By Wes Annac, Culture of Awareness
Concluded from Part 2
Our final story is called, “Enter the Lifeforce: Ascent to Enlightenment”, and it comes from Erowid user “Light Warden”
“This one in particular is about my first trip on anything truly psychedelic, which happened to be mushrooms. It happened long ago, so I’ll include as much detail as I can remember…”
“T-0:00 – I ate approximately 1.75 grams in the form of a strange mushroom with three caps and a fat, nasty stem, while my friends B and J each ate around 2.5, as it was also their first time. My friend A ate the whole 3.5, as he’d done it many times before. I was nervous but excited; probably because of this more than anything, I felt alerts within minutes, a crazy lightheadedness that was a precursor of things to come.
“After about fifteen minutes, I got up to go to the bathroom down the hall, and by the time I got back, I felt… different. I most definitely had the ‘tryptamine giggles’, as everything seemed hilarious to me. Going into the experience, I did not know what to expect. I think at the time I thought ‘Well, I’m fucked up now… I expected more, but this is still awesome!’ Little did I know the trip hadn’t even begun yet.
“T-0:25 – We’re listening to a mixed CD of Radiohead and Floyd, and we’re all starting to get real messed up. All of a sudden, and I remember this very, very clearly, my friend A says, ‘Dude, the bed is breathing…’ We looked over, and sure enough, the bed is breathing. I can feel the passage of air through it, as if it alive. Right then, everything went crazy. Keep in mind, all I had taken before was Coricidin and MDMA, and each generally took about an hour and a half to start affecting me. So I was extremely surprised that the mushrooms worked so fast.
“T-0:30 – The Come-up – This ends the objective observations of my trip, at least until the end. What follows is an attempt to put into words the most intense spiritual awakening that I think it is possible for someone to have. Minutes after the breathing bed, my brain was violently (but not unpleasantly) catapulted away from my physical prison in a way that I never thought possible.
“Millions of questions flew across my thoughts, followed by the answers. When I say millions of questions, I actually mean it; hundreds of question-answer pairs flashed through per second. Never before and never again has my mind moved so quickly. It was like I had accessed the information superhighway of the physical world and all of its properties with my brain, and I couldn’t get out.
“I remember thinking to myself, as I got more and more removed from my physical self, I can’t believe this is here, and happening. I can’t believe this has always been here, before my very eyes, but I’ve never been able to see it. I’ve always found it very difficult to explain this part of the trip to anyone in words… it was honestly one of the most mind-blowing experiences of my life, aside from the rest of this trip.
“At this point, I was still coming up, and I had enough of myself left to think, in the back of my mind, that though the Truth of the universe was screaming out to me, I couldn’t quite reach it. I could see it, but I couldn’t yet feel it. At this point, the visuals are building, but I barely notice them. The now-familiar grid pattern began to overlay everything, and things started to shift around in my vision. Going into the experience, I had been mostly looking forward to the visuals, which I thought were the most significant part of trips.
“One thing I’ve always thought amazing since then is that, if I have a real psychedelic trip, the visuals are certainly present, but seeing psychedelic patterns suddenly doesn’t seem so important anymore compared to the awesome truth and incomprehensible change in perception that is slamming into my brain.
“T-1:00 – The Peak – The rush and confusion, in one shockingly abrupt moment, fall away, leaving me in a state which I am about to try to explain, but will most certainly fail horribly in doing. Rainbow colors washed the small dorm room in a myriad of cool tones which constantly flowed across the walls like water. I looked at the clock; it was 4:05 on the dot, and I looked away. This was the peak, and it was absolutely amazing.
“Though I took a very small amount of mushrooms, this was most certainly a full +4 experience on Shulgin’s scale. The music seemed to be coming from everything at once – everything was alive and breathing, and had an essence, a life-force, to it that I could feel and see, as real to me as anything had ever been. I realized that the Truth of the universe, which before had been assaulting my brain with a ferocity that made it difficult to make any sense of it, was now a part of my consciousness, in a way that I’d never experienced before (in fact, it’s never happened since, either).
