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Out of Mind - Out of Body
Do you believe in a such thing as an out of body experience?
Prior to an early spring evening, March 11, 1994, the idea of an out of
body experience wouldn't have occupied any thinking space in my mind --
yet, I was on the unforgettable eve of an experience that changed the
landscape of my life, from that point on. Some could say it was an
awakening, others might think insanity, or even a spiritual intervention -
but whatever the case, my life was forever changed as a result of the chain
of events that transpired on that special night the Earth was thawing as
the rebirth of spring took Royal Oak, Mi away from the icy grips of winter.
Out Of Body:
To give you, the reader a brief summary of background on myself, for no
other reason than perspective; that was a point in my life where the
conscious focus of my existence was not centered around truth or what some
might think of as spirituality. I was a Senior in High School who was one
week away from wrestling in the "All-State" championship tournament. Even
though I didn't think of myself as an athlete, the state finals was a stage
for the top 16 wrestlers in the state to compete for the honors of first
place. Despite being the first person in 10 years to qualify for the
tournament for my school, there were other conflicting interests vying for
the focus of my mind.
At that stage in my life, a time where a cloud of general discontentment
haunted my existence, using substances and getting high took presidence
over just about anything else. My family, on certain levels, was utterly
disappointing. School, besides wrestling, was a complete waste of time,
energy and effort. Overall, the world, as I knew it, was disappointing in
many ways. At 18, I walked though life with a horrible void that drugs,
somehow, helped give the illusion of being filled. When the wretched
obligations and horrible duties of a normal day were fulfilled, I could
connect with friends and get high. Only then, was there laughter shared
only by those who I thought truly understood me. I able to push the limits
and walk on the edge. I able to escape from the heavy burden I was
convinced that life shat on my shoulders...
In retrospect, in the midst of a storm that started long ago, there was
still fragments of truth in the midst of the convenient lie I was
attempting to convince myself was true, through the use of substances,
which became more apparent after my out of body experience.
...on the brink of an out of body experience:
That's my recollection of where I was, in mind, on March 11, 1994 before I
took just under 2 doses of LSD that were to transport me to a place I had
never been in this life. However, before I go on recollecting the events
that tore aware the illusion of reality as I knew it that night, I feel a
certain obligation to expand on LSD -- especially to those of you reading
this who haven't had firsthand experience with psychedelics or
That night wasn't the first, nor the last time I had experiences with LSD,
and/or various other "doorway" substances and medicines. It was however,
the only time the reality I once held onto so tightly, so uncontrollably
unraveled to the extent of revealing another world...
One door closes, another opens...
All through wrestling practice, I was eagerly anticipating what the night
might have in store for me. I small group of friends were getting
together, staying the night at one of the first of our group to "move out"
on his own - and we were going to be whiggin balls (slang for taking LSD, a
term coined on a previous acid experience) that night. I was so excited
about what was to come that I decided to start the night before the night
started, breaking off a small corner of the blotter paper containing LSD
and ingesting it before wrestling practice began.
My coaches were making a big fuss about state finals doling out their fair
share of "tough love" as a demonstration of their approval that one of
their own, qualified for the biggest high school level competitions, yet my
mind was elsewhere. I didn't want to be at practice. I didn't want it to
be daylight any longer. I didn't even want to have to go through the
rigmarole of going home, showering and preparing for the night -- I just
wanted it to be the night and I just wanted to have fun. Little did I
Usually LSD takes about 2 hours to begin to take effect. A short 20
minutes after taking our doses (which my friends wisely took a lower dose
than I took) the unmistakable fingers of LSD were taking hold of my
reality. Somewhere, inside, I knew I was in for quite a night -- I just
had no idea exactly how deep I was gonna go...
It was about 40 minutes into the experience that we (group of 4) decided to
take a walk in the neighborhood. There was still plenty of snow on the
ground, but the temperature was just above 36 and the sound of snow melting
and water dripping seemed to be just about all that I ears picked up. It
was as if I felt the cycle of spring in it's beginning stages in an
intimate way I hadn't before.
