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After-trip Integration


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#1 goodnightmoon

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Posted 11 January 2017 - 05:06 PM

Hi guys,

 

I started this thread because i'm interested what you think about after trip integration? What you do after a trip? How do you integrate it to your life? Is this necessary at all? And if so, in what form, talking, writing, etc? Does a trip should end with a "it was just a trip" and after five days everythings gonna be ordinary again line or it should or should not have a meaning which affects your personality in the future?

 

This article was the thread-starting to me: https://tonic.vice.c...er-a-crazy-trip

 

Interested in all your experiences with different stuff, not just mushrooms. 


Edited by goodnightmoon, 11 January 2017 - 05:07 PM.

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#2 happy4nic8r

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Posted 11 January 2017 - 05:25 PM

Storming the Gates here,  or post it anywhere, the mods can move it if you are too stoned to do much more than type.

 

I usually am  and if I wait till it totally wears off I forget very quickly.

 

A lot of time I am driving myself batshit with internal dialog, and simply focusing on writing it down can make that quiet down a bit.

 

In the OLD days I would have a trip partner, so you knew at least one other human was out there with you. People like that are hard to find nowadays, so I find I'm solo and that's just fine for us!


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#3 Alder Logs

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Posted 11 January 2017 - 06:55 PM

Great topic.  Thank you, I believe it is a needed conversation. 

 

The title of the article starts: How to Return to Normal Life...   Is that why the guy went all the way to Peru?    What is the desired goal of this "integration?"   Do the psychedelics give us something, or do they take something away?  Sure, it's both, but is the gift of the altered state, what we are getting; that it's really starting to see what's no longer needed and can be set aside?   Isn't it that we begin to see some things, things which it's high time we be finished with?    Just yesterday I wrote a short history of my psychedelic life's journey.  Perhaps it can be applied here.   Certainly, it crossed over into, or was always a major part of, my spiritual life. 

 

The text below came out of a conversation discussing first time use of varied psychedelics, where it involved several users' first time experiences of certain entheogens.  This writing started as a response to one person's admission that words don't do all that well in you-had-to-be-there situations.  I was listening at that very time to a podcast of the person known as The Drunken Taoist (mentioned in your linked article) when I joined the conversation, hence, the initial reference to Tao. 

 

 

Calling anything, anything, we find these limitations; the Tao that can be told…?   Not ever it.   I have long loved the Tao, and these days, my Advaita masters.   So much of my own little tao/way led through the entheogens, having my first breakout experience the first time I smoked hashish.   Gotta love those first times!

 

I had to leave the THC behind in my late twenties, this body being hypoglycemic.   THC appears to put me into insulin shock, which was perhaps that first hashish event’s mechanism.   (Before electroshock therapy, there was insulin shock therapy.)   Whatever it was, there, in the dimly lit quiet room alone, there was what I could only describe as a return to where I had been before birth.   The experience was of a void space, a nothingness, but still, a recognized real home.   I called it at the time, “the land of the dead.”   There was only happiness and peace to have returned there for a time.   So far as words or symbols can be used, I think of it as an NDE.   Just ain’t going to be able to tell that Tao, right?   You just had to be there.

 

In my early twenties I tried every hallucinogen I could get my hands on.   In my mid- and late-twenties, it was an Indian guru, and after that, more tripping.   The gurus always seem to want you to be winging it without the substances.   I honor my first guru, though I found I didn’t have it in me to hold to his prescribed path.   What I did take away from that time was the practice of ‘karma yoga’ (selfless service), which became the practice for 40 years.   Practices, I have come to see, are great place-holders.   It seemed this ADHD body/brain/mind was just not made for meditation, which was a part of that initial path which was apparently not going to work for me.   Plus, any fellowship with my brother and sister devotees was tough, as the ADHD kid never really got properly socialized, and as it seemed, I was even going to be a spiritual misfit.

