A Living Incense Link
There’s a danger when the mortal mind meets the infinite. Your mind really has problems handling a divine experience because you’ve encountered sights and ideas that do not fit into the one train of thought limit of the human mind. Your mind may break, as mine did afterwards, and your ego may put on some grandiose title, as mine did, although it didn’t do it willingly, and you may walk around for weeks in that feared weirdness we call a psychosis, and I did, although I’d rather call it a spiritual emergency, and you’ve got to figure I was an accident waiting to happen, but none of that detracts from the fact that you saw divinity with your own very eyes, as I did. Do you have anything like that set of divine visuals?
When a substance, such as LSD, or grass for that matter, is a trigger for spiritual experience, and I understand most believe it cannot be, and here again we encounter another discrepancy between popular belief and reality, you are not ready for it. You have been put there too quickly, although it might fit perfectly into your program (or it might not), be actually what you need as hard as that might be on you, and you suffer such a shock it’s all you can do to stay sane. I might say here welcome to the Path, unruled, unbounded, unpredictable, spontaneous, not a step 1, 2, 3, but I’d be getting way ahead of myself.
It wasn’t like I just dropped a couple of hits of acid on the spur of the moment, LSD 25 to be exact. I had planned the trip for months. The idea to do it came because of the effects I was experiencing from grass, which I didn’t start smoking until my senior year at university, when I was 26, although I’d tried it as a young teen a couple of times, the second time experiencing the dissociation state and getting so terrified I begged God to let me be myself again, telling Him I’d be a preacher if I woke up the next morning normal, and I did, and that’s how and why I became a Jesus freak in my teenage years. Being an English major minoring in History, I had more books to read than I could possibly read, and, not really knowing the usual effects of weed, that it makes you scattered, and having lost my terror of the drug, what I had for any and every substance on account of that dissociation experience, I thought grass might help me to sit and read as long as I needed to, since I remembered it did give me an incredible focus, albeit so remote from the world, and so I asked a friend, whom I knew smoked, to give me a joint. I smoked it and read Huckleberry Finn in one sitting, although it took some hours, hitting two or three tokes on that joint when the effects began to wane. I managed to complete my coursework that way.
As I explain in an essay/nonfiction narrative entitled “The Evidence of Man”, during my undergraduate years I did a lot of lucid dream and out of body exploration, the former to a degree I was a god in dream more or less, until I got killed, stabbed in the heart, and then I had a near death experience, but that’s a story wound round this one wound told better in the aforementioned article. Having had that opening with death, however, in the heart to be exact, enabled me to experience my grandfather’s death, a year or so later, of a heart attack a couple of weeks before it happened where it happened and how it happened. I mean I was inside him me myself, though of course my body wasn’t there, with my thoughts and feelings, hearing/seeing and feeling his plus what his external senses were experiencing—he was building a barbed wire fence on a neighbor’s property—, though much more remotely than I was experiencing his inner field. I call that inner body time travel, and like a lot of things we think technology will give us the means to do one day, consciousness already has if we could but realize it. While that experience wasn’t the result of a substance and wasn’t planned and took me completely by surprise, and nor is it anything I’ve been able to experience again, it’s been a fountain in what it’s shown to me of reality: many, many things if you can get the picture. I’m telling the story here to show how open I was before that LSD trip, open in my inner consciousness.
On the level of normality, it would bear mentioning that I’d undergone a year of psychoanalysis as an undergrad, where I’d learned of my mother’s sexual abuse of me. My doctor, a psychiatrist, would not talk about anything paranormal, lucid dreams and O.B.Es. included, especially wouldn’t talk about such things as my mom’s phantom lover before my sister and I were born or my imaginary playmate Chevy as a baby and toddler, who turned out to be the same entity that had sex with my mom, was what the ancients Greeks called the family daemon, what we call a demon (that future discovery being another story lost to this present one, but it’s entered the spiral), my doctor being the devout atheist and materialist she was. She focused solely on my thoughts and feelings in regards to the material field, examining a dream every now and then in that Freudian way that sees only what it wants to see, but, being such a paranormal person, that was what the doctor ordered. It did help.
