the year 2003, I had a series of powerful "mystical" experiences, what I now call Connection Experiences, that, from a phenomenological, theological, psychological, and sociological perspective, completely blew me away. As so many others have recounted, experiences like these are powerful beyond mortal belief. The experiences were totally unexpected, and, I have to say, initially unwelcome. Like many scholars who have these experiences, I neither expected nor anticipated the events. Although raised a Catholic, I had observed the hypocrisy and violence at an early age and rejected it. Even though I fiddled around with alternative systems throughout adolescence (Eckankar, Buddhism, Zen, etc.), I eventually entered university where I gradually accepted the dogmatic truths--God was a stupid idea, and human spirituality was, at best, a remnant of a more primitive time, and at worst, a delusion, oedipal regression. I neither wanted, needed, expected, or accepted anything religious to happen. But then, "it" happened. I had a powerful Connection Experience, and then I had more.
At that time the initial experiences occurred, I had three choices. One, I could pretend they didn't exist and that I didn't have them. Two, I could attribute the experiences to psychosis. Three, I could embrace them and try and figure out was going on. Since there was a certain amount of emotional, psychological, and spiritual disease in the first connection event, pretending it hadn't happened and continuing on with my career was an attractive option. On the other hand, the experiences were literally mind-blowing, providing, as William James said, deep insight and opening up entirely new realms of thought, conception, and experience to me. Clearly, clearly, clearly, there was more to it than self-delusion or some kind of psychosis.
Ultimately, as you will gather as you browse through this online lexicon/textbook of human spirituality and connection, I didn't attribute the experiences to psychosis, nor did I try to pretend them away. I just couldn't. The experiences, which were easily repeatable, were obviously real, and had real and verifiable outcomes for me and, as I learned later when I began the literature review, others as well. The initial experience, which was a Nadir Experience characterized by deep Catholic rooted fears and profound Existential Terror, blew my socks off and totally changed me and my life. Later on, I began to see the initial experience as a successful Clearing Experience, which is an experience where a deep-seated fear that prevented connection, in this case, a Catholic fear, was suddenly and permanently cleared. I'll go into the details of this experience at some other point. Here I will just say that once the fear was cleared, my mind began to develop and expand beyond. I started writing poetry, I started spewing content, and I changed my research interests and began to explore the mystical experiences which I would later come to call Connection Experiences. I began a research project, in other words, to try and sort the thing out.
This online resource, this SpiriWiki, is one of the ongoing distillations and presentations of this decades-long phenomenological, sociological, psychological, emotional, and dare I say, spiritual research project. This is an online textbook and spiritual lexicon. It is my attempt to sort out these experiences, the Connection I have been practicing for well over a decade,in a sensible and scholarly fashion and to contribute towards a "more sophisticated religious language coordinated with the scientific data," as suggested as necessary by Timothy Leary. It is also here not to "conceal meanings," as is sometimes the case, but to clarify and reduce Nomenclature Confusiom, encourage discussion, teach and, dare I say, liberate from the shackles that bind and disconnect.
At this time, this online resource is very much still in development. New concepts and ideas are flowing in, definitions and discussions are being refined, and new research, resources, and backing citations are being added all the time. The reader should bear this in mind. There are many rough sections, many sections that consist of little more than notes and ideas, and many areas that need supporting research and discussion. The resource is progressing, however, and it is, with moderate haste, I feel, becoming a useful distillation. In the week's ahead I'll begin to add "points of entry" where an interested student of human spirituality can find their way in.
Finally, note, the SpiritWiki is an online theoretical/scholarly work in progress. At this time, all entries should be considered draft and subject to revision. Please be forgiving of typos.
Let's face it, these hidden laws [of mysticism] are hidden, but they are only hidden by [your] own ignorance. And the word mystical is just arrived at through people's ignorance. There's nothing mystical about it, only that you're ignorant of what that entails" ― George Harrison
As noted above, this SpiritWiki is all about Connection and Connection Experience. Connection is my word for mysticism, and connection experience is my word for mystical experience. Why call mystical experience connection experience? For two reasons. Reason one, because the word "mystical" is useless as a descriptor and referent. It doesn't add anything to our understanding of the experience. Its use actually confuses the issue and contributes to a basic spiritual prejudice that we can't really understand these experiences because they are mystical and ineffable.
