Amsterdam, 2011. It was the end of
October, a beautiful weekend. We were on a trip, a group of students and me.
Our origins are of little importance. Among the students were my girlfriend and
a few other friends. I had heard of magic mushrooms some time ago and read that
they induce life-changing experiences and revelations. I couldn%u2019t help but
wonder and think about what the first time would be like.
Before going to buy them, we met
with a compatriot which was part of the hotel staff, who gave us some advice
regarding mushrooms. He advised we should take around 10g per person for an
awesome experience, or 15g for 2 people if we wanted to start slowly. (Keep in mind;
he was talking about fresh truffles, as mushrooms have been banned in
Amsterdam, which have pretty much the same effects). He also told us to do it
together, somewhere quiet and peaceful, and support each other should anyone
fall prey to negative emotions. Now that%u2019s a man who knows about the importance
of dose, set and setting.
It was midnight. We were six (my
girlfriend, 4 girls and I). There were no conflicts between us, an important
factor to consider. Some had just met. Overall, we were outgoing, social and
open-minded and eager to try out the psychedelic truffles. We were in the hotel
lobby, with few people around us, on a sofa, with good lighting and comfortable
temperature. We started out with a thumb-nail sized piece, as we had been
advised by the compatriot, and waited about an hour to see how things would
develop. The tasty was stringent and earthy, leaving a stinging, pleasant
sensation on the back of the tongue. The girls found it rather unbearable, as
we were advised to chew it thoroughly. I quite enjoyed it. An hour passed, and
nothing happened. We took a few more pieces. Another half-hour passed. We
finished what was left of the brown truffles. For whatever reason, I finished
the final half of my last joint. My girlfriend and 2 girls also smoked a joint.
It was getting close to 2 A.M. Those who got a bit high off the weed started
laughing hysterically at the most mundane of things. One of the girls started
to sway; I couldn%u2019t tell if it was the THC or the psilocin. Another girl and I
started to look at the elevator doors, as their polished metal surface
reflected the plethora of colors coming from all over the lobby. It looked like
a rainbow of sorts. It was something you would never notice unless you focused
on it. Some of the girls were expecting crazy visuals and were looking all over
to see them.
My head felt heavy. As if guided by
an invisible force, I lay my head on the back of the sofa and closed my eyes.
The girls%u2019 laughter was fading out but I could still hear it as clear as
crystal. I laid there, eyes closed, not thinking, not feeling anything, for a
moment that could as well have been an eternity. I was dying and being reborn.
I opened my eyes and looked at the
elevator doors. The rainbow was still there but I wasn%u2019t paying attention. In
about 30 seconds of staring into space, I realized I wasn%u2019t breathing. My
breathing had become a conscious action. For a few minutes, I could only
breathe if I thought about it and did it consciously. It wasn%u2019t scary%u2026it was
fascinating. I could truly appreciate the mechanics of breathing that happen
behind our conscious thought processes.
My breathing became automatic
again. And this is where it happened. Like a child first focusing on objects, I
could finally see. I could see the world as it really is, as it is meant to be
seen. It was as if I was looking at a TV screen and I turned the saturation and
contrast all the way up. There were cans of Coca-Cola Cherry on the table and
their burgundy red was so vivid, I couldn%u2019t believe I had never seen this color
before. But this red was so different than any other red I saw. There wasn%u2019t a
single objected colored red that had the same shade as any other red-colored
object. And as I thought about the color %u201Cred%u201D, all the reds in the rooms lit
up. I could selectively perceive any family of colors I wanted, and
differentiate between the infinity of shades. The girls were still laughing,
and would probably have continued, if I hadn%u2019t interrupted them (sorry girls).
I showed them the Coke can and how powerful the burgundy red was. They stopped
laughing and started to look at the can with interest. Then it dawned on them
too, all the beauty of the colors that surround us. They couldn%u2019t believe it,
and frankly, neither could I. We couldn%u2019t believe how wonderful a simple lobby,
with yellow lights, deep-green couches and red Coke cans could be.
