Blowing Your Mind

I’ve been reading this thread on Ask Metafilter regarding one person’s search for experiences which will blow their mind. It’s amazing to see the variety of responses, and how many people cite drug-use as the sole answer. (I’m not advocating nor discrediting this, just noting).

I realize this is kind of a weird and imprecise question, but bear with me here.

Some background – I’ve done a lot of things in my short time on this planet in an attempt to further understand myself, everyone else, and generally just become a genuinely interesting and understanding human being. Not to mention have a bit of fun along the way. I’ve been around the world and seen poverty, excess, and everything in between. I’ve taken a myriad assortment of weird drugs, always safely, always with the intent of learning about the inner reaches of my mind. I’ve dabbled with reasonable success in the arts of lucid dreaming and “astral projection” (with and without drugs), keeping in mind that these are scientifically explainable aspects of consciousness and not supernatural mumbo-jumbo. In the past year or so I’ve been messing around a bit with meditation, and getting serious about it is my resolution for 2006.

So! What types of things have you done that have totally blown your mind? What sorts of things have changed the way you think, act, feel, or just your general perception of the world around you? “Expanded your consciousness “? I’m looking more for slightly offbeat things than the “when I saw my child for the first time” stuff that happens to everybody.

Some of the answers I completely agree with: studying quantum physics (c’mon I’m not just a photographer), reading ground-breaking literature, meditation (wish I had studied it further), extreme physical exertion, complete isolation, visiting the great works of man, nature’s creations (grand canyon, etc), realizing that almost every single thing around us was created by those that lived before us, studying astronomy and truly (attempting to) grasping the scope of how small we are (check out this image!), and my own personal favorite – leaving everything behind and moving to a completely new country and culture where you don’t speak the language or even think the same way as those surrounding you. It will truly change you forever.

Would you add anything to this list?