I’ve described to you my set for that acid trip, so you might not wonder so much at me going over the top. Like I said, the purpose of the trip was to find God. I was an atheist up until that trip, as I’ve also said, but I was a searching one. The metaphysical experiences I was having were too big for atheism, for reductionist materialism, and I was burning with that question. I figured, since LSD was so much stronger of a psychedelic than pot, that I might get my question answered. I had no idea.
My setting was not mismatched with my set. I’d arranged to do it on my 27th birthday, (1988), another key ingredient of my set if you know how open we are on our birthday, at my sister’s cabin on Spyrock Mountain in Northern California, called that because of a giant rock halfway up the mountain with American Indian markings on it. She lived in a small community of pot growers and smokers, most of whom were from our hometown of Houston, Texas, where I was traveling from in my black Datsun diesel king cab pickup truck that features on other occasions in my spiritual adventures, although here it was only a taxi to and not one during. On that fateful day she decided she was busy and turned me over to David and Joelle, a couple who were part of my sister’s group, he being the founding member of the community, if it could really be called that so loosely put together it was, she being a hippie moving through there on mushrooms one night trapped, as she described it, in another dimension. I’m sure it was the dissociation state. David took her into his trailer and talked her down, and they stayed together after that. Being around 10 years my senior and quite experienced with tripping, they were my minders. I wouldn’t call them guides. I could actually call him a few bad names.
I dosed with them in the late morning, and when the effects began to hit I wandered off on my own down a dry creek bed that meandered down the mountain. It was bordered on both banks by an unkempt forest and strewn with big grey boulders here and there that were contrasted by the small stones and pebbles of many colors on the dry bottom of the stream, dull now because there was no water to make them shine. Jake, David’s German Shepherd, was close on my heels. Dogs just know. When you trip it’s like you’re a little child again so fresh and alive the world is in that delightful but also frightful way that gives everything you see almost a depth of personhood, and which you feel, fear or joy, depends on the same things that make a child cry or laugh, and you can go from one to the other in the drop of a hat.
A good dog, the kind that watches and protects, of the gentle dogs that is, will almost always prefer the company of a child, even over their master’s presence—well, up to a point: a power-grabbing toddler will send a good dog to their master’s side for protection. Jake knew something was up with me kid-like, as this was my first trip, and I was noticeably tripping, the others no. For me it was so natural his coming with me, and it made me feel very safe because, as a toddler, according to those who were there at the time, I was a wild child hard to handle, and you would not wonder why, did not like staying indoors, and no one wanted to just follow me around the yard for hours on end, but we had a good dog, Buckshot, a Collie Shepard mix whose parents were army dogs, and he babysat me I kid you not. There was no fence, and it was a very big yard, and I remember, when I got close to crossing the border of the yard, or on the verge of doing something that made him feel I was in danger, he’d hunker his head down and look at me with compelling eyes and make this funny combination of whines, low growls and half barks to get me to obey him, and if I didn’t, he’d gently take my little hand in his mouth and lead me back towards the house.
At any rate, to make a long story short, I speak dog, what Jake could sense in the ambience of my tripping self, and I was a toddler once again, on the hunt for this and that and whatnot, being babysat by my Buckshot. Three images organize my memory of that passage down the creek bed. The first sees me look back at my entrance into the stream’s world, having entered its bed from the thin strip of forest on the other side of which is the yard of whomever’s property we were on. I don’t think it was David’s. The feeling of being enclosed in nature and closed off from the human world dominated my inner senses, not just my outer. I was looking back upon a large, tall stone formation that sat right in the middle of the stream, and it struck me how, when there was the flow of water in winter, the current would get split in two right there, creating I imagined an interesting effect of the combination of sight and sound. Looking at the top of the formation, I noticed how flat it was, worn down even in the center, as though it was a chair of sorts. With an exclamation point, my surmise saw a seat a hundred years old or more, where an old native American sage must’ve sat and contemplated, taking advantage of the strange effects of sight and sound and the interruption in the flow of the stream’s energy, perhaps tapping into it even. Although it was a human element, or would be if that were indeed the case and it was an old sitting spot, I remained in my inner and outer senses enclosed in nature and unbothered by man.