Our friend who was hosting us in his one bedroom basement apartment that
evening had done something most 17 and 18 year olds don't do. He abandoned
what he never had of a traditional suburban life, purchased an old van and
went touring with a band many of us are familiar with -- The Grateful Dead.
On our walk he was talking about his experience with his travels and the
band, combined with reuniting with "old" friends, perhaps even reference to
our present state. "What a long strange trip it's been."
Somehow, that phrase struck a chord. Thoughts, feelings and a sudden
awareness of a curiosity I never consciously knew I carried with me until
that point flashed to the forefront of my awareness. Who was I and why was
I here? Once that underlying curiosity seeded itself in the forefront of
my mind, everything I saw with my eyes became strange with a veneer of
oddity and un-homliness that words cannot quite seem to appropriately
describe. The three friends I was with seemed to take on more of an
"energetic imprint" (for lack of better terms) than the personalities I was
used to. The words they spoke made less sense and the feel, will and state
of being they were in became louder and more pronounced.
Despite the beauty I had never realized on our walk -- the Earth thawing
out, paving way for new life, spring and a new summer, I, we, somehow knew
it was time to head home. At that point, I realized, despite my knowledge
and familiarity with the neighborhood we were in, I had no idea where we
were. Left on my own, at that point, I have never made it "home." Every
step seemed to take me further and further from the reality I had once
known and believed to be truth. When we arrived back at the house, I had
the first surreal experience of a series of events that would eventually
take me out of mind and in turn, out of body...
Out of mind -- The Car...
Given my hazy state of affairs, under no circumstances, should I have even
had the inclination to go for a scenic drive, yet somehow, the sight of my
car gave me the brilliant (not really) idea that a drive around town, with
my friends would be a great way to take in the sights - as well as proving
to myself that this world, along with my state of being was no different
the usual norm where people can drive cars and go about doing what they do
in life. Being as such, I unlocked my door and got behind the wheel.
Closing the door and buckling my seat belt, I felt the only thing left to
do was get my friends in (I would need help navigating, that much I knew)
and go for a drive.
My friends, on the other hand, had the common sense to understand that
going for a drive was a bad idea. I felt them looking at me. It was
almost as if I wanted to avoid going into the basement of the house as
somehow I knew some unknown destiny awaited me, yet I had little to no
other options available to me. At that point I started communicating with
those outside the car. I was telling them to get in and there was nothing
to worry about. They were telling me to get out of the car and there was
no way they were going on a drive with me. Plainly they were telling me no
and that I was crazy. I was doing my best to convince them otherwise,
despite understanding the brevity of the situation. A trait indicative to
my "warped" sense of humor at the time - I knew the car ride was a joke I
was trying in vain get them to believe in.
At that stage, obviously, I was consciously aware that I had taken a
powerful psychedelic. I knew that driving was not going to happen. I just
wanted to have a bit of fun and I realized how silly I was being. The
thought of trying to convince my friends to take a drive with me, for
nothing else than a good laugh was all I wanted. It worked. We were all
laughing at the dialog that had transpired in the 60-90 second time-frame.
That seemed normal enough to remind me I was human...until I realized the
windows were up and none of us had even uttered one word with our mouths.
I was hearing them in my head - and I was not moving my lips to communicate
Before you go dismissing this as out of mind, out of body in a crazy way,
before I get to the experience, know this:
If you've ever experienced psychedelics, then chances are, you
understand that during the experience -- you have the conscious
understanding that you took something and for the most part, observation is
the only real option you have until the experience passes. For example,
based on prior firsthand experience, you can be laying flat on your back,
oblivious to outside temperature, watching as clouds turn into eagles
before your eyes, observing clusters of grass turn into faces -- and yet,
have full awareness that you're on psychedelics. That had always been my
experience, (with various differing types of psychedelics) and based on
others who have also experienced recreational and medicinal psychedelics,
the general consensus is that despite an altered perception of that which
we call reality, or normal -- you still know that you took something. What
I'm about to explain, the part of the experience I consider out of mind,
out of body -- is something that took me beyond conscious awareness having
a mind, having a personality, having a body and being in the same area
where the body I reside in that takes up space, occupies.
