Can LSD reveal the nature of God?
Here's the story of someone who took LSD and had an amazing experience of both the "beast" (Satan?) and Jesus. This person didn't want their name to be known, so I've left that out. Otherwise I've shared what was sent to me unaltered.
Our correspondence started with this message from the person.
I took LSD numerous times around the same time -- late 1960s -- so I'm well aware of its power. But did this person really have a vision of Jesus? Or more precisely, did this person have a vision of the real Jesus?
I'm skeptical. But I have no reason to doubt that the experience described below actually happened.
Thanks for your interest. The input of my mystical experience may or may not mesh easily into your current picture of ultimate reality, but I hope you will possibly consider it as qualifying as a viable piece of the puzzle.
I suspect you’ve heard a wide range of testimonies about mystical experiences, but in one respect mine may be unique because of my vision of Christ being remarkably similar to what John visualized in Revelation, especially the glowing bronze feet (although the remainder of Revelation was absent). Here’s my story:
I was in the Marines in ‘67 and went to Viet Nam naively expecting to find meaning, clarity and definition in my life, as if issues would be clearly etched in black in white, with good and evil in stark contrast. This simplistic notion was dashed, of course, and I returned more muddled and confused than ever. I was frustrated, despondent, confused, angry and suicidal.
Back in the states, having heard of LSD-25’s mind expanding, mystical properties, I ingested some, hoping to find some sort of legitimate meaning in life.
At first, I experienced many of the typical, psychedelic effects, such as synesthesia and various inexplicable, wondrous hallucinations. Then, standing in the living room, I entered a deeper psychotropic level. A pit suddenly opened in the floor before me. I was confronted with what seemed to be the essence of evil in the form of a 3 headed hydra, its necks and heads undulating. Every fiber in my being was repulsed. Spontaneously, as if out of an instinctive disgust, I vocalized “You son of a bitch!” Immediately the 3 hydra heads swung to “confront” me. Simultaneously I felt a presence (which I believe now to be an angel or some kind of benign spiritual force) manifest directly and protectively behind me (to control my responses, as if I were a puppet). Thereafter, I didn't “do” anything – I merely witnessed.
The beast sent a single “thought” (kind of a data bit) to me, which I (and my accompanying helper) “received”. The thought was not horrifying or evil in and of itself. It was simply a piece of data that was factually (relatively) “true”. The presence behind me instantaneously responded, acknowledging and mirroring the information back. Then the beast sent two thoughts through me that my “angel” similarly processed and reflected back, followed by 4, then 8, 16, etc. until swarms of data were pouring in exponentially. Somehow I was able to comprehend the content. After a very short time, everything “knowable” (the world) was exhaustively conveyed to me, and reflected back.
Although there was nothing missing (it was indeed complete), it lacked meaning and value. It was a machine only, fed by whomever or whatever indulged it. Although it was a “complete revelation”, its essence consisted of only phenomena and change – perfectly logical and connected, but as useless, robotic and nihilistic as a Rube Goldberg machine. It was separateness manifested, some sort of phenomenological illusion that would disappear the moment it stopped being fed (fueled) by whatever (or whoever) manipulated it.
In hind sight, I feel that this is what Christ was shown when he was offered the “world” by Satan, in the scriptures. He saw what I saw, and rejected it (as we all will ultimately, I think) as meaningless, and valueless. It was empty of anything having true spiritual significance (love, goodness, etc.).
The “beast” disappeared and I returned, once again, to a fairly normal state of mind. I was devastated. In my search for meaning, I had found instead nothing but an ultimate substantiation of meaninglessness. I felt remorse and dread because apparently what had been revealed represented what would be my state of existence throughout eternity. I paced into the dining room with these thoughts in my mind, near tears. It was as if my consciousness would be trapped in this prison of insane nihilism with no chance of escape, ever. It erased any smattering of meaningful hope I had. It suggested that nothing I or anyone could ever do would ever matter. Suicide would not even be an option, since it had become apparent that one would be reborn into the “world”, an infinitely relentless machine consisting of gears upon gears endlessly churning and feeding upon itself.
I wandered into the next room, the dining room. Standing there, devastated, I kept thinking “What else is there”? “What else is there”? At that point, I saw a crackling in the middle of the room, sparkler-like. It was if I were witnessing a being materialized within a Star Trek transporter room. Shortly thereafter, a being manifested, as if energy had somehow transitioned into “flesh”. I witnessed then Jesus hanging on a cross in the middle of the room as a real person. He was up and off to my right a few feet away, looking at me with ultimate compassion, understanding every bit of my remorse and suffering as I suffered. The cross was low. His feet were approximately 18” off the ground – his head, a couple of feet above mine.
Somehow he beckoned to me to accept him. In my state of despondency, I thought “what have I got to lose”? I then raised and opened both my arms to accept this Christ with the faith that he offering something beyond the mechanistic nihilism offered by the beast. As I surrendered, Christ’s shape transformed and his divine image appeared directly in front of me. I found my eyes scanning from the top of his head to the bottom of his feet and then back up again. One significant recollection is that of his feet. They were glowing as if brass or bronze, described in the Bible’s Revelation (and Daniel). I hadn't read much of the Bible at all, so this imagery was apparently from outside of my experience. I later realized the importance of the glowing feet when I ran across the biblical descriptions:
Daniel 10:6 His body also was like beryl, his face had the appearance of lightning; his eyes were like flaming torches, his arms and feet like the gleam of polished bronze, and the sound of his words like the sound of a tumult.
