* B.A. Harvard College 51; M.D. Harvard Univ. 55. Rotating Intern, Philadelphia General Hosp., Philadelphia, Pa. 55-56; Res. in Neuropsychiatry, West Haven VA Hosp., Dept. Of Psychiatry, Yale Med. School, New Haven, Conn. 56-57; Chief of Psychiatry, Amarillo Air Force Base, Tex. 57‑58; Staff Psychiatrist, Andrews Air Force Base Hosp., Washington, D.C., 58-59; Austen Riggs Fellow in Psychiatry, Austen Riggs Center, Stockbridge, Mass 59-61; Instr., Dept. of Univ. Extension, Univ. of Mass. 60, Assoc. Staff, Pittsfield General Hosp., Pittsfield, Mass. 61; Special Rsc. Fellow, USPHS 61-63; Assoc., Rsc. Staff 63‑, Austen Riggs Center, Stockbridge, Mass. Candidate 61-63, Clin. Assoc. 64‑, Western New England Inst. for Psychoanalysis. Consultant, Family and Children Service of Berkshire County, Pittsfield, Mass. 63- .

* This research was supported by Research Grant MH‑07683, from the National Institute of Mental Health, USPHS; and by the Austen Rings Center.

I am grateful to Drs. Robert A. Harris, Fred Schwartz, and R. Ian Story for their comments on earlier versions of the manuscript.

1 ”The Cloud of Unknowing,” in David Knowles, The English Mystical Tradition; London, Burnes & Oates, 1961; p. 77.

2 Williams James, The Varieties of Religious experience; New York, Modern Library, 1929; p. 388.

3 See footnote 2; p., 382.

4 Alan W. Watts, The Joyous Cosmology: Adventures in the Chemistry of Consciousness;  New York, Random House, Pantheon Books, 1962.

5 See footnote 1; p. 57.

6 Julian of Norwich, Revelations of Divine Love, edited by Grace Warrack; London, Methuen. 1952; p. 8.

7 Walter Hilton, The Scale of Perfection; London, Burns & Oates. 1953; pp. 14-15.

8 The Complete Works of St. John of the Cross, Vol. I; Westminster, Newman Press, 1953; p. 457.

9 The Yoga System of Patanjali, Vol. 17, translated from the original Sanskrit by James Houghton Woods, Harvard Oriental Series; Cambridge, Harvard Univ. Press, 1914; p, 42.

10 A Buddhist Bible (revised and enlarged, second edition), edited by Dwight Goddard; Thetford, Vt., Dwight Goddard, 1938; p. 322.

11 Augustine Poulain, The Graces of Interior Prayer: A Treatise on Mystical Theology; St. Louis, Herder, 1950; p. 272.

12 Joseph Marechal, Studies in the Psychology of the Mystics; Albany, N.Y., Magi, 1964; p. 185.

13 See footnote 10; p. 323.

14 Treatises and Sermons of Meister Eckhart, edited by James M. Clark and John V. Skinner; New York, Harper, 1955; p. 104.

15 See footnote 7; p. 205.

16 See footnote 8; p. 227.

17 Daisetz Teitaro Suzuki, Zen and Japanese Culture; London, Routledge and Kegan, 1959; p. 19.

18 Breathing exercises can also effect the carbon dioxide content of the blood and thus alter the stat of consciousness chemically.

19 See footnote 9; pp. 203-208.

20 The Spiritual Exercises of St. Ignatius, translated by Louis J. Puhl; Wesminster, Md., Newman Press. 1962.

21 See footnote 10; p. 323.

22 See footnote 8; p. 380.

23 Franz Alexander. “Buddhistic Training as an Artificial Catatonia (The Biological Meaning of Psychic Occurrence).” Psychoanal. Review (1931) 18:129-145. Sigmund Freud, Standard Edition of the Complete Psychological Works 21:64-73; London, Hogarth, 1961.

