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Intense, Powerful, Horrendous, Terrifying
Citation:   Steve E.. "Intense, Powerful, Horrendous, Terrifying: An Experience with Psilocybin (exp116994)". Jan 19, 2023.

59 mg oral Mushrooms
[Report originally appeared on Psymposia's site, submitted separately to Erowid.]

Part 3 of 3-part series on one participant’s experience in the Pharmacokinetics of Psilocybin in Normal Adult Volunteers study at the University of Wisconsin.

Part 3 | After experiencing the flood of emotions from dose number two and the journey of the dark soul in dose number one, I was thinking, “I have experienced my darkness, my demons, the underworld. I have purged my emotional blockage. I am ready to experience the divine. White light. Unity consciousness. Yes!”

This was not to be. Even in writing this, I am flooded with tears.

Dose number three was the most intense, powerful, horrendous, terrifying, awful experience of my life. There is no way words can fully capture the horrifying intensity of this session. In the end, it was all worth it. I entered the most profound state that has forever changed my life.

Dose three was 59 mg. I received the largest dose of psilocybin ever administered in a published FDA study. For the uninitiated to psilocybin dosing, this is a mega dose. The writer Terence McKenna dazzled his audiences with tales of doing what he called a “heroic dose” of five grams of dried mushrooms. I have been asked by many people “What does this equal in dried grams of mushrooms?” (the standard method of ingesting mushrooms). The answer: about 10 grams of dried mushrooms.

We went through the standard protocol: capsule, eye shades, headphones, lie down.

And then…holy shit! There was really no ramp up. There was no warning. There was no gradual entry into hell. Within 20 minutes of ingesting the psilocybin, I was shot directly into the infinite abyss of human suffering.

I went quickly from lying down to sitting up. I took the eye shades and headphones off. Holy shit.

I was experiencing every person who has ever walked this Earth, who has ever suffered, every person currently living, every terrible thing that has ever happened to anyone, tortured, killed, lost a child, grieved. Every emotion tied to any human who suffered was being channeled through me.

It was as if a fire hydrant of human suffering was going through me. As this was happening, I knew, “This is not me. This is not mine.”

“Why me?” I called out. “Why am I experiencing this? Why am I carrying this burden? This is not mine.”

As this was happening, I thought I was screaming out a continuous wail. Later I learned that I wasn’t, but my inner experience was that of a constant primal scream of suffering.

The intensity increased, and then at one point I saw an immense white hot circle lying before me. I felt myself fall into this abyss. Lining the abyss were thousands and thousands of souls screaming, writhing, all suffering as I fell downward into the pit.

This phase of dose three lasted about two hours, non-stop and relentless. At some point, I moved to the floor. I don’t remember how I got there. I just remember somewhat “coming to” and out of the human suffering channel. The respite from that hell was soon followed by the next phase, my own suffering. This was not as horrendous as experiencing all of the suffering of humanity. It was just me. But it truly sucked.

Here I died, and died, and died again, hundreds of deaths of “Steve.” I was parched, down-trodden, and beaten. I was a shell of a man suffering greatly. Then I would take a drink of water and fall over and die. I’d get back up, suffer, drink water, die, over and over again.

At some point in this personal suffering as I was dying and writhing on the floor, Karen bent over and whispered, “Go deeper.”


These were the perfect words at the perfect time. They assured me that I was okay on some level and that there was a deeper level to go to.

At about the four-hour mark, I sat straight up, breathed deeply, and witnessed the cycle of suffering that I was experiencing. It was an energetic swirl. It was happening in front of me—but I was no longer part of it. “It” was just “there.”

What happened next is the most difficult part of the entire experience to fully convey in words for its depth and transformational power.

I went from witnessing my swirl of suffering to a “place.” I saw an infinite field of gray dust and a gray sky. Sitting in this dusty plain was a frail “boneman.” Not a skeleton, but a boneman. The boneman was about two feet high sitting down. He sat cross-legged staring out at the infinite horizon. I saw him and then I became him. It was “I” that was sitting there. I was boneman.

Once I was boneman, I entered a stateless state. This stateless state was one of authority. I was pure awareness, but there was no awareness. I was pure consciousness, but there was no consciousness. There was a sense of pure wisdom and knowledge, but there was no wisdom or knowledge. It was a state of perfection, but there was no perfection. There was no desire. There was no emotion. There was no bliss. No oneness. No unity consciousness. There was nothing. This state was a perfect state. This state, which was not a state, was above all.

I came out of this place and shared a bit with Dan and Karen. I said that I felt I would need to do MDMA for PTSD from my human suffering session. I felt shell-shocked from that experience.

“Why don’t you go back in?” Karen suggested.

