Citation: Xorkoth. "A Synchronistic Cohesion: An Experience with DOC, 4-HO-MiPT & Methoxetamine (exp109445)". Erowid.org. Nov 13, 2016. erowid.org/exp/109445
A Synchronistic Cohesion
This is the tale of one of the best and most significant trips I've ever had. It actually happened on August 7th, 2015, over 14 months before the writing of this report. I have always meant to write it down because it had a profound impact on me, but somehow every time I have sat down to try, I can only get out a few notes. Finding words for the experience, which was very much a personal dialogue and observational sort of thing, has been really challenging, but I finally feel up to the task. So please enjoy, and I hope that it turns out to be amusing and insightful for others to read. I have attempted to write this in such a way as to draw the reader into the moment as much as possible and into my mind state and mood. The trip was very internal and personal, so I found this challenging, but I hope you enjoy it.
It was late summer in 2015, and it had been a truly wonderful and magical summer for me. It had been a year and a half since my ex-wife had moved out and we had finally fully separated, and I had grown a lot since then, in many ways I felt like a whole new person. I was in a new relationship, which was actually almost a year old by then itself. I am still in that relationship and it's wonderful, so healthy and full of love and joy, it often seems like the karmic opposite of my previous relationship that had dominated almost my entire adult life, as if the universe is compensating for the pain and suffering from my past.
I had spent that summer hanging out with my friends and playing music with them. Returning to music after twelve years without it was like a huge piece of the puzzle of my satisfaction in life, everything began to improve rapidly for me from that point on. My good friend also integral to this story, who plays bass with me, and I had been tripping together a lot that summer, going on adventures, and spending a lot of time together, really solidifying our relationship and growing very close like brothers. That summer was his psychedelic renaissance, he had tripped a variety of times before but with my help he was able to use psychedelics to dramatically improve various aspects of his personality, and since then he has felt that his life has changed very much for the better, he is so much more confident and emotionally mature. Recently he told me that that summer was a life-changing experience for him and that he is really thankful to me that I let him join me on my journey because he wouldn't be the person that he is today without it. Through the various recent experiences in my life, most notably my ibogaine flood dose to get off opiates and my return to an independent, healthy state, I had been actively practicing the exercising of conscious oversight of myself and was getting quite a lot more conscious of my thought patterns and feelings, and gaining a significant amount of self-control that I had previously lacked.
In short, my mental set going into this trip was about as good as it's ever been. I did not have any areas of my life I felt negative about, and I was in the midst of a magical psychedelic summer in the place I live which I love so much. I was also already working on the subject matter that this trip was really about so it did not happen out of nowhere, but as part of a broad process I was and am engaged in.
DOC and The River
The day begins as a slow trickle of light, the sun cresting the ridge and filtering through my eyelids into my subconscious awareness, through my bedroom window, pulling me luxuriously awake with the soft caress of summer. I smile and rise, slightly tired from playing music late into the night before but glowing because it is a River Hiking Day. River hiking is an activity I value over almost any other, as does my friend who shall forthwith be known as RP3, or RP for short. River hiking must be explained for a proper understanding of the setting of this trip. It consists of driving down the Blue Ridge Parkway for an hour and hiking in to a small mountain river at around 5000 feet in elevation, with around 800 feet of elevation gain over the course of the hike. This river is in the middle of the verdant Western North Carolina temperate rainforest, in a narrow valley between two ridges. The place we start is a waterfall with a cold swimming hole that people like to go hang out at, but you can walk up the valley to the top in the river. It's in a high-elevation part of the forest with very large trees such as poplars and a lot of rhododendrons, with great mountain views when you get some height. The water level varies based on the amount of rainfall, although it is also fed by underground springs that are very cold. If it rains while you're there, the river becomes a brown gushing force, deafening and fierce as it roars down the valley, but if it hasn't rained in a while it is quite a bit more peaceful, though still wild and cascading. The water level changes expose different rocks, so the terrain varies depending on when you go.
It appears that some massive force has shattered the riverbed; it entirely consists of irregular boulders of varying sizes, with amazing psychedelic rock patterns and massive fallen tree trunks laying around in some places. There are almost continuous small waterfalls and some briefly branching paths, so that it's possible to go the whole way in the river but without entering the water, though you also can enter the water, which is absolutely crystal clear and beautiful. The entire riverbed is smoothly polished stone. As you progress further and further, it gets steeper and the boulders get much bigger and there are places where you can get into some bouldering, or you can take a more conservative route. In the middle, right at the peak of the difficulty, you reach a much larger and more majestic waterfall. You can climb up the side on rhododendrons, and at the top it becomes a huge smoothly polished chute of water that has some of the most amazing patterns I've ever seen in rock, it's basically polished marble, and there are some really strange layers that are pretty amazing to ponder. You can climb the chute and at the top the river becomes flat and gentle, and eventually leads to another popular waterfall that has a really nice sun-warmed swimming hole. Generally we go all the way there and then swim for a while, and turn around and go back down, which is a very different experience than going up. All in all you can do it in 3 and a half to 4 hours if you rush, though we usually spend 6 or 7 and stop at various places along the way.
