Understand, Comprehend, Apprehend
A new intellectual understanding of reality is an important catalyst for therapeutic
A subject may “feel” the interior of his body, experiencing his internal structure and
processes as he understands them or as altered in some way.
Activists didn’t understand that LSD was a revolutionary tool, far more powerful than the
manifestos and slogans of the political radicals.
As a result of experiences of this kind, subjects can develop accurate understanding of
various complex esoteric teachings.
Because of the unique nature of the psychedelic state it is impossible to reach a real
understanding of its quality and dimensions unless one directly experiences it.
Drug users soon came to understand that psychedelic trips are not to be embarked on
Drugs like LSD reveal something of the otherwise dimly visible expanse of the mind and
suggest that its vast potential is scarcely to be comprehended.
For the proper use of understanding, a wider consciousness is needed and a higher
standpoint to enlarge one’s horizons.
Hallucinogenic agents throughout their long history have served primarily to stimulate
religious and spiritual understanding.
He may have a deep and moving religious experience in which he understands the pattern
of all life, with awe, gratitude and total understanding.
Identification with the creative energy of the cosmos often inspires a new attitude toward
life and becomes the foundation for a new understanding of existence.
If the mechanism of DNA repair, immunological defense and DNA ageing codes can be
understood, life can be extended and death postponed indefinitely.
If the religious vigor of a Westerner is enhanced by rich, mystical understanding, this is
certainly preferable to a foolish allegiance to a dead faith.
If you attach more importance to your beliefs than to self-understanding, you’ll probably
need an awful lot of LSD.
In the absence of any understanding of truth, another man’s description of his
understanding is easily mistaken for truth itself.
Intuition is the part of you that has hunches and is able to discover direct knowledge or
understanding without rational thought.
It doesn’t matter a bit if you don’t understand, because each one of you is quite perfect as
you are, even if you don’t know it.
It has deep and revolutionary implications for the understanding of psychotherapy and
offers new therapeutic possibilities undreamt (undreamed) of by traditional psychiatry.
It is easier to change behavior if you understand the learned-game nature of behavior.
This sort of insight can be brought about by consciousness-expanding drugs.
It provides new levels of understanding of one’s own identity, the dimensions of being,
human life and existence in general.
Journalists in general understood Leary about as well as one who might write that
Einstein discovered e=something-or-other.
Language is a device for taking the mystery out of Reality and making it amenable to
human comprehension and manipulation.
LSD phenomena are extremely interesting material for a deeper understanding of the
mind, the nature of man and human society.
LSD remains one of the most valuable tools in understanding the functioning of the
LSD rips away the facade that keeps us from understanding how preoccupied we may
have become with the trivial.
Man’s apparent destiny to seek an ever greater comprehension of the nature of reality
cannot be thwarted or suppressed.
Many LSD subjects reported unusual aesthetic experiences and insights into the nature of
the creative process; they frequently developed a new understanding of art.
Mystics of all faiths teach that understanding comes only when logic and intellect are
Nonordinary reality can be experienced even though it cannot be understood
Not only can psychedelic drugs deepen and broaden our understanding of religious
experience, but they may also contribute to genuine spiritual development.
One can connect with a state that feels eternal, understanding that one is at once the body
and also all that exists.
Only when this reality is attained is the true working of Suchness understood. (That
doesn’t contradict the above sentence.)
Our spiritual progress will not consist in a development and adaptation of symbolism, but
in an increased understanding of its meaning.
Our understanding of these most complex and fascinating of drugs remains incomplete,
and they represent unfinished business for psychological research and psychotherapy.
Patients are encouraged to use the sessions for self-exploration and dynamic
understanding of their emotional problems.
People may come to understand better through psychedelic drugs the visionary and
mystical language of poets like Blake, Wordsworth and Whitman.
Profound self-understanding and a high degree of self-transformation may reward the
Reality, God, the Eternal Now, is entirely beyond speech, understanding and attainment,
but at the same time, is right here.
Recognition and exploration of these dimensions is indispensable for a deeper
understanding of human nature.
Rudolph Otto uses the term mysterium tremendum to describe the fundamental religious
emotion, that which is felt in apprehending the numinous or holy.
Some subjects have reported that as a result of such experiences, they have developed a
new understanding of some of their personal problems and conflicts.
The actual experience of a hallucinogenic adds dimensionality to one’s understanding of
a patient who is attempting to describe his.
The Christian tradition, rightly understood, seeks to have us all become Jesuses, one in
The conscious ego does not control, let alone understand or produce all those psycho-
physical processes upon which it depends.
The enriching growth potential that they contain demands continuing study and attempts
to understand them (the psychedelics).
The experiences of universal symbols are followed or accompanied by an intuitive
understanding of various levels of their esoteric meaning.
The intimate relationship between the experience of the inorganic world and spiritual
states can convey an entirely new understanding of ancient teachings.
The person who takes the drug undertakes a journey into his or her psyche. For this
reason, LSD is of deep relevance for understanding the human mind and psychotherapy.
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 power of substances to produce altered states of consciousness is understood by
Western scientists in biochemical rather than supernatural terms.
The psychedelic state, and other forms of altered consciousness are worthy of serious
study if the act of human creation is to be better understood, guided, and encouraged.
The psychedelic state is an immensely powerful one for obtaining insight and
understanding through visual symbolism.
