Previous post: Real of Ayahuasca Visions
Context: Ayahuasca works with a group of well-experienced practitioners who cultivated a meditative environment with singing/instrumentation in a large Christian Church.
I was called back to ayahuasca last night.
It has been at least 3 years since my last work with the sacred plant.
I was excited to see what new reflections would emerge in experience after such a gap in-between visits, and after such a time to process its nature, and integrate meanings.
To prepare I had been doing extensive and extended meditations, practicing being with self, to better understand what I wanted from the event.
In essence I was interested in the possibility of authentic self-sufficiency, of how to achieve a state where you really and truly do not need or desire anything outside of you.
I would understand this state as a state of circular oneness which operates phenomenally on the experience of joy; as opposed to a state of one (self) plus the other (self or substance), where there is always a gap between self and joy.
In my experience it is hard to maintain real joy, I do not feel I can choose to be joyful. Joy is rather something that happens to me, and I can learn better what things I can do to increase the probability of maintaining a state of joy. But I can’t maintain it indefinitely or predict it absolutely.
More importantly, external events and happenings can disturb and derail my inner state. I am not 100% in control of my inner state. Other people, opportunities and so forth have a meaningful impact.
In any case, cultivating a sense of authentic self-sufficiency was my set intention of mind going into the event.
After drinking the first cup of ayahuasca the effects were almost immediate. The feeling that there was a new presence inside my body was immediate, and this translated into higher perceptions of the external world, and also a slightly uneasy or uncomfortable feeling, even if the beautiful music all around me helped to guide the state.
After a few songs one man started to speak to the group in a ritual of “opening the circle”. He stated “There is only one presence here: love, truth, justice”.
While he was opening the circle with these words my mind had started to transform into a higher dimensional geometry. The process of transformation felt like my identity shedding itself as a snake might shed its skin, or as a caterpillar might break out of a cocoon. My identity was like the old skin or cocoon, and what burst forth or emerged almost as if I was a self-circle eating itself, was just pure spirit. The feeling during this process was like an orgasmic “finally”. It is very hard to describe the geometry of the “self-circle eating itself”, but maybe the closest ideas I can think are as if the front of your forehead or neocortex was opening or splitting into two. When this splitting into two is happening something emerges in the gap, but it is observed as coming at you as an observer, and eating you all up.
In any case, from this experience higher dimensional geometries were the normal state of consciousness, with depth and complexity that was probably not describable with our normal sense perception.
The feeling of being “one” was very strong. This “one” at first was not blissful, but rather strange and strong, like being in a powerful alien world.
I immediately sought to analyze the desires that constituted my mind just hours ago in a normal state of consciousness, whether they were desires for food, sexual urges, social recognition, and so forth. The immediate feeling that registered in my thought was that these desires were simply unnecessary and even unappealing. There was nothing about them that was “bad”. It was more so that they were desires that were obviously of a lower state of being. The best description of them is probably functions of “separation”, i.e. the desire for food, sexual-erotic action, social recognition or love, emerges in the emptiness where you are separated from this “one” state of inner power.
Thus, if the first concept that came to my mind vis-a-vis the normal state of consciousness was “separation”, the second concept that came to my mind vis-a-vis the normal state of consciousness was “absence”. In our normal state of consciousness, where we are self plus the other (person, substance), we struggle to simply be with the self as it is, always distracting our self with some-thing. Consequently, we are always filling the gap or absence in our consciousness with some-thing that would some how approach the absence or fill the absence with a feeling that would cultivate or generate the feeling of inner unity or coherence. Of course, every worldly object that the self maps does not allow for this inner state in a true way, but rather always informs the self about its distance from self-knowing.
In other words, and to reduce the phenomenon to something of a formula:
I felt a true connected presence that structures our normal conscious motion in a separated absence.
In this way I would only add one more concept: causality. In our normal consciousness the separated absence is the cause of motion. In the state of ayahuasca the connected presence is the cause of motion. The self-one (“me”, my sufferings and joys) is an effect of this separated absence or connected presence. The difference between the two states is like flipping or turning the self inside-out.
When I was caused by a state of connected presence I felt undeniably that I was in “Truth” or “Home” of my subjective being. I suppose that the word “soul” or “spirit” is possible to apply to this experience if we make a distinction between body, mind and spirit-soul. In this context, it could be that what we use in the world to fill the separated absence is the way the body and mind act externally vis-a-vis soul or spirit (i.e. the food we eat, the intimacy we share, the social recognition we seek, is all an external manifestation of the soul-spirit: its separated-absence from immediate self experience).
As the experience continued for me, I was pulled from the mind to the body because of stomach issues. I did not vomit but my entire stomach area, in-between my chest and my groin, was struggling. I read this experience as the speech of the body telling me that I had put substance inside that was not beneficial or healthy for its functioning.
After the second cup of ayahuasca and also a joint of marijuana there was another transition.
