John van Ruysbroeck’s “First Vision” Accounts

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John van Ruysbroeck (1293-1381)

John van Ruysbroeck (1293-1381) was a Flemish mystic and writer. He was raised in the Catholic faith, becoming a priest. He is now venerated in the Catholic Church. He was beatified in 1903 by Pope Pius X.

The following quote comes from his treatise The Sparkling Stone. Another well-known modern mystic, Evelyn Underhill, described this passage thus: “The old Mystic, sitting under his friendly tree, seems here to be gazing at, and reporting to us the final secrets of that Eternal World.” Continue reading “John van Ruysbroeck’s “First Vision” Accounts”

Sam Harris talks with Michael Pollan about Psychedelics and Mystical-Spiritual Experience

This morning I listened to a podcast conversation between neuroscientist and philosopher Sam Harris and bestselling journalist and author Michael Pollan about Pollan’s new book How to Change Your Mind: What the New Science of Psychedelics Teaches Us About Consciousness, Dying, Addiction, Depression, and Transcendence. I reviewed Pollan’s latest work recently here. Continue reading “Sam Harris talks with Michael Pollan about Psychedelics and Mystical-Spiritual Experience”

Saint Teresa of Ávila’s “First Vision” Accounts

Saint Teresa of Ávila, by Peter Paul Rubens, 1615.
Saint Teresa of Ávila, by Peter Paul Rubens, c. 1615. (click to see the full painting)

Saint Teresa of Ávila (1515-1582) was a Spanish mystic, Carmelite nun, and was canonized a Roman Catholic saint by Pope Gregory XV.

In her penetrating autobiography, The Life of St. Teresa of Jesus, she describes many of her ecstatic visions of the Divine, which should ring many bells for Latter-day Saints.

Here are a few selections, beginning with a vision of hell: Continue reading “Saint Teresa of Ávila’s “First Vision” Accounts”

Nancy Clark’s “First Vision” Accounts

Nancy Clark
Nancy Clark (b. 1941)

Nancy Clark worked as a cancer researcher and cytology instructor at Ohio State University for many years, until her retirement. She is the founder of the Columbus Ohio branch of the International Association for Near-Death Studies, Inc. (IANDS). She is also the author of several books on spirituality, detailing her spiritual experiences and insights.

In 1979, at about the age of 38, she had an experience while giving a eulogy at the funeral of a friend that forever changed her life. She later called it a “near-death-like” experience, being similar to many NDEs (including one she had earlier in life), but she was not near death at all. She describes it in one place like this: Continue reading “Nancy Clark’s “First Vision” Accounts”