A perplexing and fascinating experience...
I sat there cross-legged on the boulder and pulled my poncho hood over my head. Taking a few deep breaths and settling in, I was acutely aware of the changes in temperature.
The slight chill in the air as cloud cover moved in front of the sun - the cool crisp breeze tingling my skin, and the warmth that followed when the sun peaked out from the clouds, cutting through the tree foliage and caressing my skin with it’s nourishing rays.
It was as if I could feel all the particles from the sun prickling and penetrating my exposed skin, gifting me with life force energy.
A couple of hours prior, I had drank mescalito; a mixture of the mescaline containing cactus San Pedro and Peruvian Torch. Overall it turned out to be quite mellow and gentle, yet still allowed for the following perplexing and fascinating experience.
I kept my eyes open and gazed into the distance. Below me was native Australian shrubland, with a small waterway trickling through the valley. Beyond that, granite ridges and gigantic exposed boulders were scattered on the side of the mountain in between the many shades of greenery as it rose up from the Earth.
The stillness and quiet from having some time alone from the group was perfect. I was on a cactus walk with a group of consciousness explorers, organised by Julian Palmer, founder of the smokeable DMT concoction known as ‘Changa.’
For the most part, a friendly bunch of people, but I was more interested in turning down the volume on the constant chatter, letting my lens of awareness turn inwards to see what the cactus had to teach me.
The sound of a mosquito buzzed around my head, annoyingly close to my ear, which I tried brushing away several times. “There’s probably more where that came from,” I thought. “So much for the serenity!” I snuggled my arms up into my poncho trying to cover myself up, and settled in again.
My eyes fixated on one point in particular. In between the foliage in the distance, the black charred trunk of a tree drew me in. I wasn’t looking for this place, but I had found it. I had discovered something I’d only accessed once before: The Portal.
The Secret of The Portal.
My hairdresser (I haven’t been in a while, since I’m in the process of growing my hair out!) once told me a story. Well, he actually tells me lots of stories: he once recounted the tale of how he and his friend decided to take a hike around the forest at a music festival, randomly stumbled into a small cave, found Bob Marley and other musicians sitting around smoking a joint, who invited them to join in!
But this particular story was all about accessing a deep state of meditation, concentration, peace and peculiarity. One time, many moons ago, he was sitting outside on the double-story verandah of his cabin, in amongst the lush foliage and chirping birds of the forest.
He found that if he scanned his field of vision, there was one particular spot that he felt drawn to more than any other, and when he relaxed his gaze but still focused on this particular spot, he would eventually enter a place where everything around him opened up and enveloped him completely; attaining deep states of meditation and stillness, coupled with the phenomena of fractal visual distortions. This, was what he called, the portal.
I’d found the portal once in the Amazon jungle, working with the cactus medicine Huachuma. I didn’t call it the portal then, I just knew it for the mind-boggling experience that it was.
The one thing these experiences had in common...
In the Amazon, although it wasn’t my first time working with Huachuma, it was my first time with the cactus observing a network of fractal patterning explode out and blanket my visual awareness.
The same thing was happening as I sat there imitating the boulder I sat on; silent, still, steady, strong.
Surrounding the black charred tree trunk were assorted branches of stark white deadwork and emerald green shrubs. I relaxed my gaze but also held it fixed on the portal. My awareness had expanded to pay attention to everything in my field of vision.
I could notice the birds flittering in and out of the trees, the tiny insects whirring and buzzing around carelessly in the breeze, the tree foliage being carefully caressed by the wind, the baby blue sky peeking out from the clouds above the rocky outcrop meeting the skyline; all while I felt the rise and fall of my abdomen with each breath.
An opaque haziness started to appear, as if a light smog was filling the valley.
But the transparency became more dense until the picture I was seeing quickly flashed from ‘normal-waking vision’, into somewhat of an acrylic watercolour painting combined with the effects of the ‘google deep dream simulator.’
