A person in the psychedelic state can perceive much more in other human beings than he
can when he is in his everyday mind.
A responsible religion dare not neglect this source of wonder, for it is in this way that
God is perceived.
A very characteristic perceptual change is ornamentalization and geometrization of
human faces, animals and objects.
Although the changes of perception are most striking in the optical field, they can also
involve hearing, touch, smell or taste.
perceived as a whole.
Beauty is the object of our most spiritual, as well as our most material perceptions of
mystical vision and of sense and feeling.
Changes in the perception of forms and colors are so rich and dramatic that they have
been referred to as “orgies of vision” or a “retinal circus.”
Depth perception is often heightened and perspective distorted; inanimate objects take on
expressions, and synesthesia (hearing colors, seeing sounds, etc.) is common.
Direct perception of unity is the very heart of mystic experience, accompanied by
powerful feelings of joy.
Each person is at each moment capable of remembering all that has ever happened to him
and of perceiving everything that is happening everywhere in the universe.
Experiences of the consciousness of particular, stable, immutable and durable substances
are perceived as being high spiritual states involving an element of sacredness.
Extrasensory perceptions are not unusual talents possessed by specially gifted
individuals. They are normal unconscious events.
Forms and colors of abstract visions can be perceived as lascivious and obscene or very
sensuous, sexually stimulating and seducing.
Greater access to unconscious resources is a cardinal feature of psychedelic, creative, and
other novel perceptual experiences.
If, as we believe, the drug-state distortions are manifestations of tendencies found also in
“normal” perceptions, then they afford opportunities for studying the perceptual process.
In altered states of consciousness, one gains the ability to interpret his perceptions in new
In every age, men have struggled to perceive God directly rather than as a tenuously
In field, forest and every garden, a reality is perceptible that is infinitely more real, older,
deeper and more wondrous than everything made by people.
In high states, users have reported that they can perceive connections and associations of
ideas that were not accessible to them in the non-high state.
In many instances, ego dissolution occurs when one is overwhelmed by the perception of
something that is exquisitely beautiful.
In order to perceive reality directly, one must learn how to abandon the intellect and
disengage oneself from the thoughts it produces incessantly.
In the extreme forms of transpersonal perception, we can experience ourselves as the
whole hemisphere of our planet or the entire material universe.
In this state, all the sensory pathways are wide open and there is an increased sensitivity
and enjoyment of the perceptual nuances discovered in the external world.
In this state, the categories of space and time are transcended and subjects can perceive
themselves as existing outside of the usual space-time continuum.
Inhibition and anxiety narrow perception, reduce the breadth of conscious-unconscious
It is an experience which people have when they are, as it were, reborn into the world and
suddenly with this kind of visionary sight, they perceive its miraculous beauty.
It is as if we have been stripped of the filters and distorting lenses that ordinarily limit our
perceptions of ourselves and the world.
It is possible that a person is aware of more perceptions in a given amount of time as a
result of the enhancement of sensory data.
It is possible to zoom in and selectively focus on different levels and planes of the
experiential continuum and to perceive or reconstruct fine textures.
It is quite urgent that we learn to perceive ourselves as integral features of nature and not
as frightened strangers in a hostile, indifferent or alien universe.
It offers one the chance to experience a true expansion of consciousness, an increase in
awareness, a general improvement and heightening of perception of all kinds.
Just as a microscope can help a biologist, LSD can remove the inhibitions to perception
which prevent us from seeing the central relationships of the world.
Knowledge of the true nature of existence is perceived as being ultimately more real and
relevant than all scientific theories or perceptions and concepts of our everyday life.
LSD could shake people out of the rut of ordinary perception and catalyze some sort of
LSD helps patients in psychoanalysis and psychotherapy to perceive their problems in
their true significance.
LSD strips off the protective barriers of the ego and all sensitivity and perception is
LSD subjects frequently report being able to perceive worlds that have 4, 5 or more
Most naively believe that culture-hallowed words about things are as real or even realer
than their perceptions of the things themselves.
Most of us do not suspect the existence of another way of interpreting our perceptions of
the world around us.
Most people go through life barricaded against every idea, every fresh and
Mystical consciousness is not primarily an emotion. It is a perception. (The perception
comes first and then there can be an emotional feeling about the new perception.)
Objects which appear to ordinary, utilitarian, pragmatic, goal-oriented thought and
perception as irrelevant take on sudden and surprisingly fresh meanings.
Once the threshold of altered consciousness has been crossed, we are flooded with a
kaleidoscopic vision of extended perceptual fields and psychological insights.
One of the unique properties of the drug is that it excludes random distractions from the
immediate perception and permits total concentration.
Our ordinary state of consciousness is a semi-arbitrary construction. This is true of our
perceptions as well as our thoughts and actions.
Our perception of the world is relative to ways in which social conditioning has taught us
Our perceptions of the external world are habitually clouded by the verbal notions in
terms of which we do our thinking.
Our perceptions of visionary objects possesses all the freshness, all the naked intensity of
experience which have never been verbalized, never assimilated to lifeless abstractions.
Perception is not limited to what is biologically or socially useful. (That is the limit of the
Perception will be known for what it is, a field relationship as distinct from an encounter.
(You are not encountering the universe and fighting it from outside. You are a part of it.)
Place and distance cease to be of much interest. The mind does its perceiving in terms of
intensity of existence, profundity of significance, relationship within a pattern.
Psychedelic substances can occasionally facilitate extrasensory perception (like
accurately describing something that is historically or geographically far away).
Recall is not just merely accurate in every perceptual detail. It is also accompanied by all
the emotions which were aroused by the events when they originally happened.
“Stuff” is a word which describes the formless mush that we perceive when sense is not
keen enough to make out its pattern.
Subjects perceive noises from the environment that are sublimal and that they would not
notice under normal circumstances.
Subjects underwent highly intense and unusual experiences which may change perception
of life experiences.
The content of LSD sessions entails simultaneous perception of many dimensions and
levels of the mind.
The drug can open and sensitize all the sensory channels to an extraordinary degree and
make it possible for the subject to perceive the world in a totally new way.
The drugs diminish defensive attitudes without blurring perception, as in the case of
The ecstatic consciousness is an expansive consciousness, open to a profusion of new
sensations, new perceptions, new knowledge and new values.
