Citation: MindTripper. "The Clear Light Experience: An Experience with MDMA (exp8732)". Erowid.org. Aug 12, 2001. erowid.org/exp/8732
The tiny white gel capsule rested imperceptibly in the palm of my opened hand. I looked at it for a moment, filled with arrogant skepticism, and then placed it in my mouth and swallowed it. I had taken my first 'serious' drug. There was no fanfare, no deep feelings of anxiety, no guilt. There was only a calm sense of anticipation at what was to come. I truly had no idea what I would experience next, and frankly I was doubtful that I would feel anything from the drug. In my na´ve mind, I saw myself as being somehow above it all and untouchable. I was soon to discover how deeply wrong this thought was.
If anything, I suppose that I thought that the MDMA would be just another case of 'fun with motor control', intoxicating me in the same manner as alcohol or marijuana. With those substances, I always feel more impaired than anything, experiencing spinning or floating sensations while my mind becomes somewhat dulled. As an occasional novelty or stress reliever, I've found these substances to be fine, but for the most part I consider them a waste of time. Certainly, I do not see them as a tool to accomplish anything productive or achieve any great insight. Sitting on the grass in the lawn section of a large amphitheater, I expected no more out of Ecstasy.
We were waiting to see Carlos Santana. It was a fine autumn day, not warm and not cold, the bright sunlight having lost the intensity of its summer blaze. I was there with my wife, my two sisters, and my brother-in-law. We'd arrived early to get a good seat and then spent the next couple of hours watching the crowd trickle in. This particular venue usually rents aluminum chairs for the lawn section, but for this concert they were not doing so. Instead, everyone was piling in, blanket-to-blanket, and it was evident that this would be a packed house by the time the show began.
We took the Ecstasy about an hour or so before the concert was to begin. Unfortunately, we had five people and only four doses. It was decided that I would take a whole dose, as well as my sister P and her husband J. My wife and my sister K decided to try to split the remaining dose, which only proved in the end to be nothing more than a waste of good MDMA.
With the pill swallowed, I sat and waited. No one really told me what to expect or how I should feel, knowing that it was important for me undergo the effect for myself, and not be influenced by their own opinions and prior experiences. From time to time they would ask me how I was doing and check to see that I was feeling okay. Beyond that, I was left to myself to make my own observations.
The first real indication that anything had changed became evident in my visual perceptions. It was nothing extreme, only a subtle shift in my discernment of color. Looking over the crowd, certain hues seemed to stand out where before they had blended in. The blue of a man's jacket, the red of a woman's sweater, a purple balloon; these colors were suddenly deeper and more vibrant than they had previously been. The effect felt natural to me though, not as if the drug were impairing my senses or skewing my perceptions, but instead only causing me to be aware of an element that had been persistent the entire time.
By this point, I was definitely starting to feel the MDMA. I still couldn't tell the precise nature of it, but there was a definite shift in my consciousness. I realized that whatever it was, it was going to be in a completely different league than anything that I might have been expecting. My mind was in a distinct state of observation, internally gauging every minute change that I was sensing. I've heard people state that when they come on to Ecstasy it's like a wave of feeling washing over them. I'm not certain that I would describe it in this manner. For me, it was more like my consciousness was suddenly changing to a new frequency. The sensation is difficult to describe, but it was much like turning the dial of a radio slowly to another station; one moment there is nothing but static, and then as the station comes into range you begin to vaguely make out the music. The music gets clearer and clearer, until suddenly it's playing loud and crisp and unmistakable. My experience was much the same; one instant I was sitting there trying to understand the nature of what I was feeling, and the next moment it all became completely evident.
The timing of the dosage was impeccable. Just as the cover band took the stage and began their set, the full effect of the MDMA began to take hold. We had all been standing as the band came on stage and began to play, but suddenly my knees buckled and I had to sit down. For a moment I was simply overwhelmed by this new feeling. I looked around and my mouth dropped open. Everything was suddenly alive and full of vitality. I turned my head slowly from one side to the other, taking in the scene. I felt the most incredible smile spread across my face. I don't think that I have ever in my life been filled with such wonder. The world around me had taken on a mellow, fairytale quality and my very being was filled with a serenity that I'd never before known. The depth and power of this sensation was staggering. I suddenly felt as though a filter had been removed from my mind, and I was now seeing the world with a much deeper sense of clarity.
I looked around at the people in the crowd, all focused on the music, smiles on their faces, moving their bodies to the rhythm. They all seemed incredibly beautiful to me. This may seem a strange statement, particularly to the uninitiated, but it was a very natural feeling to me. It was the sudden realization that we are all united as human beings, all brothers and sisters, linked to one another through life. At this point my sister P sat down on the blanket with me and stared into my eyes. Her face was radiant and she wore a beautiful smile. We looked at each other with pure understanding, communicating without words. She knew what I was experiencing and was taking immense joy in seeing me awaken to this new consciousness.
