You Can Always Return... Meeting Lady Lucy
Citation: Mozi. "You Can Always Return... Meeting Lady Lucy: An Experience with LSD (exp111186)". Erowid.org. Mar 16, 2019. erowid.org/exp/111186
I should preface this with a bit of background on myself. It might seem needlessly wordy, but it's kind of important to understand my own mindset and background to understand the significance of some parts of my experience I think.
I've always found myself a bit different than others growing up. In hindsight, I've come to realize I probably have some degree of undiagnosed high-functioning Aspergers - something psychedelics have helped tremendously with in terms of its accompanying social anxiety, but that's a story for another time. INTJ personality. Generally pretty 'serious'.
I grew up in a conservative Christian household, and while I do respect my parents for trying to provide me with what they felt was the best possible upbringing, I never really believed it. I always loved discussing and reading philosophy. In college, I got pretty enamored with Marxist Dialectical Materialism as a worldview, and I still maintain it today; despite the experiences I'm about to relay, I don't believe anything other than a chemical acting on receptors in my brain was responsible for the experience I had. Nevertheless, it was one of the most intriguing experiences of my life, and one I have and intend to repeat many more times. It's shown me that the brain is clearly capable of producing a much wider variety of states of consciousness than most people realize. And that's a true pity.
After university, I moved to China. It was something I'd always wanted to do really. I'd always been infatuated with the culture, and I felt in a number of ways my outlook on the world probably would make me feel less alienated here. For the most part, this has been the case. I was borderline depressed before coming here, and definitely have gotten a lot better, and still very much love the culture.
Prior to this experience, I'd had some experience with THC and MDMA. Both were interesting enough in their own way, but nothing on this level. For about a year, at this point, I'd been interesting in trying more 'serious' psychedelics, but never really knew where to acquire them. Then kind of out of the blue, my usual hookup for marijuana offered to sell me a sugar cube of LSD. I was kind of intimidated, but definitely intrigued.
It was about a week or so before I actually took it. I wanted it to be the 'right' time. I'd done enough preliminary research to know the importance of 'set and setting'. The day I chose was in early autumn. The leaves were just starting to change, I think, but it was still decently warm out. My favorite time of year actually.
I took the sugar cube out of its hiding place, and with admittedly little ceremony (and strangely little apprehension in the moment) put it in one of the insulated bottles for making tea that are so popular here in China and proceeded to mix it with a nice chai tea in hopes the soothing flavor would gently drift me into it.
At first, of course, I felt nothing. A slight pang of anxiety, the realization that the LSD was now in my stomach and soon enough would start to enter my bloodstream and thereby exert its effect on my brain, and there was nothing really I could do now to prevent that. I tried my best to pass that away and look forward to it with excitement. I went into the shower and let the warm water fall over me - a ritual I still do most times when I dose to help deal with any potential anxiety. At the time, I had the song 'What a Wonderful World' playing on my phone. Not my normal taste in music, but I figured it had a positive message and calming vibe; should help to avoid any potential freakouts.
Maybe twenty or so minutes after dosing, I still didn't particularly feel too much of an effect, as was to be expected. I was kind of torn between staying inside (not knowing what to expect, this seemed more prudent) and going outside and seeing the full effects of how my perception of the world might be changed. I decided for a sort of safe middle ground: there was a pretty nice garden area in the apartment complex I lived in. I figured I could walk around it a bit and see how I felt, and if it got too bad, presumably I could retreat back to the safety of my apartment.
I walked around outside for maybe fifteen minutes or so - a bit past the 30 minute mark - when I began to feel the first effects coming on. It was subtle; no visual distortion really. I just got this sort of subtle, but strong, urge to sit down at a certain bench. Not really knowing how a psychedelic state was 'supposed' to feel, I tried to focus my mind on some problems I'd been having in a few social relationships at the time, thinking perhaps the substance would in some way 'talk back' to me and give me some sort of insight that my sober mind couldn't reach.
