An enigma of quintessential states is that only the essence of the experience is available for recall, and very little of the actual transcendent knowledge can be brought back to consciousness from unconscious memory.37...There are meditation techniques, however, which can bring back in bits and pieces some of the higher-order concepts that are synthesized during a quintessential experience. Again, this is how the concepts contained within the Integrated Theory of Intelligence were eventually reconstructed. It took many months of periodically induced meditative states to retrieve the higher-order constructs gained during one "peak" or quintessential experience. One is still left with the perception that only a small part of the experience was ever actually retrieved.
The question has been raised as to whether mystical or quintessential states are accidental or contrived by desire, teaching or by some other unknown activities of mind.38...Although there is simply no question that they can occur accidentally or through some unknown activity of mind, once a person has had the experience of one there are ways in which the state of transcendence can be re-experienced, if not at a peak level, at least at a mini-peak level.
The amnesia related to my one peak experience, as I lived it, began soon after its completion and seemed to progress exponentially over the next several days. My recall remained quite acute for several hours but at the end of 24 hours had dulled considerably. Several days out it was mostly gone. One of the biggest disappointments of my life was realizing that the transcendent experience was only transient and that the knowledge gained was evaporating. Losing the state of complete peacefulness and euphoria that I experienced was very disappointing, but the rapid onset of amnesia of the event was the greatest disappointment of all. I was not astute enough to capture any of the experience in recorded form immediately after it happened, nor would time have permitted me to do so anyway. Even if I had tried, there was still no verbal description which could have begun to capture the essence of the event.
Nevertheless, the impression of the experience upon my mind was so completely awesome that there has never been any doubt about its happening. A small part of the memory is permanently embedded and is recalled to consciousness many times each day. A much greater part of the experience is apparently recorded in my unconscious and has been partially recalled over time with effort. The one thing which dulls the disappointment of the loss of the transcendent experience is the excitement generated by the knowledge that I have been able to retrieve some of the information that might have been completely lost to my consciousness. Another excitement generated is the implication of the retrieval event. If it is possible for one person to retrieve information gained during a transcendent experience, then others can do it also. I believe that this definitely and unquestionably provides a way to obtain new knowledge and higher-order understanding of our reality.
The remarkable synthesis and experience of abstract, complex, quintessential ideas illustrates the tremendous capacity of mind to reorganize information and so evolve higher-order concepts and fundamental truths that ordinarily are beyond conceptualization.39
Barbara Brown's description of the quintessential experience is essentially the same as Abraham Maslow's description of the peak experience and would include the following, most of which are shared by those who have had such experiences:
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