 

But, service was comfortable, so long as I didn’t expect to have it appreciated, as doing selfless service is quite the feat, while any ego is present.   I could only do it as well as I could do it, and that was not with full detachment.   But, no regrets, as it was a great place-holder.

 

But there were those wonderful mushrooms to show me so much, for so many years.   I live in mushroom heaven up here in the SW corner of Washington State.   I never bought or sold a magic mushroom.   They just come out of the ground! I tried peyote about that time, but it seriously kicked my physical ass at age 25.   I just couldn’t do it, though I had some access to it for a time then.

 

Synthesized mescaline was my first experience after that hash (I was just 23).   I had a vision of a bear and then encountered that bear (IRL), just as it had been seen in my vision.   The vision didn’t scare me, but that huge bear certainly did.   Fortunately, I think the bear had issues about humans, and after an endless moment of the bear and I standing, facing each other, looking eye to eye (the bear was standing in a ditch while I was on the high ground on a road), it was at last the bear who wheeled around and hauled ass.

 

Soon after that there came my first acid.   I had been a three drink blackout alcoholic since joining the navy at 17.   I never had much tolerance for the booze, and loved the oblivion of being pickled.   Upon that first taste of LSD, I saw real beauty in myself, for the first time really.   My hated image of me, engendered by growing up ADHD in an age before the diagnosis even existed (beyond, “problem child”), the me that sought that merciful boozy oblivion never wanted to black out again.   Then I had only to learn that acid would not be my panacea.   Each trip fell short of the one before it, and in a little over a month and thirty to forty hits of acid later, I was one crispy critter.   I had tried to be an acid addict. Sorry, try something else.

 

Then came the mushrooms, and except for my one fresh Amanita muscaria overdose (never to be repeated), there were the beloved Psilocybes to carry me along over so many decades.   When taken in the mode of teachers, they gave so much.   Taken as recreationals, they usually treated me caringly, but I was to leave recreational use mostly aside as I aged.   There was a difficult lesson in taking them lightly on a couple of occasions.   I learned to hear that, I guess.

 

I was 65 by the time there came any possibility of acquiring smokable DMT, and I was advised by experienced partakers that maybe my physical constitution would not be up to the test.   It is the same concerns about having the energy for what might be called, “shamanic doses,” that slowed me down a few years back, even on the wood lover mushrooms [Psilocybe cyanescens] which had become my go-to trip of choice.   I will be turning 70 next month, and have found my state of being to be one which I have very little desire to be messing with.   Just over two years ago, in a moment of personal crisis, there was a seeing, a change of perspective, which came spontaneously without the psychedelic chemo.   It was reminiscent of that peaceful home I had seen to be before this body/mind with the hashish (not exactly that same void, but certainly vast).   I see now that all the tripping, the practices, whatever, are not it, not in the sense of gaining anything that isn’t what is here all along.

 

That void nothingness, seen when that first hash did its thing, a vastness of being, appeared as that in which all of this imagining takes place.   The imagining didn’t stop. It just became recognized.   Some old story of my life is all well and good.   But, it is only a story.   What was getting blown away in so many trips was what is not.   I guess I was a very slow learner, but then, there really was nothing to learn; except maybe just the letting go to what is.   Upon this awakening (for lack of another word) it soon dawned that I was still not prepared for this changed perspective of two years ago last October, and as grace would have it, the student was ready and teachers appeared.

 

So, keep that urge and that open heart.   You will see the perfection hidden in everything, whether judged to be good or bad.   If you allow yourself to see, you will even see the judgment taking place.   It all happens right there in front of us, all the time.    I feel that all those tripping glimpses were completely valid.   In what we might call “coming down;” this is where what might not be trusted might be seen, for what it is, and is not.

 

 


The discovery of truth is in the discernment of the false.
You can know what is not. What is – you can only be.
~Nisargadatta Maharaj

 

 

Well, I hope you don’t mind all this, as I know I write this stuff for myself.

