This one has been a long time coming. A great deal of soul-searching has been involved. I don’t mean that flippantly. Unlike the post’s title. That was flippant as hell. Here I will exorcise the last remnants of my addiction to depression.
WARNING: This article contains extreme self-with-a-small-s-reality-tunnel-shattering prose and is entirely subjective and inconsequential. See post 4 (and 1,2,3) for the prologue.
5: Psilocybin Semilanceata
Let me take you back a few years to set the scene:
I am at a friend’s house. We used to be more than friends, but in this instance she has kindly agreed to ‘trip sit’ for me. I arrive and we hug. She knows I am nervous. I have been anticipating this moment for the whole week, maybe even for months. It is the day that I will bite the bullet and eat a ‘heroic dose’ of psilocybin mushrooms. The term ‘heroic’, perhaps for some, has connotations of a gung-ho, brazen and arrogant drug taking experience. I mean it only in the sense that an archetypal “hero’s journey” involves the necessary departure from home and the encounter with a grand disruptive force that shakes the protagonist and leaves them altered upon their return. It is the archetypal journey that most of our beloved films and books describe.
I sit looking at a pile of frozen Liberty Cap mushrooms: picked on one of my quests into the Peak District; frozen to preserve their potency. I weigh out five grams. It doesn’t look like enough. I opt for six just to ‘make sure’. In retrospect I should have kept upping the dose, since my belief that my method of preservation would totally freeze-dry the specimens was ultimately mistaken. My ego would (not quite) shatter into a thousand pieces.
It sounds a bit much, doesn’t it? At the time, I was questing. I had racked up a great number of recreational psychedelic trips, a fair amount of mindless hedonism and sensual overstimulation, and a recent spell of self-medication (described in earlier parts of this series). It seemed like it was time to head to the next level and see what I had in store.
I’d fasted for 24 hours. I do some yoga and sit in meditation for some time, before lying in the darkened bedroom of my friend. Alone, I recite personal affirmations about my will to yield to the trip, letting the wisdom of the mushrooms guide me.
For anyone not inducted in the ways of psychedelic experience, this probably already sounds very ‘woo-woo’. I used to think similarly - I was a hard-line materialist. Talk of ‘chakras’ made me scoff. An atheist throughout my adolescence - it was only after certain recreational doses of these mushrooms tipped over in intensity and made me question the source of certain insights - only then had the pillars of my worldview begun to slowly crumble.
I lay now, anxious in anticipation at what new information may soon to be revealed, and curious as to whether the last foundations of these pillars would be uprooted.
In short time new information will be revealed. This is the point in the story where people of the same strictly materialist persuasion will point to the obvious source of the information: inside my skull. I have no proof to the contrary, just intuition and anecdote. I do point out, however, that until scientific studies on altered states have advanced (and to do so sufficiently may be impossible) neither do they.
Back to the trip. As the intensity of the experience begins to ramp up dramatically I become aware that in my lifetime a great deal of suffering will be enacted upon humankind. All of my worst fears are to come true. A New World Order in which the value of human life is diminished to the point of virtual slavery. Perhaps even Virtual slavery (keen readers of this blog - if they exist - will know of my love for the narrative of The Matrix). This is a terrifying realisation to make, right up until the concluding part of the plot - the great reveal : The ‘us-vs-them’ paradigm in which I have until now framed all conspiratorial beliefs and fears over the way the future might pan out - it’s bogus.
There exists no ‘us’ to be in contradiction to a ‘them’. The observer ‘is’ both ‘us’ and ‘them’. All are comprised of the same field of energy: unity consciousness. There is no sense in which separation/duality is the true nature of reality, other than as a cosmic game that ‘I’ play on ‘my’/(our) Self(ves). Or, as Bill Hicks succinctly put: “We are one consciousness experiencing itself subjectively”. All energy eventually returns to the source.
So what? ‘So what?’ is how I have lived my life ever since. It is only recently, after noticing a few ‘glitches in the matrix’, that I realised I am only now entering Act III of my personal hero’s journey that began that night. The plot of Act III? I must integrate this knowledge and take it out into the real world.
This blog has been a stuttering start to that endeavour. I knew it would be healthy for me to reach out and attempt to find my tribe, but I lacked the egotistic drive to put myself forward and I had a high regard for keeping these thoughts private. Maybe I can blame my sister that I never learnt to share (Joking! She actually let me play with her dolls when I had none. Apparently I loved the Barbies).
I have since made token gestures at sharing my experience, but it’s only after going on a much further physical journey, and realising the isolation such a trip can cause, that I have started to change my day-to-day mentality to manifest the realisations from this earlier psychonaughtic trip.
I must integrate and share with the global tribe (or anyone who will listen) my natural gifts. Time to create. Time to connect. This is how I see the immediate future of mankind - a learning that together we are stronger. We must harness the network affect. Indeed, this is how I see a spreading of psilocybin’s teachings - after its scientific acknowledgement as a treatment for depression, depressed, hopeless people will hear about it over the network and decide to give it a try.
For the moment, it starts with ‘me’.