Into the basement, across a threshold:
After my tryst with being silly in the car, and speaking without the use of
words, for the first time, it was time to go inside and enjoy the rest of
the trip. That's where things started to become foggy for me. Once inside
my critical thinking abilities became less and inherently perceived
symbolism of everything around me became more real and more intense. My
body felt so physically strange, awash with feelings I had never
experienced -- I became irritated. Breathing felt strange. I felt grimy
in ways I had never felt before. The lighting in the room was
uncomfortable and everything about the people around me became a consistent
source of irritation. At that point, I'm not certain if I was able to
communicate or not, but thought and physical sensation were becoming
overwhelming and I got up to walk around. I felt constricted and
constrained in just about every way imaginable -- and to top that off I
felt my best friend was against me in just about every way due to his
(unconscious) resistance to change and grow on a level some would consider
to be spiritual.
I felt as thought there were tacks in my body that I couldn't remove. One
in my penis and one in my heart. With every breath I took my lungs burned
even more - and I had very little conscious connection with my physical
body. I so vividly remember looking at a Gary Larson calendar (the kind
where you tear away a page every day) with an illustration of a kid in a
classroom with his hand up wanting to ask the teacher a question. Once I
saw that I had in my own mind "The big question" - even though I had no
idea what that meant.
Becoming more unaware of the way "this" world works I was primarily focused
on the absolute terror that was unfolding withing. I somehow felt as
though I was being punished for something. I had definitely crossed a
threshold into a world I had not entered into before and I was only
remotely aware of anything outside of myself. Even though I was breathing,
every breath felt more constricted and eventually, I felt I could no longer
breath at all. The tacks in my penis and heart became increasing
uncomfortable, internally visions of all sorts of distorted colors that
only served to trap me further took over and just about every uncomfortable
sensation I had never imagined took hold of my mind. Time somehow ceased
to exist and the wretched idea that I was banished to stay in this
previously unfathomable existence for an equal amount of time that my body
had been on this planet entered mind somehow (the term "my" in reference to
mind was purposely omitted) - and the irritation about that idea is that
even a microsecond may have well as been an eternity all by itself.
I'm not certain, but I think that was the point my physical body became
went on autopilot and chaos ensued. What I'm about to explain is
something, to this day, I have absolutely no recollection of, as it was
time I consider to be "lost" or completely unaccounted for. My physical
body, in what I consider to be my guestimation of the situation, rebelled
against the unfathomable "hell" I was "destined to stay trapped" in.
Apparently, with my bare hands, I broke a portion of the kitchen counter in
half, tore live electrical wires our of the wall, tore a sock off and
ripped my outer short off. As my friends attempted to restrain me, I
applied a choke that could have done some serious damage and by the grace
of a power greater than myself, nobody was hurt.
As suddenly as the hell took over that trapped me in its deceptive grips, I
was aware of myself (sort Out Of Bodyof) again. This time I was absolutely
devastated about some things I had done in the past that I held tightly
onto, feeling guilty and worthless about, years after the fact. As I
screamed "No" over and over again, punching holes in the wall in front of
me (physically feeling nothing) I heard my father's voice telling me to
stop. Even thinking about it now, there is not a separation of time
between here, now, and the event. It was that powerful. Anyways, the same
friend who attempted to restrain me before was telling me to stop, but in
my mind, it wasn't him. My father's image (energetic imprint) was so vivid
I could have sworn he was right there, witnessing the whole thing as it
unfolded. There was more screaming on my part then...nothing.
Only awareness. I was no longer in my mind, I was definitely out of my
body and the place I was, was nowhere even remotely close to where, who,
what or how I was. With memory so vivid, so real, I could never forget...
