The mystical nature of a psychedelic experience has a lot to do with the set, setting, intention, and dosage. Researchers have developed ways to measure the impact of psychedelics based on whether an experience was deemed mystical.
There is a correlation between mystical experiences and positive outcomes post-psychedelic treatment. Research has shown that the degree of relief from anxiety and depression post-psychedelic treatment, for example, is directly related to how mystical the experience felt according to a follow up questionnaire called the Mystical Experience Questionnaire. In other words, the more mystical an experience was reported as, the more relief patients felt from their anxiety and depression.
Walter Pahnke developed the Mystical Experience Questionnaire (MEQ), which allows researchers to understand the characteristically incomprehensible subjective experiences associated with psychedelics.
The MEQ includes questions centered around:
- Positive Mood – “feelings of peace and tranquility”
- Transcendence of Time and Space – “sense of being ‘outside of’ time, beyond past and future”
- Ineffability – “sense that the experience cannot be described adequately in words”
Within Mysticism, there is:
- Internal Unity – “experience of oneness in relation to an ‘inner world’ within”
- External Unity – “awareness of the life or living presence in all things”
- Noetic Quality – “gain of insightful knowledge experienced at an intuitive level”
- Sacredness – “sense of being at a spiritual height”
When taking part in the MEQ, participants rate their experience on a scale of 0-5 for each question, 0 = none; not at all; 1 = so slight cannot decide; 2 = slight; 3 = moderate; 4 = strong (equivalent in degree to any other strong experience); 5 = extreme (more than any other time in my life and stronger than 4).
This can be a helpful tool to incorporate after taking a deeper journey, or macrodose, as a way of integrating your experience with psilocybin. Below is the questionnaire – we recommend sitting down in a comfortable, safe space, getting cozy, lighting a candle or incense and practicing a meditation or breathwork to ground before beginning.
Factor 1: Mystical
- Freedom from the limitations of your personal self and feeling a unity or bond with what was felt to be greater than your personal self.
- Experience of pure being and pure awareness (beyond the world of sense impressions).
- Experience of oneness in relation to an “inner world” within.
- Experience of the fusion of your personal self into a larger whole.
- Experience of unity with ultimate reality.
- Feeling that you experienced eternity or infinity.
Experience of oneness or unity with objects and/or persons perceived in your surroundings.
- Experience of the insight that “all is One”.
- Awareness of the life or living presence in all things.
- Gain of insightful knowledge experienced at an intuitive level.
- Certainty of encounter with ultimate reality (in the sense of being able to “know” and “see” what is really real at some point during your experience.
- You are convinced now, as you look back on your experience, that in it you encountered ultimate reality (i.e., that you “knew” and “saw” what was really real).
- Sense of being at a spiritual height.
- Sense of reverence.
- Feeling that you experienced something profoundly sacred and holy.
Factor 2: Positive Mood
- Experience of amazement.
- Feelings of tenderness and gentleness.
- Feelings of peace and tranquility.
- Experience of ecstasy.
- Sense of awe or awesomeness.
- Feelings of joy.
Factor 3: Transcendence of Time and Space
- Loss of your usual sense of time.
- Loss of your usual sense of space.
- Loss of usual awareness of where you were.
- Sense of being “outside of” time, beyond past and future.
- Being in a realm with no space boundaries.
- Experience of timelessness.
Factor 4: Ineffability
- Sense that the experience cannot be described adequately in words.
- Feeling that you could not do justice to your experience by describing it in words.
- Feeling that it would be difficult to communicate your own experience to others who have not had similar experiences.
If you’re looking for more resources around macrodosing, you can take a look at our Macrodosing Guide here or our Macrodosing 101 page. Finally, if you have a mystical experience of your own to share (or want to read others), our Dear Sero page was created just for this.