The second sight was a bona fide hallucination. I’d crawled into a little crevice made by large boulders piled together, against Jake’s wishes, who was nervously waiting just outside, the small opening and passage too tight for his comfort. Inside there was a very tiny cave of sorts, just big enough to stoop in. In the ‘wall’ I was facing, there was an indention in the rock that formed something like a deep shelf. Inside was a large flat stone that I stared at, and as I stared there slowly appeared the biggest and most beautifully decorated rattlesnake I’d ever seen either in waking life or in dream, animated to be larger than life. It was coiled with head raised, looking at me. I had more or less willed it there, remembering a scene from the film The Trial of Billy Jack, where he goes into a cave of rattlesnakes and meets his shadow brother. Billy Jack was my hero as a very young teen, before Jesus replaced him. The original movie, Billy Jack, has been a big and positive influence upon my life, despite how hokey it appears today and the violence of the main character, who was actually involved in trying to overcome it. There in that crevice on acid, I felt also to be involved in Billy Jack’s quest, seeking to heal my nature, and the snake bore witness to that, although it wouldn’t be till the next day that the idea would take on a concrete form. Here it entered my conscious mind, coming as it did from inside me. It was there a few seconds, breathing and alive, with eyes like diamonds on fire, and then it was gone, both the snake and sense of healing.
In the third organizing image, I’ve made my way some distance down the mountain, how far I’m not sure, and I’m standing on a large rock where the stream borders the busy and groomed world of us, a few trees standing around not able to hold back the tide of the sights and sounds of man entering into the stream’s enclosed world. The ground declines steeply from that point, how far I don’t know, because it was where I left the stream and joined back with David and Joelle. Since the crevice, the world of symbol had superseded the world of visible sight, and I was undergoing what felt to be a process of being born anew. Standing on that rock I was seized with the impulse to remove my shirt, which was an OD green jungle fatigue top of the Vietnam era, and my dog tags, which I yet wore on occasion being still very attached to being a soldier, even after five years, and I hurled both as far as I could down the stream.
The act symbolized letting go of my old identity and left me shirtless. I then walked to the nearby road, where David and Joelle were talking to a man, obviously a part of the mountain’s alternative lifestyle, but nonetheless, realizing how odd it must be to see a grown man walking shirtless, I mentioned how hot the whether was, and it wasn’t. David, as though I were a child talking the way kids do about this and that so seriously, and this and that are really something else, and they are just talking to sound bigger than they are, cut me off and told the man I was tripping, and it was my first time. He gave me that knowing look, the one that says don’t take anything I do or say seriously, the look you give to people who are tripping. The three had a good laugh, and I felt such the misunderstood child.
We went back to their trailer house, the evening rapidly turning towards night. How time had passed so quickly I had no idea, and David stopped me before we went inside. “Do you want another hit? I should tell you that a night trip is very different from a day one, very different. It could turn into a bad trip if you’re not careful.”
