Citation: Dondante. "Peak Experience: An Experience with 4-AcO-DMT & Psilocin (4-HO-DMT) (exp80229)". Erowid.org. Aug 27, 2010. erowid.org/exp/80229
It’s now been over two months, yet upon reflection, nuances of the experience still seem to percolate into my awareness. Some elements are difficult to tease out, since volumes of sensory information were experienced in such a short time. Forcing the experience into a linguistic framework has been a painstaking, but immensely cathartic process. Many times while writing, the story would start to drift off on irrelevant tangents, but I’d inevitably feel compelled to go back and keep it as true to the experience as possible. Above all, I wrote this for myself, so there’s no sense in over-embellishing or getting sidetracked. The bulk of this report was written the week following the experience, but in addition to feeling like it was incomplete, I decided it would be worthwhile to let it further sink in before posting my final thoughts. Forgive the contrivances, as this sort of thing can be incredibly difficult to express …
Overall, I was in an excellent headspace, refreshed and relaxed after a long break from classes. This experience constitutes my only full-on trip for winter break. I had a wonderful MDMA experience with my fiancé ten days earlier (something we’ve been doing about once a year), and a threshold DOM experience a few days before that. My only other experiences since last summer were two encounters with MET and one with DMT. In other words I’d gotten my feet wet a few times, but it had been a good while since I’d taken the plunge.
I was with two close friends who were trying 2C-E for the first time. After goofing around and enjoying some woodsy trails for a few hours, I prepared a new syringe with a sterilized solution containing 9 mg 4-aco-dmt and 3 mg 4-ho-dmt (± 1 mg). For some reason I felt an unexpected sense of trepidation going into the experience. I’d declined the option of 2C-E, deciding that I wasn’t keen on making the 9 hour commitment. After the injection, self doubts started to creep in, “Why the hell am I doing this? Did I really want to subject myself to the mental meat grinder again, already? … Damn, no turning back now.” I’d gone through a rough experience with DPT the previous summer, and then had another altogether unpleasant one with IM MET in the fall. Even though my use had been waning, I’d begun to question the value of the psychedelic experience. Was I deluding myself by thinking that these experiences were an integral part of my personal and spiritual development?
Remarkably, I was able to calm myself and enter the state with little resistance. Joining my two friends (who were acting ridiculous and grinning like idiots) helped lighten the mood. In addition to not talking much, my body language must have communicated some strange mix of signals. I was asked a number of times if I was doing okay. The best responses I could muster were a few perversely inadequate exclamations, somewhere along the lines of “Fucking incredible!” or “Absolutely wonderful!” I can recall covering my mouth as it dropped open in awe – eyes peeled, muscles tensing with excitement. When emotions became overwhelming, which they frequently did, my eyes would close and roll back as if looking up in submission before some crushingly immense force.
This was a peak experience; a rare state of being characterized by overwhelming feelings of grace, humility, awe, and strangely, at the same time, power. Accompanying gentle feelings of benevolence was the realization of being plugged into a system of staggering enormity and complexity. The experience was one of those that reawakens a childlike sense of enchantment and cultivates a newfound respect for this experience we call life.
The rough chronology went as follows:
First alerts (5 min)
Quick rise (5-15 min)
Plateau (2 hr)
Gradual return to baseline (2 hr)
The music of Sigur Rós cast an ethereal and majestic quality to the evening while the BBC documentary, Planet Earth, further captivated my aesthetic sense and seemingly empowered my intuition. This documentary transports me into the heart of pristine expanses of wilderness, vast areas of natural beauty unspoiled by modern civilization. The life force of our planet radiated through this “window into the natural world” gracing my sensorium with sights of unspeakable beauty. Each image just oozed with meaning, as if every bit of information carried the essence of the universe. The psilocin/psilocetin released my mind, simultaneously broadening its associative network and loosening it from the grips of that inescapable “I” which routinely clouds perception.
Through vibrations, pulsations, and undulations, Nature unveiled its cosmic dance. Life emerged from silent, primordial rhythms; each organism imparted its own signature onto the boundless, ever-changing bio-mosaic. Dramatic sequences of time-lapse photography allowed even the slowest of dances to spring to life – seasonal blossoming of wild flowers, nightly animation of coral reefs, escape reflexes of brittle stars. What a fucking beautiful planet we live on! My environment reciprocated these rhythms, transforming the room to the corresponding ecology: alien seafloor, dense jungle, eerie cave.
