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Beyond a World of Words – Mystical Realism

On Language, Myth, and Speaking the Unspeakable


The human experience: a hypnosis of language, an imaginary world of flat definitions, empty labels, and artificial dualities. In this mind-artefact, even our sense of self becomes a mask made of ideas and concepts. Leaving the confines of the conceptual mind, Mystical Realism becomes both the path and the end goal. Truth waits where meaning ends.


Imagine experiencing the world without ever having learned a language. The perceptual filter of your conceptual mind is simply not there. The inner chatter, so habitual you barely recognize it, falls silent, no longer constantly labeling your surroundings, assigning symbolic meaning to each experience, forcing pure perception into the predefined molds of ideas, concepts, and words.


Would your experience of the world be more true, or less true?


Psychedelic landscape with mushrooms
Mushroom Season, 2021

For example, does one get closer to reality by being able to think “tree”, when faced with one of the completely overwhelming fractal phenomena to which we have learned to apply the word? Or do you get to know a person by learning their name?


Of course not.


Languages ​​are mere symbolic systems of grammar and artificial concepts. While reality itself can be seen as either one single unity, or an absolute chaotic mess of fractal fragments, words and concepts structure raw reality into fictitious, but manageable, chunks. They help us navigate the world as it reaches us through the five senses (Mother Nature), as well as being able to use our minds to think and talk about it (Father Culture).


But is it truly reality they make us navigate, even if we were foolish enough to assume that reality is what our senses presents to us?



The Act on the Stage of Language

Words and concepts create an agreed-upon, fictional world into which we are hypnotized from childhood. There most of us live for the rest of our lives. This fictional world becomes our home, “reality” itself. Who would even consider the possibility of one’s home being a prison, one’s reality being a mere artifact?


And yet it is.

Since language have found its way into our psyches from the very beginning of our lives, it deeply infiltrates our inner monologues. In fact, it constitutes them. It creates the inner voice of the ego and becomes the unshakable filter for our very experience of reality. Without our noticing it, our unfiltered perception of real phenomena is automatically converted into conceptual ideas.

As a result, we no longer experience the real phenomenon. Instead, hypnotized into the fiction of language, we only experience the label we have learned to apply to that phenomenon, plus all the other labels and concepts we associate with it.

Just as Krishnamurti said:

The day you teach a child the name of a bird, the child will never see that bird again.

Two swans in a lake with psychedelic colors
Two Swans in Lillsjön, 2021

True, absolute reality may be whatever it is. But this hypnosis of language means we have long since stopped existing in even the physical world as it actually reaches us through our bodily senses. Instead, we spend our lives in only the flat definitions that make up our common agreed-upon landscape of symbols.

In this landscape of flat symbols we live and die, conditioned into a perception of reality where we are limited subjects, thrown into a material world of defined objects, left to struggle and secure our survival via actions, verbs.

This is the human experience, the grand play we all are forced to act out on the symbolic stage of manmade language and culture.

Confusing phenomena and noumena 

Of course, as long as we are content existing merely inside this fictitious play, acting out our scripted role convincingly, this is all fine. But as soon as we want to grasp something more real – those of us who wish to leave Plato’s cave, let’s say – our habitual conceptual mind soon shows itself to be an impediment.


Not just an impediment, in fact. But the impediment itself.


While that which first trapped us in the illusion of senses and matter (Mother Nature) may be another discussion, that which first trapped us in the illusion of language (Father Culture) was the conceptual mind. Since then, it upholds the hypnosis and keeps us in its illusion, especially since we think we can use concepts to think our way out of the prison we thought are way into.

Why? Well, during the years, we have invested far too much of our sense of meaning in concepts and ideas. Now, even our sense of self is but a mere symbolic-linguistic artefact.

Therefore, stepping out of the trance feels like death. Death for both the world and for the self.


As a result, even in our grasp of reality, truth, or God (whatever we may call it), we cannot seem to leave this mind-prison. Obviously, this makes discovering what we're searching for impossible.

We find ourselves having become like travelers on our way to, let’s say, London, getting stuck at a road sign with the word “London” on it, thinking we must have arrived, since it says “London” here. Without us even noticing it, we habitually confuse the symbol pointing to the real thing for the real thing itself.

It’s like the old Buddhist saying of a finger pointing at the moon. The one staring at the finger misses the moon.


What are words like God, reality, and truth, really trying to point towards? Is God an old, bearded man on a cloud? Is reality the material world as it reaches us through our senses? Is truth what can be measured with scientific apparatuses, or calculated with mathematical equations, and thereby understood by the mind?



All of these are elements of the fictitious play of concepts, part of the manmade act of culture and symbols. No matter how real spiritual experiences of certain beings may be, or how convincing scientific results may appear inside this play, they are self-referential props inside the grand symbolic construction of the conceptual mind. They prove mere illusion. Meanwhile, absolute reality forever lie beyond the grasp of words, dualistic logic and even mathematics.


While concepts and words initially may try to point to something real, as soon as they exist inside the context of the totality of language, their meaning relies solely on the web of constructed understanding created by myriads of other fictitious concepts. Language itself – and in extension, culture – creates a self-referential echo chamber, hindering us to reach raw reality as long as we are caught inside its conceptual grip.


