Psychedelic Plant Teachers and the Limits of Normal Perception
Jose A. Arvide, Contributor
”If life wasn’t real, it would be the craziest psychedelic trip ever.” – Joe Rogan
The former quote is a saying by Joe Rogan that has always resonated in my acoustic mind since I read it. It is a quote that makes me remember that we know nothing about what we so-call the Universe. This quote also makes me realize that the importance of psychedelic experiences is high enough to be considered as a must-do. But this must-do, far away from being a simple game for amusement and a nonsense visual experience, should be a must-do for experiencing reality in an alternative way, in a form that we do not experience with our sober senses.
We agree that we humans experience through a short range of perception. The door of our senses is quite small compared to the immensity of this universe and the unimaginable variety of different energetic species that coexist in it. Human vision, for example, only perceives wavelengths between 390 and 750 nanometers, additionally we only have four different visual pigments, whereas an animal as the Mantis shrimp has a greater visual perception and has 16 different visual pigments. Human vision is only one example that proves our perceptive limitation. Our vision, our hearing, our taste & smell and our touch are also limited and scaled, this producing that what we so-call reality narrows our idea of the world and limits our perception. In other words, our reality is no more than our limited interaction and relation with the universe, but our reality is not the totality of the whole reality for we see through narrow chinks of our cavern.
“If the doors of perception were cleansed, every thing would appear to man as it is, infinite. For man has closed himself up, till he sees all things through narrow chinks of his cavern.” – William Blake
As Blake’s quote in one of his famous poems says, our doors of perception have to be cleansed if we want to perceive the unity and infinity of the unknown all. Our brain serving as a “reducing valve”, controlling our senses and keeping us in a controlled, normalized and “safe” environment. We say safe, for the intensity of an “open source” perception is a flood of overwhelming sensations, something that by evolution became regulated for survival.
Here we have an extract from an article by Maia Szalavitz:
“Based on this idea, Huxley posited that ordinary consciousness represents only a fraction of what the mind can take in. In order to keep us focused on survival, Huxley claimed, the brain must act as a “reducing valve” on the flood of potentially overwhelming sights, sounds and sensations. What remains, Huxley wrote, is a “measly trickle of the kind of consciousness” necessary to “help us to stay alive.”
A new study by British researchers supports this theory. It shows for the first time how psilocybin — the drug contained in magic mushrooms — affects the connectivity of the brain. Researchers found that the psychedelic chemical, which is known to trigger feelings of oneness with the universe and a trippy hyperconsciousness, does not work by ramping up the brain’s activity as they’d expected. Instead, it reduces it.”
“These results strongly imply that the subjective effects of psychedelic drugs are caused by decreased activity and connectivity in the brain’s key connector hubs, enabling a state of unconstrained cognition.”
So as we can see, our perception is closed and hyper-controled by our brain. As a natural defense our sensory perception is reduced but not blocked. Here is where we can start to outline the importance of teacher plants and fungi for our consciousness and for enabling this state of unconstrained cognition. We start noticing a clear reason why psychedelics have been used for over 10 000 years for medical, spiritual and recreational purposes. The fact that we are reduced but not blocked enables the possibility of expanding our sensory perception with the use of teacher plants and fungi, this reproducing an alternative reality, one that we wouldn’t be able to see because of our body’s configuration. In other words we cleanse and liberate our mind. We cleanse our doors of perception.
In the use of these plants and mushrooms our eyes are opened, our mind is cleaned and cleared, our senses dilate and our consciousness comprehend. The multiplicity of teachings, thoughts and reflections that cross a mind under the influence of these teachers are broad, sometimes abstract, but yet there is alway a mutual comprehension. The sense of unity, dissolution of “ego”, and sense of infinity are thoughts and feelings commonly found in these psychedelic experiences. The unconstrained cognition that enables these plants and fungi makes us live reality in an alternative and open way.
“Psychedelics are illegal not because a loving government is concerned that you may jump out of a third story window. Psychedelics are illegal because they dissolve opinion structures and culturally laid down models of behaviour and information processing. They open you up to the possibility that everything you know is wrong.” – Terence McKenna
During my experimentation with these wonderful teachers, there have been some things that have always been outlined and have always vibrated in my thoughts: The bizarreness of this universe, the duality between light and darkness, and the connection of all but representation as individual. These three aspects have influenced a lot in my vision towards the whole universe and how I perceive it. The investigation of my interior and its relation to the exterior has thought me that ultimately it is impossible to explain this world. The only way to really get just a glimpse of the meaning of all this is by understanding that all is one, and this is only the beginning of something that transcends our imagination.
