To understand the depth of religion, one needs firsthand experience. It can be done with meditation. It can be done with sensory deprivation. It can be done a number of ways. But I think the psychedelic path is sometimes the easiest way, and it does not require the long time that other approaches usually require.
Psychedelic research has slowly returned to the mainstream, with university scientists and nonprofits introducing a sober, clinical approach. In the process we are recognizing how psychedelics can form new connections in the brain and introduce new perspectives, helping patients overcome addiction, anxiety, depression, and PTSD.
A mystical experience in clinical terms is defined by feelings of internal and external unity, transcendence of space and time, ineffability and paradoxicality, sense of sacredness, sense of ultimate reality, and deeply felt positive mood. This matches the descriptions given by saints and mystics over millennia.
Reduced craving scores in cigarette smokers are correlated with the magnitude of the mystical experience: the higher the mystical experience, the fewer cravings. In cancer patients, the higher the mystical experience score, the less anxiety and depression they are likely to report.
The universe is imbued with whatever fundamental stuff, call it God if you want, or subatomic quantum mechanics, but it is this sense that the World is not dualistic, but one whole thing. Then it becomes reasonable that matter would have in it a source or ‘magic’ essence that initiates healing.