Report of Session of M.J. Stolaroff, 16 Apr 1956
Citation: Myron Stolaroff. "Report of Session of M.J. Stolaroff, 16 Apr 1956: An Experience with LSD (exp99779)". Erowid.org. Apr 1, 2013. erowid.org/exp/99779
[Erowid Note: This is an early self-report of the use of LSD from Myron Stolaroff's papers collected and scanned as part of Erowid's Stolaroff Collection. You can view the original as a scanned PDF
that includes two type-written drafts, attached together, with some hand-written edits in the second draft.
The report demonstrates some of Myron's self-characterized 'neuroticism', which he later describes in detail in his writings. Although a little long and personal, it is interesting as a historical document of early LSD use intentionally for spiritual and psychological development. In his book Thanatos to Eros
, Myron mentions that the dose is 66 micrograms. ]
15 May 1956
REPORT OF SESSION OF M. J. STOLAROFF, 16 APRIL 1956.
Description of Subject:
Born Roswell, New Mexico, August 20, 1920. Married, two children.
Roswell High School, New Mexico Military Institute, Stanford University. Obtained A.B. In Electrical Engineering and M.A in Electrical Engineering.
War years with Navy Department, Bureau of Ships, as Civilian Engineer. Subsequently with Ampex Corporation as Design Engineer, Production Engineer, Engineering Administration, Instrumentation Sales Manager, and Assistant to President.
Evolution of human personality as approached by Sequoia Seminar. Leading study groups involved with this search.
Reason for Session:
Had heard reports of effects of mescaline and LSD when properly administered. Since my principal aim is forming a satisfactory relationship with God and helping others to do so, I felt it vital to evaluate this material, both for my development and as in the work being accomplished by Sequoia Seminar.
Preparation For Session:
On February 1, in Redwood City, California, was tested with CO2 gas. Went up to eight inhalations. Experienced wonderful feeling of prayer, colored imagery. Also took tablets containing approximately 20 mg. of mescaline. [Erowid Note: This should say 'methadrine' here, rather than 'mescaline'. The error in drug name was later corrected in Myron's autobiography, Thanatos to Eros
; introducing his subjects to altered states of consciousness by using a mixture of CO2 and oxygen, and by using methadrine (methamphetamine) was the standard approach taken by Al Hubbard. Prior to giving them a stronger psychedelic, Hubbard first wanted to make sure that the subject responded well to these milder drugs.] Produced wonderful feeling of [euphoria], heightened intensity of awareness, much greater creativity, complete absence of feelings of anxiety or insecurity.
On April 15, the day before the session, spent the entire day talking with my two directors, was tested by each of them with CO2 . Although was quite nervous, by last tests was cooperating quite freely [inhaling], and got as high as 20 inhalations. Each test was very pleasant experience with colored imagery, almost invariably involving a playing field with people playing games of one kind or another. No insights of significance.
On April 16, before session, first visited the Catholic Church in Vancouver. Met Father Brown and received his benediction. He promised to honor us at Noon Mass. Met with the other director, while he checked my ability to relax under his instructions.
I took the material at 11:15 A.M., taking approximately 2/3 of a vial of LSD in 1/2 glass of water. I then sat quietly in a chair, listening to spiritual music with my two directors.
The first feeling I experienced was one of calmness and peace. All fear and nervousness left me, and I felt very good. In about 20 minutes to 1/2 hour, things began to become humorous. As I looked at my directors, I couldn't help smiling, then laughing. I had to turn my head away to recover. Then I looked at them and said, 'What a couple of characters!' and we all laughed. It kept getting funnier and funnier. One of the directors said, 'This is his first repression.' I thought of how somber and serious I had always been, and how everything was so important. I saw now that life was simply a game, a joyful, humorous game, and I laughed and laughed at my serious approach to everything. The other director, a very serious looking individual said 'Now Myron, let's be serious'. I laughed so hard that my sides ached.
Now as I closed my eyes, I began to see images, all kinds of colored shapes and forms, continually moving. It is utterly impossible to describe the variety of shapes that passed before me, and they changed rapidly enough so that I could not remember any specific ones. I was listening to the Gregorian Chants, and the music was enrapturing, yet very humorous. I thought of the solemnity of the Church, and laughed and laughed at the manner in which it was attempted to make the church serious, when it was really all so funny. Later when the Requiem Mass was played, I thought that this also was uproariously funny. But behind everything, I had a wonderful feeling of God, and expressed gratitude that I could see this underlying base which was manifested in all that I was experiencing.
