The psychology of religious mysticism - PDF book by James H. Leuba

The psychology of religious mysticism

The psychology of religious mysticism

Experiences named “ mystical ” have played a conspicuous role at almost every level of culture; and yet, despite the vast literature devoted to them, the subject has remained until recently as dark as it is fascinating. Little could be expected of writers who, neglecting a close and dispassionate study of the facts, devoted themselves to religious edification or to the defence of the traditional theories. 

The hortatory, apologetic, and romantic character of most of the literature on religious mysticism accounts for its scientific insignificance. Mysticism has suffered as much at the hands of its admirers as at the hands of its materialistic enemies.

 If the latter have been unable to see in mysticism anything else than aberrations and abnormalities, the former has gone to the other and equally fatal extreme; no descriptive adjective short of “sublime,” “infinite,” “ divine ” has seemed to them at all-sufficient. The best among the prominent mystics are persons of pure heart and stout will from whom it is not possible to withhold admiration. Their beliefs and practices—whatever we may have to say in condemnation of them—have been to these mystics a refuge against the conflicts and the loneliness of life, and a source of strength and courage in the pursuit of worthy purposes. 

 This book is a psychological study of human nature. It includes, it is true, a philosophical chapter and also one in which are set forth the practical consequences to the religion of some of its conclusions. But, whatever may be the importance of these two chapters, the book is to be judged primarily as a psychological study of aspects of human nature conspicuous in mystical religion. 

It represents an effort to remove that part of “ inner life ” from the domain of the occult, in which it has too long been permitted to remain, in order to incorporate it in that body of facts of which psychology takes cognizance. 

If we may not expect to have succeeded in producing a satisfactory answer to all the scientific problems raised by the mystical life, we may at least hope to have convinced the reader that there is in principle no satisfactory reason for leaving any of them outside the range of scientific research, and that, on the contrary, they are all explicable in the same sense, to the same extent, and by the same general scientific principles as any other fact of consciousness.

Some contents:

Mysticism and Religion, an Introduction - i

Definition—There are two types of religious life: the objective and the mystical—Innate traits at the root of the two types of
religious life.
Mystical Ecstasy as Produced by Physical Means - 8
i. The use of drugs and other physical means—The condition resulting from the use of these drugs explain the meaning given to the word “ divine ”—2. Description of the effects produced by certain drugs, Alcohol, Mescal, Hasheesh, Ether, Nitrous Oxide—3. Summary of the effects of narcotics and interpretation of their religious significance— Illusion and hallucination—Alteration of organic sensations and feelings, illusion and hallucination—Alteration of intellectual functions and of emotional attitude—The aim of religion is the enhancement and perfecting of life, mystical ecstasy induced by physical means produces an impression of enlarged and perfected life.

The Yoga System of Mental Concentration and Religious Mysticism ------- 3 7 The main propositions of the Yoga of Patanjali—Hindrances to concentration and how to overcome them—Results—The illogical craving for moral perfection manifested in Yoga— The effectiveness of the Yoga methods.

Christian Mysticism - -- -- --48
1. Historical and general remarks.—2. Heinrich Suzo— 3. Catherine of Genoa—Biographical—The phases of St Catherine’s life—4. Mme Guyon—Biographical—The phases of Mme Guyon’s life and their causes—Did Mme Guyon attain her ethical goal? —5. Santa Theresa—Biographical— The phases of Santa Theresa’s life and their causes—Did Santa Theresa attain her ethical goal? —6. St Marguerite Marie.

The Motivation of Christian Mysticism - - 116
What did the Christian mystics seek? —1. The tendencies to self-affirmation and the need for self-esteem—2. The dread of isolation; the need for moral support, for affection, and for peace in passivity and inactivity—3. The universalization or socialization of the individual will—Analysis of the morally imperative impulse and the conditions of its production— 4. The sex impulse—The connexion of affection and love with organic sex activity—Auto-eroticism in Grand Mysticism—The excruciatingly delightful pains and other pains—Pleasure and happiness in mystical ecstasy.

The Methods of Christian Mysticism - 156
1. Asceticism, its causes and its utility—2. Passivity and the stages of the mystical union—The ascending series of the mystical states according to Santa Theresa—The ascending series of the mystical states according to Francois de Sales— The ascending series of the mystical states according to Mme Guyon—Mystical trance in Buddhism, in Islamism—The hypnotic trance—3. The confusion of the degrees of depth of the trance with degrees of moral perfection—The ascend¬ ing series of the mystical degrees according to a Roman Catholic theologian—4. The Distinguishing traits of “ Super¬ natural ” Mysticism—A classification of trances and remarks regarding the conditions of their production.

the book details :
  • Author: James H. Leuba - James Henry Leuba was an American psychologist best known for his contributions to the psychology of religion. 
  • Publication date: 1925
  • Company: London, K. Paul, Trench, Trubner

  • Download 15/6 MB


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