Heaven, so to speak, lies waiting for us through life, ready to step into for a
time and to enjoy before we have to come back to our ordinary life of striving.
And once we have been in it, we can remember it forever, and feed ourselves
on this memory and be sustained in times of stress.
—Abraham Maslow, Toward a Psychology of Being (1962)
After completing Motivation and Personality in 1954, Maslow turned his attention to a particular characteristic of self-actualizing people that long fascinated him. Many of the self-actualizing people he studied tended to sound like traditional mystics, describing unusual moments of heightened joy, serenity, beauty, or wonder. He was surprised, having begun his research under the impression that mystical experiences were rare, something that perhaps “happened to one saint every century.”
Instead, Maslow observed that peak experiences occurred in a wide range of people and seemed to have many triggers—whether an excellent athletic or music performance, creative experience, aesthetic perception, the love experience, sexual experience, childbirth, moments of insight and understanding, religious or mystical experience, or overcoming a profound challenge—“any experience that comes close to perfection.” What’s more, [Read more…] about Transcending Maslow’s famous “hierarchy of needs” through Maslow’s own research on Peak Experiences