Now, we will get into color, what you can see with the eyes closed and what it means. Changes in the perception of color, along with light, is a big reason why LSD has been called a visionary experience. It was mentioned earlier that with LSD, when you look at something, it’s like seeing it for the first time and seeing it as brand new. It is color and light that makes for this effect. When you look at an object, you are seeing colors. If you look at the American flag, there is red, white and blue. When you don’t see red, white and blue anymore, then it is not the flag that you are focusing on but something else. Visually, the physical definition or limit of an object is its colors.
You can look at many objects on a desk and know what they all are, but you can look beyond that and just see all of it as colors. The baby that is born tripping just sees all the pretty colors, not knowing what the objects are, and sees it in the best possible way because the baby’s mind has not yet been contaminated by social conditioning. With LSD, an adult can clean the trash (ego) out of their brain and now have that clean, clear, pure uncontaminated vision that the baby has.
When you take LSD, it will be like seeing color for the first time, as if your entire life before was in black and white. In a similar way, with LSD, it’s like you are alive for the first time, as if your entire life before was lived as a statue. People think that they are already living, alive and in color, but if we are aware of only a tiny fraction of one percent of the brain, it’s fair to say that this is a society of statues disguised as people, sleepwalking in a black and white world. With LSD, a person can finally wake up and get turned on to life or finally get turned on to life and wake up.
The way that you will see color adds a special dimension to everything mentioned in the last chapter. For every time the word “objects” was used, we can substitute the word “colors.” Instead of saying that objects come alive, if the objects are seen as its colors, then it means that colors are coming alive. You are seeing all these colors in movement, in harmony, all in the same flow, rhythm or pattern and you can feel the same flow, rhythm or pattern within you. You can physically and emotionally feel this kind of connection with everything or all of the colors that you see and realize that what’s going on in the external world beyond your skin is just as much a part of the real, ultimate YOU as what’s going on inside your skin. With LSD, how you see things, meaning the colors that you see, will be determined by how you feel. If you feel positive, you see a happy day with bright colors and if you feel negative, it’s a dark day with dreary colors. The idea is not to take LSD if you are feeling bad or negative in any way.
With LSD, color, like everything else, becomes tremendously intensified. You will see the brightest, most radiant, brilliant and beautiful colors by far that you have ever seen. The colors will shine, sparkle and glow like diamonds. The living, moving colors will be spectacular and electrifyingly exciting. Light makes this effect possible. The effect of light combined with the colors makes for a beauty, brilliance and brightness that has to be seen to be believed. The magnificence of light adds to the richness, splendor and grandeur of color and the entire LSD experience.
Objects will seem as if they have their own light coming from inside. The object, its colors and the light are all alive, moving, dancing, wiggling, merging, changing, etc. When there is light, there are shadows. The play of light on surfaces and the shadows become very mysterious, meaningful and captivating. It cannot be explained in words why that is so. It’s another one of those things where a person has to experience LSD and find out for themselves what it means.
When music is on, you can see the colors moving and dancing to the music. You may see little streaks of color or if you are outside, you can see these color streaks while looking at the sky. The country singer John Denver sang a song about the Colorado Rocky Mountain high and how he’s seen it raining fire in the sky. He had to be singing about an LSD trip. The Doors sang a song about lighting my fire, getting higher and setting the night on fire. The Doors also sang a song, Break on Through. That’s break on through to the other side, to the other side of the horizon beyond the ego.
Is there any doubt that the Doors were turned on by LSD? William Blake made a statement that has appeared in many books. He said “If the doors of perception were cleansed, everything would appear as it is, infinite.” Aldous Huxley liked that so much that he named one of his great books, The Doors of Perception. It was about his first mescaline trip. The music group just shortened it to The Doors.
When you close your eyes, there is no limit to what it is possible to see and that includes ultimate reality, God and heaven. What you see with the eyes open has often been called the external world and what you see with the eyes closed being the internal world. Perhaps, what you see with your eyes open is how the brain feels or sees itself and what you see with the eyes closed is the inside of the brain or the eyeballs. Rather than getting hung up in these word games, just enjoy the show.