 

Namasté

 

I hope that fits in here.


Edited by Alder Logs, 11 January 2017 - 07:39 PM.

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#4 happy4nic8r

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Posted 12 January 2017 - 12:36 PM

Nice Alder. I'd say that not only fits, but I read the whole thing, which is getting easier for me lately since one of my new challenges has been to take in (read) more and give out (talk) less. 

Funny how that transpired but the short story is, my eyesight got better and I lost the use of my right hand.

I guess that's not that funny.

 

I wrote a similar paper for a Mediator I had to go see in Hawaii, and it's almost the same exact words, same life, same issues. We brushed on this before, the personality tests, etc. But this is really (mind blowing)??

 

I will have to find that notebook now and see if it's still there.

 

Probably not word for word, and/or as well written as yours, but the similarity is amazing.


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#5 pharmer

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Posted 13 January 2017 - 08:15 AM

ah, yeah, Alder..... about the potential to be a professional writer thing....

 

In my humble estimation that post ^^^^^ is something any professional should aspire to

 

think about that for a second or two please

 

OK, almost back on topic

 

Because my life experiences are considerably different and my brain has been formed toward getting things done, you know - a hammer and nails, bulldozer, planner type of person - my thought processes are seriously practical and simultaneously about planning and seeing into getting the next thing done. SO, my words tend to reflect that and, because time is money :), tend to be economical and without buffer (or "filter" in the current parlance).

 

That said....

 

My own integration of things seen, suggested, and learned on heroic doses overlays yours very nicely.

 

What we think we Are is just some fabrication of our upgraded reptile -> mammal -> monkey brain driven by electricity and hormones to survive an increasingly complicated and dangerous life. Why it needs to justify itself so damned much is still a mystery.

 

 

I have a suggestion. Not to derail this thread but I see the seed of a super thread in Alders' post above because it contains some real pearls of understanding that are well worthy of explaining and discussing. So, if you're willing, Alder, start another based on that ^^^^^ post and I think you could write a "legacy" document based on your own input and any you cared to include coming from that discussion. Future generations of inner explorers could benefit from it, assuming they find it :)

 

OK, really really back on topic

 

How to integrate? I've often thought that finding a tripping partner, one who alternates and sits with you, is the way to go. Two people tripping is awesome but not all that productive in producing a written record of the experience or lessons learned. But if the tripper had a trusted partner, someone he could say anything to, the partner could "transcribe" the trip for later dissection.

 

IME the small percentage of what you actually take away from trips are the things You have never seen or considered before. Things You were unprepared for and therefore surprised by.

 

If you are lucky you can retain a single nugget for more than a week or a month.

 

Then, to integrate it  you overlay your own with that of others', especially if they are trusted by others in the tripping community, looking for common ground and the possibility of applying the knowledge in the greater sphere of life.

 

And when you think about it, that's a job all by itself :)


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#6 Alder Logs

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Posted 13 January 2017 - 10:31 AM

I think it's fine to make a better story for ourselves, but how about transcending story altogether?   Once it has been seen as story, cannot the concocting of the story also be seen, as it is happening?  Staying in the mode of the present witness, not as something that is doing the witnessing, but as the depersonalized witnessing itself, the state of presence; could it be something like not coming totally down?    Would this be a real integration?   Going from the presence of the peak and back into the habits of analysis, rationalizing it with, and as, our past, we then wonder how our insights always seem to fade.  

 

All the way to Peru, right?  Now let's get on the plane for home and begin fitting it into our story.  Did something get left there, downstream of Iquitos.   Did not the real integration happen there, and now what follows is reemerging disintegration?   Experience of presence gets pulled apart and put into bins of past and future.    The habits of mind will do what they can to grasp what mind cannot.  If we think we are the thoughts, something that has the thoughts, instead of what sees the thoughts, we reenter our story, thinking the story is us.   Now we are again the body, with a brand new Peruvian journey story. 