In the meantime, the images were becoming less dreamy and more vividly colored. I saw statues of persons, buildings, and similar things, but all moving by very rapidly, continually changing. I had been told to read the postulates I had prepared before the session several times in the first hour or so. I looked at them, but couldn't get the slightest bit interested in them. I began to wonder if I was going to laugh through the whole eight hours of the session. I thought to myself, 'We're going to have to get this guy Myron out here and look him over.' I visualized a kangaroo court, with I and the directors sitting in judgment, while Myron was on trial.
With my eyes closed, I was seeing continuous imagery. When I opened my eyes, the room was still there as it always was, with perhaps more intenseness of color and presence of the various objects, such as I have sometimes experienced in attempts of contemplating my surroundings. From previous reports I had read and heard, I expected that when the drug took effect things in the room would start changing, and I would start experiencing events from the past. Since the room was unchanged, and, if anything, more clear, I felt that the drug had not yet taken effect. I kept looking at my watch, since I had been told that the drug would take effect generally by and hour, and would reach its peak in 1˝ to 2 hours. As one hour approached, and nothing happened, I began to get apprehensive. I asked 'Are you sure you gave me enough?' I could feel the drug pulling at me, but with not nearly enough force to overtake customary consciousness. I was assured that I had been given enough. As time passed the one hour mark, I became more and more apprehensive, and kept looking at my watch. I then began to become afraid that the whole thing was not going to work. All my preparatory work, my trip to Canada, my planning on the great spiritual accomplishments I would achieve, would be for naught. This fear continued to mount, and I became more and more in a state of turmoil. My thinking became less clear, my mouth became thick. But even more serious, I was not living up to expectations. One of my directors had made it very clear not only to me but with others that I had passed all preliminary tests in great shape, and that he expected great things from my session. He had described many of the wonders that could be experienced with this material. I began to realize that I was not the person he thought I was, and I began to have feelings of utter failure. Then there was some resentment toward the director for having led me to expect all these wonderful things, which obviously weren't happening! I expressed the fear that I was not living up to the expectations, and the pre-session conversations indicated that they expected too much of me. I was asked, 'Who expected too much from you, Myron?'
This immediately struck home, and I realized with a jolt that it was my expectations that were not being filled. It was I who had come to expect great things, who considered myself a spiritually advanced person, who believed the session would produce an enlightened new being. Then I realized how all my life I had strived and strived to live up to the high standards I continually set for myself. Now it was clear that these standards were all a fabrication, and I had deluded myself in warping my while life to meet these high ideals.
I felt miserable, and sat helplessly, unable to communicate or focus my thoughts. One of the directors handed me a picture of the head of Jesus, done in brilliant color. He asked me to concentrate on it for a while to focus my thoughts. As I sat looking at it, he asked me, 'Who do you see there?' I looked fixedly, as if fascinated, at the picture. After a while it appeared that the eyes were open, then closed, then open and closed in rapid succession. I asked myself, why do the eyes keep opening and closing? Suddenly the picture changed to the head of another man, then another and another in a rapid succession. They changed so rapidly that I could not keep up with them, although I distinctly remember the figure of a pious rabbi with long beard, a caveman with large jaw, and a bald-headed Mongolian with narrow mustache. Finally I said, 'This is every man'.
Next I was asked, 'What is the meaning of the Resurrection?' I knew it was an important question, but could not bring myself to focus on it. Instead I continued to stare stupidly at the picture. After more time had passed, I was asked if I would like to lie down on the couch. I agreed. My mind was very hazy during this period, and I have forgotten many of the details that transpired. However, just before lying down, I remember saying that the material was not working as I had expected, and I was told, 'We have given you the material, Myron. It's up to you to use it'. This made a deep impression on me, as I knew that somehow I was not making proper use of the material. The incident of the picture proved that the material would work if I permitted it.
On the couch, I continued to be in extreme discomfort, with deep sense of failure. It seemed as though the drug were trying to take over, and I kept feeling that I needed more time, more time. I felt as though I was trying to be pulled back into the birth experience. My legs were trying to shrivel up, but they ached and shivered with nothing happening. One of my directors then suggested that I picture myself in the womb, and made some suggestions along these lines. The suggestions were not helpful, although I felt I was trying to go through the birth experience, and it was just taking time to work out. I lay [quietly] and shivered. I placed my hand on my stomach, as I could feel something pressing down there. There was another pressure on my forehead. Observing this, I was asked if I was [an instrument] baby. I somehow felt that I was, and that these were the pressures of instruments. Much time passed on the couch as I struggled to bring myself into the experience. I felt I needed more time, and must have verbalized it. I was asked what it was that I had. I then knew that time was all I had, there was plenty of time. If I didn't do it in this session, there would be another session, and if not then, then a following one. I realized after a while there was no sense postponing it, there was really no way out. The experience had to be gone through, and I might as well face it. If I didn't face it now, there was all the time in the world to face it later, but eventually it must be faced.
