Citation: MrMindplays. "Just Another Way to Look at It: An Experience with Salvia divinorum (exp97991)". Erowid.org. Oct 22, 2015. erowid.org/exp/97991
Initial Note: Below are my thoughts that I noted down after my several Salvia divinorum and a couple Akineton experiences.
Part 1 - Awareness and Consciousness
After Salvia and Akineton experiences I started to wonder about the relation of awareness and consciousness. While they are terms that are often used interchangeably, consciousness is rather a particular product or result of awareness like: “Self-consciousness is an acute sense of self-awareness. It is a preoccupation with oneself, as opposed to the philosophical state of self-awareness, which is the awareness that one exists as an individual being.“
Scientifically it’s accepted that many other animals are aware (including most of vertebrates) but few are self-aware. The mirror test is often used as a measure of self-awareness, where the ability of an animal to recognize itself in a mirror is tested. Apes, dolphins, orcas and elephants are among those who pass mirror-tests. A human baby is accepted to develop self-awareness at age one and consciousness later. In biological psychology, awareness is defined as a human’s or an animal’s perception and cognitive reaction to a condition or event. So it needs a testable reaction to be able to decide if something is aware.
With a mild dose of Akineton I can experience a broken consciousness. With salvia I can temporarily lose consciousness but yet remain self-aware. It’s not uncommon that we experience unconscious awareness. Within a dream you’re usually self-aware although you are not aware that you are dreaming.
At this point it looks like the the bigger part of the mystery is not consciousness but rather awareness. Lets talk about computers… Let’s say you created a computer with a neural architecture that does perception tasks like analyzing images and sounds and produce some cognitive reactions (I don’t know if it is possible at all) can you assume that it’s aware? Is it?
Each one of us experience awareness and consciousness from inside, that’s how we know of awareness and consciousness. Later we look outside and decide if things we observe and interact share one. With a discipline based on observational information (either output or system itself) you could possibly say that the computer you’ve just created is aware. But likely you’d rather say it’s not because you’ve created it and with some common sense you’d think it can’t “really” be aware because you know that your personal experience of awareness and conscious is beyond your observation of awareness and consciousness from outside world.
It’s interesting that I often feel the limits of my brain capacity, either it is memory, problem solving, learning, concentration, motor skills or comprehension. I can see how the performance of my brain is effected by the things I eat, or the quality of my day. I can witness how some chemicals mess me down to my consciousness. But awareness seem to remain there. It even watches how stupid things my conscious brain bring outs sometimes. Like when you get scared, you start to think of stupid things while you know they are very unlikely to happen, but while all this is happening your self-awareness watches you as if it’s a different identity then your consciousness. Maybe it’s wrong binding awareness to consciousness, maybe your subconsciousness is also a part of your awareness. Or maybe you neither need any them for awareness. I can now better relate to being an animal that’s not conscious but aware.
So now some started to hope that the mystery of consciousness and awareness might possibly be solved through the unearthy comprehension of quantum-physics. Which also sounds like a wishful thinking to me at the moment since quantum physics seem to be working only on particle level for the whole universe and no one is “exactly” sure what quantum-physics is. Also quantum physicians themselves often argue with such ideas due to “quantum systems in the brain decohere quickly and cannot control brain function thus the brain can’t act as a quantum computer, and that quantum coherence can’t be related to consciousness in a fundamental way.“
It’s interesting to know that consciousness and gravity are two of the biggest mysteries of science today. Well, maybe those two have more in common. Looks like we need some radical changes to our understanding to solve these mysteries. But what is that salvia gravity btw? :)
Part 2 - Reading Others' Salvia Experiences
I don’t plan to have another salvia experience soon. It’s so revealing yet confusing and intense that you’d definitely want to do it in the right time and space.
But anyways, lately after reading so many experiences with Salvia from other people I definitely started to put them in a few categories. One type is those ‘too conclusive’ ones that were written by people who already have some very strong spiritual thoughts and binding their experiences to those beliefs. And there is another category of ‘bad/messy experiences’ mostly coming from teens trying it in a party environment and/or disrupting each others’ trips so many scary and unpleasant stories come up. I sometimes see incompetent reviews from people who obviously abused drugs that their perspective became misleading.
I’m still trying to be as skeptical as possible and try to explain or just underline some of the aspects that are so weirdly in common in Salvia experiences:
1. Feminine Presence: A significant majority of people mention experiences that include feminine beings. Most times these beings are the guides or key being in the experience that you interact with. So is god a she?! Is this some sort of a reference to mother? Do we all conditioned to impose otherworldly qualities to females?
