"Psychedelic." From the Greek "dēlos," meaning "clear" or "manifest," and the term "psyche," "psychedelic" means "mind manifesting." Although it's a word that commonly summons thoughts of hallucinations and lava lamps, or maybe Pink Floyd's "Dark Side of the Moon," there's a far more fundamental meaning to it than that.
All sensory information is perceived by benefit of our five senses. This world we experience is little more than various undistinguished sensum sorted by our perceptions, made manifest by our mind. Without a mind to manifest it, after all, there could hardly be said to be a world — if a tree falls in a forest and no one is around to hear it, does it, indeed, make a sound? Perhaps the better question is whether or not there was a tree standing in the first place.
Because we, like all creatures, are so in the thrall of our various sense organs, we tend to take things in a very literal way: we feel that the world around us is solid and static, and do not take much time to question its nature. Worse, if we do, we are oft disturbed by the feeling of unreality — while there are those who rejoice in the moments when we realize with uncanny clarity the dreamlike nature of life, there are still others who find the mere implication that reality is not quite so material to be deeply offensive.
These individuals, however, would find with some reflection that this fact changes nothing; it only opens the way to greater success and happiness in our lives, opening us to the reality of things — that is, that the Kingdom of Heaven, Nirvana, or whatever one would care to call it, is the very essence of reality, and we need only choose to experience it.
As the tree is manifested from the seed, so too is our greatest potential manifested from our current selves. This, as all things, is done with the power of the mind. We live in an observer-controlled universe, with brains which operate under the effect of confirmation bias. Everything we believe to be true is true from our individual frame of reference, from our individual ego-consciousness, because our brains will seek out those facts which validate our worldview, and discredit those which run counter to it.
When the universe seems to us cruel and harsh, we are making the decision to see only its coldest edges, when in reality it is as simple as making the choice to see its other side. When we see in the actions of others something which distresses us, which violates our moral sensibility and sense of decency, we would do well to stop and contemplate their perspective end-to-end, and to understand that all things are relative.
Love is the only true manner in which to interact with one's fellow man, and love is the purest lens through which to view the world, for when one realizes the implications inherent in the fact that reality is a psychedelic experience — made manifest in our minds by our senses — one sees that the heart of one's fellow man is the very same which also lurks within one's own breast.
One also sees what intense power one has over oneself, and that, indeed, the idea of the "self" is a woefully insubstantial thing, capable of great change with only a single stimulus required, whether that be some great life event, loss, achievement, or something as simple as the decision to start making one's bed in the morning. Though reality is a psychedelic experience, the ego is truly the ultimate psychedelic manifestation — the one and only, truest hallucination!
We never have anyone to disappoint but ourselves, in the end. Though we should always treat one another with kindness and compassion, one must remember that one ultimately has to account to oneself for one's actions, one's decisions, and one's perceptions. We have each within us the God who judges and the God who loves. We have every choice on how we view this mind manifesting experience of ours, have every potential of a bad trip, or a good one — it is entirely up to the power of the mind.
New Ashland resident M.F. Sullivan has published "Delilah, My Woman" (Painted Blind Publishing, available through Amazon.com) and is presently hard at work on another novel, set to be considerably more cheerful.