Living through Experience
We live through experience. Life – in its totality of both known and unknown, physical and astral realms – contains the whole potential of experience. We are able to have a vast array of experiences, but we can only know what we can actually perceive. In a state of waking consciousness currently considered to be the standard, we are only conscious of a very specific fragment of experience which is the part we can actually pay attention to. There is an incredible quantity of information presented to us at any given moment, but we actively process and thus experience only a tiny fraction of it. Photography as an analogy to vision provides us with a clear example of this phenomenon. When taking a photograph, we are usually consciously aware of a just one specific symbol of interest such as a sunset. Upon inspecting the picture more closely afterwards, we might find other elements we hadn’t noticed before. The sunset will still show on the picture, but we might now become aware of the sun’s colourful beauty, the curious arrangement of clouds in the sky or even some dust on the lens, occluding the image.
In a way, our experiences may be likened to a series of such images – a motion picture which constitutes the movie of our live. To the extent that we become aware of the fact that we are its director, we may change the movie’s content at any given time. We may not only influence the current frame, but we may even choose the present to be our past through the imaginative act of remembering. Through this method, we can try to inspect an image of our experience more closely, but this usually comes at the expense of missing the picture of the present moment entirely. So we find ourselves to be ignorant to many aspects of experience. On one hand, this allows us to focus on specific perceptions. Yet on the other hand, it means that there is a lot to be discovered. A lack of self-reflection to de-construct social conditioning or even wilful denial causes a considerable portion of these experiential frames to become tainted, blurry or even completely blacked out. Unpleasant experiences and difficult emotions often fragment our experience, putting it out of context. So we find that the so-called normal state of mind allows us to process just a tiny sample of an already disjointed reality. It’s like watching an old black-white movie – but without being able to read the subtitles. Knowing about colour, high-definition images and surround sound: Obviously, we are missing out! [ 1] There is an immense beauty and depth of potential experience in life even I can fathom, so I feel compelled to share my observations on states of expanded perception as well as my own experiences. Ultimately, I contend that both a more detailed and more comprehensive view of reality can be attained through an exalted state of consciousness. [ 2]
Gateways to Expansion – Psychoactive Substances
How could I even enter expanded states of consciousness? There are many roads which ultimately lead to such expansion. There are countless steps along the way – and enjoying the eternal trip is part of the experience. Just like we are all unique individuals, we all have to follow our own paths. If it is our will, then we will find myriad possibilities to attain a more comprehensive perception and understanding. For me, it is a combination of several elements: critical self-reflection – meditative practice, in-depth research, profound relations with others for feedback, meticulous note-taking and the occasional use of mind-altering substances. Overall, I would say that success in my endeavour is brought about by the application of directed willpower to discover the truth whilst striving to maintain a non-judgemental, non-dogmatic approach. Since it illustrates this type of approach so well, I will briefly elaborate on the mind-altering substance I was referring to, namely marijuana and its psychoactive compound THC. Now, many people conditioned by the media mainstream wouldn’t mind if I was occasionally binge drinking on alcohol, although such practice is severely damaging the body. They probably wouldn’t even know that opiates – the psychoactive compound of heroin – is found in seemingly innocuous products such as milk and bread. And who doesn’t drink coffee or black tea, enjoying the temporary alertness through caffeine? Ginger ale or white bread wouldn’t raise an eyebrow – even though the sugar content sends the heart-rate through the roof. It’s time to face the reality that many substances we consume, independent of whether we designate them as food, have a mind-altering effect. However, we quickly think of people who use illegal drugs to be endangering others and themselves. But we are not even investigating whether there is an actual threat, nor reflecting on our own consumption habits which may endanger ourselves. Furthermore, the question about who – and in what state of consciousness – imposes such regulations is not being asked.
In summary, it may be said that only those drugs which further limit and narrow-down the scope of consciousness to process information are allowed and in widespread use: sugar, caffeine, alcohol. Illegal drugs are those which enable an expanded state of consciousness and therefore allow for radically different experiences such as marijuana, ayahuasca or salvia divionorum. What Graham Hancock calls a War on Consciousness is simply an effort to repress the expansion of consciousness. Sadly, this is usually furthered by those who are afraid of what might lie beyond their tightly-knit reality frames. Within the attempt to instil fear of expanded consciousness, mainstream media also tries to pre-frame potential experiences with mind-expanding substances. Marijuana is especially relevant in this regard, since it is potentially one of the most widely-distributed psychoactive substances on the planet. For most, it is the one and only so-called illegal drug being used on a recreational basis – although abuse is possible as with every substance. Personal experience and scientific studies confirm that the individual stance and social setting are heavily influencing the effects experienced by THC. [ 3] Pre-constructing the reality frame, mainstream media either depicts the experience as horrible or talks about people who display asocial behaviour in addition to abusing the substance. Creativity, insight, empathy and joy – which are among the usual results of smoking marijuana – are rarely even mentioned. A closer look reveals that natural, unaltered plant-based psychoactive substances can rarely cause severe harm, whereas the misery and death brought about by the compounded use of many legal drugs is tremendous. However, as shown by various researchers, the world economy practically depends on illegal drug trafficking and abuse. In conjunction with unfair trials and dubious accounting practices, this serves to uphold the fiction of economic growth. The drug policy adopted by most nations has a most negative effect on people’s actual health and well-being while furthering political and economic corruption. [ 4] I can assert that the effects of marijuana differ widely depending on the individual’s openness his perceived sense of safety. For me personally, its use offered me breakthrough experiences and enabled profound insight. I would liken it to switching from walking to riding a high-speed train. However, the scenery unfolding before you still depends on the direction determined by your attitude and willpower. Now, I am able to approximate this expansion of consciousness through focused meditation. I will elaborate on my experiences in the latter part of this text, after unveiling further barriers brought about by mainstream beliefs.