The question is not one of understanding transcendence; it’s of transcending, it’s
The religions of the world either worship sex or repress it; both attitudes proclaim its
centrality. To understand the mysteries, always look for what is veiled.
The soul beholds realities of greater significance, such as may never be apprehended
again out of the light of eternity.
The state of consciousness of the Self-realized individual is characterized by joy,
serenity, inner security, a sense of calm power, clear understanding and radiant love.
The Tao belongs neither to knowing or not knowing. If you really understand the Tao
beyond doubt, it’s like the empty sky. Why drag in right and wrong.
The true religious ascetic has no particular interest in mystical religion. He is totally
under the domination of the symbol and does not actually understand its meaning at all.
The ultimate reality is not clearly and immediately apprehended, except by those who
make themselves loving and pure in heart.
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.
There is no “higher religion” without mysticism because there is no apprehension of the
meaning of reality without mysticism.
These people need real love and understanding, the love and understanding which seems
to come through LSD.
Things are complex as a result of trying to understand them in terms of linear thought,
words and concepts.
This other dimension of experience is understood to be of a higher order of reality than
the dualistic dimension.
Those who vainly reason without understanding the truth are lost in the jungle, running
around here and there and trying to justify their view of ego-substance.
To understand the transpersonal realm, we must begin thinking of consciousness in an
entirely new way.
Understanding relativity presupposes not only a rather special intelligence, but new sense
We have hardly scratched the surface in understanding fully the facets and functions of
altered states of consciousness.
We will attain to knowledge of the universe through the spirit of truth and thereby to
understanding of our being one with the deepest, most comprehensive reality, God.
What we ordinarily call “reality” is merely that slice of total fact which our social
conventions of thought and feeling make it possible for us to apprehend.
When there is understanding, there is an experienced fusion of the Wisdom which is the
timeless realization of Suchness with the Compassion which is Wisdom in action.
Whereas the scientific comprehension of the relative universe is as yet largely theoretical,
Eastern disciplines have made it a direct experience.
You can’t understand life and its mysteries as long as you try to grasp it. Indeed, you
cannot grasp it, just as you cannot walk off with a river in a bucket.
A conceptual system that could account for at least the major observations of LSD
therapy requires not just a new understanding of the effects of LSD, but a new and
expanded model of the human mind and the nature of human beings.
A deeper understanding of the transformative process, based on the synthesis of
historical, anthropological and experimental data, could have important implications for
many different areas, including psychiatry, art, philosophy, religion and education.
After one sits gazing at a candle and feels that the flame and the hand and the music and
water running in the bathroom are the same “stuff” and after one experiences oneness
with all men, then one begins to understand the word “ineffable”.
Any point from which one sees the one-ness is a center. That one point of vision is the
eye of God, seeing, glorifying, understanding the whole. One such moment of revelation
is the only purpose of life.
As all great musicians have insisted and as anybody who has listened to music with
understanding agrees, music has some kind of cognitive meaning. It does say something
about the nature of the universe. Beethoven insisted on this very strongly.
As one’s head looks like nothing to the eyes, yet is the source of intelligence, the
indefinable Tao is the intelligence which shapes the world with a skill beyond our
Experiencing the extremes of human emotion leads to a better understanding of what
there is in between, a wider acceptance of feelings and actions which would otherwise be
unacceptable and inexplicable.
For many people, one or two psychedelic experiences can accomplish the goals of a long
and successful psychotherapy, a deep understanding and game-free collaboration between
participants, plus insight.
Hallucinogenics could lead to deepened understanding of religious and mystical content
and to a new and fresh experience of the great works of art. (Actually, with LSD,
whatever you look at becomes a great work of art, even if it’s dust or garbage.)
He may see and understand with unimagined clarity and brilliance various social and
self-games that he and others play. His own struggles in karma (game) existence will
appear pitiful and laughable.
I doubt if this can possibly be made to seem meaningful at the ordinary level of
consciousness. No wonder the mystics of all faiths teach that understanding comes only
when logic and intellect are transcended!
I hope that religious organizations in this country will begin to understand that highs
triggered by drugs may be more relevant to spiritual development than appearances of
spirituality on Sunday mornings.
Ideation, images, body sensations and emotion are fused in what is felt as an absolutely
purposive process culminating in a sense of total understanding, self-transformation,
religious enlightenment and possible mystical union.
If we had to decide to decide, we would not be free to decide. We are free to decide
because decision “happens.” We just decide without having the faintest understanding of
how we do it.
In recent decades, after centuries of domination by Newtonian mechanics, scientific
understanding of time, space and matter has converged with visions of the universe
expressed in Eastern religious texts that are thousands of years old.
In such states, the subject has a revelation of the significance and interrelationships of
many dimensions of life; he becomes aware of many levels of meaning simultaneously
and “understands” the totality of existence.
Individuals found a new ability to understand universal religious symbols, the metaphors
of holy scriptures and other sacred texts and the language of certain complicated
Individuals who experienced the phenomenon of ego death followed by the experience of
rebirth and cosmic unity seemed to show radical and lasting changes in their fundamental
understanding of human nature and its relation to the universe.
It is important to realize that by banning psychedelic research we have not only given up
the study of an interesting drug or group of substances, but also abandoned one of the
most promising approaches to the understanding of the human mind and consciousness.
Only in the light of these revelations of what each human being is capable of becoming,
ought to become and is ultimately destined to become, can we fully and clearly
understand what in fact we are.
