Citation: Imaginary. "My First Trip Was Lifechanging: An Experience with Mushrooms (exp104360)". Erowid.org. Jan 1, 2021. erowid.org/exp/104360
We were at my friend’s condo at the beach. It was around six in the evening and the sun was getting low in the sky. It had rained all weekend but the sun was finally starting to poke through the clouds. One of us carefully began to prepare the potent concoction for four. He carefully ground up the mushrooms in a blender, boiled the water in a kettle, and brewed them until the water was graphite-grey. We gathered around the counter and poured ourselves each a full mug. There was enough remaining for each of us to have a second nearly-full cup. Each cup was to be a full three and a half grams — the full, proper dose to truly experience the drug for what it is.
My three friends bravely drank down their cups. Cautiously, I took a single, large sip. Being my first time, I wanted to ease myself in and see how I would react.
I took a single, large sip. Being my first time, I wanted to ease myself in and see how I would react.
I wasn’t quite ready to let go of my consciousness this time around — there would be plenty of opportunities for that in the future. I was set on taking only a half-dose. To my surprise, the black liquid tasted a lot like actual mushrooms — the same kind that you would cook and bake on a pizza. After waiting ten minutes my friends reported that they could already feel it starting. I felt nothing, so I slowly drank half of the remaining liquid one sip at a time. Another ten minutes went by and I could indeed feel a new sensation setting in. It felt as if a warm, dark fog was enveloping my mind. My friends, who had already drinken their entire cups, were sitting outside on the deck watching the sunset as they were already feeling the full effects. I was surprised by how quickly the effects of this mysterious substance had set in. I expected to wait over an hour and yet here I was, already feeling a new unfamiliar feeling after just a few minutes.
I walked outside onto the deck to join them. I sat down in a chair and stared up at the pink clouds. It was eerily quiet as we sat there too immersed in our own minds to talk. Another twenty minutes went by and I realized that in no ordinary state of mind could I stare at the clouds and feel this blissfully content and consumed by the moment. The clouds were no ordinary pink; they were more vivid and beautiful than usual. I noticed how beautiful the shape of the palm fronds against the sky were and I become suddenly aware of the deep yellows and blues of the stilted houses across the sound from us. Life was a little more vivid but the effects were still quite subtle. I was feeling relaxed and content, although a bit anxious and excited to discover this new state of consciousness. My friends were reporting some interesting visual sensations. I found it difficult to judge how much time had passed, but it felt like quite a long. Still feeling pretty normal, I went and got my coffee mug, sat down, and slowly drank the remaining grey liquid. Some more time went by… how much time I will never know, before I realized that I felt almost nothing at all. I couldn’t have been tripping yet — sure, colors were move vivid and my relationship with time was fading, but I did not see any actual hallucinations. After all, this was a hallucinogen, wasn’t it? I figured that since nothing was moving, nothing was missing, and I couldn’t see anything that wasn’t actually there, I was still far from tripping. Boy was I wrong…
I got up and went inside to fill up my cup again. My friends had already had their second cups. I followed suit. There wasn’t a full second cup left, but there was certainly a half cup remaining. Eager to feel something new and profound, I chugged it down. I walked back outside and sat down at the table next to my friends. The chairs were higher than the lawn chair I had previously been sitting in and now I had a better view of the sound and sunset. Suddenly I felt a sensation that I have never felt before: I was weightless and I had lost the sensation that I am me. This must sound strange, but few other words can describe it; my mind had left my body and I was just a consciousness. Wherever my mind wandered, there I was. When I looked at the clouds, I was the clouds. When I sat down, I was the chair. The comfortable barrier between me an the outside world had vanished.
The sensation was so strong and unexpected that it took me by surprise. I was terrified. I didn’t mean to do this to myself. I had only wanted to feel minor effects. I wasn’t ready for the full effects. Fuck! I had been looking for the wrong indications: I was ready for visual effects but this was a drug of the ego. It was not what I had expected. My ego was being dissolved and my mind was being unleashed. The anxiety of realizing that my ego was gone and the overwhelming vividness of all of the sensory stimuli around me was too much. Pacing nervously, I tried to fight the trip and hold on to what remained of my ego. I was not ready for this.
