How about a positive LSD story? Wouldn’t that be news-worthy, just the once? To base your decision on information rather than scare tactics and superstition and lies? I think it would be news-worthy. ‘Today, a young man on acid realized that all matter is merely energy condensed to a slow vibration. That we are all one consciousness experiencing itself subjectively. There is no such thing as death, life is only a dream and we’re the imagination of ourselves’ . . . ‘Here’s Tom with the weather.”
“There are essentially only two drugs that Western civilization tolerates: Caffeine from Monday to Friday to energize you enough to make you a productive member of society, and alcohol from Friday to Monday to keep you too stupid to figure out the prison that you are living in.”
―Bill Hicks, Comedian
I put two mushroom caps, with stems in the palm of my hand, I guessed they maybe amounted to 1 – 1.5 grams. I dropped it in the blender, pour some lemonade in, I drink down half of it, gather up my things in a nervous hurry. Hat, sunglasses, sweater, check, water, check. On the 15 minute drive to the nature preserve, I sip it slowly. After maybe 10 minutes, I felt simply, excellent, ready to take on the day and send my love to the people around me, in my quiet way.
My end goal, if I can ever be in a healthy and non-co-dependent relationship would be to be in an open relationship. I don’t own any woman, and no woman owns me, this is in direct contradiction to all of Buddha’s teachings of non-attachment and non-possession. No, nevermind, I’m not there, I’m not that evolved and won’t be for a long time, or ever. It’s about non-discriminating unconditional love. Another bullying cult, the married people want me to conform and join them in the misery because they want people to commiserate with. 50-60% marriages in the United States fail. Is this a logical outgrowth of our evolutionary nature? Nahhhh, it’s these toxic dating apps and these men that weren’t raised in good Christian and Jewish households, they need more rules.
More dogma and Idealogy please, more punitive punishment, Jeff Sessions, Nancy Reagan, even though the DARE (Just Say No to Drugs) campaign probably caused thousands of more deaths and unspeakable misery and more prison time. The sweet little old Nancy who couldn’t hurt a fly, began our country on the witch hunt and ruthless shaming of addicts. Expecting teenagers to “just say no” to drugs is about as realistic as me getting elected President. Why not drug education, guidance, harm reduction, parents who counsel and lead a 17 year-old through his first sacred encounter with a mushrooms or LSD as a rite of passage, a catalyst for monumental growth in the child’s development and maturation.
People don’t learn to stop using drugs by being punished, have we given up the Middle Ages-burn at the stake, approach yet, Sessions? People will heal from addiction when we stop treating them like Lepers and treat them with love like they were any other sick person. I don’t believe addiction is a disease the same way Heart disease is, but I do believe that addiction is a disease of isolation and shame and the exact opposite and remedy to that is love and inclusion. Legalize all drugs, create rehab centers for heroin addicts to use clean needles, avoiding HIV and take the intense shame away from the act so they feel safe to seek out help. Not to mention many Heroin users start with prescription Opiates, they get from doctors and Heroin is simply to continue the chemical addiction when they’re script expires.
As I near arrival to the preserve, in the rural, rolling hills of the North Shore of Long Island, I am boarding the elevator to higher consciousness. Each member of my family pops into my head as “Lyin Eyes ” plays on the radio. I feel warm and tender love for them, emanating from my heart in my chest. I’m a dick the way I act, preaching about how Ayahuasca will save the world and “If you just went to the Amazon, and take your lessons like a man! Or you can waste another couple grand on your therapist.”
I am in school training to become a therapist. I believe therapy is a good tool for Psychedelic integration. My professional opinion is that eating mushrooms at a high dose is like bathing in God’s love for a few hours. I believe mushrooms, which are preserved in the absence of Oxygen or nitrogen in space, are an Intergalactic messaging system from the Mothership. What a beautiful thing it would be if we all said, “Let’s take a heroic dose of mushrooms today and skip work, because we could be dead in a week or a month, or 20 years, but am I already dead inside? The way I live my life: from desk to dinner, to couch and TV, to subservience to corporate power structures and manufactured Hallmark card that is network television.” I certainly felt dead inside, my soul rotting and my heart decaying under those fluorescent lights behind the cubicle wall 10 hours a day.