Our rational instrumentation is principally responsible for the reduction of our total
potential of apprehension, of knowing and being. (The more one is dominated by their
ego, the further they are from reaching their Real Potential.)
People in the future will understand what is happening now just as we understand what
happened in Salem 200 years ago. (That was Timothy Leary and the United States still
suffers from medieval ignorance.)
The ban on emotional expression, especially in Anglo-Saxon cultures and especially
among men, makes the enthusiasm and wonder arising from drug-induced states readily
The best model for understanding the changes in behavior that occur after psychedelic
drug use is the changes in one’s views of self and world after a voyage to a strange
The expansion of consciousness is no other than extending our visions to comprehend
many levels at once and above all, to grasp those higher levels in which the discords of
the lower levels are resolved.
The experient does not gain rational understanding of the cosmic process, but reaches
instant comprehension by losing his or her separate identity and literally becoming the
The foundation or “ground” of our existence and awareness can’t be understood in terms
of things that are known. We have to speak of it through myth, metaphors, analogies,
what it is LIKE, not what it IS.
The prevailing attitude in traditional psychiatry and among the general public is that any
deviation from the ordinary perception and understanding of reality is pathological.
The recent rapid convergence between mysticism, modern consciousness research and
quantum-relativistic physics suggests that psychedelic research could contribute in the
future to our understanding of the nature of reality.
The recognition that the universe is not a mechanical system but an infinitely complex
interplay of vibratory phenomena of different types and frequencies, prepared the ground
for an understanding of reality based on entirely new principles.
The subject is made to understand that the value of his experience will depend, in large
measure, on his willingness to suspend or abandon his ordinary, everyday ways of
thinking and “looking at things.”
There have been few serious attempts to make theoretical use of the full range of
psychedelic experiences in terms that do justice to the understanding of those who
There is a need for dedicated scientists willing to take the calculated risk of ingesting the
psychedelics themselves, for the sake of the understanding that such an experience will
There is no doubt that a genuine comprehension of religion, mysticism, shamanism, rites
of passage or mythology is impossible without intimate knowledge of the death
experience and the death-rebirth process.
There was talk of change and of a peaceful, world-wide revolution of all-powerful
understanding and love. The talk was of love, all the more exciting and beautiful because
it seemed honest.
This century, the scientific understanding of reality has undergone dramatic changes, but
traditional psychologists and psychiatrists have not yet accepted the inevitable
consequences for their disciplines.
Time and space are creations of the conscious mind. It is because we do not always
understand that time and space are conscious devices that we get very confused when we
try to deal with the underconscious where there is no time and space.
Total awareness opens the way to understanding and when any given situation is
understood, the nature of all reality is made manifest and the nonsensical utterances of
the mystics are seen to be true.
Tripping is a very special type of activity, mentally as well as physically. It can include
moments of astonishing insight and supermellow serenity, “a peace which passeth all
Understanding comes when we liberate ourselves from the old and so make possible a
direct, unmediated contact with the new, the mystery, moment by moment, of our
We must come to understand the value of nonordinary experiences—to feel grateful for it
rather than guilty about it—so that we can encourage our children to express it rather than
Western psychology and psychiatry are seriously biased. They consider their own
idiosyncratic point of view to be superior to that of any other cultural group and label as
pathological any activities that they cannot understand in their own framework.
Wisdom, in contrast to knowledge gathered by empirical or rational investigation, is an
attribute of one who, by virtue of inner vision, understands the nature of illusion and
A high does of LSD in the right circumstances brings you into contact not only with your
deep self but with other dimensions—extraterrestrial intelligence, a collective mind,
intelligent unity of life, living God, things that they don’t understand and can’t control
and don’t want free and available.
ancient and Oriental religions and philosophies—It has become increasingly clear that
these systems of belief reflect profound understanding of the human mind and of unusual
states of consciousness, embodying knowledge that deals with the most universal aspect
of human existence and thus is highly relevant for all of us.
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.”
Each atom is a structure of detailed intricacy held together by energy of such speed and
power that it eludes our conception. Each atom is a space-ship of galactic proportions and
at the center of each galactic structure God places the entire staff of his atomic engineers.
Do you understand the brilliance of the design?
Experiences of plant identification often mediate deep understanding as to why certain
plants have been considered sacred by some cultures. (Plant identification doesn’t mean
what the name of the plant is, but experiencing plant consciousness or what it is to be a
plant. Psychedelic plants are the most sacred.)
I would say that the mind is not insular, but an interconnected part of a universe of both
physical and symbolic substance, whose linkages extend throughout space and time. The
Psychedelic has helped me to feel like a part of this connection. I feel like I have a much
greater understanding of non-Western and pre-industrial mind-sets.
If repression is not replaced by education and if intolerance is not replaced with
understanding, our hopes for the future and our vision of the human potential will be
gravely jeopardized. (In other words, we have no hope if dumb, ignorant, arrogant,
selfish, insensitive fascists continue to hold power and run things.)
If we understand that straight and stoned are descriptive terms for ways of using the mind
rather than labels for people who do or do not use a particular means of entering other
states of consciousness, we can use these terms profitably, for they indicate an important
choice between different kinds of thinking.
It does help you to look at the world in a new way. And you come to understand very
clearly the way that certain specially gifted people have seen the world. You are actually
introduced into the kind of world that Van Goth or Blake lived in. You begin to have a
direct experience of this kind of world while you’re under the drug.
