In and Out of This World

Throughout the ages people have felt that the material world is not all there is. Mystical visions, answers to prayer or an awareness of a power or comforting presence beyond the self have given intimations of a greater reality beyond the everyday. Might this awareness also suggest some kind of survival of death as End of Life Experiences, Near-Death Experiences and Post Death Communication seem to indicate?

Marianne Rankin looks at a range of spiritual experiences and considers the effects on people’s lives and what they might indicate about the nature of consciousness and Ultimate Reality.
Many experiences cited are taken from the archive of the Religious Experience Research Centre, now at the University of Wales Trinity Saint David in Lampeter, the collection initiated by Sir Alister Hardy in Oxford when he retired as Linacre Professor of Zoology in 1969. Much has happened since.

“A spirit is manifest in the laws of the Universe – a spirit vastly superior to that of man, and one in the face of which we with our modest powers must feel humble.”

Albert Einstein[i]

Spiritual experiences of an immanent and transcendent Ultimate Reality can turn a time of crisis into a moment of revelation. Such experiences, often spontaneous and frequently beyond words have led to the founding of religious traditions, inspired saints and mystics, monks and nuns but they have also transformed the lives of countless ordinary people. Such experiences may or may not be triggered by religious or spiritual practice. While some people are led to explore religion, others simply accept such an experience as a gift and look no further. It is often in times of deepest crisis that help comes unexpectedly. Many people have felt a presence or power, which has comforted them in their hour of need or given them a new perspective on life.

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