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A brief survey of drug use and other activities preceding mystical-religious experiences

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Abstract

Many people report having had mystical-religious experiences. The prevalence of these experiences has increased over time, which suggests changing cultural factors may contribute the experience. I conducted an online survey of 6,209 adults to determine how common different activities, including drug use, were before the onset of a mystical-religious experience. 19.6% (1,045) reported having had a mystical-religious experience and were asked a follow-up question on their activities before the experience. The most commonly endorsed pre-onset activity categories were: Prayer, meditation, or contemplation (37.2%); Being outdoors in nature (19.6%); and Religious ceremony, practice, or ritual (16.1%). Less commonly, respondents reported fasting (5.7%) or drug use (4.7%). A large percent (35.2%) reported not engaging in any of these activities before their experiences. Psychoactive drugs and nature are precedents to mystical-religious experience that are not selectively associated with traditional religious institutions and deserve additional study.

Baggott MJ. (2015) A brief survey of drug use and other activities preceding mystical-religious experiences Available at: https://github.com/mattbaggott/mysticalsurvey/blob/master/results/Baggott%20mystical%20survey%20March2015.pdf.
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