The ego senses the threat implied to its domain by the fact of an unconscious mind that
can perceive an internal reality.
The emotional impact of sound can be modified. Not infrequently, LSD subjects discover
dimensions in music that they were unable to perceive before.
The energy fields and the streaming of energy can be experienced in a tangible way and
can even be visually perceived with the eyes closed.
The essential principle of mysticism is perception, though usually accompanied by strong
emotions which the uninformed may mistake for the perception itself.
The extension of consciousness seems to go beyond the phenomenal world and beyond
the space-time continuum as we normally perceive it.
The extension of consciousness seems to go beyond the phenomenal world and the space-
time continuum as we perceive it in our everyday life.
The high value, the meaningfulness, and the intensity reported of such experiences
suggest that the perception has a different scope from that of normal consciousness.
The imprint is made. You emerge with a new reality: what was invisible or impossible
before is now part of your self and your perceptual field.
The individual connects with important aspects of reality that are inaccessible to
perception under ordinary circumstances.
The individual feels full of excitement and energy, yet centered and peaceful and
perceives the world as if through cleansed senses.
The individual has a sense of merging with the environment and feelings of unity with
The learned perceptions disappear and the structure of the world disintegrates into direct
The mystic perceives all things as one, all men as his brothers, all creatures as his fellows
and all matter holy.
The mystic vision is one of unity and modern physics lends support to this perception
when it asserts that the world and its living forms are variations of the same elements.
The nervous system can be freed of virtually every perception and reflex that makes up
our ordinary spectrum of possibility.
The person is allowed to glance back down the flow of time and perceive how the life
energy continually manifests itself in forms, transient, always changing, reforming.
The physical boundaries we perceive between ourselves and the rest of the universe may
best be understood as more illusory than real, as products of our minds.
The prevailing attitude in traditional psychiatry and among the general public is that any
deviation from the ordinary perception and understanding of reality are pathological.
The strong conviction of belonging and of having a personal worth gives meaning to the
outer world and changes in the perception of it.
The tendency of LSD seems to be to switch the operations of the mind from the verbal
association stream of thought to intuitive perception of images and forms.
The transformation of consciousness is like the correction of faulty perception or the
curing of a disease.
The unique perception of color and forms, as well as the overwhelming influence of
music, frequently mediate a new understanding of art and artistic movement.
The universe is perceived as indescribably beautiful and radiant; individuals feel cleansed
and purged and talk about redemption, salvation or union with God.
The use of LSD is a ready way of stirring deeply buried sources of the religious life and
perceptions, which create feelings of awe, joy, wonder, peace and love.
The verbal and analytic mode of perception has blinded us to the fact that things and
events do not exist apart from one another.
There is an unfixing of perceptual constants and the subject’s habitual reality ties are
There exist hardly any perceptual, emotional or psychosomatic manifestations that have
not been observed and described as part of the LSD experience.
There is time to perceive every detail of the movement with infinitely greater richness.
Normally we do not so much look at things as overlook them.
These perceptions are permanent—any deep aesthetic experience leaves a trace, and an
idea of what to look for that can be checked back later.
They describe the state as definitely not blank or empty but as filled with intense,
profound, vivid perception which they regard as the ultimate goal of the mystic path.
This experience of death-rebirth is usually so realistic that it is perceived as experientially
identical with actual biological demise.
Understanding relativity presupposes not only a rather special intelligence, but new sense
Visual perceptions are greatly intensified and the eye recovers some of the perceptual
innocence of childhood.
We are so absorbed in conscious attention, so convinced that this narrowed kind of
perception is the only real way of seeing the world.
We can generalize and say that the more discriminating and acute and precise our
perceptions are, the better, on the whole, will be our general intelligence.
We perceive only what we can conceive, what can be incorporated into our established
frame of reference. (That’s the way it is with “normal” waking consciousness.)
We perceive things in a state of hypnosis, not as they are, but as we are told to see them.
(LSD fixes that.)
We were using a new kind of microscope, one which made visible an extraordinary range
of new perceptions.
When the ego is dispelled, there is insight, the perception of a whole new pattern of
relationships comparable to scientific or artistic discovery.
Wisdom becomes available when we see things as they are. Our task is to remove the
obstacles to awareness that limit and distort perception.
You are tuned into areas of the nervous system which are inaccessible to routine
A lively boost was the publication of Huxley’s books, Doors of Perception and Heaven
and Hell; his enormous erudition and lucid explanations put the whole business of taking
a drug to change your consciousness on a totally new level.
A number of architects have added to the extensive evidence for the drug’s use as an
instrument for enhancing perception, for training in visualization. They report that visual
and auditory acuity are revolutionized.
A new, deepened reality consciousness could become the basis of a new religiosity which
would not be based on belief in the dogmas of various religions, but rather on perception
through the “spirit of truth”.
Because of their clarity and vividness, transcendent states frequently feel more real than
“ordinary” reality; people often compare the discovery of these realms to awakening from
a dream, removing opaque veils, or opening the doors of perception.
Colors are unusually bright and explosive, color contrasts much stronger than usual and
the world can be perceived in a way characterized by various movements in modern art,
such as impressionism, cubism, surrealism or superrealism.
Creative or revelatory experiences involve a temporary and voluntary breaking up of
perceptual constancies, permitting one “to shake free from dead literalism, to re-combine
the old familiar elements into, new, imaginative, amusing, or beautiful patterns”.
Ecstatic and unitive feelings of belonging, infuse the individual with strength, zest, and
optimism, and enhance self-esteem. They cleanse the senses and open them for the
perception of the extraordinary richness, beauty and mystery of existence.
For most people, this discovery is a glorious surprise. Mystics come back raving about
higher levels of perception where one sees realities a hundred times more beautiful and
meaningful than the familiar scripts of normal life.
From the standpoint of one reality, we may think that the other realities are hallucinations
or psychotic or far out or mysterious, but that is because we’re caught up at the level of
one space-time perception.
Hallucinogenic drugs give people who lack the gift of spontaneous perception the
potential to experience this extraordinary state of consciousness and thereby to attain
insight into the spiritual world.
If the perceptions touched off by the drugs are in any reliable sense religious, then an
invaluable means of studying the dynamics and effects of profound religious experience
at firsthand is available to us.