I did indeed start to receive 'thoughts' back, thoughts I wasn't consciously generating, or so it seemed. But rather than dealing with the problems, these thoughts seemed to basically say 'Now is not the time to worry about such things. If you stress out about them in this state, you'll end up in a very bad state.' After 'receiving' that thought several times, I decided to trust whatever it was that was sending me such an intuition and stop focusing on such matters.
The comeup was actually quite quick from here. Before I realized it, my thoughts were going in 'loops'; mercifully something in my brain had had the foresight to warn me of this chemical's effects and the potential for freaking one's self out before I'd gotten that far. Not knowing how 'high' I would end up, and wanting to avoid any possibility of freaking out in public, I quickly made my way back to my apartment.
Returning, I felt a lot more calm, but my mind was still going in all kinds of directions. There was an anxious energy to the chemical itself, but paradoxically a much stronger sense of calm. If anything, I felt a bit jittery, but not necessarily in a bad way.
The first visual effects started to kick in here. I like to collect historic Chinese posters; one of them I had on the wall was of Chairman Mao addressing a large crowd with an uplifted arm. While the borders of objects remained quite distinct, I could perceive his facial expressions changing. While the poster depicted him with a more-or-less stoic expression, I saw his face seem to be 'squished' a bit vertically (without the actual borders between objects seeming to be altered at all, oddly), this having the effect of him seeming to have a somewhat unnatural smile on his face. In turn, it would shift back to normal, then to the 'shrunken, smiling' form many many times.
Outside the window there was a large billboard advertising toothpaste on an opposite building. A man was smiling with really white teeth. No real visual changes to his form, but ever time I looked at it, I also smiled and laughed kind of giddily. It was like looking at that picture gave me the expression of the man in it, but only superficially. I didn't feel the sort of extreme artificial happiness one tends to experience on say MDMA; just for whatever reason compelled to mimic that man's expression.
For a while I kind of chilled, listening to some music I liked and glancing back and forth between the Mao poster and the billboard outside.
After a while I decided to go into the bathroom and stare at myself in the mirror to see if I could get a depersonalization effect. My pupils were a bit wider than normal; noticeable to me, but I doubt strangers would have thought anything of it. Nothing too extreme. I again had the same sort of urge to laugh kind of giddily, deliriously, and think I said something to the effect of 'Wow, you're really high now, you motherfucker'. It was kind of interesting, but not particularly more trippy than staring at one's self in the mirror while sober already is for me, so I got tired of it after a while.
At this point, more than 90 minutes had passed. I remembered reading that peak intensity of a trip is reached at about the 90 minute mark, from which point it's a very long, gradual, decrease in intensity (further trips have more or less confirm this to be the case for me at least). I figured since I didn't seem to be going outright insane or seeing things that absolutely weren't there - basically I could still functionally interact with reality even if my mind was still in 'loops' - it was probably 'safe' to go out again.
I called a taxi to a park I quite liked downtown. Parks in China are actually really big; to the point that even though you're physically in the middle of a city, you don't really notice; it's basically a world into itself. Lots of traditional style buildings, tea houses, a small lake in the middle. I figured it'd be a nice place to chill for a while. A part of me thought it was foolhardy to go out in public alone on a substance I was trying for the first time. Technically, that probably was a very valid point to have made. But in the state I was in, I decided to go for it.
I grabbed a few bottles of water and the philosophy book I was reading at the time and headed out. I sat in the back of the taxi, listening to my music. Normally I like to talk to taxi drivers to practice Chinese, but I was worried he would be able to tell I was in an off sort of state if I talked to him, so I just showed the location on my phone, and off we went.
I remembering noticing how different the motion of other cars seemed to be. Again, they weren't physically in places they shouldn't be at any given point; they never took up more or less space than they should. Yet, the motion itself seemed far more “fluid”, more like the way that water moves than solid objects. It's an effect I've noticed again on subsequent trips.
