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The Universe Is Doing Me
Citation:   Orgone Donor. "The Universe Is Doing Me: An Experience with Mushrooms (exp117201)". Erowid.org. Jul 14, 2023. erowid.org/exp/117201

5 g oral Mushrooms (dried)
You’ve probably heard in psychedelic circles that you often get the experience you need, not the experience you want. For my first heroic dose of psilocybin, I decided to write out a list of about 10 broad intentions. As I’ve done a modest amount of reading on the psychedelic experience, I understood the fact that I couldn’t attach myself to any one of these too much, and just allow the experience to unfold in its own way. If someone had told me before the trip that I wouldn’t necessarily flesh out any of these intentions during the experience, I may have felt disappointed. As I’m writing this the day after the experience, however, I can’t help but feel that something fundamental has shifted within me, which in turn could shift all of the intentions I would ever want to look at, provided I do the personal work involved.

Some Context: I’m a cautious psychonaut. I met someone during my first MDMA experience that instilled in me the importance of drug safety, safe use, drug testing, and harm reduction; that was four and a half years ago. From that night, I’ve been a big advocate for the same principles, reading more about how substances affect us, sharing experiences and information with others, and volunteering at festivals to ensure people have a safe place if they need it while tripping. Before last night, the highest dose of psilocybin I’ve taken was 3 grams; LSD, probably no more than 300-400 μg; I’ve also had a couple of wonderful changa experiences. These have been a mix of solo as well as with close friends, and I’ve always approached these experiences with a certain reverence and respect. Last night was no exception.

As a preface to this report, I am a fairly big music nerd/lover, and I wish to one day become a psychedelic therapist. The majority of this report recounts specific music playing during specific times, because I felt like it influenced my experience greatly. I am a big believer in the importance of music not only in psychedelic therapy, but in intimate settings where one can allow themselves to be vulnerable and grow. My wish is to flesh these musical experiences out in detail as they pertain to the psychedelic experience, in the hopes that you, the reader, may think more about your own music choices for any particular experience you might want to have in the future.

Set: Life has been really good. I’m in the middle of semester at university, so my routine is keeping things moving and I haven’t felt very stagnant. I’ve been lucky enough to have moved through some mental health issues in the past, and recently I haven’t had anything in particular weighing me down emotionally or mentally. However, there were a few specific experiences in talking to people in the days leading up to the experience that made me feel emotionally sensitive and perhaps vulnerable. This left me in a deep state of introspection, especially the morning and afternoon of the trip, but it wasn’t necessarily putting me in a defeatist or hopeless mindset like it may have done when I have struggled with mental health issues previously. Instead, the words that came to mind as I reflected on all of this were ‘emotional but malleable’. Over the week leading up to this experience, I had reflected on what I felt like I needed to change about how I see the world and how I behave in it, which is where my intentions came from, most of them coming back to ultimately strengthening the relationship I have to myself. I had also done a small amount of journalling surrounding these intentions. I felt ready to explore these concepts if they came up, and I didn’t feel much resistance toward any particular thing. I was, however, feeling nervous as well as excited – being my first substantial dose, I felt like this was crossing a threshold and moving into new territory for me.

Setting: My friends J & S, who are a couple, offered their recently bought apartment for me to trip in, located in the heart of Brisbane, Australia. I was already quite familiar with it, and their personal décor is similar to how I would like to furnish a place of my own one day, so I knew I would be comfortable there. They also have two cute doggies that would be keeping us company. I get along well with both J & S in different ways, and I feel like I can express myself without any judgment at all, so I knew I would feel comfortable around their presence. I have also tripped with them on numerous different occasions and contexts. They had their usual moody orange lighting set up around their living space (where the entire trip would take place) and I personally brought some tea candles and some of my favourite incense to light. I have been collecting some interesting large scale photography books, so I brought those along in case I wanted to look through them. I also decided it would be a cool idea to wear some eye-shades for the majority of the experience. J also collects records and had his turntable on standby, and was happy to facilitate some interesting music (per request, or just intuited by him).

S had an event to attend in the evening, so as I got to their place I said goodbye to S, which left J, the dogs and I to sit and be still for a moment before embarking. It was just before 7pm that I ate all the dried mushroom in one go, with only water to chase it down. I had been considering lemon tekking, but upon reflection I felt that this probably wasn’t a good idea. I know Terence McKenna said that the dose you ideally want is the one you’re afraid to take, but considering this felt like a step into relatively new territory for me, I didn’t want to overdo it; my heart told me that lemon tekking would feel like disrespecting the mushroom, and I had decided to only eat a very small amount of food that morning, so I wasn’t exactly fasted, but most likely on an empty stomach (I ate one kiwi fruit all day).