If our conscious life is totally attached to our sensory perceptions of external reality, it is
very likely that we will come to equate reality with external reality, just as we tend to
equate mind with intellect, and consciousness with ordinary waking consciousness.
In altered states of consciousness this new perception of the world becomes dominant and
compelling. It completely overrides the everyday illusion of Newtonian reality, where we
seem to be “skin-encapsulated egos” existing in a world of separate beings and objects.
In deep experiential psychotherapy, biographical material is not remembered or
reconstructed; it can actually be fully relived. This involves not only emotions, but also
physical sensations, visual perceptions, as well as vivid data from all the other senses.
In non-ordinary states, archetypes may appear in forms that we perceive through inner
sight, hearing, smell, taste, touch, or the virtually palpable sense of a presence. (eyes
Individuals experience a new sense of empathy and warmth toward other people and
perceive the world as a fascinating and basically friendly place. Everything in the
universe appears perfect, exactly as it should be.
Insofar as performance has lagged because of inability to perceive the solutions to
specific problems, LSD can actually increase creative activity. (With LSD, the person can
“perceive the solutions” that they couldn’t otherwise.)
It is a direct and immediate awareness that we are dealing with something that has a
divine nature and is radically different from our ordinary perception of the everyday
Observations from LSD research clearly indicate that in various states of mind, the bliss
of paradise, and ecstatic raptures of salvation can be experienced with a degree of
vividness and a sense of reality that surpass our everyday perceptions.
One perceives objects and people’s faces and movements of limbs in a peculiarly stylized
manner as if the essence or underlying idea was struggling or better pressing to reveal
Our models of “reality” are very small and tidy, the universe of experience is huge and
untidy, and no model can ever include all the huge untidiness perceived by uncensored
People perceive the mystical realms to be pervaded by a sacred essence and an
unfathomable beauty, and they frequently see visions of precious gold, sparkling jewels,
unearthly radiance, luminescence, and brilliant light. (eyes closed)
Phenomena perceivable directly by our senses appear on the same experiential continuum
with those that ordinarily require such complicated technology as microscopes and
telescopes to be accessible to human senses.
Religious, mystical, visionary states are powerful and wonderful—they open the doors of
perception, polish our sensory lenses, shake up our autonomic nervous system, and get
our hormones swinging—but they’re intimate and precious.
Since psychedelic drugs expose us to different levels of perception and experience, use of
them is ultimately a philosophic enterprise, compelling us to confront the nature of
Sometimes the “doors of perception” are cleansed suddenly with a jolt; sometimes the
cleansing process comes gradually with ever increasing discoveries. These discoveries
may be psychological insights or may be made through any of the senses.
The ability of the drug to connect diverse people in empathic bonds suggested exciting
social applications. Once people learned to share others’ perceptions, a higher level of
human conscious-ness might be possible.
The ability to see patterns, far from being a psychological weakness to be treated, is a
vital capacity of the unconscious mind that must be developed and allowed to interact
with our conscious perceptions.
The laws and processes of our perception are a bridge which joins us inseparably to that
which we perceive—a bridge which unites subject and object. (There is no separation
between you and what you perceive. There is simply perception.)
The look of everyday things takes on a tinge of the marvelous, in the words of Blake
borrowed by Aldous Huxley for the title of a book, “The doors of perception are
The phenomena that can occur in the course of LSD sessions cover a very wide range;
there are hardly any perceptual, emotional or psychosomatic manifestations that have not
been observed and described as part of the LSD experience.
The psychedelic can alter the perception of energy, matter, and time in such a way as to
enable select random access of the spatial and temporal dimensions and make it possible
to inhabit the skins of a variety of forms and entities.
The psychedelic experience tends to bring the subject into intimate contact with nature
and dramatically enhances his or her sensory perception of the world and an encounter
with nature at its best can become an aesthetic and spiritual experience of lasting value.
The real world itself is real enough; it is only our way of looking at the world which is
not real. It is our mode of perception that leads us astray and it is not the senses which
deceive us but rather the mind or intellect which receives and interprets the sensory input.
The root of mental disorder is that the ego-feeling as such is an error of perception. To
placate it is only to enable it to go on confusing the mind with a mode of awareness
which clashes with the natural order.
There is the intense feeling of compassion for those who, for whatever reason, make it
impossible for themselves to get anywhere near the reality revealed by the drug—the
reality which is always there for those who are in the right state of mind to perceive it.
Those individuals who have faced death and rebirth in their sessions show specific
changes in their perception of themselves and the world, in their hierarchies of values,
general behavior, and overall world-views.
To be shaken out of the ruts of ordinary perception, to be shown for a few timeless hours
the outer and inner world as they are apprehended directly and unconditionally, by Mind
at Large— this is an experience of inestimable value to everyone.
We are liberated and enlightened by perceiving the hitherto unexperienced good that is
already within us, by returning to our eternal Ground and remaining where, without
knowing it, we have always been.
We are responsible for this planet. This is our playground. It’s our sun in the sky and this
is our Garden of Eden. We’ve never lost it. We’ve only forgotten the key to unlock the
door of perception.
We have suggested that the divine mushroom played a vital part in shaking loose early
man’s imagination, in arousing his capacity for self-perception, for awe, wonder and
reverence. They certainly made it easier for him to entertain the idea of God.
We mount into the Intuitional domain, and, without the props of Sense in any way to
steady us, either by sensations perceived or suggesting relations, we know universal
principles of Being face to face.
When we feel ourselves to be sole heirs of the universe, when “the sea flows in our
veins…and the stars are our jewels”, when all things are perceived as infinite and holy,
what motive can we have for the pursuit of power?
As Suzuki put it “Satori may be defined as intuitive looking-into, in contradiction to
intellectual and logical understanding.” It is not interested in concepts, abstractions and a
limited perception; “it does not care so much for the elaboration of particulars as for a
comprehensive grasp of the whole, and this intuitively”.
Certain classes of perceptual images appear again and again; colored, moving, living
geometrical forms which undulate into more concrete perceptions of patterned things,
such as carpets, carvings, mosaics, transmuting continually into other forms in heightened
color and grandeur.
