John Suler's Teaching Clinical Psychology

The Religious Experience: East, West, Everywhere

Many psychologists, philosophers, and theologians talk about how some people have an intense, sudden, usually unexpected experience of a "higher reality" or "higher power" beyond what we normally experience. Some say it is the experience of "God." Here are how William James (one of the greatest American psychologists) and D.T. Suzuki (one of the greatest Japanese Zen philosophers) described religious experiences in their cultures. Are there any similarities between east and west? How do these compare to the "peak experiences" that Abraham Maslow (one of the founders of humanistic psychology) said occur in EVERYONE'S life?

Aspects of the Religious Experience ("Conversion") according to William James:

Aspects of the Religious Experience ("Enlightenment") according to D.T. Suzuki:

Abraham Maslow said that WE ALL have peak experiences. Here's how he described them:

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