At some point through the drive, we got stuck in bad traffic, and the driver turned around to talk to me. He seemed a good natured fellow; mid 40s probably. Quite friendly and seemed to assume I was a tourist. He suggested some other places I could visit in the city nearby. Unfortunately I was in such an odd mental state that there was something of a “mental lag”. I “realized” he'd spoken probably about 10 seconds after actually hearing him, meaning in effect I'd stared at him all that time without responding. He probably thought I was insane or something. I tried to play it off as simply not knowing Chinese. He smiled and told me to listen to my music. Don't think he suspected psychedelics, but probably thought I was a bit “off”. Oh well. At the time I didn't much care.
It was only slightly later, on the way to the park, when it happened. The “other” voice – the one that had “talked” to me back outside my apartment – started speaking to me again. Only it wasn't in audible sound; it was in the form of a thought, but a thought I myself wasn't consciously generating. I felt a great sense of love – maternal love. And the thought repeated over and over in my mind “This is the very beginning; you can always return to this state.”
I felt psychologically “pure”; like a child just born without all the ingrained prejudices and unfounded assumptions society forces into us.
I felt psychologically “pure”; like a child just born without all the ingrained prejudices and unfounded assumptions society forces into us.
Over and over again, softly, it – no She – it definitely had a feminine persona, despite being generated by my own brain told me “You can always come back to this state.”
I felt a great happiness at this revelation. No matter what happened in life, no matter what troubles lie ahead, no matter what mistakes I might make, there was always a chance to return to that pure, innocent, childlike state. This was a feeling, a realization, that remained with me for the entire duration of the trip actually, and something that continues to give me solace to this day.
On some level it took my thoughts to ideas I'd already contemplated. Nietzsche's idea of “Infinite Return”. Poincarre Recurrence. I might literally have that experience and every other an infinite amount of times, even in a purely material universe, and THAT itself was amazing.
Arriving at the park, I was almost at once struck by a sort of child-like curiosity. Everything was simply fascinating, especially natural things. Every flower seemed beautiful, and I wanted to study and learn and understand each. There was a dance going on with dancers in traditional Chinese clothing. I'd seen similar performances before, but in this state it seemed to be the most beautiful thing I'd ever seen. Actually, anything remotely beautiful did for as long as it held my focus.
I saw a mother holding her baby. She saw me, smiled then turned to her baby and talked to him in the sort of childish language that mothers naturally do to their children. In the mindset I was in, it seemed “right” to me as well. It was strange; my intellectual capacity was as normal. My memory more or less intact, my thoughts just fine. I felt at once an adult and a child; having all the capacity of the former, and all the wonder of the latter.
I felt at once an adult and a child; having all the capacity of the former, and all the wonder of the latter.
I walked around a bit. From time to time paranoia seemed to creep up, and I feared others might know I was out in public on drugs. To more or less satisfy my paranoia, I walked around constantly fake-texting on my phone, to give myself an excuse not to have to make eye contact with anyone. I wondered actually how much of the social phenomenon of people overusing cellphones was due to social anxiety.
I finally made my way to the lake. It was early afternoon, and the sun was reflecting off it. The reflections were amazing. It's hard to explain. Physically it looked more or less the same. But I perceived it as more …. “shiny” I suppose. As if the light was somehow brighter than it actually was, in a soft but sharp way. Brilliant, but without glare.
I tried to read the philosophy book I'd brought with me. But it seemed that instead of being able to read it in a linear fashion, I would get “stuck” on each sentence or idea. As I read any particular such sentence, it seemed in that moment the most profound thing I'd ever read, but I'd be unable to connect it with anything else – even the very next sentence. After some time, I gave up on trying to read anything coherent.
Probably for the best. She returned then. She told me she was my mother; my true mother. She was the universe itself, causality that had led to my existence. Yet she had personality. She was full of love, but not weak. No, she was strong, brave. A heroic revolutionary, at every moment fighting and sacrificing herself for a better world for me, for all her “children”. She took the archetype of a particular revolutionary woman I quite admired.
