Friday, November 24, 2017

#328 / Look On The Sun

Look on the rising sun: there God does live  
And gives his light, and gives his heat away. 
And we are put on earth a little space, 
That we may learn to bear the beams of love.  

          - William Blake

This little fragment of William Blake's poem (a selected fragment) was sent to friends, as part of our wedding invitation, when my wife and I were married in the Palo Alto Friends Meetinghouse, in 1969. That was a long time ago; we have now been married forty-eight years and counting.

Quite recently, I was introduced to The Sun Magazine. I certainly encourage those who are reading this blog posting to become acquainted, too. In the November 2017 issue, The Sun published an article by Mark Leviton, who wrote about "William Richards On The Transformative Potential Of Psychedelics."

Richards, who is a psychologist at the John Hopkins Bayview Medical Center, reports that visions of the transcendent nature of consciousness and reality are reliably produced by the use of psilocybin, which Richards has given to hundreds of patients who suffer from anxiety, depression, nicotine addiction, and other ailments, as well as to healthy volunteers who are interested in personal or spiritual growth.

The kind of visions produced by psilocybin, according to the article, are the same kind of visions that Blake wrote about in his poetry and that he depicted in his pictures. In short, Richards reports, speaking here of his personal experience: 

It was as if universal truth had been revealed. It’s difficult to separate what was intrinsic to the experience in the moment and what I put together while reflecting on it in retrospect, but it involved what we call “mystical consciousness” — a sense of the interrelatedness of all life and humanity. 
We can also receive insights into the relativity of time and space and perhaps the mysteries of matter. The energy that makes up the spiritual world is somehow eternal, existing outside of time. All the major world religions have said that there is such a thing as immortality or consciousness outside of time. 
Maybe the most profound insight of mystical consciousness is the sense that love is an energy, and not just a human energy. As Dante writes at the conclusion of The Divine Comedy, it is love that “moves the sun and other stars.”

I have never taken any psychedelic drug, but I have read Blake. I keep reading about modern physics, too, to see if the scientists ever come up with a "scientific proof" that things are just as Richards describes them, and as Blake depicted them. I think Richards and Blake are right about the nature of the reality into which we have so mysteriously been born.

Image Credits:
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(2) - 

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