Triggers of Mystical Experience

By: Kimberly Mc Cann  

The final level of Maslow’s needs hierarchy, self-transcendence, is not well studied from an empirical standpoint. The lack of research on the topic is likely because measures for anomalous, subjective experiences are difficult to quantify through the lens of rationalistic, material-based Western science. Additionally, Maslowian self-transcendence is not well represented in psychology textbooks and has only recently (Koltko-Rivera, 1998, 2006; Gruel, 2015) begun to be seriously explored in the scholarly literature. Maslowian self-transcendence is “the very highest and most inclusive of holistic levels of human consciousness, behaving and elating, as ends rather than as means, to oneself, to significant others, to human beings in general, to other species, to nature, and to the cosmos” (Maslow, 1993, p. 66). Self-transcendence (ST) goes beyond self-actualization on the needs hierarchy (Maslow, 1993). ST includes transcendence of the sense of space, of time, of culture, of one’s past, of the ego/self, of death, pain, sickness, and notions of evil, and transcendence of the us-them polarity, to name just a few (Maslow, 1993). Although there are numerous definitions and terms applied to self-transcendent experience (Yaden, Haidt, Hood, Vago, & Newberg, 2017), the definition for this study was specific to Maslow’s hierarchy.

Self-transcendence, Mystical Experience
2019 Special Focus—Universal Religious Symbols: Mutual Influences and Specific Relationships
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Kimberly Mc Cann

Faculty , College of Doctoral Studies, Grand Canyon University , United States
United States

Professor of transpersonal psychology/reserach in Arizona, USA.