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Anyone else noticed that their psychedelic journey progresses in "story arcs"?


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#1 Nibano

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Posted 03 December 2019 - 04:45 PM

I hope this is the right forum for this. Otherwise, sorry.

 

English is my second language, so my grammar is not perfect.

 

I am new on this forum, and I hope this post doesn’t give you the first impression that I’m insane. But this is something I have wanted to ask fellow users of psychedelic substances for quite some time.

 

I have tripped about 100 times (guesstimating). While that isn’t much compared to the experienced psychedelic travelers on this forum, I have noticed a pattern that I find interesting.

 

Has anyone else felt that their psychedelic journey proceeds in the form of ”story arcs”, like in manga, anime and other stories?

 

Let me explain how I mean. So, a ”story arc” is when several episodes/chapters deal with the same issue (usually to defeat an antagonist). In the story arcs, there are often several minor antagonists/obstacles, and minor successes, on the way to defeat the ”main antagonist”.

 

So, this is a pattern I have noticed in my psychedelic journey so far (on high doses). In the form of metaphors, of course. Where the ”main antagonist” is an obstacle the psychedelic traveler needs to overcome to improve themselves, and the ”main character” is, of course, the psychedelic traveler (in other words, us).

 

I remember my first few trips, slightly less than ten years ago. The first three ones were like some sort of ”prologue”, it was kind of like it was meant to just give me a feeling of how psychedelics work.

 

Then, for me, the first ”story arc” started. I am ”fighting” my third one now, I’d say. The former two have been several trips each, each of them leading me to overcome some sort of ”mental obstacle” to improve myself, with successes and defeats on the way. And in this metaphor ”mental obstacle” would be equal to ”main antagonist”. It seems, to me, that the obstacles become harder and harder to overcome for each ”story arc”. For each of the former two I have overcome in the end, I have noticed very clear, sudden self-improvement in aspects of my life.

 

…Of course, I know that hte TRUE AND FINAL ”main antagonist” is the ego, the source of all other antagonists.  Maybe that one is impossible to defeat once and for all? If it is possible, I have a long way to go to get there, that’s for sure.

 

Currently, I feel that I am in a ”battle” for my self-confidence, something I lost a long time ago. And this one is TOUGH. I have been in this one for at least 50 trips, with many defeats, and a few minor successes. I am not even close to winning. But I will win, because the only way one can lose is to give up. You know, since psychedelics can’t kill us (unless one uses RC-chemicals or other suspicious stuff, that is).

 

…Sorry if I’m rambling here, and maybe even seem mad. But I am really curious to know what you guys think about this.

 

And, again, sorry if my english isn’t perfect.

 

 

 

/With love, Nibano


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#2 flashingrooster

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Posted 03 December 2019 - 08:41 PM

For me it just sort of pulls that thing in the back of my mind to the forefront to be addressed. Addressing those skeletons in your closet for lack of a better phrase. You see it all clearly and know exactly what you need to do to fix it. Sometime's this is annoying if the desire fades quickly. Especially mid trip, when you  remember you gained clarity in an earlier trip. The thoughts wash over you and it feels like ya, fuck I know I need to fix that. But right now I just want to watch the walls bleed. 



#3 happy4nic8r

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Posted 03 December 2019 - 09:32 PM

What you describe could equally be applied to the general format of a video game. Many of them, if not all of the role playing type are formatted along similar story lines, with the final chapter being the biggest and hardest to beat adversary. Then you have probably started another game before you quit, or not, but you finally win the game, then probably never play it again, maybe even give it away, I don't know what people do with old stuff actually, only what I do. 

So the chicken or the egg thing, does life reflect video games or are the games patterned after life? Do they have to be? Is that all there is to either? I guess until someone comes up with something better, which is what psychedelics were ideally about in the beginning, we are stuck with what everybody agrees is the game format for life and video.


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#4 Alder Logs

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Posted 03 December 2019 - 10:03 PM

First, welcome, Nibano.

 

I would say the ego is a story, is a bunch of ever-changing and changeable stories.  The ego takes credit for our being, and translates that into its narrative.  I think it's safe to say that much is lost in the translation.  Our being was prior to ego's arising.  Ego can be interrupted by a peak experience, and what's left in its place?  Is it wondrous connection to aware experiencing?  The awareness has always been the real, and ego's idea of being its story has always been no more than its occupation and manipulation of the awareness that it found on the scene when it began to arise. 

