Citation: Paul. "Became the Center of My Own Mandala: An Experience with LSD (exp111209)". Erowid.org. Sep 5, 2018. erowid.org/exp/111209
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I preface by saying this is a very long trip report. Read as you please.
Whatever is said here cannot be fully accepted as truth. For words such as these will never be able to fully pass on to another an experience of such magnificent transcendence. We are limited by our vocabulary and way of communicating, thus we are unable to express to another the true essence or extent of an experience. 'What can be shown, cannot be said', as Ludwig Wittgenstein put it. A psychedelic experience can be shown but not said. So, the words that follow are just conjured up metaphors, allegories, analogies, images, and symbols that hopefully will give at least a single individual a creative idea, an epiphany, or an inspirational breakthrough - at least for a moment. Try and read everything here poetically, if it resonates with you, vibe with it.
This experience has taken me awhile to somewhat articulate for others to try and understand. The reason is that words don't do it justice. I kept this experience internalized to fully embrace it, integrate it into my being, and not have the use of language taint and contort its meaning or essence. Even now I cautiously type these words fully apprehending not one single person will feel or experience what I experienced. Maybe they have or will, but to describe such an experience with words one will never truly know. One just has to trust the other person. So, I humbly ask for your trust; not your belief, but trust.
As a psychedelic voyager and explorer, I merge into the vastness that seems to be mind. Through the doors, windows, gates, labyrinths, and palaces I find myself. During these experiences, I learn and also remember. As well as try and bring back some form of an idea that can be articulated. Bring back a meme if you will. Something that helps people get through life simpler and easier, even if that feeling comes for a moment. These memes in a sense give permission to others, permission to experience a novel understanding about life and what the psychedelic experience has to offer.
Set: healthy mental state, calmly excited and trepidatious for the experience
Setting: my room, alone, AC and fan on, completely dark except for one candle that was lit toward the end of my bed on a bookshelf
Intention: to be the center of my own mandala
10:30 pm - drop
As I waited for the come up, I sat/laid down on the bed and played my Kaizen steel drum.
11:03 pm - first initial energy building up
The drum sounded spectacular. Each note would resonate throughout my whole being.
11:23 pm - slight acid feel
Around this time, I remember walking into my living room and my dog Tia (who is my sitter for most of my trips) was laying on the couch. I was petting her for a bit, then I went back into my room and she followed me.
12:07 am - everything is beautiful
I remember the notes on the drum sounded blissfully beautiful. I was also in awe over how soft and beautiful Tia's fur was - she is a Belgian Malinois. Petting her head and ears felt like silk. At this time everything was perfect and life felt divine.
Luscious flowing waves
I felt the oceanic connectedness feeling that many feel on psychedelics (common on LSD), also while petting Tia her fur felt like waves. Luscious flowing waves.
This is when I first started to notice that my mind was becoming untethered and connected at the same time. If you have ever seen the fMRI image of the two brains: one on LSD and one sober brain, you will see how everything is looser and more connected while on LSD. I had that visualization of my brain and the connections I was making in the moment. I felt every inch of my neuronal pathways and every basement and attic that was previously left untouched in my mind, now connected to the whole.
Insanity gained and insanity lost (I wonder if I meant to write 'sanity gained and sanity lost', but I'm not entirely sure). I had some backups on hand if anything were to go south. I had Xanax at my bedside in case I started to go through a rough time, and sure enough, I did go through that rough time. I can't count how many times those small white pills went through my mind. I was so convinced that I was going mad that I knew I needed to take one or else I would lose my mind for good. Somehow, I decided to ride through the hell without taking the little white pill. I humbly ensure that this was the right thing to do.
At this time, the trip took a turn. Because my boundaries were dissolving so severely, it felt as though I was literally losing my mind. As Terence McKenna said, 'The psychedelic mantra... 'I've done it this time!''. I say this with the utmost sincerity in my voice... I honestly felt I was going mad. I felt schizophrenic. I have no direct family history of schizophrenia and do not know what a schizophrenic person thinks. But I convinced myself I was losing my mind. I would walk around my house, stopping randomly, and continue walking saying repeatedly, 'what the hell is happening!'. I then laid back down on the bed with Tia and I experienced a transcendent catharsis. Through the pain and anguish of losing my mind, I discovered I am the only thing in the universe. I was shown to be a singularity. With this realization, I bawled my eyes out for a good amount of time. The reason I was crying so hard was that of the pain in understanding that I'm the only thing that exists. I'm all alone. 'The last dance you dance, you dance alone'. Coming back from what felt like hell and expanding back out of the singularity, I had a new perspective. Coming out of being alone, I realized I do not have to live this life completely alone. We want to connect to others, that seems to me to be a main goal of humans. I felt tremendous love, hope, and compassion when I realized that there were two pillows on the bed I was laying on. This second pillow belonged to and symbolized my girlfriend. I understood I have someone with me side by side to live this mystery of existence together with. I did cry again at this point as well because of the emotions that were surging through me at the time. This was another lesson that we create the reality in which we live in.
