Reconciling Transcendent Experiences with the Individual's Evolving Mythology

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Abstract

Altered states challenge an individual's established construction of reality, the personalized mythology by which one operates. Sometimes those altered states offer a glimpse into aspects of being that the mythology is unable to embrace. Experiences of this nature may challenge the prevailing mythic structure. This confrontation between the established construction of reality and the view provided in the altered state may inspire a profound and wholesome shift in the person's sense of being, or it may lead to destabilizing conflicts with previously unquestioned belief systems and patterns of behavior. This article discusses the lure—and the dilemmas — of attempting to incorporate directly into one's life the raw creativity of a powerful and inspiring altered state, the challenges of reconciling such experiences with one's existing mythology, and it presents a framework for facilitating such a reconciliation.

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