Citation: Cosmic Muser. "There is No Why: experience with LSD & Cannabis (ID 76483)". Erowid.org. Mar 11, 2011. erowid.org/exp/76483
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Two weeks ago I had my first experience with LSD, in other words, I took an acid trip. I am no stranger to drugs, however I started a little late in life with most of them, relatively speaking. I did not start experimenting with drugs until I was about 26, and I am now 30. I regularly partake in marijuana, and I've also done ecstasy, MDA, and mushrooms. Most of my experiences have been positive, and my first LSD trip was no exception.
A friend of mine had some blotter paper of what is apparently referred to as '24-hour acid.' He had just been laid off from his job and would be playing the unemployment game for awhile and he wanted to celebrate the end of an era, so to speak. So my friend, his girlfriend and I planned a weekend to trip together. We hung out at their apartment for awhile, had a couple bags from the Volcano (vaporized weed, for those not in the know), and ate a hearty lunch to prepare for the trip. We also did a little yoga and breathing exercises to put us in a good mind-space for the journey ahead.
After lunch, at about 1:30 pm, we dosed and took a walk through their beautiful neighborhood in Seattle and walked down to Lake Washington. As we walked I began to notice that my depth of vision was becoming slightly more acute and detailed. I began to feel more open, a little elated, and just very slightly anxious. As we walked along the water, we followed a trail that led to a small pond where a mama duck was supervising her family of ducklings as they swam around their own private little pond away from all the activity along the shore. I noticed how in tune with the scene I felt, as if the ducks were playing out their little family drama much like a human family would. This theme would recur to me throughout the evening. It was absolutely beautiful and serene.
We made our way back home and the feelings of openness and elation only intensified as we walked. I began to break away from my friends and go into my head a little more. I felt a light, anesthetized feeling throughout my body, and it occurred to me that we'd been walking nearly two hours, yet I didn't really feel sore or tired. We finally reached the apartment and started hanging out in my friends' living room. After awhile, I started to notice some very subtle undulating patterns starting to develop wherever I looked. I was still so relaxed and the visuals were so subtle, however, that I was starting to think that I had not taken enough. It was only after 4 hours that I really felt that I was 'tripping balls' as the experience is often so eloquently described. The entire peak experience would then last until about 3 am, so it was a long ride.
Once I was feeling the full effects, I definitely started to have some fun with the visuals. At one point I looked down at the carpet as I went up and down on the tips of my toes. Every time I came down, the carpet appeared to be rippling, as if I were standing on water. Overall, though, the visual element of the experience was a lot less intense than I had expected. What was most intriguing was the feeling that I had been lifted out of my body, as if I was floating slightly above my body, aware that I was in it but existing somewhat outside of it on a mental level. The body seems to be somewhat anesthetized during the experience, and physical sensations could be very jarring. At one point, as I laid on the floor of my friends' living room, I was so bereft of physical sensation and awareness, it felt as if I were floating on clouds. A slight brush from another person or an object was startling because it could bring me back from a far off place in my mind.
At one point I ate some strawberries, figuring I should abate any hunger that might come, although I was not hungry until the next morning. At one point I said 'I am peripherally aware of the notion that I may be getting hungry, but I'm not sure I want to contend with that right now.' The whole experience of eating was very confusing while tripping. Taste was not enhanced but subdued, and the sensations inherent in digesting were entirely foreign. At one point I tried to pee, and looked down at my penis. For the first time in my life I looked down at this appendage that has so much importance in a man's life, and all I saw was a random body part, the uses of which I was only vaguely aware, and the process of peeing was rather difficult as I had to sort of relearn that whole let-the-body-take-over thing. My relationship to my body was akin to the mindset of a celestial, non-corporeal being that was inhabiting the body of a human for a short time and being thoroughly confused by the experience.
From a mental perspective, my thought patterns were definitely askew. I went to very interesting places that I had not been before in my own mind: perspectives that I had not considered, a sense of overall awareness that was strangely unknown and yet familiar at the same time. My mind felt clear, and pure, untainted or contaminated by social conventions or negative mind chatter, which unfortunately has been an issue I've contended with for much of my life. I had an incisive and eloquent vocabulary when speaking that I'd not had since my college days. Nearly all of my thought patterns, and thus our conversations, were macrocosmic and holistic. I felt a tremendous sense of peace and clarity, and I felt powerful in the wholeness of my self, as if I had come home to a self that had always been present, but was not able to break free of all of the limitations imposed upon it by the ego (i.e., all of the crap I convince myself of as a result of what I assume to be true about reality and consciousness).