Microdosing would be cool, getting a mild dose of this every few days, I thought. When I stroll out to where the scenic view of the Long Island Sound is, I gulp down the rest. I staggered my consumption so the come-on would be smoother and less jarring. I was about to sit down on the wooden bench by the water, when my heartbeat started to pick up speed. My tightly constricted and controlled capacity for focus became less obedient and slowly dissolved out to the periphery, the crickets became louder, I swallowed, the breeze across my cheeks had a velvet texture.
I almost knew how easily I was letting myself cop to the habitual panic. It was tempting to drop back into the role of nervous Pete, losing his shit Pete and losing grasp on reality Pete, VICTIM Pete. But I was past that, I knew better, I had been through Ayahuasca, nothing can touch me. I whispered to myself unconditional love, unconditional love, unconditional love, please go easy on me, the same thing I said as the “doctorcitas” worked their way out to my extremities and Ayahuasca was strapping me in for the inter-dimensional rocket ride. This mushroom trip would be a walk in the park compared to that. I started on a vigorous walk, I was one of maybe 2 other people at the 20 square mile preserve.
Shit, shit shit, I took too much. I shouldn’t have fasted for 20 hours before this. I’m not ready for heart wrenching existential wonder and lessons about my behavior being shoved down my throat. After speed walking down to the beach, about a half mile, I breathed in deeply. The sun was out and it was 11 am on a Thursday. Those waves are so fluid and beautiful. I’m in it now, strap in. breathe Peter. You’re gonna get through this. You got this. Fuck I’m never pushing this on anyone when I can barely handle a gram, I’m a hypocrite. Stop being a pussy, let’s go.
I made my way to the car. Shit I hope it doesn’t hit me too hard on the 10 minute drive. We got this. You’re gonna get home and be safe there. I plucked my finger at the screen, turning on the radio, like a duck clapping its beak. “You are beautiful, no matter what they sayyyyy, wordddssss can’t bring you down.” Christina Aguilera sang. How cruel are people in our society that a singer needs to tell us we’re beautiful? I thought. I got home, hurried into the house laid on the couch and covered my eyes with a blanket. I immediately felt hiccups of the cosmic consciousness. This is a close cousin of Ayahuasca, I thought. My state-dependent memory kicked into gear, I felt I was revisiting the Ayahuasca realm and could remember more vividly my travels during the ceremonies in Peru. I was reminded that Ayahuasca never left me in a way. I felt my fears subside into an openness that allowed me to cry a bit, feel some sadness, but then reframe it from a perspective of, what are you sad about? The world, people, nature is overwhelmingly beautiful.
At a certain point in the trip I started projecting the a movie up on the wall of my mind’s eye. It was about the future, specifically how I was going to lecture and reform everyone in my Counseling Psychology Masters Program. I saw myself gradually lecturing, hammering home the lessons of psychedelics and how we MUST incorporate them into modern psychiatric treatment. Then I saw the people in my class slowly starting to rally around my cause and the movement building steam. It was literally a movie, I was watching myself perform and interact and win hearts and minds, even with the dramatic music one might hear in a Matthew Mcconaughey movie. The theme was my heroism, my power, being the star and one who received all the praise. The indignance and charge in me had swept me into this physiological tornado of ego, it was as if it was a severe storm, coming from inside me, that had completely swept me up and I had lost any hold on logic and reason. I stepped back, and wanted a break from the swelling in my chest for the previous 25 minutes and I realized how real the fantasy of my hero-hood had become. It was real, because the mind can’t really distinguish between reality and fantasy. I had this realization that, shit, how often do I do that on a day to day basis, get swept up my ego and power fantasies and pretend that it is some kind of moral crusade or that I am just trying to help someone by preaching to them? This trip was not like any of my previous in that it was immediately the mushroom was telling me something about my ego.
When did my life get so fucked and warped that I can’t simply laugh hysterically at dumb shit on a Thursday when the rest of the (my) world is at work. We’re going to die blah blah blah, so why not die before dying? I crave and thirst for a boundary dissolving experience on 5-10 grams of mushrooms where I feel like I am actually dying and I surrender and watch my physical body evaporate and realize that we are 90% spirit and 10%.
