The following is an expanded written version of a segment contained within my speech What I Learned About Life.
I have long known about psychedelic mushrooms. In conversations, it was often brought up alongside “bad trip” stories concerning a related drug, LSD. I had decided that I didn’t need to take mushrooms or any other substance to learn something I couldn’t figure out on my own while in a sober state. I much preferred to stay in “control” of my faculties.
That belief changed after my sister died in March of 2018. The lifestyle I had created through my own will and effort provided me with no meaning or comfort, and all the control I thought I had over the world was an illusion. I began to desire to see things in a different, more truthful way, but I was still grieving and emotionally unstable. Ten months after my sister’s death, with the worst of the grieving over, I began warming to the idea of taking psychedelic mushrooms.
One night in 2014, while I was living in Poland, I met a man from England by the name of Albert. He approached me in a bar and said he was a fan of my work. As an Englishman, he sympathized with my writings that portended the inexorable decline of Western civilization. Our response to that decline was similar: we extracted pleasure from Polish females in the town we lived in, though I embarked on this task with far greater zeal than he did.
Albert is anti-establishment, to say the least. He has squatted in empty dwellings and experienced homelessness for long periods of time without complaint. He regaled me with stories of his experimentation with just about every drug known to man, from typical party drugs to Ayahuasca. He also happens to be one of the most learned men I know, with a deep knowledge of history, philosophy, and politics. I would wonder why he chose to live roughly instead of making money on the internet selling sex books. Why didn’t he value the material world in the same way I did? Why didn’t he open a YouTube channel and build up his subscribers? Why didn’t he, or anyone else, live like me? Regardless of his own choices, and his eccentric personality, over time he became a man who I could trust. When my sister died, he was one of the few men I spoke to about her last moments.
A relationship I had with a Polish woman ended in 2017. The pain from that was minuscule when compared to my sister’s death a year later, which left a hole in my heart so large that a foreign land or its women could not begin to fill. Many nights I would break down and grieve for my sister in whatever little apartment I happened to be renting. By that time, I had reached a dead-end with hedonism. I long ago adapted to pleasure of all kinds and felt increasingly enveloped by modern evils. The secular world and its teachings offered me no aid, and I distracted myself with work and entertainment.
For the first time in my life, I found myself in a pit that I could not get out of, and even if I could overcome the pain through some type of life hack, I would probably choose not to. I didn’t want to be “happy” after witnessing my sister’s sufferings. I didn’t want to merely resume where I left off. I flailed in this pit, allowing feelings of hopelessness to envelop me. Many times I asked why she died while I continued to live. I would not classify my state as suicidal, and had never thought of a method to end my own life, but I had at least lost the will to live. I was phoning it in, sleeping with this woman or that if it was easy enough to do so, busying myself with work to keep the pain at bay, participating in the day’s latest internet outrage to feel any emotion besides sadness. If I could stay mired in meaninglessness, maybe I could forget that my life had no meaning.
After visiting my family during the Christmas of 2018, I decided to return to Poland. This would be my “last gasp,” I told friends. I would hang on for just a bit longer to the European lifestyle that had given me so much fleeting happiness in the past.
I first spent six weeks in Warsaw, a city that I cannot love no matter how much time I spend in it. I attempted to go to the clubs to pick up girls for the sake of cheap pleasure, but I could no longer bear the nightlife or the drunken women. During the day I would flirt with a girl here or there in the cafés, but my heart wasn’t into it. Then a new desire came over me that I never felt before in my life: the urge to pray. I felt the impulse to get on my knees, clasp my hands together, and pray to God. The only problem was that I had no idea how to pray. My ideas on prayer all came from Hollywood movies. The actors in those movies, while actively participating in some type of sin, would pray to God for a material benefit, usually a million dollars or the love of a promiscuous woman, as if He were a genie in a bottle.