I went inside and laid down on the bed. I turned the lights out and tried to relax. Trying to resist the trip was requiring an increasingly large amount of effort… it was the most exhausting thing I had ever done. As I fought, my body temperature rose. My head and neck were red and hot to the touch. I was having a panic attack.
I looked at the clock. 7:30pm. Time had stopped… or more accurately, I was outside of time. My relationship with time had vanished and I was just a being, with moments of consciousness flashing before me. Logically, I knew that time was passing because I knew that it took time to think and to walk around, but there was no perception that time was moving at all. It had only been a few minutes since I started fighting this crazy trip and I had still hours to go. “How am I possibly going to get through this? What if I don’t make it? What if I am stuck here for eternity?”, I thought.
Laying in bed, I decided I would attempt to rationalize my way out of the panic. “What are you actually afraid of?” I asked myself. Upon asking myself this profound question, to my amazement I discovered that I could see deep into my consciousness in a way that I have never seen before. I searched through the depths of my deepest fears and anxieties. I had been resisting the trip because I was afraid of what I might find, but I discovered that there was nothing to be afraid of except for fear itself. Once I realized this I let go of my consciousness and let my mind wander. I began to ask myself deep, emotional questions that under a normal state of mind I am afraid to ask. I searched my consciousness for the roots of my anxiety and depression. I realized that I had a lot of pent up stress and anxiety and I didn’t even know it because I had become so used to carrying it around with me all the time. I asked myself what the root of the anxiety was and I realized that sometimes there is not always a root. Sometimes the answer is as simple as not having enough emotional support or not being held enough as a child. Other times it is caused by measuring your own life against your friends’ values and goals instead of sticking to your own path and ambitions in life. I realized that these anxieties, regardless of their roots, caused unnecessary suffering and over-analyzation. I decided right then to let go of them and never look back. I asked myself what I was hiding from. I asked myself why I hesitated to do what I really wanted to do in life and how to find the courage to do it. I asked myself who I was and who I was afraid to be. I asked myself what I didn’t like about myself and what I love about myself. To my relief, I discovered that the answers to all of these difficult, emotional questions were all so simple. I don’t feel like the English language has adequately equipped me to explain the answers that I found to these questions, perhaps because they were too abstract and came to me in the form of visions, not words, but I can say that I found deeply satisfying answers to each and every question that I asked.
I closed my eyes and let it all soak in at which point I could see the beautiful green fractal patterns that mushrooms famously produce, mirroring the neural layout of the brain. I went back into the kitchen and decided to rally up my friends to go down to the beach. I wanted to change my surroundings and move on to somewhere more inspiring and be in nature. There was a brief moment where I looked around the condo and everything felt beautifully mysterious and unfamiliar, like I was discovering the world again for the first time. Paradoxically, this feeling of unfamiliarity itself felt familiar… it was the feeling of discovering the world anew that I had felt twenty years previously as an infant.
One of my friends was standing in the living room with me. I looked at him. He looked back at me. He could tell that I was still uneasy. Again, the English language fails to provide me with the language to describe most of what I was going through and my mind was racing far too fast to put things into words anyways, but I managed to muster a few sentences to my friend: “I’m just having… in this new world… I’m just having a hard time…” my voice trailed off… “accepting it” - he finished my sentence. He was right. I realized I had to accept the trip and let it take its course. I could feel an incredible tightness in my muscles. A tightness that had been there all along. Perhaps it had even been there for my entire life. We finally began to walk out the door for the beach. By now it was almost dark. I realized that we still had hours to go and I desperately wanted make peace with this powerful drug. But how? I stopped, looked up at the sky, and said to myself:
You took a drug. You chose to take it. It was your choice. You didn’t have to do it, but you wanted to. You are going to have to accept the consequences of that decision. There is no turning back now. You can accept it and let it take its course or you can fight it. The choice is yours.
At this moment, I let go. I accepted that in this world there was simply no longer a “me.” I accepted that this mysterious new world was temporary no matter how real and permanent it felt. I accepted that my mind would show me things about myself that I needed to see. There was no more filter. I began to accept myself for who I really was and I realized that I have the power to change the things that I don’t like.
Upon fully letting go, my world was nearly indistinguishable from a dream. I had enough sense to stop before crossing the street and check for cars and to occasionally remind myself that unlike a real dream, whatever happens in this dream is permanent, but aside from these occasional reminders, I had no understanding that this world was the same world that I live in every day of my life. For all I knew this new world shared no reality with the old one, only being reminded of my past life when I looked inwards and found that I had left some memories for myself.
