There Is Only One Party
Thanks for engaging with me on this subject, I am more used to incomprehending silence when I launch on my inner ramblings so I really appreciate the feedback. ... Before I start – I have been having Salvia ‘flashbacks’ these past couple of weeks (the last time on the tube – decidedly dodgy) – have you heard of this before?
I get the feeling from your reply that we actually agree on rather more than perhaps I have led you to believe. However your response has thrown up some points which I think are as well to reflect back at you – as well as some interesting avenues worthy of further comment..
Ok – "I usually retain some awareness that I’m ‘having an experience’, that something is being suggested to me.".
My Salvia experiences are quite distinct from this. If I am to paraphrase you – my awareness is of immediate experience already there, but somehow brought into focus and attention with Salvia’s help. With my very earliest experiences of Salvia my impression was that suddenly the human part of reality simply peeled away, like an astoundingly superficial skin, exposing depths underneath, above and behind ‘normality’ which were always implicit, always there – but somehow always ignored when in human focus. The human layer seems utterly trivial in comparison, and the overwhelming aspect of the experience is a raw question of sheer orientation/navigation – where is this place, just how far does it go, and will I ever find my way back?. Human reassurances made before Salvia ingestion take on the aspect of something like a bad joke – as if human words could ever speak any sanity or reassurance when confronting such actuality. We are a sliver of attention here, less than a grain of sand on a beach, and our hold here is precarious and miraculous.
I have never really experienced the ‘dreamscape’ contents that seem so widely reported with Salvia, I have always found myself in immediacy. The closest I had to suggestion was my second smoke, when the image I managed to put together of myself was of being a toilet stuck on the ceiling of an orange globular universe. I also became the white and blue toilet mat just before being sucked up and through the membrane and out the other side into normal space where my toilet mat hands shrank back to normal size and texture. All the while - a second, calm observer watched all this happen. (Interestingly the texture of the bedspread I was lying on matched an old memory of a blue & white toilet mat from my childhood when magnified close up).
I think these differences between our experiences of Salvia owe much to differences between us as experienced people – different filter, different report. Also perhaps – different lesson required. I must make this clear to you, I do not think you are wrong to continue communing with Salvia. When it is wrong for you to do so, Salvia will make it perfectly clear to you, you will need no persuasion whatsoever.
"Your point about heading off into infinity being potentially selfish reminds me of the story of Buddha’s enlightenment. He stands on the edge of Nirvana, but turns back to this world in order help others."
Well, quite – but there is a difference nonetheless – I was in no way being selfless in turning back from that infinity, and it certainly didn’t look like nirvana to me. What more can I say? As I said before, infinity is here, not ‘out there’, the challenge is where we are, not somewhere else. I had one experience of a nirvana-like state in the past (after some pure grass and on the edge of sleep). I found myself perceiving a – well, bear in mind the slipperiness of words – I was confronted by ‘the gardens and the living temple of christ’. I knew in that moment the sheer perfection and joy of that temple, the wordless beauty of the man-god himself – an ascending spiral of bliss which is quite simply more present and real than anything that this world has to offer. And it was static. A fixed certainty. Not really attractive at all – going nowhere. If I had been 10 years younger, or 500 books less educated, or 60% more certain of myself and my own mental processing and conclusions – I believe I could have become a born again christian on the spot. As it was I delighted in the afterglow, and recalled how the conditioning of my past had squeezed a raw experience through into my consciousness as a story with familiar elements. But the story was fixed and still – however glorious - and my moving free-will offered me opportunities that such a blissed-out picture could never match. Tempting though!
On your friends MDMA experience. Yes, the realms opened up by that substance are very similar to the bliss I just described – but for me more normal. Plant or not, the experience can be a powerful teacher – it is ultimately of course a pattern of energy, just like a plant, and a part of I. I was taken to the threshhold of death by MDMA, and given the choice, and I decided that I would let the rest of the world decide. So I counted backwards from 10, and on 2 an acquaintance of the time kicked me a couple of times, asking if I was ok. At that point I had been left alone for about 30 minutes. I sat up and said, ok, I’ll stay then. I have often wondered since if those deaths we hear of sometimes complete the countdown. I think the plant/artificial distinction is an entirely rational pragmatic distinction – the artificial have simply not been tested repeatedly for 10,000 generations, so the risk/benefit is difficult to gauge.
