Harrington, Alan - A Visit to Inner space 3
Type of spiritual experience
A description of the experience
A Visit to Inner Space – Alan Harrington [from LSD: The Consciousness Expanding Drug edited by David Soloman]
According to Gerald Heard, the greater the ego the more severe will be the period of terror under LSD. Before the sublime moments can come the ego must give up and, willingly or not, break apart. For those who resist this process, the temporary ‘dying’ can be hellish passage. It was that way for me – I must have been so concerned with hanging onto the ego that I missed a great deal of the beauty. (But once the dying was over with I ascended to the top of the universe like everybody else).
.. most accounts of the LSD voyage strike me as being either circumspect or rarefied, and even evasive. The writers don’t seem to be telling what happened to them really. They just soar away on their beautiful new wings. Their memories read like an old Fitzpatrick travelogue, with the sun sinking in the west among lovely islands. Inner space isn’t like that. It is a glorious but sometimes frightening continuum and has a madhouse quality, a little like Alice in Wonderland.
Why was the experience so rewarding? For one thing, the tour through the hell of ego was like a quick psychoanalysis. The subsequent ascension provided an atheist with what can be described as a religious or anyway metaphysical insight, and this has not dimmed. To one who has practically never thought in terms of lotuses, reincarnation, stages of existence, etc and who through the years has been irritated by the enthusiasts of Eastern philosophy, the LSD journey brought evidence of recurring personal death and rebirth. It made possible a vision of eternity not unlike those of Blake and Swedenborg......................
“There are two things to remember. During the experience you’re going to come to choice points. When you reach them, imagine that you can go up or downstream. Go downstream always if you can. Just go with it. Second, if you get hung up, always trust your partner. If you feel that you’re going too far out, move towards your partner. Stay with Ralph”
He said “I’ll be in the next room. Call and I’ll be right here. Remember that. Have a good voyage”.
“Why do you keep saying to trust him?” I asked
“Paranoia” Arthur said “You’ll probably be suspicious of him. Maybe of me. That’s part of it. But now that you know, you can watch for it”...............................
The ego can stand out against the universe for just so long, and then it lets go and dies, going downstream. But at some point there must occur the ride into the hell of ego, a passage through the glowing coils which plant endless bright circles in the mind. Far from home, far into inner space, the voyager can no longer be helped by his serene companion, who cruises compassionately alongside the frightened speck of ego. The huge melancholy eyes watch from the couch.
The brotherly hand is out stretched but ignored, and the ego travels in no time, no space, no dimension, like an astronaut flung out too far who will never return until time bends back on itself to his real, dear home, and if it were not for the remote stroke of the guitar he would perish utterly in this immense void.
Meanwhile the fleck of existence performed every act it had never dreamed of performing. While the body in the living room constantly changed positions, during which at various times it was fetal, crawling and sucking its thumb, the speck was pushed by a tremulous current into a lotus of naked bodies and diving in, was folded into the universe, as if the universe was making love to itself................
[Afterwards] I thanked Ralph for being my companion and for his help on the voyage and we said goodbye to him. My wife brought me a cup of tea. I remembered something a prisoner treated by Timothy Leary’s group had said after his first psilocybin experience was over
“My whole life came tumbling down and I was sitting happily in the rubble”.