Mystical Experience and the Evolution of Consciousness

I’ve uploaded an essay, “Mystical Experience and the Evolution of Consciousness: 21st Century Gnosis” to the website, where you can download it. It’s the text to a talk I gave at the 2014 Engelsberg Seminar held in Avesta, Sweden. Other contributors included Elaine Pagels, Wouter J. Hanegraaff, Marco Pasi, and A. N. Wilson, to mention a few. The seminars are presented by the Ax:son Johnson Foundation, a wonderfully open-minded philanthropic establishment.

The talk links recent developments in split-brain research with the experience of gnosis and the evolution of consciousness. It presents more or less the basic idea that I develop at greater length in The Secret Teachers of the Western World.

3 thoughts on “Mystical Experience and the Evolution of Consciousness

  1. An excellent teaser for your book. I was intrigued by you reference to the book, “The Master and His Emissary” by Iain McGilchrist. I’m reading it now. Early on, I can see his ideas are very important and very much in keeping with your own. Thank you.

    Between you and Colin and Wilson, I’m receiving the education in the humanities and the broader world, that I’d missed in the first part of my education. Looking forward to your book! Evolve on!

    1. John, I’m glad you liked the talk. And yes, McGilchrist’s book is very important. It’s a bit dense with neuroscience in the early parts, but his survey of western history through the lens of our competing brains is visionary. He also confirms – to me at least – some of CW’s insights into the relationship between the two cerebral hemispheres. It was very gratifying to see him arrive at much the same take independently. All the best.

      1. Gary, this material does speak to Colin’s brilliance and being ahead of his time. I think that the left and right brain issues are central to this evolution of consciousness that we’re seeing. As I read McGilchrist and ponder the implications, I can see the issues are huge. Have you read “Return to the Brain of Eden” by Wright and Gynn? Apparently it was published earlier as “Left in the Dark”. I am just starting to read that book as well.

        I am not so enamored with a sentimental look at some idyllic past. There is no question that the dominance of the left brain approach has been traumatic to humanity in some sense, but I see it as a necessary step in our evolution. Birth and evolution cannot occur without trauma, and it would seem we are experiencing that even more than in the past as this evolution accelerates. The dysfunction of this dominance of the left brain approach is showing up more and more, with many implications both personally and socially. And it’s clearly not simple to diagnose, unravel or address – lots going on here.

        The Wright and Gynn book does look very interesting – broader and more speculative than McGilchrist. But i want to learn as much as I can about this material. I think the issue of neurobiology has a lot to say about the evolution of human consciousness, but I also think that it may hold keys to an individual’s personal evolution.

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