Citation: Goldfish. "Analogies: An Experience with Mushrooms (exp64264)". Erowid.org. Mar 4, 2010. erowid.org/exp/64264
When I was given the opportunity to take mushrooms, I jumped on it. This was my first hallucinogenic experience, and ended up wildly different from my expecations. It was a weird and philosophical journey. The best part was sharing it - I invited my friend, 'Rob' to join me. Much to my surprise, he agreed and we decided to ingest together that very weekend. 'Matt' agreed to be our sitter for as long as we needed him. We each had our own goals going into the trip. I was looking for mental and visual inspiration, for my life and artwork. Rob wanted to find himself. Taking the trip with another friend added a whole new dimension to the experience.
At 4pm on Saturday, we went to pick up our mushrooms. A friend gave us a jar of peanut butter to eat them with, his own shrooming tradition, so we ate them like kindergarteners with crackers. We each dosed a dry 3.5g. The mushrooms had the texture of styrofoam and a light bready taste. Rob and I left in great spirits, licking our fingers and thanking our friends. We each drank a glass of orange juice, to hopefully accelerate our come up, and left with Matt to sit outside. Rob and I passed the time with a bucket of sidewalk chalk and a blank stretch of asphalt.
20 minutes later, Rob declared that he was restless and it was time to go. The three of us left for the woods. We sat next to a little pond with a swing and discussed how we felt. Rob sat under a branch and said he felt connected to it, like it was reaching out and growing towards him. We relaxed for long time before deciding it was time to leave. I asked Matt to bring us along the trail to a local smoothie restaurant. As we walked, all of the woods were picturesque. Rob and I pointed out interesting objects and patterns to Matt.
We came into civilization near a small maintenance building. Rob and I were in our own world.
'I've never seen this building before,' he said to me.
We discussed the personality of the building until Rob asked, 'Does it have a name? What sort of name would suit it?' I found a small plaque and told him, 'it has one. Its name ... is Plaza.' Matt smiled and watched as we discussed and explored our new friend Plaza. After a while, we said goodbye and continued on our quest for smoothies. Rob and I debted whether or not we had come up yet as we walked, as we pointed out buildings that looked off or different.
When we walked into the campus center, I was absolutely awestruck by its size. I had been there dozens of times, but now it was cavernous. I couldn't stop staring at the ceiling, which was so far away. I tried to make Matt and Rob appreciate how enormous it was. The smoothie restaurant was closed, so we walked upstairs and continued to talk. We spent some time inside before we decided to go to the cafeteria for dinner. We took another beautiful walk and went inside. The cafeteria too was huge. We sat together, surrounded by windows just above a few trees covered in blossoms. I felt like I was sitting in their branches.
Rob and I commented to Matt on how mild the trip had been - we were disappointed that it must almost be over. Matt laughed and told us it had only been an hour. We were absolutely awestruck. It felt like an eternity since we had dosed, and I had estimated it must have been at least three or four hours. Rob and I burst into disbelieving laughter. We finally realized how incredible a day it was going to be, and settled down to enjoy ourselves. Dinner was fascinating. Everything I wanted to eat was on Rob's plate, like some kind of miracle. Rob said it looked to him like a tiny landscape, he could just imagine a tiny civilization living beneath the broccoli. As we talked, I started to feel that Matt's presence was almost an intrusion. His white shirt reminded me of a lab coat, and I mentioned it was a little like being in an experiment. I spoke to his reflection in the window because it seemed like an excellent substitute. Rob and I decided that we were the ones observing Matt, and started asking him questions like, 'What's it like to be YOU?' Matt took it in stride.
The theme of our trip appeared when we started wondering about the materials in the wall next to us. We compared each to its natural equivalent: the plastic beam could be a branch, the ceiling a forest canopy. But Rob and I were stumped when we came to the window. If beam is to branch, then glass is to what? I declared that there was no equivalent to glass - it's what we used to separate ourselves from nature. Analogies between our lives and the natural world became the big question and topic throughout the entire day. With that thought, Rob and I decided to return outside to appreciate the outdoors. We asked Matt to catch up with us later, since he still felt like an outsider in our discussions. Matt insisted we get a cellphone in case we needed to talk to him. Our next trip was then to Rob's room, which quickly became a very difficult task. As we walked down the street, I felt like we were in a private bubble of existence. I was surprised to remember that other people could hear and understand us - it felt like the world was a movie and we were the critics.