This transition led to a very powerful and surreal experience of the Church and the circle of other practitioners. The only way I can describe the experience is of absolute negativity. This absolute negativity was basically something like our actions had invited God as a black hole-like structure into our presence. The entire Church could be ripped open, the whole experience could be sucked or swallowed by God and all of our identities could be destroyed. I very powerfully experienced that there “would be no more stories to tell”. I also very powerfully experienced the feeling that the stories we tell each other are only ever “after the fact” of the experience. Any story we project into the future is false. Stories are retroactive, after the fact of the experience. And this experience is always being mediated by an absolute negativity that could take it all away at any moment. There will inevitably be an experience where there are no more stories to tell. There will inevitably be an experience where our chance to play the game of being in charge and command, “master of our world”, falls away, and the truth swallows us up and dissolves whatever we are into itself.
This is all important because we usually get our meanings from the stories we tell ourselves about ourselves. But these stories can also be prisons that take away from the openness of experience. Meaning in-itself comes from openness to experience, and if we survive this openness, there will be a story to tell about it, if we don’t survive it, there will be no story to tell. Meaning from a story in-itself without experience is closure and second-hand meaning (like second-hand smoke).
After this state I was in a mode of consciousness that was clearly perfect or something where the “goal” was always-already achieved. Thus, I could just be the process of being what is. I needed or wanted for nothing. I was totally content as I was. There was nothing more.
From this experience I felt strongly that this state was like “game genie”. Game genie was a video game cheat cartridge for the original Nintendo video game system. Game genie allowed you to play Nintendo games with features of invulnerability, infinite lives or skills, the capacity to skip or defeat any level with ease, and so forth. While in this state of ayahuasca it was like my consciousness had been connected to game genie: I was infinite, perfect, immortal, indestructible; all challenges and obstacles were trivial and my drive had no friction or perturbation that could throw it off its trajectory.
This metaphor made me think that our normal consciousness is like playing a video game where you experience your self as finite, mortal, vulnerable, incompetent, and so forth; but our spirit/soul in-itself is somehow purposefully separate and absent so that this game is possible. If our spirit/soul in-itself was connected and present (game genie) then this game would not be possible because we would always know. Thus, I had the idea that if the spirit/soul was always connected and present there would be “no fun” from its perspective because you can’t lose or experience fear or die and so forth. It would be like playing Super Mario with infinite star power.
After being in this state I remember thinking that I never wanted the music to end, and that if this whole state continued I would happily stay here and just be here as my home. I remember thinking it could never end and that would be perfect.
I also remember thinking that this experience: all of these forms of consciousness in circular self-ecstatic trance; was like an emergent “God-bomb”. I remember thinking how strange it was that a few little cups of brown liquid in an obscure and remote Church could create such an effect. The internal experience is more powerful than anything, and yet no one outside knows, can detect it, or even cares.
I then started to think about all of the ways in which we clumsily attempt to cultivate this state in our normal consciousness. In my context it could be working out, listening to music, looking for recognition, wanting to be accepted in certain social networks, building intimate connections, searching for and creating knowledge, eating food, and so forth.
The symbols of the möbius loop and the square root of -1 gain their significance for me in this context. The möbius loop is the way we are internally twisted in normal consciousness, and we can only detect one side of our self, with the other side of our self externalized in the other. The square root of -1 is the way the one effects us in a spectral absence.
I felt that somehow my life should be aiming towards better cultivating or generating this internal state of joy, and that there was nothing more important than this, because any activity could be great or fantastic, if it was being conducted in this inner state of joy.
The idea that the sexual sublimation of energy is an important key on this pathway was seemingly self-evident. Thus, the pathway requires a difficult discipline and sacrifice of the world, in the sense that what you want in the world is your distance from your self. True joy can only come from mastering your self and unlocking the “game genie” in the world.
The idea that we should be hyper-mindful about the things we expose our mind to was another important key, especially in the sense perception of sight and touch, since this mediates very intimately the connected presence in the separated absence for our form of consciousness.
The idea that our biochemistry and neurophysiology plays a vital role in maintaining this state; and that when our biochemistry and neurophysiology are in this state, there is no need for love-recognition outside, and in fact, that any love-recognition outside is so weak as to in principle always be a trap to keep you addicted and away from higher consciousness.
When the ceremony ended there was a very mystical and occult “closing of the circle”, with an extremely grateful chanting, that we had cultivated the connected presence of the one, and that this was divine spirit between us, and now we were going back to our normal consciousness.
Internally I was self-sufficient. I didn’t feel the need to talk. I was just in-myself good as I was. I perceived that the need to talk and the need to know in relation to the other was a lower state of consciousness. Talking and knowing as such were not a lower state of consciousness. But needing to talk, and needing to know, and needing the other to be receptive to such talking and knowing… was a lower state of consciousness, a mark of separation and absence.