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beyond karma

My first trip was in Thailand, on an island, two days before Christmas.

My first trip was in Thailand, on an island, two days
before Christmas. My roommate and I ate the
mushrooms and at best got stoned. I was
disappointed, I expected to be tripping out. We were
unaware of the dosage or species of mushroom so it
was really out of our hands. I guess it doesn’t need to
be said but putting your safety in the hands of people
you don’t know, in a foreign country miles from any
possible help, isn’t the smartest thing. Despite that,
when the people came around asking if we’d like
mushrooms for Christmas day I wanted to give it
another go, to see if maybe it would live up to my

That day, about 16 of us all in our own groups, sat and
ate mushroom omelets. When we were done we all
went off to our bungalows or wherever to do our own
thing. I was a little cranky so I took a shower and then
went back to our hut to lay in the hammock. Within an
hour I knew I was starting to trip. The fading light
between the leaves of the trees as the sun was setting
became absolutely piercing, like millions of diamonds.
The lush trees in the distance began morphing and
blending into formless shapes and the waves and
movements of the water became vibrant masses of
color. This was the first time I had ever hallucinated but
the best part wasn’t what I was seeing, it was what I
was feeling. My entire body felt like it was buzzing,
melting with the purest pleasure.

After a few moments my roommate came to the
hammock and asked if I was alright enough to talk. I
said yes and she just said, ‘this isn’t right.’ I was a little
freaked by her disturbing, almost frantic tone. Also, she
had done mushrooms multiple times before but was
convinced that this time things had gone wrong, that
maybe we were poisoned. The more we talked, the
more afraid I became. Regardless, I kept telling her to
open up to it, that this was great, that this is it. However,
during our conversation she just slumped to the ground
and started seizing. I’m sure these few seconds will
remain the worst moments of my life.

Everything slowed down and time was no longer time. I
tried to pull myself together and stood up in attempt to
help the situation in some way. I looked back to the
eating area, where a banquet I realized I could not
reach, was taking place. The movement of turning my
head made the lights, noises, everything, warp into the
unrecognizable. Now on the verge of panic I did the only
thing I thought I could be capable of at this point and
kneeled down to touch her. Thankfully that light touch
was enough to wake her up; she said it was as if a train
been shaking the whole earth. We started to strategize
how we were going to survive this and thought it be
best if neither of us went ‘away’ like that. After pacing a
bit I crawled into our hut which was basically just a bed
with a roof and three out of four walls overlooking the
beach. My roommate followed and we made our way
among things we couldn’t recognize. Looking out of the
hut I didn’t know where I was. I knew physically where I
was but now it was an abstract visual mosaic of pulses
and movements. This is when the waves came, for
both of us.

We were able to communicate what we were going
through as the trip progressed and this is the best way I
can try to describe it. At times, we would ‘go under,’ the
two of us to different places, usually at different times.
Leaving the abstract reality, which I knew was the
altered beach, I would lose all strength and just ‘go
under.’ I can’t even explain what that means but it was
like my eyes became myself. I was not sleeping,
dreaming, conscious, alive, dead, awake, but I was. I
was definitely contained in an environment but I was
that environment. I barley have the memory now, only a
few months later, but it was and still is
incomprehensible. All I know was that each time I went
under, I didn’t know if I would come out but that didn’t
matter because I was at a level of contentment beyond
imagination. Life, death, all of it was nothing of concern.
Unfortunately I am not a writer and language is limiting,
but I can only say that for those moments, I was
liberated from every aspect of conscious.

When I came out of these ‘episodes’ my body was
drenched and my heart was beating out of my chest.
Each of us would announce to the other when we were
being taken and when we had come back. Every time I
came back, the altered reality of the beach (beyond
fascinating itself) became more real and more
recognizable. Eventually I stopped going under and I
came down until I knew I was back. It was a definite
moment and I was almost giddy that I had made it. At
the same time I immediately began to ache for a
chance to go back. I’m still amazed I didn’t die of a
heart attack coming down during Christmas fireworks.
It was like trying to mellow out in a war zone. I could go
on at length and in further detail but this is absurdly
long already.

For lack of a better word, the trip was spiritual. And
needless to say, the world I came back to isn’t the one I

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