River hiking is a deeply meditative and focusing activity. It is inherently very dangerous, as the whole thing consists of balancing, jumping and climbing on boulders, in the water. It is easy to hurt yourself and the possibilities for injury are pretty intense. A head hit on a rock could easily lead to drowning, which is why I never go alone (I have before but it's a bad idea). When my friend and I river hike here, it invariably induces a state of mind that is deeply useful, focusing and cathartic. All of your worldly concerns fall away and become centered entirely on your next move, survival becoming the only concern you have. You get into the groove of it and it produces a very focused state of mind, and as it becomes somewhat automatic, the mind is free to explore tangents with nothing to distract it. Conversation emerges, and it always focuses on observations about humanity or ourselves, or on increasingly outrageous hypothetical situations that turn out to reveal a great deal about the nature of human thought and association along with no small amount of hilarity and wit. It is also an amazing and enjoyable physical workout for the whole body. In the course of a river hike, we've expressed all of our current joys, fears, worries and questions, discussed them in depth, and drawn conclusions.
I started doing this activity shortly after I did ibogaine, got off opiates and split with my ex and started getting healthy and working out, and I found it deeply transformative both physically and mentally. RP started river hiking with me at the beginning of the summer that this experience took place in, and from the very first time he found it to be equally transformative. Over the course of the summer, he went from being overweight and out of shape to the healthiest he's been, and his level of confidence in himself and his life path completely transformed. He feels that with psychedelics as an aid, and river hiking as a way to spend a day in deep focused thought, he was able to change his life, and this experience was when he was well underway in that process already, since we were river hiking almost every weekend all summer. We find DOC to be the perfect drug to help get the most out of the altered state this activity produces, because it is a very enabling thing that provides a lot of energy, and it has a strong focus on the self and the world in its mental and emotional content. It is a drug that can lead me to profoundly self-aware and insightful places while leaving me very in control of my body and focused.
It is a drug that can lead me to profoundly self-aware and insightful places while leaving me very in control of my body and focused.
For such a dangerous activity I would not want to use most psychedelics, but DOC I actually feel enhances my ability to be attentive to my physical self in the way I need to be. I have river hiked this route probably 40 times, many of them on DOC, and I have never been hurt beyond a cut or bruise or felt out of control or unsafe.
I am freshly awake, in a state of bliss at the knowledge that in the near future I will be doing one of my favorite things with one of my favorite people, and I make myself 4 eggs and some toast, eat them, and gather my equipment. I pack my backpack with weed, a pocket knife, a lighter, a towel, a bottle of water and a bag of trail mix. I grab the river hiking sticks, which are basically walking sticks, as it is very useful to be able to extend one's hand by 4 or 5 feet in any direction. My stick is a treasured possession of mine; I carved handholds in it in just the right places, and I used a marbling technique I developed with acrylic paint to paint a three-dimensional textured psychedelic pattern on the top of it, above the highest handhold. I put on my swimsuit and sandals and a few ziplock bags to put things in to protect them from water, and I'm off.
I wake RP up when I get to his place, and we stop to grab him something to eat, then get on the Parkway and set out. We take the DOC in the car, 2mg each, at the standard time, which is when we're about 25 minutes away. [Erowid Note:
Driving while intoxicated, tripping, or extremely sleep deprived is dangerous and irresponsible because it endangers other people. Don't do it!]
The drive is beautiful, through tunnels and across ridges, inching higher and higher with broad panoramic views and a bright blue sky dotted with beautifully textured clouds. We don't talk much, preferring to just soak it in. RP usually needs a little time to fully wake up and feel good in the morning, so I leave him to it and muse to myself quietly, reflecting on the plans for the day. First a glorious DOC-fueled river hike, and then going to a show with some more friends, a Dark Star Orchestra show at one of my favorite venues which has become a yearly tradition. It's a wonderful outdoor venue at a place that is owned and run by deadheads, you can smoke weed with the security guards there and the crowd is always lovely. Plus they're a brewery and they make my favorite pale ale.
As always, we start to feel the DOC beginning to curl its tendrils into our awareness right as we get there. I park the car and we make sure we have all of our stuff together. We remove our sandals and go barefoot, as is only proper, grab our water and my backpack, and make sure we have the sticks, and then we head out. Going barefoot allows you to balance much better and also grip with your toes and feet, and it allows you to really feel the place so much more. The only time I have ever slipped is when I tried wearing shoes. Barefoot is the only way to river hike. The hike in is about a half a mile of up and down through the forest on a smooth dirt path, not too long but just the right length to shift out of Car Mode and into Nature Mode.
