Experiencing Reality


Most every spiritual system, be it institutionalized religion or various strains of spiritual practice that have survived the millennium in one form or another, all of them say something about the nature of reality itself.

The assumption being that we turn towards religion or spirituality because we have just finally said, “jesus, I just don’t know what’s going on any more and I’m not going to lie about it to myself any longer.”  Yes, pun intended.

Anyhoo, as my ma used to say.

I think the idea of heaven or paradise has something to do with the nature of reality in the suggestion that if we fully experienced existence, without our various original sins of ignorance, hubris, and just plain cluelessness, we’d all be happy as clams.

Without any change at all in circumstances, we could feel that this very moment is just great.  If only … we experienced the nature of reality!

My mother was an uneducated woman, born in the old country in 1916, came over to the States and grew up in the midwest, married, had children.

She could add long columns of numbers in her head and ended up the Treasurer of any club she joined … the Sisterhood at our synagogue, and her Homemaker’s Club, which lasted for over 50 years.

She and I would fight like wildcats when intellectualizing was concerned.  On the one hand, Ma revered learning, in the traditional Jewish sense of her time and place.  She did not, however, revere pontificating.

As that was my first religion, I had something to say about that!  Ha!

I would rant, half-assedly trying to repeat the conversations my Pa and brothers would have on all sorts of things, but mostly the love of argument and sharpening of the mind.

My ma and sisters would taunt them if they got too rude, not being interested in that kind of thing if it was going to get broigus.

Long story short.

When I got older and pontification was just a brief memory of my idolatry, hee, I just relaxed and spoke with Ma and used my own words.  It took so long for that to happen.

She beamed at me.  It was over the phone, me in NYC and she in Milwaukee.  But she beamed at me, I felt it.  Won’t ever forget it either.

She was uneducated by the standards of our society.  I found out in her later years that she had no interest in learning anything worthless.  Only the best would do.  I found out that she had been taught by Pa’s father, who was considered in our family lore to have been not entirely stupid, and a rabbi who refused to be a rabbi in the US, becoming instead a shoemaker.

We cannot hang on to the past, but we can gratefully use the gifts we inherited from those times.  And, no doubt, we are shaping gifts right now to give anyone who needs them, down the road.

It’s a continuity, that’s for sure.  My mother died on November 29, 1992.  I can access what she gave me any time I like.  Well that sounds geeky, but so what.  I can also access someone like Rabbi Hillel, who lived thousands of years before I was born but was one of my first real friends when I was a little girl.  There is no time and space when it comes to the transmission of love and wisdom.

So we got that going for us.  Continuity.


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  1. … that requires new perceptions.

    But at the same time, others have been here before us.

    To cherish the gift of tradition without being oppressed by its authority is a good idea.

    After my intellectual period, I acquired a new religion.  Party!

    • Edger on December 1, 2010 at 04:08

       Of greatest significance to me has been the insight that I attained as a fundamental understanding from all of my LSD experiments: what one commonly takes as “the reality,” including the reality of one’s own individual person, by no means signifies something fixed, but rather something that is ambiguous-that there is not only one, but that there are many realities, each comprising also a different consciousness of the ego.

       One can also arrive at this insight through scientific reflections. The problem of reality is and has been from time immemorial a central concern of philosophy. It is, however, a fundamental distinction, whether one approaches the problem of reality rationally, with the logical methods of philosophy, or if one obtrudes upon this problem emotionally, through an existential experience. The first planned LSD experiment was therefore so deeply moving and alarming, because everyday reality and the ego experiencing it, which I had until then considered to be the only reality, dissolved, and an unfamiliar ego experienced another, unfamiliar reality. The problem concerning the innermost self also appeared, which, itself unmoved, was able to record these external and internal transformations.

       Reality is inconceivable without an experiencing subject, without an ego. It is the product of the exterior world, of the sender and of a receiver, an ego in whose deepest self the emanations of the exterior world, registered by the antennae of the sense organs, become conscious. If one of the two is lacking, no reality happens, no radio music plays, the picture screen remains blank.

