Mystics without mystical experiences
Updated: Mar 16
I'm writing a research proposal to study the state of consciousness of spiritual masters or exemplars. In that context I'm reviewing several questionnaires, that were developed in order to measure mystical experiences or "altered states of consciousness". Questionnaires with names like "The Mystical Experience Questionnaire", "The Ego-Dissolution Inventory" and "The Altered States of Consciousness Rating Form".
In a conversation I had today with someone I consider profoundly enlightened, we did a little experiment: I read out to her some of the statements in one of those questionnaires (see below) and asked her to say how closely they related to her experience.
It didn't work well at all. None of the statements applied.
Why? Because after living for several decades in a post-awakening state, these are not "experiences" but just reality. She has nothing to compare it with.
So as far as using questionnaires for assessing the state of consciousness of such spiritual masters/exemplars, I'm screwed.