The black trunk, white deadwood, and emerald green from the nearby trees and plants shattered outwards from The Portal like a mosaic lattice-like landscape, wrapping my awareness in a cocoon of green geometry, interspersed with patterns of the black trunk and white deadwood. I couldn’t see anything else.
The valley, the sky, the granite outcrop, the trickling of the small stream, it was all gone. All the way out to the border of my peripherals, the visual topography and structure of this cactus reality had me spellbound.
Picture setting up dominos (the rectangular black tiles, not the pizza!) in a circular pattern radiating out from the middle, the radius becoming larger the more circles you create. If you were to sharply flick the inner pieces of the circle at the same time with your fingers, so they would quickly snap outwards and cascade into each other in a rapid expansion of colour, this is what it was like. Only it filled my entire field of vision.
Within this state of being, I could shift my awareness around. While still keeping my eyesight focused and steady, yet relaxed, I could explore and observe the entirety of what was in my visual perception. I’d experienced the same phenomena and fractal distortions as I’d experienced in Peru. All from concentrating and meditating on the portal.
But what really is reality anyway...?
What I found incredibly interesting was how I could snap in and out of this state quite easily. After a while my eyes naturally wanted to flicker off to the side, and I had to simultaneously relax and focus to stay in this bizarre visionary state.
I'd read many accounts of mescaline and the amazing visionary potentialities, however for the most part, this teacher has gifted me in other ways - connection to nature, spirit, energy, and experiencing the present moment in ways much more profound than ordinary waking reality.
It's why I found this particular experience so captivating. It was beyond the scope of what I considered possible in my known reality.
As soon as my eyes flickered too much and I looked away, losing my state of concentration within the meditation, the landscape would snap back to normal. It was puzzling to observe how easily I could go through the same process again; meditating and concentrating on the portal, the opaque haze appearing, the acrylic watercolour effect, and then the lattice geometry rapidly shattering out.
Couple that with both the deep connection to myself, within myself, and the subtle but heightened sensations of energy throughout my body, it made for a mellow but stunning experience.
All it takes is a small cup of liquid, made from an abundantly occurring plant form, to alter the human consciousness in such a dramatic way. It’s right there. Just behind the lens of normal waking reality. The non-ordinary state of consciousness, ready to encapsulate and mystify those who dare to push the boundaries of what reality really is.
There are those who solely believe in a materialistic-reductionist reality, who'll quickly dismiss and pin these phenomena down to mere hallucinations, and there are those who question these dogmas when examining the many mysterious complexities of consciousness and spirituality, especially after having experiential knowledge in accessing these ‘alternate realities’.
It might be obvious by now that I fall into the latter category: a view of reality that has allowed me deep growth in perspective and evolution as a person, that has only added immense richness to my human experience.
Science has found ways to measure, analyse and explore the depths of space with cosmic telescopes, and the quantum world with colossal microscopes, but there’s still that one piece of the puzzle missing, and science still hasn’t found a way to quantify or measure that.
The experience of going within. Of exploring the depths of our own consciousness. Not the objective analysis, observation and data collection of neurons firing in the certain parts of the brain when undergoing certain stimulation. But the subjective experience of experiencing the many facets of life itself!
I’ve found that keeping a curious and open-mind towards the different lenses of consciousness and how reality can be viewed, in what seems to be in it’s totality, an undefinable, inexpressible supernatural actuality, is a humble approach to admitting that I don’t really know what it’s all about, and everyone else’s theories are at best speculation too.
Sure, some seem to be more compelling than others, but, as far as I know, there’s no way to gain definitive knowledge on the totality of reality.
We can gain better maps of reality though, and one way to do that is to step outside our comfort zone and become courageous explorers of our own experience.
One thing I often remind myself of, is just because I don’t experience it in my reality, it doesn’t necessarily mean that it’s not a part of the ultimate reality.
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Want to read more on mescaline?
Check out my first experience with the cactus medicine Huachuma, at SpiritQuest Sanctuary in the Peruvian Amazon.