Have you ever wondered what really constitutes a psychedelic experience? Perhaps you’ll think it’s a perceptive state induced by a psychedelic substance (such as magic mushrooms), but in reality it’s something rather different.
What I’m about to say might seem provocative, but if you really think about it you’ll see that it’s true: our perception of life, in this precise moment, is psychedelic, just as psychedelic as it is during a magic mushroom trip.
Life itself is psychedelic
Psychedelic means “manifestation of the psyche”, and that is what’s happening now as you’re reading this: you perceive life through your own set of filters, which are convictions, beliefs, opinions, points of view, certainties. That which you perceive through the 5 senses (the first filter), is filtered further through these veils of obscurity which make sure that life is exactly how you perceive it. Not for what it is, but for how it seems to you – this is a difference to keep in mind.
Except that… I see it in a very different way to you, and this is how it is for everyone. And so how are things really? What is life if not the subjectivity of my own personal psychedelia? If the world I see around me is the manifestation of my psyche, what is it other than the illusion of Maya?
A strange, fantastic voyage
I have thought often about the experience I could have if I suddenly entered the mind and body of another – if my consciousness could find a home within another person: can you imagine that?
It could be the most hallucinatory experience imaginable. You could go through a major disorientation through the planes of existence (i.e. physical, emotional and mental).
You could feel all of the corporeal tensions, which are the somatization of the physical plane which we live on an emotional and mental level. It would all be so clear!
Think of the effect fear has on you, how it makes you close and contract in order to protect yourself. It affects your posture, your gait when you walk, the energy you put out (or don’t) into the world, the very way you talk and express yourself… And so how do you think a lack of trust in life expresses itself in the body on all of its levels?
Everything is psychedelic
Imagine entering the body of another, living inside them and perceiving their existence from their point of view as a foreign guest. Now can you try to imagine what “psychedelic” really means? Our entire existence is a manifestation of our convictions, which permeate so deeply that we just perceive them as normal – and sometimes as the only possible reality – but my reality is real and possible for me and me alone. Indeed, everyone’s reality will be completely different; everyone has their own “truth” about what constitutes reality.
The Law of Attraction, as with other esoteric laws, affirms this very same thing: that we create our own reality because we alter it, we distort it, and we perceive only what passes through the filters of our conviction of our orchestrated reality. I took a step forward with regards to this during a trip: from a deep place within us, we forge reality so that it may be exactly what we believe it to be. Simultaneously, everything is exactly thus because we need it to be – we have to experience this exact phenomenon to be able to evolve towards a higher consciousness and in doing so transform reality for the better for everyone but also for ourselves.
Who are we?
Who is it that holds this view of existence and of myself? Me, obviously, but who am I? There are a few answers one could give here, but the one that fits most people inhabiting the planet is this: I am my personality, or rather I believe that I am. And even then, who else could I be if not myself?
And yet on several occasions throughout my life I’ve struggled to put up with myself, to pause and really detach from that self which is my personality, the self that you can feel in a certain way when faced with certain situations, who has convictions about their abilities, who reacts in yet another manner when faced with events and things that happen, both in society and with me personally. Who is it who feels this “unease”? Perhaps I have more than one person inside of me?
In these moments, it’s as if you’ve arrived at a bad trip, a moment in which certain thoughts take the upper hand. Here, my emotional body stirs, further stimulating my mental body and beginning to give it some back up – a vortex which overwhelms my chance to silence them, to keep quiet… and who is it who desires silence?
Clothed or naked?
There’s no use really in talking about psychedelic experiences with sacred substances – the only method through which one can understand is proof. I’ve said this before, even if I can’t and don’t want to instigate the use of something which is prohibited in Italy (and also isn’t suitable for everyone).
Magic mushrooms expand and augment that which is already there. They truly take it off the scale to make us realise that by now they’re so common that we are completely addicted. Habit makes us think that the world is the way we see it because it actually is, while in reality it is merely a matter of personal vision. I can’t quite manage to see this state as a mere mental and emotional habit with which I identify, but when it comes down to it I might as well shed it.
