3 LSD and Beyond — Selections

[After I was given the dose of LSD] Bob told me that I would really be in the room in Menlo
Park no matter what I experienced, but soon I felt that he was
wrong. I was horribly lost in time and space. At moments I could
control my body, feeling nauseated or a nice lightness; but soon I
had left the body so much that I was no more there than in the
other places and times which existed in me and in which I existed.

Memories took on a compelling intensity. They were every bit
as real as the time and place I was supposedly inhabiting, early
summer in California…

Fear kept washing over me, tied to things that had happened
in my life: falling off my bicycle when I was about ten and the
back wheel came off while I riding in traffic; being mistrustful of a
neighbor across the street when I was home alone; on an ocean
liner tossing in a big storm off India; in a prop plane bouncing in
the air as it approached a landing in Ohio; during a final exam I’d
been poorly prepared for in an anthropology class.

On and on, the experiences came and went in my awareness. I was so
absorbed in them that I didn’t feel them as memories. I was living
them. (Later my mother told me that the neighbor had been
arrested for child molesting. “I knew something was wrong with
him,” I said to her.)

I would write in my journal the next day:

There is another world, and I know of it as I know of little else in life,
for I saw it directly. It is all being, all relationships, time, space, what
some people call God. It is all the humor, all the smell, the bleak
parking lots, motels advertising sterile TV and air conditioning, the
questions a child is afraid to ask, about Negroes, about sex. It is the
curves of silver-blue Mozart.
It is the universal sadness and love of Christ, love for the muck, the
freeways, the subways, love for the simple people, and for the
complexly hating; and it is the cosmic glee, floating multi-colored,
curved and everywhere. It is no more me, but it is not death, for I am
part of All.

I felt filled with joy all summer for what LSD had shown me. I
often went to mass in a Catholic church near where I was living in
San Francisco, not thinking about the beliefs of Catholicism
particularly but sinking deeply into the smell of the incense, the
echoing sounds in the cathedral, and the general feeling I got
there. These sensations gave me the powerful vibe of love I had
felt on LSD.

I noticed that I was less judgmental than I had been all my life.
I still had opinions about political and social issues, I still had
goals and annoyances about my life, I still had ideas about how
things should be. But all my opinions had become more lightly