When we reached Rob's room, I realized everything indoors was foreign and strange. Rob and I started laughing at how absurd all his things were. I tried to rationalize what mushrooms had done to my perceptions. I explained my viewpoint to Rob: all of the symbols and classifications I used to get through the day had disappeared. I didn't see his books, I saw blocks of flattened wood pulp. When I tried to read the title, I had to wonder to myself what each word meant and what it signified. All of my assumptions and rationalizations about the world were gone. Rob had a similar problem - he realized when he picked up his cellphone that he'd have little idea how to use it if he needed to. We left his room laughing, because our lives seemed so odd and contrived. Rob took off his watch so we could enjoy the timelessness of the day, without being reminded of how our perceptions were 'wrong.' Our minds dancedfrom topic to topic, but we were completely on the same page. The rest of the world wasn't - we met someone on the road outside, but could barely converse with him. By the time he responded to us, we had forgotten what we were talking about to begin with. We met his questions with blank stares. Rob and I laughed our way back to the woods.
We were once again stuck by the pristine beauty of the outdoors. It was drizzly and grey, but everything shone with such incredible detail. Rob and I split up along different trails to do some individual introspection. I went back near the swing and lay out the ground. Every time I turned my head, I was surprised at what I saw. It was remarkable that everything was still there, even if I had forgotten about it a moment ago. I stared at the sky as it began to rain. I watched the clouds swirl and surge. They slowly resolved into a series of faces - first an arrangement of people I knew. Then they moved, and I saw a profile of a beautiful female head. She looked like an Egyptian queen with a tall, squared-off hat. Finally the clouds simply spiralled together in a whirlpool. I got up when the bugs began to bite and sat on the swing. The pebbles and sticks beneath me looked like that were turning into symbols or words, but I could never make them out. I swung in the rain and thought about my life until Rob came back. He told me he found another person in the woods. We talked about how fantastic that seemed, to find someone completely new on a rainy day on the same trail. Our second analogy was this: everyone is just lost in the woods. That's life.
We sat together and talked about our trip. We discussed the differences between the indoors and outdoors. 'Why,' Rob asked, 'is it so much simpler to be out here?' I came to a realization, and explained the answer to Rob. When we were indoors in civilization, we relied on symbols (such as the written word). We dealt only in the abstract. Outdoors, everything simply was what it was, with no complex layers of meaning and assumption. The mushrooms were simply an opportunity to appreciate the world as it was. The third analogy was that you have to build symbols on top of a physical object, just like you have to build civilization over nature. You couldn't abstract your world without understanding it. This was the most important realization of the trip: that we needed to step back from our lives and understand what they were really built on. We couldn't live in the abstract - we needed to go out in the woods and deal with the physical world sometimes.
We talked about what it meant for us to grow older, our expectations for our lives. We walked together through the rain. As we left the woods, Rob suddenly realized what he had been looking for. 'I understand now. I don't have to find myself - I am what I am. There's nothing to find, I'm right here.' He smiled and we went back to my room to order pizza.
The sun had set and we were coming down. It was about 10pm. The pizza was a sort of miracle - we forgot we ordered it, but it showed up with perfect timing. The whole day felt like it had been one incredible coincidence. We visited Matt and talked about what we had learned that day. We came to a few important points. Everyone needs to take some time off and go appreciate how beautiful the world is. It was a rainy day, but nature is beautiful regardless of the weather. Rob also pointed out something important about the shrooms. A trip is exactly like a trip to a new country - the mushrooms sent us somewhere, but we had to find our own landmarks. Too many drug users, he said, act like obnoxious tourists. They look only for the high or the visuals, and miss the real adventure and meaning. We left our friend Matt and everyone we saw with this message: Don't be a dirty tourist in life.
The trip lasted 6 hours from start to finish. I was exhausted, physically and mentally. The next day I was completely serene. The trip gave me a chance to step back and think about what was really important to me. None of the research I did really prepared me. My expectations were blown away. Tripping with a friend lead to some incredible conversations and discussions. The interaction was on a completely different level. It led the trip away from the visual and into the philosophical, which was a truly memorable experience.
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