24 Bertram D. Lewis, The Psychoanalysis of Elation; New York, Norton, 1950; pp. 149-155.

25 Ernst Kris, Psychoanalytic Explorations in Art; New York, Internat. Univ. Press, 1952; p. 302. Herbert Fingarette, The Self in Transformation: Psychoanalysis, Philosophy and the Life of the of the Spirit; New York, Basic Books,1963. Raymond H. Prince and Charles Savage, "Mystical States and the Concept of Regression,” paper delivered at the First Annual Meeting of the R. M. Bucke Society, Montreal, January, 1965.

26 Arthur J. Deikman, "Implications of Experimentally Induced Contemplative Meditation,” J. Nervous and Mental Disease (1966) 142:101-116.

27 Heinz Hermann, Ego Psychology and the Problem of Adaptation; New York, Internat. Univ. Press, 1959; p. 178.

28 Merton M. Gill and Margaret Brenman, Hypnosis and Related States: Psychoanalytic Studies in Regression; New York, Internat. Univ. Press. 1959: p, 178

29 David Rapaport and Merton M. Gill, "The Points of View and Assumptions of Metapsychology,” Internat. J. Psychoanal. (1959) 4-:3-161; see pp. 157-158.

30 Heinz Werner, Comparative Psychology of Mental Development; New York, Internat. Univ. Press, 1957; p. 152.

31 See footnote 2; pp. 243-244..

32 Eyelyn Underhill, Mysticism; New York, Noonday Press, Meridian Books, 1955; p. 235.

33 Arthur J. Deikman, "Experimental Meditation,"J. Nervous and Mental Disease(1963) 136:329-343. See also footnote 26.

34 See footnote 33. As de-differentiation of the vase progressed, however, a fusion of background and object tended to occur with a concomitant loss of color and vividness.

35 William Wordsworth, "Intimations of Immortality from Recollections of Early Childhood,” in Complete Poetical Works of William Wordsworth; New York, Houghton Mifflin, Riverside Press, Cambridge Edition, 1904; p. 353.

36 David Rapaport, "The Autonomy of the Ego;" Bull. Menninger Clinic (1951) 15:113-123.

37 See footnote 33; p. 338.

38 A. Kasamatsu and T. Hirai, “Science of Zazen,” Psychologia (1963) 6:86-91.

39 It has been postulated by McReynolds that a related stimulus barrier system may be operative in schizophrenia. Paul McReynolds, "Anxiety, Perception, and Schizophrenia;" pp. 248-292, in The Etiology of Schizophrenia, edited by Don D. Jackson; New York, Basic Books, 1960; p. 269.

40 Duane P. Schultz, Sensory Restriction: Effecrs on Behavior; New York, Academic Press, 1965; pp. 95‑97. Sensory Deprivation, edited by Philip Solomon, Philip E. Kubzansky, P. Herbert Leiderman, Jack H. Mendelson, Richard Trumbull, and Donald Wexler; Cambridge. Harvard Univ. Press, 1961; pp. 226-237.

41 John P. Zubek, Delores Pushkar, Wilma Sansom, and J. Gowing, "Perceptual Changes after Prolonged Sensory Isolation (Darkness and Silence)," Canadian J. Psychology (1961) 15:83-100.

42 Paul Federn’s idea that the normal feeling of reality requires an adequate investment of energy (libido) in the ego boundary, points toward the notion of a quantity of realness." Paul Federn, Ego Psychology and the Psychoses; New York, Basic Books, 1955; pp. 241-260. Avery Weisman has developed and extended this idea, but prefers the more encompassing concept of “libidinal fields” to that of ego boundaries. Avery Weisman, “Reality Sense and Reality Testing," Behavioral Science (1958) 3:228-281,

43 See footnote 28; pp. 109-111.

44 Richard M. Bucke, Cosmic Consciousness; New Hyde Park, Univ. Books, 1961; p. 8.

45 See footnote 26; p. 109.

46 See footnote 26; p. 102.

47 See footnote 25, pp. 16-18; also see footnote 26, pp. 108-109.

48 Herbert Silberer, “Report on a Method of Eliciting and Observing Certain Symbolic Hallucination-Phenomena,” pp. 195-207, in David Rapaport, Organization and Pathology of Thought; New York, Columbia Univ. Press, 1951.

