Psilocybin, colloquially known as magic mushrooms or shrooms, has undergone a renaissance of late. New York Times bestsellers are writing about it. Studies abound about its incredible effects on major depression, PTSD, death and dying, ADHD, and more. As a mental health practitioner, I am all for this. In fact, a few of my patients have microdosed LSD or shrooms to great effect on their mental health conditions, especially depression. Anything that can help people alleviate suffering and live meaningful, content lives feels worthwhile.
But as an individual, my interests in psychedelics lie more in the religious. I’ve used shrooms or LSD probably about 10 times in my life, all at high doses, and each experience has been enlightening in some way. Some experiences have been similar to a very intense therapy session. I’ve spent hours contemplating and healing from past traumas and felt refreshed by my experience. One experience made me realize how much I loved my wife. Other experiences have been almost stereotypically “psychedelic.” Those experiences let me enter the deep recesses of my unconscious brain and see visions of the world. In some of those experiences, I felt in touch with a numinosity I had only felt in deep meditation experiences. At moments I thought I knew the divine, not as a person, but a spirit, as the buddha-nature that imbues everything and everyone.
Whether those experiences were “real” seems immaterial to me. I’ve heard rationalists tell me that those experiences are just the effects of the drugs on your brain and therefore aren’t real. That reasoning strikes me as odd. The experience happened in my head, for sure, but isn’t everything contemplated and understood in my head and ego? Aren’t we all creating our reality all the time?
In about two weeks I will use psilocybin on a weekend getaway on a farmhouse in the Catskills in a house with many acres to roam around in. I am excited. The last time I used was years ago now. It never has been a recreational drug for me. I cannot stand to be around a lot of people or a lot of noise. I need quiet. I need introspection. I need nature. I do not have to do it every day, every month, or even every year. It is not necessarily something I seek out but let it happen as an act of synchronicity. If something is calling me to do them, they will find me.
On this upcoming trip, I will use a different method for my trip: using a blindfold. I have read how studies use blindfolds to enhance the internal nature of the trip. My plan is to use a blindfold and music to see if I can experience the internal sessions of my trip more intensely. I have no agenda for the trip. I just want to explore the deep recesses of my psyche like a traveler on the open seas. I will report back after my next trip and let you know how it goes.