When people talk about visions, they usually mean what’s seen with the eyes closed. So, what is the show with the eyes closed? To begin with, the colors will be the ultimate, even better than the colors seen with the eyes open. The lights and colors of the Las Vegas strip are like a power failure compared to what you can see with your eyes closed, while tripping. There is an inner screen or an inner theatre or the Magic Theatre. It has its own lighting system that produces very special effects. The Beatles called it the Magical Mystery Tour where you could see Strawberry Fields Forever and Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds. What can be seen here has been known about since ancient times and it can be a religious experience. (Religions originated from people who had religious experiences. Buddha, Jesus, Mohammed and others all had religious experiences involving changes in consciousness.)
The first thing you will see is different colors that look like clouds or geometric designs. The colors will be moving, constantly changing and will be absolutely dazzling beyond belief. At some point, the visions and colors will get more and more detailed and complicated. You can see many different things at the same time and these things will come and go and be replaced by other things that will come and go, etc. Unless you are luckier than I was, you won’t be able to control what you see in these visions. You might see something for an instant and wish that you could see it for a longer amount of time, but it’s not a big deal because there is so much more to see that it doesn’t matter.
There is no telling exactly what you will see once you get past the moving, changing, living clouds of color or the moving, changing, living geometric designs of color. You may see scenes or events from the historical past, both of your own personal past or the historical past of man or even the historical past of all life and all existence and believe it or not, all of that is stored in your brain! That’s right. It’s all there. From this point of view, it’s easy to see that in our everyday lives, we are using just a tiny fraction of one percent of our brain. To put it another way, with LSD, it’s possible to see, with your eyes closed, anything that has ever happened to anyone or anything.
No one can predict what they will see, but there are general things that people from all cultural backgrounds will see which reveals that this is a universal experience. A common scene is that of ancient architecture, landscapes, temples, palaces, castles and mansions. You will see all of this in the context of perhaps ancient Egypt or some other ancient civilization.
Another type of vision is seeing historical events of the past, such as battles, coronations, crusades, cavalry charges and you can see all these things going on at the same time and they get mixed up with each other. For example, a battle may spread into where a coronation is taking place and then crusaders can try to fix things up, but will be challenged by a cavalry charge, etc.
You may see people together who weren’t alive at the same time and weren’t alive during ancient times where the scene takes place. For example, you can see Bill Clinton shaking hands with George Washington and they are in ancient Egypt outside a jeweled palace by the Nile River or they may be involved in one of the battles or crusades along with your brother or someone else that you know.
Don’t figure on it, but there is nothing stopping The Three Stooges from making an appearance and somehow getting involved in all of this. You might see superhuman figures, gods, saints, heroes, warriors, animals, monsters, cartoon figures, elves, dwarfs, goblins, angels and mythological figures of folklore, legends, myths, fairytales, etc. You might see magical forests or breathtaking scenery of all colors or visions of paradise. The sky the limit as to what you can see, meaning that there is no limit.
When you see all of this with your eyes closed, you aren’t just seeing it, but it’s as if you are living it. The visions are so vividly clear, the details so intricate, the light so brilliant, the colors so radiantly dazzling, the people and places so real that you know that this is ultimately meaningful and significant. Everything here is on an ultimate level. If you see an ancient temple with glowing jewels and colors everywhere, you know that this is the home of the gods, that you are one of them, that you belong there and you do. There is something ultimately rich, exotic and sensuous about the whole thing. You may see scenes of wild dances, carnivals, orgies and harems. The exotic scenes can be part of a vision of religious ceremonies and rituals. At some point, you realize that this is heaven and paradise.
The way it may happen is that you will be getting visions and suddenly, there is just a bright light. All you see is this brilliant light. It might be white or yellow or all of the colors, like a rainbow is all the colors. It’s not just a light and there is no further way to explain this with words, but you know that this is God, that this is where you came from and where you’ll go later. This “light” may engulf you so that you are merged or united with God or ultimate reality. This is the religious experience of realizing that the ego really is, without any doubt, just that tiny fraction of one percent and that this, now, is your real, original, full, ultimate identity. You are in heaven and at home. Heaven is our original home.
Whether it’s seeing the glorious temple with jewels or seeing that brilliant “light” or whatever stimulus brings on the realization, the religious experience or the illumination or enlightenment, it is likely to be a sudden flash of awakening that won’t last long. You might see it for just an instant or a few seconds, but you will feel it and know what it means, without question or doubt that this is it, what the LSD experience is all about and what life is all about. When you see and feel it, it’s a sure shot certainty as to what you saw and felt. If a doubter asks you how you know that you saw God and realized your original identity with God, all you can tell them is that there was not a possibility of doubt. If they still think that you are crazy, they always will, unless and until they try LSD and find out for themselves.
