Psychologists were already moving deep into the idea of the
Transpersonal, that generally speaking is a state of consciousness
or experience that exists beyond any particular personal
experience. The transpersonal state seems spiritual in nature,
one that can involve what is termed a "peak experience." In past
times, particularly amongst religious people, this might revolve
around a state of ecstasy. In dictionary terms, this ecstasy or
peak experience involves a steep sense of happiness and joy.
It could be an experience that takes one outside of their self.
And according to psychologists, such a special experience can
be available to anyone--if they let it.
Letting it, of course, is easier said than done! After I became
interested in the transpersonal experience I had the occasion to
interview a number of people who claimed that they had a peak
I discovered that this so-called peak experience was not
necessarily always an easy pleasure. And, mistakenly too, this
special experience was not always connected only with a
religious perspective. Some religious people believe that they
must "work" themselves into a transpersonal state that can involve
all sorts of procedures--ranging from deep prayer to extreme
On the other hand, there are those who artificially attempt to
attain a peak experience via drugs. Some also try to take "trips"
or experience visions through both chemically produced
drugs or by taking natural forms--such as peyote. Anyway,
during my interviews I was *not* inclined to include so-called
special experiences prompted by hallucinogenics.
Those I did interview--those who claimed some sort of peak
experience--were quite diverse. They ranged from young to old,
hence putting to rest the idea that one must attain to a certain
level of spiritual maturity in order to attain an ecstatic state.
Some of the people I interviewed were far from being "mystics."
Most disturbing, some of those I interviewed felt a sense of
displacement caused by this special experience. They didn't
perceive such as a special experience, but rather as a "strange"
experience. About the only conclusion I could figure was that
this sense of the Transpersonal depended upon how one could
After these interviews I had to admit that the more mystically or
spiritually mature a person was, the more positive the reception.
But! The special experience, itself, landed on all sorts of heads--
ready or not. And some of those flat out rejected the experience!