Philosopher W. T. Stace spent many years studying similarities between mystical philosophies from around the world.
In 1960, he published Mysticism and Philosophy, collecting seven characteristics shared between mystical experiences from around the world.
The primary example from his “common characteristics of extrovertive mystical states” was the idea that “All Is One.”
The unifying vision, expressed abstractly by the formula “All is One.” The One is, in extrovertive mysticism, perceived through the physical senses, in or through the multiplicity of objects.
His second characteristic, also drawn from “different periods, lands, and cultures,” expressed a related mystical idea:
The more concrete apprehension of the One as being an inner subjectivity in all things, described variously as life, or consciousness, or a living Presence. The discovery that nothing is “really” dead.
For hundreds of years, mystics have shared this same vision, from the philosophy of Spinoza to Sufi mystics to Buddhism to magic mushroom experiments.
Do you believe it?
Tune into the Radiolab’s “Bliss” episode for more about these characteristics of mystical states…
Thanks to Mark Turnauckas for the photograph.