You may not have this ultimate experience on your trip or have it in this way. A person can have a religious experience without closing their eyes. Seeing something in the room or seeing a tree outside or seeing anything, while tripping, can bring it on. When you close your eyes, you still have contact or a link with the room you are in, the other people and that you took the LSD. You’ll see visions and may want to stop and open your eyes. You might open your eyes because what you are seeing is so fascinating that you want to go deeper and deeper into it, but are afraid that if you do, you might never come back. If someone holds your hand, you will feel the link to the world that you are familiar with and feel more confident about going on and being able to return.
It may be that you will go all the way and lose the link to the familiar world and be totally involved in the visions. Before taking LSD, be assured that if this happens, you will come back and it will be quite a journey. When the time comes, during the trip, you may find it very difficult to believe that you really will come back if you completely let yourself go in the visions. If you don’t want to take that chance, you shouldn’t and if you are not in a private, protected place, you absolutely shouldn’t. The best visions I ever had came when I was tripping in a college gym watching a basketball game. I couldn’t let myself get involved in the visions because I was in a public place, not a private, protected place.
Something can easily be misunderstood. When someone is tripping and seems to be in a catatonic state, with glazed eyes and not responding to anything, it’s all right. The person’s eyes might be open and they might see and hear you, but they are so far beyond the context of verbal give and take that they don’t even bother trying to respond and the people who are there have to understand this and realize that the person is all right.
You can get visions of events from your past and can relive the events exactly the way they happened, down to the finest details and relive the emotions. It may be something that you always remembered or it might be an event that you have completely forgotten about, but when you see it now, you do remember it and are amazed that it was ever possible to remember whatever it is. It might be a painful memory and emotional, but it can be very beneficial and therapeutic.
The person is remembering an event and reliving it, but at the same time, they have not lost contact with the present reality. They are aware that they are remembering and thinking back to the past and aren’t actually in the past or lost there. The person may be reacting emotionally and realizing that some problem that they have had for years all stems from this past event that is being relived. They may see that for this to be a cause of a problem was ridiculous to begin with and here on in, it won’t be a problem anymore. It should be noted that the person taking the LSD doesn’t know, in advance, what visions they will get and can’t control what they will be. They’ll see what they see and they might not see visions of their past.
It’s possible to relive your own birth and even the 9 months spent inside your mother’s body. It sounds impossible because you can spend your whole life lying down on the couch talking to a therapist and never remember these things, but with LSD it can happen. The difference is that LSD isn’t just talking but is the catalyst that opens up the mind and gets you in touch with the rest of the brain. The rest of the brain is the “approximately” 99.999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999+ percent that the ego knows nothing about. That’s a whole lot of brain. Stored in our brain is an intricately detailed memory of every aspect of the history of all existence. LSD can bring any memory into conscious awareness, whether it’s a memory from earlier in your life or whether it’s something from long, long before you were ever born. Our brain has infinite untapped potential. It’s too bad that we don’t know about it and make no conscious use of our brain beyond the trivial games of the ego.
Concerning the concept of the brain being an infinite computer that has a stored memory of everything that has ever happened to anyone or anything, Timothy Leary goes into this on page 138 of his book, The Politics of Ecstasy:
“Built within every cell are molecular strands of memory and awareness called the DNA code, the genetic blueprint that has designed and executed the construction of your body. This is an ancient strand of molecules that possesses memories of every previous organism that has contributed to your present existence. In your DNA code, you have the genetic history of your father and mother. It goes back, back, back through the generations, through the eons. Your body carries a protein record of everything that’s happened to you since the moment you were conceived as a one-celled organism. It’s a living history of every form of energy transformation on this planet back to the thunderbolt in the Precambrian mud that spawned the life process over 2 billion years ago.”
With LSD, when you close your eyes, you can go exploring deep into the unknown terrain of the rest of the brain and it’s a strange, but somehow familiar journey. There is something, somehow, faintly familiar about it, from a distant distant past. It sure is familiar because you are going back to that tripping state of consciousness that you were born with. You can REMEMBER and this remembering of who you really are and your full identity is a religious experience.
