Nunn, Dr Chris - 03 The need for new theories
Type of Spiritual Experience
A description of the experience
Journal of Consciousness Exploration & Research |October 2011 | Vol. 2 | Issue 7 | pp. 944-948 Nunn, C., Background Motivations for My Views on Consciousness
I wish to show here that my theories, and my life in general, have been greatly constrained (though I would say enlarged) by a few, brief and unusual experiences. Equally clearly, the content of the experiences reflected to some extent my cultural and personal history.
Can they be regarded as no more than a culturally determined curiosity, perhaps a bit like the dancing manias of the Middle Ages or the recent epidemic of ‘alien abduction’ experiences? My personal answer to that question is:
The experiences truly reflected aspects of Reality that we don’t often perceive and the culturally determined part of their content was just the icing on the cake – how Reality was able to express itself within my particular, very limited mind.
That’s why I feel it has not been a waste of my time to try to build ideas that promise to integrate experiences of this sort with more mainstream Western understandings, for theories foster observations and, thus, sooner or later, fuller appreciation of truths about ourselves and our world.
I’m one of the lucky people - one of the approximately 40% of the population who can report having had occasional experiences that were quite out of the ordinary and could loosely be classified as ‘mystical’.
Such experiences are very varied (see, e.g., Paul Marshall, 2005) but are generally characterised as having a deeply numinous, supra-personal quality, often vividly remembered for a lifetime.
Many of us, including me, are reluctant to discuss them because they feel sacred in a way that one instinctively likes to keep private.
As experiences of this type appear to have provided inspiration for many of the millenarian prophets who have caused untold misery down the ages, the instinct for privacy seems well warranted.
But our editor, Greg Nixon, has persuaded me that perhaps one should sometimes be more open, so here is my story and my reflections on it. I hope it may prove useful to someone, sometime, somehow.