Anyone that has tried a psychedelic drug know that it’s impossible to fully explain the experience to someone who hasn’t tried one. The entertainment industry completely misrepresents these experiences with dragons flying out of people’s faces and walls melting into nothing, which never occur even with strong doses. So, here is my best attempt at explaining the psychedelic experience.
I’d like to start this off with an anecdote from Ram Dass, who was talking about working with a member of the anti-drug coalition on a book about LSD. In choosing pictures for the book, they agreed on only one:
“It was a picture of a guy on the floor, looking at some spilled Coca-Cola. And he liked that because it showed the people under drugs became so trivial, and their minds became so caught in nothing. And I liked it because it showed this person was seeing that in everything there is everything. That in the spilled drop of Coca-Cola is the entire universe.”
The General Sensation
While tripping, you realize that Shakespeare’s idea that “All the world’s a stage” was excitingly true. Everyone else is still acting in this play, taking their characters very seriously. But you are backstage, watching it all play out with you mask off for once. Your beliefs, which you now realize are oh-so human and tied to your subjective sense of self, have come off with that mask. You are now able to look at the world through a truly differerent lens for the very first time. Without the filters of ‘sobriety’, the nature and innate truths of the world become clear.
Furthermore, your appreciation for absolutely everything is exponentially magnified. That filter in your brain that says “I’ve seen that flower a thousand times before, so it’s not that cool anymore” is turned off. Even the most insignificant objects are seen as though it is the first time you’ve ever encountered them. You are temporarily reborn with a child’s eyes for 4-6 hours.
For the most part, you do not see things that are not actually there. You see things that ARE physically there move around and warp into amazingly intricate patterns, but you will not see a colorful dragon-fly through your bedroom. All surfaces begin slowly undulating in tiny waves as if all matter has come alive. Not to the extent that you’ll think the world is melting or reality is breaking apart; just enough to let you know that ‘solid’ is more subjective than you thought.
However you will see some INSANE visuals when your eyes are closed (or in darkness, since the experience is the same), like a super-imagination that is much less under your control than usual. Imagine seeing an endless chain of vivid scenery seamlessly warping from one image to the next. The bizarreness of these images knows no bounds.
One of the coolest insights can come from the power of your perspective while tripping. The best example of this is when you look in the mirror. You will see your face morph back and forth between looking the most beautiful way you view yourself and the ugliest way you view yourself. If that’s hard to understand, think of someone with a horrible case of anorexia. Even when they are compared side-by-side to people they think are skinny, they still see themselves as fat. You can see this extreme, and the opposite extreme without any effort on your while you are tripping. But of course, you one see your own extremes… so you won’t see yourself look anorexic unless you are capable of thinking you look like that while sober.
This also holds true for any object you look at. You can look at a chair and consciously fluctuate between seeing it as a supremely evil, horrible, ugly chair, and seeing it as the most wondrous, angelic object you have ever seen. This is why having a ‘bad trip’ is possible because people can get stuck at the negative end of this spectrum if they have emotional issues or something traumatic happens during the trip.
In summation, the influence of your perception on reality is infinitely magnified on shrooms/lsd. While this is happening to you, you will see that this is also true while sober, but it occurs less immediately. Very cool stuff.
Rules for Tripping
1) Know your dealer & drugs. As with anything you ingest into your body, make sure you know what you’re buying. This includes amounts and strengths as not all mushrooms and tabs are created equal.
2) Trip where you feel extremely comfortable, especially with relation to temperature. You do NOT need to be outside to have a fantastic trip (my best trip ever was inside a small room), but nature is pretty sweet! You can clearly see the difference between dead and living ‘objects’ through the lens of mushrooms and LSD.
3) Trip only with people who you trust and enjoy completely while sober. Just one person can put a bad spin on your trip. This is a big event so don’t be afraid to be picky!
4) While tripping, be sure to spend time by yourself. The longer you spend alone, the deeper you can go into the trip, and the deeper insight you will receive. Focus is paramount while tripping. Insights and even intense visuals do not develop unless you focus your attention or vision on something for 5+ seconds.
5) Write down your epiphanies. Psychedelics experiences are like dreams in that they’re clear right after, but fade away quickly after. Try to write them down while you’re still tripping otherwise some of the understand will be lost, no matter what.
Maximizing Your Trip
– Drink orange juice beforehand. The vitamin C helps you to relax physically and mentally and the acidic nature of the juice helps the digestion of the substance.
– Change your surroundings every hour or so, even if you’re just moving to another room. It’s difficult to describe how awesomely different a new environment can feel while tripping.
– Wear the most comfortable clothing you own. Even if that outfit consists of footsie pajamas and one of your mothers crazy hats. Comfort is vital.
– Plan a fun activity to do while you’re waiting to come up. It’s much more fun to all of a sudden realize you’re tripping than to be constantly asking yourself ‘Am I up?’ for an hour and a half. Don’t worry, you won’t miss it :p
– Listen to music. You think music is amazing on weed? Oh just you wait :)
– Remember to spend some (if not most) of your trip alone. It’s important enough to be mentioned twice!
Other Things to Know
– These substances are perfectly safe. In fact they’re the safest drugs you can take behind marijuana. You cannot die or cause brain damage from LSD or mushrooms without eating hundreds of dollars worth of the stuff. It’s like alcohol — perfectly safe unless you’re extremely stupid about it. For that matter it’s far easier to cause harm to yourself with alcohol. Do your research online beforehand so you have more than my word to go off of! Erowid is a good place to start.
– You’re not alone in being intrigued by experience another type of perception. According to a site-wide poll in 2011, 47% of HEthens have tried mushrooms and 36% have tried LSD. Woot :)
– You will feel some discomfort and possibly nausea when you’re coming up on either magic mushrooms or LSD. Many people describe this feeling as ‘wanting to get out of your body’. For me, the non-physical nature of the soul becomes very obvious during the trip, so this sensation makes sense. The unpleasantness will go away when you’re all the way up.
For further advice, read this: http://www.highexistence.com/discussions/topic/question-for-those-who-have-done-shrooms/
A Final Note on Safety
As we repeatedly stress on HighExistence, psychedelics must be approached with reverence and caution. We believe that in a loving context, psychedelics are powerful medicines with tremendous potential, but there are a number of physical and psychological safety concerns that one should consider before journeying with psychedelics. Please, please do plenty of research, and do not take psychedelics if you have reason to believe that they will not jibe with your personality or particular mental baggage. The Essential Psychedelic Guide on Erowid is an exceptional free resource, and we recommend reading it, especially the section on ‘Psychedelic Safety,’ before ever dabbling in these substances. It’s also imperative that you buy a test kit if you aren’t absolutely certain that the substances you’ve procured are what you believe them to be. Take care, and happy tripping. : )
Original image by James Jean