Early LSD Experience of a Twenty Two Year Old Divinity Student
July 9, 1960.
Present: M.S., D. and T. A., and J.C.
WHAT SEEMS MOST IMPORTANT FROM THIS EXPERIENCE?
Clearly, what stands as central was the encounter with God. God became real because He touched me completely--So much more than simply my intellectual workings. The LSD experience brought together my being as a whole. In short, I think God became part of the deeper levels of my being—the levels where my loves, hates, fears and hopes are rooted. The experience has changed my outlook on life and also the way life looks in at me.
TO BE SPECIFIC ABOUT THIS:
…Now God is. There is something truly to worship.
…Now I tend to respond to others more as humans. Surely, I still "deal" with others as objects, but now I am a little more aware of when I do it and do it less.
…Now I have a glimpse of my true nature. It is hard to keep hold of this glimpse. It is so easy for my self expectations—What I "should" be to cloud this glimpse. Nevertheless, it was seen—And it has made a difference.
…In addition to the look at the higher aspects of who I really am, I also have a look at how I act as a child—The immature child. Now I am more sensitive to how I turn away from what I really can become.
WHAT ACTUALLY HAPPENED DURING THE LSD EXPERIENCE?
The music was a remarkable experience. Each note stood by itself, but was yet part of the whole composition. I had a sense of what the composer felt when he wrote it, the thrill of creating the music. I had a sense of concentrating on the music—Complete attention. Nothing else was there. The intellect wasn’t there to scatter or disorder my attention. I thing I was doing what the true artist does every time he really listens to music. On the other hand, with the photographs I felt uncomfortable. I wanted to return to the music and, as I recall, I did. Why this reaction? Partly it was the thrill of the music. Partly it was a shyness. And partly maybe it was an unwillingness to examine my feelings about those in the photographs. This is conjecture on this last point, but entirely possible, knowing my reluctance to vent my feelings. I felt good about those in the photos, but it was a general feeling of goodness, not a freedom to let flow a rise and fall of feelings.
About the religious symbols, the rose and the fruit. They didn’t mean much. The rose was pretty, but I had no love for roses and I wasn’t able to experience it "at the moment." Some time later I saw the surf and the ocean and this was a great experience one with the same intensity as the music I listened to. I wasn’t open to the picture of Jesus. Maybe he will mean more in the future.
CONCERNING CO2 BEFORE THE LSD
Three time I had CO2—Maduna’s Carbogen Treatment. It was a struggle the first two times. I perspired immensely as I did under the LSD. Gradually I gave in to the experience and in doing so I think it was later important in letting go when I took LSD. The third time with CO2 I took a psyche energizer and this helped in opening to the experience.
AFTER THE LSD
The following Sunday morning was an idyllic experience—to walk below the A.’s Home and listen to the little stream going over the rocks. I stood there for a long time and the sound and beauty absorbed me. This type of experience has set a new standard for me. I can respond to nature as I never could before. Though it is much more difficult I also now have a feeling of responding to people in somewhat the same way I can now savor experiences that would have, in the past, gone right by me.
On Sunday, a week later, I began six days of disassociation. During this period I was at a two week Human Growth Institute Seminar. The seminar included about four hours of group therapy each day. I began disassociating before getting involved in the seminar and particularly in group therapy. During this period I think the following thoughts would characterize how I felt:
…I had difficulty putting ideas together, both as a listener and in speaking. For this reason I seldom spoke.
…Time had little significance. I sat in the group for two or three hours and didn’t realize the passage of time nor was I restless from sitting there.
…I slept much more than normal—ten to twelve hours a day.
…I had little concern for others and didn’t respond in conversations.
…Responsibility irked me. I didn’t want to look out for others or see that this or that was done. I didn’t want to plan anything or have to meet a schedule.
…I couldn’t concentrate well enough to read a newspaper. The only thing I remember reading during that period was an uncomplicated cartoon book.
…I had a feeling of knowing what was around the corner or what was going to happen. I would think of seeing a person and sure enough there he would come around the corner. Or one time I was on a wharf and felt sure I was going to see some sharks—and there they were on the floor in the fish shop.
…When driving a car I didn’t trust my perceptions. I wasn’t sure the green light was really green or the intersection was really clear.
During those days I wrote a tablet full of notes, and it would add to this paper if I quote from them. Here are some lines about the fears I had:
I have a number of fears in this thing:
…fear I will stay this way.
…fear at being such a different personality—drastically different right now. I am quite despondent.
…fear and bewilderment at my lack of intellectually ability. It isn’t working—everything flies right by it.
…fear because I am avoiding people so much. I want to be something I’m not at this moment. I want to be alone.
…Fear because I am so alone. Even S. is so far away. I don’t feel connected to others as I would like to. It is all like watching a movie and I am sitting in a theatre completely alone. Life itself is the only reality and I know it is here because I am alive. But all else is out of touch (Monday, July 18).
This disassociation went on until the following Saturday. Friday I came out of it for a short while on my own but went back into it. Then I took a psychic energizer prescribed by J.C. which cleared it. During that week I saw a good deal of J.L. because he is a good friend and was just a few miles away at Ben Lomond. I also saw M. for a short time and he reassured me but I think I was too anxious to really hear what he was saying. I also spent an evening with the A.’s and the talk helped but I was still quite anxious because the condition remained the same for some days after seeing them.
IN LOOKING BACK
First, I am very glad I did it. Encountering God, as I did has subtly and openly changed the way I now live each day. I feel what goes on in my intellect is now less estranged from my feelings. As a result, prayer comes easier and it means more. I’m much more touched by beauty, beauty of nature and the beauty of the humanness of persons. I’m less judgmental as a result. And last, my emotions are closer to the surface. I now have a wider spectrum of emotions, from high elation to deep concern and sadness. To me this means I am responding more to what is really happening.
I am not so "fenced in." I can go way up and way down. All in all this has been a cherished experience, one for which I am deeply grateful to M., J. and the A.’s.
Shortly after the experience I found myself moved to write down these sentences:
O Lord, thank you for the realization that I am part of you and you are part of me and every other human being—and that you go far beyond us humans to all of life and beyond to the entire universe. I could read for years of others who have realized this but it would not be really adequate. It can only matter that I have experienced it. Now it is a part of me—part of my soul—thank you dear Lord.
September 14, 1960
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