Belief before Experience
It is crucial to understand that before I can even begin to write about my experiences in expanded states of consciousness, I first have to believe that they actually took place! In other words, I need to trust my own senses and accept my perceptions, even if the information they present is out of the ordinary. As an altered consciousness is an altered perception, only an open mind can venture into these realms. Only because I acknowledge my perception as truthful reality am I able to become a witness. The greatest minds of science have always acknowledged the subjectivity of experience and the co-creation of reality. Unfortunately, the materialist viewpoint in the scientific establishment perpetuated through the media is still dominating public opinion. It is being supported by fear-driven and profit-seeking motives of major industries, having a lot to gain from a narrowed-down consciousness unable to look through their empty promises. Believing one’s own eyes has become a rare trait. Rather, many choose to repeat what they are being told without considering differing viewpoints or thinking outside of the box to form their own opinion. There are authorities for practically every domain of experience: scientists and experts for reasoning, books for knowledge, doctors for health, laws and religious ethics for acceptable behaviour – and then there’s your boss or social welfare case manager to tell you what you should be doing with over a third of your day! Opposing viewpoints and dialectic methods are being used to steer the opinion of the masses through mainstream media with newspapers, radio, TV and internet. So we are lost in the confusion of trying to figure out which opinion leader we want to follow. Meanwhile, we fail to recognise that any and all of this information is unverified. No matter how often we hear about the corruption of corporations and governments and the manipulation of media reports, many still implicitly assume they are being told what actually happened. But how often did you verify a news report with your own eyes and critical reasoning? An even worse situation is if a person has become disinterested in even knowing the truth altogether, which I will elaborate on further below.
Second-hand information from all these self-proclaimed authorities is thus quietly accepted to be of first-grade quality. The report – a frame of experience – sent by another individual is accepted as your own truth. Yet any report can only present a particular viewpoint, or it may be fabricated altogether. So is such unquestioned acceptance of – and even obedience to – so-called authoritative sources and reports really in your interest? Whom do you allow to construct your reality for you? It’s wise to remember that everything you are told by another – including the lines you read here – can only be second-hand information and should be treated as such. Nothing beats your own set of eyes and conscious deliberation in determining your truth and reality. Whatever is not verified by yourself through sense and reasoning isn’t knowledge, but nothing more than blind belief! [ 5] One should be especially wary if the source of the information can’t be properly verified and independently questioned. How often do news reports properly cite their sources so an investigative mind may follow up on them? If a friend tells a lie and you find out, then you can hold him accountable. But for seemingly all-important world-news, the globalized media networks are blindly relying on a select few sources. Understanding the power structure within society, how do you think they are decided upon? [ 6] The anonymous, disembodied message is solemnly repeated by the presenter in a stern voice so as to invoke the illusion of authority. Did he do the research himself and verify the claims – or is he just reading off whatever shows up on the teleprompter? Still, the newscast is regarded by most as one of the most ultimate sources of true information. In actuality, the public ascribes to these illusive figures an authority similar to what maybe the elders of a tribe might deserve, who actually did spend their entire life on discovering and preserving knowledge. Within the media circus, information is being forwarded so many times that no-one is held accountable for its accuracy and independent verification. An experience as a friend would share it with you – which would naturally include his emotions through gestures and expressions – is watered down to a few lines of objectified, meaningless text. Our acculturation to modern forms of interactive media through the internet is a two-edged sword in this regard. For the critical and careful researcher, it allows for some diversity of opinion and the viewpoints outside of the mainstream. [ 7] But it also further ingrains the notion that whatever shows up on the electronic display is the truth. Again, we are dealing with second-hand information and just one particular point of view. We know how easy it is to write a misleading testimony and everyone is astounded by the virtual realities hollywood presents us with through series and movies. Nowadays, even politicians and news channel practically boast how easy it has become to create a false impression through a picture or a movie. [ 8] Still, many continue to believe in what is put in front of them, lulled into baseless assertions coming from the very authorities whose professional survival depends on the ignorance of their believers. [ 9]
The Materialist Sect – Fear and Dogmatism
I have a special relation with materialism. As my ruminations on the world where initially based on the materialistic aspects of systems theory, I value these viewpoints. However, it seems as a group of people self-identifying as sceptics has taken a more prominent position in public perception of science than they would deserve. Outwardly, they present themselves as protectors of sound science by unveiling shady and potentially harmful practices of charlatans and gurus. Upon closer inspection, they demonize everything which doesn’t fit within their narrow frame of Newtonian science. However, this concept of science which has been integrated into a more comprehensive understanding over a hundred years ago – by the most excellent physicists and researchers of the time. The viewpoint espoused by these self-proclaimed sceptics is indeed to be sceptical of everything – besides authoritative sources and their own scepticism, of course! The result is a self-imposed limitation of consciousness. Authoritative sources are considered to be those with the most prestige, which therefore also have the funding to attain and maintain such public standing. Anybody familiar with the economic structure recognises that these are the institutes of the elite, who are interested in everything but public well-being. [ 10] Most interestingly, the same principle applies at the world-famous Wikipedia, the collaborative online encyclopedia. Independent research and verification is forbidden, while only authoritative sources are accepted as proof. It is thus no surprise to find this narrow world-view among many of its editors, which is then often passively accepted and assimilated by the masses into the mainstream! The sceptic’s inability to self-reflect on his own scepticism technically means that nothing could ever accepted as truth. In reality, it results in a stance which promotes the interests of the power elite while denying all phenomena outside of its comfort zone. In such a closed mind, an expansion of consciousness is hardly possible. [ 11]