It should be one of the chief tasks of the guide to help the subject select out of the wealth
of phenomena among which he finds himself, some of the more promising opportunities
for heightened insight, awareness and integral understanding that the guide knows to be
available in the psychedelic experience.
It will enable each person to realize that he is not a game-playing robot put on this planet
to be given a Social Security number and to be spun on the assembly line of school,
college, career, insurance, funeral, good-bye. Through LSD, each human being will be
taught to understand that the entire history of evolution is recorded inside his body.
LSD subjects sophisticated in mathematics and physics have occasionally reported that
many of the concepts of these disciplines that transcend rational consciousness can
become more easily comprehensible and be actually experienced in altered states of
Mainstream psychiatry and psychology in general make no distinction between
mysticism and psychopathology. There is no official recognition that the great spiritual
traditions that have been involved in the systematic study of consciousness for centuries
have anything to offer to our understanding of the psyche and of human nature.
Man has reached a crisis in consciousness within which he has the choice to continue in
the path of the growing technicalization of human nature or to enter upon an intensive
and comprehensive investigation of mind and its creative process in the pursuit of a
greater use of human potential and a deeper understanding of the nature of reality.
Only a few rather exceptional professionals have shown a genuine interest in and
appreciation of transpersonal experiences as phenomena of their own right. These
individuals have recognized their heuristic value and their relevance for a new
understanding of the unconscious, of the human potential and of the nature of man.
Our vision, and consequently our comprehension of our selves, is blocked out in many
areas by repression. Even where the aspects of the self are open to our scrutiny, our past
experience keeps our observations and interpretations bound in the ruts of conditioned
response. (LSD allows you to break through.)
Physicists and mathematicians report that after using LSD they have developed “a
feeling” for such concepts as the photon, the hypercube or imaginary numbers. Similarly,
philosophers have reported they have “understood” the meaning of existentialism, and
theologians report having “experienced” that which they had been preaching for years.
That Plato had some kind of profound ecstatic experience is indicated by the famous
Parable of the Cave, found in the Seventh Book of the Republic. Ingesters of LSD have
had no trouble in recognizing and understanding the metaphysical dimensions of this
notable piece of classical symbolism.
The critical issue here is the ontological status of non-ordinary states of consciousness—
whether we see them as pathological conditions that should be indiscriminately
suppressed or veritable alternatives to our everyday states of consciousness that can
contribute to our understanding of the psyche and have a great therapeutic potential.
The history of science makes clear that the greatest advancements in man’s understanding
of the universe are made by intuitive leaps at the frontiers of knowledge, not by
intellectual walks along well-traveled paths. Similarly, the greatest scientific thinkers are
those who rely on sudden intuitive flashes to solve problems.
The individual seems to gain access to a value system that is not understandable in terms
of his or her own early history or cultural norms. It entails a sense of compassion,
tolerance, basic justice and aesthetic appreciation that has a transpersonal or even cosmic
The observations of the last few decades have drastically changed our understanding of
the relationship between consciousness and matter and of the dimensions of the psyche.
They show consciousness as an equal partner of matter, or possibly even supraordinated
to matter, and creative intelligence as inextricably woven into the fabric of the universe.
The reason psychedelic experiences are important and valuable is that people live their
lives by their own “chess-boards,” playing the lawyer-game, the merchant-game or some
rule-ridden ego-game, rarely if ever expanding their consciousness to the point of true
awareness and understanding of man and nature, including themselves.
Unbiased systematic study of this material would lead to changes in our understanding of
the human psyche and of the nature of reality that would be as far-reaching and radical as
those that were introduced into physics by the theories of relativity and the quantum
We are trying to apply the concepts of an outdated world view—the mechanistic world
view of Cartesian-Newtonian science— to a reality which can no longer be understood in
terms of these concepts. (This reality never could be understood in terms of these
We often encounter the impressive but little understood phenomenon of timeless,
universal symbols and themes emerging into consciousness in a particular dramatic form
adapted to the requirements of the psychedelic drug subject who becomes the drama’s
protagonist and thereby is transformed. (eyes closed)
When one properly understands the religious life, it is only the courageous man who is
willing to face it. (Western “religions” don’t understand religion and religious experience
and persecute anyone who does. It also takes courage to let the ego die during an LSD
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.
Both Freud and Skinner explained creative processes in terms of their deviance from
“normality” rather than as positive, healthy processes to be encouraged and developed. It
is not surprising that most American psychiatrists and psychologists are baffled by the
reports of LSD activity, puzzled by the subjective reports of LSD users, and skeptical
about the value of LSD in man’s efforts to understand, describe and change his behavior.
Changes in point of view cannot happen overnight, for they require acceptance of painful
truths: that children daydreaming in class, for example, might be using their minds much
more profitably than children paying attention; that psychotic patients may be in a better
position to understand and experience reality than the psychiatric authorities who dose
them with tranquilizers.
Everything that we now possess as physiological or neural equipment was built into the
original design of the first protozoan cells. Individually, too, we began as a single cell at
the moment of our conception. Only recently have we begun to understand the seed-
complexity of our beginnings. The single cell handles more transactions per day than the
9 million primates of N. Y. City.
Exploration of the potential of these substances for the study of schizophrenia, for
didactic purposes, for a deeper understanding of art and religion, for personality
diagnostics and the therapy of emotional disorders and for altering the experience of
dying has been my major professional interest throughout these years and has consumed
most of the time I have spent in psychiatric research. (That was Stanislav Grof.)