 

 

Maybe that one is impossible to defeat once and for all? If it is possible, I have a long way to go to get there, that’s for sure.

 

Don't feed either of those ideas would be my advice.  Watch ego's stories and see if there isn't something false about all of them.   It may say, "I'm good," or it may say, "I'm bad."  It will always have something to say in claiming to be you.  It's only defeat is to be seen as not true/unreal.  It really hates that, but tell it, "so what?"  See it for what it is (and isn't) and let it do what it does, until it runs out of its fuel, which is our belief in it. 

 

If you start seeing this when sober, it will stand much less of a chance when you are dosing.  When you're coming back down, watch it trying to make what was present awareness into a story of back then.  When you see what's happening now, the stories that can/must only occupy the ideas of past or future, the ego's artistic output, will become a tiring old rerun.  Not only can every trip be new, so can every breath we breathe. 

 

Namasté


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#5 Guy1298

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Posted 03 December 2019 - 11:58 PM

You can't beat the ego, if you're the ego. And if you're not the ego, the ego isn't yours to beat.


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#6 Nibano

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Posted 04 December 2019 - 03:35 PM

First, thank you for the answers.

 

happy4nic8r: True, it can definitely be applied to video games too. It's funny that you mentioned that, since I actually work part time as a video game designer. And, I gotta say... I truly believe that all video games are patterned after life in some way, since the designer has been experiencing "life" (which is, in a way, a game of its own) for several years before the designer started designing games. This applies to even the most absurd games, I believe. I do however believe that video games has a big impact on society. But I'm not going to get into that right now, because explaining how I think about that in detail would make this a really long post.

 

Alder Logs: Thank you. You bring up some really good points. That the ego is a story in itself is something I have not considered, but the way you explain it, it makes total sense. I definitely hope I will start to realize more things when sober, since my primary reason for using psychedelics is to improve as a person and/or improve my everyday life. I think I have yet to understand exactly what the "ego" actually is. I hope, and believe, that I will begin to understand that more and more as I gain more wisdom and experience.

 

Guy1298: I see your point, but if that is the case, I don't really understand. If I am the ego, I have not yet managed to beat it. And if I am not the ego, I have managed to beat it. Or maybe I am missing something? As mentioned earlier in this post, I'm not sure I understand what the "ego" is yet.


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#7 Alder Logs

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Posted 04 December 2019 - 05:07 PM

...if I am not the ego...

 

I could tell you, you are not the ego.  None of us are the stories we live with, day and night, have lived with for what there is of our lifetimes.  Another term for it could be, "conditioned identity."  We all get conditioned into approaching this life as a story.  Everyone and everything in culture tells us to approach our experiencing in this way.  It is the human condition.   Being a better person is one form of it, and that's fine (better than being a worse person), but that person is a story we tell ourselves, and perhaps try to sell to perceived others.   It's all about identity.    Ego is false identity, as much as the story may reflect experience, bolstered by memory, exalted by pride, whatever. 

 

Were we nothing at all before our stories, before experiencing?  Whatever it was, we were, but as what?  A mushroom experience can blast us past what we have believed ourselves to be, i.e., the body and mind, the stories of body and mind.  We might embrace a greater totality of simply being, and in that, find what could be described as an experience of spiritual exaltation.    That happens when we, the identity, has no foothold to even be there.  When we come down, the buzz of the exaltation may remain for a bit, but that idea we have of who we are has to "integrate" it.  To me, that translates to, make it "part of my bullshit story."   We have thereby rejoined the world of seven point five billion false identities. 

 

I say, embrace the not knowing ourselves as our stories, which leaves what?   Simply being.  We won't forget the stories, and will still use them in practical ways, but there is nothing to live up to in our bullshit.  We are primarily, singularly, the truth of being.   There is nothing to add in terms of identity.  The personage illusion must set up and manipulate the world it encounters.  The soul or heart has no issues with living in spontaneity.   We don't have to understand good and bad in a conceptual way to know what's good or bad.  We can trust being, without pretending to be something.   Conscious awareness has no name, is not a person, and is shared by this whole universe.  Sometimes, on mushrooms, we might see this clearly.  Sometimes, walking down the road, it's just so. 