When we finally got to the beach, we sat down and enjoyed the sounds of the waves crashing, the sensation of the sand under our feet, and one another’s company. I looked off into the distance at the ocean. I snapped back to reality momentarily and realized that I had briefly become one with the ocean. Then I remembered that somewhere deep down I am me and that I have a life outside of this new world. I wondered what that life had been like, so I curiously sifted through my memories. My mind wandered through my life, my friendships, past relationships, my family, my career, my personality, my habits, my fears… every aspect of my life, one by one, and saw it in a completely objective light. Removed from the ego that holds my normal mind intact, I took each piece of my life and held it in my mind’s eye. Each concept, normally too abstract to grasp all at once, was perfectly tangible and concrete. I could interact with concepts like happiness and anxiety and love as if they were as real as the sand under my feet. I could hold them in front of me and physically feel their weight. Each idea was so incredibly heavy and exhausting yet I felt so energized and excited to pick each one up and hold it in my mind for the first time. With each piece of my life that I picked up, rediscovered, and put down again, I could feel weight being lifted from my shoulders. This new objectivity gave me the clarity and courage to challenge many of the foundations on which I had built my ego: something that is inherently scary because if any of the core beliefs you have about yourself turn out to be wrong, your whole existence could come toppling down. I was relieved to find that I had built my world views and ego on solid foundations. There were relatively few things about myself that I wanted to change, and I realized that even those were no longer intimidating because I have the power to change them. Upon analyzing myself, I gained a new confidence because I now trust that I have not built myself on top of incorrect beliefs. Everything became so incredibly clear. I knew exactly who I was and who I wasn’t.
Of the particular parts of my life that I found I wanted to change, the most notable was that I had been afraid of wandering through life, lost, and I had it in my mind that I needed to find the perfect place to live, the perfect lifestyle, the perfect group of friends, and the perfect personality. In a single instant it became clear to me that this was a flawed, unrealistic perspective. Life isn’t about finding perfection; it’s about being yourself and doing what you love. Maybe once you do this you will discover one day that you have stumbled upon perfection. But you cannot simply seek out perfection. The world is simply too unpredictable and chaotic. You will only ever be disappointed and you will live your whole life for a future that will never come.
The second of the more profound realizations I had was that I don’t have to change who I am or what I am doing with my life to satisfy this first epiphany. I don’t have to quit my job as a programmer and become some meditative monk. I don’t have to redefine myself at all. I simply have to accept my changed perspective and all necessary changes will follow. When I get back to the real world from this trip, I can happily keep on doing all of the same things that I have always been doing so long as they feel right. If they don’t feel right, then I can change what I’m doing.
With this new perspective, life suddenly feels so, incredibly simple. There’s no much to it anymore… if you can trust the gut instinct, there’s not a whole lot of thought that has to go into deciding where to go in life. The intuition (aka “gut instinct”) is quite a bit more logical than we give it credit for. If you can learn to trust it, it will not lead you astray.
This entire experience of sifting through my life felt like someone taking all of my neurons out, reorganizing them in a more stable, organized, calm state, and putting them back in. It was like defragmenting my brain. Everything ever since this experience has felt so much simpler and more straight forward. I don’t overthink things anymore. I trust my gut instinct now.
There was a moment where I thought about all of the violence and chaos in the Middle East and Ukraine, and all I could think about was how that felt so very far away and in a totally different world. I could only imagine that if everybody over there that’s fighting could see the world from this objective perspective, there would be no more fighting. It would all end instantaneously. They would realize that it’s all so absurd and there is too much else in life to be happy for to want to kill each other. Of course I’m sure this is quite an oversimplification, but generally speaking I find it difficult to believe that these extremists would not be forced to abandon their incredibly subjective world views after seeing the world objectively.
As the trip began to come to an end, I was incredibly curious and excited to see if the realizations that I had would pan out and prove to be sensical while under a normal state of consciousness again. They did.
Ten days later I can say that the experience feels as permanent and profound as ever. The way that I saw things on this trip was far more objective than the way I sees things every day in my mind’s normal filtered state of consciousness. Having seen the world this way I don’t think I can ever quite see it the same way again.
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