 

Okay, was writing on the fly.   I have to get ready to take my body to my doctor.  That's my story, but I don't intend to stick with it.


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#7 SteampunkScientist

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Posted 13 January 2017 - 07:19 PM

A balloon fresh from the package. Blow it up, and then release the air. It gets small again, but never goes back to the size it was. It has been permanently changed.

Same with you my friend. Things may seem "normal" but, here and there, now and again you will see changes. You are different now.

Don't doubt it.
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#8 goodnightmoon

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Posted 13 January 2017 - 07:24 PM

Hm, I guess that's no possible, a lot of psychedelic-people went to meditation, some kind of practice, etc.

But I don't think that's for everybody, too. Possibly going to practice tai-chi soon.

My microdosing experiences were also quite controversary to me. I used to take it to get some motivation to do things. What I found it effects me differently based on my day. set, and usually the things I doing in meantime. But to be honest I used to do to get that extra motivational energy. What I found from that -if I take it to a "message" or some something- is that emotional>head. I stare just too much time in my head. And thats not creative every time. My theory is microdosing (and I surely talking about just microdosing now) is don't get you do things which you wanna do but IF you start doing them then because its happening more smoothly then the doing gets more rewarding so it keeps the "doing" up :) For instance: after trip "lessons" I thought like this: while Ive done mdma in the past it doesn't give me that state constantly but I see myself in a lot more open way aand when it weared off I could remember that state that oh, it was me, so remembering a more optimal-state-of-you can help when youre more-down. Crap, hope I not overthought it now. These thoughts need to be nourished and grow before post..anyway :) good night everyone



#9 goodnightmoon

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Posted 13 January 2017 - 07:28 PM

The best way to trip is with people who understand all this and they can gave a reflection which you cannot give just by yourself. I guess. It's interesting to think that the drug with they do deep therapy sessions and the drug everybody says on bluelight, etc "i was so fckd up, omg" was the same: psilocybin or LSD. The difference is the subculture contecx and habits in which the trip takes place. But its a little offtopic :)



#10 SteampunkScientist

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Posted 13 January 2017 - 07:46 PM

I did an experiment last year. For 7 weeks I tripped every 7 days. Each time I choose a different setting, the woods, the city, a bar, etc. The purpose was to stretch myself in each of these situations and write down observations.

Now I discovered that the communication between myself and others changed in each situation. Conciousness changes when communication changes.

#11 Guy1298

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Posted 14 January 2017 - 12:00 AM

For me, I usually don't find good ways to integrate them. They're usually such an experience. I wouldn't know what to do. Or its possible the effect of my trips is always manifesting. It's making me want what I want out of myself. It makes me seek what I seek mentally, etc. Integration isn't willful perhaps. It's just that much harder to approach life in the way you once did and more easy to learn from your mistakes. 

 

But, I remember with the Aya ceremonies I had, I was fundamentally changed. The perceivable changes came in the form of definite loss of fear in many parts of my life. Some didn't stick, which might have been on account of my inability at integrating properly, or just because the high finally ended. It didn't help that right after that, I ended up in a relationship with someone I probably shouldn't have been with. Somehow, I ended up drinking alcohol often and dealing with emotions on her part that were intensely difficult for me. But that is probably the nature of most relationships. I ended up depressed and very disconnected from what I felt during and shortly after the ceremonies. 

 

I suspect if I do Aya in that way again, I will put a stronger more careful effort in retaining aspects of that perspective, which is truly a free and beautiful way of looking at things. 