I felt like a child,
(re)discovering the world. I was touching everything in reach, listening to all
the sounds that surrounded me and looking at anything I possibly could. I
picked up my knitted scarf and I started to rub it near my ear, touch my face
with it, look at it and smell it. Then, just by listening to it, I could just
feel what it felt like and smelled like. It was all connected in my mind and
that was my first %u201CA-ha!%u201D moment. I began experimenting on the girls, making a
sound with one object, touching them with another and putting yet another
object near their noses, and asked them the colors of the various objects. They
could always answer correctly. This may seem obvious but at the time, it was
amazing to feel how the senses worked together to create our view of the world.
It just felt like I knew how my brain was functioning. And then I actually
thought of my brain and started to feel it in my head%u2026to hear it working! I
could hear as the electricity surged through my neurons and my synapses went
off as I made another connection between an object%u2019s color and the sound it
What was happening began to make
sense: everything was happening in a spiral-motion and everything was unfolding
as if in an hourglass:
Spiral %u2013 because anything you think
of takes you in another direction and your mind perpetually continues to make
links between thoughts, taking you to places you have never been. In this fashion,
you can easily spiral downward into the recesses of your mind and find things
that you might not be ready to face yet (bad trip). However, just by thinking
of happiness, you begin to ascend and everything changes; Hourglass %u2013 because
all stimuli (external and internal) converge toward you mind and then are lost
At one point, I started to feel
air. I would just wave my hands and feel the flow of air through the grooves of
my fingers' skin. In fact, the density of air was so evident, I felt as though
I was swimming in it. I was rediscovering the world for what seemed like an
hour. I cried twice after realizing how beautiful life and the world
surrounding us are. They were tears of joy which I couldn't control, but just
felt slide down the side of my cheeks. They would only last for a maximum of 30
seconds as my mind continued to think of something else. Even laughter was
short-lived. The only persistent feelings were those of amazement, apprehension
and a child-like curiosity. It was awesome.
Between many physical discoveries,
I had philosophical and abstract revelations. I felt what it was like to be
alive. It's hard to explain, but I could perceive de sensation of living, of
being alive. Then I felt what it meant to exist. If the living bit was hard to
explain, this is damn-near impossible (to those who have never felt it). I just
felt I was an entity in time and space, that I was there and it was me. It felt
incredible to know this. Speaking of time, I could sense time passing! I could
determine the passing of time in the motions of everything around me. My simple
moving was due to the passing of time, without which, I realized, there would
be no movement. Mind-blowing.
I had equipped myself especially
for this occasion with a pair of earphones. I closed my eyes. The first song
was Rumi-Moroccan Dance (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Yp168lF3VQo). The first
note made me shed a tear. With my eyes closed, I could see an Arabian palace
expanding in front of my, morphing with the music. I could also see shape
constants and fractals in the palace rooms; I could smell jasmine and incense
sticks. It was spine-tingling and I felt dwarfed by the grandiosity of it all.
The music seemed magic and it felt as though it was playing from deep inside me.
Geometric patterns formed, dissolved and gave birth to other forms, similar to
a media visualizer. I don't know if the visuals were happening on their own or
if I had induced them by watching psychedelic videos on YouTube in the past.
Either way, it was magnificent. I couldn't listen for more than a minute at a
time without being overwhelmed. One of the girls gave me a rock song to listen
to and as I closed my eyes, a rock concert began forming in my mind's eye. I
could see the band, center stage, hear the crowd screaming, smell the sweat,
feel the bustle and general atmosphere. The crystal-clear instruments were
pounding on my very soul, giving me energy, stimulating my mind. Any song I
listened to sounded like the best song I had ever heard and I could appreciate
it in its entire splendor. Every song was an adventure, a journey into my mind.
I was listening to an Italian
speaking a few meters away from me and I could amplify his words to make it
sound as if he were right beside me. I could barely understand a few words yet
I could ''feel'' what he was communicating. I could also listen to a voice and
feel as if I was in their voice box or nose.