At one point I allowed myself to go to a very far off place. I stood in my friends' living room, but in my mind I was floating in space, surrounded by celestial bodies and stars upon stars. I felt completely peaceful and had no conception of any physical or corporeal boundaries, as if I simply existed and could spread out to every molecule and atom in all of the surrounding space. Just as I reached this ultimate point of bliss, I felt a sensation in my arms, and an unseen force literally lifted my arms above my head. I was a little freaked out by the fact that my arms lifted above my head as the result of a force that was not of my making, but I immediately opened my eyes and my friends started talking to me and somehow it felt perfectly natural. That is probably the most intensely non-physical I felt during the entire experience.
As a result of this mental clarity and focus, many of the life issues that I grapple with and that I expected to confront during this trip simply seemed to fall away as if they never mattered at all. I had a few moments where I attempted to figure out some of the patterns I had been pervasively allowing myself to perpetuate in my daily life, and made some good progress, but this being a peak experience, I knew I was not going to solve all my life's problems in a day. Still, the trip allowed me to confront these issues with more insight and perspective than I have in a long while, and it was tremendously helpful.
Patterns are what I noticed a lot of during the trip. Patterns in society, patterns in my life, visual patterns, it was a dominant theme of the night for me. I also kept coming back to the idea that all of the concern and worry I had about my life (not enough money, job I don't like that much, turning 30 and still not having a significant other) and about the world (global warming, politics, the megalomaniacal machinations of the governments of the world) were useless and represented a hindrance to my own personal development. After all, as Shakespeare said 'All the world's a stage, and the men and women only players.' I saw the entire world as the continual playing out of the great human drama, and we all have our parts to play. All of us are living our lives, going about our business, doing good or bad things, fulfilling our place in the world and learning our life lessons. I sort of gave myself up to the inevitability of it all and found the beauty in the moment, relishing my momentary experience amidst the infinite spectrum of time and space, if there even are such things.
As the night wore on, our conversations tended to move toward an overall theme that life simply is, and there is no questioning, no why we exist, no ultimate answer to our purpose here. There simply is life and we are a part of it. What more do you need? The ultimate answer is that there should be no question. As Yoda tells Luke Skywalker: 'No, no, there is no why. Nothing more will I teach you today.'
Again, the theme of the great human drama came up, as my friend at one point stated that sometimes she feels guilty when she thinks about living in America, having easy access to housing, food and transportation. She imagines the people in Mexico or other places living in squalor and wonders what makes her so different than them. I responded to her by telling her that what separates her from them is nothing and everything; nothing, in that we are all a part of the same universal consciousness, apart of the same world, doing what we need to do to survive and trying to find happiness. On the other hand, everything separates us from them in that we are singular beings resultant from our own experiences. We've lived in different places, like different music, have different values and are pursuing our own paths. We are where we are because that is where we are supposed to be and there should be no guilt associated with that. This is the kind of thinking and conversations we shared during our trip together.
Another aspect I noticed about the trip was a greater psychic sense. Between the three of us, there were several times when we would sense what the other was thinking, or speak telepathically. Sometimes my friend would ask if she had just said something aloud, or simply thought it, and we would have to reassure her that she actually spoke. This is how in tune we were and how confusing spoken language could be at times during the trip. I am not sure how much the nature of our relationship had to bear on this aspect of the trip (we are all very close), but I would guess that not everyone experiences psychic enhancement to this degree. It would be interesting to see how many others share this psychic acuity when dosing.
At about 3 am, I noticed that I was slowly coming back down into my body and the physical effects were starting to wear off, although I was definitely still experiencing a different mindset than normal. I think we decided to start watching movies at a certain point because we were just completely exhausted but could not hope to sleep any time soon. We watched 'Wayne's World 2' (stupid comedies are definitely the best for LSD come downs in my opinion) and sort of dozed in and out through 'Bill and Ted's Excellent Adventure.' At about 5 am we decided to try to sleep. I slept on the couch and relaxed, allowing my mind to go to all sorts of places, thinking about the relationships I have with all of my friends and family. At one point I had been off in my mind so much that when I returned, not only could I not remember what I had been thinking about, but I also couldn't tell if I'd been asleep or not. I then decided that I had not been asleep as I just didn't feel like my mind was inactive enough to allow it.