49 Somewhat related concepts, although extreme in scope, are those advanced by Michaux, who suggests that the frequent experience of waves or vibrations in hallucinogenic drug states is the result of direct perception of the “brain waves” measured by the EEG; and by Leary, who suggests tht hallucinogenic drugs permit a “direct awareness of the processes which physicists and biochemists and neurologists measure,” for example, electrons in orbit or the interaction of cells. Henri Michaux, Light Through Darkness; New York, Orion Press, 1963; pp. 7-9. Timothy Laery, “The Religious Experience: Its Production and Interpretation,” Psychedelic Review (1964) 1:324-346; pp. 330-339.

50 Marghanita Laski, Ecstasy: A Study of Some Secular and Religious Experiences; London, Cresset Press, 1961.

51 Hallucinogenic Drugs and Their Psychotherapeutic Use, edited by Richard Crocket, R. A. Sandison, and Alexander Walk; London, H. K. Lewis, 1963. See also Watts, in footnotes 4, and Michaux, in footnote 49.

52 J. N. Sherwood, Stolaroff, and W. W. Harman, "The Psychedelic Experience – A New Concept in Psychotherapy,” J. Neuropsychiatry (1962) 4:69-80.

53 See footnote 2; p. 410.

54 Marius von Senden. Space and Sight; Glencoe, Ill.,Free Press, 1960. David Shapiro, "A Perceptual Understanding of Color Response," pp. 154-201, in Rorschach Psychology, edited by Marla A. Rickers-Ovsiankina; New York, Wiley, 1960. Also, see footnote 30.

55 Schachtel regards early childhood, beyond infancy, as unrememberable for structural reasons: “It is not merely the repression of a specific content, such as early sexual experience, that accounts for the general childhood amnesia; the biologically, culturally, and socially influenced process of memory organization results in the formation of categories (schemata) of memory which are not suitable vehicles to receive and reproduce experiences of the quality and intensity typical of early childhood." It would follow that verbal structures would likewise be "unsuitable." Ernest G. Schachtel, Metamorphosis: On the Development of Affect, Perception, Attention and Memory; New York, Basic Books, 1959; p. 284.

56 Herbert Moller, “Affective Mysticism in Western Civilization,” Psychoanal. Review (1965) 52:115-130; p. 127.

57 Anthony Suraci, “Environmental Stimulus Reduction as a Technique to Effect the Reactivation of Crucial Repressed Memories,” J. Nervous and Mental Disease (1964) 138:172-180.

58 William James, Collected Essays and Reviews; New York, Longmans, Green 1920; pp. 500-513.

59 A similar distinction concerning “vertical" listening to music is made by Ehrenzweig. Anton Ehrenzweig, “The Undifferentiated Matrix of Artistic Imagination,” pp. 373-398, in The Psychoanalytic Study of Society, edited by Warner Muensterberger and Sidney Axelrad; New York, Internat. Univ. Press. 1964: see pp. 385-387

60 Lawrence J. Henderson, The Fitness of the Environment: An Inquiry into the Biological Significance of the Properties of Matter; Boston, Beacon Press, 1958.

61 Ehrenzweig proposes that mystic “blankness" is due to a structural limitation: “. . . the true mystic orison becomes empty yet filled with intense experience. . . This full emptiness . . . . It is the direct result of our conscious failure to grasp imagery formed on more primitive levels of differentiation . . . Owing on their incompatible shapes, [these images] cancelled each other out on the way up to consciousness and so produce in our surface experience a blank 'abstract' image still replete with unconscious fantasy.” See footnote 59; p. 382. 

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