If we each have a godlike brain with infinite computer capacity, then is it so absurd to think that it’s possible that somewhere in that infinite brain, there is a stored memory of your birth and the 9 months that came before? With infinite capacity, as stated earlier, the brain can remember everything that has ever happened to anyone or anything. It’s all in the brain. The whole history of anything or everything is part of that 99.999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999+ percent of the brain that we don’t even know exists and it means that, while tripping, it’s possible for anything from any past to come before your closed eyes. It can also be any combination of things from different time periods, all mixed up. You can see something that no other person has ever seen. The reason this can be is because the brain is unlimited. LSD opens you up to the full entire brain, making it possible for any part or aspect of it to come into consciousness or your conscious attention. If there is an infinity of possibility as to what you can now see, it makes perfect sense to say that a person might see things that no one else has ever seen before.
Stanislav Grof wrote a book entitled Beyond the Brain. Here is what he says on pages 44-45 about the brain including everything:
“Many transpersonal experiences involve events from the microcosm and macrocosm-realms that cannot be directly reached by human senses–or from periods that historically precede the origin of the solar system, of the planet earth, of living organisms, of the nervous system and of Homo sapiens. These experiences clearly suggest that, in a yet unexplained way, each of us contains the information about the entire universe or all of existence, has potential experiential access to all its parts and in a sense, is the whole cosmic network, as much as he or she is just an infinitesimal part of it, a separate and insignificant biological entity.”
An interesting experiment would be for a person to get a vision of their parents’ wedding and give details of what they see. Would the description of the details be accurate and correctly tell it as it actually was? It’s too bad that experiments like this can’t be done because, as far as I know, a person cannot make their brain give them a vision of their parents’ wedding or any other particular vision. The theory here is that if someone took LSD and with the eyes closed, got a vision of their parents’ wedding, they would see it exactly as it happened, down to the last detail, including seeing a crumb on a table at the reception and that crumb was really there. It can be that the people there never saw the crumb and now, on your LSD trip, you can see it. A person would be able to describe it all as if they were there because their brain, indeed, was there. We all have that same ultimate brain, and that brain is everywhere, takes everything in and with LSD, we can get to all that information.
In the visions with the eyes closed, it’s possible to see any event from your past, any event from anyone’s past no matter when they lived and you can relive the history of evolution from the beginning of life forms. You can feel yourself as a one-celled organism and keep developing until you are a fish, for example, and keep on developing until you are a Homo sapien. Some have a theory that everyone, during the 9 months inside the mother’s body before being born, goes through all the evolutionary stages leading up to becoming a Homo sapien or human being. We are Homo sapiens in the limited world of the ego. The next evolutionary stage of man will be when we have moved beyond the ego. That will be the Age of Aquarius, some time in the new millennium.
The visions can be very educational. For example, if someone is seeing a living scene from ancient Egypt, the architecture will not be modern architecture but that of ancient Egypt. The people, what they are doing, their costumes, the landscapes and everything seen will be from that culture at that time. You can see all of this for real as it actually was, just like if you saw a vision of your parents wedding, you would see it exactly the way it was. The person who took the LSD may have known nothing about ancient Egypt, but by the time the trip is over, that person can know quite a bit.
On this concept of having access to all kinds of information that a person wouldn’t seem to know anything about and how LSD can bring it all out, we again return to Stanislav Grof and his book, Beyond the Brain. This is from page 42:
“One can transcend the limits of a specifically human experience and tune into what appears to be the consciousness of animals, plants or inanimate objects. In the extreme, it is possible to experience the consciousness of all creation, of the entire planet or of the entire material universe.
“Individuals who encounter transpersonal experiences of this kind in their psychedelic sessions frequently gain access to detailed and rather esoteric information about the corresponding aspects of the material universe that far exceeds their general educational background and their specific knowledge of the area in question. Thus, the reports of LSD subjects who have experienced episodes of embryonic existence, the moment of conception and elements of cellular, tissue and organ consciousness abound in medically accurate insights into the anatomical, physiological and biochemical aspects of the processes involved. Similarly, ancestral experiences, elements of the collective and racial unconscious in the Jungian sense and “past incarnation memories” frequently bring quite remarkable details related to specific historical events and costumes, architecture, weapons, art or religious practices of the cultures involved. LSD subjects who relived phylogenetic memories or experienced consciousness of contemporary animal forms not only found them unusually authentic and convincing, but also acquired extraordinary insights concerning animal psychology, ethology, specific habits, complex reproductive cycles and courtship dances of various species.
