Extract from The Psychedelic Master
Exploring the far-out spaces of human consciousness is the fastest way to social transformation. [John C. Lilly]
I have visited inside myself fantastic places of great beauty and of such abstraction that I can hardly describe them in words. Herein lies the realm of the subtle elements, the evanescent presence of archetypes, spirits and other-dimensional beings. There are civilizations here at all levels of development. There is a universe in us that can be visited in its entirety because each part is instantly accessible without effort. Think about it and you are there because inner travel is not restricted by space-time. In the communication age, rockets will soon be replaced with isolation tanks.
The isolation tank was developed in the fifties based on sensory deprivation research. In 1954, John C. Lilly, a researcher at the National Institute of Mental Health, created the isolation tank in which an individual can lie in a saline solution at body temperature with all external sensory stimuli eliminated: no light, no sound, and a reduction in the sensation of gravity. Dr. Lilly was also one of the pioneers who, by combining LSD and the isolation tank, drew a map of the inner landscapes. He replaced LSD with ketamine in the seventies and took his experiments to levels no scientist had dared explore before. The descriptions and maps he created from his experiences are of the highest pragmatic and rigorous order. Their precision and pertinence highlight the richness of his testimony.
Lilly has clearly demonstrated that it is on the inside that we can best communicate (and be in communion) with all life manifestations in the universe. Too many people are mesmerized by the physical world, which is like the shell of an infinitely large egg, essentially the most lifeless part of what we call reality. Modernity, with its emphasis exclusively on rationality, has unfortunately thrown the baby out with the bathwater. By rejecting ancestral beliefs about the invisible world out of hand and relegating them to fantasy and childish belief, it has helped imprison modern man in matter and cut him off from the most vital part of his body. It is a short-term suicide.
The potential of the psychedelic drugs to provide access to the interior universe, is, I believe, their most valuable property. [Alexander Shulgin]
By granting unlimited access to inner worlds, psychedelics have become precious and unique exploration tools. The Maya, for example, created a calendar so accurate that even today we have difficulty understanding and using it. Psychedelics have provided knowledge to shamans throughout history by allowing them to enter subtle realms and return with the visions needed to help their community.
Because I am introverted and solitary in temperament with an unbridled imagination, it was natural for me to be attentive to my inner world. I was well prepared when the doors of perception opened in me during my first psychedelic experience. I closed my eyes and allowed myself to be drawn in by the vitality of my inner world. What I felt inside me seemed much more real than the world outside. A great excitement gripped me when I realized I was finally exploring the vast bright spaces Aurobindo spoke of. I then realized that reality is the dream from which I had to awaken, that the physical world is a show for my consciousness, a pale reflection of what is already inside me.
Science now believes that the universe is 15 billion years old (though this will probably change), so there is a part of me that is much older than my person. I can therefore tap my electronic memory where there is no mind, for an electron does not think: it is. It is a peaceful condition, vast and clear. And if I go even further back in time, I find this fundamental state of being where I integrate every particle of the universe, where I unify all that exists since the universe is in me and I in it. It is in this non-dual, paradoxical state that the concept of inside/outside no longer holds. Opposites embrace, consciousness remains. Such an experience is invigorating: I am infinite, vast, all-knowing, I am all.
Playing with various approaches may be due to resistance to going within, to the fear of having to abandon the illusion of being something or somebody in particular. To find water you do not dig small pits all over the place, but drill deep in one place only. [Nisargadatta Maharaj]
Extract from The Psychedelic Master