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"Life is Cold and Formless"
Saturday 18th February. This was my ninth consecutive weekend of tripping since Christmas Eve (eight times on mushrooms and once on LSD). I'd measured out 3.1g of dried B (which is quite a high dose for my weight), and infused them in hot water and lemon juice to make a tea. I've previously found the B strain very potent, so I initially measured out a volume equivalent to 2g with the option to drink the rest if needed or freeze it for a later trip if not. (I knew I would drink the whole lot.)
I was tripping at home with a friend. He took 6g from a variety of strains. We'd both had a busy week and were both tired. I'd felt a heavy sense of exhaustion that morning, taking much longer than usual to walk to my yoga class and not having the energy to complete my usual intense pratice. I'd then come home and rushed around, cleaning my house and completing all of the chores I'd been too busy and tired for during the week, leaving not much time to unwind beforehand. I was probably too tired for a strong 6 hour trip.
We both drank our infusions at 1600. I began with a 2g dose, while my friend took the whole 6g at once. We lay back and waited for the trip to begin. It began as usual as a physical sensation, one that I used to identify as anxiety and therefore try to resist, but that I have discovered is more helpful to think of as a current moving through some medium that I have jumped into voluntarily, sweeping me out of this reality towards another realm that I have chosen to go to. My friend remarked that he thought his was going to be quite strong. On 6g? No shit.
I lay with my eyes closed, listening to the music playing, becoming immersed in the sounds. Without distractions, my ego began to diminish. During one piece of music (Tayos Caves from the album Music for Psychedeic Therapy), I experienced my "self" (a transcendent awareness at this point) being slowly extruded through tube in space filled with oriental imagery. I drifted in and out of this trance-like state for a while, but any minor external distractions would bring me back into reality. At moderate doses, I often experience a very sharp distinction in intensity between lying down with my eyes closed, undistracted, and sitting up or interacting with another person.
After around one hour I drank the remainder of the infusion, hoping that this would take me much deeper into the trip. I lay back once again, becoming lost in the music. Shortly after this, around two hours in, my friend stood up and announced that the trip was pretty much over for him and that he was going to go home to get a book, and then come back. This worried me a little as I didn't think there was any chance of a 6g trip being over in such a short time. My own trip was pretty strong at this point and I made him promise to come back. After a while, I began to wonder if this was selfish of me and if he might have just wanted to stay at home. The trip was still a bit too strong to be able to work my phone properly but as I was about to pick it up to attempt a message that it was okay not to come back, he returned.
My friend was regretting taking such a high dose since he was already very tired and had work to do the following day, so went into a different room to lie down. I tried to get back into my own trip but felt caught up in the thought that he may just have wanted to stay at home and that I may have made him feel obliged to come back (even if it was partly motivated by concern for him, being alone during a strong trip).
My own experience had lost its psychedelic magic by this point. None of the music felt quite right and the visuals had faded. Lying alone in my living room, I experienced the opposite effect that I usually do on psychedelics, feeling very alone and disconnected, almost painfully so. I visualised myself as a barren, grey rock in the empty depths of space, immersed in cold nothingness. Despite living in an urban area and my friend being in the room next door, I felt intensely isolated, as if my living room was an impenetrable vessel, cut off from all communication. The line "Oh my god, life is cold and formless" from the song Charlie Darwin entered my mind, which characterised my experience very well at that point.
Some background: having an August birthday put me as the youngest in my year (I had only just turned four when I started primary school) and being a small person anyway, all of the other children in my class were much bigger than me. I was also very shy and, I now believe, autistic (self-diagnosed), so my early years at school were quite traumatic. I remember feeling an acute sense of loneliness and vulnerability whenever my mum left me at school or playgroup. If we all have a core wound, then mine is abandonment. If I had to guess at why my trip became so uncomfortable, I would say that (even though it was just my friend leaving for twenty minutes) being left alone in a vulnerable state by someone I was depending on for a sense of security triggered some latent fears of abandonment that I needed to work though. I allowed the feelings to occur, reminding myself that other people are not responsible for our emotional wellbeing, that we can't control how others choose to relate to us, and of the importance of letting go. I read a book last year called Radical Acceptance (by Tara Brach) and it is perhaps the most helpful book I've read, in terms of accepting difficult emotions and not causing ourselves further suffering by resisting them. That very simple concept can be life-changing, I find the approach particularly helpful when deep or painful feelings and memories are triggered during a trip, and the practice of submitting to the pain associated with such thoughts feels particularly healing when it is experienced in an altered state of consciousness.
After a while, my friend came back into the living room, and the feelings of loneliness and disconnection dissipated, leaving me to enjoy the very pleasant afterglow of the trip. But it emerged that neither of us had experienced a particularly pleasant trip. For me, it felt as though some external factor (maybe tiredness or just overdoing psychedelics) had acted like a damping force to stop the experience from resonating in the usual way. The trip had gone flat too quickly. This also happened (to a lesser extent) on my trip the previous week so I have reluctantly acknowledged that nine weeks in a row is too much and decided to skip Psychedelic Saturday next week to reset and experience the benefits more fully afterwards.
I also realised, while writing this trip report and thinking about non-attachment, that this is a philosophy I need to extend to psychedelics. I learn every time that I take them, that every trip is different. My last experience of B was magical, with an intense feelings of connection and beautiful visuals, while this one was almost the opposite. I suppose the expectation of a trip being a certain way, expecting to experience the same music in a certain way and to reach a certain level of reality inversion is a form of attachment in itself, so maybe there is a lesson in there somewhere.
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