The Profundity of the LSD Experience (At least for me)

“Taking LSD was a profound experience, one of the most important things in my life. LSD shows you that there’s another side to the coin, and you can’t remember it when it wears off, but you know it. It reinforced my sense of what was important—creating great things instead of making money, putting things back into the stream of history and of human consciousness as much as I could.” - Steve Jobs

The Profundity of the LSD Experience (At least for me)

When I took LSD after months of research, it was an earth shattering escapade that led to an almost total restructuring of both my lifestyle and the way I conceptualized the human experience. At first, I was more in line with the typical western minded academic. I was just some guy that read some literature, cited a bunch of studies and like most people in contemporary western society, obsessed with seeing everything. I simply didn’t believe in what I couldn’t see unless there was some logical evidence for believing in said thing. The problem is that if you surrender your own personal beliefs to what is logical, you fall victim to what someone else’s definition of what logical is. After all, logic, or at least popular opinion, dictates that psychedelic drugs like LSD are “crazy” and will cause you to stare at the sun, jump off of buildings and of course, go insane. Now don’t get me wrong, I’m not someone who completely disregards some forms of traditional logical thinking, however, I understand how important it is to trust your instincts and that it is important to create your own definition of what it is to be logical when it comes to metaphysical things that can only be described as subjective at best. We do this all the time with art and music for instance. Instrumental music has moved me to tears several times without a single word ever being spoken. Why? Because that particular piece speaks to me in way that I understand on a complex emotional level and that is much more interesting than traditional language in my honest opinion.

A series of ambiguous notes can strike an emotional chord in some of us without us ever truly understanding why.  We just feel a force that is greater than us if you will, and this force does not speak any traditional language but instead opts to communicate through some type of sonic vernacular that is capable of striking the core of our very existence. While this is of course a universally accepted language, the notes themselves have no linguistic dictation and while it is accepted as some form of language, it is hardly understood by everyone. This made me more aware of the complexities of language and that some things are not capable of being subjected to empirical study. That perfectly described the effects psychedelics had on me and it left me almost completely speechless. It is frustrating that such a monumental episode can only be halfheartedly described to and not fully understood by anyone that is not willing to partake in this exercise themselves.

The psychedelic experience allowed me to see what I and other people were feeling, even people from my past. This kind of “emotional tangibility” set the stage for an episode of very deep and cathartic self exploration and allowed me to traverse my own psychological substrata and diagram the source of my own individual pain, malaise and acquire a topographical overview of the more antiquated and maladaptive patterns I had found myself accustomed to and functioning in. The problem is, however, is that this is not an experience that can be quantified using traditional science and it is difficult to describe using mere language. It can be akin to the beatific visions that have been discussed throughout numerous religions over the course of recorded human history. So I started thinking, were people in religious texts just tripping really hard? Could it be possible that the religious figures themselves are personifications of what the writers were feeling during their experiences? Or perhaps these individuals had no knowledge of what neurobiological mechanisms are triggered during these episodes so they could only classify them as “visions from God”? It sounds strange (maybe even a little naive) but I just sort of “got it” while I was tripping. I am by no means perfect or saying that LSD made me omniscient, but I definitely found some sort of external understanding and it was almost as if there is raw information floating around in the aether and said information is made visible and absorbable while under the influence of these sacraments.

Another very perplexing aspect of psychedelia is the complete dissolution of things like self-doubt or self-loathing. In spite of the fact that I had to “relive” numerous shortcomings and mistakes I had made in my past, I was able to view each and every moment as an opportunity to learn from and forgive myself for those mistakes. It was almost as if I had several therapy sessions crammed into one eight hour experience and I was given a massive hug by some unknown, all knowing, and infinitely jovial being. Now I am still hesitant to call this entity God (who knows what undiscovered chemicals are floating around in our brains to cause such strange phenomena) but this ball of white light that I saw hovering over me was not “just” an hallucination. Of all the things that I could attribute to the LSD and just write off as hallucinations (the kaleidoscopic colors, vacillating mandala patterns, heightened sensual perception, euphoria, pseudo-omniscience) this one possessed a certain realness and I could even feel it’s presence as it stared at me from across the room. I believe that this entity was an embodiment of my inner self (or subconsciousness) and that it was extremely eager to absolve me of my sins and make me comfortable inside of my own skin. Whatever it was, it seemed to be there to provide support, comfort, and ultimately, guidance. I quickly found that some of the things I had been stressed out about and bogged down by were minuscule in the grand scheme of things. They were just small obstacles that I didn’t have to let define me as a person. That was a monumental affirmation for someone who was prone to misanthropy and nihilism.

I think that anyone with more advanced questions about the nature of reality or someone seeking to know themselves on a deeper level should try LSD. I fully understand that this is certainly not an experience for everyone, but for me, it was the best decision I have ever made and I can not imagine going back to who I was before (angry, bitter, curmudgeonly) I took such an enlightening journey.

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