This realization took some time to work out. In the meantime, it was aided by various communications. Some of the more effective questions asked me were[:] 'What does it mean to be born again?' 'What is the meaning of the pearl of great price?' These things I knew, and they helped me face the problem. I was quoted, 'There is a time for _____ and a time for _____, etc. What is this a time for, Myron?' And I knew the answer, that this was a time for being. I was told to let the experience happen, that an air of humility was required. I was reminded that to enter the kingdom of God one must be like little children. All of these things drove home the fact that I must give up control, and let myself go into the experience.
I went through about 1˝ to 2 hours of turmoil on the couch. During this period, a strange thing happened to my time scale. Instead of being three hours into the session, I had myself convinced that time had stretched way out, and that I had lay down on the couch after only about ˝ hour into the session. The seemingly long time of the drug taking effect was really only about five minutes or so, and I was really going under the way I was supposed to. I felt that if I could get the directors and the room out of consciousness, then I could slip into the experience quite readily. In fact, I even reached the point where the room and some of the conversation I had overheard were not the reality, but some dim illusion, and the reality was that we were only a little over ˝ hour into the session, and that I was sneaking away from the illusion so I could go through the birth experience.
At this point, one of the directors sensed what was going on, and had me sit up. He explained that it would do no good to go off on some other time track to go through the experience; this would just be time repeating itself. To have any effect, I must consciously watch the procedure, in contact with my directors. I was very confused, and said that I did not understand. I was told to stop trying to understand, that this was my problem. And I knew that it was. I could see the tremendous effort the rational mind trying to maintain control, to understand and explain everything that was happening. I tried to relinquish this control, but to no avail.
After three hours, with no further developments, I was told to sit up, and asked to think over what had happened in the session thus far and see if there been any value in it. I moved back to the chair, and started meditating. Immediately my mind seemed to clear up, and function extremely well. I saw all that had happened quite clearly, and saw the value of it. I felt that this was the best part of the session thus far, and communicated this thought.
I was told good, then perhaps I could start thinking about the postulates on my paper. What about the first on my list, the need for approval? I started meditating about this, meditating as I would in my regular prayer period. I asked myself whose approval I was seeking. I thought of my father, my mother, and other members of the family, and knew it was not theirs. Then I thought about my birth. I realized thus far that I must have had a difficult birth, that I was an instrument baby, and that somehow I must have been behind schedule. As I thought about this, I suddenly found myself grasped, and squeezed down, and in the womb. The back of my neck and upper vertebrae were crushed in pain. Then I was moving out, and I was taking quick, deep gasps of breath. Suddenly I was out and I felt the wonderful feeling of freedom. Faintly I saw a hospital scene with nurse and doctor, distinctly smelled the ether! Instantly I knew and blurted out, 'I wasn't born on time. They couldn't wait for me to be born!' And from this intense feeling of not living up to expectations, of not coming into the world on time, hinged my insatiable need of approval and my driving compulsion with time. I could see all the patterns of my life tying into this main root - my need for approval, my feeling that there is never enough time and we must never waste time but get things done as fast as possible, always driving, driving for the goal. And with this realization, the patterns and compulsions evaporated! It was quite a relief.
With this experience behind me, I started meditating in earnest. I soon found my mind wandering off in some imagery. Suddenly I realized that for me, phantasy is better then reality. This phrase kept repeating itself over and over, 'Phantasy is better then reality. Phantasy is better then reality.' I asked myself, Why is phantasy better then reality? Immediately the answer came, I can't face reality. Once again I asked myself, why? I then began to get a feeling of dread. I knew that I was about to face some experience of the past that was terribly dreadful, and I did not have any idea what it was. But I somehow knew that it was the most dreadful things I would ever have to face. I communicated my thinking processed to this time. I wanted to ask one of the directors what he thought it might be, but even before doing so realized that it didn't make any difference what he thought, I would have to face it and find out for myself.