Ok, forgive me for this, but I need to quote you fully because it is the key thing that struck me in your email, and I need to reflect on it directly. You write:
"These realms are by no means easy to navigate. We agree that we are not really equipped to deal with such experiences. That’s part of what makes it so terrifying, but I see our inability to deal with it as having more to do with our lack of preparedness and our conditioning." …
Absolutely right – and look, if a neonate could write, do you not believe that this is exactly what they would say? We are born raw, a blank slate – in my terminology we are born having forgotten everything. We are frightened and dazzled and shocked. Remember my ‘toilet’ trip – I later realised that this could just as easily have been a prenatal memory – being attached to the wall of the cosmos. Except it was immediate of course. So energetically, perhaps as we thrust through into entirely novel realms, where we have no ‘preparedness’ and ‘conditioning’ and ‘memory’ – we start all over again. – you then write..
"When I think about what I have experienced in these altered states, I realise that nothing that I have been taught, by my parents or at school or by organised religion or that I can find in any political ideology, is really of any use to me there. But my conclusion about this (coupled with the fact that I choose to continue to explore these spaces) is that I see all these worldly institutions as having failed me, not that I have no place in those realms."
Well, to be honest, I can relate to every word you write here. But my sense is that your conclusion of having been failed is actually a hindrance for you. For me, it is not that I have no place in those realms – in a fundamental sense I am those realms. What you write as a conclusion sounds basically alienated – not specifically from the institutions and conditioning (though that is true of course). But more specifically – you seem alienated from the recognition that these worldly institutions which have failed you – actually are you. This is the impossibility of the ontology that Salvia reveals isn’t it? The world is me. I experience myself throughout time and space in a zillion disguises and then return home, and then – off we go again.
So my sense is that you really feel you have failed yourself. Well, of course when you analyse reality as strung out and separated into parts in time and space – then your teachers, parents, institutions – they all fucked you over and left you out there without any means of coping with these spaces. But when you take the total view, your real adventure is working through the splinters of your vision and bringing them all together into ONE.
So it is not that you have no place in the Salvia realms (they are already here and you), it is just that the main game in town really is this game you are born into, that you live and breath on a daily basis – this really is infinity, and it has not let you down, it is a game in progress – and the outcome is up to you. In a sense, these words that I am writing to you, are ultimately words that you are writing to yourself – just at this particular juncture in the game we are divided into our separate lives and parts.
Now I share your pessimism regarding the rest of the human race, but I have to acknowledge that what the rest of the human race actually is, and what it is capable of – is largely a concept I have produced by my own conditioning and training. So I cannot condemn us all just yet. What I can effect, can do – is do what I can. Good you don’t buy Nike – but it doesn’t stop there does it. Like with ‘altered’ spaces – God is in the details. Every concrete action of yours is followed by worldly consequences. Follow as many as you can conceive, and tidy up. It is not the small task you seem to be saying. It only starts with everything you consume. Let the rest of the human race take care of itself, you take care of yourself – and perhaps the world that flows on from your actions will turn out to be rather less a failure than the one you believe you started out in.
My actual instinct with regard to your shipping Salvia across Europe is that it is probably a very good thing, but my instinct is not decisive here. If on examining yourself, you believe you should carry on – then do so. Same with communing with Salvia – only you can decide. I do have to add here that I occasionally make a typing error with Salvia – she becomes Slavia all too easily – I wonder…
As a parting thought let me quote your own finale – that the effect of power plants - "evaporates all ideologies and I think it is at the heart of why Salvia really is so scary. Maybe when it ceases to be so it will be time to stop doing it."
I realise there is subtlety in this remark, yet still it occurred to me that ‘sitting on a hot stove hurts like hell.. maybe when it ceases to be so it will be time to stop…’. Are you so sure that fear is always a signal to re-confront the source of the fear? Does not fear sometimes simply say – get out of here, now. It may seem less urgent to you if it is subtle psychic energies which are being hurt with fear – that this just says ‘confront your fear, push yourself’. But what if you are actually damaging subtle psychic configurations whose fear is a result of not really being dealt with and adequately incorporated into your present life-game? Maybe the answers are closer to this corner of infinity than you have led yourself to believe. Only you can answer that, not I nor anyone else.