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A Painted Afternoon

Ninth Journey (Sunday 25th July 2004) Awoke that morning in the early hours with a totally, inspiringly clear, ‘empty’ mind.



Ninth Journey (Sunday 25th July 2004)

Awoke that morning in the early hours with a totally, inspiringly clear, ‘empty’ mind. Had strong feeling that I had woken up in a pure Zen meditation state, had the feeling of being energised. So all in all my mind set was excellent.

Very positive feelings going into this journey, had stopped smoking dope, regular sex life had re-established, completing more art pieces (abstract oil pastel picture, sculptures made from broken pebbles), reading Valis, Steppenwolf and especially Zen Mind Beginners Mind have been influential in structuring a very spiritual/semi-Buddhist world view of reality and lay demons of past to rest. Also, choosing not to apply for the management position at work, feeling comfortable about my outsider status, not giving a damn about other peoples’ ego/game perceptions have meant large leaps in personal growth.

This was also the second time of dosing correctly (in two doses close together, me 5g, my wife “A” 1.75g(ish)) and starting at an earlier time, 12.30, to provide adequate conscious come-down time. Had read many more level 5 trip reports and, instead of leaving it till the morning of the day of journeying, several journey guides in the week leading up to. We had the whole week ahead of us off as holiday and spent Saturday cleaning, relaxing, wandering around the garden and watched Before Sunrise the night before. Weighed out doses and individually bagged up a while before. Had usual compilation tapes selection laid out, but we had consciously chosen to try to put on complete albums (which we’ve been doing more often normally anyway): Cat Stevens, The Doors, Procul Harem etc. Around the room we laid out a nice selection of inspiring pictures; Monets, the Central Station Dancers photo from Fisher King (from Jeff Bridges’ book of photography) and our oil pastels pictures. “A” placed the cuddly toys in silly, and sometimes hidden, places like the bookcases. We had a lot of partially frozen bottles of water in the fridge (great new addition to planning, constant supply) and the usual bowl of peanuts on the table.

We’d stuck to a light diet leading up to the Sunday (which as non meat eaters is normal anyway), only bread and jam for breakfast and salad sandwiches as a pre-bath/journey snack.

After the bath we watched Cat Stevens Majikat DVD and ate our doses in croissants (good tip gained from Amsterdam Dreaming trip report on this site). I accidentally dropped the metal and plastic twister which had held my baggie closed into my croissant. I only noticed when I started to crunch into it with my teeth. This annoyed me, that one small detail had gone wrong, but I pulled out all of the metal and reassured myself that I hadn’t swallowed any metal and speaking with “A” we agreed that if I had it could only have been a small, harmless amount.

“A” looked very worried whilst eating. She felt stuffed from the salad sandwich and, as we discussed afterwards she subconsciously knew what she was letting her self in for – a “oh, shit this is going to push me into dealing with stuff I have to resolve” state of mind. After only making it through half of her second croissant she laid down and relaxed into her journey.

After a short while we decided to turn the TV off and at “A”’s request put Cat Stevens’ Foreigner Suite on. We were both rising by this point. I alternated between lying on the floor (large and small pillow under my head) and gentle dancing. Cat Stevens started sounding like he was under water, I noticed the Monet pictures were starting to swirl and knew I was heading towards the start of my peak, so I lay down and closed my eyes, keeping my conscious mind empty in Zen meditation.

Now this peak was the most intense I’ve ever had with such clarity, as I rose I had a strong sensation of ‘emotional dawning’, as if the sun of meaning was rising and illuminating the truth and beauty of everything. I had extreme body awareness, every vein, organ, my entire body’s sensations all firing information at my brain at once. The feeling of sections of my brain waking up, rising up out of my head, unused parts of the cortex exacting their proper functions. Perception/conceptual awareness of orange rings of emotions and thought radiating out from my mind. Then came the ‘knowledge’ that my body, emotions and everything had diffused/dissolved/merged/fused. I ceased to be aware of me as a singular separate being and as total ego-loss waved in I felt the divine feeling of oneness with all and the totally inexplicable sensation of, what shall I call it? Enlightenment I suppose.

Not sure how long this lasted, but it felt like it had been eternity when on the way out of this perfect union with all of nature I felt every possible emotion I am capable of feeling. I opened my eyes (still wary of peaking with eyes open at the moment) and felt comfortable enough to express this to “A”, who had been floating through her own architectural structures and past statues etc. Looking at “A” I could see all the veins and blood running through her face and arms, told her that this looked cool, that she was beautiful. She made some comment about sleeping through this part (she had been wary of what she called the ‘rush’ towards the peak) and switched to lie down on the other end of the sofa.