Thanks to teacher plants, I have humbly learned things that breaks the barriers that are build by our own brain and by society and its satiric culture. Even though our understanding can grow exponentially with the help of alternative-reality enabling plants and fungi, or consciousness-altering techniques (such as meditation or synthetic drugs), we have to understand that it is all a great mystery and most likely just a simple adventure.
1. The bizarreness of this universe.
Through my experiences and reflections that I have undergone under the influence of teacher plants and fungi, one of the predominant things I have realized is that this universe is incomprehensible. There is no sense and meaning. We do not know the origin of all, and if there is an origin, what is the origin of the origin? And so on… All seems as a game. Millions of little carnal humans who break their heads thinking about other planets, about money, about development. We created an illusory reality and give great importance to things that will simply dissolve through our short and limited concept of time. We fear death, we create gods to protect us, but in reality it is all artwork of our imagination. This universe is bizarre, and it’s even more bizarre that there is a universe to begin with. Why is there something? What is the point of it?
“Man suffers only because he takes seriously what the gods made for fun.” – Alan W. Watts
All these questions have taken me through many stages of existential crisis and astronomic confusion. The enigma of why something and not nothing has turned my head around and around. I can not even imagine the term infinite! Psychedelic experiences have made me explore this question, this mystery, this nonsense, until the point that I have decided that I do not have to understand this. I do not have to explain something that cannot be explain any further, but, by saying that it is bizarre and wiggly. The only possible reason that I can give to all is, for experiencing and adventuring.
2. The duality between light and darkness.
Dualities are always present in my psychedelic experiences. Duality between light and darkness is the most constant, but this light and this darkness, as I have experienced it, is love and contemplation. Love for me is a dark energy and contemplation is light energy. Love as I perceive it is a synergetic force which is found as darkness (do not confuse darkness with negativity). Love is purely in the void in the nothing. Contemplation for me is light, light that can only be seen when the darkness dissolves. This contemplation of something that is not love is no more than a partner that copes with love. Through contemplation we find the void in the light, the darkness where love is.
The sensation of living in a world where mutual dualities rule our existence was something I discovered through psychedelic experimentation. Life and death, light and darkness negative and positive, male and female… If you pay careful attention to life you will see that there are dualities all over, and these are what give origin to the whole. If it there would be no dualities, there would be only plain, non-outstanding something. It is thanks to material that we understand nonmaterial. It is through voidness and nothingness that we understand completeness and something.
3. The connection of all but representation as individual.
The greatest cleanse and overture of my mind was during an Ayahuasca Ceremony. Here I went through a dissolution of the idea of an individual ego. The belief that we came to this universe by a separate power makes us feel alien to all that surrounds us. The most certain reality is that we come from this universe and not that we come to this universe. We are the same cosmic energy that is found in the every corner of this world. The ego is no more than a illusory status we hold to feel secure and in control, but when this ego dissolves we are open and in connection to all that surrounds us. Our perception is cleansed.
Part of this idea of dissolution of ego is that even though we are all one, there has to be a representation in multiple individual parts. For the universe to exist as we see it, there has to be something that experiences it, if there is nothing that experiences it, then there is one sole thing, in other words, no duality to give birth to the universe. Here is where we can see the reason of our consciousness, to experience the universe, which is ultimately us. We can see another duality, subjectivity (us) and objectivity (the universe). So finally when the ego dissolves and we realize that we are this universe, it only rests to experience ourselves and explore this mystery.
“In ordinary perception, the senses send an overwhelming flood of information to the brain, which the brain then filters down to a trickle it can manage for the purpose of survival in a highly competitive world. Man has become so rational, so utilitarian, that the trickle becomes most pale and thin. It is efficient, for mere survival, but it screens out the most wondrous parts of man’s potential experience without his even knowing it. We’re shut off from our own world. Primitive man once experienced the rich and sparkling flood of the senses fully. Children experience it for a few months-until “normal” training, conditioning, close the doors on this other world, usually for good. Somehow, the drugs opened these ancient doors. And through them modern man may at last go, and rediscover his divine birthright…” ― Tom Wolfe
Psychedelic experimentation is something that should be treated with respect, patience and without any conceptualization. The amount of knowledge, understanding and liberation that we can be granted with the help of teacher plants and fungi is unimaginable. When these resources are used purposely and with consciousness, the benefits and revelations will be seen automatically. Life is full of wonders, it only takes opening our eyes and dissolving any prejudice and conceptualization we have!
About the Author
Jose Andres Arvide is an 18 year old lover of life, originally from Costa Rica, and fully independent from the system that makes us think we are ordinary and repetitive. He writes to help others spread their wings, to open their minds, to adventure in life. His passions are rock climbing, yoga, and being with nature. Check out my blog here.
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