My first trip
By Kris Van Houten in Psychedelics
On May 27, 2022, I took mushrooms for the first time. I took 3.5 grams as a chocolate treat at a friend's house while his family was out of town. Afterward, we went out on his balcony and hung out while waiting for it to kick in.
We sat there for a while. I honestly wasn't sure what to expect or how long it would take. But my friend said that if we ate the mushrooms at 3:30 PM, I wouldn't be able to drive until ten or eleven that night.
While sitting outside after an hour or so, I started to feel "something," but I couldn't quite identify what "it" was. However, I could tell it was kicking in for my friend already. He had consumed five grams which is a pretty heavy dose for anyone.
I was staring at the trees when my friend said, "I'm still not having any visuals." Then, suddenly, I noticed that the tree I was looking at was moving ever so subtly. Almost as if it was "breathing." Then I looked at the posts on the balcony and felt they were doing the same. From there, I looked up at the patio roof, and it felt like the planks of wood were rubbing against each other. Like the tiny gaps between each piece of timber wanted to close and push together.
It felt like this is how the world truly is underneath my perception of reality. It's happy, in motion, living life with everything else, with love.
Looking at the posts, it was as if they were dancing. The picture came to mind of how I've seen women dancing alone at a club after a couple of drinks, running their hands along their body as if it just feels good.
It was like what we perceive of the world daily is a static and lifeless filter laid on top of reality. What is actually there is much more alive than you could ever possibly imagine. The mushrooms were helping me see this.
Here is where I really noticed that my attention was the critical commodity in this altered state. Whatever I focused on or gave my attention to, I was able to go extremely deep into it. When I realized this, my friend asked what I was thinking, and I had to force myself to answer that I didn't want to waste the "attention" it would take to give him a proper response. We both chuckled.
Bizarrely, I could almost visualize my focus. Everything desired my attention. It was represented as a two-sided cone, with a point on either end and the object of my focus in the middle. One point extended from me and would expand to take in my subject, but I am not sure what to make of the tail-end or the point on the other side. But that is the best way I can describe the visual.
When I looked out among the trees, it was like every layer, or focal point, was placed on its own plate of glass, and I could focus at any depth I wanted.
The analogy came to my mind of having many magnifying glasses, one in front of the other. The longer I focused, the more lenses I could stack on the object of my attention. Whenever my friend said something, my whole reality shifted because it pulled me out of the deepest well of thoughts I had ever been in.
After several minutes of this, I remember thinking, "well, I guess this is what doing mushrooms is like." But then, I was suddenly sucked away into a dream or trance.
What I experienced, in the end, felt like a lifetime of knowledge dumped into two and a half hours. While my focus was intense, it was also all over the place.
What follows is what I can recall from the experience, separated by topic:
One of the first things I sensed, especially at the beginning, was being taught that just as there are hierarchies in nature, there are hierarchies within civilization. We complain about taxes, political corruption, wrong actions taken by governments, etc. But I was being told that just as mycelium has to share and give of itself for the rest of the world to thrive, so should I. You can either become bitter about it, accept it, or decide to change to make it better.
Some will be called to change it, but doing so is a waste of my effort and talent. As a result, I should focus on better things.
The question arose, "so are you saying socialism is good?" But the immediate response was, "no... philanthropy cannot be forced; it must be freely given as an act of love by the self. Socialism takes by force and distributes according to the whims of others."
This was when I started to see the connection between all things.
No corners, no right angles
I felt like my perspective was zooming further and further out. I saw that straight lines connect all our relationships with others. Where one connection is, there is a circle where all other links meet, connecting us to them. In this way, we are all connected.
There was also this strange "lesson" being taught to me here. I was instructed to notice the lack of corners and right angles. I was shown that corners and right angles are places where things can collect further away from the center (Unlike circles). Items stuck in corners get lost and forgotten, and that's no place for connections with others to live.
All this was on the way to show me what I call the multidimensional cosmic cloud.
