I’ll start by saying I don’t mean to imply that all psychedelic experiences are beatific and profound. Trust me, I’m fully aware that sometimes you just lie on the floor for four hours trying to talk a seven-foot bag of Skittles out of stealing your sofa while Abba endlessly sings the theme to Welcome Back Kotter.
Having said that, the most intense spiritual experiences I’ve ever had were catalyzed by psychedelics, and I’m generally not afraid to say so. Today I found myself describing the psychedelic experience to a friend, and initially used the clumsy term “entheogenic“. Entheogenic is clumsy because no one knows what it means, so I fell back on the term “cosmic” which I think comes up very short for the task. Sure, the experience is most definitely Cosmic .. with a big fat capital C. But it certainly is not what someone who hasn’t had that experience thinks of when they hear the word cosmic. So, that word does not get the job done – it doesn’t transmit the core idea. Thus, one is tempted to use words like God and Spirit, and those complicate matters because they bring to mind all sorts of wrong things. For example, others might misunderstand and think you’re talking about a God.
So I will try to do better with a string of words. I’m trying to describe an experience where one gets the palpable sense that the Universe is communicating with you, through you, and of you. That some Divine Force, while at one level is seeing through you, it’s doing so because “you” are just a wave in that boundless ocean – and then, coming to the panic-inducing yet absolutely undeniable realization that all of it, Everything, is you.
That one is boundlessly connected to The Infinite, with all illusions of being a separate object dissolving away, and if you’re lucky, a promise to one-Self that you’ll never forget This, whatever It is. Having your foundation shaken and being humbled by the fact that you can feel It but never understand It nor describe It but It’s realer than anything you’ve ever felt before, and It’s going to change you forever. It’s like getting a peek behind the curtain of the Big Show, taking a hardhat-only VIP tour of the Fabric of Reality’s textile mill. It’s having the limits of your psychospiritual perception shattered – your senses breaking through the boundaries of their usual little droplet and permeating, instead, throughout the entire infinite Cosmic Soup. Gratitude, love, light, timelessness, spacelessness.
The ability to “see” with fresh eyes, without prejudice, without construct, without stuff being wrapped in a lifetime (or 100 million lifetimes) of assumptions – without a filter. The world seems free of its normal linguistic and spatial framework; pure; ideologically unadulterated. This can be both blindingly beautiful and suck-the-air-out-of-your-lungs terrifying (sometimes at once), but usually in reverse chronological order. First the fear, the hanging-on; assumptions and constructs and filters are incredibly comforting things. So first, there is clinging. Then – if it’s right – there is a letting go. The bliss comes with the Letting Go.
Oh, and sometimes you’ll see pretty colors.