My “father”, so she said, was the philosophical spirit I'd embraced, guiding me but respecting me enough to allow me to struggle to get there, for it was the struggle that made me stronger. He too took the archetype of a revolutionary man I admired, but never addressed me directly. No, I knew him well enough through the words he'd left behind for me.
I was as a child then, full of curiosity and wonder in a perfect garden, under the watchful care of my loving, and yet, pure, proud and strong “mother” and “father”. They would always be with me, She said, watching over from afar. I asked Her many questions, about suffering in the world, what might be done to reduce it to its lowest possible value. She told me that was hard to answer – even for her. Society was a system of so many humans interacting together, all with their own goals and intentions and faults, and so even with the best of intentions, it was difficult to achieve such a thing.
Yet I would try, She told me. She was proud of me for that.
I then brought up a different question, one I feared, but needed to ask. What about those who start off with good intentions – or at least seem to as far as one's motivations can be determined by their actions – who risked much to advance the cause of liberation, but in the end pervert the cause to self-serving ends. I brought up a case of a person I felt had done just that.
She was saddened, I could tell, a bit at the mention, but obliged me. It is a dark world we live in with much unnecessary suffering. Many start with pure intentions to reduce this, but the struggle is not an easy one. It's so easy to lose one's way, compromise one's purity. She told me a story to illustrate:
There was another boy like me, raised by Her and Him. They raised him to love science, investigate and question everything; to strive to do everything in his ability to help the oppressed. And as he grew, he did just that. And yet in doing so, he gained fame – fame in association with his father's and mother's deeds which he feared he could never amount to. It was sad, She told me, because he might have done so much more than either of his parents if he had forged his own path without looking back, without comparing himself to them. This constant comparison to his parents in his own mind eventually drove him to all of the behaviors I saw as corrupt and evil. It was not so much that he desired to do harm from the start, as it was a compulsion deriving from his own internal feelings of fear, weakness, and inadequecy. Feelings I too had struggled with all my life.
“But you have not done as he has done”. She told me. “Not so far, certainly.”
She showed me parts of my life where I'd done things I have to admit were harmful to others in nature. As much as I strive for a certain ideal to change the world for the better, I don't always live up to it. But I'd yet to do anything so harmful to others to lose my “purity”. Merely those were inclinations I'd best try to conquer before moving forward in life.
I was a boy, in the garden, full of curiosity. Just like the “fallen” boy and so many others. Like all of them, I held potential to effect society in innumerable ways for better or worse. But again, She reminded me, I could always return to this state of innocence. So, too, She reminded me, could even have all of those I judged as having betrayed the cause. I was no “better” or “worse” than anyone else apart from the choices I made; but even then, even if I truly messed up and made a disaster of my life – something I dreaded – She would always welcome me back to this state if I was willing. I promised her I always would be.
I left the park and started walking. I felt the sudden desire to get a milk tea. I hadn't really eaten at that point, and while not particularly hungry, I figured it would be good to get some nutrients in the system. By now the feelings of love from Her were so intense, I could barely keep my composure. Using my status as a foreigner to my advantage, I just pointed at a milk tea on the menu to avoid having to talk to the cashier. In that sort of state I doubted I could have had anything resembling a conversation with anyone but Her.
The décor of the cafe itself was quite fitting. A cartoon of a young, scholarly looking man reading a book for the logo, but with very childish anime-esque aesthetics that the rest of the cafe seemed to match. I was on the verge of tears, but in a very good way. Tears of joy, of feeling acceptance by Her, the universe itself. Knowing that reality, causality itself accepted me, approved of my “quest” in life, offered Her moral support. It was wonderful.
I struggled my best to keep a normal composure outward. I drank the tea slowly and pretended to read the book – again, I couldn't focus on more than a sentence or two at a time. Mostly She had stopped “talking”, but the feeling of peace and innocence and love was stronger than ever.
One thing I do remember Her telling me in that cafe though was something along the lines of:
“Be good to the woman who has been your mother in this life. She's tried so hard to raise you well, and she's had such a hard life herself.”