It’s a con! This isn’t reality, its a hologram and a fun ride before we dissolve and reincarnate into divine perfection and oneness. I think we all need a lesson in how to die and to acquaint ourselves with it because my intuition is that the universe has our back. You don’t cease to exist, you just change form. There has to be more to life than accrued medals and money, and praise, right? What about “All you Need is Love” and finding out why we were put here? Am I crazy, for having a desire bordering on blood-lust to find out this existential riddle? Does no one strive for something that can’t be bought by money? Have I already surrendered my soul to the mass delusion that media and government have sold us? as I write these words…
No, I want to correct you, casual and conservative observer, who thinks meditation will do just fine for you. Stop settling, you need a sledgehammer to bash your precious ego and fears into a thousand pieces because then you would be free to actually live in a way that was in alignment with what’s in your heart and nature. Most are too deluded by the trappings and programming of culture and language to step out of the three ring circus that is America, who worships the Gods of Ego and separation.
When you take a psychedelic you can become aware of the fact that a worldview; a strategy for organizing your conception of the things around you are just an operating system, like an software program. We have elevated these human constructs of thought, ego, emotion, feeling to the level of an actually tangible thing, as in noun. These constructs of the mind are imaginary, just like ego is imaginary, separateness is imaginary. What we have been given by the super-organisms of institutions, government and religions as an operating system with which to organize our goals, our conception of what is a whole individual and how to curb the evolutionary pangs we feel nagging at us from deep inside our souls- namely the desire we all have to transcend physical form and seek contact with the divine.
Our society thrusts upon us this materialist worldview. Science even, is still clueless about 90% of atoms, particles, the nature of invisible energy and the machinery of our bodies, but they want to explain everything away with mechanical and physical explanation and it just can’t be done. Richard Dawkins can’t tell me what is real and what is not when he has not touched a Psychedelic. We live in a multiverse, we only SEE this universe. There are many, vast and varied realms and dimensions in this video game of consciousness, we just don’t have access to the higher levels until we ingest certain plants that were put here for us to help us evolve and teach us how to care for earth and humanity. People that wear atheism like a badge of honor…. I get it … Religion is bullshit and ideological and power based, but Dawkins, you’re copping out, you’re wearing an ideology just like the Christians, Jews, and Muslims. You’re wearing your uniform of “devil’s advocate” that arches his nose in the air forever, like the people that read your book, The God Delusion.
If I could dispense with the usual deference I display, to prance around the fear and willful ignorance of the 9-5 Rat-racers, for a second: Taking psychedelics takes courage. Period. If you don’t want to go down this path, I can respect that and I’m not going to force it on you (I’m trying hard to curb my preachyness. Its a process.) But don’t tell me I am taking a shortcut or I’m tripping out on some drug as an escape or that its stupid, or only druggies do that stuff. I’m done giving my time and energy to people that believe what the government tells them without a second thought and people who have no desire to seek the truth for themselves. The government has a warped and subjective view of reality, one that equates to more money in the pockets of elites. Religions and governments think they have a monopoly on truth. What they have narrow minded ideology that is enforced with draconian laws and barbaric punishment.
A good friend once said to me, Mushrooms are like going to visit your pastor or Rabbi, telling him what’s getting you down, and having a good cry. Then leaving and seeing the clouds part and the sun shining again with a renewed sense of beauty now that the coating of sadness has been lifted.
A few days before my trip, a strange and fortunate coincidence occurred. I left the shower on hot for too long, the smoke alarm went off. The fire department came, the guy up the block came down the local (the volunteer firefighter), and was concerned, and friendly. Two cop cars came also, I apologized for the mishap and the cop said “Just glad no one got hurt.” I was reassured by the caring attitude of the cop, for whom I had felt extreme paranoia towards previously, while I was acquiring the mushrooms.
A few day after that incident, as the mushroom peak set in, I felt I had a caring shoulder to cry on, something telling me that everything is going to be ok, everything is as it should be. The paranoia and fear I had of the cops being aware of me doing something illegal, completely evaporated into an aura of acceptance. I immediately thought, I wish I could chat with that cop, he’s probably a decent guy, that could benefit from the mushroom as much as anyone. I’m curious to hear a cop’s perspective. Its amazing how the smallest comment was able to disarm my paranoia and fear and bring down the barrier ever so slightly. Imagine what community building activities in low-income crime-ridden neighborhoods could do to alleviate the fear and dehumanization that the civilians feel towards the cops and vice versa. We just need to start acknowledging each other’s humanity.