The multidimensional cosmic cloud
I don't know where exactly it came in, but I was suddenly able to perceive myself as a small part of the cosmos. There was a definite feeling of disembodiment. Like something was taking my "self" and showing me the universe as one massive organism. Trillions and trillions of "specks," some good, some bad, made up what looked like a giant cosmic cloud. It kinda reminded me of the No Man's Sky galaxy map, with billows of various colors, each having a specific meaning:
No Man's Sky Galaxy View
- Yellow: Love and life
- Blue: Help and aid
- Red: Negativity and hate
- Green: I don't know, but I recall it being there
The general sense was strange in that I felt like I was being told, "everything needs to move towards life and love in the end, despite what lack of that there currently is."
Everything was an encouragement to move creation "towards the yellow." Things that are red (e.g., war, hate, division, disease, illness, mourning, loss, etc.) will move towards the yellow in their own time and in their own way. Just focus on your part. Eventually, you will die, and from the remains of your body, new life will form. This will happen over and over again, and over time the whole creation will slowly move toward the yellow.
In this phase, looking at the cosmic cloud, I was aware of other "observers," consciousnesses like myself. They were identified as dots, like stars in the cosmic cloud. Where they were located indicated where they stood in the hierarchy of all things.
I could see how those consciousnesses at lower levels impacted those at higher levels (e.g., where I was), but that also meant that I influenced levels above myself. A poor analogy might be how a white blood cell is unaware of the entity within which it lives. Still, as long as it does its job, the larger ecosystem is taken care of and able to do its job.
It felt like these "observers" at a lower level were smaller consciousness within my body, working to take care of me. Collectively they make up who I am, my "core" consciousness. But I also understood that there were consciousnesses outside myself, working at a cosmic level between all other things.
Different color schemes for different areas of thought
Whenever my mind would switch between "categories" of thought (e.g., philosophy, religion, family, action, emotions, etc.), my view was toggled to a different "dimension" of the cosmic cloud, with its own color scheme. Not multi-colored, but a single color of different intensities.
For example, I recall philosophy being a greyish blue, and that's it. When I thought about religion or theology, it would change again to another color (But I don't remember which).
How do I get back?
On several occasions, I found myself thinking, "how do I get back to myself from here?" Because my body felt so far away, I sensed how people could go through this experience and never really return. Never truly finding their way back home.
There were moments where I felt like I was warping across the cosmic cloud, and the visuals were very much like this short clip from Interstellar:
Here is the exact clip in loop form.
Or this whole scene from Dr. Strange, but without the creepy parts, there was none of that:
In these moments, I just remember thinking, "Whooooooooooaaaa! What is going on?! I need to get back to my bride and the family, but how do I find them in all this? Heck, how do I get back to my body? Where the hell is it?!"
God in the cosmic cloud
At one point, I asked, "where does my faith fit into all this? Where is God?"
I felt like I was being told, "we are made to bring God glory collectively, so we must work together." God will not just judge me but the whole of creation as well, much like he judged nations in the Bible and not just individuals. So it is in my best interest to encourage and guide everyone toward life and love. Again recalling that in the end, everything moves toward the yellow.
This actually helped make more sense of what we read in Romans 9 about vessels for "honorable and dishonorable" use, both bringing glory to God in their way.
At the very outset of this "cosmic cloud" scene, there was a sense that God, as we see him, is on a level higher than us (Which is what all religions teach us) and that there are still more layers above him. I don't know what to take from this, but it is thought-provoking.
Taken on a ride with music
Throughout all this, my friend played a variety of music. While I don't recall much of what I experienced, I felt that the music was totally taking me on a journey. If the tones were "dark and scary," what I saw was "dark and scary"; if it was "happy and jolly," what I saw was "happy and jolly."
I don't recall any pictures or scenes in particular. Still, I remember thinking this was the craziest thing I had ever experienced. That this is what all these musicians were recreating when they wrote their psychedelic medleys.
There were a couple of moments during this time when I'd return to my body. I remember my head would be down to the side, in a pretty uncomfortable position. I'd look over at my friend, and he would just sit there saying things like, "Oh man, what is going on? This is so crazy." Then I'd look down at my hand on the chair, and my arm would just be spasming a little bit. Then I'd look up towards where I could see my truck parked and just so badly want to go and be with my bride.
