I found this story in Extraordinary Knowing fascinating beyond normal.
Freud believed that all mystical and religious feelings were just an infantile illusion – an unsavory and unhealthy attempt to return to the womb.
The feeling of spaciousness, eternity, connectedness with all that is, love, unboundedness, presence, or whatever you want to call it is central to all spiritual teachings as well as meditation, mindfulness practices, and yoga.
Freud, according to himself, was not able to experience this, which is why he dismissed it as infantile and pathological. A view that has heavily colored our collective perception within the western society ever since.
But here’s where it gets interesting. At some point, the author of the book, Libby Mayer, visits London, where she’s – completely by chance (or synchronicity) – invited to tea with a couple old ladies who actually knew “the Freuds” and used to socialize with them.
They recalled how Freud was always very cordial but that whenever the music would start, he’d always slip away.
And here’s the killer: The reason he slipped away as that “it transported him more than he enjoyed […] he preferred to be more controlled in his feeling.”
So basically our entire western hemisphere has been on the wrong track, “officially” stigmatizing and pathologizing feelings that a huge number of people have regularly, that are completely normal, and which are possibly even a sign that these people are more healthy than people who don’t have these feelings – basically because Freud was afraid of his own emotions.
Wow, what a detour! Culture is a fascinating beast! :)