 

Being is not a thought.  No thought about it will be it.  We may have an ego, but we are not an ego.  We are pure awareness, expressing in a way it can.  We are led away from true knowing of knowing, but we never stop being what we truly are: pure loving life energy.  It's what made all of this appear.  We can believe anything about It, but It will never be that belief, as that belief or thought is what comes after It.  

 

So, just entertain for now that our ideas of who we are are just ideas.  There is no true way to say what we are, think what we are, or describe what we are.

 

"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


Edited by Alder Logs, 04 December 2019 - 05:38 PM.

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#8 ElPirana

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Posted 04 December 2019 - 09:03 PM

Nibano, as you recognize the ego and what it is, it becomes easier and easier to recognize and not to believe it anymore. That seems impossible until it happens, then it begins to seem impossible to believe the ego and the stories.

Being a better person is one form of it, and that's fine (better than being a worse person), but that person is a story we tell ourselves, and perhaps try to sell to perceived others.

Be careful with this, believing the story that you are a better person or a good person. A couple years back I had a trip and discovered for myself how I believed that I was a “good person”. That belief caused internal conflicts in myself that I did not even recognize, conflicts caused by the fact that I would inevitably do something wrong or hurt someone who I care about. I then had to somehow justify my actions to myself in order to keep up the idea of being a good person, and in fact led me to lie and hide things from the very people I cared about. It caused tremendous pain for me and my loved ones. Without believing stories about myself (good or bad) I find that I can simply deal with life head on and not make excuses. (Alder, this is not directed at you, just my experience that maybe someone could learn from)
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#9 Guy1298

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Posted 04 December 2019 - 09:07 PM

I think what I wrote was just meant to inspire surrender. At least, that's how I understood it. 

 

Also, none of what you wrote seems mad at all.  :tongue:. Seems similar to how I've used mushrooms. 

 

Looking back, you said "But I will win, because the only way one can lose is to give up." Suppose there were two layers, the one who sees the one who can lose if he gives up and the one who can lose if he gives up. If the one who can lose if he gives up, gives up, he loses. But, what of the one who sees the one who can lose if he gives up?

 

Seeming to find that one is seeming to become that one. Being that one is the end of (gain and) loss.

 

 

I guess I'm suggesting that there is giving up deeper than giving up. The giving up that doesn't lose, because the game was never really played! I couldn't bring myself to write that merely seeing could be giving up or not giving up.


Edited by Guy1298, 04 December 2019 - 09:17 PM.

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#10 TVCasualty

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Posted 04 December 2019 - 09:44 PM

The perception of such a phenomenon could be (and likely is) a function of cognitive dissonance.

 

We have a deeply-ingrained habit of creating cohesive narratives retroactively to explain what we have perceived or experienced whether they actually existed or not. It's pretty fascinating stuff.


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#11 Alder Logs

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Posted 05 December 2019 - 05:33 AM

When I had the realization that I had been coming at the life from a personal point of view, and that person was a made up thing, really, I saw it wasn't real, and never had been.  At that point, I saw the freedom in not being the story I had made up about a me person (it wasn't ever going to be the full truth).  It took a while and some good guidance to see there needn't be some new story to take its place, and I could remain free, as it were.  I saw that I knew nothing in a very real way.  All my "knowledge" was belief, ideas, surmises, and memories of happenings from a perspective of beliefs, ideas, and surmises.  I really didn't know anything of substance.  I saw that facts are things that arise and fade, and these too depend on perspective to be one way or another.  Nothing is the words we might use for relating anything. 

 

Not knowing anything is also a great freedom, and the most powerful position from which to learn.  I learned that pure presence is the reality, if any thing is.  In presence, there is but one thing that relates to time, which is a construct in thought.  I see that the only true time is now.  Time is the stuff of our stories, but where is the only place these can be seen from?  Pure presence, and from here, we never really leave.  

 

Okay, for some reason I couldn't sleep.  I think it was something I ate that caused a reaction and I just had to get up.  So, I looked in here.  Now I am sleepy again and will give bed another go.


Edited by Alder Logs, 05 December 2019 - 05:36 AM.