I made up my own prayer. Upon waking up, I said, “Please God give me the strength to fight against evil and endure this pain.” At exactly this time, I was in a state of extreme horniness. I had not fornicated in over a month. Thoughts of lust bombarded my mind, in part thanks to the many beautiful Polish women walking around the city. I’d feed those lustful thoughts by creating sex movies in my mind. On the third day of my rudimentary prayer, a woman sent me an unsolicited pornographic movie of herself using various dildos to the point of ecstasy. I masturbated to it. The next day, the urge to pray completely disappeared, so I stopped praying.
A couple of weeks later, I moved back to the Polish town I had lived in before to spend time with Albert and other expat friends. I rented the exact same apartment I lived in when I first came to Poland in 2011, during the absolute peak of my fornicative behavior. I met with Albert and one of the first things I told him was that I was finally ready to try mushrooms. He told me it’s best to take it while outdoors in view of nature, and to wait for spring to arrive. In the meanwhile, I fornicated with a girl I had dated in the past. Now that I was sexually sated, fewer fantasies came into my mind. Soon, the urge to pray came back, this time stronger than before.
I wanted to pray properly, so I did an internet search on “how to pray orthodox.” I added the “orthodox” since I was baptized when I was nine years old in the Armenian Apostolic Church, which is contained within the branch of Oriental Orthodoxy. I found a detailed prayer resource from the Greek Orthodox Church. Close enough. I printed the prayers out one afternoon in March of 2018, and that night, I got on my knees and prayed.
For the next half an hour, I cried like a baby. I don’t know if it was from grief or from the act of humbling myself before God for the first time, but I soon began to feel a sense of relief that I no longer had to be my own god. I didn’t have to know everything or have it all figured out. I didn’t have to know how to save myself from the evils and madness of the world through my own human power. I intuitively sensed that I could put my faith in God and allow Him to guide me instead of my vulgar desires for pleasure, fame, and status. For most of my life, I had been trying to invent ways and rules to puff myself up as a “strong” and “masculine” man, but all of that—every last idea from my own mind—had failed me. My first prayer was an admission that I was a fool.
I found more prayers online, including ones for dead relatives. I began praying before going to bed, for God to help guide me, to watch over my friends and family, and to have mercy on my sister’s soul. I asked God many questions about her. What happened to her? Where is she now? Would I ever see her again?
The weather forecast predicted that the first warm day of the year would be a Saturday at the end of March. It happened to fall on the one-year anniversary of my sister’s death. Albert told me that taking mushrooms for the first time on such a day could make the experience “heavy,” but the grief was already heavy. I told him that I wanted to proceed.
Before I explain what happened when I took mushrooms, I must state that the drug is extremely powerful. What I’m about to share with you is not an attempt to glorify its use, and for every positive story you hear from someone who tried it, you don’t have to look far to read a negative experience that put someone on a darker, more occult path. If you make the decision to take mushrooms, do so with an experienced guide who can keep an eye on you or calm you down if you experience distressing effects, one who is intelligent with a stable demeanor, because during your trip you are sure to have questions about the nature of existence, society, and God. Based on my experience, it would have been a huge mistake for me to take mushrooms alone, so I’m grateful that Albert was there with me.
The Saturday arrived. I woke up, did some light reading, and had a cup of coffee. I left my apartment around noon with a bag containing rolls of bread, almonds, bananas, a bottle of water, a beach towel, a notepad, and a pen. In my front jean pocket with a single 100-zloty bill (approximately $25 in U.S. currency). I left my smartphone at home.
I met Albert near the city square. He was wearing a red Make America Great Again hat. I walked with him to a park on the north side of the city. As expected, it was crowded with locals eager to break out of their winter hibernation. We entered into a lightly forested area that was covered with soft molehills, eventually settling on a spot that was about forty yards from the nearest path. Albert took out two yoga mats from his bag and laid them out.
Albert retrieved two sealed jars. They each contained 1.8 grams of crumbled mushrooms in one-third cup of lemon juice. The acidity of the lemon juice is theorized to mimic the stomach’s digestive enzymes and break down a substance in the mushrooms into its more active hallucinogenic component. Albert told me it’s the first time he had taken mushrooms with lemon juice. I placed full trust in him for the experience, not questioning the dosage, the location in the park, or any other detail. I’m already quite rigid with my daily routine and how I live life. For this experience, I had consciously decided to let things happen as they may.