How to cure with poison

Since this is text, and text is words, the crucial question becomes this:

How does one even write or talk about reality, if everything we can say automatically is not just an illusory substitute for the real thing, but also exists within a grand web of fictitious meaning that actually diverts us from raw reality?


Entheogen reveals nature spirit
Entheogenic Communication with an Old Tree, 2022

Many of us have experienced something of this divertion coming out of a profound dream, or a psychedelic or spiritual experience, thinking this is it. This is the answer! Later, back into the firm grip of the conceptual mind and the rigid world it presents to us, we have no ability to grasp what this was, or even what it was the answer to. Neither the true question nor the true answer can be put into words, as they exist on a plane prior to, and beyond, the rational mind and its simple reliance on words, grammar, cause and effect.


A couple of famous line by Lao Tzu immediately comes to mind:


He who speaks does not know, he who knows does not speak.


Or the very beginning of Dao De Jing:


The Dao that can be spoken is not the eternal Dao. The name that can be named is not the eternal name. The nameless is the origin of heaven and earth. The named is the mother of myriad things.


So, how to reach this wordless origin with words?


Essentially: How to heal with poison?


One of the mystical-realist answers may be surprising.




A Thorn to Remove a Thorn: The Antidote of Myth

If you want to use words to point to what lies beyond words, a mythological approach is almost the only option. But aren’t myths even more fictional than the already established fiction of language? No. It only appears so from the false conviction that the fiction of language is indeed reality. And it isn’t.


Myths can be described as the dreams of the human collective, existing half inside, half outside the limitations of the narrow rational mind. Therefore, they also exist half inside, half outside, a more real world than the strictly logical one created by the conceptual mind.

Esoterically speaking, dreams reflect the part of us that still isn't fully caught in neither matter (Mother Nature/bodily senses) and the linguistic-symbolic hypnosis (Father Culture/conceptual mind), though still affected by both in a sort of backwards manner. For most people, dreams are the only remaining link to the astral plane (using spiritual lingo), and somethimes even beyond. And therefore, for many people the only remaining reminder that the material world, and the way we label it, might not be the only thing there is.

Collectively, the same can be said about myths.


Using an analogy regarding poisons and venoms, mythological stories can be seen as antidotes to the poisonous fiction of concepts and language. In themselves, they are also fictional, and they obviously use language and concept, but interpreted correctly (that is, not interpreted conceptually at all, but experienced like a dream) they can take us out of a fiction we would otherwise get completely stuck in.


They are as the Buddha described his teaching – a thorn to remove a thorn.


Interpreted incorrectly (as in either taken literally or psychologically), of course, they can themselves become fictions to get stuck in. Then you get the dogma of religion, including the “secular” dogma of scientism (largely the prevailing myth of today). Still, used as antidotes, myths have the power to neutralize both the fiction of the myth and the fiction of the current main world model, and suddenly your mind may shut up.


This is the state that sporadically may be glimpsed when faced with a paradox or true mystery, when ones conceptually created world models for a short moment crumble and expose themselves as potentially mere fairytales. This creates, ideally, a wide-open consciousness without any mind-filters, able to finally receive a more pure version of reality.


This, my friends, is basically the definition of a miracle. Reality, for a split moment, existing outside the borders of the cultural-linguistic hypnosis of what should be possible.


The Fall from Eden: Losing Touch with Pure Reality

Regarding our conceptual mind trapping us in illusion, what is a suitable myth? Well, since this imprisonment is the primordial human dilemma, why not look to the foundational myth of the entire western canon – Adam and Eve leaving the Garden of Eden?


Eating the forbidden fruit, we moved from a consciousness that is one with the world as it truly is, to becoming increasingly stuck in a hypnotized mind's interpretation of the world.


Adam and Eve and the snake in the garden of Eden
Adam and Eve, 2018

Eden can be seen as the true, living reality, a dimension far more real than the sensory world interpreted through the conceptual mind. In contrast, the world outside paradise is an artifact of dead matter, devoid of inherent meaning. This life outside Eden, reliant on constant struggle and suffering to maintain its illusion, is ultimately doomed to decay and death.


On a deeper level, this is analogous with paternal consciousness becoming trapped within the bodily senses, experiencing the material world governed by the maternal principle. Everything in this outside world (sensory and mind-interpreted) points back to paradise, as it is a reflection of the real world in empty matter (Eve, the Mother), projected by empty mind (Adam, the Father). By identifying solely with the material body and conceptual identity within this reflection/projection, a part of consciousness gets caught in a self-referential loop, trapping it forever in mind-material illusion.


In the story of the "Fall", the forbidden fruit gave knowledge of good and evil. The first division of the original unity of reality is inevitably this very basic dualism – good and bad, born out of a primordial sense of fear. This first sense of fear was (and is, since we're talking about timeless dimensions here) born from the mere imagination of a possible separation from the unity of Eden. This unity is identical to unconditional love, as it naturally encopasses everything, and fear is the antithetsis to this love, automatically separating a part of consciousness from this unity or from God, which can be seen as our highest self, reality itself in its personalized form.

