Note: There are 2 footnotes in this installment.
The magic mushroom, psilocybin, opens our brains to an experience that is truly mind-expanding (psychedelic), and mind-altering. The part of the mushroom we consume is the fruiting body, but the mycelia of the mushroom is the expansive true body of the Soma  somewhat analogous to the fruiting of the mind, the literal brain, versus the (oceanic) mind. The whole of the mycelia, which extends beneath the entire forest is the "mind" of the magic mushroom, and when we take the mushroom, not only are we tapping into this ubiquitous connective intelligence of this super organism but the mushroom is teaching us to tap into the impersonal super-intelligence of our own expansiveness that is by nature transparent as opposed to reflective. Under the influence of the mushroom the bubble of subjectivity keeps expanding and thinning and eventually disintegrates like the opalescent soap-bubble blown by a child. It is like finding oneself in a dimension where the environment is sentient and responsive, not like in a cartoon, but where everything seems primed to reveal its portion of mystery and that portion is quantum, so you can start out anywhere and find yourself entering the whole of sacred space.
So, in other words, with the mushroom it is possible to lose the house of mirrors.
What I am describing here is based on decades of reading and two life-changing mushroom journeys that transpired about 5 years apart. In both of these journeys there was a threshold to cross, a period of adjustment as my ego struggled with adapting to the mushroom's reality, gradually letting go of its (the ego's) illusion of control, and, as it lost control, passing through places that it normally avoids. Shadow places. The trick is to trust the mushroom and not give in to fears that are ultimately self-generated. When we take the mushroom, like Alice in Wonderland, we have to pass through the looking glass! For me, it was my own mortality that became almost overwhelming. I was in the altered space of the mushroom's world, or rather, my mind was, but my body was having its own experience! I felt like a prisoner of my physicality. I felt every single one of my years, plus some, and had to force myself to walk. It would have been so easy to collapse into a heap. It was almost like my body had become a puppet I was manipulating, made of patched-together materials from an old attic. I have written about this in New Wasichu, Crossing, so I will just say that, in both of my journeys, the first stage was all threshold and mostly focused on my body. I was in the woods, on a familiar path, and I realized that how I felt about myself was going to be key to my experience because, as I said, the environment is exquisitely responsive while, at the same time, hauntingly aloof, coaxing one out of the house of mirrors by offering enticements of what lies beyond the self-referential universe. It was responding to my presence, my attitude, what I brought (my intention), so it behooved me to work through whatever was preventing me from being as fully present as possible as I journeyed deeper into this dimension of ubiquitous sentience. Eventually I was able to transition to the second stage, which was expansive and revelatory.
In that world, the mushroom's world, life, consciousness, soul, energy and even "hot" and "cold",are relatively meaningless terms. With the mushroom we are completely out of the left side of the brain and out of the realm of language and the realm of subject / object. Words like these are temporary bridges of meaning that help our brains transition through the spaces they have created for us. We know this. Every philosophy, for example, is like a house. Some have gardens, some have decks and flowers, with beautiful views, some are extensive complex structures with towers and great observatories, but direct experience of other realities is the only way to become fully human and the only way to do that, that I know of, is to approach consciousness as a dimension. Treating consciousness as a dimension means that we are owning it as a space (beyond language!) that we have no choice but to enter and explore, but in order to explore consciousness as a dimension, we must realize that any attempt to limit consciousness is artificial because, for all intents and purposes, the dimension of consciousness is infinite, like real space.
Realities are the realms of other forms of consciousness.
If consciousness is spatial and essentially infinite that doesn't mean that all realities are accessible to our particular form of consciousness. Some realities are beyond our ability to experience them possibly because we are not familiar with their archetypes. They might exist parallel to our conscious dimension (like the Aborigine's) and we will never know it. An even better example of a parallel reality is that of the whales. When we picture the ocean as a dark bottomless world that is a very subjective perspective. For the whale the ocean is every bit as interesting as our dry world but larger and it is not dark but illuminated by sound. (The sounds we are filling it with may be scrambling these exquisitely evolved minds in the deep .)
My father was a mathematician. One of his favorite books was Flatland , a novella whose enduring contribution is its examination of dimensions. There are one dimensional (dots), two-dimensional (lines and squares), and three-dimensional beings (cubes and spheres) all living in parallel spaces totally unaware of each other's existence. This is a good metaphor for how things really are in our universe, and we might as well accept it. Happily there are plenty of realities that can share the same dimension of consciousness. The reason for that is, consciousness is alterable and permeable to other forms of consciousness. It can shift, expand, and evolve.
As I have explained, ever since Peru and working with Ayahuasca in the rainforest, I have been getting better at recognizing spirits when they enter my dreams. I am beginning to get the hang of it, except only after the fact, when I am recalling the dream, writing it down. So far, my dream of the deer-riders (below) is the closest I have come to recognizing a spirit while I am dreaming, but I believe it is only a matter of time before I develop this ability, which would call for a high degree of lucidity. In the dream of the lonely road, I knew it wasn't a child sitting in front of me, next to the old man (the driver), but that was as far as I went because there was more going on in the dream that was demanding my attention. The trouble with this theory about the inability of spirits to assume a convincingly human form is, how would I know if they were able to mingle with us? (Malidoma Some' offers this explanation for why spirits are so elusive: "I perceived that we are often watched at close distance by spirits that we ourselves do not see, and that when we do see the otherworldly spirits, it is only after they have given us permission to see further - and only after they have made some adjustment in themselves to present themselves to us in ways that preserve their integrity." (The Healing Wisdom of Africa) In the following dream, I meet some deer-riders and my curiosity prompts me to become more proactive.
The dream of the deer-riders:
I am in the woods. There are these people who ride deer like horses with saddles, and they seem to have adapted to a forest-culture, and wear interesting rustic clothes. One has ridden close. After my initial surprise I wonder if their weight is too much for the deer (albeit the deer seems happy). I run my hand over the saddle and the saddle pad and it is of a light material. Also I note they were smaller than I thought, more in scale to the deer.
In the following dream I dimly sense that there is something not quite right about the vendors but instead of exploring that intuition, I fall back on attributing their strangeness to their being foreigners, specifically Italian: