Citation: Chris M.. "Leibe Sucht Dich!: An Experience with LSD (exp56890)". Erowid.org. Feb 15, 2007. erowid.org/exp/56890
One fall, a number of years ago, I had an experience that completely unraveled, completely obliterated every idea I had about myself and reality. I went camping alone with 12 hits of LSD. I wasn't after any experiences. I just wanted to see what LSD had to offer. From the writings of J. Krishnamurti I had become convinced that the spiritual journey is just an illusion. You're either awake or you're not. There's no in-between of becoming awake I had come to believe. But I wasn't completely convinced of this idea. I thought that LSD might be able to help me wake up a little, move me along the spiritual path a little, the path that Krishnamurti saw as an illusion.
I had read Stanislav Grof's book 'The Adventure of Self-Discovery' and in it he relates stories of people who overcome various psychological problems through the use of LSD during psychotherapy. I hoped that LSD could have the same positive psychological effect for myself. Lessening my psychological burden I felt could bring me a little closer to waking up to my true nature.
A friend dropped me off in the woods, and I found a good camping spot a fair distance away from any roads and people. I was going to wait and take some LSD the next day. I thought it would be a good idea to spend a day settling into a more tranquil mood. I was aware of the power of LSD. That's why I had just bought a walkman and headphones and a tape of Gregorian chant. I felt that listening to Gregorian chant would help induce a good trip.
Well, I decided not to wait until the next day. In the early afternoon I took four hits of LSD. I lied down in my tent to listen to Gregorian chant. In less than half an hour I was tripping. I looked up out of my tent (I didn't have the rain-fly on) and saw the tree branches and the ripples on the tent from the wind moving to the Gregorian chant. The movement of the clouds slowed down. An indescribable beauty infused everything.
I opened up the tent door and was stopped by a dead leaf lying right in front of my tent on my groundcover. The veins in the leaf weaved and undulated. Looking more closely I saw smaller and smaller divisions in the leaf. The sun shone through small holes in the leaf reavealing a deep red-orange glow. I said to myself, 'It's soooo beautiful'. The whole existence of the leaf revealed itself to me. I saw the leaf being born, growing, reaching its' glorious fruition, and then dying and shriveling up into nothing, only to repeat the whole process again. It was so glorious. I was awe-struck. I watched the the cycle of existence of the leaf happen over and over.
Then I looked at the blue ground-cover of my tent. It undulated like ocean waves. I felt that all it contained was immense. I saw the oil taken from the earth to make it. I felt the oil of the earth being thoughtlessly, selfishly plundered in the ground-cover. I saw the war and hate and energy and greed connected to my ground-cover. I cried hard. But then I saw that it was just part of the earths' trip. Part of its' trip was to have a 'bad trip'.
I stepped out of my tent and looked at how beautiful and meaningful the whole world was. I wondered how it was possible to have a bad trip. I couldn't understand how people could have bad acid trips.
But then I thought that a good friend of mine knew that I was going to have this good trip and having it would show in his mind that I was inherently different from him because he had always had bad experiences on acid. I thought that he'd feel alienated from me now and bring a permanent rift in our relationship. I now realized the good trip could actually be a bad thing. This troubled me, but I put it out of my consciousness.
The next thing I knew, without thinking it was strange, was coming to after a lapse of consciouness in my tent. The first time I didn't know I had had a lapse of consciousness. I again looked at the leaf outside my tent, and then got out of the tent and looked at a particular tree by the tent. The next time I came to in my tent I thought, 'Hmm, this is like deja vu.' But I still didn't think it was strange reapeating the same experience for the third time in several minutes.
The fourth and fifth times it happened I thought, 'Wait, something strange is happening.' I wondered who or what was playing this trick on me. I began to doubt the essential beauty and benevolence of the world which I'd had no doubt of just shortly ago. I decided to lie down and listen to Gregorian chant for the rest of the trip in the hope that the beautiful music would block out my troubling thoughts.
But now as I looked up through my tent the trees and the sky looked lifeless, cold and distant. This disturbed me. I threw off the headphones and unzipped my tent to look at the leaf again. I saw it shriveling up over and over into a grotesque, gray, lifeless leaf. There was no life in it. Only death. I told myself that the world wasn't really like this. I told myself that existence itself is the highest meaning and life is at its' core and that it was only the LSD that was making me see the world as meaningless and dead. But then I thought that I wouldn't have to affirm the inherent goodness and positivity of the world to myself if it really were true.