Albert unscrewed one of the jars and handed it to me. The liquid looked like water mixed with dirt. Even though I was about to take a new drug, my understanding of what it could do was quite limited. I knew far more about Ayahuasca and DMT, drugs that could purportedly give you access to other dimensions containing monsters and elves (i.e. demons). For mushrooms, I expected trippy visuals and weird things emanating from the trees in a wide range of colors. I did not ask Albert for the specifics of what the drug would do so he would not give me any preconceived notions or biases of what I “should” see. He did warn me, however, that I may develop an upset stomach.
I gulped down the liquid. The citrus of the lemon juice balanced out with the earthy flavor of the mushrooms. I was now strapped in for the ride, excited to begin feeling its effects. From what I gathered online, I had the impression that many young men took psychedelics as a sort of shortcut to understanding the world or experiencing enlightenment. I was not looking for a shortcut. I was a 39-year-old man of the world who won in pleasure, lost in misdiagnosed love, and suffered a loss that made all of his life’s efforts seem like a total waste. I was tired of life, ready to give up completely. A man who is tired of life does not look for shortcuts. No, he looks for something to help him get through another day.
Albert and I talked like we normally did, about politics and girls. He spotted a red squirrel and commented that they were rare in England. More Poles entered the park via the paved paths. Thirty minutes after ingesting the mushrooms, I started to feel lethargic. I laid down on the mat and looked up at the forest canopy. Branches on two trees were moving in slowly and rhythmically, yet there was no wind or rustling sound that normally accompanies the movement of trees.
“Hey Albert, are the trees moving or is it just me?”
“It’s just you,” he replied. Was he joking? I took out the Polish bill from my pocket and stared at it. It appeared brighter than normal.
The red squirrel returned. He came close to us and started cracking a nut. He put his back to a tree to protect his rearguard.
“Can you imagine having to worry about getting killed while you’re eating?” Albert mused.
After the squirrel enjoyed his nut, he moved to another location, observed us for some time, and then repeated the procedure.
“He’s preparing to attack us!” Albert yelled.
“No, he’s probing our defenses,” I said. “The rest of the squirrel army is coming!” I began laughing for much longer than the squirrel’s behavior warranted. This is the moment I knew I was high, because squirrels are neither funny nor physically threatening.
I stood up and started walking around to test my physical abilities. The spongy molehills now made the earth feel like a moon bounce. The ground was so soft that I was scared I would sink in.
“Albert, the ground is not right. I need to find solid ground. I’ll be back.”
I bounced on the spongy earth towards the nearest concrete path that was lined with benches. I told myself, “Okay Roosh, people will see you so try to act normal.” I sat on a bench and tapped on the asphalt with my feet. It felt like carpet. I stared at the asphalt and noticed that it was undulating in a subtle manner. I recalled that asphalt was usually quite hard and unmoving, but now I had the urge to lay on it to further test its properties.
A man and woman were walking towards me. Where should I put my hands? On my lap or to my side? Should I cross my legs or leave them straight? Am I slouching? How should I wear my face? I should wear a neutral expression so they don’t think I’m weird, but I can’t tell what expression I’m wearing. What is a neutral expression, anyway? I wish I had a mirror. Uh oh, they’re here! Should I make eye contact with them? Maybe I should smile and say, “Hello fellow humans, how are you today?” No, that’s a bit odd.
Right as the couple was about to pass, I laughed. I immediately tried to contain the laughter by shutting my mouth and out came a spray of spit. They looked at me. My cover is blown—they know I’m a freak. I turned sharply towards the right so they couldn’t see my face, and noticed a family of four. An obese mother reached down to pick up her son. As she did so, her shirt lifted and revealed a mound of flesh. I laughed again and turned my head back in the other direction. Trying to be normal was impossible. I carefully walked over the asphalt carpet and then the moon bounce back to the encampment.
“Albert, I can’t find solid ground!”
“Now that’s a metaphor,” he said, looking up from his phone.
