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My roommate and I, neither of whom had tripped before, planned to eat mushrooms an hour or so after our last final exam on Thursday afternoon. We figured that this would give us a nice evening trip winding down about 10 or 11 PM. The next day, we would board an airplane to Seattle to visit a dear friend of ours who had recently moved away. Two trips in two days.
Our last final was in Physics. We finished it in good spirits, perhaps mostly because we were anticipating our mushroom experience with such enthusiasm. When we got home from the test, two of our other roommates were just leaving to go home for Spring Break. With the place to ourselves, we decided to set the atmosphere for our trip. We set out cleaning everything so the environment would be as positive and uplifting as possible, and collected a few CDs to which we planned to listen.
At 4:15 PM, we took about 35 grams of fresh mushrooms from where they waited in the refrigerator, and blended them with a quart of fresh squeezed orange juice from our favorite health food store. We poured the cocktail into our two nicest matching glasses and ceremoniously drank together, the flavor of the mushrooms entirely masked by the sweet citrus. With reverent smiles, we washed the glasses and waited for the effects to set in.
Sitting on the couch and listening to Pink Floyd's masterpiece of a first album, The Piper at the Gates of Dawn, we began to notice slight giddiness and a bit more attention to detail than usual. This, of course, was probably due more to our mood than the mushrooms, but it was enjoyable nonetheless. Midway through the album, at about 4:45, I decided to take a shower. It had been a couple of days, and I was feeling a bit icky.
In the shower, I think I spent more time with my eyes closed than with them open, and when I did look around, it seemed to me that the shower was, well, a place of its own, with a certain identity. Admittedly it was a strange thing to think about, yet undeniably true. The effects were barely beginning to set in.
When I came back out into the front room, my roommate was lying supine on the couch, still listening to Pink Floyd, but now watching the ceiling with some intent. He told me, "I think the ceiling is moving." He meant, of course, that he imagined it was. I was excited by this, and joined him in his observation. To my amazement, he was right! The previously boring pattern of holes in our ceiling had come to life, flowing in waves and rearranging itself in complicated but clearly discernable ways.
At this point, the effects were only slight, and I could stop them with no effort of will at all. In fact, it took some time to get used to the relaxed way of looking at things that allowed the visuals to really develop. Once I had mastered it -- to some extent -- the ceiling did even more for my amusement. Or, shall I say, my mind was able to do so much more with the image of the ceiling. Colors interjected themselves into what was previously only a white surface. The holes moved independently or in unison, at times spinning, at others flowing in river-like motions all over the ceiling. Both of us spent a considerable amount of time watching this.
At some point, I went and got two oranges from the cupboard, where we were saving them for our trip. The color, texture, smell, and taste were more stimulating than those of any orange I had eaten before. It was a thoroughly enjoyable snack, and a lot of fun to eat.
Eventually, I discovered the second wonderful surface of our apartment: the floor. Our carpet, too, had always seemed ugly and mundane. But not today. Real patterns that I had never before noticed presented themselves to me in brilliance. Their detail was colorful and lively, flowing and moving like the ceiling did, only now there was a more interesting interaction to watch. Rivers dominated the scene, particularly as one color would move independently of the others, though sometimes carrying other colors along with it. Waves and pulsations ebbed and flowed through the floor.
Whenever I closed my eyes, I saw swirling patterns of color, taking on shapes in three dimensions and moving in mathematically significant manners. At some times I would see twinkling and vibration, at others smooth blends and subtle tones. It was hard to decide whether this was more entertaining, or what I saw with my eyes open.
We both moved through periods of watched the ceiling and the floor and closing our eyes, listening to the Beatles' Sergeant Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band after Piper had ended. Both albums were astoundingly beautiful works of art. I think so when I'm not tripping, and being at that state enhanced the experience of this music I already loved. When the second album was over, we moved out of the front room and into the hallway, for no specific reason. The wood surfaces of the cabinets in the kitchen were particularly amazing, flowing as if alive, along the patterns of their grain.
In the absence of sound from the stereo, we began to talk about our experience, and many other topics which arose. Our minds were expanded; able to contemplate things which we rarely think about in the course of our prosaic daily lives. We discussed life, and how patterns dominate our universe; evolution, early man, the consciousness of other life forms. The unity of the universe, the wonder of our ability to think, and the more amazing way in which we were able to communicate those thoughts -- through language. We delved into philosophy and science, wondering at and appreciating all the beautiful and inspiring things we have come to take for granted as functioning members of a sprawling society and culture.
The awe I felt was perhaps beyond anything I had ever experienced in my life. It gave me new insights into life, and a renewed sense of passion for living it to the fullest. For a moment, I felt like a new being, like a child born into this truly breathtaking experience we call existence. Everything made sense, everything fit, even if I didn't entirely understand how or why. The universe, it seemed, was alive in its own way.
Slowly, visual effects dissipated, and we were left with a glow of wonder at the thoughts we had had. Food sounded good, because we had been on a juice fast for the previous two days, cleansing our bodies partly in preparation for our psychedelic experience. It was past 7:30. The place we wanted to eat closed at 8:00, so we figured we had better get going.
I was a little nervous about driving, but I really had no problem doing it once I settled into the role. As a matter of fact, I felt more aware of my surroundings on the road than I usually do. Getting to our destination was smooth and effortless.
I ordered a cilantro pasta salad, which was delicious. As I ate it, I glanced around at the inside of the store. Visual effects only happened with deliberate effort on my behalf. I felt a lingering peace and openness that carried over from the experience. The rest of the night was relaxed and contemplative, though we remained joyous and thoroughly pleased with where our trip had taken us. I think I can say without hesitation that it was one of the best days of my life.