By this time, the world of the river hike has become deeply metaphorical and familiar to us, somewhat fantastical and even ritualistic, due to the accumulation of our experiences with it and its importance to us and the specific nature of the way it makes us feel. We encounter the Spirit of the Forest Tree first, who guards the entrance to the river hike. It is a really strange and beautiful tree that is very large. It curves down to the ground as if it had been almost destroyed and then sprouts two large trunks from that point, reaching triumphantly towards the sky, becoming part of the canopy far above. The shape of the tree and its bark make it look like some sort of majestic rearing dragon-stag, complete with eyes, mouth, a nose with nostrils, a distinct facial expression and a pair of soaring antler-horns. It's very striking and improbable-looking, and as is typical, on this hike there are other people, probably tourists, gawking and taking pictures. We smile to our old friend and pay our respects, asking for a safe and productive river hike, and keep walking.
Partway through the hike, we come up behind a family with two little boys, probably around 6 or 7 years old. We're walking, holding decorated sticks and shirtless and barefoot, and the little boys seem fascinated by this. They tell us that we're cavemen, and RP informs them that they're right, we are indeed cavemen. Then the larger of the two little boys says, 'well you know, we're dinosaurs'. We let them know that we think that's pretty cool, and that they definitely look
like dinosaurs. Then one of the boys gets this really creepy sneer on his face and says, 'no, you don't understand. You're cavemen and we're dinosaurs, and we're gonna KILL you!' This takes us aback slightly. We laugh about it but also quicken our pace. On a river hike, we consciously immerse ourselves in an altered world with its own fantastical properties as part of the process, so it was imperative to let this humorous social interaction lend the day an edge of danger, something to provide a force to resist and challenge us, and the threat of raptor children ends up recurring throughout the trip.
Before long, we reach the base waterfall, and wade through the crowds of teens, gawkers and swimmers, beginning the actual river hike. We endure the standard intrusion of 'normal' people into our voyage, offering brief hellos, how are yous, and smiling at the inevitable cries of 'you don't have SHOES on? You're CRAZY!' In minutes we cut through the people and find ourselves blissfully balancing on rocks and hopping gaps, charting a familiar yet ever-changing course through our home in the mountains.
Around this time the visuals start. We've set the ideal DOC river hiking dose at 2mg, because this allows a beautiful amplification of color and some light morphing of certain things like clouds, without any distracting visual effects. At this dosage, DOC seems to produce a sharpening of my vision, bringing what I am focusing on into crisp detail. At the same time, my brain is able to work more efficiently at processing this input into usable information and I feel very loose and inspired. I look at a rock and I instantly and automatically see the places I could use on it to move forward, the different things I could do, the next moves from it. The possible paths branch out in a latticework of information that I use my intuition and occasionally more focused conscious thought on to determine the best path.
RP and I have developed a whole set of rules for river hiking as a sport. Part of the river hiking world is that we are participating in a contest with ourselves and always trying to beat our previous records and each other, and sometimes we are being watched by the world as a televised sport. You get more river hiking points when you take the more difficult paths, and when you get as close to the water as possible without going in it. For example, climbing up over a boulder is fine, and maybe worth a lot of points if it's hard, but if you can find some route to go under the lip of it by using your stick to push against another boulder and walk on rocks that are barely breaching the surface of the water, you get more points. Stepping out of the riverbed's area into the surrounding forest deducts you a lot of points, it's out of bounds. We never actually keep track of numbers of points or even assign an actual number to any given thing, it's more like a device to challenge ourselves and produce amusing conversation. Part of the magic of the river hike is that you immerse yourself totally into an imaginary world with different properties than the regular world, while maintaining oversight over your imagination. This allows some really interesting observations about your own personality as well as the way people work, and plus, it's a great exercise in maintaining your inner child and sense of wonder, which I am convinced is one of the most important secrets to a happy and fulfilled life.
As is typical, the first topics to emerge in conversation are about music, our music specifically. We had just played the night before and we begin to discuss our observations of what we did, and how we worked together, and what we should work on. The topic of band dynamics soon rears its head. We talk about this for a while, and I give my opinions, and it seems to provide some clarity for RP, who feels hurt and harshly judged by the whole thing.
We continue on, the terrain getting slowly steeper and steeper and more wildly majestic. We occasionally pass groups of people who have hiked up far enough to have their own little private swimming hole, and we cheerfully bid them a good day as they stare at our bare feet with incredulous looks, barely interrupting our conversations. The topics range from serious to silly, mostly focusing on human nature and motivations. As we go, we come up with challenges for ourselves, and try to pick new routes when possible. Today some rocks that are usually slimy are less so, so we're able to actually stay in the river and climb up a series of five small waterfalls rather than take the land mass in the middle, and we feel good about that. There's nothing like the feeling of accomplishing something you have determined that you want to do. River hiking always reinforces this fact, as we make such goals routinely. They are mini analogies for anything in life one might pursue. You want something, you think about how to get it, make a plan and execute with finesse. It always feels like performing this exercise helps me to more readily transfer these steps to more complex and less concrete goals. A river hike is really a form of brain training, exercise for all parts of the organism, body and mind.