Yet once the doubt had slipped in there seemed to be no way to get rid of it. My earlier wonderful trip became increasingly hellish. I told myself that I was just having a bad LSD trip and that the world was in fact good. But then I thought that if the world really was good I wouldn't be able to have a bad LSD trip. Before I realized it everything had ceased being beautiful, good and meaningful and had become grotesque, sinister and meaningless.
I worried that the bad trip might never end and thought I might need to go get help because I'd damaged my brain. But I still had some objectivity on my experience because I thought how I didn't want to draw others into my hell and paranoia and just further confirm the meaninglessness of existence. I decided to stay alone in the woods, but then I began feeling sick to my stomach. I wondered whether I was just imagining I was sick or whether I really was. I tried to remember something I had done early in the day that could be making me sick. I remembered that I hadn't purified the water that I had gotten from a spring early in the day. A scoutmaster out camping with his troop had even offered me some purifying tablets but I had turned him down saying I never purified spring water. I thought the untreated water might be killing me. I thought I might die. All because I was too arrogant to accept some purifying tablets. And it was the arrogance not just of this moment but of my whole life that was now going to kill me.
As I sat in horror deciding what to do next everything merged and coalesced with everything else destroying the tangibility of each individual object. Time and space dissolved. My sleeping bag and tent stretched and contracted. I wondered who I was. I was no longer sure. Most of the ideas I had about who I was no longer felt tenable. It felt that my whole life had necessarily culminated to this moment. All I felt I knew was that I had to come to terms with the fact that I was a wretched human being and that life was meaningless. I could either leave right then and go back to my friends on the farm where I lived and let them know I knew they knew I knew that life was meaningless and that all humans were in eternal conflict with each other and everything and that all we could do was feign communion and happiness.
I also knew that if I went back to my friends I'd have to go to the hospital and my parents would find out I'd taken LSD and had almost killed myself as a result. I felt like I'd be reduced to a pathetic, worthless, repulsive individual if my parents found out what I'd done.
My other choice would be to stay in the woods and die. Either way my identity of being a 'good person' would be destroyed. I felt overwhelming dread seeing that I was caught in a vicious Catch-22. But, I thought, there'd at least be some redemption if I went back and let everyone know that I realized all of my 'idealistic' dreams were selfish and arrogant and that I was a worthless person who needed to beg for forgiveness. I felt my friends and parents knew what I was going through at that very moment and were just waiting to see whether I had the humility to admit to them that all I'd thought and done with my life was completely self-centered and wrong.
But then a more terrifying thought came over me: that my whole past life might be fictitious. I thought that all of my memories may have been implanted in me. I was becoming uncertain of everything. My grip on reality was slipping away. I realized I no longer knew who I was or where I was or what was happening to me other than something unspeakably horrible. But I tried to keep reminding myself throughout this that I had just taken four hits of LSD and was just having a bad trip. Yet saying that to myself helped less and less as time went on. It was irrelevant after some time how I had gotten into the state I was in. The hell I was feeling was too real and powerful to pass off as the play of my mind. I felt that the LSD was just bringing to the surface the truth of myself and reality. But I thought if I could just remember what LSD was I could stave off the bad trip. I thought that what LSD was was what LSD stood for, but I could not remember what it stood for.
The trip became even more frightening when physical reality had pretty much lost all substantiality. Nothing had any distinct identity. Everything was fluid. There was nothing to get a grip on psychologically. Everything I touched lost all feeling of solidity on contact. I decided I should eat something to help me get a hold of reality. Feeling the solidity of food in my mouth and stomach I thought would help.
I took one bite of an energy bar and spit it out. It tasted disgusting. That food could be repulsive further confirmed my idea that life was essentially indifferent and meaningless since negative things were possible. I looked down at the food I had spit out and saw it turned into clumps of writhing maggots. I looked more closely at the spit out food to see that it really wasn't maggots, but I only saw the maggots in greater detail. More fear welled up in me. Now I had further, tangible evidence that reality was a malignant, indifferent, untrustworthy miscreation at its' core. The lusus naturae of all lusus naturaes so that any and everything that could exist in all possible realities was necessarily a deformed, grotesque aberration destined to bear nothing but total chaos and randomness so nothing ultimately made any sense and no perception or interpretation could ultimately be trusted.