From a cognitive perspective, different states of consciousness are, among other things,
radical reorganizations of information-processing systems and strategies. Different states
of consciousness also provide different “strategies” of perception, abilities, memory,
Here, the individual feels that he is experiencing the innermost divine core of his being.
His individual self is losing its seemingly separate identity and is reuniting with what is
perceived as its divine source, the Universal Self. This results in feelings of immediate
contact or identity with the Beyond Within, with God.
If we perceive this has some sort of deep significance and we do something about it, then
it may be very, very important in changing our lives, changing our mode of
consciousness, perceiving that there are other ways of looking at the world than the
ordinary utilitarian manner and it may also result in significant changes of behavior.
In exceptional cases the individual may have a complex and vivid experience of moving
to a specific place in the physical world and give a detailed description of a remote locale
or event. Attempts to verify such extrasensory perceptions can sometimes result in
It is a complex revelatory insight into the essence of being and existence. This insight is
typically accompanied by feelings of certainty that such knowledge is ultimately more
real and relevant than our concepts and perceptions regarding the world that we share in a
usual state of consciousness.
It shouldn’t be this difficult to accept logically that there are many realities and that the
most exciting things that happen are not at the level of our routine perception and, for that
matter, that the most complex communications, the most creative processes, exist at
levels of which we are not ordinarily aware.
Lama Govinda says that to Tibetans, the attempts of modern psychologists, who try to
“prove” extrasensory perception by scientific methods, would appear crude and
laughable: one might as well try to prove the existence of light which is visible to all but
Metanoia is that profound state of consciousness which mystical experience aims at—the
state in which we transcend or dissolve all the barriers of ego and selfishness that
separate us from God. It is the state of direct knowing, immediate perception of our total
unity with God.
Occasionally, a subject will bypass categorical recognition altogether. Then a scrap of
wallpaper may be perceived with such immediacy, such instantaneous and total
immersion in the sensory detail, as to oblige the subject to inquire what it is he is now
Only when the ordinary perception of the material world is transcended can
consciousness connect with the heavenly regions. For those who have had the privilege
of such experience, the existence of Heaven, God and celestial beings ceases to be a
matter of belief and becomes self-evident reality.
Perceptually, LSD produces an especially brilliant and intense impact of sensory stimuli
on consciousness. Normally unnoticed aspects of the environment capture the attention;
ordinary objects are seen as if for the first time and with a sense of fascination or
entrancement, as though they had unimagined depths of significance.
Psychedelics induce alterations of perception which make the nervous system aware of
itself. (It’s not that the nervous system becomes aware of itself. It’s always aware of
itself. The alterations of perception allow the person to become consciously aware of
what’s going on with the nervous system.)
Sometimes, there is very little actual perceptual distortion of the environment, but the
latter is emotionally interpreted in an unusual way. It can appear incredibly beautiful,
sensual and inviting; or comical; very frequently, it is described as having a magical or
Subjects were advised to “turn off” their analytic faculties, to relax and accept whatever
form of experience came their way, to refrain from attempting to control the sequence or
nature of the events. The declared aim was to stop using one’s cognitive and perceptual
processes in the familiar way and to heighten the likelihood of discovering new ways.
The ancient and pre-industrial societies have held non-ordinary states of consciousness in
high esteem and used them for a variety of purposes—diagnosing and healing diseases,
ritual, spiritual, and religious activity, cultivation of extrasensory perception and artistic
The consensus among the architects interviewed seems to be that LSD, when
administered under carefully controlled conditions, does enhance creativity to the extent
that it vastly speeds up problem-solving, aids in visualizing three-dimensionality and
generally heightens perceptivity.
The emotional effects are even more profound than the perceptual ones. The drug taker
becomes unusually sensitive to faces, gestures, and small changes in the environment. As
everything in the field of consciousness assumes unusual importance, feelings become
The experiences were too positive to not want to share them with everybody. It would
appear that the time had come when this kind of experience should be made available to
large numbers of searchers, so that “the doors of perception” could be opened, so that
expanded consciousness was no longer something attainable only by rare individuals.
The greatest obstacle to awareness is neurosis. Neurosis can be defined in one of its
aspects as a fixation upon a single aspect of life, a looking at the world through one
particular set of distorting lenses and hence as the inability to see a wider angle of life
and to perceive realistically what is going on around us.
The individual has become relaxed, has begun to enjoy the increased sense perceptions
and has become fascinated with the world of awareness that is beginning to open to him.
The deep and profound experiences released by the LSD then flow uninterrupted in an
ever widening scope.
The modern term for the direct experience of spiritual realities is transpersonal, meaning
transcending the usual way of perceiving and interpreting the world from the position of a
separate individual or body-ego. There exists an entirely new discipline, transpersonal
psychology, that specializes in experiences of this kind and their implications.
The mythological image is what gives sense and organization to experience. Myth
embodies the nearest approach to absolute truth that can be stated in words because the
poetic, mythical or mystical mode of vision perceives orders and relationships which
escape factual description.
The perception of the environment can be changed in a way that bears a striking
resemblance to the pictures of famous Cubist painters. The fantasy process is usually
considerably enhanced and contributes an important creative element to these perceptual
The perception of the environment has a certain primary quality; every sensory stimulus,
be it visual, acoustic, olfactory, gustatory or tactile, appears to be completely fresh and
new and at the same time, unusually exciting and stimulating. Subjects talk about really
seeing the world for the first time in their lives.
The subject’s own body and the bodies of the persons present in the session room show
grotesque changes; some anatomical parts can appear miniaturized, others magnified or
elongated. Similar bizarre distortions also involve the perception of inanimate objects.
(The changes can also be perceived as beautiful.)
There appears to emerge a universal central perception, apparently independent of the
subjects’ previous philosophical or theological inclinations. It is that behind the apparent
multiplicity in the world of science and common sense, there is a single reality, infinite
and eternal, all beings united in this Being.
There are gaps between the fingers; there are gaps between the senses. In these gaps is
the darkness which hides the connection between things… This darkness is the home of
the gods. They alone see the connections, the total relevance of everything that happens,
that which comes to us in bit and pieces in our limited perceptions.
These accounts do suggest that a “new vision” takes place, colored by an inner exaltation.
Their authors report perceiving a new brilliance to the world, of seeing everything as if
for the first time, of noticing beauty which for the most part they may have previously
passed by without seeing.