If the intellect by nature cannot understand life, it follows that the intellect by nature
cannot understand death. Its view of death results from the fact that it looks only at the
parts, not the Whole. If it would look at the Whole, it would see immediately that life is
immortal. The esoteric doctrine would be that it is precisely our insistence on personal
immortality which makes us blind to our actual immortality.
In nonordinary states of consciousness, visions of various universal symbols can play a
significant role even in experiences of individuals who previously had no interest in
mysticism or were strongly opposed to anything esoteric. These visions tend to convey
instant intuitive understanding of the various levels of meaning of these symbols and
generate a deep interest in the spiritual path. (visions seen with eyes closed)
In the transpersonal domain, where psychological and spiritual growth are one,
psychedelics appear to be powerful tools for the investigation of consciousness; they
could enable us to expand our understanding of the human mind and the nature of
creative consciousness. A willingness to question our assumptions and to keep an open
mind with respect to potential benefits and potential hazards is essential.
It has been shown that LSD experiences of death and rebirth and mystical states of
consciousness can change patients’ concepts of death and life and alleviate their fears of
dying. Psychedelic therapy has proved to be more than an important tool in the control of
mental and physical pain, it has contributed greatly to our understanding of the
experience of death.
None of these people has the slightest idea of why the Indians use peyote, or what the
effects of the drug are. Since they do not know, and will not try to understand, they
presume that it can only be evil and therefore must be prohibited. Certainly, they feel, a
practice which is so incomprehensible to Christianity cannot be religious and therefore
has no right under the constitutional guarantees of religious freedom.
Our problem is that the power of thought enables us to construct symbols of things apart
from the things themselves. This includes the ability to make a symbol, an idea of
ourselves apart from ourselves. Because the idea is so much more comprehensible than
the reality, the symbol so much more stable than the fact, we learn to identify ourselves
with our idea of ourselves. Hence, the subjective feeling of a “self” which has a “mind.”
Since the psychedelic experience includes so many elements that are not part of nondrug
experience, the guide never will be able to understand the subject or communicate with
him adequately unless the guide himself has first-hand knowledge of the drug state and
its phenomena. The point has become controversial but we see no sound reason why it
Squeeze the stone until it becomes soft as cotton. The guide then may induce an empathic
relationship, telling the subject to “Let yourself go into the stone, let yourself dissolve
into the stone. Be one with the stone, so that you understand it and so that it understands
you.” By such means, experiences of empathy are made possible for persons who never
have had even remotely similar experiences before.
That famous “revival of religion,” about which so many people have been talking for so
long, will not come about as a result of evangelistic mass meetings or the television
appearances of photogenic clergymen. It will come about as a result of biochemical
discoveries that will make it possible for large numbers of men and women to achieve a
radical self-transcendence and a deeper understanding of the nature of things.
The experience of cosmic consciousness provides important insights for deepening our
understanding of the highest forms of creativity. The literature on creativity is filled with
examples of extraordinary artistic, scientific, philosophical, and religious inspiration that
came from a transpersonal source and that occurred in non-ordinary states of
The new data are of such far-reaching relevance that they could revolutionize our
understanding of the human psyche. Some of the observations transcend in their
significance the framework of psychology and psychiatry and represent a serious
challenge to the current Newtonian-Cartesian paradigm of Western science. They could
change drastically our image of human nature, of culture and history, and of reality.
They’re not interested in mystical experience at divinity schools. They’re interested only
in words and in history. If someone had a mystical vision a safe 2000 years ago and left
some record of it, that might interest them. But mystical experience, the raw and vital
force that gives rise to a religion, is too much for them to cram into their semantic,
pseudoscientific endeavor to understand God.
To be able to face all of the challenges of psychedelic therapy, the therapist has to have
special training that involves personal experiences with the drug. Because of the
extraordinary nature of the LSD states and the limitations of our language in describing
them, it is impossible for the future LSD therapist to acquire deeper understanding of the
process without first-hand exposure.
Up this gradual stairway of Sense, Understanding, Intuition, we mount to that height from
which we are able to behold, with some degree of calmness, the infinite fields of intuitive
Beauty and Truth, when the screen of the bodily is removed, and the scope of vision
belonging to our highest faculty is realized to be immeasurably beyond all that our most
rapturous visions ever conceived it.
We use all sorts of drugs to ease our minds but none to reveal our minds. We seem to
want change, but not understanding. Most of us have never heard of psychedelic drugs,
and those who have would never think of using one themselves. Although man has used
drugs in religious rites to discover his relationship with God since the dawn of history,
the Judeo-Christian mind cannot accept such practices.
When we experience identification with the cosmic consciousness, we have the feeling of
enfolding the totality of existence within us, and of comprehending the Reality that
underlies all realities. We have a profound sense that we are in connection with the
supreme and ultimate principle of all Being. In this state, it is absolutely clear that this
principle is the ultimate and the only mystery.
You are holding in your hand a great human document. But unless you are one of the few
Westerners who have experienced a mystical minute of expanded consciousness, you will
probably not understand what the author is saying. Too bad, but still not a cause for
surprise. The history of ideas reminds us that new concepts and new visions have always
been non-understood. We cannot understand that for which we have no words.
