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Thread: Unpacking from a trip: a mystical experience

  1. #1

    Join Date
    2008 Jul

    Unpacking from a trip: a mystical experience

    Disclaimer: If you don't like reading lengthy monologues this thread isn't for you.

    I popped up on this board a couple of months ago to get some feedback/help regarding a difficult mushroom trip and I got what I needed. The last couple of months has been a busy time for me though and I've neglected to keep in contact, as a result I present for you an interesting experience I had in the aftermath of that trip. Perhaps some of you have had similar experiences you can relate or maybe you'll just get some entertainment out of it.

    Firstly it needs to be stated that without the aid of psychedelics I've never had what I would term a 'mystical experience'. The visions one reads about from the Christian saints, the enlightenment of the Eastern Buddhas - all of these seemed like something far away or not part of my world. Indeed up until half a decade ago I would likely have balked at the idea of anything mystical beyond simply hallucination, delusion or wishing the world was the way it isn't. Needless to say I no longer reside within that staunch rationalist tunnel permanently, instead I move between a number of models as they seem to best fit the scenario in hand.


    I had a difficult mushroom trip where regardless of any attempts to reframe things positively somehow negativity and disturbing thoughts the likes of which I'd never experienced all seemed to be constantly boiling and bubbling away on the surface. Instead of being a glowing inner light which radiates love and joy the mushroom experience now felt like an interrogators hot and muggy light shined directly into my face as the worst kinds of psychic entities and thoughts bombarded me.

    After the trip was done I was left in a very disassembled state, I could see the various areas of my life where I felt lacking or hadn't figured out how to improve myself. I felt filled with the melancholy that sometimes accompanies profound feelings. Where a thought like 'we are all cells within a giant super-organism' can feel uplifting and liberating in a sober context instead I felt more like a meaningless autumn leaf which has its time, falls off the tree and then becomes the compost of the next trees/plants. I took this as a time to head back home and surround myself with those who are closest to me. This break combined with the feedback of experienced and compassionate users on this board helped me begin to reassemble myself, to find pleasure in day-to-day things and encouragement in incremental improvements, however small, in my own life. Now comes the interesting and highly unexpected part.

    At the time of the mushroom experience I had felt as though nothing good could come of it, the best I could hope for was to re-learn a caution towards the plant or overcome the psychic trauma like someone who had buried themselves in holocaust books for weeks.

    The mystical experience:

    Taking a flight back to my Summer home I decided for some not necessarily overly conscious reason to take a couple of well worn books with me, a couple of counterculture books I'm sure a number of you would be well versed in if I were to specify but I think it's less important I do as it's more important to simply know that I've read these books dozens of times and was not expecting to find anything spectacular between their covers. I think my main motivation at the time was to pick a couple of books I knew would help my pass the time during my travel and so picking ones I had read multiple times and enjoyed seemed logical.

    Firstly while reading sections of these books during my travel I found that suddenly what I was reading seemed a lot more profound, I think the best way to describe it would be that when I first delved into these books I had assimilated or understood them on a conscious level. Now what I was reading was resonating with me on a deeper level, I felt as though my models were being tweaked slightly and my confusion as a result of the mushroom trip was lifting a little. Still, I didn't put this down to much more than reading a couple of great books.

    When I arrived at my apartment I felt tired and a little emotionally drained after my week, though my mood had now lifted quite significantly. I no longer felt fear but instead I felt as though determination and effort would overcome any problems and make me a stronger individual. I had a bite to eat and decided to smoke some nice hash I had left over from before my little return home. I'll just add that this is during a period of time when I had been consuming a regular amount of cannabis for a couple of months so what follows is not merely the ramblings of an over-enthusiastic neophyte overwhelmed by the impact of THC on his receptor sites.

    After smoking I felt that pleasant haze which when one is as tired as I was can feel like being gently rocked and sung to sleep. I climbed onto my bed and for all intents and purposes imagined I was minutes away from a nice, cosy and restful sleep. As my brain allowed itself to gradually power down I entered that state I often experience in the time immediately preceding sleep, namely the mind kind of throwing a few ideas around and generally unpacking itself. When this happens normally I will 99.9% of the time end up sound asleep within the next 10-30 minutes, very occasionally I might get one or two great ideas out of my unconscious' workings and I'll write those down and head straight off through the looking glass to sleep. For some reason I remembered a simple yogic breathing exercise one of the books had mentioned and decided to try it out, to see if it would calm and center my mind. I performed it and something subtle seemed to happen and I imagined now I would drift off.