In other words, fear separated from love. But because the fear was directed at a scenario that was an impossibility, it gave birth to an illusion that required the dualism of good and bad in order to maintain its existence. From this first division and dualism, all other divisions, binary in their nature, spread like fractals.


A Fall for every Conceptual Thought

But good and bad for what, and for whom? And what do we do about it? And what does it mean that good for me can be bad for you?


With the ability to linguistically and conceptually ask such questions, we certainly became like "gods" in our capacity to create culture and civilization in this collective dream world of ours. And many in their superficial readings have pointed to how God acted selfishly, forbidding Adam and Eve to eat of a fruit that gave such knowledge and power. This seems to be a popular interpretation in so called “gnostic” circles, hailing the snake as the saviour, and God (actually the plural Elohim in the text) as an evil prison guard.


But this knowledge and power is only relevant in a reflected, upside-down and ultimately unreal existence. Such knowledge and power is thus actually delusion and weakness. Therefore, the deepest reading of the myth retains the morals of the traditional interpretation, only not in a moralistic sense. When pure spirit indulges in the type of “knowledge” that the forbidden fruit represents, it inevitable throws a part of consciousness further away from its source.

But this fall had to happen, just as it has to happen right now.



Because this dimension of material “illusion”, this very distorted reflection of true reality where you are reading this now, is a natural part of the totality of reality. It is not a hellish mistake or evil prison, that some gnostics suggest. A part of the totality, or the union (of God, if you will) always seemingly leaves and exists outside its original, naked and innocent consciousness.

The keyword is "seemingly". In the end, it is all the One consciousness exploring the idea of not being one, of being separate, mortal and alone.




Because reality is endless. It encompasses all things. And this is one of them.




Become like children

This illusory separation is not only where you’re reading this right now, but that separated prodigal son, the stray part of God, is the one who is reading. In the original myth the Elohim gave us clothes of skin, symbolizing our identification with the body's limitation in time and space, to protect us from our own sense of imaginal fear, which cast us into a world where we must conceptually and materially struggle to create our own reality, to find meaning in our own fiction.

Still, beyond all this still awaits the total unity of reality, completely indescribable and inaccessible to the conceptually hypnotized mind which lives in an imaginary plurality.


Jesus Christ in meditation
Christ 3, 2019

While the Bible begins with man leaving this paradisiacal primordial world – one with God, reality and our highest self – it ends with Jesus trying to describe a way back in. His message was that the kingdom of heaven is here.




Not in a fictional future in a fictional kingdom after the fictional person's fictional death. Though it's a huge simplification, paradise may simply be seen as the natural state that remains, when all linguistically created illusions have been removed.


Of course, this is also why it is said we must become like children to enter the kingdom of heaven (in perception – not necessarily in mindset), as children are not yet fully hypnotized into the linguistically constructed world. Sure, babies scream and cry, but they are not necessarily identified with the body that is screaming and crying.


Unfortunately, becoming like children, dropping all belief in the reality of concepts, is much easier said than done. We have so identified with the illusions of this world, of matter and mind, that our very sense of identity depends on this mortal and restricted artefact, forgetting the ever-present consciousness that is aware of it all. After Jesus' death, his words also quickly turned from an antidote aimed to cure the poison of a cultural fiction, to becoming just another cultural fiction to get stuck in and poisoned by.


Again, Christians focused on the finger, not the moon. The spiritual concepts and myths created another self-referential cultural system that kept everybody stuck in this world, as the teachings stopped pointing to the eternal soul of man, and started pointing to the mere fictional interplay of mortal egos.




Silence: The Gateway to Mystical Realism

So how do we get back in?

Surrealistic couple kissing
Evening Stroll, 2022

Well, the only thing you can begin to do is to regularly pause and shut up, to stop the automatic belief in the absolute reality of your thoughts, to see the symbols you use to think with as just that – symbols that don’t necessarily point to something ultimately real outside the linguistically created mind-landscape that humans inhabit.


You may say it is not even a landscape, but flat shapes in the cave that Plato spoke about, mere shadows on a wall, hypnotizing us since birth, perhaps thousands of births, chaining us to the cave, forcing us to confuse the play of shadows for reality itself.

If you're blessed and cursed enough to even try to break free, you will soon find the addiction to conceptual thinking incredibly, even terrifyingly, deep. Your ego, itself an artifact, will demand the constant chatter in your head.

Because without it, it dies.

The shock is how deep into your mind you can travel, only to find you still think this ego-mask, this mind-parasite programmed into you by language and culture, is the real you. To stop you from finding out it isnt, it will convince you of the necessity of the most meaningless things, just to get your attention. In meditation and contemplation, it will lust even for the things you hate. It will do everything in its power to convince you that nothing but madness and death awaits outside the borders of its illusory world.

What's truly sad is that it most likely will succeed. Because if this false you is the only you you've ever know, anything outside it will certainly feel like death.


But fear not. Reality itself is love, not fear, as soon as you stop lusting for illusion. Because outside of the cave, awaits what?


Mystical Realism.


And where is that exactly?


Here, between every single sensory experience.


And when?

Between every single thought.




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