Revelation 1:15 His feet were like burnished bronze, when it has been made to glow in a furnace, and His voice was like the sound of many waters.
The “eyes like flaming torches” too, may be relevant, given the pure light that was projected from them. Other than that, I don't remember other things described in these two Bible chapters (not to say that they may have been present but escaping me).
Jesus’ image continued to transform. His two arms on the cross began undulating up and down. The appearance was just as is portrayed in the images of Hindu godheads – two arms swaying up and down, appearing as many. Then his eyes connected directly with mine. A shaft of light (blue, I think) connected our eyes. The shaft broadened until within a few seconds our whole bodies were connected by a shaft of light. Then, as if paralleling my experience with the beast, a particle of truth was projected to me. The “truth” seemed to be an epiphany. There was no reflecting back this “truth”, however. This “particle” was true and worthy of absorption, what I consider now to be a particle of absolute truth. Two truths came, then four, then eight, until swarms of truths were entering me. I have no recollection of what these truths were other than each was replete, recognizable and accepted within my deepest self.
These certainties were delivered in the form light traveling to me. They swarmed into my being with increasingly stupendous velocity. It reached a point, however, that (perceptually) the light ceased coming to me; rather, I began traveling into it at increasing velocities. The velocity accelerated to a point where time was distorted. I was traveling through the universe and cosmos at a velocity that must have far exceeded the speed of light, given the scope of the vision. I conclude this because as I shot through space, I witnessed entire galaxies being created in my peripheral vision, swirling slowly in space. In a few seconds, I witnessed galaxies rotating about 1/10 their circumference, an event that would have taken possibly 20 million years to transpire in time-space. I apparently witnessed their evolutions.
I shot onward faster and faster. Then, when I apparently reached a critical velocity, the front of me split open, as if I were a hollow rubber ball. Each side of the split folded outward and back, causing me to turn inside out. What I had perceived on the outside, I now perceived on the inside. What had been inside was now outside. “The kingdom of Heaven is within” comes to mind. After this complete 360 degree inversion, I found myself at one with God. God allowed me to share His essence for a little while (about 15 to 20 seconds as close as I can guess). I “was” God, floating in space with a “fountain” of whatever had happened, was happening and would ever happen flowing through me. And it was... absolutely perfect. There is no term to describe its absolute replete quality. It was infinite and ineffable. Not finite. Not separate. Everything was there – nothing missing. It is the only reality, that from which nothing is missing. The ONE.
“The Lord our God is one God” finally had meaning for me. Sadly, we all seem to be separate, isolated points of consciousness aware of the few things in our proximity (people, nations, planets, stars, nuclear particles and so on), all of which are pitifully paltry compared to the reality and love in the Oneness of God, of which we are a part. In our separated state(s), we do not experience reality, with perhaps the exception of whatever slight filaments of spirit that trickle through or light up and illuminate our beings at times, mostly in the context of our experiencing little slivers of love that sift into our little lives.
There is no way to describe the beauty of it all. Regarding the sensation I experienced, if I were to assign a word to describe “God”, it would be “Love”, absolute, seamless love. This is not some airy-fairy ephemeral love. I did not experience God as a person, as is popularly perceived. The essence was a completely conscious, substantive love. It is more solid and present than any object or emotion imaginable. It pervades everything. The bible says “the kingdom of heaven is at hand”, meaning, I think, that it is accessible to anyone at any point in time, would it not be for our separate “self(s)” we hang onto so pathetically. If all the love one experiences in a lifetime were represented as a grain of sand, then describing the earth as the size of God's love would not even begin to approach the reality of it, and its enormity. God’s love is infinite.
There is rarely a week that goes by that I don't think of this experience, the most meaningful of my life. Occasionally, my recollection is daily. Although I could be tortured to say that there is no such thing as Jesus, or the Christ, I will nonetheless die irrevocably knowing that Christ is my portal to the ultimate reality.
1) As I was coming off the effects of the LSD, about 30 minutes later I was standing in the living room again, thinking intently how I was going to completely transform my life. On one wall a “trap door” popped open and an archetypal image of Satan's head (fiery red and horns and all, sneered at me as if to say “we'll see about that!)” Then the door slammed shut. After all these years, I must admit I've proven him right much of the time. At best, I seem to be climbing up a muddy, slippery moral slope. Occasionally, when I truly surrender to Christ, I “progress”. But after decades I’ve realized this immense duality I can never do anything of lasting worth by myself. My single hope is a salvific Christ, one who is a lifeline to pluck me out of this dualistic hell.
2) The rooms in which I had my experience have taken on a kind of symbolism for me. I encountered the beast in the “living room” (the state of mind in which I normally reside). Then I encountered and received Christ in the “dining room” (baptized by the light of the Eucharistic host?) (Just a thought.)
Brian, I suspect you are a busy man, but I would appreciate your feedback. I realize you are an atheist and I suspect that you, as I do, believe the ultimate reality being is formless. But does that preclude the possibility that there are, in precious, high domains, divine beings (such as Christ) who point the way and act as a portals allowing us into the formless domain of love. I don’t know if Christ is the “Son of God” and I don’t really care. He is, however, the WAY for me and, personally, my only true hope.
Please feel free to share this (absent my name) in your lectures, writings. Plus I can email the Word document at any time.
My very best, ________