Psilocybin mushrooms grew wild in the cow pastures that bordered the behinds of Sagemont, the suburbs I grew up in from eleven to adulthood. So many kids ate them we had like a mini Woodstock environment going on on the sidelines of our growing up. My big sister Gwen was part of that crowd, but I never ate shrooms on account of my bad trip from grass I’ve mentioned previously, figuring if grass was that bad, shrooms would be ten times worse. One kid from that crowd, an eighth grader, blew part of his head off with a shotgun while on shrooms he’d gathered from the fields. This was a major event in my junior high school, George A. Thompson Intermediate. And it was so very sad. My choir teacher, who had also been his, told the story of going to the house, how the mother was in a state of shock, how she felt his presence still, like he wanted to say he was sorry, how she’d walked in and saw his brains scattered on the wall, the gun rigged with wire and string sitting there like an angel of death. The story was used to warn us of the danger of mushrooms, of course, and it had its desired effect on many, but the fields were still ripe for the picking, and they begged the question of what’s out there, and, despite the dangers, a lot of kids wanted that question answered. As I see it now, it wasn’t so much the shrooms that were dangerous; it was the ignorance of the kids who ate them and the adults who tried to stop them, the one not understanding the magnitude of tripping, how it’s not for everyone and especially not for the unprepared and the too young, and the latter not understanding a need, in a suburban world that boxed reality into a squeeze hole, to visit the forbidden zones.
On the mountain, I couldn’t see how a bad trip could come out of such a wonderfully deep and symbolic day, and I didn’t want the effects to end, waning, as they were in sync with the sun, which was going down, and so without much hesitation, I took a second hit, and we went inside. We smoked some grass, and I waited to peak again, the couple of hours or so of a trip when the effects are at their height. Earlier, when I took the first trip, David had explained that smoking grass while tripping produced a different trip than if you didn’t smoke, and I didn’t really appreciate that at the time, nor that we were smoking mountain grown skunk. It was quickly dark, and, after an hour or so of waiting, the peak reappeared.
He turned down the lights and put on some Indian music, and with the dimness and sound of the sitar, it occurred to me to lay down and close my eyes. I don’t know how long I’d been laying down—I seem to remember it being almost instantaneous—, but suddenly the scene of the trailer, which I was seeing with that other vision, the strange one that can see with the eyes closed while you’re between waking and sleeping, first cracked and then shattered into many pieces, like a windshield on a car. I found myself, as I described earlier, flying over a thought grid that stretched to infinity in every direction, one made up of thought cubicles, as I experienced them at the time, coming to call them houses later on, as I’ve said, and I was flying over what I knew to be the Buddhist cubicle. The forms I saw down below were in miniature, shaped out of the fantastic, a shock to my vision. I recognized what looked like the forms of stupas, what’s on the top of many a Buddhist temple, and with an instantaneous apprehension without thought I knew that it was here the forms and thought of Buddhism came from. The beings in that well of a world were not something I could firmly apprehend, are not even forms I can remember, as they were so foreign to my vision I couldn’t really see them in the sense of making any sense out of what I saw. I just knew they were alive and divine.
But as captivating as it was, the scene below me was pale in comparison to the peace and bliss I had become, which the fact that I was flying did not abrogate, and with that apprehension without thought, I knew this to be some semblance of Buddha consciousness. Just as that apprehension came, I flew over the border of the Buddha cubical and over the cubicle of Christianity, and I’m calling it that because the forms of the religion were there, not because it wore any label on itself or in my mind as such, and, if surprised you can be in such a state of completeness, I was surprised to find that the consciousness there was identical to the Buddha consciousness, why they were side by side, but there was one subtle difference, but to call it the presence of fear wouldn’t be exactly what it was, since it wasn’t discordant with the bliss and peace, or I should say, it didn’t wipe those away. It came from a sort of pole in the middle of the Christian cubicle, what the beings there worshiped, or worshipped around, but what they also didn’t understand, because it was incompatible with the compassion of that realm, and the closest word I can use to describe it is wrath, and all this, again, did not come in a train of worded thought but arose instantaneously upon seeing inside that cubicle that held the forms of Christianity.
