Posted by Teapots Happen

mystical experience

There is something I’ve always tended to gloss over in this whole “teapot” business. I always meant to come back to it soon and talk about it, but it just kept on not happening:

The mystical experience that I had on Tomales Point was a vital element of the “teapots synchronicity” that really shook up my paradigm – in that it left me with a lingering faith in following intuition as a valuable guide to experiencing and navigating reality – and following intuition directly led me to buy the first teapot, later that week.


this is my face on mystical experiencin'


The mystical (or “peak”) experience is hardly mentioned in the original version of the story, and gets only a passing mention in the version on this site.

“Over the course of the 10-mile hike, on the way away from civilization, among herds of wild elk, with cliffs to the sea on either side, buffeted by LSD, sunshine, and salty wind, the hike quickly took on deeply spiritual overtones and became a “Pilgrimage.” By the time we reached the point, I was experiencing a full-blown “mystical experience,” as all distinctions between all things dissolved. My normal, limited perception of time, the boundaries between self and the universe, between “out there” reality and “in here” consciousness – it all was stripped away, leaving me awestruck at the infinitely connected Oneness of all things. It sounds hippy-dippy, I know, but it felt more real than anything I have ever experienced, and there was simply no way to deny it.”

There were a few reasons that I never really delved into the “mystical experience” element of my experience.

When the memory was still fresh, I was still accustomed to the mindsets and languages of hyper-rational reductionism and sneering punk rock. For months, years even, I had significant trouble even talking about “meaningful coincidence” – so holding forth about the “mystical experience” I’d had was simply out of the question. And even once I got over some of my old hang-ups, I tended to gloss over the mystical experience. For once thing, I’d been on acid at the time, which makes it quite easy and obvious for any so-inclined person to dismiss the entire experience out of hand – “you were on drugs. Nothing to see here, move along.”

Additionally, there is a common element of mystical experiences known as “ineffability”:



William James considered ineffability to be one of the 2 major characteristics of mystical experiences (along with their “noetic” quality – meaning that they are experienced as states of authoritative insight – as significant illuminations, as important revelations).

Needless to say, it’s rather difficult to convey ineffable experiences.

I’m still unable to try – whenever I start to try to explain, the bits I CAN write down seem so inadequate, so paltry, that I give up the effort, again and again.


I can’t explain it, perhaps, but I can say this – it’s WHY the teapots happened, to the best of my understanding. The staggering coincidence of the teapots, found by following intuition that was my “take away” from a mystical experience – it served to confirm the validity of that experience, and the insights that it contained. I knew even as I was having my mystical experience that my normal mind would not be willing or able to really grasp the power and truth of my vision in that state. But the teapots at least let me know it’s nothing I can or should dismiss.

Teapots happen, because there is something very weird and very wonderful about this reality.

It’s indistinguishable from magic, even though most of us do not see it as such for the vast majority of our lives.







“The Imprisoned Splendor” on Mystical Experiences:

Can an Atheist Have a Mystical Experience? – Ian Robinson

Mysticism and the Mystical Experience – Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy

Scientists show Hallucinogen in Mushrooms Creates Universal Mystical Experience – Johns Hopkins University

Mystical Experiences Occasioned by Hallucinogen Lead to Increases in the Personality Domain of Openness – Johns Hopkins University

Psychedelics and Religious Experience – Alan Watts

The Psychedelic Mystical Experience in the Human Encounter With Death – Walter Pahnke




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