Unfortunately, there are also general problems with large parts of the modern scientific establishment. In order to be accepted for review, scientific studies must follow certain methodologies. These methods might, by their very nature of being a particular way of finding out about the world, already severely limit the scope of reality which may be reported. Social psychology serves here as a positive example. A clinical approach requires testing and verifiability, often heavily relying on quantitative measurements up to methodological perversions such as psychometrics. On the other hand, phenomenology allows subjective accounts to be taken as-is, the goal being to understand individual perceptions and first-hand experiences supported by qualitative information. This diversity of accepted methods isn’t found in all scientific disciplines. Furthermore, institutionalized research on seemingly independent universities or hospitals is often bound to industry funding. While the psycho-social ward of a hospital might be happy to have a full compliment of beds, the ward employing a drug-driven approach is heavily subsidised by pharmaceutical companies and can thus benefit from the most advanced tools. It doesn’t get researched if there’s no profit to be made – this notion holds true in much of mainstream peer-reviewed journals, which then get cited and proclaimed by mass media outlets, cunningly shaping public opinion. As biologist Bruce Lipton points out – scientists don’t steer away too much from what is regarded as scientifically acceptable opinion. Promoting an alternative viewpoint would quickly ostracise them from the elitist in-group with access to peer-review – and publicity or funding can hardly be attained without them. [ 12] Still, true scientific and social breakthroughs can only come from the fringe, where new ideas are being tested, far removed from the centres of power and prestige. All these issues culminate in the impression of a society largely composed of members adherent to the materialist sect. Factoring in the distortive effect of publicised opinion through mass media, I don’t even think this image holds true. Still, we find ourselves in a situation whereas the majority of the population beliefs to know about the truth as it was reported to them by others. All the while, they neglect to see the reality in front of their own eyes!
The Greatest Trick
All to often, those who know about the limitations of the materialist view fall into another trap. Any diligent student of systems theory, quantum theory or the occult sciences today knows we eternally co-create reality through will. The constant adaptation of personal belief systems and their corresponding action patterns allows a common reality to emerge within society. Only because most people believe in the legal system and behave according to these regulations can law actually have any relevance. Only the belief in the value of money allows the current economic system to emerge and function. Following this reasoning: Any thought, action and even physical object can only exist because mental energy through consciousness is brought in to fuel it. Only those things we pay attention to can become reality. I regard this notion to be true for the most part. However, it raises perhaps the most important question: Is everything a matter of belief or is there any actual, objective reality? Is everything relative and solely a matter of individual perception – or is there an absolute, universal truth? If everything was relative, this would mean that everything is in relation with and dependent upon everything else. This assumes that there is nothing absolute, meaning there is no truth shining for itself uninfluenced and thus in-dependent of other factors. As Armin Risi conclusively reasons, the very word “everything” already is an absolute statement. Therefore, every all-encompassing statement is already an absolute statement. So we shouldn’t debate about whether there is an absolute reality, but rather find out what it is. [ 13]
Why are there so many fatalists, nihilists, cynics and the like claiming that there is no ultimate truth to be discovered? To quote protagonist Verbal from The Usual Suspects: “The greatest trick the devil ever pulled… was to make the world believe he didn’t exist.” I contend that the greatest trick the liars ever pulled… was to make the world believe there was no truth. And as long as you believe this, those who know better can keep playing you for a fool. [ 14] Your questioning thus shouldn’t be concerned about whether there is a truth to know, but rather whether you are willing to search for it. The flaming desire to know reality for what it is makes all the difference in this quest for the truth – for without it there is no quest to begin with! And even if the logic isn’t that convincing to you: Would you simply accept ignorance or rather live to discover the truth, no matter how little you believe in its existence? Every teaching of the truth including religious and spiritual doctrine has a garment – an outer, exoteric and material part for everyone to see and read. The thirst for knowledge required to delve deeper into the mystery is illustrated by a story about an eager student of Socrates asking him how to acquire wisdom. Stepping into a river, Socrates holds him underwater for several minutes. Finally allowed to emerge and breathe, the student asks Socrates why he nearly drowned him. Socrates replies: “When your desire for wisdom is as great as your desire to breathe, then you will find wisdom.“ Only such a powerful passion for truth – wanting to know as if your life depended on it – will allow you to pierce the veil and uncover the hidden, esoteric truths within any doctrine. Out of personal experience, I can assure you that the truth is literally in front of your eyes at any given moment. Why can so few people even begin to see it? M.P. Hall, paraphrasing Eliphas Levi’s Sepher ha Zohar explains that „(…)none can gain entrance to the secret House of Wisdom unless he wear the voluminous cape of Apollonius of Tyana and carry in his hand the lamp of Hermes. The cape signifies the qualities of self-possession and self-reliance which must envelope the seeker as a cloak of strength, while the ever-burning lamp of the sage represents the illumined mind and perfectly balanced intellect without which the mystery of the ages can never be solved.“ [ 15] Assuming you are well equipped, let me share my experiences with you…
