An Adventure in Being
Based upon Insights derived under LSD, 1964
Last Monday I took the most eventful Journey of my life. I am forever grateful to a group of wonderful people in Menlo Park who enabled me to make this journey. I am speaking of the International Foundation for Advanced Study. They work on a hypothesis--there is more to life than meets the eye--and have gone, as others before them have gone, to find this something more. Their means of finding is to use a substance called LSD which is derived from a fungus of rye seed and Mescaline which comes from the Peyote Cactus button which has long been used by the American Indian in his worship.
The purpose of these two substances is to free the mind from all of the limitations we have placed upon it so that it might see all there is to be seen. Through long and familiar handling things get so commonplace that we cease to look at them. Jesus said, "Except you become as a little child you shall not enter the Kingdom." We have in our home two little children. It is a lesson to see them look at things. Everything is new. Everything has to be named and catalogued and touched and tasted and experienced. 'Behold," said Jesus, "I make all things new!" Have you experienced any of this newness? He meant what he said, and if it does not fit our experience, it is because we have not looked in a new way.
But I get ahead of myself. Monday morning I went to the Foundation for my experience with LSD. I went into a tastefully furnished room in an atmosphere of expectancy, surrounded by helpful people who knew what they were doing. The material was served to me in a silver chalice. We talked for a while and then I reclined on the couch and listened to music. After a short while I began to feel a great weight upon me, as if I were accelerating in a rocket, and I began a journey which took me to the beginning of time and over the whole of eternity. Upon this Journey I was a witness to the great primeval struggle of Good and Evil. I do not own words that can convey the immensity of this struggle.
I do not know how long I was there. Actually time has no meaning in such environments. I was more than a witness to this battle. I was the battleground itself. On that day I served the Lord as I have never served before in my life, or probably ever will.
I had decided to enter the LSD experience to see more clearly the nature of God. I am not the only one who has so desired. The history of the Church is filled with accounts of Christian mystics and saints who have seen God in a new way, in a way ordinary people have never seen nor have ever wanted to see. They have used many means for obtaining this relationship -- prayer (not the lick and a promise we so often do, but the all night vigil -- weeks, months and years of it.) Others through fasting -- starving the body to insensibility, endeavoring to allow other, greater senses to operate. It may be an interesting footnote here that deep prayer, meditation, concentration, deep breathing, and the many other processes whereby the saints have come to know the Lord release certain substances into the body that change the body chemistry. LSD and related substances produce the same effects with the same results.
There I was, seeking the face of God and finding instead a primeval battle. This was disturbing to me. It was hell itself. I had the feeling of being caught in a leftward spiral which wound down and down into the abyss. I had come to have an audience with the King and found myself flung into hell. The next day a text burned itself into me. "Whither shall I go from Thy presence, or whither shall I flee from Thy Spirit? If I ascend into heaven, Thou art there. If I descend into Sheol, behold, Thou art there." And there I found Him. Again and again I fought against this. At last I was overcome and gave up everything, even breath itself. At that point I was transformed into a new reality. It was no longer black and down. It was brilliant light -- pale green in color and all was well. How long did it last? Eternity, or the twinkling of an eye? Time did not matter. I was made new. I am sure that in that instant I knew all things. I cannot tell you what they are. But they are good.
Later, as I thought about this battle I witnessed, I learned its secret. There is no evil in the world, all appearances to the contrary. There is only doubt. And this is the battle I witnessed -- the waging of the power of the love of God upon the doubt in the heart of man. To come into the land where all is good involves some risks: the willingness to give up doubt; the daring to trust our very lives to God; the placing of ourselves in His hands come what may.
This is the truth I experienced: God is friendly and eternity is friendly! In very truth God smiles upon us, though his smile to the doubter is seen through that doubt as wrath and terrible Judgement. There are two texts we might call upon here, "Judge not that you be not judged, for with the judgement you judge, you are judged." If we insist upon looking at God as a fierce God of judgement we shall live in fear of His wrath. If, however, we will dare to look upon his love and accept it, we will know the truth of this text, "For there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus." God knows our weaknesses, even better than we, and he knows our strengths. He, in his act of creation has intertwined them both into something of exquisite beauty.
Yet how hard it is for us to understand. We know more the unworthy side of life. We see it all around us. We know the struggle the apostle Paul spoke of, "The very good I want to do I do not, and the evil I do not want to do I find myself doing. Wretched man that I am, who will deliver me from this bondage of sin and of death?"
But why limit ourselves? God has not limited us. The good is there too. Paul did not limit himself, but cried out in the experience of overwhelming forgiveness, "Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ." The Christ is more than good enough to make up for our frailties. Cease to doubt it and you will find your life more heavily weighted to the good. Dare to yield yourself to it and you will find yourself transformed into the new creature that we are in Christ.