It took some time to work up to the next experience. My fear was intense, and it required a great deal of effort to reach the point where I could go through it. I thought how wonderful it would be to be free of whatever was logging me down. I knew there was no avoiding it. In fact, I told my directors that we would have to go through this if it took the rest of the day or even the rest of the week. This I now thoroughly realized, I had all the time I needed, and there was no way out. I told them I would need all of their help, and to pray for me. Instantly I experienced a feeling of lightening of the load, I said, 'Prayer helps.'
Once more I felt myself grasped and pulled into an experience. Again I entered the womb, being crushed down, with the same feeling of my neck and upper vertebrae of my back being under intense, painful pressure. Then I saw a red field before me, with blood vessels running vertically and horizontally. I saw corpuscles of blood running swiftly through the vessels. I realized that I was looking at the wall of the womb. Then I had the feeling of being carried backward in time, going back through a long series of events which passed so quickly it was impossible to see what they were. Suddenly we ( I say 'we' because I feel I was being carried) stopped and I saw a small sphere like a bubble, and it grew and grew until it occupied the while field of vision. As the bubble grew, there was a feeling of freedom, relief of the pressure and pain that still held over from the womb. Suddenly something bright red like a dart pierced the bubble, and I had a definite association of God. I also thought Life. I have not yet comprehended what this experience was, although I had a dim feeling of God granting life, perhaps conception. At any rate, from this point I moved backwards in time again, and the intensity of pain and pressure increased. It was still in the form of my neck and upper back being crushed. Then it felt as though there was a hole in the left rear part of my skull, as though it were deeply depressed. Likewise, my jaw seemed to be pushed way in. I immediately thought of the depressed jaw of the caveman, but I knew the association came from seeing a similar expression in Galliene's report. The intensity of the pressure increased, and built up until I could barely stand it. It felt as though my head were going to burst. All the tissue seemed to be in great tension, and I recognized the feeling as one I had felt in prayer many times, but had avoided allowing building up to this intensity. As I was wondering how much more I could stand, I felt as though the back of my head was being ripped apart. As this happened, I saw an image of a circle which then divided itself in two, as a cell divides. I could feel and hear a ripping sound as this happened. There was a slight feeling of relief as the two halves parted, then the tension gradually subsided, and the experience was over.
I could not comprehend the significance of the experience after the vision of the wall of the womb. Also, there was no feeling of relief or understanding, and I knew that there was more to go through. Once again I had to steel myself for another dreadful experience. I asked myself, 'What more does God want of me?' I thought about it, and thought perhaps I had not experienced enough pain. I must be ready to face more pain, and for a longer period of time. I thought of the parable of the pearl of the great price, and realized the tremendous insight and genius of Jesus. I had always thought that I had understood that parable, but now I saw that there was much, much more to it, and I was filled with wonder. I saw clearly that we could not have the Kingdom until we were willing to pay the full price, and the price was much greater then I ever expected. And I knew that it had to be greater, else we could never realize the value and worth of the Kingdom.
It did not take as long this time to prepare for the next experience. The next time I felt myself pulled under, my head was turned leaning to one side as thought against my will. The same pain in the neck and upper back was there. My face felt real long, as though my head were that of a horse. I was held in this position for a while, and then the experience slowly subsided. I recovered, wondering what it was all about. After a while it started in again, following exactly the same pattern. This time, however, the pressure on the neck and back was much greater. The pressure slowly built up, as though my neck and upper back were being squeezed in vise. I could feel each little bone aching separately. The pain got so intense that I didn't see how it could get any worse, and remained so. I thought to myself, 'Is this as much pain as I can stand?' Perhaps I should have stand even more, so that I would cry out. I felt as though it were impossible to feel any more pain, although I didn't feel like crying out. This peak of pain continued for a while, then gradually subsided.
When the experience was over, I felt as though I still did not have the answer. Something more was still expected of me. I communicated my bewilderment, and asked, 'What more does God want of me? I was willing to stand pain (which for me is about the worst possible thing to face, as I've always been afraid of physical pain) but that wasn't enough. Then I was willing to stand pain for a long time, but that still [wasn't] enough.' I thought to myself, what more can I give? Then the answer came - the only thing I could think of to give that was more than I had already given was life itself. I communicated this thought, and said, 'Perhaps I almost lost my life in the birth experience, and I have to go through that again.' So I started meditating on this thought.