“Those individuals who have reported episodes of conscious identification with plants or parts of plants had sometimes remarkable insights into such botanical processes as germination of seeds, photosynthesis in the leaves, pollination or exchange of water and minerals in the root system. Equally common is a sense of identification with consciousness of inorganic matter or processes, such as gold, granite, water, fire, lightning, tornado, volcanic activities or even individual atoms and molecules. Like the preceding phenomena, these experiences can be associated with surprisingly accurate insights.”
The visions can also bring on strong emotion, as can any part of the LSD experience. One can get emotionally involved in the action of what they are seeing in the visions and it can have great meaning for the person in a therapeutic way. Somehow, the LSD produces visions that can involve the person in symbolic personal dramas that can lead to the solution of some personal problem. The person can see the solution in a way that was impossible before. In the vision, the person may see a beautiful palace or temple in the distance and feel that if they can just get to it, they will be saved. It will be salvation, but there are obstacles in the way and it is a dangerous adventure. There can be strange creatures warning the person not to try it, telling them that no one who has ever tried it has ever made it and that no one has ever come back. If the person goes on anyway, they’ll make it and when they do, they’ll know that they have really made it. The person needed to go through this adventure in order to solve some problem that they were having with their life. LSD can bring on just the vision a person may need in order to solve a problem.
Masters and Houston go into this in The Varieties of Psychedelic Experience. When they refer to eidetic images, they mean the visions you get with the eyes closed. This is from page 147:
“The eidetic images become of major importance on this symbolic level as does the capacity of the subject to feel that he is participating with his body as well as his mind in the events he is imaging. Here, the symbolic images are predominantly historical, legendary, mythical, ritualistic and ‘archetypal’. The subject may experience a profound and rewarding sense of continuity with evolutionary and historical processes. He may act out myths and legends and pass through initiations and ritual observances often seemingly structured precisely in terms of his own most urgent needs.”
Masters and Houston have more on this in The Varieties of Psychedelic Experience. This is from pages 213-214:
“Few of the drug-state phenomena are more perplexing, fascinating and potentially valuable than is the subject’s participation in mythic and ritualistic dramas which represent to him in terms both universal and particular the essentials of his own situation in the world. These analogic and symbolic dramas occur most characteristically on the third or symbolic level of our functional model of the drug-state psyche. They often are sequentially preceded on this level by the subject’s experiencing of historical events and evolutionary processes, usually of less value, but not less likely to perplex and fascinate.
“When the historical events are experienced the subject may observe these as spectator only or he may have the sense of being a participant in the event. These battles, coronations, witch trials, crusades or whatever, enters into consciousness and may be eidetically imaged in intricate and voluminous detail. The historical materials may seem to have no empirical antecedents for the subject and concerning this apparently groundless knowledge it is only possible to speculate more or less plausibly. Similarly, the subject may observe or feel himself to be a part of evolutionary process, seemingly becoming aware of the whole or a part of the pattern of emerging life on this earth and its progression towards the present point in time. Again, the subject may display a knowledge that remains inexplicable should we insist upon discovering its source in what he is aware of having read, seen or heard about.
“The psychedelic drug ‘world’ of myth and ritual which is also a world of legendary and fairy tale themes and figures of archetypes and of other timeless symbols and essences, is of a more profound and meaningful order than that of the historical and evolutionary sequences. Here, where the symbolic dramas unfold, the individual finds facets of his own existence revealed in the person of Prometheus or Parsifal, Lucifer or Oedipus, Faust or Don Juan and plays out his personal drama on these allegorical and analogic terms or he finds the means of attaining to new levels of maturity through his participation in rites of passage and other ceremonies and initiations.”
These dramas and adventures, made possible by LSD, are very beneficial to the person. The content and how it’s done will be just what the person needs in order to solve what may have been a serious psychological problem. LSD will also bring on what will emotionally effect the person the most. All of this is completely unknown to psychiatrists and psychologists except for those who have been involved with LSD. Here is what Stanislav Grof says on page 96 of Beyond the Brain:
“Techniques that directly activate the unconscious seem to reinforce selectively the most relevant emotional material and facilitate its emergence into consciousness. They thus provide a kind of inner radar that scans the system and detects contents with the strongest emotional charge. This not only saves the therapist the effort of sorting the relevant from the irrelevant, but protects him or her from having to make such decisions, which would of necessity be biased by the therapist’s own conceptual framework and many other factors.”
