What is The Body?

<p id="what-body">What is The Body?</p>

If I Am Not This Body Then … ?

When I first encountered the swirling and chaotic psilocybin-fueled visuals and thoughts of my awakening, I tried to reorient myself by holding specific questions and concepts in my mind. (I should mention, for those unfamiliar with ‘tripping’ on mushrooms, that psilocybin doesn’t remove the ability to think about or be aware of what you’re doing.) One of the images I repeatedly visualized was of the duality of ‘the light’ and ‘the dark’, in all its manifestations; good and evil, right and wrong, love and fear. I would hold this image in my mind and wonder, ‘Why is there both light and dark? Must there always be both? What is the purpose of the dark?‘ I was under the influence of a pretty heavy post-election malaise and was hoping these questions would prompt the mushrooms to deliver some insight about a future that felt heavy with bad news.

Each time I held these ‘light/dark’ thoughts in my mind, into my mind’s eye (I had my eyes closed) would come an image like the one above – light ‘bleeding’ into dark. Only the picture was always moving, as if the light had an energy that was searching, reaching into the dark. When later sketching the image into my journal, I was reminded of similar images from high school biology films that showed, in real time, white blood cells moving through the body’s tissues, constantly reaching out, probing, touching, exploring, looking; I was riveted by the images (I’m still sure those films weighed heavily in my decision to study microbiology in college).

Now, you’ll notice that nowhere in this image, animated or not, are there actual answers to any of the actual questions I was focusing on during the trip. It was more like … specific question, non-specific image … different specific question, same non-specific image. At one point I even got a bit frustrated at just seeing the same image over and over without gaining any understanding (or so I thought) and very purposefully thought, ‘Fine! I was done asking that question anyway!’ And yet, even after experiencing all the incredible visions and perceptions that followed, this light/dark image remained vivid in my mind and was one of the first things I wrote down afterwards, largely just to get it out of my head. And over the following months, a passing comment by some teacher or other would briefly bring the image to mind but the memory never brought insight – until now.

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