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
If the human potential that Jesus demonstrated is understood to be within us, if the
capacity to grow to Godlike stature is directly experienced by all Christendom as the key
to the Kingdom, then Christianity will fulfill its purpose by encouraging people to evolve,
to transform themselves, to rise to a higher state. (That means the LSD state of cosmic
consciousness. Do phony idiots such as Jerry Falwell and Pat Robertson understand
If the potential exists for the upheaval of a person’s “change of life flow,” then it is
unprofessional, if not criminal, to fail to advise him of this potential outcome. And if you,
yourself, as the investigator, are uncertain of the potential ramifications of such an
experiment, then you are remiss in exposing others to that which you are not personally
familiar. One must personally know the experience to understand properly another’s
Systematic study of non-ordinary states has shown me, beyond any doubt, that the
traditional understanding of the human personality, limited to postnatal biography and to
the Freudian individual unconscious, is painfully narrow and superficial. To account for
all the extraordinary new observations, it became necessary to create a radically
expanded model of the human psyche and a new way of thinking about mental health and
When subjects were given a psychedelic drug without knowing what to expect or how to
respond, being left alone in a dark room or threatened by unfamiliar researchers
demanding cooperation in psychological testing, it is easy to understand why so many
experiences became psychotic. If nonpsychotic experiences are desired, subjects must be
prepared, feel secure in a friendly environment, and above be willing and able to trust in a
reality greater than themselves.
A tunnel of joy and understanding had been driven through chaos.
An understanding of death is the key to liberation in life.
I know that I could never have understood this experience had I not lived it myself.
I will understand the mystics much better having had the experience.
If reality is to be understood in its fullness, there must be total awareness.
It provides understanding of a new kind.
It’s the very heart of human experience, the center that gives understanding to the whole.
Life ceases to seem problematic when it is understood that the ego is a social fiction.
Rightly understood, a single instant is as long as a century.
Taking of the drug is in fact essential to a true understanding of the experience.
The general understanding of the effects of LSD is poor, even among experienced users.
The glory of God is beyond all description and comprehension.
The lips of knowledge are closed except to the ears of understanding.
To see the world as it really is means to understand that life is immortal.
Understanding comes through awareness.
Understanding is primarily direct awareness, an immediate experience.
We must transcend parochial cultural contexts to truly understand reality.
Whatever you see, just accept it. Don’t stop your experience to try to understand things.
When body and mind achieve spontaneity, universal mind can be understood.
Without understanding yourself, you have no basis for thought.
You can read the Vedas and Vedantas in your own tissues and understand.
He emphasizes that his understanding is all experienced as simultaneous visual and felt
Suddenly I feel my understanding dawning into a colossal clarity, as if everything were
opening up down to the roots of my being and of time and space themselves. The sense of
the world becomes totally obvious. I am struck with amazement that I or anyone could
have thought life a problem or being a mystery.
I can now understand the psychology of divine inspiration or of magical thinking.
Now I not only understand that matter is energy—I can FEEL it!
Now I understand what is meant by being a part of everything
For the first time in my life, I knew what the word “beauty” meant. Now I understand
that I had never even begun to penetrate what beauty was all about.
He experienced a déjà vu of divine joy and understanding, as though stumbling upon a
golden trove of submerged knowledge.
He reported a “continual stream of penetrating insights and deepened philosophical
He said that he did not “really think it possible to study and understand modern
philosophy without at least having tried a psychedelic.”
I had never heard music played like that before. I suddenly understood the very essence
of music, the secret of its magic.
I suddenly understood the message of so many spiritual teachers that the only revolution
that can work is the inner transformation of every human being.
I understood how my normal perception of the world was constricted by many
prohibitions I had somehow accepted.
I would just laugh and laugh. I understood stuff that tickled me so much that it made me
roll around and laugh until the tears would roll down my face.
It began to dawn on me that the origins of some philosophical and religious ideas might
be better understood by a scholar who had ingested and experienced the psychedelics.
It created vast openings of the mind that led to an understanding of spiritual realities and
it was very valuable.
It seemed that I had got an understanding of things which I’d been trying to understand
for a long time, problems of good and evil and so on.
LSD carried with it a certain messianic vision, a certain understanding of the meaning of
LSD provided me with a map of the territory, a deeper self-understanding within, a wider
context than my own personal history.
Objects were apprehended as “presenting themselves more forcefully” as being less
opaque, more easily yielding up meanings.”
She got in touch with what she felt was pure being and realized that it cannot be
comprehended and does not need any justification.
The LSD session helped them gain deep insights into the world of painters, empathize
with them and understand their art.
The music contributed not a little to my understanding of what had happened to me. (To
be clear, the music contributed a lot.)
The subject felt that he had been able to recapture a view of his wife that he had at the
time of their marriage and that he understood her better.
They apprehended real truths, common to all our humanity, and needing but some
instrument of intense insight to bring them forth.
We danced in the golden light of space, seemingly into eternity, in a state of bliss
understood only by those who have experienced euphoria.
Blake said that “gratitude is heaven itself”-a phrase I was unable to understand before
taking LSD, but which now seems luminously comprehensible. (That was Aldous
Deep emotions can be understood only after they have been felt. I knew that it was
impossible to communicate them. They must forever remain mysterious, an unsolved
mystery to all who had not had such feelings.
For many professional artists as well as laymen, the LSD session represented a profound
aesthetic experience that gave them a new understanding of modern art movements and
art in general.
I don’t know if I can say anything more about this experience. I realized at the time that I
had made it perfectly clear in my books and was only amazed that I didn’t always
understand what I was saying. (That was Alan Watts.)