David Solomon put together a bunch of writings by different people into a book called LSD: The Consciousness Expanding Drug. Here is something that Aldous Huxley wrote on pages 37-38. This also mentions how, with psychedelic drugs such as LSD, a person’s brain will instinctively bring the right kind of experience that the person needs. Here it is:
“Through these new psychedelics, the subject’s normal waking consciousness may be modified in many different ways. It is as though, for each individual, his deeper self decides which kind of experience will be most advantageous. Having decided, it makes use of the drug’s mind-changing powers to give the person what he needs. Thus, if it would be good for him to have deeply buried memories uncovered, deeply buried memories will duly be uncovered. In cases where this is of no great importance, something else will happen. Normal waking consciousness may be replaced by aesthetic consciousness and the world will be perceived in all its unimaginable beauty, all the blazing intensity of its ‘thereness’. And aesthetic consciousness may modulate into visionary consciousness. Thanks to yet another kind of seeing, the world will now reveal itself as not only unimaginably beautiful, but also fathomlessly mysterious, as a multitudinous abyss of possibility forever actualizing itself into unprecedented forms. New insights into a new, transfigured world of givenness, new combinations of thought and fantasy-the stream of novelty pours through the world in a torrent, whose every drop is charged with meaning. There are the symbols whose meaning lies outside themselves in the given facts of visionary experience and there are these given facts which signify only themselves. But ‘only themselves’ is also ‘no less than the divine ground of all’. And now the aesthetic and the visionary consciousness deepen into mystical consciousness. The world is now seen as an infinite diversity that is yet a unity and the beholder experiences himself as being at one with the infinite Oneness that manifests itself, totally present, at every point of space, at every instant in the flux of perpetual perishing and perpetual renewal.”
The positive emotion, whether the eyes are open or closed, is a big feature of the LSD experience and especially the mystical, religious and metaphysical aspects of it. If it’s a person’s first trip and it’s a good one, at some point, the person will feel a strong, emotional outpouring of joy, awe, reverence and gratitude, gratitude for the privilege of having this ultimate experience. People have been known to cry for joy in realizing that they are finally alive. With LSD, a person can feel ecstasy, euphoria and joy in a way that they have never known was possible.
Part of the joy is the religious experience of remembering one’s unity and identity with God and Ultimate Reality and another part of the joy is this new feeling that one’s full identity, the Ultimate Reality, God or the Brain, is good, not bad. There is an ultimate goodness about the whole thing and one knows that, ultimately, everything is all right in the universe and will be all right. Aldous Huxley referred to it as being able to relate to or identify with or feel the ultimate “All-Rightness of the Universe.” The full identity is not only the ultimate in goodness, but there is also a playful character to it. It’s not dull and serious. It’s fun and alive. It is the ego that’s so dull and serious. All of this is heaven and paradise and the combination of all possible intellectual, psychological, philosophical, religious and metaphysical insights. It is liberating, enlightening and the person knows that there is no state of mind beyond this one. This is it, the Ultimate. It is also self-validating in that the person Knows that this is the Truth.
When you are getting all of these revelations and insights and feeling the joy that goes with it, everything that you see, whether the eyes are open or closed, takes on ultimate beauty and significance. You just can’t believe what’s happening. It’s too great to be true, but it is true. The person who is getting awakened with this experience will say that if everyone did this, they would go wild with joy and the world would become a real world that means something rather than the sick farce that it is.
If someone says that they are alive for the first time, it could be said that they have had a death-rebirth experience. It was the death of the ego and the old way of thinking and the person was reborn, with a new perspective, a new outlook and a new life, all of it for the better. In a sense, the person’s brain is becoming reprogrammed. It has been called reimprinting. This can happen later in the trip, after the peak hours, when the person is thinking about all that has happened and what it means to them. They have seen through the ego and all of the social games and now know that there is a whole lot more to life. The person is in a state that is very open to suggestion from others, the way a youth can be called impressionable and this is one of many reasons that the other people around can be very helpful or very destructive, depending on who they are, what they know about LSD and how they behave.
