An Early Trial
At 9:20 A.M. on Sunday, September 13, 1959, I took 100 gamma of LSD-25, and the following is an account of my experience during the next six hours, and my view of the total experience after a period of two weeks.
I had been quite nervous, in anticipation of the experience. I asked the group of approximately eight people who were present to chat for a while in order to help me settle down. During this period we conversed and I read a few passages aloud from the Prophet and another book called Doctrine of Truth. Shortly after 10 A.M. I began to feel a few body sensations akin to being light or floating. My sense of humor seemed somewhat sharpened. Things appeared to be quite funny at times, and seriousness seemed somewhat ridiculous.
I was asked if I wouldn't care to lie down and cover my eyes, which I did. I tried to put myself into a neutral state and just allow whatever was going to happen, to happen. It seemed that I had been lying there for quite a number of minutes, and all I saw in front of my eyes was a gray, shapeless swirl not unfamiliar from past meditation experiences. I was beginning to feel the experiment was a failure, or the dosage had been too small since nothing unusual was happening. I was aware of the people in the room, and how humorously serious they were, and was also aware of the beauty of the music being played. Suddenly, as the music seemed to reach a crescendo, I seemed to be shot into another realm. There were colors and forms appearing all around me, the scenes blended and changed, each into the next, with a sense of continuity and meaningfulness in all as if they were a story of the complex relationships of everything to everything else. As time wore on, the scenes became extremely vivid and sharp, and full of complexity and detail. The colors were the deepest and brightest I have ever experienced. The few scenes that I can remember accurately reminded me of outstanding modern poster art such as you would seen on the cylindrical signposts in Germany or France.
For the next hour I experienced hundreds, if not thousands, of different scenes. These scenes were intensely beautiful and meaningful. I observe every realm of life and expression of art that is known to me, and a great deal beyond this that I cannot describe. I certainly saw the reason behind art, and experienced every form of art intensely. I saw sculpturing, dance, painting, music, and architecture all merged and blending. Everything seemed to be an expression of the total unity, the life force. All art seemed to me to be a manifestation of this life force, this source of being for everything. Every thing and every person was and is an expression of this force. Time and timelessness were woven into these scenes and montages. I was shown much history, and I remember Egyptian, Grecian, and Roman scenes especially. But everything I saw seemed to have as a message the great giving of life unto life. All these manifestations of this life force were giving to each other, and were expressing the force as flowers express the purpose of the plant. I saw great spirals of man merged with concept, merging in dance and sculpture, all rising from this single source and up into a single objective, the expression of this source.
This is not to say that everything was comprehensible or identifiable. I saw multitudes of abstractions in the deepest, most vibrant colors, some almost impossible to comprehend. There were many bursts of color and form simultaneously, some akin to mystical mendalas. All of these scenes were to one degree or another woven with the music that I was hearing. At times, when the music was choral in nature, I heard the voices surrounding me and could identify each individual voice within the chorus. During some of these moments, I was in a great cathedral with a multitude of people, and these voices singing and echoing in it. This cathedral was most immense end magnificent, full of color and light which was pouring down from above. I was taken from this cathedral into a dark-colored field for a moment, and suddenly, as the music rose, millions of Jewels exploded in front of my eyes like fireworks.
I feel extremely Inadequate trying to express what I saw. Suffice to say, it was the greatest performance and display of truth, of beauty, and of relationship that it is possible for me to comprehend. The all-pervading message that I sensed during this hour as the inter-relationship of everything to everything else, it all being an expression of the same thing. At about that point, I was asked by M. if I wouldn't like to sit up and look around. I felt that it didn't matter whether I sat up or not, but I decided that I would. Looking around at that first moment was quite a surprise because all the people and objects in the room seemed to be alive with a sort of subdued luminescence. It was as though I could see spectra of 1ight or energy and color somewhat beyond that which we normally perceive.
M. asked me to look at a single rose. I looked into it and it seemed as though I was experiencing all of eternity, as expressed in the purposefulness of this bloom. It was as though I had never seen before. The rose was slowly undulating as if it were breathing or vibrating, and seemed quite female. I looked at a list of questions and issues that I had prepared to consider after I was under the Influence of the drug. This list seemed too intellectual and limited compared to the things that I was perceiving. M. wanted to show me some pictures, and as he leafed through a book trying to find a particular one, I laughed and laughed because he seemed so ridiculous since each picture that he passed was magnificent and meaningful.
He finally showed me one of a glacier which appeared to be slowly oozing out of a mountain pass. The glacier was adorned with hundreds of scenes, figures, buildings, etc. It seemed as though I could see all of history in that glacier. Including such things as mythology. It was impossible to communicate all that was on that page. M. next showed me a picture of a nebula. I laughed and said how ridiculously humorous and nervy it was for a company like Ampex to use such a picture for the cover of one of their reports. The picture just danced with meaning. The black and the white corresponded to Heaven and Hell that merge. The movement in it was like ballerinas, the white dancing end merging Into the black, and vice-versa. This seemed to correspond to the two realms that are in all of us.
