Their eyes were opened and they recognized him, but he disappeared from their sight. — Luke 24:31
This may sound strange, but I’m fascinated by psychedelic drugs. It must be the repressed hippie in me.
I’m fascinated by how they alter perceptions of reality in people. When they’ve been administered in medical and therapeutic sessions, patients have often been helped. The terminally ill report they are no longer scared of death. Those with PTSD cope better with life.
One explanation is that psychedelics loosen up restrictors in our brains. Since we’re bombarded by data the moment we open our eyes, those restrictors narrow what we perceive so we can function daily. They apply past experiences and knowledge to present to us that which is deemed most important, and filter out the rest.
Which leads us to Jesus. Isn’t this what he did (and does) for those who hung out (hangs out) with him? Things no longer appear like they once did. He loosens our restrictors that kept our souls safe and in control. There’s a hugeness to the world and a wonderful unity behind all things. Love, beauty, hope, Spirit…: they aren’t words but realities that disciples can hear, feel, see, taste.
The disciples walking with the risen Jesus on the Emmaus road described their hearts being “set on fire” as they talked with him. Eventually their eyes were opened and poof! Jesus disappeared. Earlier, three of the disciples saw him transformed on top of a hill, glowing alongside Moses and Elijah. They trembled, shut their eyes, opened them, and Jesus was by himself, looking normal; appropriately, they “were left speechless.” (Luke 9:36)
All this sounds a bit psychedelic, don’t you think?
Science says the world is so huge our puny brains must limit what can be taken in. Jesus says the world is so amazing that we need to stay with him so that our souls grow open enough to be gratefully overwhelmed by it all.
Jesus still opens our eyes if we do our best to remain open to him. The world is mysterious, magical, beautiful, colorful. Miracles, simple and great, burst around us each day.
To paraphrase those opened-eyes followers on the Emmaus road, and the speechless ones on the mountain: “This is very groovy!”