Mystical experience – White Cube experience

The three pillars of self, time and space all undergo profound transfiguration in a mystical experience.

There no longer is any separation between the self and what is not the self. Personal identity and all of existence become one and the same. In fact, there is no “personal identity” because we understand at the most basic level the underlying unity and interdependence of all existence.

Past, present and future merge together into a timeless moment, the now of eternity. Time stops, inasmuch as it no longer “passes.” There is existence, but it is not dependent upon time. Now and then, before and after, all combine into this exact point. On this relative level, short periods
of time encompass enormous amounts of experience.

As our self and time lose their boundaries, space becomes vast. Like time, space is no longer here or there but everywhere, limitless, without edges. Here and there are the same.

In this infinitely vast time and space with no limited self, we hold up to examination all contradictions and paradoxes and see they no longer conflict…We are now certain that consciousness continues after the body dies, and that it existed long before this particular form…Extraordinarily powerful feelings surge through our consciousness. We are ecstatic, and the intensity of this joy is such that our body cannot contain it – it seems to need a temporarily disembodied state… There is a searing sense of the sacred and holy. We contact an unchanging, unborn, undying, and uncreated reality…Our eyes now, finally are truly open, and we see things clearly in a “new light.” (Strassmann 2001: pp234-235)

This description of a mystical experience can be compared to the experience of contemplating art in the white cube. The sense of detachment from the body as the eye is welcome but our bodies feel awkward and out of sync with the environment which is detached from the influence of time and events beyond its walls. Artworks are presented as sacred items, a means to access the divine and reveal profound truths, and are designed to be contemplated in a reverential manner. The mystical experience accessed through chemical ingestion, Shamanic ritual or meditation, similar to the experience of art in the white cube can be seen to facilitate a sense of detachment between the mind (or eye in the white cube) and the body, but also between the body and the reality of time and place of the real world.


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