Aldous Huxleywas the author of the famous book The best of worlds. He was also a curious, preoccupied man, fascinated by what we call "altered states of consciousness" or visionary experiences. He did this kind of experiment through different paths.
This writer has maintained a great researchspiritual, which led him to become practically a mystic. In the year 1953, Huxley read on the use of mescaline in the treatment of schizophrenia. He decided, under the supervision of Dr. Humphry Osmond, to try mescaline and other psychedelic drugs. He wanted to penetrate the world of visionary experiences.
” The face is never totally opaque; the soul shows itself through its walls. “
Thanks to all this, he wrote two very interesting essays. The first is entitledthe doors of perception. The second, Theheaven and hell. He details his journey through visionary experiences. He finally describes the means by which it is possible to reach them. Huxley describes 5 of these ways.
1. Fasting, a way to access visionary experiences
Fasting is a widespread practice in the world. Many religions recommend it and practice fasting as a means of attaining their mystical experiences.Food deprivation releases a whole chain of effects in the body. These effects end up also altering the functioning of the brain.
Religions generally speak of fasting as a means of purifying the body and mind. Huxley emphasizes that it is also a mechanism for achieving visionary experiences.When the body stops assimilating foodfor a while, it is very common for special visions and emotional states to appear, where happiness is confused with sadness.
2. Jewelry and crystals
Many visions present in religions and in various philosophies speak of jewels and / or crystals.Gold and precious stones, beyond their value mercantile, are recurrent images in mystical visions. And when the jewels are absent, they evoke crystals and their brilliance.
According to Huxley, this is so because jewelry and crystals emanate from the light. They are transparencies or carriers of light.The attentive and silent contemplation of jewelry would, according to Huxley, promote visionary experiences. In other words, the emergence of revealing images relating to one's own being.
3. Darkness and confinement
According to Aldous Huxley, staying in a place where there is no sensory stimulus generates, after a while, visionary experiences. We begin to "see" and "hear" many things that we do not have access to in our normal state of consciousness. These practices are very common in Buddhism.
This appreciation of Huxley has been corroborated by science. It has been established that spending a lot of time in the dark generates the secretion of a large amount of brain hormones and triggers the activation of various neurotransmitters. Thee DMT, a molecule present in psychedelic drugs, is produced after about three weeks.
4. Contemplation of works of art
Another way to access visionary experiences is the careful and concentrated contemplation of works of art. In particular paintings and works of religious architecture. Huxley said that many of them are precisely the fruit of visionary experiences. So that they facilitate access to new states of consciousness.
Huxley also lists artists who best convey a visionary experience through their work.He appoints Andrea del Castagno, Caravaggio, Goya, Rembrandt, George of the Tower, William Blake and Fra Angelico. It also gives special relevance to Zen art. He emphasizes that poetry and Sufi music induce other states of consciousness.
5. Fireworks and pompous processions
The fireworks were not created just for the show. They were initially considered a magical and transporting experience generating significant effects in those who contemplated them. Looking at them carefully and drawing with them figures in the sky can become a visionary experience.
This also applies to pompous processions. Those where are exposed powerful sculptures, silks, velvet, unusual clothes and with great pomp.Huxley said that contact with these images leads to revealing visions, which can manifest on the moment or later during sleep.
Mystical experiences go beyond the realm of psychology. To be precise, they are more in what we call "spirituality". They are a transcendent phenomenon that science is already studying, but still far beyond the scope of science.
Pictures of J. Robinson