Type of Spiritual Experience
A description of the experience
from Mysteries - Colin Wilson
Good fortune procured for us some extraordinary acid: a type called 'windowpane'; it appears semi-transparent, each tab like a tiny fleck of mica. The purity, one assumes, is important to the effect produced-as in good whiskey. . .
It was one of those gorgeous California days: golden sunlight and a clear sky. In the little back garden, a charmingly enclosed spot like a room with greenery for walls, I remember seeing the dew still fresh on the grass and the exquisite garden-of-Eden look about everything.
Behind it, however, one could still sense the teeming city. The day warmed and we relaxed in bathing suits in the half shade of the garden, reclining and looking up into the marvellous blue of the sky.
My thoughts began to wander and, out loud to Jill [his wife], I began to construct a concept of reality and man's place in it. I know I could not now do it the same way again. The primary sources were: Yeats's poetry and his idea of art, magic, reincarnation, as much as I could understand of A Vision; different kinds of time, i.e. the cyclical and historical concepts; ideas gleaned from Einstein and Arthur Clarke . . . John Cage's many stories concerning Ramakrishna and Zen. ..
At one point, two jet fighter planes flew over. I felt I was able to realise what they were, to reach up and touch them with my mind. I simply knew all the technology and power as well as the uselessness and waste involved . . . I recalled Shelley's 'Life like a dome of many coloured glass/Stains the white radiance of eternity.'
Curiously, I kept thinking that Eliot, great as he was, had not seen the 'truth' as Yeats had, and had misled himself and a whole generation. ([ don't now think this.) The whole process became dizzying,like a juggler attempting to juggle several more balls than he is used to. I remembered Alan Watts's remark after you had told him how mescalin had opened up your thought channels but destroyed your ability to think or concentrate. He said that on acid it was possible to concentrate, to go 'in, in, in' as he put it, until a tremendous intensity had been achieved. This seemed to be happening to me. I felt as if l had scaled an incredible tower of a spidery structural steel up to a vast height, like a 'god's eye view', but without looking down. I had been reading from Auden's book of essays The Dyer's Hand, and recalled his remark: 'Time is not a road, it is not a river, it is a room where one notices different things.'
This suddenly seemed to make the time problem clear. Then I did a mental act of 'looking down' from this enormous height and at that moment something happened to my brain and nervous system.
The feeling was as if every brain cell had been simultaneously activated. I lost consciousness, but had no sense of that. In front of my eyes, as if in a dream, I could see only what seemed like a blazing pool of white or slightly golden light-what you might see if it were possible to look straight into the sun. But I did not see it so much as feel it, and that feeling was one of absolute ecstasy, involving every 'good' sensation and ever 'rightness' imaginable, and in a moral sense as well. This bliss included benevolence, joy and reconciliation of opposites-literally everything all at once. . . The incredible thing is the absolute certainty that what one is seeing is the real reality-a timeless source of all that exists. . .
I have no idea how long I was 'there'. Afterward it seemed like three or four seconds perhaps. The intensity was so tremendous. In Fred Hoyle's story "The Black Cloud", a scientist is given information from an enormous galactic intelligence which, in attempting to explain itself ends up killing him by overloading his brain circuitry. I now wonder if something like this could conceivably happen in a transcendent spiritual experience.
The next thing I recall was flashing back to the garden with a sense of being awakened roughly as if from a divine dream. It was like a taste of dishwater after two or three spoonfuls of superb soup. My first response was despair. 'l want to go back in.' I actually screamed and remember rolling on the grass tearing at it in frustration, literally weeping ar the prospect of having to live 'here' when 'there' was obviously the place to be.