“My ego was not crushed or shattered; rather, it was reduced to tiny proportions and pushed aside as a triviality. My entire physical life, eighteen years of experience, became the smallest blip in my brain. It was still there, and I still knew myself, but I knew then how much more there is to existence than what we are able to sense.
“The most sublime feeling came over me then. Here was the universe, singing to me its sweet, timeless song, and I embraced it, twining my consciousness around it. Everything was so… beautiful. I can no longer remember very much of what I did at that point. Physical communication became impossible, and we as a group, when we were able at all, could only communicate in disjointed grunts (‘What… uh.. huh?’) Instead, however, I began to explore this new state.
“It was so, SO much more real to me than my life has ever been. I knew, absolutely KNEW, that I had been to this state before, and would return again. It was so ancient, so timeless, that I was humbled to a degree that I have never known before. It occurred to me from somewhere that in this state I was seeing, feeling, and living the absolute Truth of everything. I can’t stress enough how incredibly real this was, and still is to me years later.
“It was so beautiful, so spiritual, that I began to weep with pure joy, because I knew that my life was forever changed, that by experiencing this, the universe was giving me a rare chance to see it for how it is, rather than the way we humans try to form it to our own liking. I felt so… blessed, that I was chosen to experience this.
I mentioned before that communication was impossible, but that isn’t entirely true – PHYSICAL communication was impossible. However, after the initial shock wore off, I began to explore this new state more fully, and I realized that I could communicate… with everything. My friends and I actually did converse, but in silent, mental communication that just seemed natural.
“This communication was actually strong enough that, without speaking, we all described later that J was telling us all that he understood Jim Morrison now (The Doors is his favorite band), and that he felt that he was being possessed by his spirit. Interestingly, we all thought this was true, independently.
“For some of my friends, this was the height of their experience, but I pressed on and began accessing information. This time it was not like the come-up, where it was overwhelming and forceful; this was natural and as easy as thinking, as breathing, as blinking.
I let my consciousness expand outward, and what I found was amazing. I was brushing the life-force of everything I came in contact with. I flew out the window and across the country, the ocean, in seconds. I began to brush my thoughts against those of every living thing I saw, and I knew them intimately, no less than I knew my own life.
“As I traveled, I no longer saw the dorm room I was sitting in. I had joined the Life-force, and I was enmeshed within the entirely of its being. My own life was this tiny speck in a sea of collective consciousness – technically, I knew it was mine, but I honestly didn’t care or find it particularly special. This nirvana-like bliss and absolute Truth went on for an indeterminable amount of time. It felt so eternal, and I knew that the reason it seemed so familiar is because it was.
“It was primordial, and I realized that I had been there before this life, before every other life my particular soul had ever occupied, and that I would be there again, after this one. I watched nature and everything alive in extreme fast-forward, seeing the endless cycle of death and rebirth played out over and over. I saw all of existence covered in a massive flood of green energy, consisting of minute, shining particles. It swept over the land, a spark becoming a new blade of grass, a new caterpillar, a new person.
“Likewise, bits of life-force emerged from each being at its moment of death, rejoining the endless cloud of life. I lost myself in the ebb and flow of the universe and I was home. I could go on for hours and hours, and have before, about the wonders of my awakening, but truly, words don’t exist for what I was experiencing, so hopefully my meager attempt at explanation will do.
“T-1:04 – The Plateau – All of a sudden, I was back in the dorm room, and I looked over at the window, which had a thick, thick shade over it to keep out the afternoon sunlight. The shade and the apparent length of time of my peak made me think that I was now ending my trip, and it was nighttime.
Still thinking this, I stretched and began to reflect on what an incredibly fulfilling time I had had, and I glanced at the clock. It was 4:09. Only FOUR MINUTES had passed since my peak, but it had literally seemed like an entire day, or more specifically, an endless, eternal amount of time.
“That fucked with my head quite a bit, and I realized that I was DEFINITELY still tripping hard. Now, however, I felt like I wanted to stay in my body, and explore the more physical aspects of these mushrooms. I must emphasize that I was still enveloped in my bliss, with a full understanding of the universe, it was just that I had decided to go back to my body and live life with this knowledge.
