Citation: Theodore. "Joyfully Undivided: An Experience with LSD (exp94089)". Erowid.org. Nov 18, 2017. erowid.org/exp/94089
||(blotter / tab)
What follows is an account of an LSD experience I had over ten years ago. As such, it suffers from the obvious drawback of not being fresh in my memory. Undoubtedly many details, both qualitative and chronological, I have forgotten. I did not take notes during my experience nor even soon after it. Nor did I particularly make an effort to talk about the experience with other people, although I did offer my impressions on a few occasions, to friends and family. Bluntly, the following account is incomplete, though I believe it remains valid and worthwhile, as it presents the true highlights of the experience, the things that have persisted in my memory by virtue of their own natural persistence.
It was in October 2001. A Halloween party was going to take place at a nearby college, which some friends of mine attended at the time. Before this whole shebang took place, someone offered to get me LSD via a dealer whom I never actually saw. I got one hit (blotter). Several other people I knew got hits from this same source. I had never taken LSD before, and I didn't know what the dosage was, but after the party was over, the people who had some previous familiarity with LSD testified that the hits we got were quite strong. (And having taking LSD a few times since this occasion, I can now testify that myself, too.) I had virtually no scholarly knowledge of LSD whatsoever. My intention was simply to have fun, and my confidence came from the trust in the people around me. I made sure I was in a wakeful, positive mindset before dosing, but I made no specific preparations beforehand.
I took my hit early in the evening, while it was still light and before many people had arrived. For a while, nothing of note happened, as I ambled around the campus greeting various people and well-wishing them and so forth. I should note: nobody present that evening was a particularly close or long-time friend of mine, with the exception of my older brother. So I think there was a certain detachment on my part with regard to the whole scenario. One other thing I should mention: I smoked a great deal of very strong marijuana intermittently throughout the evening.
Roughly an hour after dosing, I was lounging in a dorm room with about five young people who had also dosed. We were sitting roughly in a circle. I recall my mind drifting into a pleasant, unobtrusive daydream. I recall mostly silence but no trace of awkwardness. Then I recall us all swiveling our heads around in a sort of yogic fashion. I recall spontaneous, childlike laughter. After a while, Kyle (name changed) arose and we all spontaneously followed him out the door, gently laughing. This pattern of getting up and following Kyle for no apparent reason was to happen a couple other times later in the evening; it was a sort of inside joke of the trip. As this was a Halloween party, Kyle had on a rather ridiculous cape, and I suppose that's why we took to following him.
Walking in a group toward the less-crowded part of the campus, I could feel some novel, unidentifiable feeling welling up inside me. The world was feeling more and more like something from a dream or a video game.
The world was feeling more and more like something from a dream or a video game.
I don't mean I was hallucinating; I mean I was perceiving a kind of brightness and a kind of excitement at the swiftness of my own movements and the movements of others. Tripping was paradoxically dazzlingly new and comfortably familiar at the same time.
I recall looking at ivy on a wall, beholding its color and vibrancy, and being convinced that I was actually seeing its life, its living essence, as surely as I saw that it was green. I also recall closing my eyes and seeing hallucinations -- brightly colored, gently shifting kaleidoscopic patterns. When my eyes were open, there was a general sharpness and vividness to everything. Walls that were richly textured even gave the illusion of movement, like calmly meandering whirlpools. None of the visual imagery brought on by the LSD was even remotely unpleasant. Prior to tripping, I had been very afraid that it might be unpleasant. My fear fell away. My social anxiety fell away. I arrived at the notion that I had been sleepwalking my whole life and was now awake.
I arrived at the notion that I had been sleepwalking my whole life and was now awake.
At some point, I separated from the group. Then, walking in peaceful solitude in a sparsely-wooded field, it struck me that I didn't really know the campus very well, and that I might have wandered off into some outlying neighborhood adjacent to the campus. I hadn't -- but I saw people on picnic tables in the distance and suddenly became worried that they might be poor people intent on robbing me. It's been said that paranoia strikes deep. It did indeed strike me deeply then and there. I turned around and ran, my heart pounding. I was only running a few seconds, but I was being flooded with fear and artificial urgency. I spotted the shallow brick wall beyond which lay the dorms. As I jumped the wall, my fear subsided and my body relaxed, but a sudden idea lit up my mind like an explosion. It was the idea of an escaped lab mouse being chased by a hawk and running back to the safety of his lab cage.
