Larry Mullins

March 28, 2010

Peak Experiences that Change Lives … Yours may be Next

In Abraham Maslow’s studies of Self-Actualizing people, nearly all of them reported sudden, unexpected moments of overwhelming joy, the legendary Peak Experience. However, though we rarely if ever talk about them, virtually all of us have had Peak Experiences. The precious moments of transcendence are so intimate, so personal, that we are not inclined to share them with anyone. In fact, Maslow noted that a discussion of these highest states of consciousness seemed to embarrass most people, including Self-Actualizers. And yet, for a fortunate few people (including Maslow himself), a particular Peak Experience was a life-changing experience. It was as though the curtains of material reality parted, and revealed another reality. This Peak Experience permanently altered their world view. For most of us, however, Peak Experiences come and go and become faint memories. We may even suppress them.
What makes the difference? In a recent ezine article, I tell the story of my own transforming experience. I note in that article that those magnificent moments of vivid transcendence soon began to fade, and I was left with only a memory. The cold world of material reality began to intrude. Briefly here, I can tell you that I came to eventually learn that this fading reality is experienced by even the highest and most noble Self-Actualizers. This by no means indicates the Peak Experience was not real. It rather indicates that what we are occasionally able to see is a reality that has not yet been made manifest. It is the domain of what is not yet real, but ought to be. Material reality is the domain of science, the domain of fact, the domain of what is. Peak Experience reality is the domain of the visionary, the domain of what ought to be.
I came to understand that most of us fear the Peak Experience. Self-Actualizers somehow embrace it. The fading glory of their particular Peak Experience does not disturb them because they are able to live their unfinished lives as though they are able to see what others have not yet seen. They have been chosen by a great ought-to-be. And they have yielded to it and in surrendering to it they have been lifted. They belong to it. There is no higher calling for any of us than this.
LARRY MULLINS

March 6, 2010

Beyond the cults of self-improvement

Abraham Maslow has been unjustly blamed by some for fostering a “me generation” of ego-centered narcissism. Reasonable examination of Maslow’s ideas will show little correlation to the fads of “self-development” that are centered around ego-embellishment. These cults seem to form around gurus, or ultra-energetic motivators who leap upon a stage and assure their adoring flock that they, too, can be “great.” It is professed that if one can only become fearless enough, free enough, brilliant enough, and can visualize success vividly enough, one can find happiness. The facts of life do not support this notion.
The failure of the “ME” philosophy has now become as obvious as the insolvency of the Freudian “ethic.” Yet, in the face of our disillusioning role models, unhappy celebrities, and the continuous unraveling of the lives of rich and famous personalities, many aggressive would-be “achievers” persevere in worshiping the gods of power, narcissism, and fame — and to “keep score” with money and material possessions.
The new and everlasting philosophy of noble values, what Maslow called Being values or Metavalues, is different. It embraces full use of your powers along the lines of Integrity, Caring and Excellence. It is based upon the classic triad of values, Truth, Goodness and Beauty. In The MetaValues Breakthrough, I describe how Truth in action is observed as Integrity, Goodness in action as Caring, and Beauty in action as Excellence. Self-actualizers become conscious and passionate channels for these supreme values.