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The Ecstatic Adventure

  Reports of Chemical Explorations of the Inner World

    Chapter 7 — The Oneness in God, the Vision of Christ, the Crucifixion


THE AUTHOR OF the following report is an ordained minister in a Midwest Protestant parish, who took LSD with her counselor and guide in the context of psychotherapy which had been going on for about three years. A sincere and courageous woman, the experience took her through the heavens and hells of her own inner being. Beginning with the well-known pleasing visual changes, the journey then turns inward completely and goes through a hallucinatory phase, where fear shapes the images into threatening forms. Through light and fire the experience moves then into the highest state of complete unity and pure egoless energy. Consistent with the Judaeo-Christian background, the experience of primal oneness then modulates into a vision of the personal God. Christ reveals Himself to her as the divine spark or spirit within every man, the "connecting link" to God. The crucified Christ suffers because of the ego-centered distortions imposed upon Him by man's limited desires and perceptions. "An acute sense of my killing Him." The attempt to describe, to communicate, leads to re-entry, rebirth. It is significant, and this can be confirmed over and over again in an LSD session, that it is only after the person begins to return, begins to be reborn, that he becomes upset by death and dying. In the earlier phase, when he really is dead, merged with infinite oneness, there is no concern, only peace. Here, the ego has already partially revived, but the experienced world is still frighteningly different and strange. It is in this stage that there occur those seemingly endless struggles to regain familiar reality that seem so desperate and futile to an outside observer. Chance associations with traumatic childhood memories trigger off a sequence of loathing, shame and guilt, followed by the final act of faith and the return to peace.

