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The Ecstatic Adventure

  Reports of Chemical Explorations of the Inner World

    Chapter 24 — Other Worlds, Other Times

      by KEN GREEN

MOST PEOPLE READING this extraordinary account by a twenty-year-old college "dropout" will not believe it. Or they will dismiss it as "nothing but" the hallucinations of a drugderanged mind. In either of these ways we can protect ourselves from data which threaten the integrity of our "rational" or "scientific" view of reality.
    However, even cursory acquaintance with so-called occult literature—that is, the literature concerning those domains of knowledge which science refuses to discuss—can convince anyone that out-of-the-body experiences are not infrequent and have been much discussed. Theosophical doctrines teach that man has at least three bodies, not one, each one having a different material density, and each one operating on a different level of energy consciousness, a different "world," as it is expressed. We quote from Lewis Spence's 1920 Encyclopedia of Occultism:

[The astral world], the second lowest of the seven worlds, is the world of emotions, desires, and passions. Into it man passes at physical death.... The appropriate body is the astral, which though composed of matter as is the physical, is nevertheless of a texture vastly finer than the latter. Though it is in its aspect of the after-death abode that this world is of most importance and most interest, it may be said in passing, that even during physical life, mannot only clairvoyants who attain it easily, but also ordinary men—may and does temporarily inhabit it. This happens during sleep, or by reason of the action of anaesthetics or drugs, or accidents, and the interpenetrating astral body then leaves its denser physical neighbor, and taking with it the sense of pleasure and pain, lives for a short time in its own world.

    Out of the planetary or physical body also means out of planetary time—so the voyager in this realm reviews past and future incarnations as if they were present. The Einsteinian picture of the universe has told us that time is relative, that it is a function of the point of view; as the point of view changes, so time changes. Each "world" has its own time, perhaps. Whatever the ontological status of experiences of this sort, it is only by considering them without preconceived ideas, as observations repeatable in principle by others, that we can ever actually hope to understand these phenomena better.
    The entry into this particular experience is through kundalini yoga, through the postures and breathing exercises devised thousands of years ago by Hindu students of consciousness. The exit also from the hell-trip is by means of the yogic technique of mantra, the invocation of certain sound syllables given the disciple by the guru, or teacher. Through daily repetition, the mantra becomes charged with powerful evocative force, which can then serve a very real function in a time of fear and confusion. The mantra centers and harmonizes the various patterns of vibrations existing in the body at any given time, which had in this instance been violently disorganized through fear. The vision of the guru making with his right hand the sacred gesture "fear not" brings about the final release from the grip of terror.
    According to occult teachings, one of the dangers of "astral projection," voluntary or involuntary, is said to be the possibility that while the physical body is unoccupied, so to speak, it may be "taken over" by lower-level spirits who want to acquire a physical body for various, usually nefarious purposes of their own. To quote Spence's Encyclopedia again, "it may in passing be noted that disembodied mankind are not the only inhabitants of the astral world, for very many of its inhabitants are of an altogether nonhuman naturelower orders of the devas or angels, and nature-spirits or elementals, both good and bad, such including fairies which are just beyond the powers of human vision, and the demons present to the vision of delirium tremens." (p. 42)
    Again, these are "interpretations" which happen to derive from certain theosophical teachings. Other explanations are doubtless possible. Hindu psychology has its own terminology for describing these areas; so does Buddhism. Another approach would be to consider whether this experience might not be the reliving of a physical birth trauma, in which the right side of the body was perhaps painfully squeezed or pinched—the visions of the crippled beggar, of Mordor and his bands of demons being hallucinatory overlays.
    At the highest (or deepest) level, of course, all these visions are projections of the mind, both the fearful and the pleasant; the monsters and fairies are embodiments of psychic currents and impulses. This is the great liberating realization, if one can hold fast to it. At that level, however, our ordinary everyday world is but a dream also, and when you're in the dream, the dream is real. This is why the great liberating path is so easy and so difficult. I told myself that all came from my mind—yet they were as real or as unreal as our world." The only way out of such a vicious cycle is up. The mantra tunes you up, to higher frequencies. So does the guru. So can breathing, meditative centering, the band of a friend, nature.
    A final word should be said about the particular psychedelic chemical which triggered this experience. STP is a drug which began to be distributed in the psychedelic black market (or should one call it the purple market, since it was given, not sold) early in 1967. It is in its effects not unlike LSD, differing primarily in the length of the experience (16-20 hours, as opposed to 8-10) and in the person's access to normal functioning energy. Chemically, it is a relative of mescaline. "STP" is a code designation designed to confuse. The underground alchemists have by now developed several dozen psychedelic chemicals unknown to orthodox chemists. Their research is by and large not motivated by profit; they tend to be dedicated, spiritually oriented individuals.
    STP is (still) legal. Perhaps the ridiculousness of this situation will hasten the realization by legislators that "prohibition" is not the realistic answer to the problem of the social control of drugs used for religious-spiritual purposes.

