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Observations placeholder

Lilly, John - Terror on ketamine



Type of Spiritual Experience


A description of the experience


JEFFREY MISHLOVE, Ph.D.: Hello and welcome. Today we are going to explore the province of the mind. With me is Dr. John C. Lilly, a noted pioneer of mystical states, of states of consciousness, and also interspecies communication. Dr. Lilly is a former researcher with the National Institutes of Health and the Maryland Psychiatric Research Center. He is the author of some five books on human-dolphin communication, including Lilly on Dolphins, Man and Dolphin, The Mind of the Dolphin, Communication between Man and Dolphin. He has written many books on deep inner exploration, including The Deep Self, The Center of the Cyclone, The Dyadic Cyclone, and The Scientist, and he is particularly known for Programming and Metaprogramming the Human Biocomputer. In fact he introduced that term, the biocomputer, into our language. Welcome, John.................................................

MISHLOVE: No, but at one point you wrote about the importance of going into the minus states and remaining perfectly aware, being conscious in those negative states, not trying to block out the negativity. You described that, as I recall, as burning karma.

LILLY: Yes. In The Center of the Cyclone there's a chapter called "A Guided Tour of Hell," which is -6. That was awful. So I never had to go back to that. And I was never frightened again. I was totally terrified in that one.

MISHLOVE: I suppose it's what the Christian mystics sometimes refer to as the dark night of the soul.

LILLY: Well, it was the dark night of my soul.

MISHLOVE: Perhaps this is a necessary part of everybody's journey, is to go through the epitome of terror.

LILLY: Right. For instance, there's an Iranian psychiatrist, an American psychiatrist, that put a hundred patients in a mental hospital in Iran through what they feared most, on Ketamine, and they all left the hospital. Now, I tried the same thing, after I read that. That evening I took 150 milligrams of Ketamine, and suddenly the Earth Coincidence Control Office removed my penis and handed it to me. I screamed in terror. My wife Toni came running in from the bedroom, and she said, "It's still attached." So I shouted at the ceiling, "Who's in charge up there? A bunch of crazy kids?" The answer came back, "Well, you had an unconscious fear, so we put you through it, just the way the Iranian psychiatrist did."

MISHLOVE: In the realm of the mind, the province of the mind, we can face all our fears.

LILLY: Well, you may not be able to live with it, but you should try it.

MISHLOVE: I often find in dreams that the things that would destroy the body, in the realm of the mind, don't.

LILLY: That's right. The survival programs, as I found out earlier from doing neurophysiology, are built into the brain. The rewarding systems, euphoric systems, and the sexual systems, and the painful, punishing, anger systems are all built in. And then you realize that the cerebral cortex has many, many paths to these systems and from these systems, so you don't have to go through these states.

The source of the experience

Lilly, John

Concepts, symbols and science items




Science Items

Activities and commonsteps