“And I don’t know how to be like other people. It’s too hard.”
“How about I give you a top hat and monocle so you can fit in?”
I sat down on my mat and took out the lone bill from my pocket. The anti-counterfeit seal on its right side now appeared to have a soft texture like that of a peach. The paper fibers looked like little hairs, giving the bill a 3D appearance.
“Are you ready for another dose?” Albert asked. I had originally planned on just the one small dose, but outside of the feeling of being high, I figured that I was tolerating the drug quite well. I was in complete control of my body, and outside of the laughter, I didn’t feel that I was in any danger or on the verge of experiencing a bad trip. Besides, Albert wouldn’t offer if I looked crazy.
Albert handed me another jar of 1.8 grams of mushrooms in lemon juice. After gulping it down, I said, “You know, Albert, the effects of this drug are only sensory. I know what I’m doing for the most part and feel that I’m in charge. This is just a drug for fun.” I didn’t know it at the time, but the effects of the first dose had yet to reach its peak.
“Is it safe for me to eat?” I asked.
“Yes, but chew carefully. You don’t want to bite your tongue. “
I took out a thick roll of bread. It compressed as I bit into it. A small piece of bread separated and entered my mouth. As I began chewing, I watched the remaining bread in my hand slowly expand back to its original thickness. I brought the bread close to my face, amazed to see that a new world was being created. Caves, rocks, and tunnels were forming right before me, in a configuration that has never existed before, all from the single bite of my jaw. When the bread world finished coming into being, it froze in absolute stillness. I took a second bite to create yet another fascinating new world. With the bread only a few inches away from my face, I examined it from different angles, admiring every stalagmite, nook, and cranny. I didn’t have a clock, but I imagine it took me fifteen minutes to finish eating the roll of bread.
I took out my bag of almonds. I bit half of an almond and then looked at the uneaten half. I had never observed the insides of almonds before, but now I was examining them closely. I noticed that each almond had its own unique pattern, like a fingerprint. I finished eating and wiped my hands with a white napkin.
I glanced onto the paved path and said, “Am I hallucinating or is that an African pimp in a red suit walking with four Asian women?” This was an impossible sight in Poland.
“You’re definitely hallucinating,” Albert replied. He glanced onto the path. “Wait, there actually is an African man in a red suit with four women.” We howled in laughter for some time.
Albert asked, “Why is everyone on bicycles? They’re obsessed… truly obsessed.” He repeated his complaints about the bicycles for some time. I didn’t understand half of the things he was going on about. Then again, I doubt he understood why it took me forever to eat a roll of bread and bag of almonds. Our external experience was shared, as we could objectively agree on witnessing the African man or the numerous bicycles, but how we were interpreting and feeling those shared experiences were quite different.
Albert’s railing against the bicycles put my attention on the path. I watched the Polish people for some time. They all appeared to behave in an identical manner as if they were computer players in a video game. If weather is nice, go to park… locate paved path… walk on right side of path at medium pace… maintain proper distance from other humans… do not talk to other humans… glance at humans for no more than half a second with neutral facial expression or slight smirk… glance at pretty tree for two seconds and take a deep breath… purchase ice cream cone or liquid refreshment from kiosk.
The pedestrians behaved like automatons. We were in a huge park, with isolated areas of forest and grass, but everyone was walking on a path that was constructed for them by another man while doing the same things in the same way while wearing the exact same facial expressions and even the same clothes. It didn’t make sense!
The peak of the afternoon heat hit. “Albert, where are all the people coming from?”
“They’re spawning from that far end. It’s like a film reel.” They did all seem to be walking in the same direction.
“They’re not looking at us, at least.”
“Oh, they’re looking,” Albert replied.
“Yes, they’re glancing at us in that discreet Polish way.”
I focused on the part of the path nearest us, and he was right, they were giving us a half-second glance. I felt self-conscious like when trying to sit on the bench. Was I being too loud? Was I making too many movements? Was my blue jacket too bold in color? The knowledge and ability to act “normal” or “socially acceptable” in public, an ability I have had for my whole adult life, escaped me totally.