Seeing is Believing – Mediated Reality
Have you ever had a blackout or nearly fainted? Some time ago, I had been visiting friends and wasn’t too moderate as I smoked a joint. As I don’t smoke regularly, the fumes of tobacco greatly effect me. Nicotine in combination with sub-optimal oxygen supply can exhaust my body, forcing me to lie down. As I was fully aware of my situation and consciously observing my state, I decided to leave anyhow as it was getting late and I was curious to see what might happen. As soon as I was in the hallway, I had to give in and lie down on the floor. I think it is reasonable to liken the body to a receiver a consciousness – and at that moment my body was in no state to receive much of it! My bodily awareness narrowed down to a point that the only sense I could access was vision. Looking up at the hallway ceiling, I could barely make out its contours within the pitch-black darkness of the night. Observing the situation, it was truly marvellous. I wasn’t aware of any sound, didn’t feel my body and had no sense of position. I neither knew in what position my body was, where I was nor that three-dimensional space even existed. I forgot space! For a moment, I lost all knowledge – of books, of plans, of worries, of friends. Nothing was accessible to my mind. Having had similar experiences already as I will outline below, I wasn’t afraid at all. I didn’t know who I was, having lost all knowledge of the social persona accumulated within my worldly life. The illusion of ego was shattered as the ego simply wasn’t available. “For the moment that interfering neurotic who, in waking hours, tries to run the show, was blessedly out of the way.” – as Aldous Huxley wrote in Doors of Perception. I didn’t even see the ceiling – a symbolic representation – as I had no reference for my perception. If you don’t know what a ceiling is, how should you know to interpret some barely visible contours? Yet these were all there was to my experience at that point – almost. There was also something else: Me. And I was aware of the eternity of creation – and my own immortality contained within. Again, it dawned on me that this is the truth. Calmed by this awareness, I paid careful attention as my bodily systems started to re-engage. I heard the voices of my friends fade in. This caused my sense of spatial awareness to slowly emerge as the auditory signals created a map of my surroundings. These sounds made me aware that I was within space-time, inside a building with my friends just behind the next door. Listening to the voices, I could now guess their relative positions within the flat and started to wonder whether I should knock and go back inside. Not wanting to disturb them but mostly being curious to have the experience, I went home and arrived just fine, already starting to take notes of my perceptions along the way. Aside from cautioning you to be very careful with the use of any substance, this story should illustrate a much more profound issue: We live in a mediated reality. Every perception depends upon your interpretation, which is determined by the reference frames you use. Change the perspective and you change the experience. Can you look at your hands like I looked at that ceiling? What do you see?
Most likely, looking at your hands – you will see… your hands. Well, maybe even nails, fingers, skin and hair. Can you make these labels explicit and recognise them as such? As you look around, can you actually see the immediate layer of pixels and colours? Only through your references can they be transformed to shapes and objects, interpreted according to your belief system. Being conditioned within society, it is virtually impossible for most people to become aware of the various interpretative layers between themselves and their observation. As I have dedicated myself to this process, I am able to become conscious of some of these layers in normal consciousness as well. I see them easiest when thinking or talking with other people. When trying to figure something out, I can practically see the topics and relationships unfolding in front of my mind’s eye. Within an expanded state, It becomes easier to visualise the stories I am being told by friends and become consciously aware of their particular communication playing in front of me like a projection. Also, my empathy is increased to the point that I can sense other’s feelings or feel completely embodied within the character of a movie. It also allows me to visualize my planning process, mapping decision-trees and flipping through frames of potential scenarios. The awareness of being the creator of my own future emerges, as I can freely choose to change course at any juncture – or choose another journey altogether by taking a different action right now. It is important to realise that within the time-delayed material world, these astral projections don’t manifest on the physical plane right away. The masses are kept in a state of perpetual fear as the most horrendous, yet practically impossible, scenarios are continually broadcast through the media. It is possible to become witness to a horrible event such as a murder, but one is also theoretically prone to spontaneous combustion. It is important to distinguish between manufactured and actual threats. It’s pointless to continually worry about the most unlikely scenarios and re-frighten yourself only because they are perpetually repeated by the media. Self-induced fear is the only method to control the masses. A mind can only hold itself. [ 16] Once we become aware of the free will to decide upon any fork in the path or even create our own leading right through that signpost in front of us, such fear-based futures must reasonably be dismissed as irrelevant. The excessive contemplation of these scenarios even fuels them with consciousness and would thus make them more likely to happen. This is another reason why popular movies are often seemingly predicting future events – the conscious energy we invest facilitates them.