Eventually we reach a place close to the center waterfall where it first gets quite steep and the boulders become huge. Every time before, there has been a tremendous fallen tree trunk wedged into the cleft of this part, and we would carefully get out on a slippery rock that a waterfall is landing on and climb onto the log and shimmy up it to get up this incline. However, this time we notice that the log is conspicuously missing. You must understand, this log is really huge. Standing next to it, it reaches from my feet up to the center of my chest, so it must be around 4 and a half feet in diameter and it's very long, weighing many tons. How did it vanish? I look back and notice it way down, almost out of sight. It has been shattered into three pieces, each of which has wedged itself against some boulders. We discuss it and figure that it must be that this area periodically flash floods to a massive extent when it rains heavily for a long time. I have seen it before after an hour of torrential rain and it was almost too wild to traverse. It is humbling, fascinating and somewhat intimidating to know that there are times that so much water force passes through where we are standing that it can dislodge massive tree trunks and shatter them against boulders 500 yards away.
In another twenty minutes, we reach the center waterfall. We sit down on the boulder and reflect on our progress so far with a nice bowl of cannabis. The cannabis kicks the DOC up a notch, and I notice the characteristic DOC visuals enveloping my sight. Clouds slowly morph and bend, and all color is greatly amplified, similar to how mescaline amplifies color but less pastel about it. Everything seems to be coated in a sort of clear ooze that I can see but which doesn't seem to really alter the appearance of anything. It's almost as if the air itself is this ooze, and objects moving through it leave ripples. RP's face has some wiggly lines at the edges, not quite fully morphing but hinting at it. We talk for a while and rest, drink some water, and as we get up to continue we notice some really prime reishi mushrooms growing on a log. Thanking them for their sustenance, we harvest a few (the next day I make us a nice dinner with a reishi butter onion white wine sauce).
The next step involves climbing up the lower part of the side of the waterfall and then using some hanging rhododendron limbs to pull ourselves up the rest of the way with our upper body strength. When I started doing this activity, this part was very challenging for me, but now it is nothing but exhilarating, easily dangling over a drop onto rocks and pulling myself up. I dangle by one arm for a minute just because I can, and it allows me to stretch my other arm out in a way that feels sublime. Once we get up the waterfall, we are faced with the highlight of the whole trip, the upper portion of the middle waterfall which is a worn-smooth granite chute that stretches as far as you can see up the mountain. The patterns on the rock are breathtaking and the whole spot feels sacred, it inspires a hush when you first see it. It's possible to go into the rhododendron forest on the side and get to the top, but I decide I want to try to walk up the chute in the water, by using seams in the rock to gain purchase. If this route is taken, it's the sketchiest part of the whole river hike, but I feel confident. RP has some doubts but he wants to rise to the challenge, so he follows. I make it up, with some fear and difficulty. It's necessary to wedge my feet into some cracks a few times to avoid slipping on the smooth, wet stone, and the force of the water sliding down over my feet complicates things.
I reach the top and look down, making sure RP is following my path because as far as I can tell, it's the only way through it today. Suddenly he says he thinks he's going to slip, and then, for the first time, one of us makes a mistake. His foot slides on the smooth stone and he lands on his rear and begins sliding down quickly in the force of the water. My heart leaps into my throat, as I'm sure his does. It's smooth stone, and acts like a waterslide, but it has many dips and humps. What's more, just a little way down, there is an approximately 5 foot drop-off onto more stone. Fortunately the 40-50 foot main waterfall drop has a calm pool and a slight upraise before it, so there is no way anyone could end up falling down that as a result of an out of control slide (if there was, I would never try taking this route), but the mini-drop could certainly result in injury. I hold my breath as I watch him slide. He seems very in control of himself considering the circumstances, and he angles himself to hit a particularly large bump that has a flatter part under it, just above the drop-off, and an actual edge of rock to grab onto. He is successful, thank goodness, and comes to a stop, with a bruised wrist and butt but otherwise unharmed. He goes off to the side and takes the forest route the rest of the way, and I don't even consider mentioning his river hiking score deduction to him.
Now we are at the long, flat section of the river hike. It is deceptively calm and simple, but I refer to it as the vile temptress portion of the river, because though it is calm and inviting on the surface, it is actually quite treacherous. The rocks look stable, but some of them shift when you step on them, and it is difficult to tell which ones will be slippery. The lower part of the hike is intense and grand, overt in its danger, honest in its presentation, but the upper portion lulls you into thinking it's safe. It is the least interesting part of the hike, but it's necessary to get to the swimming hole and ending waterfall, so we do it. The thing about it that's cool is that there are great opportunities for skipping rocks. Also, right at the top of the waterfall is a little jaunt into the wood that leads to the best campsite ever, which we have camped at. Up there you can find Indian cucumbers, which are a native tuber whose root is really delicious, it's crisp, kind of like a cross between a carrot and a water chestnut. We detour up there to snack on a few. Partway through this section, there is a clearing in the forest that has blueberries and blackberries as far as the eye can see, so we make sure to stop there and have a little berry feast when we get there.
