Rudolf Otto and the Numinous

Arthur, modified 2 Years ago.

Rudolf Otto and the Numinous

Post: 1 Join Date: 5/31/19 Recent Posts
Hi everyone,

First of all I am not very familiar with the forum yet so apologies in advance if I've posted in the wrong place.

Anyway, for a long time I've been fascinated by a particular spiritual feeling, which I have experienced in an extremely powerful way although only occasionally. For many years I didn't know what to call it (nobody else talked about it) but I eventually came across a description by the Christian philosopher and theologian Rudolf Otto. He calls it "the numinous." Apologies as his description of it is a bit long, but it seems necessary to explain since I want to ask if this feeling appears in meditation. He writes:

"Let us consider the deepest and most fundamental element in all strong and sincerely felt religious emotion. Faith unto Salvation, Trust, Love -- all these are there. But over and above these is an element which may also on occasion, quite apart from them, profoundly affect us and occupy the mind with a wellnigh bewildering strength. [...] We are dealing with something for which there is only one appropriate expression: mysterium tremendum.The feeling of it may at times come sweeping like a gentle tide pervading the mind with a tranquil mood of deepest worship. It may pass over into a more set and lasting attitude of the soul, continuing, as it were, thrillingly vibrant and resonant, until at last it dies away and the soul resumes its “profane,” non-religious mood of everyday experience. [...] It has its crude, barbaric antecedents and early manifestations, and again it may be developed into something beautiful and pure and glorious. It may become the hushed, trembling, and speechless humility of the creature in the presence of—whom or what? In the presence of that which is a Mystery inexpressible and above all creatures."

So basically I am wondering, does this sound familiar as something people experience (or may experience) when they reach a higher level of meditation? Otto speaks in terms of a soul but I am not necessarily talking about anything supernatural -- just a psychological experience I have had. Any thoughts would be appreciated!