At the height of my mushroom experience I knew what it felt like to be enlightened, I had lost any sense of an "I", and with the ego dissolved I began breathing with the forest, in fact, I WAS the forest. It was a blissful state of pure and raw awareness coupled with a feeling of total and complete unconditional love that transcends words. But at the lowest point, I knew what it was like to have a full psychotic breakdown, to live with the feeling that can only be described as impending doom, and having each moment feel like an eternity. Questioning my sanity and absolutely convinced I was permanently crazy, worse yet, convinced that the mushrooms I ate were poisonous and that I was going to die, deep in the forest where no one would ever find me. But allow me to start from the beginning....
I was with a friend, Ricky, and we had just hiked about three miles deep into a remote redwood forest in coastal California, neither of us had taken mushrooms before and were both intensely curious about how deep we could plunge into our psyche's. After eating the mushrooms we sat for a few minutes, unsure of what to do until they kicked in. Ricky found his way to a stump and reclined back into it, I setup my towel on a little null and laid down. Feeling a bit antsy I started doing a bit of yoga, but one sun salutation in and my core began to tingle. Feeling this I went and laid down, the tingle turned into a strong vibration which was quite pleasant at first. Feeling this I called over to Ricky, "hey, you should come lay over here" he quickly agreed, hopped off his log and laid down next to me. Very soon after, the vibration became strong, focused primarily in my solar plexus and it was a sensation of intense excitement/ anxiety. I continued to tell myself to just accept it, not to fight it, relax, float down stream and allow it to come on. During this time Ricky and I occasionally exchanged a few words. I soon discovered that closing my eyes produced a wonderful visual display of a bright orange light transforming into shapes of geometric complexity and beauty. I recall Ricky and I talking about this, how when eyes were closed, an intense scene was being displayed, but eyes open, reality remained relatively the same. Ricky said to me, "you are a perfect Buddha, keep that in mind." That was extremely helpful as the next time I closed my eyes, I envisioned the Buddha sitting lotus with a perfectly calm expression, this morphed and refracted upon itself before breaking up into a myriad of shapes again with exponential complexity.
I went through several rounds of this, falling deep into engaging visuals, then opening my eyes to see a forest that was gradually becoming more vibrant and alive. At a certain point, eyes open and eyes closed became indistinguishable. Soon the trees began to breathe, I was watching the redwoods and the bays take deep and calming breaths. There were several trees above me with branches intertwining, the whole scene turned into a fractal image with clear patterns emerging. At this point I had given up all control, I had completely surrendered and was thoroughly enjoying it. Several times, from a place deep down in my soul, this intense laughter bubbled up out of me. It was genuine belly laughter and it felt healing and wonderful. Soon after, I reached a state of supreme calm where things about the world, and things about my life, began to make sense. Those same patterns I saw in the trees I now saw in my own behaviors, in my relationships, and I saw some of the major events of my life and how they shaped the person I am. I was communicating with parts of my brain (on a non-verbal level) that have never communicated before, I was making connections and suddenly the absurdity of life became abundantly clear and it was then that I was hit with an overwhelming feeling of love. The phrase "unconditional love" does a good job at describing the feeling, every cell in my body was glowing with this feeling. I still had a small fiber of my "self" left but my sense of time had long flown away. I recall now that last fiber of ego being cut and it was then that I became the forest, wherein my body disappeared and I was just pure consciousness experiencing raw awareness. I was both breathing with the trees at the same time I WAS the trees, I was both listening to the creek flow, at the same time I WAS the flowing water. This is what it is like to be enlightened, I knew.
As time rolled on, that feeling of perfect harmony continued, at the same time a new level of experience began to overlap it. I began seeing what can only be described as ancient images, it seemed to be that I was tapping into a wealth of human experience. At one point, some kind of archaic being welcomed me into the realm, we'll say, of the unconscious where there was the obvious fact that we were not alone like we were swimming among an ocean of souls past, present and future. It felt as if I had just completed some sort of human rite of passage. It is amazing to know that for millennia humans have been consuming these types of mushrooms and having similar experiences and it makes me think now, having read the works of Carl Jung, that there is just one collective unconscious that gets individuated for some reason and that individuation is each and every one of us.
The negative side of my trip came right towards the end of it, where I got stuck in these deep ruts of thought, images of me being 'stuck' in this state forever, wandering the streets talking to myself while the average person takes pity on me. I view this now as the ego being re-integrated into my self, and fighting tooth and nail to regain control of my mental faculties. It was only the tender, loving voice of Neil Young singing Old Man that fully brought me back into my body. Ricky and I laughed, cried, and shared our experiences while we hiked out of the forest, and into the sunset.