I was in a town and it was dark. People were everywhere in the streets,
celebrating unlike anything I've ever seen before. They were holding each
other, crying on each others shoulders and being more joyful that I had
ever experienced in my life inside this body. Nobody had the need to speak
using their mount, yet I could make out a message, clear as a bell. A
symbol, similar to Olympic colors entered "mind" as I witnessed. The I
understood what was happening. The people I saw were from all the nations
in this world, apologizing and absolutely forgiving each other for anything
and everything that people have done to other people with malice and
Although this was the most joyous celebration I had ever bore witness,
another understanding came through. Something of great magnitude took us
to the place where this was possible. How many lives need to be lost on
violent terms for us to wake up and realize we're all in this together?
The place where I visited presented the daft message that something extreme
was to happen, in order for that to take place. Then it was over.
I felt peace. I opened my eyes and I was, once again, laying in a room. I
had the idea that somehow I had done something "bad" - yet I had no idea
what. Where I was seemed so foreign, yet so familiar at the same time. I
closed my eyes in an attempt to go back to where I was before, but is was
useless. All I heard was the tones of a guitar played by none other than
the late Jimmy Hendricks playing a comforting tune in the other room. All
the pain was gone. Everything heavy was lifted. No longer was there a pin
in my penis and heart that could not be removed.
Eventually I felt I needed to move. As I walked into the other room I was
greeted by three people, whom seemed somehow awfully familiar, looking at
me with a puzzling intensity. They seemed so familiar, yet I had no clue
who they were. It was all very confusing to me. At that point, I still
didn't even know myself. I didn't realize that I had a name and identity
that I was supposed to go through life with. They offered me a toke of
weed through a three foot water bong, and after I had that my lungs burned,
so unconsciously, I spit on the floor. My closest friend told me "that's
not cool" and reality started coming back. I remembered who these people
were. I remembered who I was. I remembered where I was and I knew that I
had taken LSD earlier that night. At that point, all I wanted was to go
home and be by myself, somewhere comfortable. The trip was completely done
and there were no aftereffects whatsoever. It was only two hours later,
after we had ingested our "trip." Typically, LSD lasts 8-12 hours and
slowly wanes away. Two hours later, I was done. Completely.
A painful door opened that night -- Aftermath...
The next morning, my car didn't start. I had to call my dad to pick us up
and a tow truck as well. I was convinced, that by his irritated demeanor,
he somehow knew what went on the previous night. Then, for me, life was
somehow different. I started wondering about the point when the harmonious
birth and death ratio of humans became offset by a greater number of births
than deaths. I wondered, at what point to we run out of the natural
resources we seem to have so little regard for - and what happens when we
do? Ever since that night, the looming idea that we cannot go on for much
longer had plagued me at times. One thing I forgot to mention that has
entered my mind now, when I went to that space where we were all forgiving
each other, I somehow had the knowledge that at that point, March 11 1994,
we had already done too much to turn back. We had already gone too far and
it was inevitable that something was going to happen. Even thinking about
garbage, and where is it supposed to go, brings that inevitability to the
forefront of my mind.
Life, in many ways, after that experience was even more depressing, flat
and meaningless than before. I couldn't understand how everyone couldn't
see, feel and know that something so big was to happen in our lifetime.
They must be completely blind was my general consensus, and how depressing
it was to be stuck, here with a world of blind, deaf and mute.
I felt no sense of purpose, and after graduating High School - and despite
having a scholarship to college, I went to work. This only depressed me
more, as I felt most of us were just numbing who we really are, caught up
in pretending to be whom we're not. I'll spare you the play by play, but
it took years to understand what happened that night - as well as getting
past the internal sadness I so long held onto. Only after connecting with
others who had experiences similar to mine, in death, did I decide to step
out of a state of fear and into living here, on Earth now.
Meditation and lots of introspection have helped me come to terms with the
world as I know it and let go of a deeply seeded desire to numb myself
through substance abuse. I really don't talk about this experience too
much, as I find it to be largely too much for your "average" American to
stomach without shutting down, trying to place it - or calling it an effect
of the psychedelic and nothing more. That's fine. I have come to terms
with that and much more. No matter what your facing -- I believe the
question, "Who am I, and why am I here?" can shed enlightening light on our
current situation. In truth and understanding,
About the author:
Paul Bunting is an avid practitioner of Yogic Arts, Introspective techniques and writer. http://www.paulbunting.net