It’s been a while between blogs, hasn’t it. I don’t know if you’ve missed me, but I bet Google’s SEO Gods have punished me for my absence.
I haven’t meant to neglect the blog so harshly, I’ve just been busy writing my monthly newsletter.
I don’t want to spend too much of your time talking about housekeeping, I do need to wash my sheets but that can wait because guess what!
I did psychedelics…
Just a few months ago, I was laying on some backyard grass under the watchful eyes of trusted companions. But having just digested a couple of grams of dried magic mushrooms, I was happily ignoring them while I concentrated on every little detail of the way the sun was hitting different parts of my skin. This was the first time I’d ever tried psychedelics — in particular psilocybin, which is found in mushrooms — so this was my first time experiencing anything with such far out groovy results.
I’ve been on this earth for 33 and a half years now, and while I’ve occasionally dabbled in forms of rebellious party drugs and fancy mood enhancers, I’d never just sat down and chewed on some wacky fungi at 3pm on a Wednesday afternoon. But I seem to be getting cooler as I go.
I only ingested about 2 grams, so I had about half the recommended dose to really unmake one’s mind. Like, if my mind was a bed, I’d only have taken the duvet off. My Egyptian cotton sheets would still be tucked in nicely. Still needing a wash I suppose.
The best way to describe what I felt is to say that I was dreaming, but I was conscious. I was awake and I was lying down but was able to grab a glass of water or use the bathroom as I pleased. However, when I shut my eyes, I could go for a light stroll down the corridors of my mind. I was approached by thoughts I didn’t know I had and if I chose to, I could let myself go and get completely and utterly lost in them.
They say that when you really go on “a trip” you have to let the drug take the driver’s seat while you be the passenger. Just watch. Observe. Go with it. Don’t resist.
But because I didn’t have enough to pass over my wheel, I just seemed to have this awesome new ability to be really present. Thus, went on one of the most hardcore meditations of my life.
If you don’t meditate then it’ll be hard for you to appreciate this; but I’ve never had such a crisp understanding of how to disconnect my mind from my body. My consciousness was just hanging in the empty space of mind (which seemed kind of like that Simpsons episode where Homer got lost in another dimension) and any sort of real-life sensation, like a bird chirping or an ant crawling on my foot, was a sort of interruption.
The best comparison I can come up with is if you liken it to when you’re hanging out at home, in the privacy of your own space, and someone rings the doorbell. Something enters your awareness, but it’s not attached to you, yet you involuntarily shift your focus to it. My physical sensations were like an external interruption to my comfortable dwelling space.
I’ve heard Sam Harris say that language is actually pretty useless when it comes to describing what you experience when you’re tripping, and that’s the best I can really do for you with describing my own.
But basically, advocates of a psychedelic experience will tell you that you do it for the emotional journey you go on. You often unlock strong emotions, both pleasant and challenging. It can be a delightful experience or it can get wildly unpleasant. But regardless of whether you see a light or dark side of yourself during your trip, most people do report personal enlightenment and emotional growth that outlasts the effect of the drug. And that’s what I’m striving for. I’ll be sure to fill you in here once I get there this year.
But hey, come on, before you go and call the police, I’d also like to mention that I know I’m talking about an illegal substance here. I’m not saying that I condone the use of psilocybin where its against the law to use. I simply enjoyed chewing on some of Mother Nature’s little toadstools myself. And one day when the law lets it out of the sin bin (which is looking more and more likely with occurances such as Oregon legalising it), I think I’d like to introduce it to more of my friends. Here’s why.
Drugs are not all bad, mmkay
Like many people with a level of distrust towards recreational drug use, I’ve always been quite against the idea of taking anything that could mess with my state of mind in a way that has sent others into psychosis. Self-inflicted would indeed be a regretful way to lose one’s marbles. But I decided to try it because in 2020 I became quite immersed in the modern wisdom around hallucinogenics. Apparently they can be really good for making you more happy and less of a prick.
The fact that they eat magic mushrooms on my all-time favourite TV show, Vikings, was just all the more reason to put my own pie in the sky.
You see, there’s lots of evidence to suggest that for many thousands of years us humans have been finding different sorts of plants in nature and exploring all the ways to make use of and get high from them. We’re a fun species like that.
Historical records and archeological investigations have shown that psychedelics in particular were used in religious and ritual practices, used for nurturing and healing the wounded, plus they’ve obviously just been used to enhance the basic experience of sitting back and relaxing.
The way I personally plan to approach the use of psychedelics in the future is to a) sit back and have a good time but also b) nurture and heal my wounded soul.
There are many people who will tell you that an experience with psychedelics can open doors to the back of your mind, giving you access to places you didn’t know negative things were happening. Things that have a significant impact on your every day sense of happiness and wellbeing.
There’s a lot of feelings, emotions and ways of thinking that each of us have planted waaaay deep back there that we simply don’t have access to without the assistance of certain substances like psilocybin.
And it’s science that suggests we can use these abstract emotional explorations to psychologically heal not just your everyday over-thinker like myself, but people with more serious psychological conditions, like PTSD and the likes.
The Science and History
There’s a field of study called Neuropharmacology which looks at how drugs affect the nervous systems and in turn how drugs influence our behavior. In the 1940s some sassy little psychedelic scientists were making some hot-to-trot progress on how psychedelics (LSD in particular) could work as a treatment for various mental health disorders including anxiety, depression, schizophrenia and even substance-abuse disorders like alcoholism.
They were confident that the ability of LSD (and other psychedelics) to produce “transient psychotic-like states” (which relieved these disorders) were promising signs for therapy and cure.
But in the 60s the pharmaceutical industry ran into some regulatory hurdles. There were some new requirements put in place for conducting certain types of research and the powers that be clamped down on the manufacturing and distribution of drugs that didn’t meet the new requirements. By this time LSD was already starting to emerge in popular culture as the drug of choice for the hippie movement, so shit started to really get complicated, to say the least.
Ultimately, there was a series of events that happened among the social political landscape of the 60s, which led to the abuse of and stigmatisation of these substances, which led to penalties and bans for the manufacture, possession and use of them. This totally hindered research and medicinal development.
Damn you, hippies!
Nah, you’re alright, hippies.
The good news is that over the years and still now, there has been growing recognition for the need to reduce barriers in researching these sorts of drugs. After all, the public health challenges of mental disorders is not subsiding in any way shape or form.
And not just in the scientific world, but popular figures like Sam Harris and Joe Rogan also commonly root for the legalisation / decriminalisation of drugs that can improve people.
I remember one podcast Joe did with Brian C. Muraresku, the author of The Immortality Key: The Secret History of the Religion with No Name. They discussed the book and how is covers the “psychedelic origins of the world’s great spiritual practices and what those might mean for how we view ourselves and the world around us”. Basically Muraresku spent ten years looking at how early Christianity and Greek and Roman paganism revolved around hallucinogens. Which, when you think about some of the abstract concepts that have derived from religion, is hardly surprising.
But what really stuck with me about that episode is when Joe said that he thinks no world leader should be allowed into a position of power without first going on a psychedelic trip to unlock the insides of their minds. It makes perfect sense to me, these experiences incite compassion. It makes us look at ourselves and others in ways that only intense meditative training could allow.
It’s not uncommon to have a sense of openness to thoughts and feelings that you avoid in your everyday life, as well as a sense of wonder and delight with the world around you, the people in your life, and your own mind. You may also feel a sense of peace and connection with the world.Third Wave
Seriously, I’d love to know what kind of journey a crazy narcissist like Trump would go on.