shopping cart
nothing in cart
browse by subject
new releases
best sellers
sale books
browse by author
browse by publisher
about us
upcoming events
Oct 21st - Suicide Bereavement Clinician Training Program [SOS Workshops]
Oct 21st - Helping Families Heal:Addressing and Treating Trauma in Children, Youth and Families [SickKids CCMH Learning Institute]
Oct 21st - Psychotherapy at a Crossroads: The Promise of Psychedelics and Plant Medicines [Leading Edge Seminars]
Oct 21st - 5-Session Clinical Extension Program: Practice Makes Perfect Establishing a Successful Private Practice [Canadian Institute for Child & Adolescent Psychoanalytic Psychotherapy (CICAPP)]
Oct 22nd - When Death Darkens the Door: Supporting bereaved children and youth [SickKids CCMH Learning Institute]
schools agencies and other institutional orders (click here)
Mystical Moments and Unitive Thinking
Merkur, Daniel
SUNY Press (State University of New York) / Softcover / 1999-02-01 / 0791440648
Psychoanalysis and Religion / Toronto Authors
price: $34.95 (may be subject to change)
188 pages
Not in stock - available within 4 weeks.

Provides an alternative to the traditional psychoanalytic explanation of mystical experience by viewing unitive thinking as a line of cognitive development and mystical moments as creative inspirations on unitive ideas.

"This is the mature work of an anthropologist of mysticism who knows mysticism from the inside as well. He courageously carves out of reductionist Freudianism a non-reductionistic understanding of mystical experiences. At the same time he deepens our understanding of the variety of religious experiences, refusing to blend them all into a single 'oceanic experience.' His grasp of a wide variety of different traditions and practices is breathtaking. There are many books on mysticism, but none that does what this book does." -- Walter Wink, Auburn Theological Seminary

Merkur proposes an alternative to the traditional psychoanalytic explanation of mystical experiences as regression to the solipsism of earliest infancy. He does this by viewing unitive thinking as a line of cognitive development, and mystical moments as creative inspirations on unitive topics. Utilizing classical self-reports by Christian, Jewish, and Muslim mystics, Patanjali's Yoga Sutras, and modern Western peak experiences, Merkur argues that experiences of mystical union are manifestations of a broader category of psychological processes that manifest in scientific and moral thought, as well as in mysticism. Unconscious as well as conscious, unitive thinking is sometimes realistic and sometimes fantastic, in patterns that are consistent with cognitive development in general. Mystical moments of unitive thinking may be considered moments of creative inspiration that happen to make use of unitive ideas. Building on the psychoanalytic object-relations theory that the self is always in relationship with an object, Merkur argues that the solipsism of some varieties of mystical union always implies unconscious ideas of a love object who is transcendent. --from the publisher

Dan Merkur, Ph.D., is Research Reader in the Centre for the Study of Religion at the University of Toronto and a member of the Adjunct Faculty at the Psychocultural Institute, Toronto. He is the author of several other books, including two published by SUNY Press, Gnosis: An Esoteric Tradition of Mystical Visions and Unions and The Ecstatic Imagination: Psychedelic Experiences and the Psychoanalysis of Self-Actualization.

Table Of Contents:



1. Some Varieties of Mystical Union

2. Unitive Experience and Unitive Thinking

3. A Theory of Unitive Experiences

4. Unity, the Transcendent, and Death

5. Unity as Metaphor

6. Euphoria and Desolation

7. The Integration of Spirituality

8. The Meaning of Miracles

9. A Theory of Revelation

Books Cited


Caversham Booksellers
98 Harbord St, Toronto, ON M5S 1G6 Canada
(click for map and directions)
All prices in $cdn
Copyright 2019

Phone toll-free (800) 361-6120
Tel (416) 944-0962 | Fax (416) 944-0963
Hours: 9-6 M-W / 9-7 Th-F / 10-6 Sat / 12-5 Sun EST

Click here to read previous issues.
related events
IARPP Conference List
The Continuum of Madness, with Special Attention t
TICP Members' Publications
Working with the Third in Mind: Finding the Third
Merkur, Daniel
other lists
Canadian Authors
Canadian Authors in Psychoanalysis
Psychoanalysis and Religion
SUNY Press
Toronto Authors
Toronto authors in psychoanalysis
University Presses