Richard G. Petty, MD

Mystical Experience and “Peak” Experience

Anyone who has ever had a mystical experience or even a profound “peak” experience, even if it only lasted for a a few seconds, is utterly changed by it.

We are going to have a few things to say about the clear differences between mystical and psychotic experiences, but I just came across this piece in this book by Ken Wilber:

“The Essential Ken Wilber: An Introductory Reader.” (Ken Wilber)  I admire Ken’s work greatly. Even when I don’t agree with him!

“Direct experience decisively answers the nagging questions inherent in faith. There are usually two phases of direct experience; peak experiences and plateau experiences. 

Peak experiences are relatively brief, usually intense, often unbidden, and frequently life-changing. They are actually “peak experiences” into the transpersonal, supramental levels of one’s own higher potentials.

Psychic peak experiences are a glimpse into nature mysticism (gross-level oneness); subtle peak experiences are a glimpse into deity mysticism (subtle-level oneness); casual peak experiences are a glimpse into emptiness (casual-level oneness); and nondual peak experiences are a glimpse into One Taste. As Roger Walsh has pointed out, the higher the level of the peak experience, the rarer it is. . . .

Whereas peak experiences are usually of brief duration—a few minutes to a few hours—plateau experiences are more constant and enduring, verging on becoming a permanent adaptation. Whereas peak experiences can, and usually do, come spontaneously, in order to sustain them and turn them from a peak into a plateau—from a brief altered state into a more enduring trait—prolonged practice is required. Whereas almost anybody, at any time, at any age, can have a brief peak experience, I know of few bona fide cases of plateau experiences that did not involve years of sustained spiritual practice.”

Ken Wilber (American Philosopher, 1949-)

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About Richard G. Petty, MD
Dr. Richard G. Petty, MD is a world-renowned authority on the brain, and his revolutionary work on human energy systems has been acclaimed around the globe. He is also an accredited specialist in internal and metabolic medicine, endocrinology, psychiatry, acupuncture and homeopathy. He has been an innovator and leader of the human potential movement for over thirty years and is also an active researcher, teacher, writer, professional speaker and broadcaster. He is the author of five books, including the groundbreaking and best selling CD series Healing, Meaning and Purpose. He has taught in over 45 countries and 48 states in the last ten years, but spends as much time as possible on his horse farm in Georgia.

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