What was once perceived as the boundaries between objects and the distinctions between
matter and empty space are now replaced by something new. Instead of there being
discrete objects and empty space between them, the entire universe is seen as one
continuous field of varying density.
A person in the psychedelic state can perceive much more in other human beings than he
can when he is in his everyday mind. The voyager may see his companion at different
ages of life, at different periods of history, and as different persons. At one time or
another, during the psychedelic session, the voyager looks at his companion. Often it is
an overwhelming discovery.
Almost all of us are still robots controlled by conditioning. We think we are conscious,
but we aren’t. We are asleep, hypnotized, sleep-walking—the metaphors vary, but they
all mean that we can’t see outside our conditioned reality-tunnel. When we begin to
awaken, we perceive the world is nothing at all like the myths and superstitions our
society has imposed on us.
Anything in the environment—a painting on the wall, a pattern in the carpet—may
become a universe to be entered and explored; drug users say they understand what Blake
meant by “the world in a grain of sand and heaven in a wild flower.” Color seems
dazzlingly bright and intense, depth perception heightened, contours sharpened, and relief
clearer; details usually overlooked become intensely interesting.
Hallucinogens are still criminal. The “food of the gods” is illegal. The keys to the doors
of perception are against the law. Using LSD therapy with convicts, drug addicts, and
alcoholics is illegal. The great therapeutic tool of LSD that was proven so effective in
case after case of psychological maladjustment has been taken away from the doctors of
the mind by the fundamentalist, fascist guardians of our public morality.
Leary believed that the human race is presently evolving to a higher level of
consciousness and a greater spiritual awareness. His research with LSD seemed to bear
out the fact that our nervous systems are equipped to receive a vastly greater spectrum of
reality than we realized; and once the veils of perception are cleansed, wars, racism,
competitiveness and violence will be seen as old, outgrown, pre-human traits.
Mystical insight is no more in the chemical itself than biological knowledge is in the
microscope. There is no difference in principle between sharpening perception with an
external instrument, such as a microscope and sharpening it with an internal instrument,
such as one of these drugs. If they are an affront to the dignity of the mind, the
microscope is an affront to the dignity of the eye.
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.
One sees the other in terms of a richness once seen, but lost through over-familiarity.
With this perception, closed-circuits are reopened and the persons communicate in ways
and on levels long inaccessible to them. Also, new circuits may be opened and new ways
of communication become possible. Or the subject may feel he is seeing the other in all
her richness and complexity for the first time.
Our personal boundaries may appear to melt and we can become identified with other
people, groups of people, or all of humanity. We can actually feel that we have become
the things that we ordinarily perceive as objects outside of ourselves, such as other
people, animals, or trees. Very accurate and realistic experiences of identification with
various forms of life and even inorganic processes can occur in transpersonal states.
Perceptions of encompassing light, infinite energy, ineffable visions, and
incommunicable knowledge are remarkable in their seeming distinction from perceptions
of the phenomena of the “natural world.” According to mystics, these experiences are
different because they pertain to a higher transcendent reality. What is perceived is said
to come from another world, or at least another dimension.
Sensory perceptions become especially brilliant and intense. Normally unnoticed aspects
of the environment capture the attention; ordinary objects are seen as if for the first time
and acquire new depth of significance. Aesthetic responses are greatly heightened; colors
seem more intense, textures richer, contours sharpened, music more emotionally
profound, the spatial arrangements of objects more meaningful.
The discovery of brain-change drugs has been compared to the discovery of the
microscope. New forms swim into perception. It’s a truism that you cannot impose the
ethics and language of the past upon the subject matter revealed by a new extension of
the senses. Galileo was arrested for describing what he saw in his telescope. The
inquisition would not bother to look through the lens.
The formless, dimensionless and intangible principle that an individual can perceive as
the Universal Mind is characterized by infinite existence, infinite awareness and
knowledge and infinite bliss. Any descriptions and definitions, however, necessarily use
words that we associate with the phenomena of the three-dimensional world; they are
therefore incapable of conveying the essence of this ultimate transcendental principle.
The global popularity of chemical mind-changers is due to their producing ecstasy,
perception change, fresh sensation. Ecstasy means to break out of the verbal prisons,
suspend your imprints, see things anew, perceive directly. With freshened perception
goes the feeling of liberation, insight, the exultant sense of having escaped the lifeless net
The traditional definition of sanity involves perceptual, emotional, and cognitive
congruence with the Newtonian-Cartesian image of the universe, not as a pragmatically
useful model, but as the only accurate description of reality. Substantial and critical
deviations which seriously challenge the Newtonian-Cartesian postulates are labeled as
George used to tell me about the visions and insights and perceptual fireworks. I used to
listen politely but not caring. I had no concepts, no mental hooks on which to hang his
words and no intuitive electricity to get turned-on. Like every educated savage, I
automatically discredited anything that I didn’t understand. Now it was different. The
visionary flash had come. (That was Timothy Leary looking back to before he tried
In ordinary seeing, we are hardly ever directly aware of our immediate impressions. For
these immediate impressions are more or less profoundly modified by a mind that does
most of its thinking in terms of words. Every perception is promptly conceptualized and
generalized, so that we do not see the particular thing or event in its naked immediacy;
we see only the objective illustration of some generic notion, only the concretion of an
All sensation and perception are based on wave vibrations.
All the senses act as one as they seem to caress and encompass whatever they perceive.
An arm may be perceived as absurdly long or short.
An inhibitor of visionary experience is ordinary, everyday, perceptual experience.
Clear perception of the limitations of the ego will awaken you to the Self.
Conscious attention is narrowed perception, ignore-ance.
Feeling and perception are hardly separated in the world of visions.
Feeling interweaves with thinking and both become joined with perceiving.
If the doors of perception were cleansed, everything would appear as it is, infinite.
It is time to use new senses, new perceptions.
Leary was one of the perceptive prophets of the age.
Mood changes abruptly, often in response to awareness of some perceptual stimulus.
Objects can be perceived as larger or smaller than they actually are.
One’s chemistry changes one’s perception.
Our normal perception of the world is a type of hypnotic illusion.
Perceived forms swim into focus out of the swirling, unformed wave process.
Perception is enormously improved.
Perception is extremely vivid and clear.
