Five hours ago I took 260mg of ground cubensis mushrooms in two size-1 capsules. I took the caps first thing after waking on an empty stomach. This is my second time taking a psychedelic, and double the dose of my first session.
Similar to yesterday, it’s rainy and windy outside. Similar to yesterday, I am simply delighted with my experience… grateful for my living space, grateful to the simple things around me: a few deep things to read, past personal notes to reflect on, a simple breakfast, coffee (consumed 3 hours in to avoid interference). Sensations are vivid and I feel absorbed. Similar to what I described yesterday… but the intensity knob seems turned up slightly higher. Although not impossible, it’s harder for me to dismiss this as placebo effect.
No hallucinations or strange artifacts.
Reading and Reflecting
I started the day reading a summary of “Civilization and Its Discontents” by Freud. I then moved over to a summary of “Life without Principle” by Henry David Thoreau. The latter resonated with previous thoughts of mine – I printed the full work for later reading and analysis.
The specifics of Freud or Thoreau are not the point here. The relevant part is, while reading, I noticed how our human story is abundant with people like them who REALLY devoted themselves to observing human nature, and put analysis out there for us to consider. Both of them were inspecting society from outer space and reporting what they saw. I then thought about how average daily life doesn’t lend itself to perusing this kind of material, does it? Not exactly top-of-mind to ingest dusty philosophical works alongside frenzied daily rituals and the flashy pull of meme-and-news du jour.
Sidebar. I also thought, regardless of the extent to which one agrees with any specific historical thinker, might we all benefit from routinely considering what they say and carefully deciding how we feel? If we all personally engaged with hundreds of past thinkers over the course of our lives, and paid slightly less attention to the madness unfolding immediately in front of us, wouldn’t that foster broad perspective toward humanity’s trials and errors, and illuminate our subsequent decisions we make in the world? Perhaps our most passionate personal intuitions and conclusions would be seriously humbled. Why is that idea – jumping into the mind of someone notable who lived in the past to challenge our thinking – not more obviously exhilarating and valued? End Sidebar.
The takeaway: I felt especially immersed and appreciative of being able to do this today. The content was compelling and I felt zero urge to move away as if I was missing something more exciting elsewhere. It wasn’t something I was doing with willpower like I might on a average day – i.e. putting my phone in another room to outsmart my lizard impulses. The urge to do anything other than what I was doing was simply absent. The weather vane in my mind was aimed dead in a single direction.
All reading and no sensations makes Jack a dull boy. I was happy to step away from reading and start making breakfast a couple hours after the dose. Today I added music to the mix. I’ll be honest… music makes me briefly emotional on a normal day, specifically classical. But today I was shedding tears for the duration of Clair de Lune and Moonlight Sonata. Not sobbing, not sad, not overcome – I was composed. But the beauty of these pieces hit at my core even more than they usually do. How fascinating – that human minds created these works and floated them into the world. No words, they inexplicably stir emotions in us. Whereas 99.99999% of human creation inevitably meets permanent destruction and/or obscurity – these pieces will thrive in human minds for as long as our species endures.
Eating my breakfast is usually a 10-15 minute affair, even if I eat slowly. Today it took around 45. I was just sitting there, really savoring tastes and allowing for intervening moments of free-roaming thought between bites. I would close my eyes and merge with the music during sections that were particularly moving… gently waving my spoon around like an orchestra conductor. I was not going slow deliberately, I only noticed after the time had already passed. I was in no rush to get through it and onto the next thing.
After breakfast I was in the kitchen doing dishes. I was looking in the general direction of the sink, but simultaneously taking-in the entirety of my field of vision – taking perhaps unusually close notice how the lights from overhead were reflecting off the metal espresso machine sump – and how the lights from the gray skies outside were flooding the interior space…. making the colors inside especially noticeable, in contrast.
If I had to pick two words to summarize the past two days: absorbed and vivid. It feels like there’s something to this. Today I moved an inch closer toward belief and one away from skepticism. These hours had a warm glow to them. Emotions were not overpowering, but it seemed as if they were less inhibited… more easily felt. If I were reading this from the outside having never taken psychedelics, I might be tempted to dismiss these comments as confirmation bias. Being on the experiential end of it however, something was there. Two sessions are insufficient to extrapolate further. While this long weekend provided the perfect opportunity to launch this journey, it definitely makes sense to spend a few days away and reset my mental baseline.
To be continued.