I don't think I actually believe the metaphysical implications of the statement in a sober state – but at the time it seemed to make perfect sense. The fundamental level causality – Her – was of course my TRUE mother. The woman who physically gave birth to me was a much lower level of causality. That actually jived with materialism just fine. But she seemed to imply that both my physical mother and myself had had many experiences prior to our current lifespans.
I'd generally scoff at anything so idealist, but this was coming from Her – taking the persona of one of the women I most respected in history (and a devoted Dialectical Materialist herself) – and in such an emotional state, it made perfect sense. Given that She told it to me, and gave me such good advice on so many other matters, I've tried to see if I can synthesize the statement with materialism in any way (the idea of “Infinite Return” comes to mind, admittedly). But I think it was a deeper meaning than just literal She was getting at:
I realized that even though my parents and I had our differences of opinions on politics and religion and other related things – differences that had definitely strained our relationships – they really did mean well. They really did love me. And while I'd never FELT that love in such a strong way as I did in that moment, their love for me as their son was just as strong; if anything, my parents struggling with their own issues and still having love for me despite our differences, were all the more commendable.
In the next few days after the trip, I decided to try to resolve some of the underlying issues between my parents and myself. It still isn't fully resolved; human experiences and relationships are rarely easy. But She gave me a new motivation to try.
She told me a few other things I think, but I've since forgotten some of them.
At this point, I felt quite calm, and ready to move on. It was getting near sunset, so I decided to take a taxi to a bar that was opening for the first time that night, knowing a lot of my friends would be there. There were similar visual effects of other cars seeming to “swim” by us. Otherwise just a calm feeling; thoughts were still racing from all the new experiences and ideas, but by now it was more of me trying to analyze what had happened than talking to Her. Unfortunately Her voice was gone (and wouldn't return until several trips later), but She'd left me a lot to think about.
I arrived at the building the bar was at, and walked in pretty much on autopilot. In China, a lot of bars are on the top floors of apartment buildings, so I took the elevator to get up. Another foreigner got in with me, and started talking to me; he could clearly tell I was in a pretty out-of-it state and asked if I'd been smoking weed. I was pretty much just staring at things, probably looked like a psycho. I just nodded yes, still not really able to talk much. I figured it was easier than explaining it to a total stranger.
Turns out he ended up going to the same bar as I was. It had a pretty chill vibe. It was fully evening by the time I turned up, and there were lots of colorful lights out that looked really pretty. I took a seat on a beanbag chair outside and got a nice glass of cider. I still figured I wasn't in much of a state to talk to people, and just kind of chilled, staring at the lights and grinning kind of childishly.
A friend of mine was working there, came up and gave me a hug. She too could tell I wasn't in a normal state. She's pretty psychedelic-friendly, so I think she figured what was up, so gave me some space.
After about an hour or so, I'd come down even more. By now, it started to resemble MDMA without the physical stimulant effect. Instead of being unable to talk to people, I became VERY talkative, and started wanting to talk to just about everyone. I properly introduced myself to the man I'd met on the elevator, explained what was up. He found it kind of funny; he was high on weed himself and said he didn't judge, but wouldn't touch LSD. I told him he was really missing out.
Beyond that, I had a lot of conversations with a lot of friends for about two hours. Felt great.
A friend and I went back to my home to watch a film together – Interstellar. I still felt vaguely “trippy”, but more or less normal, just a little “happier” and more curious than normal. The film seemed to fit perfectly with the revelations She had given me.
I went to sleep blissfully that night. I often lucid dream by keeping my mind awake while my body physically falls asleep, and tried to do that then. I had lots of very interesting visuals, but eventually ended up sleeping normally. I woke up the next morning feeling more refreshed than normal. I had to go to work, but there was a subtle good feeling to life all day.
All in all, LSD has changed my life for the better I'd say. It's definitely a chemical that should be treated with the proper respect (or more so, as She told me in a later trip which I might publish later – it's not so much the chemical itself as one's own brain that one needs to be treating with the proper respect, as the seat of one's mind), and with the right set and setting in mind.
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