I was next shown a painting of the head of Jesus. This is a very unusual painting in which the eyes can be perceived either as closed or open. The face, especially the nose and mouth are very sensitive, and there is a small tear on the left side of the nose. The hair is thick and somewhat disheveled, and flows down into the beard. There is a barely noticeable red wound on the right forehead. As I looked at the face, it represented everything about man. I saw men women, children, old people, young people, fear, happiness, hostility, tiredness, ranging back and forth before my eyes. It didn't seem that such a thing was possible that this picture showed me all the manifestations of man. A particular lock of hair suddenly became a threatening lizard like feature on the forehead of the figure, seemingly corresponding to our fears. As I looked at it, it suddenly turned into a child's small, stuffed, toy horse.
During this whole period, I was feeling a marvelous sense of joy. There was force and power seeming to work through me as I looked at these things. I decided I wanted to look at people, so I looked at M.. It seemed as though I could read his thoughts, and they would jump out on his forehead. As I looked at him, his face became very young and then I saw painful experiences, and his face became tired and strained. Then suddenly it became cunning, and his eyes became almost catlike. I then looked at Terry, my wife, and noted that she was very much afraid of me. She seemed to be cringing like a little girl who is afraid of her father's possible punishment when she hadn't practiced the piano. I saw very clearly the problems that existed between us, and the fact we had really been hiding from each other. I saw clearly that she really wasn't hiding from me, however, but from man or from when I felt could be called male. It was very difficult to describe this at the time, but I sensed very clearly the root of this fear.
I next looked at myself in the mirror. I could see myself as a youth and as I am now, with lines of tiredness under my eyes, and I could see the strain resulting from the self-inflicted troubles that I have. I think at this point, 11:48 A. M., I was beginning to sense the wholeness of myself; that is, the wholeness being the fact that I am a product of a tremendous period of history, and that some of the troubles that are in me will always be there because of my heritage, but some of them I intensify by having made decisions to respond more to them then to the meaningfulness of what I am in total. I said to the people how I saw that we are all the product of everything behind us, and that we had the ability to make out of it what we wished to, that we could respond to a wound or some sore point and essentially live by it if we wished. How lucky we are if we see this and decide to accept what is in us, but decide not to make it the overriding force in our lives.
At this point, I decided to lie down and consider this realization. I saw much imagery again, and felt an uncontrollable desire to laugh at times. I realized that I was laughing at my own ridiculousness and the ridiculousness of those around me as so often we try to make a religious experience into a pious thing rather than into a thing of joy that it is. I cannot remember much detail from the next hour, but it was largely a continuation of the expression of the oneness and the inter-relationship and the inter-exchanges of everything that is manifested as life.
I was sensing pain during this period, and as it turned out, I had to go to the bathroom but could not bring myself to leave the scenes and imagery. I finally did rise and walked to the bathroom. The journey seemed a block long. The experience in the bathroom seemed very humorous, and I laughed and laughed. I looked in the mirror and was shocked when I saw my face was made of stone. This evidently was an expression of the facade that we all hide behind. The stone then melted and I tried to look to see behind it, and I saw many of the same things I had seen looking In the mirror the first time. I could definitely see myself as a product of history as filtered through my two parents. I could see both of them in me, and I could see their problems manifested in me as I accepted their problems. The fact that I had a choice gave me a great sense of joy. The room and wallpaper were alive with figures in motion. I could have stayed there for hours but knew that I must return to the livingroom. As I walked, the floor felt as though it were pliable and I was walking on rounded surfaces.
When I returned, M. asked me if I wouldn't like to step out into the garden. Everything was undulating and I could not observe a straight line anywhere. My upper body felt loosely related to my lower. It was as though I were made of rubber and being pulled along by my legs in a sort of undulating motion. Outside I looked at a large bush covered with bottle-brush blooms. There were a number of bees congregating around the blooms, sucking the nectar. This bush seemed to represent all of creation with each part, the bush, the flower, the bee, the sun-light, and the air, each doing its part as it was intended, and each giving to the other. I next gazed at the rippling surface of the swimming pool and saw the meaningfulness of water as a supportive medium for life, in addition to forms and figures dancing in the patterns on the water. A circular luncheon table had been set, and everyone was seated around it. This setting suddenly became intensely meaningful as the center was plied high with fruit and the sun was about overhead. I saw the rays of the sun coming down and becoming the fruit, and the fruit flowing outward in all directions from the center of the table through each plate to the person who became the energy's next manifestation. It was another example of this flowing from oneness. I tried to eat but my tongue felt huge and my jaw seemed disfigured, and my teeth ware making contact at the very rear only.