Arriving at last at the swimming hole, we jump into the water amidst probably two dozen people arrayed on the boulders nearby, the cool water washing away the dirt and sweat of our journey. It feels amazing, cold and tingly but not so cold you don't get used to it quickly, quite refreshing after a long and arduous hike. I feel like I could stay in here forever. RP and I go up on some tall rocks and jump in a few times, and a few people are inspired by our actions and follow us to do the same. We get into a few conversations, and two girls start to position themselves closer and closer to us. We see it but we don't say anything to them, we just notice them looking at us when they think we aren't looking.
Pretty soon we decide we'd like to smoke another bowl, but with a sense of dismay I realize that we have somehow misplaced the lighter. Looking around, we don't feel like most of the people would be cool to ask to borrow a lighter from, go off into the woods with it for a few minutes, and bring it back. No one except these girls, actually. So we approach them and ask if we can borrow their lighter and bring it back soon, and they tell us that they were about to use their lighter for that themselves, and ask us if we want to join them. We get to talking, and it turns out they're on vacation for a week here, and they took some acid before arriving. So basically we have found the two other people tripping here.
basically we have found the two other people tripping here.
This amuses us all greatly. I believe the girls are interested in us, because they're hinting about asking what we're doing later, but RP and I are not on a mission to find ladies, we are on a mission to have a complete therapeutic river hike experience, and we have a schedule to stick to if we want to make it to the show later. And besides, I'm not interested in poking around outside of my relationship. So we say our farewells and start heading back.
The way back is an interesting thing on a river hike, because instead of going up, you're going down. So it's a bit of a reprieve cardiovascularly, but it feels, and is, more dangerous because now if you slip your momentum will carry you down a boulder-strewn incline. Also one's legs and knees particularly start to feel the strain of the hours upon hours of prolonged intense usage. So we are extra careful on the way back, and less exuberant, more tired. This is how it always goes, there is less constant conversation but the conversations that do come up are more pointed, reprises of earlier ruminations with a sense of conclusion to them, a synthesis of the topics of the day. At one point, some dark clouds start moving over us and the wind picks up, which produces an ominous and slightly threatening atmosphere. RP says we'd better watch out for raptor children. This gives me the mental image of those two boys suddenly stepping out onto the rocks behind us from out of nowhere, and leaping in rapid, inhuman strides across the rocks toward us, shedding their human flesh as they come, sprouting terrible maws with sharp teeth and growing wicked curved scythes from their feet. The image actually spooks me a bit and I quicken my step.
At last, right when we're both really ready to be done, our knees groaning in protest, we reach the beginning again, that bottom waterfall. There are still some people there. The bottom waterfall swimming hole is always really cold, as it's been fed by many cold underwater springs since the upper pool and it's shaded from the sunlight, so it's a bit daunting to get in. I see a father and his young son watching as I climb to the top of a tall boulder where you can jump in from. When it's warm enough, I like to jump in at the end, because it's shockingly refreshing. Or I should say, it's shocking in a knock-the-air-from-your-lungs sort of way when you're in it, and incredibly refreshing once you scramble out. I prepare to jump and receive encouragement from my watchers. I count to three and jump. Whoosh... COLD COLD COLD, MUST GET OUT NOW!
But once I get out, I feel incredible. My entire body feels like it's vibrating, my skin tingles pleasurably, and I feel like I'm radiating energy. I climb back up to the path with a contented smile, and RP meets me with wide eyes, carrying an object. He had been watching me and reached down into the water for no apparent reason and his hand closed around a stick. Looking at it, we both agree it is a precise replica of the Spirit of the Forest Tree, down to the exact angles and curves, and even the facial features. This seems immensely improbable and magical, a true artifact, and it affirms to us that this was indeed a special sort of river hike. To this day RP still has that stick.
Finally we reach the car again, feeling simultaneously triumphant at a successful river hike and a bit sad that it's over. At this point we are both fully into the second phase of DOC. It's around 6:30 in the evening, and we had taken it at about 9:30am, so at this point anything visual has faded away besides that wonderful beautification of colors. I am feeling a coursing euphoria and talkativeness, and my control over my brain and body feel absolute. This is the classic DOC plateau stage, and it's one of my very favorite parts of the drug. It consists of a very enabling stimulation combined with a witty and zen-like state of mind that will last until I sleep. It's like super-sobriety, very much along the vein of a dextro-amphetamine high, but far more centered and euphoric, and with a tremendous urge to think about and talk about things. I do not recommend driving on any psychedelics, but I have done so during this later stage of DOC many times. I know myself and my limits, and driving home at this point is well within mine, similar to driving on amphetamines.
As we begin to drive, we begin a favored pastime, which is to engage in a series of conversations that begin on a ridiculous and crazy premise, which we take turns adding to, to see where it will go. I suggest that it is a thousand years in the future, and due to continued pollution and greatly increased solar radiation getting through the atmosphere, the world is infused with many times more radiation than we are exposed to now. In fact, the level of radiation is such that a modern human would be unable to survive in it for very long. However, since this has happened over a long period of time, many many generations, in a gradual increase, we have evolved the ability to survive it as it has progressed. At this point in time, random genetic mutations that impart virtually any sort of power imaginable are commonplace, so it has become the norm that nearly everyone has some sort of completely random superpower. What, do we suppose, are some of those powers and their implications? Many hilarious and interesting conversational pockets result from this, my favorite of which I shall relate thusly.