I put my hand on my heart and reassured myself that whatever happens, I’d be okay. I threw my eyeshades on and laid down on the couch in the middle of the living room. Initially, my heart was racing, in eager anticipation and reluctance, but it soon came back down as I waited for the effects to take hold. J decided to put ‘Pink Moon’ by Nick Drake on the turntable to bring me up, which was nice and peaceful and helped settle me. As I came up, I felt my body load become slightly heavier, and I felt less inclined to move around (as is fairly typical of me) and to just be still. The usual giddiness started to come on, slightly stronger than I’ve previously felt, and the visuals began.
My memory is pretty unreliable when it comes to being able to recall visuals in any accurate way, however I can recall themes I was thinking about as I was telling J what it felt like. Things started to get pretty cool when J decided to put ‘No Pussyfooting’ by Fripp & Eno on the turntable. For those who are looking for an interesting musical experience while tripping, I would highly recommend it. I had never heard it before, and I was amazed at all the possible ways Fripp’s guitar could make all these crazy, seemingly space-bending sounds. The visuals went along really well with this; It reminded me of my first changa experience, where I felt like I was being shown all the ways in which reality could be manipulated that was beyond the scope of everyday perception. Lots of cool dissecting patterns.

I started to talk a little bit more to J. What was interesting to me was that I knew I was speaking, but I didn’t entirely feel like I was the one responsible for the words coming out of my mouth. Rather, some external force was willing themselves through me to say specific things. I didn’t exactly feel disassociated, but I think I felt like I was part of something larger maybe? I’m still not exactly sure about this. I felt conviction coming through me as I was talking about the experience and what I was feeling to J, who was not leading me anywhere in particular, but just letting me explore these ideas. I have a feeling that If I listened to myself back I would have a bit of a laugh and wonder what exactly I meant in these moments. I also remember vividly feeling that in a weird way, the universe was doing me, or the universe is ‘universing’ as a verb, and I was a part of that action, which felt pretty cool. I suppose in a way I felt connected to something bigger than me. I had a few giggles about that. Fripp & Eno accompanied me through the rest of the peak, which felt fantastic. I remember putting my arms around my shoulders in an attempt to hold or hug myself, which also felt like a nice passionate gesture towards myself.

After No Pussyfooting ended, J decided to put on his copy of ‘Selected Ambient Works Vol. II’ by Aphex Twin. J and I initially bonded over our love of music, and our music tastes make together combine to make a fairly substantial Venn diagram; in other words, we have similar tastes but we also know we like other stuff individually, and we’re totally cool with exploring and talking about that too. SAW Vol II was an album we had both talked about at length previously, and so I was really excited to see what tracks he would put on. He started with my favourite track ‘Stone in Focus’ which was phenomenal. It felt like an entirely new piece of music I had never heard before. It even affected my visuals; For those of you that have listened to it on YouTube, there is a famous video of it with background footage of a monkey in a hot spring from the movie Baraka – as I was listening to Stone in Focus, I saw monkeys start to hang from their tails in my visuals! Super fun.

As the peak started to wane, J put on other peaceful tracks. We listened to ‘Rhubarb’ and we started talking about ‘Cosmos’ and Carl Sagan. J decided to read Carl Sagan’s famous ‘Pale Blue Dot’ quote, which I had never heard before. Needless to say, the combination of the music and hearing that quote was absolute magic. It felt like it gave me a new, beautiful perspective of life in that moment. Looking back, J was an exceptional guide as he wasn’t moving through conversation in a way that felt forced, and he intuited what music to play very well (with a few requests from me too). Some other tracks he played from SAW Vol. II were ‘Blue Calx’ and ‘Hexagon’.

I expressed how the track ‘Tree’ from the album was a track that I had previously avoided listening to as it has a distinct creepiness to it that almost invokes fear. He decided to put it on, which. I proceeded to attempt to understand the nature of fear, and how in some insane way, a human being can put together a combination of sound waves together to manifest fear in someone. This made me start laughing almost uncontrollably, as it was such an absurd concept to me in the moment. I’m actually still smiling thinking about it.