Another engaging but less disturbing idea came to me as I was pushing my way through the crowded courtyard near the dorms. The party was in full swing, and the courtyard more than anywhere else was dense with intoxicated, costumed, raving, flailing dancers. In my t-shirt and jeans, my bloodstream heavily laden with LSD by now, bumping my way past all these debauched strangers, I felt very suddenly and strongly that I was like Jonah in the belly of the great fish. I had read the book of Jonah before, but still -- why Jonah? Jonah was called to prophesy, I thought. And he didn't want to go. Still -- why Jonah? The idea was too powerful to dismiss, yet I didn't quite understand it.
Back in my brother's dorm room, I wanted to get away from my own mind, so to speak. I sat down at the computer to listen to music. When I looked at the monitor, I felt a very cold, metallic sensation gripping my body. I was a little shocked, but I quickly overcame this and began looking through the mp3s. I settled on one of my favorite bands: Joy Division. (Joy Division was a British punk-rock band from the late 1970s, often credited as being the first goth-rock band.)
Sitting there in the comfortable chair, listening to the simple rhythms, I became introspective. I believe there were other people in the room with me or on the balcony, but I had so thoroughly tuned them out that it didn't matter. On LSD, I was very surprised at my ability to tune out peripheral events, because I had expected LSD to make that harder rather than easier. At any rate the people there weren't trying to bother me. So my trip turned inward. I thought about my own life. At that time, I was strongly considering getting a degree in computer science and hopefully getting a job as a programmer. I started to view this decision as a small, insignificant decision -- not a bad decision, just a small decision. I considered that a person's occupation should not define him, and that the real, important work in life is to be righteous. Joy Division pounded and strummed along in the background... but I largely tuned them out.
I thought about the mysterious nature of my own soul. A human soul has such beauty, grace, complexity, and integrity to be able to coordinate all its elements, all its ambition, compassion, memories, affinities, hopes, and fears. Furthermore a soul animates a material body which is itself bewilderingly multifaceted. Yet the soul is undivided. The soul cannot divide itself into two souls, nor can it merge with another soul. The soul simply is. I thought, to believe the soul is confined to this one human life is utterly laughable. I felt a palpable conviction in reincarnation. At the time I had no familiarity with reincarnation research, although I certainly had an interest in religions. All of a sudden I was convinced that my awareness stretched infinitely backwards and forwards in time. For one thing, how else could I explain the nagging familiarity of the LSD experience? It was a new experience, yet it resonated with something deep in my soul. As I sat there in awe of the insights I was being given through no effort of my own, something very peculiar bubbled to the surface. It was the idea that I had made some vow, some commitment far in the past, that I hadn't fulfilled yet. This commitment was some grand, overarching, heroic task of uniting all society under a common purpose and a common God. In other words, I was supposed to save the world somehow.
Logically I understood that I had never made any such commitment, but the problem being addressed in my mind, the problem of disharmony, disunity, disinformation, and miscommunication in society, was all too real, and I asked myself, 'How are you going to solve this?'
The computer's playlist had by this time made its way to a live recording of the Joy Division song 'Novelty.' The clarity of sound on LSD is truly extraordinary and, as far as I know, not achievable by any other means. From the cheap computer speakers, lyricist and singer Ian Curtis delivered his vocals with an astonishingly lifelike presence. Like some enraged public defender in a courtroom, he yelled the line, 'You slap our backs and pretend you knew about all the things that were gonna do.' At that moment, tears flooded my head and I laughed out loud. It was indescribable. The tears were undeniably and overwhelmingly tears of joy and not sadness, but it must be said that I did feel some degree of fear.
That was somewhere in the middle of the trip. As the night wore on and the LSD slowly wore off, I settled down, became less emotional, and resigned myself to the simple pleasure of staring at my own hands. I saw them as works of art. Gradually, however, fascination gave way to boredom as the trip came to a close; I wanted to sleep but couldn't. I wish I could say that the trip ended as elegantly as it had peaked, but by the time the sun came up, I was quite restless and grumpy.
I wish I could say that the trip ended as elegantly as it had peaked, but by the time the sun came up, I was quite restless and grumpy.
Had I been more conscientious about my first trip, I would certainly not have tripped at a crowded party, nor would I have started late in the evening. But considering the circumstances, I was blessed with a very uplifting first acid trip. I had set out to have fun, and I did. Nevertheless, I look back on the experience as inspiration more than recreation, and I have come to understand the inspirational message as follows. (1.) Don't fear change, even if change takes the form of death. (2.) Value communication.
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