The second reason I call mystical experience connection experience is because that is exactly what it is. When an individual has a mystical experience they are making a connection to something more than their day-to-day Normal Consciousness. What is this "something more?"
As I say in Rocket Scientists' Guide to Authentic Spirituality. "Connection is a technical term, even a neurological term, used to identify the nature of authentic spiritual experience. When we connect, we connect our Physical Unit, and in particular our brain, to an ocean of higher Consciousness, a Fabric of Consciousness as I say, a “non-local mind” as physician Dossey suggests, or an “Old One” of vast intelligence, as Einstein said. This Fabric of Consciousness exists independently of the physical body, and indeed independently of the physical universe....Connecting to this non-local ocean-like Fabric of Consciousness is the root of the human “mystical” experience of connection".
Now, I understand some people may feel uncomfortable with the notion that connection means connection to a non-localized ocean of pure awareness, and that's fine. You do not have to believe in a non-material side of things to investigate connection experience. That is, you shouldn't let your materialist views prevent you from looking at what is otherwise a very real and very significant human experience.
Of course, the question in your mind now must be 1) what exactly is the Fabric of Consciousness and 2) how do you actually connect to it.
Contact the author, Mike S., at michael [ @ ] lightningpath.org
- Einstein, Albert. The World as I See It. Kindle. Samaira Book Publishers, 2018. https://amzn.to/2NR8B6z.
- Keller, Carl A. “Mystical Literature.” In Mysticism and Philosophical Analysis, edited by Steven T. Katz, 75–100. London: Sheldon Press, 1978. p. 86
- Zaehner. Mysticism Sacred and Profane. New York: Oxford University Press, 1969. https://amzn.to/2LcdkCl.
- Freud, Sigmund. Civilization and Its Discontents. New York: W.W. Norton, 1961. https://amzn.to/2STCpQT.
- ———. The Future of an Illusion. New York: Anchor Books, 1964. https://amzn.to/2EZqqgZ.
- William James notes "The simplest rudiment of mystical experience would seem to be that deepened sense of the significance of a maxim or formula which occasionally sweeps over one. "I've heard that said all my life," we exclaim, "but I never realized its full meaning until now. James, William. Varieties of Religious Experience, a Study in Human Nature (p. 332). Kindle Edition. https://amzn.to/2SQZ7Jv
- Spiritual lexicons are a thing in the spiritual literature of this planet. See for example Ernst, Carl W. “Mystical Language and the Teaching Context in the Early Sufi Lexicons.” In It’s Not Just Academic! Essays on Sufism and Islamic Studies, 181–200. California: Sage, 2018. https://www.academia.edu/4416944/Mystical_Language_and_the_Teaching_Context_in_the_Early_Sufi_Lexicons.
- Leary, T. “The Religious Experience: Its Production and Interpretation.” Journal of Psychoactive Drugs 3, no. 1 (1970): 76–86. https://doi.org/10.1080/02791072.1970.10471364. p. 341.
- Ibid. p. 184.
- Sosteric. Rocket Scientists’ Guide to Authentic Spirituality. St. Albert, Alberta: Lightning Path Press, Unpublished Draft. https://press.lightningpath.org/product/rocket-scientists-guide-authentic-spirituality/.
- As Ernst says, "...the fundamentally transcendental orientation of the symbols and terms of mystical teaching is liberating.... The model suggested by the Sufi lexicons condenses mystical experiences in terms designed to reveal the experiential possibilities to those prepare for them." Ernst, Carl W. “Mystical Language and the Teaching Context in the Early Sufi Lexicons.” In It’s Not Just Academic! Essays on Sufism and Islamic Studies, 181–200. p. 196. California: Sage, 2018. https://www.academia.edu/4416944/Mystical_Language_and_the_Teaching_Context_in_the_Early_Sufi_Lexicons.
- Note, just because a spiritually naive researcher (i.e. someone who has never had a connection experience) cannot understand what a mystic is saying, doesn't mean that the experience is "inneffable," as early researchers like to say. After over a decade of connection practice, I can usually understand exactly what a mystic is getting at, even when the message is wrapped in poetry and bad translations.
- Dossey, Larry. “Nonlocal Mind: A (Fairly) Brief History of the Term.” Explore: The Journal of Science and Healing 11, no. 2 (2015): 89–101. http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.explore.2014.12.001.