“Anyway, it was at this point that I began to notice visuals. One of my friends threw a lighter to another, and the lighter was glowing yellow. It flipped through the air over and over, in the same spot, until it finally landed in someone’s hand. We smoked a few bowls of some good marijuana, and the visuals became enhanced. I began looking at objects, and for the only time, even in subsequent trips, I actually witnessed the stereotypical melting of objects. This was true melting.
“A water bottle turned to liquid and flowed down itself, melting into a puddle, before my very eyes. My friends’ faces were dripping down to the floor, teeth and eyes dripping everywhere. At a particularly intense part of a song (Comfortably Numb, during the 2nd solo). I got up to use the bathroom, and I felt like I was a giant mushroom, floating down the hallway with a gigantic head.
“In the bathroom, I looked at myself in the mirror, and my eyebrows melted down the side of my face. I noticed that I could see as if looking under a magnifying glass at whatever my vision was focused on – I looked into my skin pores and my face began to look really, really dirty. After a little while of looking at this fascinating phenomenon, I walked back to my friend’s room.
“At this point I began to occasionally see this strange ‘dripping’. By dripping, I mean that an object, strangely usually a person’s shoe, would seem to bend towards one point, as if the light reaching my eyes was being bent by a prism. Then, a tiny drop of liquid shoe would suddenly pop off and slowly drift away. Really fascinating visuals, and something that I’ve never seen again, even in subsequent mushroom trips, including one with Syrian Rue.
“This went on for a while, and I just sat back and enjoyed myself immensely, as the body buzz was absolutely euphoric. I really only had about ten minutes of fear during the entire trip, which is odd, as every other time I’ve taken mushrooms, ‘the Fear’ has been an unfortunately significant part of the experience.
“The fear that I got this time came from the fact that I could tell I was starting to come down, and I honestly didn’t think I’d ever be able to rejoin society. I had completely and utterly seen the truth of the universe, and society seemed to me a ludicrous invention that I could no longer understand or participate in.
“I was scared, because I knew that I had to rejoin normal life, as I had responsibilities and school to attend to. However, after a few minutes, we decided to go outside for a walk, and the goal that we suddenly had made me feel excited, and we went.
“The rest of the trip was much less psychedelic, and in general I just sort of returned to normal after a few more hours. However, I was left with a warm afterglow, and I still felt the bliss for weeks.
“More significantly, my life was changed forever as I came to realize the truth of the universe. Although I tripped many more times since then, this first trip has done 95% of the work in transforming my brain and personal philosophies. In the four or so years since that day, I have come from being an unguided atheist, having already abandoned Christianity for its hypocrisies, to having a definite and very powerful idea of what ‘God’ really is.
“It is all of us, and everything else living, ties together in an infinite web that I like to call the Lifeforce. I no longer fear death, as I know what it will bring. I will be happy to leave my body behind and join the collective consciousness of Life itself, when the time comes.
“Hopefully my experience has been interesting and enlightening for you, and I thank you for reading it. I truly believe that a psychedelic experience such as mine is a very important experience for a human being to have, and I think it would help to solve a lot of the idiocy and hypocrisy that plagues our race, particularly our American society.
“Peace, and may the Lifeforce reveal itself to you and reduce you to tears of joy with its mind-blowing beauty. -Lightwarden”
As we’ve learned here, psychedelics can be much more than society gives them credit for. They can cause some bizarre yet incredibly enlightening experiences, and we’ll only see what they can really do if we open up to them. The authors of these stories embraced them despite their negative associations, and they were shown profound and amazing things.
One of the only downsides to writing is that it’s difficult to communicate a truly enlightening experience with words, and direct experience is the only way to know or understand something. While psychedelics don’t work for everyone, they’ve allowed some people to gain a new perspective on the mysteries of life and they’re clearly worth exploring for ourselves.
The experience isn’t always sunshine and good vibes, but psychedelics still have the potential to enlighten a lost society.