Arthur J. Deikman has stated that the use of the word "illumination" as a metaphor for new insights gained during peak experience may not be just a metaphor. It is conceivable that there is an actual liberation of energy which is perceived or experienced as light during the peak experience, as the resolution of an unconscious conflict occurs, thus permitting the feeling of total peace and serenity. Liberated energy which could be experienced as light may be the core sensory experience of this altered state.44
Some of the features of a peak experience have feasible explanations based on currently known brain physiology. The perception of omniscience might be explained as follows. During a peak experience or other state of higher consciousness, the brain has access to a much greater amount of stored information and is processing and integrating both stored and incoming information in the unconscious mind at a higher rate than during ordinary consciousness. This more efficient and effective processing of information would appear to be the result of neurons working together in a more coordinated or coherent fashion through dendritic connections. This hypothesis is based on evidence that a more intelligent brain has more dendritic connections than a less intelligent one. It would seem that the more dendritic connections there are, the more information stored in the unconscious that can be processed and integrated per unit of time. One might speculate that more dendritic connections present between neurons allows for potentially higher states of consciousness. This in turn allows one to creatively achieve new higher-order levels of understanding on virtually any subject of one's choosing, and hence the perception of omniscience.
The higher level of understanding experienced during peak experience also results, at least in part, in the euphoric state. One's fears, guilt and other negative feelings are put into context and are better understood by the individual, thus relieving any associated anxieties. One is more capable of understanding any negative guilt-producing past behavior, thus becoming more able to forgive oneself, and thereby putting the difficulty to rest. Fears can also be understood and dealt with in similar fashion.
The perception of slowed time can be explained on the basis that fewer "time-related events" are being perceived by the conscious or unconscious. Our minds are focused inwardly, thereby effectively ignoring incoming stimuli. The fewer processed time- related incoming stimuli perceived by any individual, the greater the likelihood of time perception error in the direction of slowing.
The dissociation of thought from all bodily sensations would appear to reflect a shutdown of perception to most incoming sensory stimuli. This hypothetically could result in a freeing of neural circuits and/or a more efficient use of chemical mediators at the synaptic level, thus allowing the more effective processing of stored information. The feeling of detachment from the body can also be the result of the shutdown of perception to incoming stimuli. In essence the physical body is asleep. This loss of perception to incoming stimuli also allows for a greater focusing of attention because of the lack of competition from sensory organs that also require the use of neural circuits.
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