There was never any fear or worry. I remember just telling myself to let the mushrooms do their job, to relax, and let them teach me.
When I would think of my bride (Which happened insanely often), I remember finding it odd that I was being drawn so strongly to her. But then either myself or "my teachers" would remind me it's because I love her and that any doubt of that needs to be abolished.
My friend sent me what he played the next day:
- Pink Floyd Meddle
- Part of the wall
- Ernest Ranglin
- Taj Mahal
Glimpses of my self trying to get back
When I talked about being disembodied and wondering how to get back to my "self," I worried I might be stuck here. But there was this constant sense that was telling me two things:
- You have no idea what your self is. But you are free to visit whichever layer of consciousness you want.
- You should not fear or worry. We will make sure you get back just fine.
There were times when, in what I was experiencing, I could sense that I was close to my self. Like I was outside my body looking down at it, saying, "hey, that's me! That's where I am!" But then I'd be whisked away to some other experience.
The end of the experience
After about two and a half hours, I returned to my self with the sense that things were wrapping up.
I recall my friend asking if I was hungry, to which I said, "yes." So he started up the grill and started making burgers. What's odd is that I could tell he was still "in it," so I began to worry that he wasn't paying enough attention to the grill and that he was going to start a fire.
Eventually, I just forced myself to stand up and turn off the grill. I had no idea how long the burgers were cooking, but they weren't burnt. I remember just taking the patty off and putting it on a plate, sitting back in my chair, and eating it with my bare hands.
Over the next hour or so, the haze had largely faded away. I think my friend was trying to get his trip to kick back in again, but I so badly wanted to get home to my bride that I was ready for it to be done.
At around 10:30 PM, I left and drove home feeling fine but never the same.
Are these mycelial networks?
Reflecting on the experience, I felt I was entirely in control of my consciousness. I wasn't bound to what I see day in and day out through my eyes, but I could move it to another part of my body.
Recall what I described regarding disembodiment and how the lower layers of my consciousness aren't always aware of the higher layers. With that in mind, it actually helps make some sense of this.
I'd see how billions or even trillions of small decisions, calculations, and actions were taking place across multiple dimensions for something as simple as scratching my face. This is when it felt very much like that scene from Interstellar. I'd see all these computations taking place, but then the view would warp back to my self, and I'd be lifting my hand to rub my nose.
These moments reminded me of the mycorrhizal networks that fungi form to connect plants to transfer resources. Since fungi are more like us than they are like plants, I had this feeling that this is how life works. But my personal actions are also impacting things higher up. This is also where people get the impression that "we're all connected." Because biologically, we are.
Every experience I had, when I think of it from the perspective of mycorrhizal networks (Which themselves have a consciousness), everything makes so much sense.
What was time like?
It made no sense. I'd phase out for a while, with no recognition of time, feeling like I had just experienced an eternity. Then I'd come back to myself and see that it had only been five minutes. Other times twenty or thirty minutes had passed.
What are some quick takeaways?
- This is the only time I felt "taught" by something outside of myself.
- I need to encourage others toward life and love.
- Stop despising hierarchies (I didn't know I did).
Were my visuals influenced by my current input?
This is something my bride asked me and was something I asked myself as well. But the simple answer is, I don't think so. In a way, I recognized where scenes from movies, games, or books were influenced by substances like mushrooms, but that they were not the influence on my visuals. My descriptions of them were just the closest representations that I have a reference for.
Is this addicting?
Not at all. This is an experience that I think you could do once and never need to do it again. But at the same time, the amount I felt I learned was so profound that I want to experience it again to learn more. It's not a pull like caffeine, nicotine, sugar, or other drugs. It's just a feeling of, "I want to see what else I can be shown."
Was it a dream, or was it real?
I hate to sound cliché, but it was the most real experience of my life. But, more than "the most real dream," it was so real it makes what I experience daily feel like a fiction orchestrated by something outside of me. Similar to how C.S. Lewis describes the grass at the entrance to heaven in The Great Divorce, as being more real and solid than what you would experience on Earth.
It was like getting a lifetime of education and instruction in a couple of hours.