But beyond the fear of the indifference and meaninglessness of reality I was terrified that the solidity of the world had dissolved. I had to get in touch with something solid, either from the present or past, something that would show they were real and not just figments of my imagination. I opened up my journal to read some of the entries I had written to help confirm to myself that the past I remembered having happened really did happen. I thought that if the thoughts in my mind could be confirmed by something outside of myself it would provide solid evidence of my past and put solid ground back under my feet again, and more so, put solid ground back under my ideas about myself and reality. It would also help confirm my belief that I was having doubts about who I was, and reality in general, because I was on a bad acid trip. But when I opened my journal and started reading I became afraid to read past the quotes in the beginning of the thinking that if I read some of my personal experiences they would only create a whole other series of worries and doubts.
Then I remembered I had my watch, and I remembered that I had taken the LSD at about 1:00 pm. I felt that seeing my watch would give me something very concrete to hold onto. I could check the time and the date, and I knew that if the time was about what I'd expect it to be and the date was what I thought it should be I'd know that I was just having a bad acid trip and that it was only the acid that was causing me to lose my hold on reality. I looked at my watch and the time said 5:48 pm. That was good - about what I expected. And the date was 11 - 18 - 95. Also very good. Those outside facts confirmed my inner thoughts. The watch felt solid and real in my hand. A wave of relief came over me.
But then I doubted that what the watch said or that the watch itself was real. I didn't know anything outside of my own thoughts that could prove what the watch said was real and true. I saw what the watch said as part of a lie. I realized I was waking up to the 'Great Lie' - the lie that is past on from generation to generation of humans that the material world is substantial, solid and that our ideas and measurements of it reveal reality. I now saw this was not true. It was clear now that there is never anything to get a hold of and call 'reality'. I realized that everything in my inner experience and in the outer world had no real substance. I realized that nothing could be trusted, that there was no solid truth to hold onto. I looked down at my watch and it melted in my hand. Any substance and weight it had had a moment before was gone. I threw it to the ground in terror.
Any and every hellish scenario began to feel possible now. I decided to open myself up to the most bizarre and hellish possibilities. I saw a comfort in realizing that anything could go wrong - then at least I could take comfort in knowing what the truth was: that reality is hell. I decided to see if I could jump through the earth into another dimension. I ran and jumped into the air. It was deeply comforting when my feet landed firmly on the ground. Layers of fear immediately dissipated from my mind. Some of the substantiality of the physical world returned. I felt security in the returning solidity.
But it was short-lived. The nausea that I had felt earlier suddenly returned, and much worse. I vomited food and then blood. I was sure I was dying. I knew I had to get back to the farm where I lived or I would die. I put on my boots. I was ready to take off for help when every direction I looked in looked the same. I didn't know which way was the right way. I realized it was dangerous to try to get back to the farm for help since I had no idea which direction was the way back standing there in the middle of the woods.
I conceded to the fact that I might just die out there in the woods. But I again reminded myself that I had taken four hits of LSD and that it could just be the bad acid trip that was making me feel that I was dying. Though I didn't find that thought very convincing. I felt that I'd be lost for good and definitely die if I headed off into the woods having no idea if I was headed in the right direction or not.
I lied down in my tent trying to accept the fact that I might die out there in woods. Facing immanent death made fear of the meaninglessness of existence and its' insubstantiality pale in comparison. Accepting the fact that I might actually die a deep sobriety came over me. With the sobriety I no longer felt a need to avoid anything, however frightening. A deep desire to face the truth, to face reality, however good or bad it might be, filled my being. I didn't listen to Gregorian chant. I didn't want to try to create any feelings of a good world. I wanted reality to come to me on its own terms. I'd accept whatever it gave me.