We decided to go outside to see
what ''outside'' was like. As I stood up, the entire atmosphere changed. Because
there were no lights on the ceiling and the lower part of the room was lit up
much more, the room suddenly seemed more bizarre, a strange mix of happiness
surrounded by shadows. The ceiling seemed to stretch on endlessly, like a giant
dome, while the floor looked tiny. As we stepped outside, a new world unfolded
before my eyes. The water in the narrow canal flowing in front of the hotel
rippled in the wind. It had a dark-brown hue that reminded everyone of
chocolate. I somehow made my way to the edge of the canal and stared intensely
at the water, along with a friend. I told her it looked like chocolate and that
it would be so wonderful if we jumped in. Crazy thoughts but not suicidal,
which made me understand why some accidents may occur during psychedelic trips.
Then my girlfriend pointed out how the leaves of a tree were swaying in the
wind, enticingly, as if there was some cosmic song playing. I then felt the
wind against my skin, flowing through my hair and between my jacket and shirt.
It was like a river of air was sweeping me, ensnaring me...
We quickly went back inside, as the
''outside'' proved to be more than we could handle. The darkness that
surrounded the trees seemed very ominous. Inside, we again started to analyze
our surroundings and experience the power of perceiving our true senses. I
remember one of the girls was very silent and stared at everything with
amazement. It was heart-warming to see everyone enjoying themselves. I started
to feel the need to talk. The words were forming in my mind and I thought with
such clarity and spoke with such coherence that I felt superhuman. There were
some funny moments when I felt like a superhero, being able to feel and do
everything unshroomed people couldn't. At this point I had the ''we are all
connected, everything is one'' revelation. I dawned on me as I was looking at
the air around us. We were all breathing the same air, experiencing the same
things, thinking as one. And I just felt as if we are actually connected to the
entire universe through a succession of links that stem from our senses.
Indeed, without our senses, we
can't experience the world around us and it can't communicate with us so we are
disconnected from it. In fact, because we are unable to perceive all the
stimuli with which the world is trying to communicate with us, we are partially
disconnected from it. We have a bad connection and among others, mushrooms seem
to improve the quality of that connection. If you have no senses, you don't
exist in this universe. Not from your point of you. It's only you and your
thoughts. Which is an entire universe of its own. So are we interlinked
universes or is everything around us a figment of our imagination? Or maybe a
figment of someone else's imagination...But I digress.
I somehow felt that I needed to use
the bathroom so I got in the elevator to go to the third floor. Let me tell
you, when those doors slid shut, the temperature in that elevator dropped
instantaneously. There was a tension in the air that only I could feel. It was
eerie. There was a mirror on the back wall but it wasn't scary to look at
myself, it was just funny to analyze every pore, crevice, crack and scar on my
face, it was like zooming in on my skin. As the doors opened to reveal the
third floor hallway, I found myself surrounded by a long, yellow corridor,
decorated with paintings of unfamiliar faces. Though not dimly lit, I could
still feel an unmistakable tension. The walls seemed to warp slightly if I
looked at them for more than a few seconds. The hallway seemed to stretch out
in front of my and grow...
I went to the bathroom, where the
walls were decorated with black and white square tiles, like a chessboard. The
sensation was bizarre; pressure was what I could feel. The lack of sound was
unnerving. I headed to my room and opened the door. It was dark, save a couple
of laptop or phone lights. We were 12 in one room so it was rather big. I
didn't want to go inside; I didn't feel up to it. It was so dark and I felt as
if something was waiting for me which I didn't want to face. Two of the girls
were asking me why I wasn't coming in. They insisted, but I refused. It was as
if they weren't human, they seemed similar to the kind of creatures that take
the form of man to lure you into the darkness. Very bizarre.
I went back downstairs and hung out
a bit with my girlfriend and another girl, after which we went upstairs. In the
hallway, we started touching the walls to feel their texture. I hugged a
I played with a napkin and realized
I don't have to look at it to catch it. I knew when, where and how I threw it
and could feel where it was going to land. It was fascinating. The girls were
staring at the walls and ceiling and their pupils were dilated as if in
pitch-black darkness. I laughed because we probably looked like retards. Next
to our room was a small corridor where I eventually convinced the girls to
come. I told them it looked scary but if they thought of positive things, it
wouldn't be so frightening. Even so, there was a negative feeling at the
outskirts of my mind; I felt a wave of panic waiting to wash over me.