My family has always been a bit dysfunctional, and we have never been very demonstrably affectionate to one another. For a long time, I had been separated from my sister by distance and age, she being ten years older than me and living in another city. This event, this concert and this experience, was a renewal of a long forgotten bond between us. My heart suddenly opened with dramatic effect. We told each other how much we loved one another and we hugged and kissed. In that instant, the past was behind us and all was new again. We set aside our inability to show intimacy toward one another, and It was an incredibly poignant and life changing moment that would alter our relationship permanently. We discovered the true meaning of family, and understood that we were connected in a way that went far deeper than simple genetics.
I turned to my sister K and my wife and hugged and kissed them as well, and told them that I loved them. We all sat for a time on the blanket, listening to the music and basking in familial love. The only detractor was the fact that K and my wife were not experiencing the MDMA, their doses being too low. Although this did not affect my feelings toward them, it did somewhat block our communication, as they simply were not in the same mind space as the rest of us. Consequently, the rest of the evening for me tended to focus on my sister P and this incredible connection that was occurring between us.
Before I knew it, the cover band was finished playing their set and Santana took the stage. Night had fallen and the pavilion had become a wonderful display of brilliant lights, exotic dancers with colorful costumes, and music that penetrated the soul. This all came at the height of the Ecstasy experience, and seemed to lift me up into an even greater state of consciousness. As I stood and moved to the music, I began to experience epiphany after epiphany. Suddenly the nature of the universe and my place in it became clear. All of my pretenses, petty thoughts and rationalizations disintegrated. I clearly and objectively saw myself for who I truly am, and understood all of my strengths and all of my weaknesses. The stress in my body dissolved as I let go of problems that no longer seemed important. I was in a total state of relaxation and peace. As the music moved me, my ego dissolved until it was nothing. I realized that although I have my place in the universe and my own role to play, I am just a very small part of the cosmic tapestry of life. This experience opened my world and filled me with incredible wonder.
These thoughts, in conjunction with the sea of bodies dancing and swaying around me to the music that moved us all, caused me to ponder our place in the universe as human beings. I realized that at the core, we are all really just energy. The bodies that we occupy are simply vehicles for that energy, enabling us to exist in this physical realm. I put my hands together and felt the warmth of them, thinking about how much heat our bodies generated. This seemed to confirm what I was feeling and I smiled with the rapture of this knowledge. Looking around at the people in the crowd, I thought about the energy inside of each and every one of them. We are all energy, and we are all connected as human beings.
I was then hit with the greatest epiphany of all. If we were all energy, then where did that energy originate? And where does it go when we die? At that moment the answers to these questions revealed themselves, and I understood the true meaning of God, the one great Source of energy that we all come from. Within each of us there is a portion of this Source, and in itself that part is equal to the whole. We are an extension of God and together we are God. We are here in this physical realm to nurture our energy and help it to evolve and grow in power. And when we die, we return to the Source and merge with it, bringing to it whatever we have learned and in turn making it greater. In my mind, I clearly saw a brilliant and massive white light, all encompassing, with billions of smaller lights moving into it, and others moving back out. I saw the true nature and cycle of life unfold before me. With my eyes closed, swaying to the music, I understood what it would be like to merge with God and give oneself to that true Source of energy. With the last shreds of my ego vanished, the bliss that I felt was profound and inexplicable. It was truly ecstasy.
A final realization struck me. This vision not only applied to the human race, but to every single form of life, as well as every single particle of existence, every atom, every electron. We are completely surrounded and part of God's energy. I opened my eyes and looked around once more, observing everything with a new found vision. It was as if a veil had been lifted, and I knew at that moment that I would never view the world in the same way again. My eyes burned with tears and I was overcome by an incredible sense of well being. I felt more alive than I'd ever felt in my entire life.
As the concert continued, I shared these realizations with my sister. She listened to every word that I had to say, and nodded with understanding. I marveled at how well we were communicating. Whenever I spoke I knew that I had her full attention, and in turn, when she spoke I listened to everything that she had to say. It was apparent that MDMA is a wonderful tool for communication. It is sad how often people talk to one another without completely listening. Instead, we are all too caught up in thinking about what we are going to say next and how to move the conversation according to our own agendas. MDMA does away with those pretensions, and allows us to speak naturally and with truth. It doesn?t necessarily remove any control or cause you to say things that you might not normally say, but it allows you to speak your mind unfettered by the trivial social games that we all play.
Eventually, I needed to go in search of a restroom. With the energy of the concert crowd and my very vulnerable state of mind, I knew that I would need some help finding one. My sister P led me through the sea of people, while I trailed behind her, holding her hand like a child. It was somewhat amusing to me, and I enjoyed relinquishing control to her. I knew that she was greatly experienced with altered states, and I felt very safe in her hands. It was just as well, since everyone was packed so tightly into the lawn section that there were no aisles to walk in, and navigating the crowd proved to be incredibly difficult. At one point, we were trying to pass a couple sitting on a blanket when the young man jumped up and angrily blocked our path. He was extremely aggressive in his protection of his territory. The woman he was with irately encouraged him not to allow us to pass. In my current state of mind, it was a very strange and alien turn of events. I literally could not understand why he would choose to act in such a manner. In hindsight, I realize now that this was the type of altercation that could have easily turned violent in other circumstances. However, in our mindset of peace, there was never any risk of this. My sister simply talked to the man in a soothing voice, disarming him. We simply sidled their area and moved past them and out of the arena. I felt pity for this couple, wasting their energy on such petty and meaningless emotions.
