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Observations placeholder

Lilly, John - The brain is not the mind



Type of Spiritual Experience


A description of the experience

from John Lilly: Altered States Interview with John Lilly  by Judith Hooper
Jan 1983   Omni Magazine


I'd already had enough neurophysiological training to know there were a lot of mysteries in the brain. As Waelder said, psychoanalytic theory accounts for about one tenth of one percent of what goes on in psychoanalysis. I had to go further than that to find something more satisfying, and I found it in the concept of metaprogramming the human biocomputer.

A human being is a biorobot with a biocomputer in it, the brain. But we are not that brain, and we are not that body. A soul essence inhabits us, and, under acid, under K, under anesthesia, you'll find that the essence isn't tied to brain activity at all. Brain activity can be virtually flat, and you can be conscious -- off somewhere in another realm. You just can't communicate with people in consensus reality.


In your experience, does the brain possess "trapdoors" into the domain of the soul? For example, neuroscientist Arnold Mandell, of the University of California at San Diego, has said that chemicals such as LSD can be "pharmacologic bridges" to transcendence.


I agree with Mandell. Acid -- and, better, vitamin K -- set up the chemical configuration of your brain so as to loosen the connection between the brain/body and the soul essence. Then the essence can move into alternate realities.

I call this phenomenon the "leaky-mind hypothesis," or the "escaping-self hypothesis."

There are a lot of ideas about the soul's location in the body, of course.

In Spanish. when you're scared out of your wits, you say your soul is in your mouth -- you have el alma en la boca. But the junction between the biocomputer and the essence is not localized in the brain; it's throughout the body. If you get out of your body, you can assume a fake body, an astral body, which can walk through walls.

Your essence is represented in every cell in your body.

The source of the experience

Lilly, John

Concepts, symbols and science items



Science Items

Brain and its functions

Activities and commonsteps



Being anaesthetised


Being in a coma