We entered the room. Darkness, a
few lights here and there. It took a few moments before I was focused on
positive emotions. The darkness was overwhelming. There's probably a connection
in my mind between darkness and negative emotions and that's why I didn't want
to face the dark. I kept my phone in front of my face lit up as I made my way
to the bed. I put on some chill-out songs and relaxed. The images I was seeing
were totally psychedelic. I couldn't listen to songs that had a strong rhythm
because my heart would begin to race and I wanted to run, to move.
Then I thought that my heart might
be beating to the rhythm of the music and if the tempo was too fast then I
would have a heart attack. And my heart would begin to beat faster and I
panicked. It was exactly the spiral I was describing, the negative one. I
thought about what it means to live and to die. At one point, I felt someone
walking across the room and I believed they would stab me. I panicked but I
thought about how they couldn't kill my consciousness and thoughts, so I
relaxed. Stranger and stranger thoughts raced through my mind. This is one of
the effects of shrooms: you cannot stop thinking. You are permanently aware of
every thought to cross your mind. I couldn't stop my mind from wandering, I
couldn't empty it. It was tiring but at the same time exhilarating. If I can
control my senses so well, I thought to myself, why couldn't I control my
subconscious? I decided to be a better person, a happier person. This was plan
from while taking the shrooms, to change myself for the better. I thought about
it, imagined how I would be like, while trying to avoid the grip of the
darkness that surrounded me. Sometimes, especially when the song I would be
listening to would end, the darkness and silence would become so strong; I
frantically started to search for a new song just to fill my ears with sound. I
realized how much control the mind has over the body and our emotions and how
much control we have over the mind. I know feel there is a force inside us that
represents the voice of our souls, which dictates everything we do, think and
believe. I think that force is will power. I felt where will flows from inside
our brain: somewhere in the back, between the two hemispheres. It was a strong
visualization. It seemed like a luminous sphere from which a net expanded all
over the brain, the power of will to control our mind. I still can't figure out
what will really is, I haven't thought too much about it.
I read a story of a person that let
themselves be consumed by dark thoughts and panic and after a journey into the
abyss, managed to find themselves and become happy. I did not dare allow myself
to descend into the darkness, for I know there are things waiting for me that I
must face the next time. I believe one you face your fears and let yourself
fall into the dark, you truly learn what they represent and how you can
overcome and control them. Next time, it's going to be personal. I must face
them. At the moment, I feel I've succeeded in taking apart the bad from the
good and avoiding the negative influences in my life by forcing myself to think
positively. But I'm slowly starting to lose control to desires, urges and
temptations. I can feel the handles slipping from my hands and there doesn't
seem to be anything I can do.
Just as I listened to the music
with the darkness surrounding me, thusly I had managed to remain positive and
keep the darkness at bay. At that time, I visualized the darkness enveloping me
and building a wall to keep it out. I am happy now because I want to but if I
stop wanting, the happiness could fade. I realized I am mean sometimes because
I get bored and start teasing and bugging people. Boredom is the mind's
stagnation. To avoid boredom, you have to want to think, to analyze everything
surrounding you. The world we live in is fascinating, but the way our mind is
built prevents us from perceiving its subtleties and details.
You have to want to think, or you
start thinking what you want. Control your emotions, or they will control you.
The power that I have discovered is incredible (at one time, I was actually
thinking I was a superhero :)) ). The power to want and do what I desire
without being distracted by little nothings. I don't feel awkwardness anymore.
Because I don't want to. I can feel everything my body is telling me: the pain,
pleasure, emotion and I feel I can ignore them if I want.
Next time I have to think of the
worst. I want to analyze and turn on the lights in my brain, and not feel the
shadows stalking me. I can't describe how good I feel, the amount of control I
have over myself. This is fading however, and I can feel it. I have to dig
deeper next time...
You have to try mushrooms; I think
they'll change your view on life.