AM I THE BUDDHA?
L. Caruana 2008
46 x 46 cm ~ Mischtechnik
C'EST MOI LE BOUDDHA?
~ AM I THE BUDDHA? ~
During the night of June 29th, 2007, I embarked on one of the longest journeys in my lifetime - an inner journey granted through the visionary powers of ayahuasca. The entry in my Entheogen Journal, written one day after, required some twenty-seven pages...
Such an experience can hardly be summarized in a few words. But, briefly stated, the first few hours were dark and harrowing. After passing through Aztec labyrinths of incredible complexity, I became trapped in a realm where millions of insectoid demons hovered round me.
Like swarms of dragonflies, they clustered round me, shifting in fractaline spirals that overwhelmed my mind by sheer number and magnitude. If I focussed on one face, it multiplied exponentially from one to four to sixteen to sixty-four. I was so confused that I couldn't even remember my name...
Fortunately, through posture, breathing and concentration, I managed to pass through this initial, darker part of the journey. The remaining hours slowly mounted from one increasing epiphany to the next. Sound, light, energy and vibration all combined into hitherto-unrecognized patterns. Each icaros sung by the shaman was a symphony of dancing colour and patterned light. Energy moved through my body in helical spirals, like entwined serpents. I could sustain my lotus posture effortlessly, and every inhalation seemed to bring new awareness.
In a moment that is almost impossible to describe, I found myself freed from myself. Hovering somewhere outside myself, I was able to view myself with utter detachment and even humour. There I was, somewhere below, sitting in my lotus posture like a reverent Bodhisattva. Seeing myself there produced in me waves of laughter - each laugh liberating me one step further from myself. I was elated.
The next thing I knew I was back in my lotus posture and back inside myself. But, I was staring at a huge, mirror reflection of the Buddha's face. It glowed, unusually large, in golden light with pink shadows. This was, without a doubt, the Buddha. But it was also, somehow, my own face that I saw reflected before me. I was so full of sublime awareness and oceanic bliss that this feeling could only be a state of oneness with the Buddha.
At that moment, the smiling reflection said to me (in French) "C'est Moi le Bouddha?" (Am I the Buddha?) The answer to this Zen riddle seemed obvious to me --- I laughed...
The result was to throw me into an even higher state which I can only compare to 'enlightenment'. I had achieved a state of inner peace "that passeth all understanding." Just to get the joke, one had to be in that peculiar state of mind.
So, rather than try to explain the experience, I've left this little painting behind as a small reminder to myself ~ and as a riddle in image-form...