By 9 am we started getting up. Despite not having slept, I felt very refreshed, and it was an absolutely beautiful sunny morning (rare in Seattle, even in summer). So I took a walk around the neighborhood, weaving in and out of the suburban streets, completely open and peaceful, taking in everything I saw, from the birds and squirrels to the trees and the people who happened to be out living their lives. I felt as if I was watching it all from a state of unattached bliss, yet also completely part of it. It was probably one of the first times in a long while that I can say I truly lived in the moment and felt totally alive. Another thing I noticed was that my depth perception and visual detail were still enhanced, as if I was seeing for the first time. This has not subsided even after more than two weeks. I felt like Neo in 'The Matrix' when he complains that his eyes hurt after initially waking up in the 'real world' and Morpheus responds 'You've never used them before.' I had just watched 'The Matrix' again the day before dosing, and let me tell you it took on a whole new level of meaning for me to say the least.
Once I returned from my walk around 11 am, my friends were up and around. I was totally over the experience physically, and felt completely normal. My buddy felt the same (he had taken acid dozens of times before), although his girlfriend was actually still tripping a bit and not feeling normal again yet (her second trip). I was actually surprised how normal I felt. After watching a few more movies ('Grandma's Boy' is so fucking hilarious) and sharing a few more bags from the Volcano, I went home.
I found going home to be a little odd. It was around 3 pm and I had to work the next day. I was totally exhausted, as I had been awake for 31 hours, but I didn't want to go to bed quite yet because I knew I wouldn't sleep through the night. I tried to watch TV, but I found everything on television to be completely uninteresting. I had no interest in the three Netflix movies I had on my dining table, so I sealed them up to mail. I ended up lazing about, listening to music, trying to read a little and finally went to bed at 8 pm, after 36 hours of being awake.
During the night, I woke up at one point and heard a tremendous and horrible sound, like an air siren that signals an air raid such as can be heard at the beginning of 'War Pigs' on Black Sabbath's Paranoid album. It was deafening. I got up out of bed and went to the window to get a look, when all of a sudden I woke up again (for real, apparently) and bolted up out of bed in shock. All was completely silent and I heard none of my neighbors up or walking around, and only after several minutes was I able to accept that the air siren had been a dream of some sort, as it had seemed so real. I went back to sleep at that point, and woke up a few hours later, still totally exhausted but ready to go to work nonetheless. I certainly could have used another day, and would recommend having at least two days after initially dosing before having to go to work.
Since my experience, I have noticed how quiet my mind is. I have been able to retain the senses of self-empowerment, serenity and in-the-moment living that I had experienced during the trip. I have canceled my cable services because my interest in television had not returned after a week. I have set about to write more, as I have been attempting to motivate myself to do for some time. I have also been totally compelled to start studying Zen Buddhism, and I bought several books on the subject. I recommend 'Introduction to Zen Buddhism' by D.T. Suzuki for anyone interested in Zen. It was an excellent starting point. I have already incorporated a small amount of Yoga and Meditation in my life, and studied other forms of Buddhism; however I had not really studied Zen until about two weeks ago, just after the trip. It just seems like the way I would like to live from now on; more in tune with the moment and with all of the beauty of the world, with less attachment to possessions and money.
Perhaps my experience was so positive and helpful because I am older, and had already been to places in my mind that had broken many boundaries, helping me to begin the process of transcending the ego and learning that the only limits to our reality and our consciousness are the assumptions we make and the limits we place upon ourselves. Most importantly, however, was the setting of my trip. I was with the two people I am closest to in my life, in an apartment I had spent time in constantly. It is a place of supreme comfort and familiarity, which is a huge factor in having a good experience on LSD, or so I am told by many. My friends were totally accepting of everything I said and did, just allowing me to make the experience my own and let it help me as I needed, in conjunction with our collective sharing of the experience.
Personally, I think LSD should be used more often by people who constantly worry about all the little things in life. I also think it should be used therapeutically. Imagine if one's psychotherapist recommended that he go on an acid trip and then have a session, or during a session. I have to say, I've had my experience with depression and relying on a slew of anti-depressants, and they were dark, horrible years. Anti-depressants not only did very little to ease my depression at the time, they usually gave me insomnia or body twitches. I got more benefit from one acid trip than I did from two years of trying 5 or 6 different pharmaceuticals. It's too bad LSD has such a terrible stigma, as I've since discovered when I share this experience with those who've never done it. It was a wholly positive and liberating experience for me. I certainly don't plan on making a lifestyle out of it, but I can honestly say that I am certainly open to trying it again, but not for a long while. Perhaps I will not feel the need to dose again as I continue my practices with Zen, but after such a positive experience, I am certainly willing to consider another acid trip if the opportunity presents itself.
--August 19, 2007
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