AFTER TWO TO THREE years of experimenting with psychedelic agents, after taking over seventy LSD trips, I now can say that they had only opened me to the foothills of consciousness compared to the mountains I was to ascend on my STP trip.
    I prepared for the trip by fasting twenty-four hours prior to the ingestion of the STP. At 5:00 P.m. we (myself and a friend) took the STP and began a set of asanas (yoga postures) followed by pranayama (breathing exercises). A short time after ingestion I felt myself within what would be a strong LSD trip—colors—turning, spinning, undulating—energy engulfing me, sweeping me away, a sense of melting and merging. It was at the point of finishing some deep breathing and kapalabhati ("bellows breathing") that an unbelievable, overpowering force began to move up my spine. The kundalini was rising, and as it moved, the world stood still, the gods held their breath—faster, picking up more speed, more power. It was as if a hundred thousand celestial fireballs were exploding up my back. Mount Meru (the spinal column) was erupting its ecstatic lava. Craaaaack—out through my neck—the bubble broke, the cosmos burst apart, the doors were cracked open—my mind collapsed, everything stopped. Buzzzzz timeless—outer limits, no limits. I saw my body below me in a meditative posture. I was no longer in it. I was able to move around the room at will anywhere. Buzzzzz timeless, I left the planet and was traveling through space. Flying saucers were coming at me. Out of the blackness, disc-shaped forms, silver with glowing red tops, were speeding toward me. Buzzzzz. Gates ahead, huge bronze ornately decorated, slowly opened. Two guards stood by peering At me in a halfwelcome, half-warning glance. Flash! Multilevel awareness. I tuned in to many, many other levels of consciousness; nerve cells sending messages to heart, liver—psychic nervous system unbelievably complicated. Buzzzzz—I slowly moved through the gates to come upon more gates. Much bigger; they seemed many miles (or light-years?) high. They were designed with an infinite variety of archetypal figures. They slowly opened. I passed through. Buzzzzzzz-timeless-no-time-all-time, I was master of time. I was able to stop time, move backwards or forwards in time. I traveled through my childhood, flashed into past lives, speeding through incarnation after incarnation—hundreds, thousands. Languages I have never learned in this lifetime came to my memory consciousness: Yiddish, African (?), Japanese, Russian, other-worlds—I was able to understand them, to decode them. As the language changed, the vision changed. The word manifested the form. I was able to silently say a word or phrase, listen to it, stop it, play it backwards, replay, shuffle the words. Buzzzzzz—I move forward into future incarnations—angels leading me—trees, fruits, mountains, rivers sprang up—I was transformed from one god to another, moving up the hierarchy of consciousness. I was idealized beauty; I was Bacchus at a Bacchanal. A tiredness fell over me and I slept for many ages, dreaming the story of Creation, Destruction and Equilibrium over and over. Each time with different actors, be they stars, giants, oceans, galaxies, but always the same theme—Death-Rebirth-Balance.
    I became intoxicated with the Now; all was awareness, choiceless, free, flowing. All matter showed itself to be the same as mind. Duality seemed to merge into bliss.
    Buzzzzz—falling, falling where was I? Middle Earth. Legends came to my consciousness, other worlds as real as our Own, playing out their stories, their karma. Mythic reality exists! We are mythic reality, we must learn to live it. Leprechauns, dwarfs, elves, hobbits, knights on horseback, fairies; all belong to the divine imagination of the self, to Maya. All is Maya, all is art.
    I was able to create galaxies at my command, build temples, change their color, have them melt and be reshaped into mountains. All this came as naturally as the power I have now of writing and talking. It was not that I had attained anything; it was as if I had just remembered something that I always had. Buzzzzz—My body—I felt a pain in the right side of my neck. As I began to acknowledge it, it grew more severe. It began to spread down my neck to my right arm and chest. Buzzzzz—I went flying through past incarnations again. Suddenly I was grasped and held unbelievably tight. I knew then that at some past lifetime I was a cripple, a beggar, and it was this being that was attempting to take over my body. My right band twisted, my whole right side was losing feeling, paralysis seemed to be setting in.
    Buzzzzz—Mordor had invaded. Witches, bats, spiders, hideous trolls, orcs, goblins, serpents—all seemed to be coming at me from all ends. I told myself that all came from my mind—yet they were as real or as unreal as our world. All part of the divine dream turned nightmare. It seemed all the energy of the cosmos was turned against me. I thought of the horror of the permanently paranoid—is this the hell they are stuck in? More deadly armies arrived. The black plague kept spreading. How does one fight these forces? Thinking only confused me. Confusion led to weakness; I must move out of the enemy's camp to locate myself in my left side. How? How? My mantra! I breathed deeply and began to chant. The sound rang out through the cosmos. Everything stopped. Again I pronounced the sacred syllables. The blackness began to break. The heavy clouds lifted. A blue mist rushed in, the sound echoed many hundreds of times. Light filled me, and from the distance a figure in saffron robes came to me—my guru. Swami Satchidananda appeared, he raised his right hand. I knew then that all was right; there was no need to fear, ever to fear.
    I felt my body once more. I was alive, pulsating; slowly I moved my consciousness, doing deep breathing, from my left to right side. Slowly my right side was revitalized. Cell by cell, light replaced the darkness. I was overwhelmed by the sheer bliss.
    The balance of the trip was gentle. The peak lasted about fourteen hours! I remained well into the high for two days, and now after eight days I still feel very, very expanded.
    STP has opened new vistas to my experience and has hinted at many other realms yet to be explored.

Om Shanti, Shanti, Shanti

    Chapter 25

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