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104 فصل

بخش 64

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  • زمان مطالعه 8 دقیقه
  • سطح خیلی سخت

دانلود اپلیکیشن «زیبوک»

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دانلود اپلیکیشن «زیبوک»

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And for the next several hours the music did just that, summoning into existence a sequence of psychic landscapes, some of them populated by the people closest to me, others explored on my own. A lot of the music was New Age drivel—the sort of stuff you might hear while getting a massage in a high-end spa—yet never had it sounded so evocative, so beautiful! Music had become something much greater and more profound than mere sound. Freely trespassing the borders of the other senses, it was palpable enough to touch, forming three-dimensional spaces I could move through.

The Amazonian-tribal song put me on a trail that ascended steeply through redwoods, following a ravine notched into a hillside by the silvery blade of a powerful stream. I know this place: it was the trail that rises from Stinson Beach to Mount Tamalpais. But as soon as I secured that recognition, it morphed into something else entirely. Now the music formed a vertical architecture of wooden timbers, horizontals and verticals and diagonals that were being magically craned into place, forming levels that rose one on top of the other, ever higher into the sky like a multistoried tree house under construction, yet a structure as open to the air and its influences as a wind chime.

I saw that each level represented another phase in my life with Judith. There we were, ascending stage by stage through our many years together, beginning as kids who met in college, falling in love, living together in the city, getting married, having our son, Isaac, becoming a family, moving to the country. Now, here at the top, I watched a new, as yet inchoate stage being constructed as indeed one now is: whatever this life together is going to be now that Isaac has grown up and left home. I looked hard, hoping for some clue about what to expect, but the only thing I could see clearly was that this new stage was being built on the wooden scaffolding of earlier ones and therefore promised to be sturdy.

So it went, song by song, for hours. Something aboriginal, with the deep spooky tones of a didgeridoo, put me underground, moving somehow through the brownish-black rootscape of a forest. I tensed momentarily: Was this about to get terrifying? Have I died and been interred? If so, I was fine with it. I got absorbed watching a white tracery of mycelium threading among the roots and linking the trees in a network intricate beyond comprehension. I knew all about this mycelial network, how it forms a kind of arboreal Internet allowing the trees in a forest to exchange information, but now what had been merely an intellectual conceit was a vivid, felt reality of which I had become a part.

When the music turned more masculine or martial, as it now did, sons and then fathers filled my mental field. I watched a swiftly unfolding biopic of Isaac’s life to this point—his struggles as an exquisitely sensitive boy, and how those sensitivities had turned into strengths, making him who he is. I thought about things I needed to tell him—about the surging pride I felt as he embarked on his adult life and made his way in a new city and career, but also my fervent hope that he not harden himself in success or disown his vulnerabilities and his sweetness.

I felt something on my eyeshades and realized I had wet them with my tears.

I was already feeling wide open and undefended when it dawned on me that I wasn’t talking to Isaac, or not only to him, but to myself as well. Something hard and something soft: the paired terms kept turning over like a coin. The night before coming to Fritz’s place, I had spoken to two thousand people in a concert hall, tracked across a stage by a spotlight as I played the role of the man with the answers, the one people could depend on to explain things. This was much the same role I played in my family growing up, not only for my younger sisters, but, in times of crisis, for my parents too. (Even now, my sisters stubbornly refuse ever to accept from me the words “I don’t know.”) “So now look at me!” I thought, a smile blooming on my face: this grown man blindfolded and laid out on the floor of a psychedelic therapist’s yurt, chasing after my mind as it wandered heedlessly through the woods of my life, warm tears—of what? I didn’t know!—sliding down my cheeks.

This was unfamiliar territory for me and not at all where I expected to find myself on LSD. I hadn’t traveled very far from home. Instead of the demons and angels and various other entities I was expecting to meet, I was having a series of encounters with the people in my family. I visited each of them in turn, the music setting the tone, and the emotions came over me in great waves, whether of admiration (for my sisters and mother, whom I pictured seated around a horseshoe-shaped table—like the UN!—each of them representing a different ideal of feminine strength); gratitude; or compassion, especially for my father, a man both driven and pursued for much of his life, and someone whom before this moment I’d never before fully imagined as a son, and a son of ferociously demanding parents.

The flood tide of compassion overflowed its banks and leaked into some unexpected places, like my fourth-grade music class. Here I inexplicably encountered poor Mr. Roper, this earnest young man in a cheap suit who in spite of heroic efforts could not get us to give a shit about the sections of an orchestra he mapped on the board or the characters of the various instruments, no matter how many times he played Peter and the Wolf for us. As he paced the classroom in his excitement, we would wait in breathless suspense for him to step on one of the upturned thumbtacks we placed in his path, a thrill for which we were willing to risk staying after school in detention. But who was this Mr. Roper, really? Why couldn’t we see that behind the cartoon figure we tortured so mercilessly was, no doubt, a decent guy who wanted nothing more than to ignite in us his passion for music? The unthinking cruelty of children sent a quick shiver of shame through me. But then: What a surfeit of compassion I must be feeling, to spare that much for Mr. Roper!

And cresting over all these encounters came a cascading dam break of love, love for Judith and Isaac and everyone in my family, love even for my impossible grandmother and her long-suffering husband. The next day, during our integration session, Fritz read from his notes two things I apparently said aloud during this part of the journey: “I don’t want to be so stingy with my feelings.” And, “All this time spent worrying about my heart. What about all the other hearts in my life?”

It embarrasses me to write these words; they sound so thin, so banal. This is a failure of my language, no doubt, but perhaps it is not only that. Psychedelic experiences are notoriously hard to render in words; to try is necessarily to do violence to what has been seen and felt, which is in some fundamental way pre- or post-linguistic or, as students of mysticism say, ineffable. Emotions arrive in all their newborn nakedness, unprotected from the harsh light of scrutiny and, especially, the pitiless glare of irony. Platitudes that wouldn’t seem out of place on a Hallmark card glow with the force of revealed truth.

Love is everything.

Okay, but what else did you learn?

No—you must not have heard me: it’s everything!

Is a platitude so deeply felt still just a platitude? No, I decided. A platitude is precisely what is left of a truth after it has been drained of all emotion. To resaturate that dried husk with feeling is to see it again for what it is: the loveliest and most deeply rooted of truths, hidden in plain sight. A spiritual insight? Maybe so. Or at least that’s how it appeared in the middle of my journey. Psychedelics can make even the most cynical of us into fervent evangelists of the obvious.

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