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#12 Coopdog

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Posted 14 January 2017 - 02:59 AM

Sometimes trips are purely recreational for me. Then there are times that they have changed my life. Usually if they move my spirit it is because I went into them with some ceremony and intent and got what I asked for. I have had a dozen or more trips that we staggeringly important to my life. One that comes to mind is when a Shaman like guy came to me in a powerful mushroom trip and he had animal spirits that took turns coming out of him and looking at me. There was coyote, rattlesnake, eagle, bear, deer, and a few more that I probably can't think of now that came out of his torso. He nodded to me and in some way I knew he approved of my shaman path. Then he showed me a complicated series of movements that were similar to a marshal arts practice kata. I somehow knew I needed to learn to dance like that to realize my potential, and indeed I have learned to dance and do so at every opportunity. That trip was a brain bender and seemed like a reward for all the work I had done. Deep stuff.

 

Happy4nicator I sure wish we had got to trip when I came to visit. That would have been epic as I sure enjoyed your company and we would have had one hell of a music night playing together I think. I could tell spending some time with you that we would have had a damn good time. Sorry that never worked out and I hope we can rectify that sometime. :)

 

Peace...


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#13 goodnightmoon

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Posted 14 January 2017 - 08:58 AM

Yeah, I'm not sure every trip should have the get-a-meaning way. Maybe some are just purely recreational and that new look and feel good can also have a good mental, soul impact like every good emotional have on us. Bottom line now for me is: going towards Life with entheogens psychonaut mentality. Going away from life with it-> junkie mentality. Aya would be interesting! Actually, I have contact to ceremonies which gets more interesting to go. My main concern is that I don't have enought money now to participate (its not a huge amount, thought). My "psychonaut-ego" just can't accept the fact that _some_ aya ceremonies (like some in Austria, etc.) they're waay too expensive. Maybe this is the dark-side of the growing aya-popularity.


Edited by goodnightmoon, 14 January 2017 - 08:59 AM.


#14 goodnightmoon

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Posted 20 January 2017 - 10:51 AM

pharmer: just re-read your post. You know, different mindset, different views I get.

My mind also this get-things done, but just when I have to, like to, need to do something in the world or organize. Funny we think about Our Mind (maybe ourselves?:)

But usually I get into wandering mode really easily and like it more when things flow like water in a conversation or something, just as it. Yeah, possible our minds are this survival-mode in the world or more to get a glimpse of what-is-what and tripping makes that more fluid and open. At least good to have a vehicle to keep it forward just sometimes an update can help re-think. First time tripping really reminded me of my childhood self, going on vacation in nature and that feeling, see the world as a child. And it felt so good!

 

Yep this topic also can flow where its like to, don't have to get stick to the exact theme. 

 

Guy1298: I think, yes, I doesn't have to be willful. That's why I wrote that sometimes "some" experiences are in itself enought to change the life. Good try on your Aya-trip, tell how it went. I wonder if anyone who had a "bad trip" or difficult experience how they manages mentally, emotionally to get something from it or to even move out from it? That's somehow an 'integration' to me. Lot of ppl having a difficult experienes mentioned that they had learn from it afterwards, and learn means that somehow changed a perspective.


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#15 SteampunkScientist

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Posted 20 January 2017 - 09:07 PM

My main experience with DMT was, unfortunately, not a full breakthrough, because I was being extremely cautious. A test mission if you will, analogous to the space walk mercury missions.

Even then I had much to integrate. Seeing elves come out of plywood, still "colorized" with the grain stripes of the plywood was, to be sure, eye opening.

Third eye opening to be exact.

But my next mission will full inner-steller space hopefully.

#16 TVCasualty

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Posted 21 January 2017 - 01:58 PM

My first trip changed me almost instantly, forever. But I've been learning new things from that night (and from many subsequent trips) ever since. So I'd say integration is a continuous process since you never know when you'll encounter some other external event or internal epiphany that connects with a past psychedelic experience and causes all sorts of new neural connections to form (it feels great when it happens, like a "Eureka!" moment on steroids).

