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3g Golden Teachers

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Psychedelic Saturday, 11th February. Time for my weekly trip. I'd decided on 2 grams of dried Golden Teachers in a lemon tea, following an unexpectedly powerful trip on 2.5 grams of Mazatapec the week before, using the same method of ingestion. I was aiming for a strong trip, but not as brutally intense as the previous one.

I was tripping at home with a friend. We drank the infusion at 1730 and then lay down in the living room, waiting for the compounds to take effect. Within around 30 minutes, as I lay back with my eyes closed, I felt  myself being physically swept along by some external momentum, as if surfing an endlessly breaking wave. I thought I was in for a strong trip at this point, as if this wave was going to carry me all the way to where I wanted to be. I envisioned reality as a physical space mapped out as a double-inverted cone (analogous to the past / future light cones of general relativity) with normality converging to a singular point and then opening back out into something else beyond that point, a different reality where time has no meaning, nothing is real, and you have left your self behind on the other side. Somewhere within that cone is where I wanted to be, but as the intensity leveled off, I realised that I was going to need a higher dose to get me there.

Part of my preparation for the trip had involved lighting candles around my home to avoid being exposed to bright lights. My intention had been to lie down and accept whatever came up, so in the kitchen, tripping under harsh lighting, hurriedly chopping up more mushrooms with a sharp knife and pouring boiling water, I felt that I had strayed quite far from my original intentions. Everything felt rather chaotic and disorganised at that point. I recognised my dismissal of the experience as "not strong enough" as a form of resistance in itself. Impatience is a definite weakness of mine and as I prepared the second batch, I questioned if I was giving the mushrooms the respect they deserved. I felt some trepidation, wondering if the Golden Teachers were about to live up to their name and if this hastily ingested extra gram was about to steer the trip in another direction and teach me a harsh lesson regarding patience and acceptance.

I took some time to ground myself while waiting for the infusion to be ready, and drank it at around 1900. I lay back down in the darkness and waited for the second dose to intensify the trip.

A mellow, gentle track arrived on the playlist. The sound of my essential oil diffuser, usually barely noticeable, became obtrusively loud against the backdrop of this delicate piece of music. I switched off the diffuser to experience the music fully, but then my friend skipped the playlist forward to the next track. I said that I'd liked that song. Objecting to a change of music seems fairly trivial and innocuous on the surface, but perhaps it was the weakening of the self / other distinction that occurs during a trip, and what at least feels like the ability to tune into the other person's energy, that invited some deep reflection on my tendency to become so absorbed in my own reality that I sometimes fail to look beyond it. *I* liked that piece, but had I considered that *they* might not? This all seems rather obvious, and of course I didn't need mushrooms to teach me that subjective reality differs between individuals, but the idea that my own actions (however small or trivial) affect others, seemed more poignant during the trip. Perhaps this is what the Golden Teachers had to teach me. To expand my awareness further beyond myself. A simple yet valuable lesson.

My friend went to lie down in another room. With the extra gram having taken effect, and without the presence of another human anchoring me to reality, I faded out of myself and into the music which had acquired a visual form behind my closed eyelids, with notes emerging  as three dimensional spaces opening up and and closing back in on themselves as the sounds progressed. I drifted pleasantly in and out of reality for a while, becoming lost in the experience as I lay still in the darkness, but able to access a slightly strange version of reality by opening my eyes and sitting upright.

My mind began to wander, the way it does in that vivid dream-like state that occurs on the precipice of sleep and for a while, I found myself traveling inside a cattle truck with some cows being transported to slaughter. It was dark and suffocatingly hot, and the truck rattled violently over the undulating ground. I later recognised the scene from a video I'd seen years earlier on social media that made me cry, showing a truck filled with exhausted animals, that had stopped mid way through a long, stiflingly hot journey which they were to be killed at the end of. The suffering that humans inflict on other species is something that I spend a lot of my time feeling tormented by, and wishing to change, so it is a common feature of my trips in some form or another.

Throughout the duration of the trip, I had felt an almost painful stinging sensation in my face. Although this flushing was most likely physiological in origin as a result of some compound in the mushrooms, it directed my thoughts to the concept of trauma being stored in the body, and what might lie at the root of this sensation. As a teenager, after years of constant criticism from my parents, teachers and even friends, I internalised the belief that there must be something wrong with me and a debilitating period of social anxiety followed, during which almost any social interaction made me so uncomfortable and ashamed, that I would feel my skin flushing. Immersed in the memory of these feelings, the surrounding darkness became filled with the image of neural connections, lighting up as information was shuttled between them as if I were seeing inside my own brain, while a script ran in the background, flickering rapidly though all of the events that had contributed to this sense of being a bad person.

The trip descended into a blissful afterglow. I felt so relaxed that I was barely capable of speech. My cat came to sit with me for a while and as he lay on my chest, purring, I felt fascinated by the connection I share with this little creature whose instincts and experience of reality are so different from mine and yet we are such good friends.

Although the trip wasn't quite as strong as I'd set out for, I had a definite sense of having been somewhere else for a long time. The Golden Teachers felt like a mellow, forgiving mushroom compared to some other strains I have taken. Less mind blowing, but more healing. Though as I am coming to learn, there is no such thing as a predictable psychedelic experience.

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