August 24, 2003 |
The chronicler of mystical experience labors at a distinct disadvantage as a memoirist. After all, by definition, spiritual transcendence resides beyond story. It is even beyond words. That is its point or at least its strongest claim: that it cannot be described. But since when did "the indescribable" ever stop a writer?
February 11, 2003 |
The mystical experience has been pursued by countless millions over the millenniums, all hoping to tap into ultimate truth, to access an understanding of life beyond what we are able to see and feel, to encounter, as John Horgan puts it, "an escape hatch in reality, through which we can wriggle out of our existential plight."
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
May 13, 2000 |
Imagine there's a heaven. At the word, a pop-up tableau unfolds and feathers from molting wings drift into the air. Before a plywood set, spray-painted gold, choir voices sing with determined cheer, like a power drill going through steel. Pink, chubby infants giggle as they roll from cloud to bouncy cloud. Stay for eternity? The prospect of just an afternoon brings cold sweat to the forehead. But that stereotype is not the only way of picturing the place, much less the most attractive.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
November 1, 1997 |
Seeking a glimpse of the neural machinery of the soul, scientists have discovered that the brain may be naturally attuned to words of prayer and religious experience. In what researchers called the first serious experiment aimed at the neural basis of religion, scientists at the UC San Diego brain and perception laboratory this week said they found evidence of neural circuits in the human brain that affect how strongly someone responds to a mystical experience.
May 10, 1992
Your Washington article left out a few of my favorite places to eat, an art museum that is a gem and a couple of bus tours that capture the wonder of our nation's capital. For future reference, don't miss Restaurant Nora with its spectacular food and ambience; the Phillips Museum, where a fabulous collection of Impressionist paintings is housed in the old Phillips Mansion; and a night tour of the city with a stop at the Vietnam Memorial, an almost mystical experience on a starlit night.
December 10, 1989
"Literary Britain" unearthed old memories of one of my own precious literary moments in England. First it was the train to Windsor, the tour and a picnic lunch across the river from the castle. Then down narrow country lanes to the quaint village of Stoke Poges, the setting for Thomas Gray's immortal poem, "Elegy Written in a Country Churchyard." It was a mystical experience. CHARLES F. QUEENAN Santa Ana