 

As recently as a few nights ago some random thought or piece of information (still not sure what) induced such a realization, finally allowing me to integrate a rather insane Salvia experience I'd had a few years ago. I described it in a Storming the Gates thread, which initially felt like diving into a black hole (literally, in outer space somewhere) and ending up in the Void. By 'integrate' I mean I recognized what that trip was showing me in a way that changed my perception of it; it became patently obvious that the Void I'd ended up lost in is what happens to us after we commit suicide, should we decide to do so. And none of the bad or crazy (or crazy-bad) shit I've experienced on Earth in consensus-reality has ever even come close to the horrifying feeling of being lost as a disembodied perceiver in that utter lack of a place. There are fates worse than death, and I instinctively understood that I'd been given a tour of one.

 

I had a friend who'd killed himself 9 years prior, and I asked an acquaintance who has a talent for internal journeying of the shamanic variety to check up on him several years after he'd died. She came out of her session pretty shook up, telling me that she'd first experienced his death from his perspective, relating details about it that I hadn't mentioned to her (it was uncanny, to a hair-raising degree).

 

That was plenty intense enough for her, but after his body died she saw him floating in the exact same endless Nothingness I'd experienced on Salvia (again, her descriptions were uncanny), where she said he'd been lost for about 2 years (in physical time as we'd measure it). At that point he heard the song of a baby humpback whale penetrate the Void, drawing his awareness toward it and beginning to orient him back toward Existence (i.e. everything that isn't no-thing). She said the baby whale wasn't strong enough to bring him back by itself, but then she heard the whole pod join in the song, which was powerful enough to draw him out of the Void and into another body. Basically he'd gone off the deep end after growing up on Maui, which he couldn't stand ("paradise" is relative and "island fever" is no joke; it can really mess someone's head up after a while). She said he'd been reborn as a pure-blood Native Hawaiian (not many left) to better learn the lessons he failed to learn on his previous go-around.

 

I alluded to that Salvia trip in my high-dose DMT thread where I equated DMT with "fire" and Salvia with "ice," but now I see them as revealing different postmortem realities as determined by our Intent. So if we seek Darkness and oblivion, we'll find them. But if we seek Light and Oneness, we'll find those instead (or at least inch a little closer).

 

There's no such thing as "time" on the other side of the Veil, so it doesn't strike me as odd that it can take many years of physical time to finally understand what we were shown when we took a peek. Sometimes that seems to be because we're not ready to understand something we happen to see or experience until we've had other experiences that provide the necessary perspective to do so (so be patient; timing is everything, ironically). And it may even be the case that we'll never truly understand such an experience within our current lifetime (maybe next time...).

 

And unless a trip involves physical injury, arrest, or induces a genuine case of PTSD then IMO it's not a "bad" trip, it's merely misunderstood and more work on integrating such a trip will make this apparent, though it might take a decade or three (or a lifetime or two).


Edited by TVCasualty, 21 January 2017 - 01:59 PM.

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#17 Alder Logs

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Posted 21 January 2017 - 04:32 PM

It's so strange that that first hashish experience I wrote of in post #3 was for me, that of a dark void, but even as that, it was a remembered and loved immersion in peace and happiness.    The immediate fallout from that experience was to lose fear of death, as it was overwhelmingly clear to me that I had returned to "the land of the dead."   To fear never occurred to me there.  The void was complete.  It was dark, without sound or any point of sensation.   I had no thought of it beyond a present recognition.   There was nothing in me that wanted anything more than to be there.   There was no mourning upon my return to a body, sitting in a dimly lit, quiet room, in what was a comfortable chair.   I think there was an unspoken thankfulness for just having been allowed to remember. 

 

It makes me think of this:

 

 

 

gallery_131808_1351_38005.jpg

 

I know he's funny lookin',

but ya don't say that about

Shiva's kid.


Edited by Alder Logs, 21 January 2017 - 04:37 PM.

