Mushrooms - P. cubensis
Citation: holothewise. "Stepping Blissfully Out of the Body: An Experience with Mushrooms - P. cubensis (exp115826)". Erowid.org. Oct 18, 2021. erowid.org/exp/115826
Background: I have some experience with psychedelics (and drugs in general) and had a largeish, 4 gram dose of P. cubensis about 5 months ago. At the time, I felt that experience touched on the edge of “really letting go”, so I was confident in taking 5 grams this time, with the intention of having the full psychedelic experience. I’m also a scientist by training, so am interested in the neuroscientific ideas behind what happens in experiences of ego dissolution.
That said, I retain an openness towards both the experience, and explanations thereof, as, having gone through it, it’s very apparent to me that the answer to “What’s happening?” during one of these experiences is unlikely to be explained by science alone. On to the report.
Set and setting, as always for these expeditions, was comfortable and calm, in my own home – surrounded by our creatures and with my partner (who had her own experience the week prior) keeping an eye on me. I ingested the full 5 grams at about 5 in the evening. With my play list prepped and some candles lit, we sat and talked a bit about my intention and the experience she’d had while I waited for the mushrooms to kick in.
The first effects came on at around the half hour mark – a very smooth come up. No nausea, no body load – just the beginnings of euphoria. This continued for a bit and I started to become really happy and relaxed – enjoying the ambience of being in our living room with the pets around and chatting with my partner. I felt a deep connection to, and love for, all of them and a certain reluctance to leave the comfort of that family space and go travelling behind closed eyes – even though that was fully my intention going in.
I spent some time observing our little grey cat – an odd being in and of himself who always hangs around when someone has ingested psychedelics. We like to joke that he’s on loan to us from the Fey realm, and certainly this evening his fur and whiskers seemed to sparkle with iridescence as the psilocybin percolated my consciousness.
Eventually, somewhere around an hour in, I lay back on the foldout couch and put the sleeping mask (with built in headphones) over my eyes and started to listen to the music. I quickly began to feel uncomfortable regarding my breathing – my attention kept pulling back to the sensation that I wasn’t getting enough air and couldn’t afford to stop concentrating on it
my attention kept pulling back to the sensation that I wasn’t getting enough air and couldn’t afford to stop concentrating on it
. I felt like I would easily move from my body if I stayed lying down – and I was concerned that my body would somehow forget to breath without my conscious attention. I felt some anxiety about this and had a hard time letting go and giving in to the mushrooms, so I slipped the sleeping mask back off and moved around the house a bit, looking at plants. Talking to the pets and my partner. Asking her, fairly repetitively, if it was “OK” that I was here with them and wanted to be out in the world rather than “In there.”
She’s a good trip sitter and assured me gently that I could be wherever I needed to be and that if I was “In there” my body would be fine. It knew to breathe on its own. By this point about an hour and a half had passed, and I drank some tea, chatted some more and tried to meditate a little, focusing on my breath. The patterns behind my eyes were beautiful by this stage, swirling orchids of light and fractal geometry. I always experience a period of seeing very bright fractals – though never for long – and it was at this stage that those effects started to manifest in gorgeous, swirling, glowing colour.
Each time I got too distracted by this display, I began to worry about my breathing and would pull back – slip back into the physical world and wander around the house a bit, until, eventually, bodily coordination became tricky at best and I sat down again, noting with some interest that I was seeing the same patterns with my eyes open as when I’d had them closed. My partner, cunning as she is, gently suggested I try closing them again and see what happens.
I did so, and soon had to lie back as I slipped the sleeping mask over my eyes and ears again and slipped into the music once more. What followed from there is fragmented and difficult to place in sequence, but I’ll do my best.
As I lay back, I had some lingering concern about my breathing, but this quickly dissipated as having a body I was cognizant of suddenly became a very distant concern. For a while, I experienced the dual realities of existing as a body (that was still breathing – apparently without my help) in a lounge in a house somewhere and existing as part of something larger. There really is no concise or easy way to explain this or what followed.
Time ceased to be meaningful and the construct of having a body (or a self for that matter) similarly became ludicrous. I existed, blissfully, as a part of absolutely everything else – a part (and all) of the interconnected entangled web of energy that was experienced as pure bliss and pure belonging. Whatever “I” was still present in this experience was simultaneously many things – a whale, a river, land, the simultaneous collection of moments that made up my human “life”. I felt intense understanding and belonging – this, this was what we were. What we actually were. The body, the self we cling to is just an expression of this energy and place.