I moved my butt-cheeks while lying down so I could get more of a sense of my physical being. The world was feeling more tangible. I realized I just needed to be interacting with physical reality, that I needed to be completely living in the here and now, in each and every moment. I noticed that storm-like clouds had formed in the sky. I got up and put my rainfly on my tent. A said out loud what I needed to be doing each step of the way, 'OK, attach the rainfly there. Good. Let's go over here now.' I just wanted to be fully in the present, no matter how mundane it happened to be.
I realized that living in the present moment no matter how 'mundane', 'routine', or 'boring' was beautiful compared to the horror acid trip I had just been experiencing. Physical reality, with all its' solidity was slowly coming back into focus. Then the bad trip was completely gone. And without realize it, the good trip wasn't there either. I didn't notice that the feeling of tripping was diminishing. It was now about five hours after consuming the four hits of LSD. Exhausted, but greatly relieved, I went into my tent and lied down.
I suddenly came to, and it was like the other times I had lost and regained consciousness. There was no feeling of having fallen asleep. It felt like I had blacked-out and suddenly come to. I spontaneously, without thinking it was strange, or even realizing what I was doing, jumped up and out of the tent. I knelt on the ground and grabbed a fistful of leaves. I pressed them against my face. The bad trip, or any feeling of tripping was completely gone. I hugged a tree. It was solid! Solidity! What a joy! And sounds had substance again. And everything I looked at was hard, firm - solid.
It didn't occur to me that it was very unusual for all feelings of tripping to have disappeared only after five hours from taking the acid. I went back into my tent and lied down again, now even more deeply relieved that the trip from hell was over.
I suddenly came to again after a lapse of consciousness. Again, I spontaneously jumped out of my tent and knelt down grabbing a fistful of leaves. I stood up realizing that the world felt very different and that I felt very different. It felt as though a burden had been lifted from every cell in my body. My body felt amazingly light, and every movement I made felt effortless and completely natural. Then I realized that my sense of having a personal consciousness was gone. I knew in that moment, beyond any doubt, that I had awaken. I felt that I was in a fairy tale land.
Everything felt so close. I could feel the whole universe right there in front of me. It felt like the universe was laughing and clapping and saying, 'Welcome home.' I literally felt that I had awaken from a dream. It truly felt that I had just been born, just, in that moment, truly come to life. I repeated out loud, 'This is so funny' (awakening from taking LSD) and 'This is so incredible.' I looked at the darkening sky and the ground and the trees. Everything looked so soft and light. It seemed that the world had been turned inside out.
I realized how meaningful suffering is. If people truly knew that suffering was a natural part of existence then they would attend to their suffering instead of trying to avoid it. Suffering is a reminder that there is something wrong with our perception (understanding) of reality. We need to ask, 'Why do I suffer?' and see that the answer is in the question: because of 'I'. We suffer because of the idea of an 'I' separate from and standing apart and independent from the rest of the universe.
I saw so clearly how most humans are still caught in the illusion of separateness, but I no longer saw the irrational acts of humans as evil or tragic. I saw suffering as an essentially natural outcome when reality is not percieved correctly. There was no pity for the human condition, only compassion.
I could feel how we all originate from nothing. The best way I could think about it at the time was that we are all crystallized points of eternity. I thought, of course something that is eternal and infinite is going to suffer if it thinks it is something temporal and finite. Thinking you live in a human body is necessarily going to be very suffocating, claustrophobic, when you are, in fact, infinite, which doesn't imply endless space but its' transcendence.
My head felt like a void, and I had a feeling of vastness and emptiness up through my stomach, chest, neck and mouth. I loved the sound of my voice. I felt like I was speaking out of a void. Every sound and syllable I made was effortless and sounded perfectly crisp and clear. I realized before that I had always been afraid of my voice.
As I tried to think of 'myself' I found it very hard. There was nothing to hold onto. There was no longer any concept that could contain who I now recognized myself to be. I saw that my life as 'Chris M.' had been nothing but a dream. There was nothing substantial about 'Chris M.'. I asked myself, 'Who is Chris M.?' and found I had no idea. He was a dream, an illusion, a mirage. My whole past life felt like a dream that I had just woken-up from. It was hard getting a hold of past memories. Nothing specific came to mind. It didn't bother me in the least. It seemed that I had been dropped off in the woods about a month ago.