The food was strangely flavored and I started to become ill, the illness seeming somewhat like motion sickness. Indeed, everything was in motion about me unless I concentrated on making it stand still. As I sat there. I was suddenly covered with sweat. The heat of the sun seemed unbearable, and waves of nausea swept through me. I had to go back into the house and 1ie down. M. came with me. During the next ten minutes things became very black. I was horribly depressed and feeling the worst kinds of sickness and nausea. My muscles felt shooting pains. The imagery in front of my eyes had become very dark and somber. I became frightened at the things I saw. It was as if I were In a large, dark, dead field of spikes. At times I saw structures like a garden trellis being covered with snakes crinkling up from the bottom. I also saw the heads of dinosaurs or other prehistoric animals writhing out of a shapeless, dark morass. I realized that I needed everyone around me very much, and I called for them. Some very inspiring, choral, religious music was being played, and I said that what I had just experienced was the complete intensification of a basic feeling of being alone, and of sadness at my loneliness. I must have cried a great deal during the next hour. I remember sensing my need for help and realizing that this experience was a reliving of so much sadness that I had buried from my past.
I had come in from the luncheon table at about 1 P. M. After about 45 minutes, the worst feelings seemed to have passed, although I still felt sick. and I felt very much in need of help. Terry came and fed me grapes, which touched me and brought another flood of tears. She seemed so afraid and so lovable at the same time.I could see Terry's problems very clearly at this time. how she was still trying to be a good girl in trying to please, but so afraid of not pleasing, and feeling so intensely that she wasn't good. I tried to tell her that she didn't have to please anyone, that she was the same manifestation as any bloom. I could also see that I'm still a little boy essentially still trying to please my mother and father to gain my feeling of value, and there's really nothing wrong with it. It's a normal pattern. The pain only comes because we fight against our normal patterns. We're all so self-protective and afraid of getting hurt when we let go, and yet the letting-go is our salvation.
I could see that Terry and I were doing very well in raising our children because we were giving to them what they needed to enhance their development basically. Although we were making some errors, and did err (out of our imperfection), we were still doing what we should do for them. As I ate the grapes. I could see how God really gives us everything we need. Terry had asked me a question about nutrition, whether or not I wanted these grapes because the type of sugar in them was best. I saw clearly that we get what we need in so many ways that too much worry about nutrition beyond simple basics was not appropriate.
I looked at a picture of myself as a child 18 months old and felt very sad and sorry at the beginning for all the pain that I've experienced, but suddenly as looked again, I saw that this child was really quite tough and didn't need any sympathy. The whole thing became quite humorous. I looked at a picture of the dog I had during high school days and cried as a result, for I felt that I had been quite alone then, and she had been so meaningful to me. I looked at a picture of my father and could see his problems clearly, and how they had come to him through his own history. Further, I realized that our parents are not to blame for the problems they pass on to us for they were the recipients of troubles from their past. They deserve our thanks, our sympathy, and our love. Terry was sitting next to me as I looked at pictures of our children, and the meaningfulness of her and myself and our offspring was very intense, and feelings of deep emotion and love welled within me.
I spent the next two hours coming out of the experience, but during this time I felt a tremendous ability to see truth and reality. I could see clearly into each of the people in the room, and felt as though some power or force behind me brought clear insight into relationships and answers to questions they posed. Basically, I saw the meaningfulness of each object of creation, including ourselves, and how our purpose was to manifest or to give to each other and to life, and that the purpose of life is to give unto life, and that the secret of fulfillment is to open to being fulfilled, just as the flower opening to have the bee take its nectar is its fulfillment. I remember holding a pear and, as I was about to take a bite somebody said, "Ouch". But I realized that pear's total fulfillment was going to come when I consumed it, and that every event in its past had led it up to this point of fulfillment. In looking at organized religion, I saw that it all sprang from the same source, but that unfortunately much of it has become sidetracked into worshipping the building and its contents instead of what is in it, outside of it, and in each person. At this point, I recalled having seen a separate cross and Star of David merge and become more beautiful in the merging.
The first four days after the experience proved to be quite a trial to me until some of the meaningfulness of what had happened began to fall into place. I was much more sensitive to my environment and the atmosphere that I felt from people than I had ever allowed myself to realize in the past. I was very subject to becoming emotional, and my feelings were very unpredictable, coursing from very unhappy or blue to feeling the complete sense of wholeness and integrity that I had gained on Sunday. I suddenly realized that so much of my life has been spent in dividing myself; that is, I have tried to fight against or deny the negative or unhappy feelings I have had, and have tried to put up a facade of being well-adjusted and happy in order to "earn" my value. As a result, trying situations have left me in a state of withdrawal or numbness as a response to my not accepting the fact that such reactions do and will exist in me. I would say that the resolution of this problem has come about in the sense that I feel and accept the wholeness or totality of my being, which includes the possibility of such feelings or such negative responses, but which also recognizes where I come from and what my purpose and value is just in being. Just as the flower started as fertilizer, it became a bush before blooming. I realize that each of us has in us the fertilizer, the bush and the flower, and that at one time or another we will be any one of these, and that one is nothing without the other, and that the totality is everything.
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