After visiting the restroom, we walked around for a bit. Moving felt incredible, and I was full of energy. I?d put on a lot of weight over the past few years, and it was very clear to me how I was carrying all of these extra pounds and what it was doing to my body. I was very in tune with myself physically, and it became clear to me what I needed to do to bring myself back to an optimal condition. I was able to distinctly discern my true physical form separate from the excess baggage that was impeding me. I knew that I would have to change some bad habits to rectify this problem.
A strange thing happened as we walked around. My sister and I were hand in hand when we encountered a large crowd of people moving toward us in the opposite direction. Normally, we would have had to break our stride and navigate through the throng of bodies. Instead, we never slowed our pace and side-by-side we slid right through the crowd. It was as if they all simply parted for us. Or maybe it was just that we were so in tune with our surroundings that we unconsciously found the path of least resistance. After they had all passed, we stopped and looked back at them in amazement. We looked at each other and said, 'Wow, what was that!'
We stood for a while and watched the various people moving about, studying their faces and tuning into their emotions. We commented on various individuals, discussing the different masks that people hide behind, and the defenses they use to close themselves off from other people. We had a strange sensation of being somehow above and apart from these people, unnoticed observers standing at the fringe of their periphery. It was as if we were able to look at people and see far more than they realized. There was an extremely voyeuristic aspect to this observation.
We finally made our way back through the crowd and returned to our spot on the lawn. I put my arms around my wife and kissed her gently. She had experienced nothing from her half dose of MDMA, and I understood that the events that had unfolded had been difficult for her. Being even more inexperienced with drugs than myself, she had experienced some trepidation at watching me change before her eyes. Fortunately, my sisters and brother-in-law had been able to assuage her fears and assure her that I would eventually return to normal again (or a reasonable facsimile thereof).
As the concert wound down, so did the effects of the Ecstasy. I began to feel somewhat deflated and earthbound again. It was a bit difficult coming back down to a normal state of mind and I hated to see it end. But it had been a truly magical night, one of profound meaning with life-altering revelations. As we filed out to the parking lot to go home, I knew that this night would prove to be a turning point in my life. What would happen next and what I would do with this new knowledge remained to be seen. I just knew that something inside of me had been dramatically and irrevocably changed. I was reborn that night, and I left behind all of the repression and negativity that I had been carrying around for so many years.
When we finally got home, we stayed up for a while talking. My wife was tired and headed off to bed, but I knew it would be some time before I could sleep. Eventually my sister P and her husband also retired for the night, so I stayed up for a while and talked with K, sharing my experiences and reliving the previous events. Sometime between 2 and 3 o-clock in the morning I finally felt that I could sleep so I said goodnight to K and went to bed. I crashed hard and slept deeply and without dreams till about 10am.
When I woke up I felt slightly hung over and a bit tired, but otherwise I was in a pleasant state of mind. I still felt somewhat deflated, but all of the epiphanies and revelations I had experienced the previous night were still with me. Although I was obviously no longer feeling the effects of the Ecstasy, some part of the experience still lingered. It was much like having looked at a bright light and then turned away, only to see an imprint of the light remaining in my visual field. Only in this case, the imprint was on my psyche, or my consciousness, or maybe my soul. This feeling would continue for many days after the concert, and I would find that with practice I could frequently put myself in a state of mind somewhat resembling the MDMA experience, especially whenever I listened to Santana's Supernatural CD. I would go on to have more experiences similar to this one, and discover a new sense of spirituality that I had never before known. But it was this experience that awakened my consciousness from its mind-numbing slumber, and redirected my life along a much greater path. It was an incredible gift that I received that night, and I will always cherish this memory. Life had become new again.
In closing, I'd like to point out to the inexperienced and the nonbeliever that at no time during these events did I feel that any of these experiences were drug-induced illusions. Having been a member of the 'Just Say No!' camp for many years, I am too aware of the nay-sayer's tendency to try to invalidate an experience such as this by claiming that it was not real, and instead merely a byproduct of the drug. The fact is drugs do not give us anything that we don't already have. What you get out of the experience is exactly what you bring to it. These mind-expanding substances act only as a key to the door of our own psyches. Once that door has been opened, you will find that there is nothing beyond it that was not already there in the first place. For the uninitiated, I can only tell you that an experience such as this is very much like the concept of sex to a virgin. People can try to describe it, but until you've experienced it for yourself, you can really have no idea what it is like.
For me, the night of the concert was like getting my mental cherry popped. Everything prior to that point was merely mental masturbation.
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