Mr. Cop: That is a real person with a real family that you are going to lock up for 5 years for petty drug possession.
Drug User: that cop is just doing what he’s ordered to do and wants to protect himself and provide for his family.
The NYPD tagline “To Protect and Serve” should add “To Protect and Serve, and fuck over for non-violent drug possession.” Or “To Protect and Serve and dictate my morals and subjugate you to my fear and control-based worldview ” When they stop arresting people for drug possession I will believe the line about protecting and serving.
Another curious synchronicity occurred as I took the train back from Manhattan to Long Island that morning, nervous and jittery with anticipation for the upcoming mushroom trip. I sat down in a four-seater booth, across from an old lady, no doubt over the age of 80. I put my feet up on the seat opposite mine to be more comfortable. Five minutes later, the old lady woke up from her nap. “Oh, no, you can’t do that, think of the people that will sit down after you, that’s not right.” She said, with that purse of the lips and knowing head nod that one might see in a devout religious old woman.
I tensed, wanting to tell her to mind her own business for a second or two. Then complied, feeling a sense of obligation to respect her as an old person. I let it go and took my feet off the seat. I thought I’ll let her have it, even though she probably has some boxed up neat little institutional, church, goody-two-shoes worldview, whatever. I do have an ego so maybe this is a good for me.
Twenty minutes later, the woman made her way to the exit to get off at her stop.
“See, you made someone else’s day better and you don’t even know it.” She said, and smiled.
I smiled back, I felt compassion for the woman. Yes partially because she gave me a pat on the back and my ego liked that. I needed that lesson though. I let her win, I didn’t fight a losing battle, or try to reform someone stuck in their ways who likely will never see a new point of view. I chose acceptance and allowing, over ego and debate. It was easier on me, she needs the win more than I do. I should let people win more often. What if accepting others, deluded and ideological as they are, helping them feel compassion and love, is more important and ultimately way more effective in helping reform others than preaching about “the way things should be” as I often do. I have tired of having conversations where I end up coming off as almost militant in my view on Psychedelics and that everyone should take them.
At this point in time I had an intuition of what this trip might be about, it had been a theme that has been predominating the last 3 months: ego. I felt I have lost the reigns and in some ways actually my ego hijacked a large portion of my Ayahuasca experience. I spent a significant chunk of time in ceremony, while Ayahuasca was showing me new parts of my heart and letting it out of the cage it usually spends it’s time in. During the heart-opened rapture of love, I actually let the fantasy of talking to people in my life in the future take over, expounding on how reformed I was and how I am enlightened now. So part of this spiritual ecstasy as I called it, wasn’t actually what it appeared to be, it was the same brand of future anticipation, coveting and fantasizing about future praise that is the same false friend that has deluded me my entire life. That is how powerful my ego is; it continually shifts form. It has taken me 6 months to realize that my ego actually took over part of the Ayahuasca experience and used it to amplify itself. But maybe this is what it intended all along to bring it to the forefront and have me confront it, however long it took, and realize its deception and power over me.
“The world is like a ride in an amusement park, and when you choose to go on it you think it’s real because that’s how powerful our minds are. The ride goes up and down, around and around, it has thrills and chills, and it’s very brightly colored, and it’s very loud, and it’s fun for a while. Many people have been on the ride a long time, and they begin to wonder, “Hey, is this real, or is this just a ride?” And other people have remembered, and they come back to us and say, “Hey, don’t worry; don’t be afraid, ever, because this is just a ride.” And we … kill those people. “Shut him up! I’ve got a lot invested in this ride, shut him up! Look at my furrows of worry, look at my big bank account, and my family. This has to be real.” It’s just a ride. But we always kill the good guys who try and tell us that, you ever notice that? And let the demons run amok … But it doesn’t matter, because it’s just a ride. And we can change it any time we want. It’s only a choice. No effort, no work, no job, no savings of money.
Just a simple choice, right now, between fear and love. The eyes of fear want you to put bigger locks on your doors, buy guns, close yourself off. The eyes of love instead see all of us as one. Here’s what we can do to change the world, right now, to a better ride. Take all that money we spend on weapons and defenses each year and instead spend it feeding and clothing and educating the poor of the world, which it would pay for many times over, not one human being excluded, and we could explore space, together, both inner and outer, forever, in peace.” – Bill Hicks