Perceptual changes can occur in any sensory area.
Space perception may be distorted in a number of ways and there is no particular pattern.
The active intellectual style is replaced by a receptive perceptual mode.
The artist may enter this world in search of new inspiration and improved perception.
The earth can be perceived as Mother Earth or a divine being.
The impact of mood on perception is greatly increased.
The individual perceives only part of the reality “available” to him.
The nature of the one reality must be known by one’s own clear spiritual perception.
The odor of an orange is simply overwhelming.
The perception of the infinite in a finite particular is a revelation of divine immanence.
The perceptions seem more real than the ordinary state.
The perceptual experience would be outside of customary verbal or sensory reference.
The usual boundaries which structure thought and perception become fluid.
The various perceptions changes are extraordinarily rich.
The veil of routine perception will be torn from your eyes.
There are genuine and valid levels of perception unavailable to us without drugs.
There is a much richer perception.
Time perception is a socially reinforced response.
Under LSD, the universe is perceived in its entirety as eternal, natural and perfect.
You will rejoice in perception of a meaning in life which you never felt.
A sound so faint that I would not ordinarily have heard it at all, is perceptible through
three closed doors.
I am able to give my full attention to the perception.
I realize how arbitrary some of our apparently “natural” perceptions may be.
All the processes that filter, screen and regulate perception seemed to have been
suspended. As Huxley put it, the mind’s “reducing valve” had been inactivated.
Every acoustic perception became transformed into optical perceptions. Every sound
generated a vividly changing image, with its own consistent forms and color.
He was not remembering back reflectively, but instead he was directly perceiving the
experience and the meaning of the experience.
I realized how a normally, constricted perceptual framework permits one to see only a
fraction of reality.
I understood how my normal perception of the world was constricted by many
prohibitions I had somehow accepted.
My sensitivity to beauty was significantly increased and I perceived aesthetic qualities in
most all of the objects that surrounded me, even in the walls of the room itself.
Pressure on the eyeball produced alterations of visual perception. (If your eyes are closed
and a light is put just in front of the closed eyes, that will influence visions.)
Spacial relationships had ceased to matter very much and my mind was perceiving the
world in terms of other than categories.
The hill, half a mile from me, soon came to be perceived as the boundary of the continent
The veil—the web of maya as the Hindus call it—fell away from our eyes as we opened
the doors of perception.
Things the least suspected of having a significance beyond their material agency were
perceived to be the most startling illustrations and incarnations of spiritual facts.
This moment now is it, eternity. The acid was acting as a cleansing agent, dissolving all
the wooly stuff that got in the way of my direct perception of the here and now.
watched 2 grasshoppers go into a kind of cosmic dance—The perception triggered a
transcendental experience of great intensity and depth.
Subjects responded by becoming deeply absorbed in this “new world” of altered
perceptions—often to the point of forgetting altogether their early concern with
psychological categories and labeling phenomena in terms of pathologies.
The ancient days were restored before my eyes and to my ears, and I exulted in the
perception with such conviction of reality that I ascribed it to no power of my own, but
knew it as an exterior and universal fact.
I was experiencing an ever-increasing state of ecstasy. This was accompanied by a
clearing and brightening of my perceptual field. It was as if multiple layers of thick, dirty
cobwebs were being magically torn and dissolved, or a poor-quality movie projection or
television broadcast were being focused and rectified by an invisible cosmic technician.
The essence of what I received that night was a recognition that reality, in its totality, is
something much larger and more complex than will ever fit through the tiny keyhole of
human perception. Technological amplification we might invent, will never begin to
A most beautiful sunset was dying in the west, the river was tinged by it, the very zenith
clouds were bathed in it, and the world beneath seemed floating in a dream of rosy
tranquility. My awakened perceptions drank in this beauty until all sense of fear was
banished, and every vein ran flooded with the very wine of delight. Mystery enwrapped
me still, but it was the mystery of one who walks in Paradise for the first time.
Aldous had given me a bowl of vegetable soup, beautiful and delicious. When I finished
it, Aldous made a move to take the bowl and wash it. I held on to it as though he were
taking my most precious possession. “Please don’t, Aldous.” The round, white bowl with
little pieces of vegetable was to me the cosmos, round and infinite, punctuated by light
exuding planets and stars of fiery orange and translucent green. Aldous smiled; he knew
what one can see in a dirty dish when the doors of perception are cleansed.
During the experience, I felt I understood what mystics throughout the ages have claimed
to be the universal truth of existence. I had an academic background in philosophy and
comparative religion, but I realized that mystical teachings had now taken on an added
dimension. My perception seemed to have shifted from a flat, two-dimensional
intellectual understanding of the literature, to a three-dimensional sense of immersion in
the mystical reality.
For the first time, I understood the meaning of “ineffable”. There seemed to be no
possibility of conveying in words the subjective truth of my experience. A veil had been
lifted from my inner vision, and I felt able to see, not just images or forms, but the nature
of truth itself. The doors of perception were so cleansed, they seemed to vanish
altogether, and there was only infinite being. Krishnamurti’s characterization of truth as a
pathless land seemed an appropriate description of this domain.
I sensed a complete connectedness of everything. It was obvious to me that all of the
separateness I ordinarily perceived was, in fact, an artifact of cultural conditioning, and
was indeed less “real” that what I was supposedly hallucinating. At that moment, I knew
that I was, for the first time, experiencing things as they are, utterly continuous. There is
no discontinuity. There is not one thing and another thing. It is all the same thing, the
That first experience with psilocybin had an immeasurable effect on my life. It was
radically and totally different, yet during the course of the experience I felt closer to my
true self than I had ever been and more aware of my innermost feelings and thoughts. I
had also been fully and intensely aware of people and things around me and did not lose
the reality perceptions that govern our ordinary world. Rather, ordinary perception was
enriched and enlivened beyond comparison.
Depth perception was increased far beyond normal standards.
Everything I perceived seemed much more beautiful, brighter, alive, warmer.
I felt my perceptions were being sorted in terms of new and different categories.
I perceived much more clearly than ever before.
Perceptions changed from moment to moment with intensive decidedness.
Space was perceived in a totally new and almost intriguing perspective.
The drug released such a flood of new thoughts and perceptions.
