It’s Sunday, May 29th, 2016. Panos and I have arranged to spend the day in Hampstead Heath exploring the limits of our consciousness. We grab our bikes and head to the forest. When we get there, we see an amusement park — we look at each and smile mischievously. We agree to visit later on. We are now searching for a leafy and quiet place to sit. “Have a nice trip, fellow psychonaut”, we say and swallow the blotter.
The forest is beautiful. We sit by an old oak and observe the flickering light between the foliage. A very subtle sense of relaxation has begun to spread through my body and consciousness. I fiddle with the dry, brown leaves. Such soft textures. “The moss grows towards the north,” Panos tells me as we caress the unusually soft, green moss on the trunks of the trees. Dogs, children and families pass by.
We decide to move our “camp” to another location. As we walk, the liquid landscape is constantly changing, the trunks are taking various shapes, the trees, the plants, the sounds of birds — what an orchestra! I’m getting deeper and deeper into the trip. I had strong visuals: the rust was dancing on some railings and the leaves were breathing. I hugged a tree, I breathed into it. It was like we were breathing at the same time, as if I was sending my breaths into the tree. The formations on the trunks were changing textures and depths: it was like low poly, satin, ever-changing. I wrapped myself around the tree. It felt like we were taking alternate ontological roles: the tree was my extension and I was the extension of the tree. I had never hugged a tree before but it felt home.
Panos was sitting in our “camp” and hadn’t been so deep on the trip. People were passing by — how strange must I seem to them. I open the app on the tablet, with which you can synthesise soundscapes using sounds of nature, water, birds, percussion and other instruments. The sounds were incredible: I couldn’t locate what was coming from the tablet, because I could hear them binaurally as if they were coming from all around me. The digital sounds of birds were dancing with the birds chirping all around us. As we made the water sounds our mental landscape changed completely. It was as if we were in a story that changed textures, plot and emotion depending on the sounds that we created. I was directing reality audionoetically.
I had a strong sense of synesthesia. I did not know which of my senses was involved in perceiving the smells, sounds and surrounding objects. I could hear the trees, and I could see the sounds of the birds. I think this feature (of synesthesia) was unlocked in my previous psychedelic experience at the Chaos Communication Congress.
We decided to move on. It felt like we were explorers in the jungle. As we were walking I was touching the plants and trees and “felt” them, acknowledging their peaceful existence. Imagine being able to touch the plants and immediately understand what kind of species they are. We found a quiet spot and set up our “camp”. This point was later named the “Temple”.
We watched how the plants were being washed by the sunshine. The limits of myself were lost — they were becoming mere projections of my existence towards these plants. I felt the warmth that they felt. It was more than a sense of warmth. It was pure life. Plants cannot live without the sun. Like heliotropes, we turned our heads and attention towards this warm light and let the homely energy of the Sun envelop us. We started thinking about the meaning and role of the Life-giving Sun and its symbolic place in our ancient religions, the visions of shamans and…afro-futurist musician Sun Ra. I felt connected to a long lineage of mythology and philosophy dating back to the beginning of our existence. Without the sun there is no life — we lived through the light energy that had embraced us. For the first time, I could perceive and appreciate the Sun with such godly intensity.
We then started deconstructing the layers of cosmology. Is there a universal life-giving flow before matter, before the Sun, before the planets and the infinite universes around us? The only way we can perceive this flow is through our consciousness. We felt that this consciousness, as a substance, runs through the whole universe and we are just manifestations of it.
Physically, I had lost the limits of myself and my body. Ego Death. I wasn’t just a liquid entity, I was global energy without a physical substrate. As I closed my eyes, energy grids bubbled over me and hugged me. I was at the centre of the world, simultaneously there and everywhere. “Where does this energy come from? It felt like it was located low in my abdomen. This energy, however, didn’t have a centre or boundaries, an end or a beginning. It was permeating. I felt like my uterus was a root tied down to the ground and leading towards the centre of the earth — just another warm and fluid extension of Earth. Through this umbilical cord, a primordial, ancient energy full of pure vitality was flowing through me.
As we were lying on the ground in opposite directions, the tops of our heads were touching. That point was hot as if our heads were welded together to form one brain with two streams of incorporeal consciousnesses. We were floating in the world of ideas, talking about consciousness and Logos.
What is Time? We removed time from our mental landscape. We existed in non-existence and timelessness. What about language? Is there thought beyond language and that which we can think? “We have to let go of the language to understand the world”. As we are peeling off these layers, we found ourselves in the realm of the inner voice. How is our inner voice, this constant, chattery and unquestioned undercurrent, channelling our consciousness?
We need to leave the inner voice behind us if we are to reach the Truth. We need to think without logos, without words. (in Greek Λόγος means both Language and Reason). We have to leave the worldly affairs behind us. Let’s try. I was thinking with energy, I had shut off my inner voice. I was being through energy — I was energy. I had found myself in that fluid and luminous point of existence and non-existence, at the very beginning of the conception of life. How unprecedented! How difficult it is to capture all this and verbalise it. The experience was not emotionally charged. It was what it was, fully and truly as such.
We were talking about technology — I was thinking how a web should automatically manage all the repetitive human administration processes (state, work) so that people can do what they are meant to do: to think, meditate, be in nature, be with others, communicate. We listened to this song Cosmic Funk: Reflections Of A Golden Dream by Lonnie Liston Smith. What a wonderful orchestration! The sounds of nature around me entered the music like an otherworldly and jungly musical seduction. We laid on the ground which was like a soft, warm cloud and got lost in the sound journey. Nature is so Jazz.
As nomads, techno-gypsies, we changed our “camp” in the jungle. We went even further inside the forest and found some lakes and a palace. People were passing by with dogs and children. They were like thoughts in meditation that you observe and let go. We talked about social structures, power, chaos, order, physics, society, entropy, the flow of social forces and structures and drugs. Would people’s horizons open up if they took psychedelics? Could it be the solution to our fragmentation and disconnection? How could this be done at scale and morally? The ’60s didn’t work…In the background, I could see London’s skyline.
We got our bikes and arrived in Dalston very hungry, ate and ended up in the warm, embracing sofa of the Passing Clouds (such a pity it’s still closed to this day). We reflected on the uniqueness of the experience. How much it helped to be able to vocalise our thoughts and guide each other with questions. It is very difficult to find words to describe such an experiential, prelinguistic and primordial experience. It’s as if you are trying to compress infinite dimensions to only three so you eventually cannot encode all of them and the resolution is lost.
It was as if I was embodied through the Life substance that runs through the universe. A truth that many peoples before me have glimpsed, tried to understand and have expressed through mythology, religion, music, philosophy, physics and cosmology. A universal truth about the universe. How can a physical theory of Everything be viscerally experienced? It all makes me think how much the human species has evolved in recent years, but also how deep back in time our roots still hold.
I want to dedicate this experience to Humans and our eternal effort to understand the world around us. How marvelous our searches are! I believe in Science, Philosophy and Art as the vehicles for finding the truth. However, I think we need to leave a cheeky question mark, which is anchored to our insignificance, and limited ability to understand our very own place in the universe. Nevertheless, it’s precious to be able to travel comfortably from the world of great ideas to the natural world of our basic primordial nature.
Back and forth but mostly forth.