I had learned a great truth. There is no escape from God for He has ordained that we shall find Him. Of course, if we ascend into heaven we are by our own choice in His presence. And that choice is ours to make. But if we choose to cast ourselves into hell, we will find Him there. God's love will be reckoned with in our being! We cannot escape it. There is no man so unworthy that God does not love him and is not waiting to look with His magnificent smile upon him to melt away all doubt and lead him into life eternal. We are children of eternity. And I am sure that neither life nor death, nor angels nor principalities, nor height nor depth, nor the Atom Bomb, nor anything in all creation is able to separate us from the Love of God.
I have spoken of the love of God. Now allow me to share the mercy of God. The fact remains that we are doubters. The name of God, transliterated "Jehovah" when translated means, "I am that I am, or I was that I was, or I will be that I will be." God is too big for our limited love and forgiveness. God is too big for man's mode of judgement. He judges with all consuming love, refining us like fine gold. We think it will hurt. But it doesn't. It may begin in fear, but it comes out in ecstasy. We must, therefore, in truth become as little children willing to look with new eyes upon all things, for they are new. And if we have lost the ability so to look, we must apply ourselves with all our soul, heart, mind and strength to recapture our spiritual sight. For the world of the spirit is real. More real than this room or the person beside you, and we have been made for this world.
Yet we remain blind, deaf, and doubtful. Here is how I experienced God's mercy. I sat in a chair by the window in the LSD room and felt the warmth, the golden warmth of the sun upon my face and eyes. I felt myself being drawn up into a presence there. I felt that as I struggled to rid myself of the weight of my body I was unable to go further. Then a marvelous thing happened. I saw a great procession winding up an upward path to the smiling presence of God. They in the procession were the angels of God, the saints, the believers who have gone before. And they carried me to His presence as an offering, and I felt the fullness of His love. I was transformed. The spirit does indeed intercede upon our behalf with sighs too deep for words.
Now I know God. In Him we live and move and have our being. We cannot escape Him, nor if we will look, do we want to escape. For the truth of existence is this; we are like particles in an ocean of liquid, transparent gold, and God is the ocean.
This I have seen with my own eyes. The shock of it dazed me for days. I am still filled with the wonder of it. You may doubt. You may call it the delusion of a drug. It doesn't matter to me, for I know.
I hope and pray that this shadow description may prove haunting enough to you to cause you to look for yourself. I do not quarrel with you over the path you should take, for I am convinced all paths of seeking the truth shall inevitably come to the Truth, God himself. If you do look, you will be amazed and will be blessed far beyond your greatest desire.
Now unto Him who is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to His power as it works in us; unto Him be Glory, Majesty, Dominion and Power, now and forever more. Amen.
A FOOTNOTE ON LSD-25
Many people will be skeptical about the validity of spiritual or mystical experience induced by drug. We have preached in the Church for ages that there are no shortcuts to the Kingdom. I will admit that this sounds like a shortcut. In truth it is not.
There is no religion in LSD-25. There is only religion in the person who takes it. Only about twenty-five percent of the people who take LSD-25 experience profound mystical reality. Apparently this fact is based upon the faith of the individual and his willingness to look -- and his willingness to set aside momentarily all of his preconceived concepts, for only in this way can we ever see anything new.
Now we are not overly skeptical about conversation. Everybody does it. We know some conversation is deep and searching, while other conversation is simply passing the time of day and trivial. The average person spends most of his conversation time with the latter, not the former.
We axe not overly skeptical about ideas. Everybody has them. We ourselves have them. Some of us who are more aware of ourselves have even been able to follow the formation of an idea within our minds--its symbolic expression, for we think through symbols. Mathematics is a good example of this.
Nor are we overly skeptical about the reality that comes to us through the five senses. We know what we see. We know what we have heard, or touch or taste or smell. Though we also know that these senses don't tell us everything.
What we do have difficulty understanding is direct knowledge that comes not through conversation, nor through normal thought processes, nor through the five senses. Mystical experience is such direct knowledge. The religious concept of revelation is also such direct experience.
Most of us believe that if we could only pray hard enough or concentrate deeply enough or meditate long enough we would come to this direct knowledge. But we live in an age where this is difficult to accomplish. We are all in a hurry. We are surrounded by noise. Time for quiet meditation is scarce.
Here is the area in which LSD-25 seems to work. It allows us to do away with distraction. It enables us to call upon the 90% of our mind that we do not normally use so that we are able to concentrate deeply. It enables us to see ourselves with a clarity that we will not normally be willing to see.
It helps us to find the answers that have been within us all the time.
This is all LSD-25 can do. But then, this is all that we need.
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