Looking at people, I see the list of attributes I ascribe to them such as age, gender or traits. As they talk, I see the words they utter written out in front of their heads and symbolical representations of the concepts they use. Especially in altered states of consciousness, I am starting to see implicit assumptions, specific prejudices, beliefs and lines of reasoning floating in front of them, limiting their field of vision. This decreases their ability to en-vision possibilities and thus their capacity to act freely! In every-day language, it is said that some people are narrow-minded and don’t see reality for what it is because of all their preconceptions. Well, I literally see what is blocking their vision, some people carrying such a complex construct in front of them that it completely distorts their whole perception. The idea I had only known as a word before becomes explicit within my field of vision – which is probably where such expressions came from in the first place. These mental models are also how friends can look like angels and scapegoats like the devil himself. Seen from this viewpoint, many mythological accounts suddenly aren’t so allegorically non-specific any more. As acknowledged in dream interpretation, dungeons and dragons are simply the closest physical representation to hidden depths and unknown fears. [ 17] While we usually think about these attributions in a literal, written sense like the word “demon”, the corresponding image is also often superimposed when we visually see that person. There’s a reason why whole industries are dedicated to maintaining so-called public images, which are nothing more than perceptual illusions. Those thoroughly conditioned by society are prone to buy into them, having many layers of distortion and confusion between themselves and actual reality. [ 18]
I also more easily notice if other people are distracted, since I am increasingly aware of my own internal world of thought and feeling. Then again, I am surprised how far I can drift away and my conversation partner doesn’t seem to notice, potentially being too self-absorbed. Many computer games and modern desktops offer a good analogy to the way our sense of awareness might work, simply because they naturally have to be an approximation of it. The health-bar in the first-person shooter game, the mini-map in the strategy game, the GPS in the racing game and the weather-applet on the smartphone are all external representations of senses available to us. As we learn to attune these perceptions, we can feel our joints and blood vessels, we see the map of our physical location, the arrows leading to the desired location or the felt environmental temperature and humidity. I would love to collect more versions of the various representations – which are just like these computer-based widgets. People are using them to organise themselves in space, time and relation to thoughts, emotions and other people. What does your mind’s calendar look like? I see a week as an ovoid disk, one half for week-days and the other for week-ends, always looking towards its centre from the edge of the current day. Did you consciously design your widgets or did you adopt someone else’s construction? Only because your boss is a workaholic doesn’t mean your watch has to turn all-red as symbolic for work-time, leaving no time for play and relaxation in your mind! Please be careful about these mental widgets, even if you can’t usually see them in your field of vision. They are always in your field of awareness and thus put all other experience in context, just as if you would look through coloured glasses! No wonder everything looks grey to people in a state of depression… [ 19]
It becomes most interesting when I can observe people as they talk to each-other. I sense the different arguments floating around and interacting. Some align nicely, others are in conflict. We all intuitively know to interpret cues in facial expression, gestures, posture and manner of speaking. Every word and even the smallest movement reveals the underlying assumptions and world-views of an individual. This is how a seemingly innocent gesture can put whole reality-frame into disarray. How would you react if someone in a Catholic church suddenly starts singing and dancing while the priest is holding mass? Within another world-view where more expressive singing and dancing to the Gospel is usual, solemnly sitting around might be equally peculiar. If I detect strongly opposing viewpoints, I see them clashing and causing disorder within the ether of consciousness. Like two transceivers sending a phase-delayed signal and creating distortion. For communication to succeed, the people must be attuned to another through being open and paying attention. If they aren’t, the world-views and concepts they attempt to transmit literally shatter under the stress of interference before they can arrive – making the whole conversation rather frustrating as no information is properly conveyed. The higher the attunement, the more information can be transmitted in a short time. Live interaction through all the senses is more broad-band and thus allows for higher data through-put than only text as in online discussion forums.
I could observe one particularly interesting instance as I was talking with a friend after a party. We were having a conversation about scarfs and the importance of their texture over other properties. A scarf is only in the periphery of my vision, but I can always feel it on the skin of my neck. It was night, but early enough for some people to be awake and wait at the same public transport stop. We noticed an older, seemingly foreign-born women wearing a comfortably-looking scarf and started to discuss how this particular one might feel. As in many countries, the social norms discourage you from chatting up strangers for random conversations, especially while it’s dark. Moreover, she had a rather grim look on her face. I could literally see the barriers of shame, negative politeness and a false sense of respect separating us. Even though we were standing only a few metres away from each other, it felt as if an ocean of conditioned norms resulting in behavioural restrictions was in-between us. Still, my friend simply walked up to her and ask about the scarf. The instant he had made the decision and turned towards her, I could already see the mental barriers being smashed. With every step taken, another layer of the illusion of separation was shattered. As soon as the conversation started, I sensed that they connected and acknowledged each other. They both gained energy and information in the process. Who doesn’t come out of an honest, friendly conversation in a better mood than he was in before? Unfortunately, she had bought the scarf in another country – but I became witness to a demonstration of directed will piercing through the garment of illusion.