I saw places inside where the major figures of Christianity resided, like little rectangles or such, all this what I might call a figurementation, to make up a word so to describe something indescribable, and I saw that in the Christ one Christ was there, and it bears mentioning there was no sign of a cross at all, but in the Antichrist place, he wasn’t there yet. It might be hard to picture, but his place was as integral as Christ’s, I mean was a part of the house, and that place was empty. The transition from bliss and peace to an almost abject terror happened immediately upon realizing I could fill that place, not in the sense that I wanted to, but in the sense that I couldn’t help but fill it no matter how much I didn’t want to, what would be unavoidable destiny, what was one hell of a thought, an exaggeration of LSD, not the wordless kind of all-knowing thought but a thought thought, what happens in narrow reality, what happens when that is in the way, as in that exclamation point of sudden terror I’d come down to the level of our mind, and I fell towards that vacant spot in a swoon of darkness, coming back to the forms of this world and to the living room of the trailer house before I arrived down inside, rushing back to the scene in the trailer and jerking up into a sitting position, making sure to hold my eyes wide open so not to ‘leave’ again.
I was then hit with a rush of images of many past lives, something I didn’t believe in until that moment, and the terror of possibly being the Antichrist left me as suddenly as it had come, and I saw the nature of my soul, which was not antichrist in the least—another thing I didn’t believe in until then, my immortal soul. The images rushed past my mind’s eye as I looked upon the external scene, and I held my past lives in my view, what seemed like all of them as impossible as that sounds to hold in one’s mind at once, not those lives in detail but as indexes of things I felt could open if I put my attention there, like those cubicles were indexes to the divine realms, and I stood up and started saying that I was the illustrated man (the book of that name obviously had made an impression on me), the experiencer, the traveler, the explorer, the scout, the pathfinder, meaning my soul not ego Donny, and I had this vivid feeling-toned living image of going down into a long and dangerous crawl space of many twists and turns, incredibly remote, into a chamber far, far from the surface, feeling that by doing so I’d extended the human range. This I saw as the function of my soul.
It seems I babbled some about my past lives and what I’d just seen, the houses of divinity, whereupon David laid back on his sofa, put on a pair of mirrored sunglasses, put his hands behind his head and put on a self-satisfied ‘got you in checkmate’ smile, and he looked at me like I imagined at the time Charles Manson might’ve looked at a prospective disciple and said, “Give me the keys to your truck and all your money,” and those were his exact words.
Jerusalem, what makes that city special? Can we call the Earth? Can we stand and sing? I think there it’s more potent. I doesn’t belong to the Jews. It’s just a century old, the Palestine Mandate, where Jews flocked to Zion. I mean Palestine. We’d need to rewrite the history books. Jews gave that city its name a good 3000 years ago, at least. Jews is the capitol of Jerusalem, period. And you got a book put Mohammad in the sky from there. What a holy place for Jews and Palestinians, and the Arab world, and all of Islam. What do we do with that? We come together. We go to school. Like everybody needs to go to school, the Jews to learn Palestinian, the Palestinian the nation of Israel. The importance stresses the Earth. We can’t do without it. It’s vitally important. The importance can’t be stressed enough. Instead everybody’s fighting. There’s no way to stop them. This stands to reason. It’s all we see. Can you tell me how to stop it? I think we’d need to recognize the State of Israel, the whole human race. We do this first. Recognize their right to the land? And we have the State of Israel. That’s who governs it. Where do we jump off the cliff? Here take the bike it’s so much calling me. You had your soul housed in time. It didn’t work. There was things about it screwy, between Jerusalem and Palestine for example. Oh Lord I’m a she wolf. Let’s murder babies. Let’s put our heads on the chopping block. You’re not gonna get Israel that way. Do we blame their foreign policy? It’s Israel or nothin’. You mean the State of Israel would have to change? Like become Palestinian lovers. It’s a shortcut for humanity. See what I mean? I think Jewish identity’s