Primary religious experience is found at the heart of all the world's wisdom traditions. Many people who have had such direct perception of spirit appear to lead lives of greater understanding, virtue, and joy as a result. CSP's Primary Religious Experience Project is focused on these phenomena with the hope of understanding practices that can be beneficial to individuals and to their communities. Our studies address the following questions:
How can primary religious experience contribute to an individual's growth?
What conditions (beliefs, preparation, ritual, community, and continuing
practice) allow for more helpful primary religious experiences, and
how can the benefits be carried into daily life?
What risks are associated with primary religious experience, and how do they vary with circumstances?
How can primary religious experience be made more, and more safely, available?
Dimensions of the Mysticism Scale: Confirming the
Three-Factor Structure in the United States and Iran
abstract of paper by Ralph W. Hood, Jr., et al.
The Varieties of Religious Experience
by William James
The Mystical Core of Organized Religion
by David Steindl-Rast
Characteristics of Extrovertive Mystical States
by W. T. Stace
Harvard Divinity School Address (1838)
by Ralph Waldo Emerson
The Psychology of Religious Experience
a Huston Smith Interview*
States of Unitive Consciousness
summary of research on effects of
primary religious experience
Peak and Non-peak Experiences in Response to DPT
by Bill Richards
Noetic Gnosis: Cosmic Consciousness
by Beatrix Murrell
Transpersonal Realities or Neurophysiological Illusions
by Charles T. Tart
Mysticism as the Crossing of Ultimate Boundaries
by Wayne Teasdale
The Interspiritual Age: Practical Mysticism for the Third Millennium
by Wayne Teasdale
The Two Sources of Morality and Religion
by Henri Bergson
Recommended Readings (click here)
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The Archives of Scientist's Transcendent Experiences *
The Exceptional Human Experience Network *
[* denotes an offsite source]