Life in a Box
What is left when all these layers of symbolic representations are peeled off? Through my study of communication, perception and spirituality, I was already familiar with some concepts about higher insights. We can conceptualise this universe as a hierarchy of layers. The lower ones are defining the most concrete elements in the material world, while the higher ones are representing the astral realms of thought, imagination and spirit. The higher, the progressively closer they are to the unlimited potential of formless eternity. [ 20] The identification with being one’s body and all attachments to the material and worldly knowledge belong to the lower layers. It is possible to plant seeds of desire for truth into the ground, which may grow to become trees of knowledge. Through dedicated willpower, the trees may grow ever higher and reach into the sky of the astral worlds. Esoteric doctrines become understandable when you can easily climb up to contemplate them from the tree-top of your home-grown wisdom. Under specific circumstances, it seems that one can be lifted up and look down on the material world from an even higher perspective. It helps that I have grown myself a tree big enough so I could see it from up there – it gives me a point of reference. Potentially, the elevation is always relative to one’s state so new insight can be integrated. It helps me to decide which branch to develop further as to penetrate deeper into the mystery.
Such up-lifting experiences happened to me in a few instances after smoking marijuana. I suddenly felt as if I was behind my own body. I sensed all of my bodily perceptions, thoughts, emotions and a profound spiritual connection at the same time. Between myself and my bodily feelings, I could explicitly see all the frames which define my particular life in a straight line, ordered by their size. Like filters through which we understand and co-create the world. The smallest frames were those closest to material reality, yet farthest away from my sense of self. These frames include the social conditioning through my upbringing and family, the culture I partake in and all the knowledge I identify with. The larger frames closer to my sense of self included the assumption of the universe’s physical laws and potentially even the higher astral realms of spirit and imagination. Most importantly, one of the largest frames I saw was the establishment of space and time. I also sensed the presence of other individuals from this universe right besides me, looking in the same direction. It seems that the larger a frame, the more individuals were looking through it – sharing that particular concept. While only a few would interpret reality through the assumptions which stem from my upbringing, most share the belief in space and time.
I was in a state beyond time and space, potentially like what is known as the other world or afterworld. I felt that myself as consciousness is always there, boundless and eternal. Since all frames were explicitly visible before me, I could literally see how any impulse of my consciousness had to travel through these frames in order to translate into the physical reality. Any intention was necessarily limited through these layers in order to emerge as thought or action in the material world. In the same sense, my worldly perceptions travelled backwards through the same channel. I sensed some delay in these communications, like an earth base communicating with a robot on the moon through radio. This other-world might be likened to the chat-room lobby found in many online video games. The universe as we know it is thus just one particular scenario we choose to experience. It’s a life in a box, and each of us as individuated consciousness is eternally present outside of it, as time and space are just part of this particular set-up. But we have the option to become so immersed in this life that we forget to be playing. We may even start thinking it is something separate, something other than our own creation. We forget about our limitless potential as well as our unity with the whole of creation. [ 21] This realization is like breaking the 4th window, when actors in series start talking directly to the people in front of the screen. My ego is the protagonist known as Raffael and I am both director and audience. So I realise this life is happening in a box, me looking into that box but always present outside of it. All fears are conquered and nothing is a matter of life-or-death any more, as I am eternally present outside of this illusory universe. In some instances, my actual visual field also started to fluctuate as if I was looking at an object from another position. [ 22] Such perception literally forces a most fundamental change of perspective. This reinforced the sense that I am merely projecting myself as consciousness into this reality. While my body being is the anchor point for my experience, I can direct myself towards any element in this universe, as we habitually do through imagination, dreaming or prayer. The identification with the conditioned, distortive interpretations of reality and self-limiting beliefs are shed – one is aware of being limitless, eternal consciousness again. [ 23]
I accept and understand this experience. The conclusion is that unity, immortality and boundless power as consciousness are known to me. There is no quest to achieve this insight, it is merely about remembering what really is. From this point on, living itself is the only art and the universe is the stage of your personal drama – the plot made and changed by your will. Existential fear is vanquished so the passion for this life may blossom. It’s all a great performance indeed. Dance while the music is playing! [ 24]
Mysterium Tremendum – The Blazing Flame of Unmitigated Reality
As Morpheus said: “Unfortunately, no one can be told what the Matrix is. You have to see it for yourself.” What is the Matrix – as analogy to our mediated reality? The Matrix is control through govern-ment of the mind. You may choose to relinquish responsibility for your limitless powers to decide upon your experience and ultimately your fate. But be warned that those who seek control will be quick to take it up, effectively managing your perception for you! We believe in what we see and we see what we believe. If we believe that everything is dependent, that all is a matter of relative perception, then we could never see the truth even if it was staring us right in the eyes. Everything is attributed to a fabrication of our imagination, so nothing can stand as an objective fact. However, we may also choose to believe in the existence of an independent, absolute truth of reality. If we dedicate ourselves to discover it, we will most certainly find it. In every temple, in every dream, in every desert, in every concrete building and in every instant, as the truth is uncovered through the de-construction of perception itself. I see this as part of the knowledge Albertus Magnus speaks of when he says that “Man exists between matter and spirit – between time and eternity. The goal of all pursuit for knowledge is to recognise god and shape the world according to this realization.” Magnus’ disciple Thomas of Aquinas spent his whole life accumulating such knowledge, the results of which Huxley writes about: “Near the end of his life Aquinas experienced Infused Contemplation. (…) But the man who comes back through the Door in the Wall will never be quite the same as the man who went out. He will be wiser but less cocksure, happier but less self-satisfied, humbler in acknowledging his ignorance yet better equipped to understand the relationship of words to things, of systematic reasoning to the unfathomable Mystery which it tries, forever vainly, to comprehend.” [ 25]
Understanding Confucius’ words that “Signs and symbols rule the world, not words nor laws”, we can begin to make our layers of interpretation explicit. Believing in one’s own eyes means re-taking ownership of our own perception. This allows us to observe, understand and thus transform the world and ourselves in accordance with the will – giving us the chance to lift the veil of illusion and see reality as it is. Instead of accepting what others want to make us believe, we may trust ourselves first. The blazing fire of unmitigated reality burns brightly, so I respect those who prefer the mediated reality of the fabricated, worldly order. [ 26] Notwithstanding, I contend that the ultimate order – the Mysterium Tremendum – has a knowable element which may be remembered by all those who choose to know the absolute truth of reality. This eternal invitation is open to all who choose to be themselves, for truth can only be known first-hand.