In this reprogramming or reimprinting process, the person is taking a new picture of themselves and the world around them. The old identity was based solely on the ego and all of the social games it’s involved with. The new identity, made possible by LSD, sees far beyond the ego and is no longer dominated and controlled by it. The ego is seen for what it is and the person is no longer taken in and deceived by it. With the ego put in its place and in its proper perspective, which means out of the way, it’s a brand new life for the person, who is now free of the ego and all the restrictions, inhibitions, tension, conflict and anxiety that go with the limited ego reality. In this way, LSD can be the most effective psychological tool for positive personality change and growth. It can be a great help in the further development of “normal” people and if only the psychiatrists and psychologists knew what LSD was, they would be much more effective in their efforts to help their patients.
I hate to get into the one possible negative, but it is must done. The ego might not go down without a fight. If the ego is the only basis of reality that the person has and if the person is not adequately prepared for the LSD experience, then it’s possible that the ego’s fight for survival can lead to terror. Again, it’s confusing the death of the ego with the death of the person. Even if the person has been warned and is ready for it, the possibility still exists that the person will panic when their entire concept of reality is disappearing. This is the one potentially dangerous aspect of LSD and the other people become very important influences on what happens next.
There are ways to deal with this situation. Once the person gets past this point, they are home free, but they think that they are going to die and that’s why it’s a serious situation. It may not be enough to remember that they took the LSD and that that’s why whatever is happening is happening. They are still petrified of dying. It also might not be of much help for the others to tell the person to surrender, go along with it, that it will be all right and that they are not alone in that thousands, if not millions of people have done this. If this kind of talk gets through to the person, then the crisis is over, but what if it doesn’t?
The best way to escape this fear of death is to keep the mind occupied. Talking to the other people and telling them how you are feeling and what’s happening is good, but the other people have to be quiet, understanding and listen. The person needs to talk and keep on talking about it, without the other people interrupting and pushing their viewpoints. If the other people have no idea of what the person is going through, the best thing they can do to help is be quiet and again, there has to be at least one person there who knows what’s going on and knows how to behave in this situation.
Another good idea is for the person in fear of dying to concentrate on their breathing. As long as they know that they’re breathing, then they know that they’re alive. It’s that simple. Once they get involved with their breathing or talking, it’s like they are buying time in occupying their mind until the crisis passes and it will pass. The idea is similar to having a headache. The person can take aspirins, but until they start working, if the person thinks about the headache, it hurts. If they read a newspaper, their mind is occupied on what they’re reading and not the headache. Reading the newspaper has bought the person time. By the time the person is finished with the newspaper, the headache might be gone.
If the person tripping is afraid that they will die because their body and the world will dissolve, it can be helpful if someone holds their hand. This gives the person a physical anchor and link to the reality that they’re used to. It may be that the person wants both hands held. It might even be necessary for someone to hug and wrap their arms around the person. Whatever the person needs, they get. That’s what the other people are there for, not for themselves, but to be of help to the person who is tripping, if help is needed. Anyone who doesn’t understand that doesn’t belong there at all. No one should ever push or pressure the person who is tripping, even if the person is not in trouble. Suggestions are fine, but pressure is out. The person tripping is the king who calls the shots. If they want the TV turned on, it goes on. If they want the channel changed, it gets changed. If they want the set off, it goes off. No arguments. That’s the way it is. If they want a certain person to leave, the person leaves, without any feeling of being insulted. If they want that person to come back, the person comes back.
To be a guide for a person who takes LSD is not something that anyone can do, no matter how experienced they are with LSD. Timothy Leary put it this way on page 86 of his book The Politics of Ecstasy: “The training for this new profession of psychedelic guides will aim at producing the patience of a first-grade teacher, the humility and wisdom of a Hindu guru, the loving dedication of a minister-priest, the sensitivity of a poet and the imagination of a science fiction writer.” How many psychiatrists or psychologists would even have a clue as to how to be an LSD guide? They are far too involved in their own ego games.
When the person tripping is feeling the terror of dying, it also doesn’t hurt to pray. For the first time in the person’s life, they will know what it really means to pray. They have never been so scared in their life and they are literally praying that they will be all right. In situations like this, in which the person is genuinely sincere and scared, the prayers do get answered, though it may not seem to be soon enough. It should be noted that most people will have a great trip and not run into this problem at all. It had to be mentioned, though, because a person thinking about taking LSD must be aware of all possibilities as best they can, pro or con and that is the only con.
The connection between LSD, sex, religion, psychology and society will be dealt with in the next chapter.