I watched the Monets swirl and shift and morph, our oil pastel pictures (especially “A”’s water one – she’d just recently completed a series of abstracts based on the four elements) were wriggling. My crazy psychedelic painting (lava lamp like shapes, looks like a crazy jigsaw, each piece a different colour) merged into the wall, the yellow sections appearing to be the same yellow as the wall.

Turning to talk to “A”, I noticed that she looked quite ill (feverish), her face and the cushion (which had needed a wash for a while) were turning into shiny looking blobs. “A” especially was starting to look like a newly born, furless, animal. I kissed and cuddled her and told her that I loved her a few time, but couldn’t quite handle the way she looked so I sat with my back to the end of the sofa where her head was. She was fearfully grabbing for my hand so I held hers with the abstract notion that her arm into mine was an umbilical cord keeping her alive (this proved to be redolent to the journey she was on).

As I looked around the room, from this vantage point everything looked painted, especially the Jules et Jim framed picture, a buoying, surface of water, beaded glass, thickly applied paint texture with a pattern like some of our oil pastel pictures segmenting everything which was subtly moving and shifting. Totally stunned in awe at this.

Once this passed, with mind still clear and empty, I hippy danced wriggling my body in slow serpent movements and waving undulations the room following my movements and vice versa.

It was around this time that “A” told me that she was scared, feeling like she was dying and didn’t know how to be a human being anymore. I tried putting on Bonzo Dog Doo Dah Band album to lighten mood but it wasn’t right, ended up putting more Cat Stevens on I think. I went over and lay with her on the sofa. Kissing, cuddling and reassuring her for a long time. Despite repeated attempts to coax her at this point I couldn’t get her get her to stand up and dance, she couldn’t move. She must have told me she loved me over a hundred times (she later told me that as she felt she was going to die it was vital that these were her final words!), this linked in with what we had agreed beforehand; that we would never ask “are you okay?” only state “I love you” and other positive statements if either of us looked worried. She was desperately holding onto me as if she truly was, as she imagined/felt, drowning.

I had minor concerns that I wouldn’t be able to hold everything together and that “A” repeating “I love you” would started to annoy me but I relaxed and instantly thought “why should it, I love this woman, I’d do anything for her, this has gotten a little on top of her and she needs me to be here for her”. I consciously took on the ‘shamanic’ role, caressing her head and telling her that she was being cleansed. I put the disco ( I AM THE DISCO SHAMAN!!!) compilation on and got her up to dance with me. We danced so close at times that we felt like we were merging together. I got her to mirror my movements – moving our hands together in small circles in the air etc.

Very often she tipped her head down with a sad look on her face, she confirmed what I suspected later - that she was not only fearing her own death/loss of sanity but was worried that she was spoiling the experience for me. In fact in helping her I was realising my emotional/psychological/psychedelic(?) strength. “A” in fact told me that I looked strong and had strength radiating from me. At this point she still had to keep hold of me tightly.

I had trouble working the CD player at one point, but I remained calm. I only had one or two moments of ‘insanity’, or how we now like to call them (after a line in an episode of Buffy the Vampire Slayer) moments of “insane troll logic”. I felt my thoughts swerving towards the notion that there was some creepy insect/vegetable logic/explanation to the state I was in, that I was on the verge of understanding it and that that understanding was disturbing and would get on top of me. The other was my concern that I wasn’t going to keep hold of my sanity to keep looking after “A” and that this journey would be different in that I wouldn’t come back/come back normal. I just shook myself, told myself it was just a moment of waiting for digestion to work its way through , which would pass. I relaxed, meditated. I got back into the dancing on the edge of sanity/with the illusion of reality trip I so enjoy and all was fine.

I have recently understood through having read and internalised the book Zen Mind Beginners Mind that having an empty, clear mind was the best way to experience journeying (going with the flow basically). Also that words, especially when trying to explain things in a trip, are a labyrinthian trap you can get (un)stuck in. I kept singing “you must remember that words don’t help” to “A” to the melody of whatever songs were playing. I also tapped out the rhythms of the music to “A” to point out that you should lose yourself in the music and the visions, that words would lead her into bad trip areas, but because I wasn’t using words she (of course) didn’t understand this until when I explained later.

Whilst in the bathroom looking out of the window “A” expressed fear again and I turned calmly to her and stated “right now we’re in the Nexus of reality, you must flow with the energy and trust the little brothers and everything will be fine” – not sure entirely what it means but it seemed to have the desired effect.

From the kitchen window the trees outside were swirling and morphing and everything in the field of vision was looking slightly faded, almost as if it were computer-generated. Might have been at this point that “A” had an ice cream.

Back in the living room “A” sat astride me and while the room, everything in it, “A” and in particular her hair hummed with vibrant colour and energy I told her all the wonderful things about her in a never-ending stream of dialogue (I didn’t seem to take a breath) I seemed to talk for an eternity, rocking her back and forth, flinging her hair (kinda sexually). As stated, her hair looked beautifully textured and alive. She was still emotionally too-ing and fro-ing though.