[ 1] This holds true even for the most narrow definition of possible perception. I am not even referring to the invisible spectrum of light and sound at this point. It’s simply about the fact that we are in a constant self-maintained hypnosis, usually focusing ourselves on very specific aspects of experience, effectively ignoring everything else which goes on around us. [back]
[ 2] This essay is a further elaboration on A Conscious Decision and Awakening to Creator-Consciousness, which you might be interested in reading first in order to gain a better understanding of its context. [back]
[ 3] This paper shows that a pleasurable experience while smoking marijuana is a learned behaviour. I think this is in line with the concept that a pre-conceived notion about an event might alter the actual experience. How many experiences are being pre-framed by those who wield power over mass communication media? Becker, H.S. (1972 ) ‘Becoming a marihuana user’ in Manis, J.G. And Meltzer, B.N. (eds) Symbolic Interaction: A Reader in Social Psychology, Boston, Allyn and Bacon, pp. 498–508. Extracted from my Open University course on social psychology. [back]
[ 4] This 1999 documentary War on Drugs shows the tight economic relationship between drug policy and the prison-industrial complex as well as its disastrous social consequences.
You might also want to see this presentation on Geopolitics and Globalization by the author of AIDS, Opium, Diamonds and Empire, Nancy Turner Banks. It reveals how high-level drug trafficking in conjunction has always been a preferred profit-making method.
If you speak German you might want to check out this presentation of Die Drogenlüge by Mathias Broeckers, giving similar insight into this topic and showing government statistics on drug fatalities which prove that the state is not acting in the interest of the people. You can easily die from an overdose of alcohol, which is physically impossible to achieve with THC. [back]
[ 5] It was brought to my attention that the etymological root of the German word for knowledge, Wissen, stems from “wie gesehen”, roughly translated to “as seen”. Therefore, only what is seen is known! [back]
[ 6] Curiously, surveys in Austria often conclude that newscast presenters are among the most trustworthy people. In order to proper media research, it is important to gather information from the most extremely opposed viewpoints. Reading up on a conservative Swiss and a liberal French newspaper won’t cut it. This is where it becomes interesting to read the original reports of so-called terrorists and conspiracy theorists. [back]
[ 7] It is important to understand that governments are using paid internet trolls. This is simply psychological warfare on both domestic and foreign population, just a little more devious than standard propaganda. [back]
[ 8] Manufactured news by CNN for the First Gulf War is one of countless examples. Years later, no one found weapons of mass destruction in Iraq. The more recent shootings and bombings might well be manufactured in a similar fashion. See the movie Wag The Dog – which is the Hollywood adaption, or warning, of such processes. [back]
[ 9] Taken from dprogram.net’s Disinformation Tactics: “Control The Experts: Most Americans are taught from kindergarten to ignore their instincts for the truth and defer to the “professional class” for all their answers. The problem is that much of the professional class is indoctrinated throughout their college years, many of them molded to support the status quo. Any experts that go against the grain are ostracized by their peers.” [back]
[ 10] Their think-tanks include the Fabian Society, The Institute of Royal Affairs, The Council of Foreign Relations, The Trilateral Comission, The Bilderberg Group etc. For my take on power structures, see The Hierarchical Principle. [back]
[ 11] To quote Frank Zappa: “Your mind is like a parachute. It doesn’t work unless it’s open.” The most extreme groups of this kind are all tied to the James Randi Foundation. Knowingly or not, they serve to suppress the expansion of consciousness. An interesting analysis in German is provided by sociologist and former skeptic Edgar Wunder in Das Skeptiker-Syndrom. [back]
[ 13] See Armin Risi’s philosophical treatise Licht wirft keinen Schatten. He concludes that love, individuality and free will are the only reality. [back]
[ 14] If you don’t believe someone could lie to you, you will never be able to find out that he does. See the movie The Invention of Lying. [back]
[ 17] A wonderful book showing the relationship between mythology and psychology is Robert Bly’s Iron John. [back]
[ 18] “Verstellung, worin auch immer, kann den klügsten, scharfsichtigsten Menschen täuschen; aber selbst das beschränkteste Kind wird, mag sie noch so geschickt verborgen sein, sie erkennen und sich abwenden.” Lew Nikolajewitsch Graf Tolstoi, (1828 – 1910), russischer Schriftsteller in »Anna Karenina« [back]
[ 19] Do you ever notice the massive amount of advertisment occupying your field of vision, whether offline or online on Gmail and Facebook? The dangers of technologies such as Google Glasses become obvious, as they can directly and even physically intrude on your perception. Instead of using such devices, I would rather encourage you to become aware of the divine perception you may already access, as illustrated by the short movie Transcendenz. [back]
