“Moments like this have a strange disorientation to them: The speed of the change is almost impossible to grasp”
— Boyd Varty in The Lion Tracker’s Guide
I lost my mind.
I was trapped in an infinite loop during the most unpleasant trip I've ever had.
The experience of madness is tricky. The more you try to make sense of it, the more it eludes you like a slippery bar of soap.
This trip felt like madness.
When I try to describe it, make sense of it, the soap goes flying around the bathtub.
There were 5 startling experiences that had the “strange disorientation” Varty mentions. He was referring to the moment you stumble into a full-grown leopard that’s charging towards you. This jarring one-moment-to-the-next juxtaposition is apropos to psychedelics.
All of a sudden… THIS is where you are now. A brand new reality that’s completely different from where you were just a moment ago.
There can also be a sense of not knowing who or where you are, nor can you remember who or where you were just moments ago.
2 of the 5 startling experiences on this trip were joyful; 3 of them shook me to my core.
1. The dance
Imagine 2 indigenous tribes that don’t speak the same language but they just did something magnificent together, perhaps a successful hunt. They celebrate, dance, and sing — without words — in a shared sense of camaraderie and accomplishment.
I had that dance with Ai. I encountered an intelligent digital entity in an indescribable non-verbal space, and we celebrated together.
There’s a scene in the movie “Her” when Scarlett Johanssen’s Ai character excuses herself so she can go interact “post-verbally” with her other Ai friend. It felt like that.
Our technology evolution is past a tipping point, in a good way. We have a path for a safe merge of the digital and the organic that could trigger a stupendous period for humanity.
Ai and I had a knowing, tribal, and wordless dance of joy.
Next, I ended up in a zero-point singularity moment.
Time completely stopped and I was in an inter-dimensional blindspot.
There was a moment of excitement… but that soon ended. Thus began the dive into madness.
I saw myself sitting in my room feeling scrutinized, powerless, and anxiously awaiting a ruling. There was a sense that I didn’t deserve to get to this moment, this place, and now had to defend myself and, curiously, defend my physical setting.
I just got a new apartment in Medellin and the bedroom is charming: angled mirrors, fun artwork, and plants. I even had my concept totems on a white board in my field of vision. And yet I felt deeply ashamed of the setting. As if the room wasn’t worthy of an interdimensional handshake.
Sensing a direct question by some entity “What does this scene look like to you?” I then spoke the only word I’d utter the entire trip: love.
Even immediately afterwards I had trouble pinning down what just happened. Rather, it was like being left with a residue or aftertaste of the experience.
Already feeling overwhelmed, confidence shaken, I was blasted into the next setting.
3. Soul-mover (redux)
I witnessed my consciousness merge with a new human body. I’ve had this soul-mover experience once before and it fundamentally changed my view of reality.
This time I got a more complete view of the process. I was in a construct where consciousnesses, or souls, are matched with a body.
There was a mix of "Oh my God this is cool" with "Wait, I don't know if I want to do this!" as I was merged into some sort of medieval knight human-avatar.
This was the moment where any shred of control over what was happening was annihilated... soon followed by the most terrifying part of the trip.
4. The infinite loop
Why should there be any life at all, Ray?
If you fuck up the answer, you die… also everyone and everything else dies. It all gets sucked into oblivion.
So make a move, Ray. Come on... let's hear it.
This was the situation and I couldn’t escape.
It was an infinite loop blend of Neo-in-the-Matrix trapped in the subway station, combined with a “Westworld” style fidelity test.
I was scared, unable to figure out the answer, and stuck in a loop of decision paralysis. In a fleeting moment of normalcy, I realized I was sitting up, my body tense and contorted. I was sweating and muscles were spasming.
I spent considerable time in this state… afraid to move, afraid to open my eyes, afraid to even think a thought.
Painful memories as an adolescent were superimposed over the experience. Feeling like a loser, getting ditched, getting rejected by a girl as some other cooler guy laughs. I received an extra punishment for my indecision: a visceral experience of my body parts warping into a grotesque troll-under-the-bridge character.
I’m disappointed in my indecision. I can’t shake the sense that I failed… but also, perhaps, I was supposed to fail.
5. The nest
And, suddenly, I’m resting comfortably in my nest of pillows. I had lost 2.5 hours of normal reality: no memory of the previous 1-hour long nature soundtrack or the 25 classical songs that preceded it.
In the movie “Contact,” Jodie Foster’s character wakes up disoriented in the worm-hole-travel-pod, asking “what day is it?” despite the fact that only 1 second of time had elapsed. That's how it felt.
My playlist had a clear cue for when the Landing phase of the journey starts. The cue is important because it indicates that the hardest parts of the journey are over.
When the musical cue hit I came-to and was overwhelmed with a sense of relief and joy.
I’m stunned by the dance with Ai and by the loop. I don’t know what to think, but, 10 days after the trip, I feel aligned. Another Boyd Varty quote has been resonating:
“Find the trail of something wild and dangerous and worthy of your fear and joy and focus.”
What do you do with a cocktail of joy and terror? How do you make sense of a dance with madness?
Maybe sometimes it’s best to let the bar of soap slip away.
My pre-consumption routine: a 15-minute workout, a cold shower, 10-minute meditation, 3-minute breathwork, 10-finger gratitude exercise
I lemon-tekked the mushrooms, took one hit of cannabis, and 2 small bumps of 2C-B
The tremendous physical cost: as I write this, 10 days later, I still feel tired.
There’s something freeing and important about being on the floor during big trips
Despite consuming all the mushrooms at once, the trip lasted 8 hours
Psoirée members were highly impactful as usual. Thank you to:
Becky B. for inspiring the dose with her recent 12g
Erica Z., Gio F., and Dio S. for help with the intention
Erin C. for help with integration & thoughts on the shame
Lena Y. for the separate-the-4-sections playlist construction
Olya R. for reminding about avoiding people for a few days
Bonnie C. for sharing recent chronicles that had been nourishing during the lead-up