The drugs seemed to facilitate an understanding of the intricate processes underling our physical world. Agile associative processes augmented the flow of ideas without the hindrance of linguistic constraints. Interwoven systems exchanged energy within the ever-swirling soup of organic matter. Interestingly, I felt like I had been granted more immediate access to the often obscured notions lurking in the back of my mind. The recall of declarative facts remained more elusive than ever, but something else informed my awareness. I speculate that I had gained conscious access to a symbolic level of information more elementary than that of human language, a primal level of knowledge.
One thing that struck me was that life is not only thriving in the rainforests and temperate regions of our planet, but also in the most desolate and inhospitable of habitats. The peak of the experience was spent submerged miles below the sea surface, visiting the most alien life forms imaginable. I vividly recall projecting my awareness into the experience of a deep sea arthropod, drifting through the 3-dimensional matrix in complete darkness, sensing and snatching the organic particulates that would sustain me. I was constantly reminded that everything operates in concert; the word perfection seems apt to characterize my impression. Form and function appeared as two sides of the same coin.
I had seen it all before, but at this instant, life just seemed so perfectly natural, as if this autopoietic force was destined to manifest itself. Phylogenies flowed together in my mind’s eye, each lineage converging at the same source. All life traced back to the inanimate, obeying fundamental physical laws, blurring the distinction between living and non-living. I observed as physical processes transpired in all their complexity and splendor – ephemeral events embedded in the eternal framework. Life, I understood, however arbitrary a term, is an inevitable product of natural processes, nothing more than a complex expression of the universe, yet this was fascinating.
And what was far more fascinating, I quickly realized, is that I’m an expression too. How am I any different from the wildlife witnessed in the BBC documentary? I believe that any perceived differences are merely man-made abstractions, differences of degree. We’re all linked to the same evolutionary chain, subject to the same physical forces. Humans are animals and animals are merely self-organizing systems composed of matter. What is actually out there (or rather right here) in the physical world is nothing but a single, continuous, ever-changing event, which is fractionated only upon entering the conscious mind.
On another level, however – in the realm of subjective experience – it occurred to me that there was one very significant difference, one distinctive capacity that only humans seem to possess. Through the evolution of our species, the natural world seemed to have reached out (in my mind extending an anthropomorphic hand) and given rise to a species capable of appreciating all of existence. Humans illuminated the universe with the unique ability to perceive within it divine beauty.
At the peak of the experience, I sensed with utter conviction that I had been consecrated by the universe, a chosen vein of consciousness through which the universe could look back on itself. The rapturous bliss was reaching a crescendo. Teetering on the verge of messianic ideation, the train of thought twisted itself into a strange loop. As an extension of the physical universe, I had not only come to a higher self-awareness by realizing my integral role in Nature’s dance, an awareness still confined to my human brain, but this awareness proceeded to unfold into an eerie new sense of self. I became the self-awareness of the entire universe.
Suddenly I became aware of my awareness, and then aware that I was aware that I was aware. The ensuing feedback loop propelled me from this proximal meta-consciousness through an infinite series of ever-transcendent selves finally stabilizing with the sense that I had reached a state of omnipresence. It was as if I were experiencing a cosmic awakening firsthand, the rising-to-consciousness of an ancient beast, the universe’s own realization of a sense of self. Self-reference emerged on multiple levels simultaneously.
What were previously blind processes had become conscious, not only of themselves, but also of their flawless collective interdependence, and perhaps – just perhaps – the processes had caught a glimpse through the eyes of the driving force behind it all.
Recounting what had just happened, in an initial attempt to articulate what was largely a pre-lexical experience, I came to an astonishingly simple, but sublime realization:
The universe is a symphony.
The motions and rhythms of the natural world were interwoven with the music of Sigur Rós in my immediate experience, but it became clear that this experience was merely a diminutive representation of the grand symphony happening all around me. I felt so blessed to be engaged in this divine harmony. How could I have ever missed such unmistakable beauty?
The sensation of waking up was undeniably the most bizarre and impressive event of the evening. It was so entirely convincing and spiritual. I realize that it could be interpreted in an endless number of ways, but what does it really mean? Is there some grain of truth to the transpersonal self or higher order mental processes? I’m hesitant to acknowledge any interpretation as correct, as this sort of thing seems to break down when verbalized or classified. If nothing else, one certainty is that this “mind-expansion” is capable of transforming mundane into mysterious. The world to which I return isn’t always exactly as I left it. Through the dynamic nature of the psychedelic experience, I was thrust into a new reality – more beautiful, majestic, and provocative than ever.
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