exclusive. How do you change it and not give it away? Can Jews fall in love with humanity? Put that first on their chopping block so far, speaking of the genesis of the People. Jewish identity human identity, and human identity wins out, how to get an Orthodox Jew to do that? It’s here we vie for change. Then the State of Israel will live in peace. There’s no other way around it, a lover of humanity all Jews living in the Israeli state. And then you have peace on earth in a matter of months. No, between Jews and Palestinians and the rest of the Arab world. It will be an example for all mankind. How do we add this to the Torah? You’re strong enough Kabbalah, you just have to shed orthodoxy and go deeper. No constraints on your inner investigation. Keep goin’ until you find One, until you find the whole. Hashem’s there as a filter. You have to get bigger than that. That’s not blasphemy. That’s the organization of your religion around soul lines. It brings your religion to its fullness. It’s coming to all mankind. It’s here on this page. I’ve just given you the means to change. How about it Rabbi? Can you get any bigger in the land of Israel? A precision strike right where you meet God, and all the Law can do is catch up. It’s been surpassed. We we’re gonna communicate a Stuchbery. That’s the primary school of God. It got engraved in stone, and no one got out of fifth grade. Now we’re in New York, really livin’ it up in exclusivity. Okay find God on your soul ground. The whole thing has evolved. I think this is where religions go if we let them evolve, any religion, if it comes from God. They get bigger all the time, bigger as in substance, inner strength. You got that Judaism? It’s here. Now get your book in order. You’re about to get grand slammed, and we talk to the poet. Do we just keep doin’ this? He’s your place you see the whole, from the university of life. Glory hallelujah amen, how about it Rabbi, a solution to the Arab-Israeli conflict? Not two states, one complete Israel. And a few crack up go over it. You have the Talmud use in the garage, in a sentence. Owf!— a humanity teacher. She never kept these regarding flow existentialism. God almighty, they’re Jewish. You have the performance of a Jew last life. It really get complicated, all this off the cuff, the general meat of things. Wow, I’m sorry, should’ve kept my mouth shut. Can we quote the rabbi? As overall things were happening to blood pressure. I forgot to prepare. You learn how right here, hello, a Jewish poem. I like the truth. Alright Edmund, we’ve already stated it a couple of times. Everybody that’s the truth. It has to do with what’s goin’ on, not made up truth. Hey, that’s happenin’. And who brings it up? An alien, usually some outcast involved in his world. Reside in this joy. Reside in peace. I love you. The origin of God, how the One handles science. Bake this bread. I’m activity center. So I found the Leaves of Grass, a good many. Just put them in, in that tightrope on life. Hey man, I will only say now it’s something we can work with. Thank you Jewish field speaker. Thank you pot darlin’. Shut up. I was only tryin’ to help. Something’s broken. And we’ve reached a limit. Gotta sleep more wake up again and write more. This is the anti-buy, a shopper’s guide, a holistic reality. You’d think it was the anti-sleeping tablet, as much sleep as I’ve got. A Jewish review say it friendly: rose to the surface the person that time forgot, and I’ll hook you later. People can read it tomorrow, and also at this point, in New York today. Oh my goodness vocabulary, a double speaker, you know? Welcome to the land of Israel. It’s gold you grew up. It’s the space age race. It’s all these great things they can do, if humanity accepts them, if they accept humanity. It’s written in the stars. Come on let’s go. You’re allowed to be Jewish, definitely. That’s the title of the book. Control me Houston, I love the Jews. I love them very much. There’s the hero’s journey. It’s the path I’ve been on. It’s where I find myself. I’m a lover of little boys, and that’s now in their best interest. It really is. And you know the part that bites, Feverton, it’s not a part of this anymore. There’s his hand in mine, and you bring poetry letters to a boy. Number one he’s my grandson, and that’s my job to take care of him, and I love my job. I do love my job. You know holism holds his hand, and we put that on life, the universe, and everything, and you’ve encountered reality. You really have, and there’s no other way around the universe. There really isn’t. Can you hear me Judaism? Can you hear me? Let’s go buy Jerusalem, and we’re a holistic Jew. And we’re a holistic Jew.