2. Salvia Gravity: The sensation of being pulled down almost literally at the start of the trip. I’m trying to explain this by losing your contact with your motor system similar to how you become paralyzed in REM sleep. Perhaps the transition is so fast in case of Salvia that you interpret it as some sort of gravitational force, as you lose your power in your muscles in a very fast pace? Though, later this sensation often turns into a feeling of dissolving into the surface you’re on top of it, or you’re slipping out of your body with the influence of that force. Also it’s notable that majority of people report that this sensation starts from their right side and often right shoulders. Also many report that they literally feel like some invisible hands are pulling them down and it was the same for me. Another tricky part is the sensation of having that gravity not necessarily matching the direction of Earth’s gravitational force. Like being pulled to one side instead of down. Or being forced to rotate or experience that the gravity gradually changing its direction. Also no mention of vertigo while all this weird sensations of moving, rotating etc happening. Ah I should add a side note that a sensation of prickle and heat on my skin accompanied to that pulling feeling. It was like a increased noise in the input sensory from my skin.
3. Becoming an Object or a Thing: One quite common experience is becoming something else… Not another person but an object like a tree in a rain forest or a furniture in the room. This is pretty interesting. What could be happening in one’s brain to bring an experience like that? I didn’t hear many dreams that people found themselves to be an object. Could your identity of being in your brain become trapped in a perceptive memory/thought of a thing?…. maybe.
4. Being in two Realities: This sounds pretty weird when you word it but when you experience it this feels pretty natural. My shorter trips with salvia happened this way. While part of my brain was in reality, part of my brain was in an altered state. The flow of time, environment, everything was totally different but yet you’d find yourself to embrace both equally real. That’s one weirder aspect of the experience. As soon as you start being sucked into the Salvia ‘reality’ you believe it’s real whatever you go thru. Even if you’re not completely sucked into it. So far in almost all of my Salvia experiences the sensation of being pulled and the transition into an altered state started on my right side. I very often see that people say the same thing while some mention left side. Maybe this happens because the effect of salvia dominates one side of your brain earlier than the other side. That’s why you split between in two realities and it feels normal once you experienced it. All in all we all have two halves of a brain and while they share many tasks, each is more specialized in many processes than the other.
5. The Sensation of Losing One’s Identity: I quite often see people mention this but I can’t truly relate with it through my own experiences. Maybe it’s a matter of questioning what’s happening during the trip within the trip itself. I was still me no matter what I was experiencing. I didn’t necessarily had the same body or name or even memories… But I was definitely a ‘me’ there. And what defines your identity anyways? I was always the first person and I can’t imagine any other ways. Maybe it’s possible with higher dosages.
Below are a couple more aspects of a Salvia experience that are tricky and could easily lead one to wrong conclusions:
6. Spiritual, Enlightening Experiences: Almost everybody that is trying salvia starts with some expectations from the trip to reveal some spiritual/otherworldly truth. With that deep intention and expectation in mind I can see that brain could bring experiences that better fit in this context or at least it becomes much easier for one to interpret the experience that way.
7. Why couldn’t it all be just a Dream?: I don’t mean the life itself but what happens in a salvia experience… Could it be just a deeper level of dreaming? A dream that is out of the way, out of the routine functioning of brain every night which has it’s purposes for the health and even the survival of oneself. A dream state that you’re so unexpectedly enter through the ‘almost’ ritual sensation of salvia gravity at the beginning of the transition which could lead to a delusion of sweeping and being pulled into a different ‘realm’ which is actually just what is in your brain?
It’s pretty likely that salvia is just a distorter of one’s brain with all the excitations, short-circuits and bendings it causes, but maybe it’s doing its job in such a beautiful way that we get in touch with all those enormously deep experiences? We all built the universe we know upon what we perceived inside our brains (if not a part of it is already within ourselves) so why wouldn’t it bring some gorgeous visionary when you shake the things up in a pleasant way there?
Still practicing to be skeptical but yet there is one essential ‘sweet’ problem here. The problem of awareness, the problem of being… Obviously saliva is a chemical… What’s happening is happening in the physical realm of your body and brain. Your computer and your physical extensions that you’re tied to use throughout the time you live in this universe; your tools to perceive, to learn, to memorize, to embrace, to feel, to enjoy…
It is impossible to say what is in the core of all this happenings… If it’s all happening in your brain, then maybe that’s where to look to grab a better understanding of the truth. I can make a single conclusion out of this that, not the Salvia experiences, but the life itself is extraordinary. And likely salvia is just another way to look at it.
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