I thought to myself that many times I had meditated on what I would give to God, and had certainly meditated on my willingness to give up my life. Then I suddenly saw that it was not I who was giving up my life. I had always been willing to give my life, providing someone else pulled the trigger. I was willing to be nailed to the cross, but someone else would do the nailing. Then I realized that in my whole pattern of doing God's will, I was simply allowing myself to be maneuvered into situations, and then willingly accepting the circumstances. I was not using my initiative! I realized with deep intensity that initiative was one of the key functions that God gave us. It is a priceless possession, and must be used creatively. It is this God-given initiative that makes us specifically human. And I could see in countless situations in my life, I was not using it, but taking a passive attitude, letting others determine the conditions and then merely following suit.
With this realization, I knew that I must willingly and actively hand over my life to God. This then I was prepared to do. But as soon as I started, a tremendous feeling of relief came over me. I saw that I didn't have to give up my life! I only had to be willing to do so! This realization and the relief that it brought was so intense that I felt that this was the principal point of the whole session. As soon as I saw this, I announced, 'The session is over!'
Eight hours had passed now, and preparations for dinner commenced. I sat, still somewhat agitated and trembling, trying to absorb the enormous impact of all that I had been through. As I became more relaxed and settled down, I soon felt like meditating again. I therefore asked for quiet, and proceeded to think. I couldn't help but marvel at all that I had seen. I was amused by the fact that after all I had been through, in the end I was required to do nothing. However, I had been forced to experience a lot before this was shown to me. I was also amused by my first impression in the session that it was all tremendously funny. If I had only known what I would have to face! I realized that great responsibility we face when we ask others to take up the spiritual path. Never again could I ask anyone to do this. It must be his own free choice.
I realized at this time that I had not experience any of the mystical experiences and wonder of God that I had heard about. These to me seemed highly irrelevant. At my present state of development, the simple truths which I had realized were the [all-important] things, and everything else seemed incidental by comparison. I knew that we would be shown only that which corresponded to our state of development. Yet as I thought about it, it occurred to me that now I had realized some of the essential truths, and particularly saw the price of the Kingdom, perhaps God would show me some of these wonders. I began to meditate on it, and experienced a wonderful feeling of power. Now God and I were partners, and there is nothing he would not show me, from the ends of Time to the outermost reaches of space. Dim vision of these things floated by - not concrete experience as I had preciously been through, but dreamy images. I felt that God and I together could fly anywhere. So I said to myself, 'All aboard. Let's go.' And I thought of what I would like to see first.
Suddenly, I realized, 'Just a minute, brother. Who says where we are going to go?' Then I realized I had placed myself in the driver’s seat. It was I who was deciding where we should go. We would get no place on this basis. It was God who would decide where we would go. And it was up to me to be willing to go wherever He led me, regardless of where it may be. I realized that this too had been true throughout my life - I insisted on being the pilot, maintaining always tight, rational control, selfishly wanting to call the shots. I could see the error of this pattern, and my job was to simply be, be just plain old Myron, even though he were not all the fancy things I had previously thought him to be. So now I prepared myself to experience whatever God had in store for me, even though it be painful and fearful.
As I realized the need to be willing to accept what may come, I felt that I still had more to go through in the birth experience. I asked the directors for their help. I was told that too much time had elapsed now, and the material would run out in a couple of minutes. Therefore there was no point in starting anything new. I was disappointed, although I realized there was no rush and would be plenty of time in the future sessions. My disappointment stemmed from my feelings of failure in the session, for having taken so long to get started, and hoping that I could clear up more things before it was over. However, I was talked out of it, and we proceeded with dinner.
I felt very good while eating, but toward the end of dinner began feeling depressed. My mind kept dwelling in the birth experience, and I was afraid of being alone that night, feeling that I would be pulled right back into it. I still felt under the influence of the material, and after dinner I stated this and said that I felt like trying to go through the experience. I was advised against it, it being pointed out that once during the session I had been unwilling to take advice of the directors, trying to get away from them when my time scale was changing. I felt duly contrite, but even while the director was talking, I had to fight back an almost uncontrollable urge to plunge into the birth experience. After a couple of hours of talking and a brisk walk, I was given some pills to put me to sleep. It seemed to take ages for them to work, as my mind kept working most actively. I finally fell asleep, and awoke the next morning with a wonderful feeling of stability.
While I think that the first day after the session I was still somewhat disappointed in myself in finding that I was really at a much lower spiritual level then I thought, within a few days when I more fully comprehended what had transpired, I realized that I had gotten exactly what I wanted! The full impact of insight I had obtained and the wonder of God struck home, changing my entire life in ways that defy description.
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