The substance of a thing was both seen and felt through the visual perception.
a break from everyday perception, recognized as such by the mystic, which is regarded as
infinitely more important than everyday perception
a dream-like state marked by extreme alterations in consciousness of self, in the
understanding of reality, in the sphere of experience and marked changes in perception
a firsthand, immediate perception of the Holy and the individual’s relation to it,
accompanied by emotion, excitement and feeling
a new perceptual capacity responsive to dimensions of the stimulus array previously
ignored or blocked from consciousness
a perception of everything as not only potentially beautiful, but as basically beautiful in
its own right
a rich spectrum of transpersonal experiences that provide profound insights into realms
and dimensions of reality that are ordinarily hidden to human perception and intellect
a sense of certainty that this knowledge is ultimately more relevant and “real” than the
perceptions and beliefs we share in everyday life
a sense of spiritual rebirth associated with a new way of being in the world and
a substance of such fantastic effects on mental perception and on the experience of the
outer and inner world
a truly miraculous instrument for new perceptions and insights about those aspects of
reality which concern him personally
a very vivid perception of an undifferentiated unity underlying, not merely the world, but
the total cosmos
a vision of God as a radiant source of light of supernatural beauty or a sense of personal
fusion and identity with God perceived in this way
acquiring certain information or perceiving a certain situation that according to generally
accepted paradigms is beyond the reach of the senses
alteration of the filtering mechanisms that regulate the access of perceptual and emotional
stimuli to consciousness
alterations of perception which enable us to see ourselves and the world in their basic
alterations of sense perception, of emotional level and tone, of identity feeling, of the
interpretation of sense data and of the sensations of time and space
an acute awareness of symbolic dimensions in every object of perception and a
an experience of merging with the environment and a sense of unity with perceived
awareness of new dimensions of the total stimulus array—a process of “perceptual
become more perceptive, more intensely aware of inward and outward reality, more open
to the spirit
changes in perception of sunlight on the floor, the grain in wood, the texture of linen, the
sound of voices across the street
disinhibiting certain regulatory, selecting, screening and controlling mechanisms that
guide our perception and thinking
drugs useful for exploring perception and different possibilities and modes of
experiences that underlie and yet are beyond our everyday perception of the world and
outside the reach of traditional scientific method
freeing oneself from distractions that interfere with the perception of higher realisms or
more beautiful aspects of existence
ignored and repressed aspects of the perceptual field—aspects to which we respond
organically but not consciously
images of God perceived as pure, spiritual energy, as a transcendental or cosmic sun
immediate perception of the eternal Unity, the experience which mystics universally
increased perceptual sensitivity and portentousness, intensification of interpersonal
experience, feelings of unique insight into life
increased vividness of color, visual harmonies, change in depth perception, sharper
definition of detail, changes in time sense, especially listening to music
maximum awareness of the inner process and its full emotional, perceptual and physical
mystical experience, visionary breakthroughs to a deeper, more comprehensive reality
than that perceived by our rational everyday consciousness
our being born with a drive to experiment with other ways of experiencing our
overcoming a type of sense perception and a whole image of the world that was in
opposition to the senses and the organism
perceptions of a mystical nature that may present themselves in a variety of symbolic
psychotherapeutic value in the LSD experience as a new beginning—an existential
encounter of decisive proportions to be followed by a realignment of the perceptual set
release of fixed perceptual patterns and the temporary opening up of fluid, boundaryless
self-realization, freedom from inhibition, communal ecstasy, expanded awareness,
that each “thing-event” involves every other and that the highest insight is simply the
perception of them in their natural “suchness”
telescope, microscope—aids to perception of external states, LSD—aid to perception of
an internal state of the nervous system
the Clear Light of reality itself or undifferentiated consciousness which underlies all
being, knowledge and perception
the confusion of our perceptions of reality with reality itself, the formulation of erroneous
hypotheses that do not conform to our own direct experience
the delicate nuances of sensitized perceiving and feeling under psychedelic drugs, the
sensitized nuances of being and perceiving
the dramatically intense perception of objects and the concomitant sensation of
identification with them
the heightening of perception, seeing, hearing, tasting, smelling or touching better than
the importance of retaining the child’s capacity for fresh, free-flowing perception and
the perception of the soul’s capacity for a broader being, deeper insight, grander views of
Beauty, Truth, and Good
the release of fixed perceptual patterns and the opening up of fluid, boundaryless
the socially approved sensation of reality, more or less the world as perceived on a bleak
the transcendence of verbal word-concept games, perceived space-time dimensions, ego,
and personal identity
the truth of existence as intuited by clear vision, free from the constricting distortions of
the universality of perception in the psychedelic experience, the universal central
the virtual infinity of intracellular communication lines perceived and in some sense
to become directly aware of energy exchanges and biological processes for which we
have no language and no perceptual training
to perceive his life in these symbolic terms, in terms of a myth or some rite of passage
unique shifts in their subjective experience of perceptual processes which they held to be
an integral part of their creative gifts
visions of light that has a supernatural radiance and beauty and is usually perceived as
activities of those circuits of the brain that lead to philosophic inquiry, scientific
curiosity, somatic awareness, hedonistic lifestyle, humorous detachment, high-altitude
tolerant perceptions, chaotic erotics, ecological sensitivity, utopian communality
sensory and emotional changes referred to as “distortions,” “regressions,” “loss of ego
structure,” “abnormal perception of body image”—This is the language of pathology. (It
is absurd to refer only negatively to such sensory and emotional changes.)