I started to slowly come down shortly after this, although still feeling the after effects of the peak, and as we kept talking, I finally sat up, had some water and decided to figure out where the dogs were in my vicinity so I could give them some pets (I still had the eyeshades on). One interesting thing to note about the eyeshades is that it was really interesting to have to rely on figuring out what was around me without my usual sense of sight, and everything almost felt different; J offered me a piece of chocolate, and I had no idea how far my hand was away from my mouth as I tried to eat it – my proprioception was shot because I had no visual cues. The chocolate felt super cool to crunch up in my mouth; It almost felt like mountains were being leveled as I focused intently on how the chocolate crumbled and cracked apart as I ate it. I also held out my arms signalling for a hug from J; I was not sure when it was going to come, as I had only held out my arms and not verbally requested one, but eventually I felt J’s body connect with mine, which also felt very strange without visual cues. It was a strangely alien experience, but also very enjoyable.

I felt inclined to listen to more music actively (this seemed especially exciting for me as music enjoyment is enhanced on mushrooms). We decided to actively queue music up we wanted to share with each other. Some of J’s selections were Buckethead, Gojira and Machine Head, while I had suggested Opeth, Yussef Dayes and Meshuggah, all of which were great choices. We chatted about what elements of the music were our favourite and how we perceived them, which is always really fun to speak to J about, as it gets onomatopoeic in a playful way. I was still in a giggly mood, so as we were listening to Buckethead I couldn’t help but laugh at how outrageous some of the riffs and solos were.

I decided it was time to take off the eyeshades. As all the light and colour came back into view, it felt strangely blinded as if it was 3am and I had just gotten up to go to the bathroom, and as you turn on the light switch in the bathroom the light kind of blinds you. I was surprised to see that everything in my visual field was mildly rippling in the typical psychedelic way, despite being post-peak. I chalked this up to the fact that I hadn’t given my brain any visual stimulus for the last three hours, and It was still making sense of my surroundings. As we continued to listen to music, S returned home from their event, at which point it was around 10:30 (I had put away my phone with no intention of asking about the time up to this point). J was getting pretty tired as he had work that day and the following day, so S and I struck up conversation, as they are a formidable conversational partner, and it feels like we both meet in the middle on how we think about the world in interesting and thought-provoking ways that challenge one another.

I felt primed for stimulating conversation, although I still had that similar feeling from earlier as if I wasn’t exactly in control of my own speech and there was some external force still at play.
I felt primed for stimulating conversation, although I still had that similar feeling from earlier as if I wasn’t exactly in control of my own speech and there was some external force still at play.
We talked about eugenics, Indigenous culture, language, gender identity, and also touched on some experiences I recently had that left me feeling emotionally sensitive (the same ones I specified in the context section above). Some of these topics I felt like I have been stubborn on in the past, or at least a little bit stuck with how I understand them according to my own conditioning, and so talking through them really helped me understand some of them in a healthier way, which I felt grateful for. We were both eventually exhausted around 2:30 in the morning, and S went to bed while I stayed in their guest room.
For the longest time, I’ve been conscious of the fact of how psychedelics allow your neurons talk to each other in ways they’re not typically used to, and how it can make your brain potentially more plastic. The Michael Pollan ‘Snowy Hill’ analogy comes to mind, or another appropriate one might be the ‘Clay Brain’ analogy. For the first time last night, I felt as if psychedelics had sufficiently softened my brain up in a way that allowed me to explore concepts I had been previously stuck on for a long time. The day after, my mind feels more flexible
The day after, my mind feels more flexible
– not to say I have a completely rigid way of looking at the world; I am open to new ideas. This just felt different, it felt like I wasn’t as trapped, that it wouldn’t take as much effort to get me unstuck out of those ideas or beliefs, and all it took was to be open and compassionate about thinking about a problem. It even extended to the music; as J queued up songs, I found myself enjoying his choices despite knowing I find it difficult to branch out to different heavy metal bands that I didn’t listen to in my teenage years.

Circling back on my intentions. As I alluded to in the beginning, I don’t think I exactly ‘solved’ anything I had written down, nor did any of my intentions come to be a large focus of my trip. However, I feel like a gift has been bestowed upon me – one that may actually be beneficial in approaching ALL my intentions and goals of the experience, and in the most important part of the psychedelic experience, no less - integration. I’m looking forward to integrating what I’ve experienced and becoming a better person through it.

Music has the power to transform our experience, whether sober or under the influence, and I hope that everyone's future music choices will lead them to a richer life.

Exp Year: 2023ExpID: 117201
Gender: Male 
Age at time of experience: 29
Published: Jul 14, 2023Views: 903
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Mushrooms (39) : General (1), Glowing Experiences (4), Music Discussion (22), Guides / Sitters (39), Hangover / Days After (46), Therapeutic Intent or Outcome (49), Small Group (2-9) (17)

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