“Maybe we should move soon,” I told Albert. The path seemed plenty far away when we first chose our spot, but now it was becoming hard to tell what was far or not. If I could notice people noticing me, I must be too close to them. I put my back on the path and the self-consciousness subsided. The people weren’t on my mind as long as I didn’t observe them, similar to how a baby thinks he’s invisible if he covers his eyes with his hands.
I glanced around for the thickest tree and stared at it. At first it appeared still, but eventually I could see that its trunk, the thickest object in the forest, was moving, just like everything else. The farther up the tree I went into the thinner portions, the more movement I saw.
I write these words while completely sober. I’m sitting in front of a large window facing many trees. I can testify that they are not moving in the slightest, except for when a bird makes contact with a branch, and even then, the movement is a brief spurt, though the reality I was experiencing in the forest was one of a constant dance. The trees never stop dancing. How could it be any other way? All matter is made of atoms that are in constant motion. We perceive objects as still or solid so that we don’t end up staring at inanimate objects for hours or days at a time.
“I need to make notes on this,” I said, taking out my pen and notepad.
“It’ll all be gibberish tomorrow,” Albert replied.
“But I have to record what I’m seeing.”
“Write down your nonsense!”
I wrote down my first note: “Everything has a breath.”
I decided to perform a rudimentary experiment. I grabbed a rock and stared at it. I took note of the gentle ripples that graced its face. Then I vigorously rubbed my hands over it and observed again. The pattern of the rippling changed! My “breath” affects the breath of other things, and I’m sure the vice versa is also true. I immediately thought of sex, the most intimate of exchanges. You impart your ripple pattern onto the woman and she imparts hers onto yours, but what if the woman is bad? Can bad ripples stay with me forever?
I still felt in control of what was happening. While I was “hallucinating,” I didn’t feel like I was hallucinating. Instead of seeing things that weren’t there, I seemed to be witnessing an amplification of things that were. A tree is real. Its constant movement unrelated to the wind must be real since its base composition, the atom, is in constant motion. Therefore, seeing the trees move seems to be an amplification of my limited sense perception, which has been fine-tuned in a way to prevent me from going mad while living on earth. Rubbing my essence (my atoms) on a rock must also really occur, but it cannot be perceived until a certain drug removes the filters that safeguard us against an overflow of information. Also removed were my social filters that normally allow me to share the same space with complete strangers without acting weird or awkward.
If we could see the world for how it really is, we wouldn’t even be able to walk down the street without noticing an empty soda can and staring at it for some time before rubbing against a light pole to see what would happen, all while laughing maniacally at someone who had a kitty cat picture on their t-shirt. We’d certainly be late for work and other important appointments.
I laid on the yoga mat face up and closed my eyes. I was in a red hallway shaped like a subway tunnel. I turned to the side and could see the frame of the wall crisscrossed with lines. I opened my eyes and stared at the two trees above me and to the left. Then I closed my eyes again. I could still see the outlines of the trees, and attached to the outline was a lattice frame. The trees were supported by something outside of themselves. Maybe this was just an ocular imprint, similar to seeing a halo when you close your eyes after staring at a bright light. I kept my eyes closed for some time to rule out the imprint hypothesis. The tree lattice remained. The trees were props on a stage, supported by a mechanism that is invisible to the sober eye. Then I put one hand over my eyes to block out all light. I could still see the trees and the lattice, but it was fainter. Then I put both hands over my eyes. I could no longer see either. For several minutes I used my hands to control the light that was entering my vision to change what I could see.
I sat up and faced Albert. The forest appeared darker. “Albert, did you change the brightness level of the sun?”
“I think that’s called clouds,” he said.
“Look, Albert, there’s a lattice. It holds everything in place.”
“How can a lettuce hold everything?”
“Yes, I like lettuce.”
