Way off the beaten path

I WAS SITTING on our scarlet sofa reading Travels by Michael Crichton who is also a physician. It’s a wide-ranging book that travels beyond physical voyages.

The first chapter is grim. It describes his medical school introduction to anatomy, i.e. dissecting cadavers, a nightmarish experience for first-year students.

mushroomI lowered the book and glanced at the love seat beyond the coffee table, specifically at a large, soft, green pillow. It appeared to be breathing. I looked away and looked back. The breathing had stopped.

Or perhaps it had never started.

However, it reminded me of an afternoon in 1997 when I was on a forested hillside in the Florida Panhandle after taking psilocybin. I saw the earth breathing beneath my feet in broad daylight. The leaves, twigs and soil rose and fell as on a supine breast.

Hours later, when the psilocybin had worn off, I revisited the experience in my mind. I do not think it was an hallucination. It was that I saw things one normally is incapable of seeing. I did see the earth breathe because it does.

Traditional religion does not come close to explaining the universe. It is simplistic, written for the common man. Oriental religions, especially Buddhism and Hinduism, come closer than Christianity in their understanding. I think this is due to their greater meditative traditions, which have sent devotees into caves for long years.

Psilocybin is far quicker.

The earth breathes. You normally just do not notice.

Perhaps pillows breathe too. I thought about all this before turning back to Crichton’s Travels and his grisly medical training. Cutting skulls with hacksaws.