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#12 Nibano

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Posted 05 December 2019 - 10:17 AM

Thank you everybody for the answers. I see several insightful comments and fascinating perspectives here, very interesting to read. It's really great to be on a platform where I can ask things like this and get to know other people's thoughts about it.


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#13 TVCasualty

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Posted 05 December 2019 - 10:21 AM

All my "knowledge" was belief, ideas, surmises, and memories of happenings from a perspective of beliefs, ideas, and surmises.  I really didn't know anything of substance.  I saw that facts are things that arise and fade, and these too depend on perspective to be one way or another.

 

That's pretty much Cognitive Dissonance in a nutshell; the projection of our chosen narrative onto what is (or was) in order to explain it to ourselves in a way we can believe we understand. It's a retroactive process, like how when some folks strive for something and try real hard to attain it but fail and then claim things like "I never really wanted to have/do that and frankly it actually sucks anyway!"

 

 

Not knowing anything is also a great freedom, and the most powerful position from which to learn.

 

 

I interpret that as self-awareness of one's own innate dissonance. It's just like how we see shapes of things in clouds; we project a cohesive narrative (aka a story) onto what our senses are telling us that only exists inside our head, only with clouds it is a lot easier to be consciously aware of what we're doing.

 

In the context of consciousness this level of self-awareness generally requires a long journey of self-reflection before we can see the projected narratives of our lives as nothing more than passing clouds. I guess it's intuitively frightening at some level to contemplate being the sky instead since we won't be able to see/be our favorite clouds anymore, but then the Sun will always be shining when there are no clouds in the sky so it has it's appeal.

 

But damn I've made some fuckin' awesome clouds along the way (just look at that one! And that one over there! Everybody loved that one!), and not all were functions of mere epistemological flatulence or cerebral self-gratification (or so I tell myself, lol).

 

But then some of my best clouds ever simply evaporated in a most traumatic fashion, yet "I" was still there. Or here. Or wherever. It's hard to believe it's possible until one experiences it personally. I reckon that's what the "long journey" part is all about, since we apparently have to build up a nice, impressive cloud bank and then watch it vanish before our inner eyes before we can accept that it's possible (much less desirable! Baby steps...). So I guess I'm not just a collection of passing clouds after all, which is a relief as otherwise I'd already have evaporated three times over by now (the metaphorical jet stream keeps sweeping down over me and blowing all my clouds away, grr...). It's fascinating how far one can take this atmospheric metaphor and have it still be valid in this context.

 

Anyway, I'm probably one more cloud-dissipation event away from saying to hell with clouds altogether. Maybe two; I'm very stubborn.

 

But how the hell am I gonna keep impressing everybody so they can validate my existence with their praise and pay me money occasionally so I can cover my bills if I become a plain ol' clear blue sky? [insert needy, dramatic sigh here...]


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#14 Nibano

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Posted 05 December 2019 - 05:30 PM

That's a very interesting phenomenon, it seems quite likely that is exactly what I've been doing when thinking about my trips afterwards. I wonder if it would be easier to integrate what I learn during my trips in my life if I managed to do that less. Probably.

 

I often get fascinated about how weird the mind can be. It's pretty cool.

 

What you wrote about the clouds made it very easy to understand what you mean. I have always been the kind of person who sees shapes in clouds, I have never thought much of it, actually. I bet my mind does that with many other things in my life too without even noticing it in many situations.


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#15 ElPirana

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Posted 05 December 2019 - 06:36 PM

It is quite interesting how the mind is able to create images and stories so well. When I’ve looked back on some of my trips, it seems that the images that the mind creates is sort of a visual interpretation of something deeper or a feeling. It’s not always easy to figure out what the point is.
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#16 Nibano

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Posted 07 December 2019 - 03:14 PM

So maybe, in the end, seeing every trip as a "story" is something I have to try to put an end to.

 

While it's cool to see every tripping session as a part of a story, maybe it's not the right way to see it. After all, being cool is not really that important.

 

Maybe I should just let the trip be what it is, even afterwards? Maybe the things I realize are just ...things I realize. Not parts of a "story".

 

I suppose my ego is trying to make it into something "awesome" that I can then use to explain my trips to others? But I guess that they don't need to be explained. It's probably my ego doing this, isn't it?