I started laughing at the idea of lettuce holding the universe in place. I grabbed my pen and wrote a note: “Lettuce.” I laughed some more and then looked at the ink. It appeared as oil. I brought the notepad closer to my face. The ink was so elevated that it appeared to float. I was worried it wouldn’t properly adhere to the paper and my note would be lost. I watched the ink dry, first at the appendages of the letters and then the main trunks. I then crossed out the word lettuce and wrote down three notes:
The lattice holds nature
There is no empty space
I noticed my crumpled white napkin on the ground. I picked it up and brought it in close. It seemed that every wrinkle and fold of the napkin was purposely made to maximize its beauty, as if it were done by a Japanese origami master. I held it up in the air against the sky. It looked like a white rose. I rotated it, trying to find a part that was flawed, but the entire napkin was brilliantly perfect. How can something I crumpled in such a random, haphazard way be so beautiful? I stared at the napkin for some time. I wanted to save it and encase it in glass, but I knew it wouldn’t appear beautiful after the effects of the drug faded.
“Albert, take a look at this napkin. It’s so…” I stopped talking. My voice sounded strange, as if it were being played back to me through a cheap radio speaker. “Hello… hellooooooo. Is this really my voice?” It had to be my voice, since I was controlling it, but where was the sound coming from? I tried to test my internal monologue, but no thought entered my mind.
“There is no point in talking,” I said to Albert. “My thoughts are meaningless and…” I couldn’t continue, and Albert didn’t seem to notice. My words were just useless noise, my thoughts insignificant.
I laid back down on the mat and closed my eyes. I saw mostly black, though occasionally a geometric pattern flew by. Then my breathing became labored and loud. I could hear the sound of air filling into my lungs as if it were a balloon. I put all my attention onto my breath so I wouldn’t forget to breathe. I didn’t want to suffocate. My chest felt like it was being twisted by strong hands. I got scared of what was happening and opened my eyes. The sound of my breath and the chest tightness immediately vanished.
I stared at the dancing trees for a while and chided myself for being so afraid. My whole life I sought to control my body and the worldly outcomes that I faced. I methodically planned projects, routines, and relationships, and immediately took corrective action if control was lost. And what has that gotten me? What have I profited from this control? Everything I had accumulated in life through my own efforts gave me no solace when darkness overtook me. No, I must let go, and allow things to happen as they may.
I turned to lay on the right side of my body, almost in a fetal position, and closed my eyes once more. The geometric patterns were gone, my vision all black. My breathing became labored once again. My chest felt like it was being wrung out from the center. I tried to be careful with my breaths to make sure I received enough air. Still, I was fighting.
The sound of my breaths was still loud, but now they were becoming spaced further and further apart. Don’t be afraid, I said to myself. Then the sound of the air entering my lungs went silent. I was no longer breathing. I could not perceive myself as breathing. I tried to open my eyes, but I couldn’t. Then I tried to wave my hands in front of my face, but nothing happened. I was no longer in my body. Then whoosh—I felt a great movement at amazing speed as if I was transported somewhere else.
I was placed in a great void. My breath was gone, my body was gone. I couldn’t hear Albert or any sounds of the forest. And yet I was not afraid or worried. There was no concern for what happened to my body or if I would ever possess it again. There was no lamentation that I could not continue experiencing the world as I have for my previous 39 years of existence. In this great void, with no sign of stars or other physical matter, or even the perception of space or time, I felt complete serenity and peace with myself.
Then a large dome with a gray outline came into view. The bottom of the dome was flat. In the center of the flat bottom was a white light. I stared at the light and a warm feeling overcame me. The word “home” entered my mind. That’s the home of my soul, where I came from and where I will go back to, where I will rest for all eternal. I desired to be with the light, to float towards it, but then my eyes opened.
I was back in the forest, curled up on the ground. I took a deep breath and stood up. I wanted to talk to Albert but I had no voice. I whispered, “Albert, I saw it.”
“It! I saw It! The source!”
“The sauce? What kind of sauce?”
“It, Albert! Everything!” I tried to calm down. It would be best to wait a while before revealing anything more to him.
“I have to go to the bathroom,” Albert said. “Do you have to go?”
“Yes, I’ll go,” I mustered.
