Thursday, October 13, 2016

it was a dark and stormy night

I first did LSD in my early twenties.  Not a lot, but a handful of times.  It can be pretty intense, so I didn't like doing more than once every few months or so.  Once, we were able to get mushrooms instead, but that was the extent of my psilocybin experience back then.

For a variety of reasons, the LSD use tapered off after a few years, and I didn't do much else for maybe ten years or so.  It wasn't until I moved to Chicago that I discovered how much can be found online, these days.  From seeds and spores that circumvent the law, to the array of security and privacy software you need to learn how to use, to wade into the dark web.  I experimented a bit.

Even tried a new and largely untested one, 25i-NBOMe - that seems a bit reckless, in retrospect.  These chemicals go straight into the wiring of our minds.  I think it's probably a good idea to have at least some evidence that they don't do any lasting harm, before using ourselves as guinea pigs.  I prefer those that have been widely used for decades, or even millennia.

I seem to be drawn towards playing with the dials, distorting perception and cognition every which way, just to see what happens.  I wouldn't even say I enjoy it, usually.  I've had a few good trips, but most of them were just really interesting.  Crazy, fascinatingly mind-blowing.  Although, sometimes it's a bit like wandering out into the woods on a pitch black night, to jump into a cold lake.  Just to see what happens.  That is, probably not fun, per se.  Sometimes it takes a week or two for me to feel mentally prepared.

Once I feel ready for the impending shock, I dive into these experiences with a sense of curiosity, really not knowing what to expect, or how to plan for it, but having the idea that some degree of planning can be important.  That it can make all the difference between a trip being enjoyable or not.  Beneficial or not.  Each time, as the effects entangle me, I'm looking to figure out what's going on, exactly, and how best to utilize it.  To understand the world, myself, my mind, my life.

This might be why my impulse is to immediately jot down all my experiences, but I've realized doing that has a strong influence on how the trip goes.  That is, writing steers the trip in a particular direction, changing the experience.  As does just about everything we do.  The trick seems to be in learning, in what ways, exactly.  A common impulse for someone feeling overwhelmed by a psychedelic is to curl up as comfortably as possible, in the dark.  Maybe even alone. This will make for a particular sort of experience, and generally speaking, isn't a great idea.

Likewise, writing, dancing, religious ceremony, socializing, meditating, watching the clouds or watching a movie.  A trip can go all sorts of ways, depending on how it's navigated, but being wound up in the middle of it, it can be difficult to remember what's a good idea, what isn't, and why.  It's easy to fall back on innate impulses that can undermine the experience, but I've found it to be a matter of practice.  I've gotten better at it, but there are always unexpected twists and turns.

As I start getting back into this stuff again, it's interesting how the trips vary given the very different place I am, in my life.  It makes for a different experience.  New ropes to learn.  I wouldn't say my last trip was a bad one, but it was pretty rough.  I came out of it feeling I'd made some progress.  Maybe a more recreational experience wouldn't have felt that way.  I don't know.  Guess that's another thing to try figuring out.

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