I thought to myself that it was worth next to an eternity to reach the state I was in. I laughed at all the things people identify themselves with - political causes, religions, their color of skin, nationality, being cool etc. I saw the ridiculousness of so many acts of humans.
I thought of my family, and my friends on the farm where I lived, and saw how much I loved them all. I felt that they were right there with me. The earth, the universe, felt so small, as if everything was immediately present. I thought of what I would do next with my life, and I found there was nothing to weigh my thoughts against. Everything I thought of doing was just, 'Yeah, OK, whatever.' There was no seriousness or worry or doubt to my thoughts. It was just, 'whatever I do, I do.'
I remember shouting out, 'Hello!' expecting the universe to answer back. I had never felt so incredibly alive. The world had been transformed from a 'serious place' to a place of pure magic and wonder. I just wanted to help others wake up and say, 'See, isn't it awesome and miraculous? See, the world's already perfect.'
I felt completely safe and secure and at home. I laughed at the thought that people are actually afraid of being attacked in the woods by another human. Being afraid felt so absurd, so completely unjustified, completely based on an illusion about one's true nature and the true nature of reality.
I decided the next morning I'd go back to the farm to be with my friends whom I felt an intense love for. I kind of felt like a father. I wanted to let everyone know that everything is alright, that everything is already perfect.
I decided to pack up my stuff right then (it was about 7pm) and go over to see some Boy Scouts whose Scoutmaster I had met earlier in the day and who said I was welcome to come to their campfire that evening. I wanted to share my love, myself, or maybe I should say, lack of self.
It was a funny experience trying to make it over to where the Boy Scouts were. I got lost in the dark. I thought that was pretty ironic. Yet it didn't bother me in the least. At one point I was going to start over from where my tentsite had been. I turned around to see if I could trace my way back, and I stumbled over mentally. I realized that I had always had ideas, presumptions about everything. I mentally stumbled over because my mind automatically was trying to hold onto my ideas of where I had been, but a deeper part of me could no longer make the error of mistaking my ideas about reality for reality itself. My perception was no longer obscured, and it was obvious what was reality and what were just my thoughts about reality. So I stared at the ground, and the trees and the earth seemed to be saying to me, 'Well, here we are. We're all the information you need to find your way back. We're reality.' It was a wonderful feeling - to just see the world without it being cluttered up with ideas, opinions, beliefs, presumptions.
My fifty pound pack felt like nothing on my back. I hardly noticed it was there. And I hiked up and down the mountain like it was nothing as I tried to find my way to the Boy Scouts. It didn't matter at all that I couldn't find them. Just being alive was an exhilarating experience.
Feeling no inhibitions I called out and tried flashing my headlamp in a signal-like fashion. Not living in the normal human realm of separation and fear I didn't think that my actions would be taken as strange by everyone else camping out there in the woods. There were a number of people camping in the area, and people's responses were essentially, 'What the hell are you doing yelling out trying to find somebody in the dark, dude?' I felt such intimacy with the rest of the world that it didn't seem strange to me at all.
Well, I finally found my way to the Boy Scouts. Actually, it was the scoutmaster and about eight adults whom I finally came across. I could see that they were wary of me, and the scoutmaster was definitely not the friendly person I had met earlier in the day. I could see they were just checking me out - making sure I wasn't some psychopath or something. To me their behaviour was ridiculous, so unjustified. It was merely based on the illusion of separation. But I only had understanding for their situation.
I told them I was coming to join their campfire, and they told me that it had already ended. When I spoke with them I felt awkward speaking in a way that I never had before. I realized after that I felt that way because I had no ideas or expectations or fears deciding what I should and shouldn't say. It was a completely new experience for me. I was really struck by their irrational fear of me based on the false belief of separation. Their behavior seemed almost silly. As they walked away from me talking they seemed like silly cartoon characters going, 'mumble grumble, mumble grumble.'
I was now in a clearing up in the mountains at night with the stars overhead. I layed out my sleeping back in the open beneath the stars, a feeling of total freedom, of oneness with all, permeating my being. The temperature was dropping. My body shivered from the cold, but coldness was just coldness, not a 'problem' as I'd normally related to it. I no longer felt any pain in my right knee which had been bothering me for weeks.