the deliberately inculcated conservatism of the psychiatric-medical mind, brainwashed
through many years of arduous academic training to perceive any change in functioning
the impossible paradox and supreme truth that perception is or at least can be, ought to be
the same as Revelation, that Richly shines out of every appearance, that the One is
totally, infinitely present in all particulars
the “projection” of consciousness to a point some distance from the body with visual
perception appearing to be from that point and not from the actual physical location of
the organ of sight
the sense of perceiving truths not known before…insights into depths of truth unplumbed
by the discursive intellect…the mysteries of life become lucid…illuminations, revelations,
full of significance and importance, all inarticulate though they remain
the state in which we transcend or dissolve all the barriers of ego and selfishness that
separates us from God, the state of direct knowing, immediate perception of our total
unity with God
through into another dimension…billions-of-protein-file-cards, flicking through,
confronting me with endless library of events, forms, visual perceptions, memories, not
abstract, but pulsing…now…experiential…a billion years of coded experience, classified,
preserved in brilliant living clarity that makes ordinary reality seem like an out-of-focus,
tattered, jerky, fluttering of peep-show cards, tawdy and worn (eyes closed)
originating in the transpersonal realms of the human psyche: the interest in ontological
and cosmological problems; an abundance of archetypal themes and mythological
sequences; encounters with deities of different cultures; ancestral, phylogenetic
memories; elements of the racial and the collective unconscious; the experiential world of
extrasensory perception and other paranormal phenomena (These things are seen with the
a change in spatial perception
a clear perception of reality
a deeper and changed perception
a deeper level of reality perceived by psychedelics
a freshness of perception
a great source of deepening perception
a liberation of feeling and perceptions
a new kind of perception
a new perceptual experience
a new way of perceiving
a perception of extended clarity and vividness
a perception of the infinite
a perception of the real structure of the world
a profound series of new perceptions
a strong emotional charge attached to the thing perceived
a sudden biochemical “unifying” of perceptual constancies
a superhuman form of perception
a variety of perceptual changes in all sensory areas
a way to perceive reality differently
an acute loss of time perception or time-boundaries
an astonishing enlargement of sensitivity and perceptiveness
an awakening of perception which magnifies sensation
an extraordinary range of new perceptions
an immeasurably heightened perception of the significance of the world
an increased vividness and richness of the percept
areas of perception capable of revealing the true basis of our earthly existence
becomes more perceptive, more intensely aware of inward and outward reality
brilliantly lighted perceptions of colored , moving, living geometrical forms (eyes closed)
changed perceptions of forms, colors and sounds
changes in perception, changes in feelings, and changes in thought
changes in perception, mood, thought patterns
changes in the perception of visual form
could see objects from perceptions which were normally impossible
direct perception of inside the skin events
discover a world of visionary beauty, the enormous heightening of the perception of color
dramatic emotional and perceptual changes
dramatically enhance his or her sensory perception of the world
dramatically expanded perception, opening up entirely new levels of reality
exquisite clarity of many-leveled perception
feel that perception has been cleansed
feelings and perceptions of a religious nature
fling wide “the doors of perception”
freedom from perceptual and intellectual attachment to the ego-principle
freeing the nervous system from conditioned perception
gaining new extensions of his perception of beauty and transcendence
have the insight to perceive
heightened perception and aesthetic awareness
heightening of the intensity and emotional significance of perception
heightening sensitivity and perception
his experience of the range and intensity of light and color perception
his “power of visual understanding” with deep perception and beauty
immense changes in perception
in perceptual touch with other levels of energy exchanges
insights and perceptions which we have all too often relegated to the domain of madness
intensification of color perception
intensification of visual perception
intensifications of present experience and abolition of perceptual and sensual inhibitions
intensifies and sexualizes perception
interrelated perceptions, thoughts, feelings regarded as a new reality
keys to the doors of perception
LSD’s profound effects on the way the mind handles both emotions and perceptions
many ways of organizing perception, new ways of constructing reality
new modes of awareness, new modes of experiencing and perceiving
novel combinations of ideas and perceptions
novel energy levels and unusual forms of perception
open the windows of perceptive feeling and enrich the understanding of God
opening the doors of perception and widening the area of consciousness
overwhelmed with perceptual changes
perceive an inner reality, beautiful and significant
perceive directly (without thinking and analyzing)
perceived with great clarity and distinctiveness
perceiving new meanings
perceiving the nature or meaning of real objects
perceiving truths not known before
perception of spiritual beauty
perception of the self within the self
perceptions of an erotic nature and rich sexual symbolism
perceptions too pleasurable to channel or even to comprehend
perceptual effects, their emotional and metaphysical connotations
perceptually changing three-dimensional patterns
perceptually gratifying, emotionally exhilarating LSD experiences
powerful perceptual and emotional changes
presenting a wealth of hitherto unknown perceptual possibilities
profound clarity and perception
radical alterations of visual perceptions
rich changes in visual perception
scrambling your perceptual categories
state of enlarged perception
stimulation of all sensory perception
subjectively felt hyperacuteness of perception
such a powerful stream of new and strange perceptions and feelings
sudden and profoundly impressive perception of ultimate reality
the breaking up of perceptual constancies
the captivating and transforming perception
the cleansed perception of the infinite significance of all things
the consciousness of a quickened perception
the dissolution of ego boundaries, prized by mystics as a step toward unitive perception
the drug as a liberator which facilitates accurate perception, self-insight
the extended wonder world of heightened and distorted perceptions
the fiction of the separate ego, the fiction of separate things a perception of the ego
the first time you flew on the wings of your perception
the freshness of sensory perception
the heightened intensity of color perception
the heightened perception produced by LSD
the heightening of color and form perception of well-known objects
the infinite variance of perceptions, judgments, and feelings
the intuitional perception
the leap from three-dimensional to multidimensional perception and experience
the most direct and immediate perception
the multi-level perception of LSD
the mystical perception of the non-rational mind
the new perceptual mode
the perception of new realities
the perception of relationships
the perception that one has glimpsed and understood the workings of the universe
the perceptual richness
the projection of the interior emotional tone onto the perceived object
the realm of nonverbal experience, reality as we perceive it directly
the restraints imposed by conventional modes of thought and perception
the richness of our perceptual experience
the vividness, intensity and perceptual peculiarities of drug trips
the wisdom and superior reality of internal perceptions
this “new world” of altered perceptions
this paradise of cleansed perception
this perfect, clear perception
this phenomenon of perceiving the other as she “really is”
this unified and timeless mode of perception
this very intuitive perception
thought, mood and perception changes
to be shaken out of the ruts of ordinary perception
to expand limited perceptions and awaken vision
to free the subject from the limitations of his old ways of perceiving, thinking and feeling
to pass from conceptualized perception to virgin perception
to perceive clearly
to perceive new space-time relationships
to perceive the pulse of the universe in himself and others
transformations in consciousness that effect thought, perception and feelings at once
vivid aesthetic perceptions
what a cleansed perception had revealed to the open eyes
your immediate perception of the ultimate order