Because I did this trip that night, because I went through that experience and felt those things, it felt as though I changed the structure and time of reality. My reality. And the reality of everyone in my reality, which seems to be me. I apprehended what shamans do. They are arbiters in a sense, who transform the nature of reality in the moment to a truer or novel form. The shaman is a true magician.
Toward the end of the trip, I remember having amazing sensations on my skin and in my skin. It felt as though I could feel the fabric or net of reality on the 4th-dimensional level, in my 3-dimensional body. It was as though moving my arms up and down felt like they were moving through spider webs, but the spider webs were inside my skin and attached to my skin. It seemed as though I was experiencing the network and connectedness of reality through my skin.
It seemed as though I was experiencing the network and connectedness of reality through my skin.
This was a sensation I have never experienced before. It was as though after expanding out of the singularity, I was downloading myself back into a reality I was creating. And this was the physical sensation of that experience.
8:30 am - end of the trip
The rest that follows are some ideas that came to me during and after this particular experience.
We are constantly seeking. Seeking on many levels: material, spiritual, psychological. We seek and seem to never be satisfied. We seek out into matter for the next thing: seek a car, a house, a lover, a book, a job, drugs, money, pleasure. We seek spiritual enlightenment through various practices including yoga, meditation, psychedelics, gurus, float tanks. We seek psychological health or closure through different things: psychotherapy, other people, lovers, family, friends, knowledge, power. We are constantly seeking.
One blinding message I got out of this trip was that the thing we are seeking or finding seems to be ourselves. We are seeking ourselves. We are seeking outward and also inward, but what you have to realize in that all of this seeking, you are just seeking yourself. I truly understood this. I found myself during those 10 hours. I became the center of my own mandala. The next day after the trip I went on a long hike in nature to process the whole experience. During this hike, I had the song Wake Me Up by Avicii playing inside my head, 'All this time I've been finding myself, And I didn't know I was lost'. These lyrics had a tremendous impact on my mental state at the time. By the end of that hike, I felt as though I found myself and understood how nature loves courage. (reading this experience over now, I see that I lost myself after this experience. It took a while to find myself again and gather the pieces of my mind to put them back together).
We're constantly distracting ourselves, distracting ourselves from ourselves. Distracting ourselves through various mediums, activities, and thoughts in our lives. Distracting ourselves with TV, with technology, with other people, money, etc. After this trip, however, I discovered the utmost empathy for myself and others when we all distract ourselves. Finding and remembering who you are can be a scary thing. It's only human to use things to distract us from ourselves. And I have nothing against this spiral cycle. It's a part of being human and many human beings need it. There can be pain in discovering the self. I understand why we distract ourselves from that. Like the Bodhisattva after discovering himself, he goes back into the collective to help others realize their true potential. He apprehended the distractions others and even himself creates and has empathy because he discovered himself and remembers. Just try and remember who you are.
Discovering and experiencing that I am the center of my own mandala created a vivid feeling inside myself that I will try and express as an idea. This was the deepest lesson I learned throughout this entire trip, so it will not be easy to articulate. In fact, it seems not even possible to drag its essence from a higher dimensional matrix into this 3dimensional language. So, what follows must be taken simply as an idea. I discovered that I am the center of my own mandala. To get an image of this: if I am the center of my own mandala, I in turn am connected to everything else. Everything else around me seems to be a fractal extension, or difference in the pattern; essentially me. Everything and everyone seems to be me. I am everything and everyone. During the 2-4-hour mark was the toughest and most challenging part of the whole experience. All boundaries were dissolving and it felt like everything was closing in to a single point. A singularity. Certainly, part of the challenge was me going through ego death, but I have experienced ego death before and this had a different flavor to it. I became the singularity. I discovered that I am an essential part of the whole. I am a big player in the game of life. All that exists and ever existed in this/my universe seemed to be myself. I am all that exists. Just me. Nothing is 'real' except my own direct experience.
For some, this view of 'I am the only thing that exists' may come off as egotistical. However, I would completely argue the opposite. If I truly experience myself as the only thing that ever existed and exists, then that means that everything in my life: every situation, every person, every being, every dream, every conversation, every setting, you, my dog, my neighbor, the sun, the moon, the ocean, that tree, that cloud, that star, that whisper in the wind, EVERYTHING, seems to be me. If I see that, I then have tremendously more compassion and love for not only myself but also every being and everything on the planet. If I am everyone and everything, wouldn't I want to treat myself with compassion and love? This brings happiness. So, having love, compassion, empathy, and all these other good virtues for others, literally seems like you are giving oneself love, compassion, and empathy. This view surely gives clarity to the whole human situation. And this realization had and still has a profound effect on the way I conduct myself in the world I create. It's like the Golden Rule: Treat others as you would like to be treated.
