A brief account of how this all began for me.
By Burt Shonberg
With Ledru Shoopman Baker III
Copyright © 2009 BurtShonberg.com – All Rights Reserved
In the year 1957, in Los Angeles, California, I had my first dramatic experiences beyond the limits of so- called ordinary, everyday consciousness. This was not induced by any chemical means or yogic-type efforts on my part it came by itself and took me by surprise. Every day, for seven years straight, I was hit by a number of widely-separated, momentary blasts of unexpected light.
These initial experiences (of being unexpectedly and mysteriously shanghaied out of moving time and into The Eternal now were of such a nature that I saw all the usual, generally accepted notions of what this world is all about as being sheer imagination. Also, the quality of these experiences was such that I knew that what I was seeing, strange and shocking as it was, was unquestionably true. At that time I had been wholly unprepared for this robbery of my dream state and so my initial reaction to this experience was stark terror.
During these first awesome unveilings of where we are and ìhow it is, I witnessed the undeniable truth of our situation in ordinary worldly life and this was so frightfully staggering that I no longer had any choice in my life concerning what to be serious about. I knew I had to experience that Great Light again, somehow, but also I knew I had to be able to withstand the great shock of full Consciousness. It was at this time that I actively began to search for A Way. Since this time, via various methods, I have experienced a considerable number of altered states of consciousness. Among the methods employed to accomplish this was the use of what are termed psychedelic (mind-manifesting) substances. In 1960 I worked with a research project under the direction of a Los Angeles psychiatrist, Dr. Oscar Janiger, who was studying the effects of LSD-25 on the creative process. My participation in the project was that I had to do paintings under the influence of LSD-25.
I came to realize that the significance of art resulting from the psychedelic experience could possibly reach to actual magic and beyond. Also, very interesting discoveries might be communicated through art by capable creative minds that are familiar with the experience and these discoveries could come through any existing form of art.
There are, of course, certain things that one experiences in the trancendental state that are not possible to communicate in the usual way, so new types of parables would have to be created to get the message through. These discoveries I refer to could be insights or revelations into various aspects of the world we live in, nature, the mind itself, time, the universe, reality and God.
1. Springtime, 1960 Los Angeles, California
In a room especially designed for this experience, adjoining the offices of Dr. Oscar Janiger. I sat quietly but with joyous anticipation as The Experience began to come on.
A kind of noise inside of myself (closely resembling the frantic
sounds of a hundred different radio and TV sets being played at a
low volume) was suddenly shut off. Only when all that noise
stopped did I know there was any noise.
The mechanical monster left me. I was free.
Off in the distance, I could hear the coming of a great quiet. A large ring of flickering ember-colored fire-light revolved continuously about
the ceiling as animated ancient hieroglyphs flashed off and on across the floor. The on-rushing sea of quiet got thicker, louder, closer.
The room demanded my attention. The floor came forth and dramatically announced itself by making me fully conscious of my relationship to it. The walls made themselves known and I became conscious of that which was outside of the room in every direction.
The ceiling could not stop the sky from coming in and the ground rose up through the floor.
The walls, struck by a silent blast of light, became incapable of protecting the room from the outside. There was no such thing as inside any more.
Now, I was outside . . .
Outside the day of the week . . .
The year . . .
Outside of moving time . . .
I was not in The City. There was no city. I was not in The World. There was no world. I was right where I was, at that location, on the outer surface of the earth. I knew exactly where I was. I could see it. I was Here In Existence,
and fully conscious of it.
2. Los Angeles, California – Outdoors
Walking along a main boulevard. The wall-to-wall asphalt and
cement carpeting and the tall stone and iron buildings did not prevent my being conscious of . .
. . . the planetary aspect of this
The illusion of the all-pervading city was shattered and I saw not only the city, but also where it was located on the earth.
I experienced seeing these two major features of my environment simultaneously.