I felt I had now experienced the grace of God. Truly I had been given a gift of infinite
worth. I could understand why human beings throughout history have relentlessly
pursued truth and sought enlightenment.
In several staggered flashes of insight, like flashbulbs popping around a celebrity, I
understood the Cartesian mind/body split. I also understood Beauty and Truth and
Ultimate Reality. Unfortunately, I lacked the words to explain it.
It was the understanding beyond words. It was the place beyond intellect. It is always
there, awaiting our presence, yearning for us to enter the new dimension and cast off our
Never has greater beauty immersed me in its flood. I was so lost in its waves, so
separated from myself, so disembarrassed of my ego, that odious appendage that
accompanies us everywhere, that for the first time I understood the nature of existence.
The experience was highly significant. He comprehended “the essential All-Rightness of
the universe.” (Ultimately, the universe is good and right no matter how bad things seem
We felt ourselves get smarter, and looked into each other’s eyes and loved each other for
sharing the understanding that was making us both have these good vibes and this good
smart thing happening together. It was very strong, very high.
We had entered the cosmic state. It was divine. It was expansive and harmonious and
beatific and one. I was alive! For the first time in my life I understood what it meant to be
I understood, at that instant, what the concept of being born again was all about. Jesus the
Christ says in the Christian bible, “you must be born again.” And I knew what he meant.
You must go into yourself…all the way into yourself…to your beginning, your origin.
Into the waters of your unconscious. Into the core of you.
I understood that the essence of my being was identical with the timeless essence of
every living thing, that formlessness was the essence of form, that the whole universe was
reflected in every psyche, and that my separateness was only a illusion, a dream from
which I had, in this moment, fully awakened.
My understanding of mystical teachings, both Eastern and Western, Hindu, Buddhist,
Christian, and Sufi alike, took on a quantum leap. I became aware of the transcendental
unity at the core of all great religions, and understood for the first time the meaning of
They had understood for the first time what the sages of pre-scientific and anti-scientific
traditions were talking about. Psychedelic drugs opened to mass tourism mental
territories previously explored only by small parties of particularly intrepid adventurers,
mainly religious mystics.
This clear-light experience, as Leary termed it, was a true communion of the soul. I felt
as if my consciousness and entire being had broken up with the brittleness of linear ego
thought, while the person that filled the vacuum bore the same body of experience with a
totally new vitality and an understanding of life’s true value.
A curtain was lifted and I saw the magnitude of life and was totally absorbed by it. The
moment lasted just a minute or two, but it embraced a lifetime. I suddenly understood the
cliché of oneness, that everything in the world is connected and part of a Whole, and that
that interlinkage is a truer characterization of the relationship of things than that of me
and my body being separate from all other men and their bodies.
Feeling not that I was drugged but that I was in an unusual degree open to reality, I tried
to discern the meaning, the inner character of the dancing patterns which constituted
myself and the gardens and the whole dome of the night with its colored stars. All at
once, it became obvious that the whole thing was love-play. This single source was not
just love as we ordinarily understand it. It was also intelligence.
My soul, I learned, is most “into” joy and beauty, i.e., experiences of joy and beauty most
occupied me on acid. Joy and beauty do not dominate my awareness in general—and
never with a comparable intensity—so I treasure these experiences on the grounds of
their rarity alone. They were also profoundly educational. I think I understand the human
race a little better.
Now I could hear, as if for the first time, the depth of the wisdom in their teachings and in
the mystical doctrines of all ages and all cultures. As I sought for words to express my
own ineffable experience I gained a new appreciation for those individuals who had
attempted to communicate their own insights in writing or art. I also became interested in
understanding intuitive ways of knowing.
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.
The perennial philosophy and the esoteric teachings of all time suddenly made sense. I
understood why spiritual seekers were instructed to look within, and the unconscious was
revealed to be not just a useful concept, but an infinite reservoir of creative potential. I
felt I had been afforded a glimpse into the nature of reality and the human potential
within that reality, together with a direct experience of being myself, free of illusory
identifications and constrictions of consciousness.
Acid wired in an understanding of the Other Side.
As I looked at the rose, it began to glow and suddenly I felt I understood the rose.
At last, I comprehended fully that the joy which possessed me was God.
For the first time, I understood not on a verbal level.
I got my deepest and clearest understanding of religion.
I knew the meaning of things I never comprehended before.
It had to be seen and felt to be believed, to be understood.
It was a world where miracles were possible, acceptable and understandable.
It was not only bliss, it was also understanding.
The light grew brightly. The understanding deepened.
The understanding came from something deeper and primeval.
They had felt themselves to be in a rare state of accord and understanding.
With the completest understanding, I saw the center of creation.