RP suggests that someone has gained the ability to summon a turkey at will. Whenever this guy wants, he can make a live turkey appear in front of him. I amend that it IS a turkey, but it is a giant turkey, twenty feet tall, a turkey which instills terror due to its great size and rapid movements. RP realizes these are actually massive turkeys of carnage, and at first the population of this person's town is horrified. But soon, they discover that these turkeys are delicious, and each one provides a tremendous amount of meat. So as is the way of humans, this power is commoditized. The town grows into a thriving metropolis, based on the infinite summoning of massive turkeys, which are quickly slaughtered while they are disoriented from suddenly appearing and used to feed the world. Humanity begins to thrive once more, hunger all but disappears and the nations are all tied together by this amazing infinite source of food.
Unfortunately, and entirely unknown to the humans, these turkeys are not being summoned from nothingness. Rather, on a distant planet, a massive, lush paradise, lives a race of massive turkeys. Far from being vicious killing machines, as we had ignorantly assumed due to their fearsome appearance, they are benevolent, wise, and incredibly advanced, and they have been terrorized by the increasingly rapid and mysterious disappearance of their race. Soon they discover where the source of the disturbance is, and they embark on a journey to confront us, not with aggression since it against their nature, but to inform us of the unintended effects our newfound power has produced in their people. Before long, the benevolent space turkeys arrive, and we prepare for war, as we assume they have come to destroy us for what we have done. The man who developed this power feels an intense sorrow for what he has unwittingly caused, and he feels that he is beyond forgiveness, but the turkeys demonstrate to him and to us that a race of superior intelligence can act in the best interests of everything involved. Through the lessons of our newfound friends, we are finally able to ascend beyond our selfish and destructive nature that has for so long plagued us, and finally become the benevolent species we have always had the potential to be.
The moral of the story? Nothing comes for free, everything has unintended consequences that must be examined. And it is never too late for us to change our path. This conversation has blended serious thought and hilarity in a way that is profoundly satisfying to me.
After many conversations such as this, we arrive home in about an hour's time. The show starts at 8, and it's almost 7:30, so I change my clothes and eat a bite in preparation, and I plan to meet our other friends at the venue. RP does not have the money to buy a ticket, but we are very familiar with the place and he has been developing a plan to sneak in for a while now for this very occasion. A previous scouting mission revealed that there is a stream that winds its way from a far corner of the extended parking area, well past the boundary of watchful eyes, across rocks and under a thicket of dense plant growth, under a bridge and into the area behind the porta-potties. RP thinks he can quietly river hike through this area once it's mostly dark and enter with no one the wiser. I wish him luck and tell him to text me when he's close to making it in, and I'll go over to that area to meet him so he can find us in the crowd. With that, I weigh out a dose of 30mg of 4-HO-MiPT and a dose of 20mg of MXE, hop in my car, and make the short drive to where the show is.
4-HO-MiPT and The Synchronistic Coalescing
I arrive at the venue just as the music is beginning. Dark Star Orchestra is a Grateful Dead cover band that has gained a level of success beyond your average cover band. They put on a really good show that is both faithful to the Dead and is distinctly their own thing. I feel slightly anxious about the number of people at first, but I quickly become comfortable because everyone is great. People are smoking weed freely, dancing, laughing, hooping, and generally just having a great time. The vibes are awesome, as usual, and there are plenty of little kids running around and some great dogs. Nearly everyone has a smile on their face and you could strike up a nice conversation anywhere. I wander around trying to find my friends, and I end up finding them in the usual spot. Hugs all around, as we chat with each other animatedly about how our days have been. I tell them about the river hike and that RP will be sneaking in soon. I announce my intention to add 4-HO-MiPT to the mix. We stand around, smoke weed and half listen to the beginning of the first set, half chat about random stuff, passing some time as the day wends on towards night, the time I am always waiting for at a show like this, the time when the lights come out and the inhibitions go down.
As the evening sun begin to droop low toward its inexorable sleep, I decide to take my 20mg dose of MXE, orally. I do this because I find that preloading with a low to moderate dose of MXE really allows psychedelics, and tryptamines in particular, to come on deeply with an easier transition. The emotional and physical buffer that MXE creates makes the come-up feel much smoother
The emotional and physical buffer that MXE creates makes the come-up feel much smoother
, and the slight tinge of dissociation in the brain allows the tryptamine to really have an easy time taking hold. I find that at this sort of dosage, the MXE barely colors the experience it all, it simply seems to provide an ideal launch pad and lubrication. Socializing for just a bit longer after that, I take my 30mg dose of 4-HO-MiPT, also orally, as twilight begins to cast its cool shades across the land and the crowd. Glowsticks and LED hula hoops are coming out, and the stage lights are a beautiful array of colorful glows. Everything feels perfect for a trip as the bitter powder dissolves into my mucous membranes and throat and down into my stomach, beginning its gradual osmosis into my bloodstream and through the great barrier into the near-infinitely complex playground of a willing human brain.