 

The answers to this post have given me a lot of interesting new perspectives. I'm going to make some nice tea with 6 grams cubensis tomorrow, I think that the answers I have gotten in this post just might affect the nature of the trip. This will be very, very interesting. I look forward to it.

 

Damn, I already love this forum.


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#17 Alder Logs

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Posted 07 December 2019 - 04:27 PM

Hey, let the identified mind do whatever it does, and see that the seeing of it is not so identified.   Let the stories be writ.  It's in seeing them for what they are that we are in the truth of being.   If part of us dives into the story, just know that you notice it, and let it be without making something again out of any of it, at least in terms of thinking you are what is seen. You are ever what is seeing, right here, right now.   Don't let me make you overthink it either.  :-)

 

There is an inherent joy in just being.  Being a something can be a tiresome job.  


Edited by Alder Logs, 07 December 2019 - 04:29 PM.

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#18 RutgerHauer

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Posted 08 December 2019 - 01:15 PM

There are certain archetypical structures you might experience, but the interpretation and what you project on that pattern depends on your mind state at the moment and might just be a bit random. You might come out believing certain truths that won't be helpful or really insightful if you take them seriously. I think many people have trouble with that. Took me a while to understand for myself what I think is happening in some deep experiences vs. what I believed at the time when taking those experiences literally. They are very often metaphors and abstractions only that I can take away and might be able to do something with, in my opinion.

 

I for example have though while tripping I was the chosen one, or god, I was about to transcend into the afterlife, heaven and everything I could ever want. But first I had gone through some kind of personal hell. A voice spoke to me, calmed me down and I went in and out of the consciousness / the cosmos, out if my body - there was this immense ecstasy connected to that mind state, it was real religiously archetypal stuff. The voice assured me nothing could hurt me not even myself because everything was destined to go exactly as it was planned. I tested this.

 

There were some insights there that made sense only years later but at the time I was running into walls, naked, broke my nose and had blood splatters and bruises all over me, wanted to go outside, trashing my room, running around, falling off of stairs and shouting all kinds of perverted stuff. I wasn't really aware or in any position to understand what was really going on or what 'the message' was at that time, if there was any at all. I just took things literally and that's why I acted on every thought that came to mind. I think I wasn't ready for this experience because I didn't fully understand how to look at these things. Also, the drug of choice (research chemical) and the dose might have been detrimental to my ability to stay in control. In some sense I wasn't really there at all and it felt like my brain and body went into autopilot, while I was off somewhere in the cosmos.

 

I'm very reluctant to interpret my experiences as anything literal anymore, though I have always been careful with that - it has brought me some confusion in the past to say the least. It is interesting to explore these deep archetypal stories that are hidden in our minds. They seem like things that are outside yourself, but the pattern and contents are you, expressed in every way imaginable. They are often so complex that you can project any meaning to it you want or think you need at the time. That can change. That is something you automatically do to make sense of it and give it a place in your mind. Eventually a complex and overwhelming experience might become simpler to put in perspective over time and have much less meaning or significance than initially.


Edited by RutgerHauer, 08 December 2019 - 01:26 PM.

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#19 flashingrooster

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Posted 08 December 2019 - 01:23 PM

Something I think about all the time Rutger.

 

Are those drugged up thoughts anything more than just drugged up thoughts, in that moment.  The reason I tend to lean that way is that the effects of the positive mood change never seem to last when I stop taking the drug.



#20 Alder Logs

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Posted 08 December 2019 - 01:34 PM

 

That is something you automatically do to make sense of it and give it a place in your mind.

 

Just this: Isn't it something that mind does to make sense of it, to give it a place in mind, being that it needs to take things under the limitations of the mind level, doing it for mind purposes?  

 

The last two words: "your mind," show that it is having a mind, and not being one, as it's not mind that has a mind, it is being, which can have a mind.  Being is eternal presence.  Mind is eternally taking presence and couching it in a past or future image.    We have this past and future imaging ability called, "mind," but does it ever make the past or future as real as is presence (being here now)? 

 

Tripping frequently kicks us solidly into the awareness of presence, and mind just can't really cope.  Not as its image that it is the being.  This idea having an idea is the dream that is awakened from in what's termed, "awakening."


Edited by Alder Logs, 08 December 2019 - 01:37 PM.

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