Without being a mathematician, I understood the infinite.
a better understanding of the visionary and mystical language of poets like Blake,
Wordsworth and Whitman
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 magic key to paradise, a paradise of beauty and depth of knowing and understanding
which had been dormant within me
a mystical experience of great depth during which he felt “dissolved” in “the universal
pool” and experienced “the peace that passeth understanding”
a new model of the psyche, new understanding of emotional disorders and of the
therapeutic process, new insights into human nature and the nature of reality
a religious experience culminating in a sense of total self-understanding, self-
transformation, religious enlightenment and possibly mystical union
a sense of personal revelation that might be expressed as physical sensation, as personal
insight, or as philosophic or spiritual understanding of self and universe
an entirely different understanding of emotional and psychosomatic disorders, as well as
the therapeutic process and strategy of self-exploration
can bring spiritual and philosophical understanding of such high level that everything is
redefined and appears in a new perspective
emerging from the experience with the understanding that they are divine and so is
everyone and everything else
feeling that what is apprehended is holy, sacred or divine, feelings of blessedness, joy,
peace, happiness, etc.
gain an understanding of the origin of many disorders and learn how to diagnose and heal
knowledge other than the contents of our surface consciousness, which can apprehend
reality only in the form of one abstraction or thought at a time
letting in a free flow of comprehension beyond the everyday threshold of experience
while keeping the mind clear
LSD a kind of telescope to scan the deep-space regions of the spirit and discover a greater
understanding of his religious instinct
mediates understanding as to where and why religions went astray and lost contact with
produces an intellectual ecstasy and understanding that defies description—past
philosophical reading will take on living meaning
profound new understanding associated with fascinating philosophical and spiritual
promises new and exciting possibilities for the study and understanding of human history
psychedelic drugs especially valuable in the area of comparative religion where the
researcher might find a key to the understanding of the genesis of religious experiences
psychedelics a powerful tool to cut through conditioning, to bring a person to direct
understanding of their own true nature, and the nature of the universe
psychiatrists whose proprietary claims to a revealed understanding of the mind and whose
antagonism to consciousness expansion are well known
pure mind, mind in its natural state, limitless, undifferentiated, luminously blissful,
reaching that level of understanding variously referred to as illumination, liberation, and
rebirth into a broadened understanding, in which acceptance of unity displaces the
anxiety of separateness
self-understanding, religious enlightenment, mystical experience, harmony with the
universe and with other persons
that psychedelic insight can supercede both science and religion as we presently
the error of understanding eternity as an integral of clock time rather than an experience
of timelessness, that is, of having escaped the boundaries of time entirely
the experience of transcendence and union with that which is apprehended as lying
beyond the multiplicity of the world
the very heart of human experience—It is the center that gives understanding to the
the virtual infinity of intracellular communication lines perceived and in some sense
to understand at least a little of the significance of what, in our pathetic imbecility, we
call “mere things” and disregard in favor of television
unconventional knowledge and understanding life directly and not in abstract, linear
understood the Cosmic meaning of all nature dances and how man and nature merge into
what Aldous Huxley called “perennial philosophy”, an understanding of the universe and
of existence that has emerged again and again in different countries and historical periods
a legacy of intensely generous insight and teaching whose full value will not be fully
understood nor valued until several years after the millennium (That was Caroline W.
Casey talking about Timothy Leary.)
a memory of things, things related to things in some blessedly familiar way that could not
yet clearly apprehended (When it does become clear, that is awakening, enlightenment,
an inward liberation from the bounds of conventional patterns of thought and conduct,
understanding life directly, instead of in the abstract, linear terms of representational
the significance of visionary experience, this manner of comprehending the world—in
cultural history, in the creation of myths, in the origin of religions and in the creative
process of which works of art arise
Western culture’s preference for consensus reality, lack of a genuine understanding of
altered states of consciousness and strong tendency to pathologize all such states without
discrimination (It is “consensus reality” based on ego that is really pathological.)
must resist the dictates of reason, as we understand it and give up the supremacy of
egohood (If we associate reason with ego, that is quite unreasonable because the ego is
unreasonable. Ego cares only about itself and nothing else which is not reasonable
because there are other people and their egos. If all egos are going to do is fight with each
other, that’s why we have the world we have. When we get beyond ego, we’ll have a real
a clear understanding of the oneness
a deeper understanding of the death-rebirth process
a direct, unlimited understanding of the divine nature
a lack of cultural understanding of the importance of the transformative journey
a lack of real understanding about nonordinary states of consciousness in Western culture
a meaning exceeding ordinary understanding
a mystical understanding of the universe, a cosmic type of spirituality
a new expanded understanding and increased inspiration
a rebirth into great understanding and a greater appreciation of God
a state of perfect clarity and understanding
a truly important discovery, the significance of which has yet to be fully understood
an entirely new understanding of the potential
an infinite mode of existence understood as the divine
bliss and peace and understanding
breaking through to ego-loss understanding and awareness
clarity of consciousness and self-understanding
craving for understanding
directly understand the mystery of given reality
experience as “knowledgeless understanding, luminous bliss”
experiences that elude rational comprehension altogether
his “power of visual understanding” with deep perception and beauty
intuitive understanding of universal symbols
mystical understanding of the universe
new concepts accompanied by a complete understanding of them
open the windows of perceptive feeling and enrich the understanding of God
opportunities for heightened insight, awareness and integral understanding
patterns of color which have a power to move us and in ways which we little understand
perceptions too pleasurable to channel or even to comprehend
the ability of LSD to enhance the mystical self-understanding of a person
the birth of a new kind of consciousness and a new apprehension of man’s identity
the understanding of love which people find in the LSD experience
the understanding of the inner working
spiritual understanding of the universe
the moment of complete understanding, when one comprehends the Big Picture
the perception that one has glimpsed and understood the workings of the universe
the philosophical understanding of existence
to awaken to joy, light, bliss, universal understanding and higher consciousness
to intensify and extend the mind’s apprehension of its reality
to understand that death is false and life is immortal
to understand the meaning not only intellectually, but organically, experientially
totally and clearly beyond rational comprehension
transmits a new understanding of life
understandings beyond the grasp of our normal consciousness