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Taking my brain off-line

“Everybody everywhere , has his own movie going, his own scenario, and everybody is acting his movie out like mad, only most people don’t know that is what they’re trapped by, their little script.” –Tom Wolfe
You probably heard. The writer Tom Wolfe died a couple days ago. His 1968 book, The Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test, chronicled the experiences of Ken Kesey and his Merry Pranksters who traveled the country in a colorful school bus as they hosted parties involving LSD-laced Kool-Aid.

The idea was to achieve a different consciousness, an accomplishment ACIM Lesson 136 says will eventually happen when we take our brains off-line.

While our thoughts are on-line, we make up a story. Our brains produce images exactly .17 seconds behind light so even when ‘living in the moment’ we’re .17 seconds behind. This story always involves an identity, a separate ego and a body that, by its very nature, involves suffering. At best, it doesn’t suffer, but eventually dies.

In this lesson, I learn that none of it is really true. I learn that there’s a bigger thing going on, a bigger thing whose only purpose is to give me happiness.

Michael Pollan’s new book, How to Change Your Mind: What the Science of Psychedelics Teaches Us About Consciousness, Dying, Addiction, Depression, and Transcendence confirms this lesson.

It details the astounding results of ongoing experiments with psychedelics at Johns Hopkins Medical Center, NYU, UCLA and another academic research institute in London.

I guess I should clarify. Experiments with psychedelics are going on pretty much everywhere, but the ones Pollan writes about are highly-controlled, completely safe research experiments that are blowing old stories out of the water, proving that once the mind goes off-line, amazing things can’t help but happen.

Test subjects, in fact, claim that time spent shutting down the judgy, egoic part of the mind is among the top 5 experiences of their life, right up there with the birth of a child.

One participant described it like this. “No sensation, no image of beauty, nothing during my time on earth has felt as pure and joyful and glorious as the height of this journey.”

So this is what the Course promises.

It’s the truth we cover up with that part of our brain that likes to make up stories. We do this, the Courses says, to hide reality, to keep the truth from being whole. These stories seem to be unconscious, beyond our control. But they’re not.

So we pretend not to remember. This lesson assures us that this joyful, glorious truth is still there despite our pitiful and futile attempts to alter it with our defenses and ridiculous complaints.

It’s not even a question of whether or not we’ll get beyond the story. To quote the Course directly, “What is unalterable cannot change.”

Some of us “wake up” just like that– Eckhart Tolle, for example, or a large percentage of the participants in the studies Pollan details in his book.

Others of us decide to stall, holding on tightly to the mistaken notion that we are nothing but our bodies.

Either way, we will all eventually reach this inviolate Truth described by one test subject like this, “From here on, love is the only consideration. It was and is the only purpose.”

Pam Grout is the author of 19 books including E-Squared, E-Cubed, Thank & Grow Rich and her new book, Art & Soul,Reloaded: A Year-Long Apprenticeship to Summon the Muses and Ignite Your Daring, Audacious, Creative Side.

13 Responses

  1. Pam, love this post. Heading to Rythmia next month to do Ayahuasca. I’ve done the course so many times and now feel, like Tom Wolf – a little help from Mother Nature will help me drop my story! Blessings to you for your great contemporary Couse incites!

  2. “Sickness is a decision. It is not a thing that happens to you, quite unsought, which makes you weak and brings you suffering. It is a choice you make ” I’m sure that when babies get sick it is not something they choose. Adults may be accountable for their sickness for what ever reason, but babies??

  3. Great post Pam. Also – I just ordered Michael Pollan’s new book. Will be a fascinating read. Maybe I’ll drop some acid too- and fast track ACIM ! 😉

  4. Still not sure if “Respond to this post by replying above this line” is happening, but I gotta say the psychedelics were my path (altho not anymore), and a good one. Gratitude for it all Love Jeff

  5. Thank you once again Pam for mentioning Pollan’s book. It not only concretly reinforces our beliefs about life beyond this physical boday but also opens a door to entirely new knowledge . Looking forward to read this book with child like enthusiasm

  6. Pam Grout, can I marry you? Or maybe at least buy you a drink some time? You’re filling in the blanks of ACIM so …. well …. like ya do. The ONLY problem I can see is I’m in So Cal. Ah – but to dream 🙂 Giant Hugs to your Wonderfulness <3

  7. I’d heard about those experiments but of course, they don’t get a lot of press. I’d rather do it the ACIM way than LSD. 😉 I’m going to check out the book as well. Thank you again, and again and again!

  8. Like sondergade25 above, I need help with this one. It seems to be saying that people with illnesses and injuries have brought these on themselves and if they can’t ‘fix’ them, by seeing things differently, that’s their fault, too. How can this be anything but discouraging?

    1. Hi Sage—When I get stumped on a concept I can’t begin to understand (and this is a good example), I send out an S.O.S. Help me see this differently.

      I interpret it to mean that there is another level of consciousness going on at the same time. Our appearances of sickness may block us from seeing it. But it’s there ready to be accessed at all times. We’re like spies—living a double life. The one blocked by our illusions is a whole lot more beautiful and eternally joyous. I like knowing it’s there even when I’m focusing on the split.

      1. Thank you for the thoughtful response, Pam. Seems like taking my mind off-line is the best idea for me right now, but not easy. 🙂

  9. Wow…this statement was really interesting…Our brains produce images exactly .17 seconds behind light so even when ‘living in the moment’ we’re .17 seconds behind. Love this lesson! Thank you!

  10. I’m so unclear as to how to accomplish this? Give me an example of what it would look like, or how to do it. Am I supposed to drop acid? “Love is the only purpose” . How does one live that? Our stories? Aren’t our stories our lives? Isn’t our story just a product of the decisions we’ve made? We all have options and can make better choices but how are we supposed to pretend like it’s not real? Isn’t that what the insane do? Oh, let’s see, I’m really rich and not struggling financially. It’s not real so let me just go out and spend my last dime on a boat and act like I can afford it and miraculously everything will change? I don’t know Pam. I love everything you write but the course seems so out there!

    Sent from my iPhone


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