How Psychedelics Can Be a Path to Transformation
Continued from previous page
Within the Transcendent Transpersonal State, a multiplicity of experiences and views will arise. They are generally not pre-programmable, but they have some degree of specificity depending on the substance ingested (different substances tend to produce a quality of experience specific to those substances) and to the user's state of mind. I will mention a few by description that I class as "Vistas." This is certainly not meant to be exhaustive.
- The Sensual Universe Vista: Traveling through space as on a rocket ship, or being that rocket ship, I encounter extraordinary forms and shapes. Neon-colored blazing fractal worlds open. Forms emerge: animals, beings from other galaxies, lovers, and forgotten friends. I morph to meet them, and my morphing morphs. I am eaten and eat, am absorbed and absorb. Sexual encounters may occur. Love spills everywhere. Or fear brings on its own forms and monsters. Psychological themes come from my everyday life and are given forms, often allowing for a working through of trapped emotional energies. There is a sense of great exploration and great bliss, and at other times of the terror of being alive and vulnerable.
- The Entheogenic Vista: A personal experience of god(s), or a relationship to the personally held notion of god that deepens, may occur. A sense of traveling in the starry cosmos freed from all constraint may occur, of being part of a perceived universe. Buddhists are told that they have, as do all sentient beings, "Buddha Nature." In the psychedelic realm, I became the Buddha and felt that meaning and that responsibility. I moved about as the Buddha. I have tried to maintain that sense of awesome responsibility in my usual unenhanced state, to varying depth and effect -- it is difficult. At other times, there can be the sense of the devil within, of the play of evil and the hunter/murderer, which we also contain and constrain. In mind traveling, there is no risk in exploring this aspect of us, knowing and accepting what we are capable of and explicitly reject.
- The Connection Vista: The experience of connection and interdependency gives rise to feelings of gratitude, love, humility, and desire to benefit others. Our personal lifeline extends backward through a near infinite unbroken number of progenitors to the unformed stuff of the great earthly soup from which the first life forms emerge and forward to the future, as well. I have felt myself to be, much as a mushroom sprouts from the great mycelial mass, its myriad threads stretching underground in all directions, sprouting beings who as their time ends return to the rich mulch while new sprouts -- humans -- emerge. There is a sense of vibrant biological immortality. Or in contrast, a sense of the human mass as itself a cancer, having all of those characteristics -- unrestrained expansionism, proliferation in all directions, and lack of concern for others' needs and requirements -- and eating everything in its path, out of control. There is also the sense of group mind, the experience of sensation outside the confines of the personal body/mind, in resonance with the others with whom one is traveling as a new assemblage in which the mind is intrapersonal.
- The Cartesian Vista: I am the source of all that I experience. I create it. The outside realm -- all of it -- is a manifestation of my mind. This passes before me as I scan all of my creations, from scientific texts to great vistas to my friends and my partner. I am the author of life and death. Moving about within this perspective, I am able to revise what exists and what will be, for a time, until I am drawn back to the usual perspective of subject and object. This Cartesian experience, while one of false consciousness, increases the sensitivity to the difficulty of being by nature an interpreter removed from direct experience with only a mediated awareness of the external, and a personal awareness of the interior. While in this inflated state, I am god and master of the universe, prophet, seer, and enlightened being. And then there is the crash, and hopefully great humility.