My voice returned and we walked through the forest, crossing over two footpaths. Albert carried a large stick and was banging it against the trees. Other humans continued to give us half-second glances before looking away, no matter how loud and obnoxious we may have been.
Albert pointed out a secluded area and I went to urinate behind a bush. On the way back to the encampment, we approached one of the footpaths. I stood in the middle of it and asked, “Is this a road or a sidewalk?” I couldn’t perceive distance or size.
“Why are you talking so low?” Albert asked. I also couldn’t perceive volume.
I knew I had to be alone to process the vision. I found a tree trunk near our encampment. “Albert, I’m going to sit here for a while.” As soon as he walked away, I started piecing together what I saw. On this one-year anniversary of my sister’s death, I remembered how she died. I witnessed her laborious breaths, the sound of the air creating friction with the fluid in her damaged lungs, the spacing apart of her final breaths, and the changing color of her body as her soul left her. While on the tree stump, I came to believe that God had just killed me in the same way that my sister died to show me where her soul went. Then he allowed me to be put back into the body for a second chance at life.
My sister was no longer suffering. The drugs and surgeries and false hopes that doctors tortured her with have been followed by her departing to the Lord. He showed me a hint of her soul’s journey, just enough for me to understand the truth and accept that I was on the right path in turning my back against the world and choosing Him.
I was in a full, heaving sob when Albert came back around. He handed me his Make America Great Again hat and said, “Will this make you feel better?”
“Go away!” I snapped, looking away from him. I wanted to cry alone.
Albert came back a couple of minutes later. “What do you want…” I sternly began, and then he handed me my pen and notepad so that I could take notes.
Dome with a white light
You are not the body
The sadness of my sister’s death will never leave me, but on this day I began to feel relief that she is okay. I experienced how our body is a container for our soul, and once the body fails, our spirit returns to God, for Him to judge us with His great mercy based on how we lived, and while I am in this body, no force or person has power over me unless I grant them that power. There is no danger but the danger I bring into my life by the choices I make. There is nothing to fear while in the body.
I got up from the tree trunk and walked back to the encampment. I guessed it was 4 p.m. The park was crowded and we received many more looks than before. Our little spot now seemed like an elevated stage. “Let’s go somewhere else,” Albert suggested. We packed up our things and began walking in search of a more isolated area of the park.
I reached into my pocket and pulled out the Polish bill. I looked at it for a few seconds and said, “Albert, this money is just a piece of paper made by a group of men. It has no real value.” I picked up a brown leaf from the ground and handed it to Albert. “Kind sir, may I have some goods and services for this leaf?”
Albert played along: “Why yes, I accept this leaf and so here are your goods and services.”
My “fake” money fell on the floor and was picked up by the wind. I ran after it, saying, “This may be fake, but I know I will need it later!”
As we walked through the park, I saw other people walking on the paved paths. They appeared normal. Is this how I appeared when not on the drug? Only children listened to their natural voice and walked off the path to explore the grass and the bushes. They had no notion of what was acceptable or where they could and could not go. Parents would let a child explore for a minute and then yell after them: “Come back! Come back to the path of man! You must be normal!” It only takes a couple of years for the child to be conditioned. He learns to become fearful of straying from the path, and to only give short half-second glances to those who do.
Albert and I found a small mound. We had a beautiful view of the most manicured section of the park that amplified my perception of the world of man as a movie set.
Society is layers
Layers and layers and layers of bullshit
It’s all fake!
Albert offered me a third dose of mushrooms. “No thanks, I already have a lot to think about.” I looked at the ground—it was still breathing. I wanted to start connecting all I had seen in the previous few hours, but the drug still had a power over me, bouncing my emotions from appreciation to grief, curiosity to concern.
Albert took the third dose. Shortly thereafter, he removed his shirt and fashioned it into a turban that wrapped around his head. He began having heated conversations with a thick stick as he bashed it against various trees. While he made war with the trees, I paced back and forth between our encampment and an isolated tree a few hundred feet away. I thought about the lattice, the societal filters, my sister, and the source of creation. Numerous questions entered my mind. Is the human world separate from the source, or a part of it? Is this world a stage just like the park? Is it possible to experience the world of God while living in the world of man?