It doesn't take long for me to start feeling twinges of tryptamine magic at the edges of my awareness. I close my eyes to begin to try to meditate while standing and listening to the music, when suddenly reality intrudes in a very pointed way. S, the female lead singer of my band, the one who started dating the male lead singer (T) recently and whom I do not trust very much, interrupts my reverie with a decidedly drunken and agitated series of words at me. Stunned, it takes me a moment to figure out what she's trying to communicate. She has come up to me with a wide smile, leading with compliments, a clear attempt to butter me up for her true purpose. I quickly become aware that her purpose is to manipulate me into saying some negative things about my compatriot RP. My gut reaction is to lash back in anger, as I have done before about her and her boyfriend T's machinations against RP, but at that moment something seems to click into place in my head. Rather than react, I take a step back and view my reaction objectively, as is clearly the natural thing to do. Yes, it would be righteous of me to display anger in my friend's defense, but since I already know what this conversation is, it would be better for me to simply let that feeling wash over me and continue not speaking, letting her reveal as much of herself as she will.
So that is what I do. I observe the entire conversation with incredulous amusement. She babbles on like a bobblehead given voice, fully confident in her ability to deceive me but in truth, utterly transparent. I interject comments here and there that will make it easier for me to influence the group in a positive direction at a later time, little hooks to reference back to this conversation and disarm her when she makes her offensive move. From this place of self-analysis, I am able to see so clearly. S's rant appears rehearsed, almost desperate. I begin to analyze her motivations and I realize she is behaving as she has learned to do from her accumulated life experiences, from her role models. She is used to manipulating people to get what she wants, she thinks it's what you're supposed to do. What she wants is a band under the firm control of herself and T, and their (in her mind) superior vision. And she actually doesn't know RP very well yet, as she is pretty new to the scene. So a lot of her vehemence against him is simply the result of her feeling protective of T, who has personality and living situation conflicts with RP and gets very frustrated by it. Defending her boyfriend is actually a nice thing for her to be doing, despite how misguided it is in this instance.
I find that, instead of feeling anger or hatred for them, I feel pity for them, and understanding. Here are two people who truly do not know the joy of being perfectly at peace with someone else, accepting them as they are, and allowing the influences of others to shape the group. They have a very specific idea of how they want the band to be, and rather than understanding that together we can create something that is not simply our own idea, but an even stronger idea brought together by multiple talented people, they are trying to manipulate the rest of us into their own idea, out of a belief that their idea is best and that this is how one should operate to get what they want.
I suddenly receive a text from RP; he is nearly in and has asked me to be there to meet him. I excuse myself from S rather abruptly and tell her I will think on the things she has said, and I thank her for bringing them to me. She seems satisfied, victorious even, clearly believing she has succeeded in manipulating me. Instead I am now aware of some things I can do to facilitate the best outcome for RP and for the band as a whole, and hopefully, even for S and T. I usher her away back towards our group, since we have been chatting right where RP is about to emerge from the stream bed. And in minutes, there he is, appearing in mid-stride from behind the porta-potties, a wonderfully wild look on his face and a massive grin. He tells me about his adventure in... he had crept along on hands and knees, staying out of the water, and at one point dodging a flashlight beam from a security guard. And now he's in! I hadn't been sure if he would actually make it, but I am very glad to see him, his presence is a blessing on us all.
At this time I begin to fully enter the tryptamine realm, and I notice a majestic beauty overtaking my vision. Lights form tracers that are long and repeating, flashing through all the scintillating colors of the spectrum. If I stare at the stage lights, complex patterns begin to coalesce from the undifferentiated color of the light and spread out in a web of detail. I am struck with a powerful euphoria, a sense that everything is precisely in its right place, I am exactly where I should be. I am able to hear every note of the music distinctly, with all the time in the world to think about it and analyze it in relation to the greater musical idea. I am able to understand what the various players are doing on a level I have never before experienced, and my brain lights up with inspiration and joy as I realize the hard work I've been putting in musically has been paying off. I feel a huge cheshire cat grin on my face as I cast about with my gaze, feeling an outpouring of love towards my friends, towards my companions in the crowd, towards the band, towards the venue. Towards myself.
I move around to one friend at a time, just being there, hearing what they have to say, and responding in ways that I know they need or will make them feel good. The process of stepping back from myself in every moment and analyzing my thoughts and feelings that began with the conversation with S is now in full swing, it has become a loop, an inexorable force of my awareness that is powerful and pervasive. I feel the meanings of everything I witness becoming clear as the ego-related chatter falls away, revealed as illusion. I walk to my friend E, who really just strikes me as needing a hug at that moment, and I wordlessly wrap her in an embrace. She clutches me back powerfully, and I am aware of how much she needs a hug right now, and I am glad I am able to provide that for her. I tell her everything is okay and I try to beam as much of my powerful feeling of bliss into her as possible. I'm not sure what's wrong but it is clear to me that something is. She beams back at me and I know I have brought a little joy to her. I run into RP and spend some time with him, and he tells me that I am absolutely radiating awesomeness right now and it makes him feel amazing just being near me.