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#18 SteampunkScientist

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Posted 21 January 2017 - 05:40 PM

But the shnozz on that guy! ;-)
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#19 TVCasualty

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Posted 22 January 2017 - 12:22 PM

It's so strange that that first hashish experience I wrote of in post #3 was for me, that of a dark void, but even as that, it was a remembered and loved immersion in peace and happiness.    The immediate fallout from that experience was to lose fear of death, as it was overwhelmingly clear to me that I had returned to "the land of the dead."   To fear never occurred to me there.  The void was complete.  It was dark, without sound or any point of sensation.   I had no thought of it beyond a present recognition.   There was nothing in me that wanted anything more than to be there.   There was no mourning upon my return to a body, sitting in a dimly lit, quiet room, in what was a comfortable chair.   I think there was an unspoken thankfulness for just having been allowed to remember. 

 

That's the feeling that DMT gave me; the light and colors and geometric patterns were just window-dressing.

 

I suspect that there's more than one type of Nothingness (oddly enough). One might entail freedom from all the usual thought-traffic and ego/identity issues and another might be the Nothingness of everything except the usual thought-traffic and ego/identity issues. "Heaven" and "Hell" in a nutshell, perhaps.

 

The first sounds like what the lineage I was trained in calls the "Sacred Silence," which one attains within the noisy world of physical existence (the Self becomes the proverbial calm within the storm). The second type felt like the exact opposite (the Self becomes the storm within the calm).

 

I also suspect that the second type of Nothingness is a function of one's own lack of awareness of anything beyond the Self. As such, it's not actually a form of Void that one perceives so much as it's an inability to perceive anything through the storm of Self that makes it seem like the Void.

 

In any case, these kinds of molecules seem to tailor the experiences they manifest to the specific needs and Intent of the individual consuming them. That's why experienced psychonauts are usually kind of nervous before each experience (and sometimes are very nervous). That's not the case with drugs like cocaine or alcohol or benzos (etc.) because those other kinds of drugs are extremely reliable in their effects (relatively speaking). But the cost of that reliability is having one's awareness firmly locked at a very specific level until the effects wear off (and the level they bring us to is always lower than one's typical, un-altered awareness).

 

There's got to be a reason (or two) why some people can take very high doses of a powerful entheogen (over and over) and only ever end up amusing themselves with glow sticks for a few hours while others can take half as much (but with a different Intent) and end up mired in a panic-inducing existential horror show, be allowed to peek through the keyhole of the door to Enlightenment for a moment, or even completely revise their worldview and conception of the ever-inscrutable "spirit world."

 

Words words words... It's probably more productive to just shut up and live the dream, so to speak.


Edited by TVCasualty, 22 January 2017 - 12:25 PM.

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#20 Alder Logs

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Posted 22 January 2017 - 05:22 PM

 

I suspect that there's more than one type of Nothingness (oddly enough). One might entail freedom from all the usual thought-traffic and ego/identity issues and another might be the Nothingness of everything except the usual thought-traffic and ego/identity issues. "Heaven" and "Hell" in a nutshell, perhaps.

 

The first sounds like what the lineage I was trained in calls the "Sacred Silence," which one attains within the noisy world of physical existence (the Self becomes the proverbial calm within the storm). The second type felt like the exact opposite (the [s]elf becomes the storm within the calm).

 

...the second type of Nothingness is a function of one's own lack of awareness of anything beyond the [s]elf.*

 

I have been enjoying repeated listenings to, and read-alongs with, this Tao Te Ching audiobook.  There is an extensive commentary, written by the narrator, Jacob Needleman, which, coming after the eighty one chapters was, I believe, the introduction to the latest Gia-Fu Feng / Jane English print version translation (I'm making it a point to order this new edition soon).  In your post I was reminded of this passage:

 

The wise student hears of the Tao and practices it diligently.
The average student hears of the Tao and gives it thought now and again.
The foolish student hears of the Tao and laughs aloud.
If there were no laughter, the Tao would not be what it is.

 

* In the lineage I have seemingly fallen into of late, there is the Self, and there is the self.    It's the words words words.   Ain't no Tao tellin' one of 'em in the bunch!  


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