STRONG SENSE OF weakness. Sense of vision affected, things not seen normally. Slight sense of dizziness. Was in touch with the outer world completely, but it had a penetrating significance. Not aware of the inner world.
    Then, walking was unsteady, as though drunk from alcohol, but no mental confusion. Felt clear-headed and responsible. Some restlessness and apprehension.
    Magnificent optical display when eyes closed. Beautiful, constantly moving patterns of colors. Definite geometric designs. Lovely, pleasant and enjoyable.
    Psychotic phase. Forms became immense machines, steel structures. Images in previous phase gradually became more dynamic, energized, more threatening—bigger and more definite forms, losing their color. The steel-machine world filled the whole of the inner world—vast, metallic machines that moved faster and faster. Contact with the outside world lost completely.
    Strong sense of insanity. Intense, clear awareness of shifting realities, all within. All contact with outer world gone. Lost in shifting, treacherous images of dark, foreboding worlds. Fear was impending. I tried to describe these shifting realities to my guide. I told him several times, "This is insanity... this is what insanity is, shifting, threatening worlds." Fear slight.
    Vastness. Incredible luminescent light. A different, radiant quality here, never seen before. Filled all space. Exquisite. Beyond description. Unforgettable. Magnificent power—friendly power.
    Then moments of flames of fire. Indestructible fire. Like Moses' unconsumed burning bush. I could have walked through these friendly flames unharmed. Magnificent light.
    Oneness. All one. In-Godness. Indescribable. Utmost. Emotionless. No self. No sensations. Self was within and without. Time gone. Space gone. Nowhere, but infinitely everywhere. No time, but eternally now. Vast oneness. In-God. Lost but found. Full space. Nothing seen or heard or touched or felt. There. No within or without but all one. No wholly other or beyond but in it. IN the infinite. In the eternal and infinite. In mystery. Part of it. All one. This seemed an eternity or in no time.
    Could see God's view of humanity. Watching mankind destroy itself. Felt helpless to stop it. Utmost love and pity and compassion for all those suffering souls unable to see beyond their own senses, their feelings, their lusts and desires, their machines of destruction, their wars, hates and jealousies, their bodies, their five little senses. Profound love.
    Then, a magnificent vision of Christ standing motionless in resplendent, radiant beauty. He had form, but I could almost see through Him; yet I was not really seeing. There was immeasurable power, love. I love Him with a profundity beyond description. I did not walk to Him but was "there"—space and time meaningless. I was bodyless, selfless. Yet I could grasp His feet and ankles. I embraced this formless form with an infinite love. Friendly power and love filled the Light. Beyond words. Unforgettable.
    A slow shifting back to the sense of being In-God, and InChrist. They and I merged, then became separate. It makes sense out of the idea of the Trinity—three in one, Separate yet one, person and non-person.
    A most deep understanding of the meaning of God giving His Son to this suffering world. This is all He can do—a connecting link, a mediator between His world and ours. Profound love for Christ. I moved into His love-suffering and felt the cost of His life. I took on all the pain of the world, Dot in general, but person by person, infinitely, all mankind at once. A universal sense of the purpose of the crucifixion—the meaning, the tragedy, the profound love and pity of suffering humanity. Then, an acute sense of my killing Him, my ambition, my lust and desire, my pride. I heard the storm outdoors very vaguely and took it within. Christ was killed in this storm—a symbol of the pathos of His love and acceptance of those who killed Him. I felt loved in my shame and disgrace.
    I mill never forget these last three phases—the Oneness in God, the vision of Christ, the crucifixion.
    Secondary, fleeting and very real was the constant sense of tragedy and pathos that I could not show all this to my beloved guide. I tried to speak, with great effort because I could not bear to leave him behind, back in humanity, on the earth. I tried to describe but could not. I remember nothing of what I said, only that I was talking and trying to take him into this reality. There were no words to describe it.
    Somewhere in all this, the intensely clear experience of being born. I was in darkness—something like watery surrounding—or all-oneness with slight movement. I did not want to leave God and be born into humanity. I dreaded the moment of birth. But I knew I must. The experience was very real.
    Some other time, I died, slowly into this magnificent, effulgent light and the gentle, brilliant flames. It was beautiful. The dying was exquisite. This dying into the Oneness of God-Love makes it possible and easier to die to my own little human desires to hold on to my guide. I could give him over to God, the Eternal, the Infinite. I died to my own little human love and knew this magnificent Other, became one with this, and gave my guide over to this other world. Later, I committed him over to God's love and care in the divine world, and to his wife on the earthly level. I loved him far beyond my own selfish, human love.
    At another moment I was in a commingling union, a conversation with William James. I loved him. I thanked him profoundly for his great book Varieties, which he had given me while on earth. This rational part seemed to come after the communion with him in the other world. I loved him deeply.
    At another moment, I felt the fear that Carpenter felt in his astro-voyage. I loved his courage. I was acutely thankful that he was still alive on the human, earthly level, but I knew that he had been in touch with this God world.
    I heard the rain outdoors, and moved into it. This may have come in the next phase. It was a beautiful movement into its gentleness, its purity and clean loveliness.
    At another time, later, I think, I felt acutely that a significant part of my guide was dying. This dying part of him seemed to be more precious than the part of him with so much vitality and life. I showed him the warning signals of arteriosclerosis so that he might not be afraid of what was happening to him—so that he might not fear death but see the purity and exquisite life and light within death.
    Back into the psychotic level. Far more acute than the descent into it the first time. The transition into it is gone. I recall feeling intensely the fact that my guide needed a blanket. His hands and feet were cold and his face hot. I had to care for the dying part of him. I went with difficulty to my room on the second floor to get a blanket. As I went into the ball, the smell of whiskey was overwhelming. I was revolted. I wanted to vomit. I got to the top of the stairs. I beard voices from a dark room—a man and a woman, I thought. The strong smell of liquor almost overcame me. I continued along the hallway, got the blanket and went back downstairs. I was safe. I was highly disturbed. I asked my guide to go quietly up the stairway and witness what I had—a drunken man having intercourse with a woman. I was filled with revulsion. We decided it was imprudent and an unnecessary intrusion into private affairs. We didn't go. This very likely was misinterpretation of what was really going on—a radio left on in a dark room. The smell of whiskey was real. It took me back to my father's mistresses and the smell of liquor on his breath. I transferred this loathing to my guide. I accused him of being drunk. I could smell his breath heavy with whiskey and this sickened me. I felt betrayed. I was sure he had mistakenly brought me into a brothel. I pleaded for him to take us back home. Then I pleaded with him to take me to a hotel room where it was safe. I trusted him not to approach me. I yearned for purity.
    I descended into an agony of self-loathing, shame, disgrace and guilt. I retched a dry retch. I felt slovenly and wanton, like the adulteress in the Scripture whom Jesus befriended. My guide sensed my need. He became my priest. He forgave me and gave me absolution. I felt restored. He never stopped loving me, believing in me, accepting and understanding me. I loved him profoundly.
    A gradual, very gradual moving back into the ordinary world with frequent shifting from the real, divine world to the earthly. A sense of extreme fatigue. Thirst. Confusion as to which reality I was in. This outer world seemed like a puppet show, a dream, make-believe, a masquerade, a game. I did not want to leave the protection of my guide. I was profoundly grateful for his willingness to stay down the hallway in the same house and not leave me alone with people I did not know well. I could eat very little and was not hungry. Sweet, hot chocolate went best. I was very tired and weak.
    Sometime near the end of this phase, I again gave my guide willingly over to the God I had been with so profoundly. I asked God to love him, far more infinitely than my little human love was capable of. At the moment I gave him to God, there was a blessedness, a profound peace—a sweet release from tension. This was unforgettable. It happened suddenly, a great wave of blessed peace almost taking me by surprise—an overwhelming, beautiful, blessed joy.

    Chapter 8

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