As the night wears on and the second set begins to near its close, my observational mental loop accelerates. I begin to think back on my life since the earliest I can remember.
my observational mental loop accelerates. I begin to think back on my life since the earliest I can remember.
I am able to see how so many decisions I made about myself and my path in life are arranged so delicately to lead me right here, to this perfect place. Not only this perfect moment right now, but this perfect place in life that I am in. Each of those decisions was made in ignorance at the time; some seemed inconsequential, some were complete accidents, and some were intentional but made for different reasons, but through it all I realize that I have been following my intuition all along, and doing what feels right. In some cases I was going against what I knew was right but even those instances are revealed to me as necessary steps in my growth process. There is nothing out of place. The network of decisions and occurrences is so majestic and complex that I can't help but feel that it was laid out by some intelligence. If I am the universe experiencing itself subjectively, could, then, my sense of intuition be coming from that all-knowing place, and I have in truth been guiding myself all along? I realize that I should always follow my intuition, that in the time before thought, I already know what I need to do.
I begin to feel grandiose and important, and then I chuckle to myself as I once again step back and see that for an ego reaction, one which I am prone to, but one to which I will never be a slave. In fact, I will never be a slave again, because I realize that I always
have the power to step back and observe myself before I act. We can't help our gut emotional and mental reactions, but we can always consider them and understand them before we choose how to respond, and even before we choose what to internalize and make real to ourselves. We have full power over our own realities, because we make our own realities. What we focus on becomes what we are, which becomes how we feel and view our lives, which becomes what we put out into the world, which becomes what we receive back from the world.
I begin to feel an ocean of gratefulness to the universe, to myself. I think about who I have become, the changes I have nurtured in myself, and I am struck with absolute self-love. I am happy with who I am, comfortable with myself, proud of myself. I didn't used to be, but through dedicated focus and mental discipline, I have become the person I have always needed to be. I think back to the river hike, that most beautiful of activities, and I am thankful for my understanding of the crucial importance of nurturing one's lifelong inner child. I realize with the most clarity I have ever had that I know and accept my purpose. My purpose is to derive as much inspiration and understanding from life as I possibly can, and then share that with others so as to uplift those around me. I do that through music, through friendships, through love, through art, through writing about the very experiences that have led me to this place. In my relationships, I can provide a beacon of positivity for people, and I can understand the inner workings of people so as to influence them in ways that will help them to grow and thrive. I feel thankful to myself that I had the wherewithal to listen to my intuition and make all of those life choices that have led me to being able to have everything I need and live in a place that I truly love and that nurtures me, and that I am able to make enough money to be comfortable without doing something that drains my soul.
As the final song reaches its final note and rings out with passion and glory, all of these thoughts and all of my past experiences converge together in one glorious moment of perfection, the most self-aware I have ever felt, a blast of that most perfect self-actualization and gratefulness for life itself and the wonder of it all. It is the perfect moment, and as the final ring of the music fades and the crowd roars, I find myself lowering my raised arms, my face looking down from the infinite sky, tears streaming unheeded down my cheeks.
The rest of the night is spent in bliss, slowly coming down. We hang out for a while and watch some of the after-show with another band in the semi-indoor part of the venue. I decide to have my friend drive me back to the band house, where most of the people I love here live, and I spend the night there amidst much wonderful companionship and jovial conversation.
The End of the Beginning
I have found since that night that I seem to have reached a new plateau of awareness. I have never forgotten that mental loop of stepping back and objectively viewing my internal processes, in fact I have practiced it every day and it has worked itself into my way of being. I feel a sense of freedom that I have never felt before, because I know that I have power over myself, that I can always be someone who is striving to be the best and most aware person I can be. I am not perfect, of course, as perfection is impossible to attain. But I am able to be happy with myself and I feel free to pursue my path, now that I know for sure what it is. It is now over 14 months since this trip, and things have continued on the same trajectory. My life is filled with people I care about and who care about me, and I spend all of my free time pursuing my passions. I am aware of my faults and this awareness gives me power over them. I am in a great place in life, and I am grateful for the circumstances that have allowed me to live this life and the luck I have received, but I also know that I have made the best of what I was given, so I feel comfortable in my place because I know that whatever life throws at me, I can fit it into my world.
I hope that this story brings some of what I gained from the experience forward, to be gained by another. I tried to write it in a way that communicated the feelings I felt in an immediate and visceral way. I truly believe that everyone has the ability to make their life what they want it to be, with dedication to the steps needed to change. It is my fervent hope that we can all reach a place that makes us feel happy and fulfilled.
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