I got the dominoes out of their box and started to lay them down on the floor, placing Huggy (a teddy bear) and Socrates (grey squirrel monkey cuddly toy) as if they were going to play! As “A” and I were cramped up between a table and the TV I moved us down to sit in front of the smaller sofa. “A” went very quiet and still for a while and after a series of deep breaths her fear was supplanted by joy (we both reckon this was a point of total ego-loss).

Around this point we switched the music to a sublime compilation tape of The Doors and Procul Harem, the Grateful Dead track New Potato Caboose also sounded excellent!

I suggested we count the copper coins we collect in a money box shaped like the TARDIS (used to be a big Dr Who fan as a kid), but once we had poured them onto the floor we had much more fun making jangling noises, discussing how silly money was, and how the coins were pretty and more valuable for the music we could make with them. Around this time we both starting talking and giggling a hell of a lot more.

I then suggested we tidied up but “A” asserted that the coins and dominoes lying around looked pretty cool, I agreed, especially as the coins seemed to lead a path to the door.

I lay on my back singing along to Love Her Madly by The Doors, “A” laughed as my face apparently stretched out on certain lyrics (“wanna be her daaaady” especially). We discussed how Morrison played and up and with his image and the idea of performance and then dissected the meanings of the film Performance.

Even though it had become a more gloomy day, and “A” said that she couldn’t see it, I saw brilliant sunlight streaming through the billowing curtains and felt like I was on a beach. I stated at some point that the yellow walls were the sand and, looking at both our blue t-shirts “…and we’re the sky”. “A” jokingly pointed out that we might be Smurfs and I replied in kind saying that maybe Father Abraham knew what he was on about.

Huggy and Socrates looked like they were in a Modern Art Gallery, placed in front of the dominoes, coins and art books so I took a picture, as well as a lot of “A”, myself and the both of us.

We did a lot of (hippy) dancing at this point, fantastic trails occurring from my hands. I stated that I knew I was a shaman, that we all were if we believed in ourselves and this state of mind, I also said that I should be a shamanic guide for a living (if Only!!! Don’t think I’m quite experienced enough yet, even if it were a possibility).

We talked a lot about reality, perception and the psychedelic experience. “A” knew that it had been the most intense ‘shroom experience she’d ever had, the whole death of ego and enlightenment phase. I told “A” how I thought I’d seen her dying earlier and phrased it thus:

“She curled so hard into a foetal ball that she crushed herself out of existence only for a beautiful flower to bloom in it’s wake”.

It was like heaven and hell had occurred in the same room. She also had a glorious peak earlier on, with eyes closed she’d drifted through architectural settings, with Roman pillars and statues. I told her the story (“Let me tell you the story of the Mexicans and the mushrooms”) of Wasson’s difficulty in getting the mushrooms from the tribal cultures (catch 22 thing of having to know about them to ask for them, and that you only have to ask politely).

Occasionally we started talking about bad moments, then in the same breath changed the direction of the conversation stating “…let’s not talk about this”.

Whilst all this talking occurred the Monets and other pictures were still swirling, moving and morphing. We had one of the longest, closest conversations we have ever had. I pointed out the necessity of an empty Zen Mind, going into the journey with accomplishments which had resulted from what was learnt from the previous trip and the oddest point being that words don’t help – which has lead me to give up on the autobiographical book I’ve been working on, realising that it’s making me unhappy and that I enjoy painting and sculpting so much more.

When we’d come down enough we went into the garden which, despite the grey sky was even more beautiful than ever (“A” is very green fingered, our garden is a veritable oasis). The colours had an added vibrancy, standing out, catching the eye, the pond had never been clearer, the insects easier to see. We chatted about the garden, how wonderful it looked and how bonded the afternoon’s experience had made us. There was a touch of sadness when I pointed out that in terms of reality deforestation was the apocalypse for many colonies of insects.

After a long period of mellow wandering and sitting in the garden we made our way back inside. After patient, non-thinking tidying up (couldn’t do it if I started to plan, I froze up! Kinda funny) and a relaxing bath I threw together a simple pasta, olive and tomato sauce meal and we watched an episode of The Simpsons which seemed extremely bizarre – it was the one where Homer becomes Ned’s best mate and Ned ends up hating Homer with a fiery passion. Especially odd was a moment where Homer seems to emerge (like he’s merged with it) out of the tall hedge!

We ended the evening cuddling on the sofa watching old episodes of Northern Exposure and going to bed at a reasonable time.

More than anything this journey showed me that I had a lot of strengths, I recall thoughts from the peak about just being myself and occupying my time, huge gladness about the changes I had made and motivation to give up on writing the book and do more art work (“I should do more painting”). A strong bond with “A” and it marked the start of the best holiday we’d had together.

Edabea
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