I lied down in my sleeping bag looking up at the stars. They felt like they were right in front of my face. Everytime I opened my eyes I mentally jumped back at seeing how close the stars were. The mountains also felt very close, and the sound of the wind and trains and voices and other noises felt like they were right next to me. The sights and sounds were perceived without ideas or beliefs or any thoughts coming in the way.
The insubstantiality of time and space was completely tangible and obvious. They were still there, but I now saw them as the thinnest of veils lying across the vastness of the void.
Possibly the most powerful part of the awakening was that all existential suffering and all existential doubt had ended. I had attained 'Certitude' of certain things as the Zen priest Steve Hagen had spoken about in his book 'How the World Can Be the Way It Is', which I think had had a significant influence on me having this experience. I had read the entire book the previous day, and one of the main themes of the book is trying to prove that there is nothing substantial in the material world, and yet, there it is. He says that the world is filled with paradoxes until we just see things for what they are beyond all conceptualization. I have no doubt that all the ideas in that book were mulling around in my unconscious mind when I took those four hits of acid.
Who I was and my 'place' in the world were meaningless questions now. I Knew that I had awaken. I Knew that existential human suffering is based upon an illusion - the illusion of separation. I Knew that what I was could never be harmed. I had no fear of anything. Fear is a product of the separate self. Fear goes hand-in-hand with the feeling of separation. The individual, separate 'I' is fear.
Two men came up to me while I was lying in my sleeping bag. They wanted to know if it had been me they'd seen walking along the mountain ridges, or rather, the headlamp that they'd seen. Every word I spoke came out effortlessly. I felt a naturalness and comfortableness in my being that I had never felt before. I felt the infinite in me communing, unaware to the two men, with the infinite in them. It was a joy being with others because I felt no separation with them.
Another amazing thing I noticed was seeing that thoughts were no longer a problem. I could easily put aside any thoughts in my mind and just see the world void of any concepts about it. It was such an exhilarating feeling of liberation - there was finally space, boundless space, in my mind.
Not long after I had initially woken-up to reality I felt I had realized what LSD is. I felt that it had been created by the collective unconscious of humanity to show humans deeper aspects of reality to help them wake up, ultimately, to the ground of being itself. I thought the same idea about Chaos Theory. I saw that everything is happening to help us wake-up. I saw, without any doubt, that the only useful thing to do in life is to wake-up. All the works of humanity, all technological progress adds up to nothing. The only thing that is of any value is to wake-up to reality.
The next morning the voidness in my head and body had greatly diminished. I didn't feel as light, though my voice still seemed to be coming from a void, and objects still felt lighter than 'normal'. I thought that maybe I was already growing use to my new state, but as time went on it was clear that the awakening was fading. Any effects not attributable to memory had faded completely within eighteen hours.
It was a let down at first to realize that what I thought had been a permanent awakening turned out to be temporary. The intense acid trip had been a catalyst for a brief, though extremely powerful transcendence of my mind. I have no doubt that the brief awakening was genuine. LSD can only effect the mind and I had gone beyond my mind. It was like the high dose of LSD I'd taken acted like a rocket ship that broke me free from the gravitational pull of all of my ideas about myself and reality to temporarily wake me up before the powerful karmic pull of my habitual center of gravity in the known, in ideas and beliefs about myself and reality, pulled me back.
And then there I was believing I was 'Chris M.' again and huddled in the security of all his ideas about the reality around him - a reality of unfathomable mystery and wonder. But now that mysterious reality was wondered down by concepts to make the world 'safe' and 'secure' for myself.
I am deeply grateful to have had a glimpse, even for a brief period of time, of reality. LSD can show us deeper dimensions of reality. It can take us on trips to subtler levels of consciousness, and in my case, it can even catapult us beyond the mind altogether, though, almost inevitably only temporarily. Only temporarily, because whe have to go through the actual day to day practice of living to let go of all our ideas about reality and ourself to finally stand in total nakedness and vulnerability and humility in the knowledge that who we are and what reality is will always ever be a mystery.
COPYRIGHTS: All reports are copyright Erowid and you agree not to download or analyze the report data without contacting Erowid Center and receiving permission first.
Experience Reports are the writings and opinions of the individual authors who submit them.
Some of the activities described are dangerous and/or illegal and none are recommended by Erowid Center.