       If one continues with the conception of reality as a product of sender and receiver, then the entry of another reality under the influence of LSD may be explained by the fact that the brain, the seat of the receiver, becomes biochemically altered. The receiver is thereby tuned into another wavelength than that corresponding to normal, everyday reality. Since the endless variety and diversity of the universe correspond to infinitely many different wavelengths, depending on the adjustment of the receiver, many different realities, including the respective ego, can become conscious. These different realities, more correctly designated as different aspects of the reality, are not mutually exclusive but are complementary, and form together a portion of the all-encompassing, timeless, transcendental reality, in which even the unimpeachable core of self-consciousness, which has the power to record the different egos, is located.

       The true importance of LSD and related hallucinogens lies in their capacity to shift the wavelength setting of the receiving “self,” and thereby to evoke alterations in reality consciousness. This ability to allow different, new pictures of reality to arise, this truly cosmogonic power, makes the cultish worship of hallucinogenic plants as sacred drugs understandable.

       What constitutes the essential, characteristic difference between everyday reality and the world picture experienced in LSD inebriation? Ego and the outer world are separated in the normal condition of consciousness, in everyday reality; one stands face-to-face with the outer world; it has become an object. In the LSD state the boundaries between the experiencing self and the outer world more or less disappear, depending on the depth of the inebriation. Feedback between receiver and sender takes place. A portion of the self overflows into the outer world, into objects, which begin to live, to have another, a deeper meaning. This can be perceived as a blessed, or as a demonic transformation imbued with terror, proceeding to a loss of the trusted ego. In an auspicious case, the new ego feels blissfully united with the objects of the outer world and consequently also with its fellow beings. This experience of deep oneness with the exterior world can even intensify to a feeling of the self being one with the universe. This condition of cosmic consciousness, which under favorable conditions can be evoked by LSD or by another hallucinogen from the group of Mexican sacred drugs, is analogous to spontaneous religious enlightenment, with the unio mystica. In both conditions, which often last only for a timeless moment, a reality is experienced that exposes a gleam of the transcendental reality, in which universe and self, sender and receiver, are one….


  2. so nice to have something that attempts to add perspective.

    And, no doubt, we are shaping gifts right now to give anyone who needs them, down the road.

    shaping gifts… yes…! well Id have more to say on all this but Im being called away to shape some gifts in my living room right now…lol… something to do with Algebra homework …. boy I just gave my daughter a lecture that was worthy of oh I dont know what. heh. Its this dealing with the day to day mundanity, the little stumbling blocks and challenges that always seem to demand immediate attention. If I can at least manage to do something … right, something with a higher level of spirit when addressing the mundane, well, thats something, no?

  3. Strange, isn’t it?  How we once conceived ourselves to be soooo knowing and, yet, unknowing.  I’m glad you had your mother and her “ways” — her convictions — all of which ultimately penetrated your being, apparently!  What a happy “translation.”  

    Of course, all mothers seem to leave us with something profound, one way or another!  One of my mother’s thoughts has lived within me forever!

    “Your friends may excuse you, your family may excuse you, but life excuses nothing!”  Haunting words, I tell you!  But, in the context of life, as we “continue” — more and more, I understand how truly correct she was!

    Thanks, NPK!

    • Xanthe on December 1, 2010 at 11:41

    Feeling your mom’s beam over the ‘phone – fine imagery.

    Is there anything new under the sun?

    Well, there is this thing called virtual community – so maybe that is a new thing.

    Tradition is indeed a gift to be cherished – do not underestimate the pull of tradition and family in the practice of traditional religion.

    One of my hallmarks in friendship is often this comment:  We knew each other mothers.

    Thank you –

  4. I can’t help but to throw this in — yeh, it’s off and it’s on!

    You know doncha’ that I hail from the surrounds of Second City, do you not?  

    Anyway, I couldn’t resist on this:

    Adam Sandler is a nut!

    (The original!)

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