I closed my eyes and was instantly taken back to boneman.

I was sitting in pure presence, but there was no presence. And then boneman crumbled. He turned to dust. But “I” was still experiencing this stateless state. There was no object of “me.”

My attention then shifted and I was now looking down on human suffering. Beneath me I could see the white ring to the portal of human suffering. There was no emotion, no feeling of compassion. It meant nothing. I then glanced at the other direction. I could “see” nirvana. It meant nothing.

At one point I experimented with dipping down into different levels of consciousness. I became a lion. I then became this noble, strong Danish warrior holding a spear and overlooking a large body of water. I could feel the full sense of this consciousness. It meant nothing.

What felt right was this state of high indifference. Ultimate authority of consciousness (that was not consciousness) that was above all levels of consciousness and unconsciousness. It was above the entire realm of what we can experience as humans.

I came out of it and was back on the couch in Room 1010. I looked around. I felt good, as if I were made of pure air. There was no density to me. I felt pure and clean. I have never felt better than that moment in my life.

Everything that I had suffered through to get to the state of boneman was worth it. It felt like those moments in that state were a culmination of my entire life. Everything that I had suffered through—the birth trauma, the suicide attempts, the divorces, the failures, were all paths to get me to boneman. To experience that state was the greatest gift and the most profound experience of my life.

It was more profound than the white light, unity conscious, all-is-one experience I had on the 1,200 mcg of LSD. More profound than the spontaneous experiences of non-duality and the white light experience of my brother Mike.

But even the immensity of this experience meant nothing.

It may sound nihilistic to be in such a state of indifference to the various modes of human consciousness. But the experience has left me a greater appreciation for all the nuances of life.

There is an intricately woven tapestry to our existence. A tapestry of pain, suffering, grief, joy, love, bliss, ecstasy, and thousands of variations of these potential aspects of being human.

None of them are better or worse than the other. They are all just “there”—there for us to experience, to feel. To be alive is to embrace it all, and not put any meaning on any of it. Every experience is a fleeting moment of time. “It” is there in one moment, and in the next moment it is gone. What is left is the illusion of memory.

Where we get lost is in the stories that we create. The meaning that we assign to experiences. What I am learning is that “Nothing means anything,” and conversely, “Everything means something.”

Without meaning there is no story to an event, occurrence, or memory. Our ego-mind assigns meaning based on past experiences, filters, distortions, and lies. Meaning comes through a story—to what we attach to an event. We assign meaning to everything, but it means nothing.

Meaning is a self-manifested story constructed from the illusion of time. There is no past. There is no future. The past and the future are simply illusions of our mind. “You are a terrible, ugly person” has no more meaning than “You are the most amazing, beautiful person in the world.”

It’s not until we attach meaning to something that it exists as a story—a false story with no true meaning. Only a manifestation of the mind.

We needlessly suffer based on attached meaning. The false reality we have created from thousands of stories that have no meaning.

If we can dissolve to a state of no “I,” there is no suffering, no attachment, no seeking, no searching. We simply exist in a state of present moment awareness where all is as it should be—the perfection of existence in the moment.

From this place, our true nature (for every one of us) of pure being, pure awareness, pure love and compassion shines. Nothing means anything… just be.

Within all of this comes a realization that every one of us in this very moment (even as you read this) is awakened, enlightened, and in a state of perfection. You are already “there.” It only takes a perceptual shift, a breath of awareness, a flash of realization to discover the illusion of life.

The beautiful thing is in that moment of realization, you fully understand being awakened or enlightened means nothing. It’s the great cosmic giggle. We all want it, we all seek it, and then in a flash we realize we all already have it, and once you have it—it means nothing…HA! The perceptual shift of realization.

For me a great metaphor is this scene: You are running “late” for something. Trying to rush out the door, but, you cannot find your car keys! Where are they? You are running through the house searching, looking, beating yourself up because you don’t know where they are. “How can I be so stupid! I’m going to be late! People will be upset. I’m such a loser,” you think.

Then you stop, pause, breathe and allow a slight glance to the right and down, and you realize, in a moment of presence, that this whole time you have been holding the keys in your hand.

They have been right “there” all along. It just took a pause and a perceptual shift and BAM! What you were seeking, you held.

Enlightenment is like that. EVERYTHING we seek is like that. It’s right “there.” You already have it and you have always had it.

In this moment and in every moment of your existence you are complete, whole, perfect and awakened.

Return to Part 1 of this series

Exp Year: 2016ExpID: 116994
Gender: Male 
Age at time of experience: 52
Published: Jan 19, 2023Views: 805
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Psilocybin (239) : Therapeutic Session / Clinic (55), Multi-Day Experience (13), Difficult Experiences (5)

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