Fungi undress us, leaving us free and open to the direct perception of the actual reality, which is made from pure consciousness of being, free from the dualitous cataloguing that our minds engage in incessantly every moment of our daily lives. We continually place “etiquette” upon everything we see, binding ourselves to perceive only what we think, not what really is in front of us.
Where’s the identification?
Try to imagine being a stranger in your own body, perceiving every level – physical, emotional and mental – as something that you aren’t, to develop the observer who sees and takes in without identity or judgement. This is the first important achievement to which we are called, because moving in this way involves identifying who we really are with a spiritual entity which is our soul, the matrix of all that we perceive as the Universe. With body, emotion and mind, we move from identification to something higher: our soul. Call it your Higher Self, call it Spirit, what it is does not change. It is immortal.
Do this experiment: be present to yourself; remember for at least 5 minutes who you are; know that you are rising up from your chair; remember to be while passing through one portal to another; know who you are while you’re reading, and don’t get angry if you lose this “remembrance of self” straight away – it’s normal – but know that when you’re not aware you’re existing in reality, you’re dreaming… you’re no longer in the here and now.
The paradigm shift
Now and again, mushrooms can move you so radically from that which you believe you are that the experience can change you forever. They make you feel that “you” are not your body or your thoughts. This happens to many terminally ill people – around 80%, a huge figure, according to research – who take psilocybin while assisted by a specialist with the right Set & Setting. The fear of death subsides, anxiety of one’s imminent end dissolves, and reconciliation with oneself and with life begins to blossom. These are extraordinary moments to experience before that inevitable passage we all must take that marks the conclusion of our earthly lives.
Psychedelic experiences induced by substances such as psilocybin fungi have the power to show you that you are not your perceptions but the person who perceives. And when the miracle happens, in that state of grace the mushrooms so often bless upon us, you’ll discover the extraordinary Beauty of all that there is, that it is perfect, that the cosmic game taking place around us is at once simple and incredibly complex. The duality of it blends into a paradoxical understanding that integrates these opposing truths, leaving only compassion completely devoid of judgement. Everything is, in the truest sense, perfect.
Back to my initial point – imagining oneself as someone else – far from wanting to make it into a hallucinatory experience, let’s try to turn it into the understanding of how the psychedelic experience can do the same thing within us, making us aware of how identifying with our physical body and personality is a necessary phase but also one that is absolutely illusory and (thankfully) transient. But where does this comprehension take us? If you’ve never directly experienced it, it’s hard to say. What I can say is that within it you’ll find the meaning of life, that which grows, to take our identification from the physical body to the soul – a process recounted by all religious and spiritual traditions throughout history.
The real psychedelic map
The map of the psychedelic world is the same as that of our interior world, made up from the subconscious that comprises that 95% of your mind and guides you through every moment regardless of the wishes of your conscious personality. Adequate doses of fungi put us in contact with that part of us which stays hidden from the constant noise underlying our thoughts, bringing our hidden depths out into the open. Those hidden depths could be full of joy, or even terror, but can alternate between the two, but only through this method can we bring light to our most integral and elusive core.
Jung is also known to have said that the real work is looking right in the eye of one’s shadow without imagining a celestial light. The fungus is an ally with the wisdom to show us what we’re ready to confront, and show it to us at just the right moment – may that be a great joy (something which gives us strength) or a great pain, because it knows we’re strong enough to see it and not run away.
How to navigate a psychedelic experience
I can’t control the psychedelic voyage, but can I guide it? Yes. Learning how to do it requires experience you’ll gain time after time, when you understand that the fungi will always support you in any sincere effort to evolve and surpass your current limits, and conversely break you down when the effort is made to instead prop up the ego and sustain the personality’s illusions. And yes, there is a benevolent wisdom in mushrooms, which only wants the best for you and can in fact be beneficial for humanity as a whole.
Do you trust life? Or rather, do you consider yourself a victim of circumstances? The answer to this question determines your starting point in your adventure with sacred plants. If you consider yourself a victim this will probably be one of the first lessons you’ll learn: everything depends on you; nothing happens by accident; everything is interconnected, like a kind of giant cosmic puzzle.
However, if you have faith that life does love you and will present you only with what you need to grow, your journey is off to a good start. Your adventure will be exactly what it is: marvellous.