Perhaps another way to put it is that it felt like a homecoming to self, though I really don’t know if that makes it any clearer. It simply was and always had been. When I somehow remembered there was an I and a body to come back to, I pushed the sleeping mask off and returned to the world with an incredible feeling of just how very stupid having a body was. To the point of being a little indignant at the lunacy of it. Who had made this ridiculous decision?
I managed to briefly discuss this with my other half, before returning to that place, the music and the being. This is where the experience really peaked in intensity at around 3 hours in. Through the headphones Beethoven’s Moonlight Sonata began to play and I experienced this piece of music as the most singularly beautiful thing in existence. In a very real way, I became the music – it ceased to exist as an auditory phenomenon and I simply melded with, and existed as, this incredible piece of composition. I really, really wish there were words that could adequately convey this but there just aren’t. It was an indescribably intense and powerful experience, and I haven’t been able to bring myself to listen to the piece again in the days since.
By this point any notion that there was a body and breath to worry about had become so utterly nonsensical I couldn’t fathom what I had been concerned about. I simply existed in that space of being – timeless and present – and would happily have remained there, ad infinitum.
The second time I came out, returned by the functional needs of my body, I wanted to cry. The fact of having to come back to what I now viewed as a machine was almost physically painful. The space I had just inhabited was so exceptionally beautiful and complete. I found it hard to speak or articulate anything at this point, so I simply dealt with the body (it needed to relieve itself) and then went back to the couch and slipped under for the third and final time. Interestingly, this conception of my body as a machine also cropped up in the experience from the previous report I mentioned.
This last entrance into the state of being was the most revelatory – in addition to the same space described above, I became very aware of the fact that the particulars of my body were a great gift. I’m not going to go into the details of it here, but the body I inhabit is somewhat different from the mainstream and has attached to it a lot of projections and mishandling and pain – born from other people’s flawed ideology of what a body should be like. In a moment of pure understanding, I realized that the particular body I had been given (and the understanding it grants me) is a gift.
In a moment of pure understanding, I realized that the particular body I had been given (and the understanding it grants me) is a gift.
An incredibly precious, unique gift. The realization resonated through me, to my core, upending decades of conditioning that I’ve slowly been working through for the past ten years or so, on my own and in therapeutic settings. I came out of that state again and cried. A lot. Joyfully aware of the gist this realization was.
I do not yet know what to do with that knowledge. And there was more, really a lot more. A download of information I can’t even begin to put down here because there is so much of it that I still need to process myself and I don’t know that I’d be able to find the words. But, the short of it, is that I feel like I’ve touched the very fabric of what is. The pure interconnected state of blissful being that underlies and supersedes all of this ridiculous bullshit that we construct and decide is so very important.
And yes, after the ecstasy, the laundry – I know. Integrating this is going to take a lot of very careful work. But it truly felt transformative and transcendental and real in a way I now know you can only understand if you’ve been to that place. I consider myself well-read on the topic of ego-dissolution and psychedelics but really, no amount of reading can prepare you for the reality.
The science underlying this indicates that the default mode network – the little controller-man in my brain that keeps information and connection between regions fairly discrete during normal consciousness – would have been over-ridden here. Essentially allowing the different regions of my brain to communicate more openly than they normally could. This loosening of the brain, and the resultant ego-dissolution, would likely be terrifying for anyone not anticipating the experience. As I said above, however, I don’t think you can prepare for it in any meaningful sense, beyond making very certain you are somewhere that you feel safe and with someone you fully trust to mind you.
Given that, I would advise caution and building up to it gradually. It’s an experience I think would have terrified me at an earlier point in my life. But I’m humbled, and grateful, and very happy that I got to experience this and now I need to figure out exactly what to do with the information and the gift I’ve been given.
The rest of the experience passed very quickly after this stage. I tend to “snap out of” intoxicated states pretty quickly when my brain decides it’s had enough, and this was no exception. I’d say less than an hour after the peak I felt perfectly normal again – no lingering fractals, no images behind closed eyes – just oddly energized and calm.
And with a hell of a lot to think about.
COPYRIGHTS: All reports are copyright Erowid and you agree not to download or analyze the report data without contacting Erowid Center and receiving permission first.
Experience Reports are the writings and opinions of the individual authors who submit them.
Some of the activities described are dangerous and/or illegal and none are recommended by Erowid Center.