Spiritual Experiences According to Ariel Term Paper

Excerpt from Term Paper :



Today, self-inflicted pain is generally interpreted as a form of psychopathology, but within the mystical context, "pain unmakes the profane world with its corporeal attachments and leads the mystics away from the body to self-transcendence," thus pain and discipline elevates the individual into a world of deeper human community (Post). According to Glucklich, pain is even blotted out via a process in the brain known as gate-control that significantly alters biochemistry and consciousness, therefore "intentionally painful manipulations of the body could lead to states of self-transcendence or effacement" (Post).

Glucklich believes that today's society has lost the capacity to understand why and how pain could be valuable for mystics and members of religious communities, and even for humanity as a whole (Post). Historians of religion have long acknowledged the ubiquitous presence of intentionally painful rituals and practices, and have used this awareness as a key to understanding religious experiences (Post). For society at large, acts such as the "excruciating rites of passage among Native Americans, or the Muslim who walks for weeks on pilgrimage to Mecca with bloodied bare feet," runs against what is considered normal and healthy (Post). The tendency to pathologize such actions is well documented, and Glucklich agrees that the line between religious experience and psychopathology can be a bit vague, however by appreciating the sacred pain in the religions of the world and acknowledging the insights of neuroscientific approaches to understanding pain, it is important to remain objective to the role of pain for the individual as well as for society as a whole (Post).

By believing that freedom from all pain and discomfort is the only acceptable way to live has made society less sensitive to the reality that many individuals live with chronic pain, and less likely to accept the fact that painful lives can be good lives as well (Post). Society has become less capable of coping and dealing creatively with the physical and psychological experiences of pain that are coeval with the frailties of human existence (Post).

Works Cited

Hansen, Suzy. "Sacred Pain." Retrieved December 12, 2006 at http://archive.salon.com/books/int/2001/11/26/glucklich/index.html?source=rss

Pazola, Ron. "Sacred ground: what Native Americans believe." U.S. Catholic.

February 1, 1994. Retrieved December 12, 2006 from HighBeam Research Library.

Post, Stephen G. "Sacred Pain: Hurting the Body for the Sake of the Soul." First Things:

Monthly Journal of Religion and Public Life. March 1, 2002. Retrieved December 12, 2006 from HighBeam Research Library.

Simeone, Lisa. "Analysis: Lessons for pain sufferers gleaned from the use of pain to reach religious enlightenment." Weekend Edition: National Public Radio. February 2, 2002. Retrieved December 12, 2006 from HighBeam…

Sources Used in Document:

Works Cited

Hansen, Suzy. "Sacred Pain." Retrieved December 12, 2006 at http://archive.salon.com/books/int/2001/11/26/glucklich/index.html?source=rss

Pazola, Ron. "Sacred ground: what Native Americans believe." U.S. Catholic.

February 1, 1994. Retrieved December 12, 2006 from HighBeam Research Library.

Post, Stephen G. "Sacred Pain: Hurting the Body for the Sake of the Soul." First Things:

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