My Bad Trip Story

And what I learned from it

If you ask me, mushrooms almost seem to have this certain quality to them like a certain type of consciousness to them which, when you think about it, is really really fucking cool. The first time I tried them, I took a small dose because I was proceeding with caution. I was alone and I took a small dose because I wanted to get a feel for what I could expect in the future and I wanted to get a sense of whether or not mushrooms were going to be something for me or not. I had felt called to mushrooms in a way that’s difficult to explain and during this first experience, I had only taken about one and a half grams which is a small dose but big enough to give you some effect, especially if it’s your first time.

I had an amazing experience with that small dose. I had rarely felt better in my life but the most interesting part was I felt like I was hanging out with my best friend and the best friend I could ever have. He complimented me, validated me and laughed at all of my stupid jokes. “Tell that one about the fish again, it’s hilarious!” I could have taken a shit on the floor and he would have been like, “aww, you must feel so much better!”

It seemed like I was interacting with someone else almost the entire time, I concluded that it was my higher self or my super ego and so it was after this experience that I decided to take a bigger dose, if this was what it was like, why on earth wouldn’t I?! And so a few weeks later I did… What I got out of it was kind of a bad trip… But first some background information to provide a bit more context.

Going into it in a bad place

At the time I had been going through years and years of ongoing health issues, mostly chronic fatigue. I was just tired all the time. I could never get enough rest and I could never get ahead of it. It just seemed like everything was working against me. It was late summer and my local area was experiencing some bad air quality and I mean bad. It was no bueno, you couldn’t even see the blue color of the sky due to some fires in California and Oregon. All the smoke had drifted over and settled right on top of my townhouse. I lit a fire in my backyard fire pit, resting on the logic that an eye dropper full of urine going into an already stinky and murky swimming pool really wouldn’t make a bad situation that much worse.

“Your tree branches can’t reach to heaven unless, first, your roots reach down to hell.”

I was tired. As usual. The air quality was horrible, I probably shouldn’t have been outside breathing it but I was desperate to get out of the house. And I was alone. Very alone. The mushrooms didn’t drop off my best friend this time. They left me alone and I had never felt so alone in my entire life. I was expecting ‘someone’ to show up but they never did. I knew that there were people in the houses around me, COVID was still sort of happening but I had never felt so abandoned and alone in my entire life. The lighted windows around me didn’t provide any comfort.

As far as I was concerned, there wasn’t another soul in the entire universe, that’s how alone I felt.This was my first time trying golden teacher variety of mushroom and I didn’t know if this is what had made such a drastic difference. The last one acted like my happy friend and this one had totally abandoned me. At the time I really didn’t know what to expect and I later learned that this particular situation was unique.

“Some say there’s no such thing as a bad trip.”

In hindsight, I feel like bad trips are a rite of passage of sorts. The mushrooms will plunge you into darkness and knock you completely on your ass as a way of testing you to see if you’d courageously dust yourself off and stand back up, ready for whatever else was going to be thrown at you. At least that was my experience. I felt like it was a test. Was I willing to look honestly at myself and the world around me? If we got the hard stuff out of the way, we could get to the really amazing stuff. Again, that’s at least what it seemed like to me. Your tree branches, as they say, cannot reach to heaven unless your roots first reach down to hell. I’m a firm believer in this philosophy. You have to face hell before you can make steps closer to heaven. For that particular trip I didn’t just feel alone, I felt like I was in hell. Honestly, sometimes I still do feel like I’m in hell but that doesn’t mean some flowers can’t grow.

There I was. In the dark. Completely alone. Well, not completely alone, I have two cats but by God it didn’t help; I wish it had. The air quality horrible, barely breathable. The only thing keeping me from being consumed by total darkness was my fire. I wasn’t just in hell. I was in a prison cell. Buried in bad habits, limiting beliefs, limitations of the ego and most of all… materialism. Materialism, the prison cell that trumps out all other prison cells. I couldn’t reach any sense of freedom because I was buried in shit and it was tied to my ankles and suffocating me. Instead of choosing friendships, I had chosen stuff. Instead of choosing freedom, I had chosen stuff and I was buried in it. Ugh… it was horrible.

“Bad trips are a psychonauts rite of passage.”

And then the sobbing started. I was mourning and grieving. Grieving the loss of good friends and relationships, grieving the loss of wasted time and efforts and grieving the loss of my health because I wanted to make money but could hardly get my body to move to have any fun or enjoyment. I had lost the ability to live and be in love in the moment. I had lost myself in the pursuit of junk values that is summed up in one word: Materialism. A nice car doesn’t make you happy. It’s a burden. Having nicer shoes than other people doesn’t make you happy. It’s an empty, hollow and vapid way to live. I saw my ego, like Gollum from Lord of the Rings, hunched and slouched over piles of junk, clutching it and clinging to it, hoping that at some point it might love me back and finally make me as happy as the commercials had promised.