[ 21] Aldous Huxley writes on Unity in Doors of Perception: “Within sameness there is difference. But that difference should be different from sameness is in no wise the intention of all the Buddhas. Their intention is both totality and differentiation.” I discuss the principle of differentiated oneness in Awakening to Creator-Consciousness. [back]
[ 22] It felt as if I stood about a metre to the left of myself, looking at the same object from an angle 22,5° to 75° relative to my body, my vision ever-swinging between these perspectives. Aldous Huxley in Doors of Perception: “It was odd, of course, to feel that “I” was not the same as these arms and legs “out there,” as this wholly objective trunk and neck and even head.” [back]
[ 23] The state may be likened to what is depicted in the Neon Genesis Evangelion anime series as Shinji decides to remain within the unity of consciousness. The awareness that the illusion of ego and body-identification cause all difficulty, pain, suffering indeed make one think whether a return to separation is truly desirable. In this state, all underestimation and skepticism about one’s own self-efficacy is suspended as the unlimited power of oneself as boundless consciousness is acknowledged. Life is just an experience designed to understand limitation. Unity being eternal anyhow, I choose to stay and enjoy. [back]
[ 25] A more complete quote From Aldous Huxley’s Doors of Perception:
“Near the end of his life Aquinas experienced Infused Contemplation. Thereafter he refused to go back to work on his unfinished book. Compared with this, everything he had read and argued about and written–Aristotle and the Sentences, the Questions, the Propositions, the majestic Summas-was no better than chaff or straw, For most intellectuals such a sit-down strike would be inadvisable, even morally wrong. But the Angelic Doctor had done more systematic reasoning than any twelve ordinary Angels, and was already ripe for death. He had earned the right, in those last months of his mortality, to turn away from merely symbolic straw and chaff to the bread of actual and substantial Fact. For Angels of a lower order and with better prospects of longevity, there must be a return to the straw. But the man who comes back through the Door in the Wall will never be quite the same as the man who went out. He will be wiser but less cocksure, happier but less self-satisfied, humbler in acknowledging his ignorance yet better equipped to understand the relationship of words to things, of systematic reasoning to the unfathomable Mystery which it tries, forever vainly, to comprehend.” [back]
“The whole is disorganized. But each individual fragment is in order, is a representative of a Higher Order. The Highest Order prevails even in the disintegration. The totality is present even in the broken pieces. More clearly present, perhaps, than in a completely coherent work. At least you aren’t lulled into a sense of false security by some merely human, merely fabricated order. You have to rely on your immediate perception of the ultimate order. So in a certain sense disintegration may have its advantages. But of course it’s dangerous, horribly dangerous. Suppose you couldn’t get back, out of the chaos .. .”
“Confronted by a chair which looked like the Last Judgment–or, to be more accurate, by a Last Judgment which, after a long time and with considerable difficulty, I recognized as a chair–I found myself all at once on the brink of panic. This, I suddenly felt, was going too far. Too far, even though the going was into intenser beauty, deeper significance. The fear, as I analyze it in retrospect, was of being overwhelmed, of disintegrating under a pressure of reality greater than a mind, accustomed to living most of the time in a cosy world of symbols, could possibly bear. The literature of religious experience abounds in references to the pains and terrors overwhelming those who have come, too suddenly, face to face with some manifestation of the Mysterium tremendum. In theological language, this fear is due to the incompatibility between man’s egotism and the divine purity, between man’s self-aggravated separateness and the infinity of God. Following Boehme and William Law, we may say that, by unregenerate souls, the divine Light at its full blaze can be apprehended only as a burning, purgatorial fire. An almost identical doctrine is to be found in The Tibetan Book of the Dead, where the departed soul is described as shrinking in agony from the Pure Light of the Void, and even from the lesser, tempered Lights, in order to rush headlong into the comforting darkness of selfhood as a reborn human being, or even as a beast, an unhappy ghost, a denizen of hell. Anything rather than the burning brightness of unmitigated Reality—anything!”
I was only worried the first time I came into contact with unmediated perception if reality – I knew that I would have severe problems relating to the world if I couldn’t make use of the common reality-frames anymore. However, I now think such experiences help to make them explicit and can help me to see reality a bit closer even during my regular state of consciousness. For a vast archive on information about psychoactive substances, see The Vaults of Erowid. [back]