    Something different was happening though, instead of working things out or throwing ideas together like a mental hadron collider my stream of ideas seemed to be cycling up to full speed as though I was in one of my most creative moments. Indeed despite allowing time for this to dissipate I found the stream continuous and unending. I could have ignored it and allowed myself to sleep but I felt that inner clarity which tells you the ideas you're having aren't just idle thoughts but mean something. Now as a fellow psychonaut I'm sure you've had that same experience and the amusing irony is that often when we put those 'profundities' to paper we often find the next morning that we've written indecipherable or obvious things. Still I felt sure this wasn't simply one of those situations and so I decided internally "ok, I'm going to write some of these down. If nothing else it can clear my head for the night and I can look over them in the morning." So up I got and went to my desk and found a pen.

    At this point I find a blank piece of paper, the last left in my notebook it would turn out, and I begin to write down the ideas and thoughts I'm getting. Somehow a mixture of what I'd read in those books, my mushroom experience and a couple of yoga websites I'd been reading as pre-bedtime wind-down, I have recently developed an interest in the topic, were kind of working as filters for this stream of consciousness. My ideas were not random but traveled a defined path amongst topics in my own life and the world in general I had been confused about the week earlier. The sources I just mentioned seemed to be refracting thoughts so that I found subjectively meaningful ideas or directions to take with each of those problems. Not only that but the ideas hadn't stopped, and it felt so good to think them through and put them down on paper. I found myself scrambling for more paper, any type would do and so I soon found myself writing on the backs of maps, supermarket receipts, my tenancy agreement... if it had a clear white back and it was made from pulped tree matter I wrote on it.

    Still I had no reason to imagine I was experiencing anything other than a wonderfully surprising and creative moment in my life, indeed I could see ways a lot of my ideas could be used in my life and my work in the near future. I did not think I had experienced anything mystical at that point. Then once I felt the stream begin to lessen and I felt as though I could go off to bed without having missed anything vital it suddenly occured to me to check how many pages I'd written and what time I would be going to sleep.

    In my mind I felt I had been writing for perhaps half an hour and I'd put down maybe 3-4 A4 sized pages of information. To my extreme astonishment the clock informed me I had been sat at the desk for over 4 hours and the stack of various forms of paper in front of me numbered around 20 sides of A4. I headed to my bed wondering if in the morning I would find a pile of incoherent ramblings or drug-infused poetry awaiting me. Even more surprising I found that upon waking while the deluge-like stream was not present the ideas and concepts I'd had still contained meaning and I felt changed, like I'd carried over a way of thinking and now I could operate in that manner while sober also.

    I've never seen Mary in a taco, never felt the tractor beam of a UFO pull me from a cornfield and essentially never had any kind of quantifiable experience I couldn't just attribute to the variety of effects drugs can offer. This registered as a mystical experience for me though.

    Now tell me what you guys think.

  2. #2's Avatar
    Join Date
    2007 Oct
    Thanks so much for sharing that experience.

    In my limited time with psychedelics I have definitely found it is the difficult, overwhelming trips that prove most profound in the long run (not always, but usually).. However, sometimes they can take a very long time to understand. One of my most difficult trips was actually my first psychedelic experience, on acid. After the blissful "wow" factor of the "special effects" wore off, the trip became overwhelmingly negative for the rest of the night. i felt as distant as an isolated moon, couldn't even stand the "sound" of subvocalizing my thoughts in my head. this lasted for probably 8 hours but felt like an eternity. i'll never forget the feeling and vibe of that first trip. it was so, so powerful. it shattered me to the core.

    i wrote it down a few days later. it took me months to fully come to understand. when i did it was surprisingly obvious (very clear and direct, no weird/bogus interpretation needed), but the implications were profound for me. years later it still provides me with much to think about

    also, in line with your experience... amazingly enough, i suddenly found myself flooded with creative ideas after that trip. new, organic, earthy creative ideas that absolutely changed my creative and conceptual processes forever
    I have made a ceaseless effort not to ridicule, not to bewail, not to scorn human actions, but to understand. -Spinoza

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