I couldn’t stop crying but eventually I did. You can’t cry forever, eventually it has to stop. Nobody came to save me, nobody came to support me because ultimately I have to be the one that loves and supports myself first. And in the wake of all of this crying and sobbing I found a release of emotional and psychological tension. So many things that had been creating an emotional traffic jam came gushing out and I realized that the old adage about taking mushrooms was true, it’s best to just let go and surrender to the experience. With all of my journeys since I have found this to be abundantly true, surrendering to the experience has always created the best results.

Deep down I have always known that real happiness isn’t found in stuff, purchases and materialism. Deep down I knew that materialism and consumerism were acting as barrier between me and my best life but on much grander scale materialism is what’s sending us collectively down this miserable dystopian toilet where we’re forced to live this bastardized version of life while disguising itself as human. We’re meant to live in a connected way, connected to each other, connected to the great mother earth and connected to all the great gifts this life has to offer. All of it’s gone. It’s been tossed out and replaced with… stuff. We’re separated; when we need each other.

No such thing a bad trip

Some say that there’s no such thing as a bad trip. Everyone that I’ve talked to that had a bad trip took invaluable insights from it. Insights that can only come from certain types of medicine, insights that money can never buy. Insights that force and motivate the person to change and become more connected to a more loving daily experience and lead a person to live and I mean truly live. If money can’t buy this than what value does it really have? Most people that have a “bad trip” start making different decisions the very next day that move them closer to their best life so is it really a bad trip? If it motivates you to make the most important changes in your life is it really a bad trip? Would you welcome the most profound changes in your life it meant you had to endure some emotional torment? Apparently, nothing motivates us nearly as well.

In my case, I woke up the next day and instead of seeing possessions, I was seeing heavy weights chained to my ankles. I immediately started working on being less trapped and burdened by bagging things up and rushing them to the nearest dumpster. Inevitably, I got rid of approximately 40% of my stuff and I’m still chipping away at it. Part of the burden that I feel comes in the form of the constant bombardment of notifications, emails and the like. I feel burdened by constant and endless notifications. I do my best to reduce them but it’s like trying to manage a tsunami with a bucket.

My bad trip was rough but it motivated me to change and so I’m actually grateful that it happened. I don’t know that I would have made as many positive changes in my life and as I write this I can say, truly say, without a doubt, I am living and I mean truly living now more than I ever have. It’s a work in progress but I have come to love the journey. Getting rid of stuff was just the beginning, I’ve made many positive changes since then but that’s a different story.

I haven’t had a bad trip since, not in the definitive sense. That’s not to say that the healing process hasn’t had to unfold, I’ve still sobbed, I’ve still grieved, I’ve still felt afraid at times but it always ends well. When I dusted myself off after my bad trip I returned later and instead being alone and feeling abandoned I felt welcomed and loved. I had passed my test and completed my rite of passage. I truly felt like I had been welcomed into a loving tribe and my experiences have been extremely positive and powerful ever since. Not to mention life changing.

Bad trips are challenges issued to us to make changes. If we don’t make changes or dedicate ourselves to those changes we can expect more bad trips. I believe that bad trips have an intention and purpose behind them and in the process I’ve realized that worse than any bad trip, is living in this nightmare corpse of a society where our materialism and consumerism has turned into a starvation that can never be remedied or satisfied. No matter how much people take and consume and destroy they just wake up the next day and pick up where they left off, trampling and harming each other because we’ve mindlessly fallen into this trap that we’ll finally be happy when save five dollars on a blender.

Social rot

Materialism and consumerism really is at the core of this social rot that we live in and we just go with it and accept like it’s normal, like it’s how things are supposed to be. My bad trip was bumpy but life is bumpy. Each day we’re met with unspeakable horrors while we live as depressed and hollow shells of what is supposed to be human. Modern life has become the worst trip of all. Don’t fear a bad trip, fear a bad life and a worse world than we already have.

What is a bad trip anyway? An experience that causes some emotional and mental discomfort, usually through showing us some deep core truths about ourselves that we tend to actively ignore shown in stark mental clarity? I don’t know about you, but the one thing that I’m afraid of, more than anything, is to walk through life in a state of deliberate blind self-deception. A bad trip is what happens when we introduce something that delivers the means to an infinite and immortal wisdom that decides to tear down the curtain and break us out of our small mindedness. The small mindedness that we fight so hard to protect. A bad trip shows us in stark reality that our lives have become deeply meaningless while forcing us to realize that we have accepted horrors as just a part of everyday life.

“Materialism is at the center of this social rot.”

I’ve heard of people seeing demons, death and monsters during their bad trips and I hate to be the bearer of bad news but that’s precisely what we live with. Demons, death and monsters. Our minds die. Our happiness dies and worst of all, our belief in ourselves die. Buried in this corpse of a society. I don’t know about you but I’d rather not have my head shoved up my own ass, buried deep in self-deception. That’s not living. That’s mental and spiritual death that happens before physical death. This is how you become a monster. This is how you join the faceless mob of walking spiritual corpses.

My bad trip gave me the willpower to thrust me out of this gravity well and so I’m grateful for it. I’ll take the bad trip any day please. Because though this experience, I realized that a bad trip is a gift.

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