Mysticism Scale

 

I came across this mysticism scale which I believe is from some decades back. There are probably more updated ones out there.

Questionnaires are notoriously difficult to construct. They need to be clear, appropriate to the topic/culture, refined through studies and research, and even then, it is usually possible to interpret the questions in many different ways.

1. I have had an experience which was both timeless and spaceless.

Even such an apparently simple statement runs into problems quickly. Timeless and spaceless, yes, although a timelessness that allows for (the appearance of) time and a spacelessness that allows for (the appearance of) space. And is it really an experience? Isn’t it really what experiences happens within and as? And what about the “I”? Is there an “I” there that it happens “to”? Isn’t that “I” also content of experience? That which happens within the timeless/spaceless?

This statement can be rephrased in a few different ways, and maybe a few different ways of phrasing it in the same questionnaire would be even more helpful.

For instance, I found what I am as timeless and spaceless, or there was a shift into noticing what I am as timeless and spaceless. And to check if there was identification with the image of an “I”, the sense of an “I” fell away, or there was an “I” there experiencing it.

2. I have never had an experience which was incapable of being expressed in words.

This is perhaps not so much a measure of mysticism as of honesty, but then that is what mysticism is all about….! If I am look and am honest, I find that I cannot express anything well in words. They always fall short. Also, I wonder if not the double negative confuses people as it does me.

31. I have had an experience in which I felt nothing is ever really dead.

This one is tricky too. Yes, there may be an experience of all as alive. All as awake, and alive in that sense. But it isn’t alive in the same sense as critters are alive. It is alive as awareness is alive. It is an aliveness that allows for (the appearance of) life and death equally. It is not alive as opposed to dead, but more alive/awake as opposed to inanimate.

29. I have had an experience in which all things seemed to be conscious.

Yes, this one is pretty good. The way it is phrased, it mirrors more an shift where there is (a) a sense/realization of all as conscious or awake, yet also (b) a sense of an “I” observing it. There is still identification with the image of a doer/observer. So here too, it may be better to phrase it to reflect those two possibilities, or add a sub-question asking about the sense of “I” – whether there was/is identification with it or it was revealed as just an image within content of experience.

4. I have had an experience in which everything seemed to disappear from my mind until I was conscious only of a void.

I am not too familiar with this territory, but this may be an absorption state. It is of course appropriate to ask about states as well, although I wonder if not more states could be included, and maybe be included in a separate part of the questionnaire. If there is a simple noticing, then all is void and the play of void, full of whatever it is full of – awakeness, sensations, images, sounds, taste, images etc.

19. I have had an experience in which I felt everything in the world to be part of the same whole.

Yes, this happens when there is a softening of identification with the me, the human self with an inside and outside. I find myself as that which the inside and outside of this human self happens within, that which this human self and the wider world happens within. There may still be identification with a doer and/or observer here, or that too may be recognized as happening within what I am and everything is.

24. I have never had an experience in which my own self seemed to merge into something greater.

As the other questions, this is good, and would allow for more precision if it differentiated between identification with a doer/observer, and finding ourselves as that which the doer/observer happens within. In both cases, there is a sense of this human self and the wider world happening within the same whole, as this question hints at.

13. I have had an experience in which ultimate reality was revealed to me.

Because nothing is “behind” void or no-thing. The no-thing which appears as awakeness and everything happening in experience. Again, there may be a sense of it appearing to “me”, or that “me” may be revealed as the play of void as anything else and not more or less what I am than anything else.


………………

outline….

  • mysticism scale
    • questionnaires, notoriously difficult to construct
    • each question can be interpreted in many different ways
    • and sometimes, not as clear or appropriate/refined as can be
    • check…
      • identified with an “I” or not
      • glimpse or stable

It seems that the themes of these questions are very good. Questions about oneness/no boundaries. All as consciousness/awake. Timeless/spacelessness. Sense of not being able to put it into words. Awe. Peace/perfection.

……………….

  1. I have had an experience which was both timeless and spaceless.
  2. I have never had an experience which was incapable of being expressed in words.
  3. I have had an experience in which something greater than myself seemed to absorb me.
  4. I have had an experience in which everything seemed to disappear from my mind until I was conscious only of a void.
  5. I have experienced profound joy.
  6. I have never had an experience in which I felt myself to be absorbed as one with all things.
  7. I have never experienced a perfectly peaceful state.
  8. I have never had an experience in which I felt as if all things were alive.
  9. I have never had an experience which seemed holy to me.
  10. I have never had an experience in which all things seemed to be aware.
  11. I have had an experience in which I had no sense of time or space.
  12. I have had an experience in which I realized the oneness of myself with all things.
  13. I have had an experience in which a new view of reality was revealed to me.
  14. I have never experienced anything to be divine.
  15. I have never had an experience in which time and space were non-existent.
  16. I have never experienced anything that I could call ultimate reality.
  17. I have had an experience in which ultimate reality was revealed to me.
  18. I have had an experience in which I felt that all was perfection at that time.
  19. I have had an experience in which I felt everything in the world to be part of the same whole.
  20. I have had an experience which I knew to be sacred.
  21. I have never had an experience which I was unable to express adequately through language.
  22. I have had an experience which left me with a feeling of awe.
  23. I have had an experience that is impossible to communicate.
  24. I have never had an experience in which my own self seemed to merge into something greater.
  25. I have never had an experience which left me with a feeling of wonder.
  26. I have never had an experience in which deeper aspects of reality were revealed to me.
  27. I have never had an experience in which time, place, and distance were meaningless.
  28. I have never had an experience in which I became aware of a unity of all things.
  29. I have had an experience in which all things seemed to be conscious.
  30. I have never had an experience in which all things seemed to be unified into a single whole.
  31. I have had an experience in which I felt nothing is ever really dead.
  32. I have had an experience that cannot be expressed in words.

http://www.nvcc.edu/home/lshulman/MScale.html

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