Toward the end, probably at the 5 or 6-hour mark, I vividly understood once again that we create the world we live in. We construct, from the ground up, our reality with our choices, thoughts, and intentions. Also, with the understanding that I am everything, I choose what my life will be like and how I feel. Psychologically, emotionally, and physically. We are the heroes of our own story. We write that story.
One idea: no one, especially the ones I love wholeheartedly, should experiment with these substances unless they are truly psychically empowered. Even if one thinks they are, they will not be able to un-see what they will see on these substances. Reason for this statement came to me after the trip. When using psychedelics as tools and in a shamanic context, there is a great deal of challenge, pain and suffering one CAN go through during the experience - this, however, can be one of the most beneficial parts of an intense psychedelic experience. I love my friends and family too much for them to have to go through those types of experiences like I have been through. I care for them too deeply for them to encounter anguish, distress, and very very challenging experiences. Carl Jung once said, 'There is no coming to consciousness without pain.' And I think he was on to something. These types of experiences can possibly be the one thing one needs most in their life, and my loved ones may want this sort of thing to happen to them. If that's so, I would be right alongside them in their discovery of self. But after this trip, I couldn't bear to think of having the same pain and suffering I went through be put on anyone I truly love.
After a very long and arduous 10-hour trip, through my expanded awareness at the time, a single word manifested in my head. This occurred after the remembrance that I indeed create and construct my own reality. This word will only imply meaning to myself, for only I can interpret the magnitude of the word corresponding to my life and all of life in general. The word was 'stay'. For those who have watched the movie Interstellar, you can see how this word seems to have a weight attached to it. Stay. Many of us here on earth move very fast and believe this seems to be the way to get things done. What this experience gave me was the affirmation to slow down, to stay; especially in the moment. Stay.
What this experience gave me was the affirmation to slow down, to stay; especially in the moment. Stay.
Many of us are constantly pushing toward something, pushing toward a certain activity, or pushing toward a job/career, or pushing toward other people, or pushing in personal/social development, or pushing in the moment. I think letting go seems more appropriate than pushing. It's hard to get such a convoluted point across without contradicting oneself. People may be thinking I am against pushing towards things, and in life, you need to push towards certain things to grow and learn. Sure, maybe, and yes; but letting go seems to be truer to oneself and life almost. Things are unfolding as they should be, even if you have no conscious understanding of that, there seems to be a process flowing underneath it all. Letting go helps you flow. Plus, this seems to be a prescription for more happiness and less anxiety. I say letting go, not meaning let everything go in life and just not give a shit about anything; but let go of trivial things and negativity, and just have common sense. It seems to be like the coincidencia oppositorum, the union of opposites; where in order to push farther one needs to let go more.
As Terence McKenna said, 'True ecstasy is a union of opposites. It's the felt experience of paradox, so it is exalting and illuminating at the same time that it's terrifying and threatening. It dissolves all boundaries'. For those that read this entire report, understand the set and setting I was in, as well as my intention. These factors greatly influenced the trip I had. Every acid trip, or mushroom, or MDMA, or salvia, or DMT trip will be different for everyone every single time. Where you are and your mindset at the time, as well as your intention sometimes seems even more influential than the actual substance you are ingesting. However, dose also greatly affects your experience as well. Even when you take steps toward a safe and secure journey on a psychedelic with a proper set and setting, very challenging experiences can still occur. However, I am sure glad I had this difficult experience in my own house, alone. If I was anywhere else, especially in an uncomfortable setting, who knows what evils could have been unleashed.
The truths one sees while on psychedelics are not so much truths of reality, but more like models of reality. After having a deep, transforming experience one may think they have reached some form of enlightenment or nirvana. It may feel that way, but try to understand that the experience that you had seems to be a glimpse of only a small pixel of reality. A model one can take up and play around with. An idea to fool around with at the dinner table of the collective consciousness. Some models are more suitable than others, depending on your current situation it seems. It's difficult to say if one model seems better than another because no one can truly know this. I understand why psychedelic pioneers from the past say you can get trapped in the beauty and awe of a trip, and believe that that experience was the truth. Try and see that the 'truth' you experienced was just one truth out of infinite truths. Or one model out of infinite models. It seems as though it's our job to discern what models, ideas, and truths are worth preserving and discussing.
I am still unpacking this experience.
This seems only to be the beginning.
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