I wanted to ask Albert these questions and many more, but he was busy with the trees, accusing them of all sorts of crimes. Yet one question arose within me which I needed an answer to. I walked up to Albert while he was attacking a tree with his stick, and asked him, “Why did God do it? He didn’t have to make this world for us. Why did He give us life?”
Albert paused his battle with the tree, turned his head to me, and said, “And leave us hanging out there in space?” And then he went back to bashing on the trees.
It’s a gift. This world is a gift from God for our souls to exist in a physical body so that it may one day exist at His right hand. If we follow His rules, and use our limited time here to glorify Him and spread His word, we will be graced by His love in this world and rewarded in the next. He selected certain men to reveal His commandments and love, and when it was time to redeem humanity, he sent his only begotten Son, Jesus Christ, to be crucified for us.
My sister died too young, before she could fully turn to God. Things of the world distracted her as they have distracted me, though I believe her extensive suffering in this world did much to scrub the sins she committed, and that she has paid her way into God’s good graces, but in case not, I will pray for her daily, and hope that God recognizes the fruits of her love in the form of her brother choosing to walk with Him, something that may not have happened had she not died.
Two more hours passed. It became dark. I stared at the ground—it was no longer breathing. I took the bill from my pocket—it appeared dull and flat. The high was finished. I sat on my mat and waited until Albert was done bashing the trees. We then began the walk back to the city. The park, now empty, seemed real again. When we passed other people, I no longer had to remember how to be normal.
As we got closer to the city, eight hours after we first started off, layers of society began reappearing: traffic lights, buses, billboard advertisements, car horns. At one intersection, Albert thought I would ignore the Don’t Walk signal, so he put out his arm to block me from crossing, not knowing that the subconscious filter which allows me to move through society without hurting or embarrassing myself had returned.
A part of me didn’t want to go back into the city, because I knew there was nothing in it for me. I was only a glorified tourist here and in every other country I had ever been to, and perhaps even my own home town, and perhaps even this world. I wish only to go to my true home.
Most of what I had experienced or saw during my mushroom high was an amplification of what I already knew or believed. I chose God before so I saw God. I believed the manmade world was artificial before so I saw how artificial it really was. I saw the beauty of all things, the workings of nature, how the most inanimate objects are alive, how my essence impacts the essence of other things, and the nature of our souls. We are not just random beings that came out of random mechanisms that evaporate from the world upon our death. My vision of the eternal, in a place of no time or space, watered the gift of faith that was given to me just weeks before.
I got back into my apartment and went online. I read through numerous mushroom trip stories, trying to find one that matched mine. I read stories of “ego death,” where a man temporarily lost his self-identity and felt he was no longer connected to the world. I read “out of body” experiences, where a man could see himself from a distance, often from a position above his body. I experienced neither. The closest I could find to what I saw were near-death experiences of those who had clinically died and saw a light. Perhaps God created the image of the dome specifically for me, because He knew what I needed to see to boldly go against the secular world and put my faith in Him above all else.
When I got bored of reading mushroom stories online, I messaged Albert to join me at a nearby burger restaurant for a late dinner. After eating, we went to a bar and sat in the back. I ordered a sparkling water and observed the other patrons. They were drinking and socializing, hoping to convey beauty and status to others in order to receive pleasure. The music was loud, interrupting my thoughts. After what I had just experienced, the bar seemed so deficient and corrupt. The streets, packed with obnoxious drunkards, seemed more void of life than a quiet forest. I knew that only with God’s help could I navigate this world of man without causing further harm to my soul.
Whenever I encountered a problem in life, I would always solve it through my own efforts, but how could I now? How could I respect my own judgement when for decades I did all those things which I’m now ashamed of? No, I cannot trust myself—I can only trust in God. If I need help, I will pray and ask Him for help. No longer will I use my free will to be a slave to my own passions. I will be a slave for God instead. I will ask Him what he wants me to do, and then I will do it.
The above was an expanded written version of a segment contained within my speech What I Learned About Life. Click here to learn more.
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