“I don’t like this,” I said after dying.
Two hours before I had found myself in a roomful of people I hated. They were hippy types who dressed in that leather tribal gear. They probably didn’t like me, either, as I looked like a gymbro, but it was too late for any of us to leave the room without seeming like we were afraid of what was to come.
Although I had read DMT: The Spirit Molecule: A Doctor’s Revolutionary Research into the Biology of Near-Death and Mystical Experiences, no book can prepare a person for entheogens.
I went into the experience without any expectations and a lot of judgment.
5-MeO-DMT, I would later learn, is unlike DMT or ayahuasca. Part of a class of medicines known as entheogens, DMT (Dimethyltryptamine) is a fast-acting compound that enhances or induces a spiritual experience. Ayahuasca is a tea containing DMT, and the experience lasts longer.
To explain what can be explained in words: You might see some weird stuff on DMT, but you still exist. You have a sense of self. You can face your fears.
5-MeO-DMT kills you. You no longer exist. This is known as “ego death.”
Before you smoke 5-MeO-DMT, you sit on an air mattress on the floor, because you’ll fall backwards within a few seconds of inhaling.
The smoke was harsh and metallic. It tasted like a lick on a Duracell 9 volt battery. Just as I was about to cough, I was gone.
People on DMT come back with reports of conversations with aliens and gods. People who come from from 5-MeO-DMT come back with reports of…not much of anything. You don’t remember anything, because there is no you.
Your ego – another way to describe consciousness – is the self-knowledge that comes from knowing that you exist separate and apart from your material world. “I think therefore I am” is the ego. 5-MeO-DMT kills the “I.”
After inhaling the 5-MeO-DMT, it’d be wrong to say I fell backwards. I disintegrated, which is another way of saying integrated.
My “soul” felt like it had been ripped from my body had had started moving moving at warp speed through space.
As my soul moved at uncomfortable speeds, angelic/fractal wings overtook my field of vision.
Then it got weird.
“No, I don’t want to die,” I kept repeating to myself.
“I am not going to die.”
I was able to open my eyes and stare at the ceiling. The ceiling tiles started coming into focus, but I was still on my back, helpless.
I looked to the left and right. I knew I was in a room. But I did not feel present in my body.
I kept fighting to come back. I remembered a trick from lucid dreaming. If you want to take control of your dream, ground yourself by looking at your hands. Looking at your hands puts your consciousness in touch with its embodiment.
I kept staring at my arms – which at first did not seem like my arms, because there was no me.
Finally able to sit up, I looked at my legs. My legs had not returned to me, or I to them.
What does it mean to say that your legs exist in two dimensions rather than three? What does it mean to say that your legs are as connected to the floor as they are to your body?
Finally able to reclaim my body, I ate a piece of fruit.
When you put a piece of pineapple in your mouth, your senses process data. Your tongue feels the weight of the pineapple resting on it. Your tongue tastes the tartness. Your teeth press into the fibrous shell containing citrus-flavored water.
When I bit into the pineapple, the pineapple consumed me as I much as I it. The pineapple and I merged into one.
Although present in my body, my ego was still dead. I felt a deep sense of love for the people I sneered at only moments ago. “I wonder if any of these people need help? I wonder if there is anything I can do for them?”
After coming to my senses an hour or so later, I was my usual judgmental self. But that day has stayed with me for years.
When we no longer view ourselves as separate egos – when we destroy the distinction Us and Them – we open ourselves up to an infinite source of compassion and love.
The ego, a mystic will tell you, exists to protect ourselves from the pain that comes from loving others. The ego above all else fears injury. The ego fears death. There’s no decision riskier than committing yourself to love others, because people will disappoint and maybe even betray you.
I haven’t done 5-MeO-DMT since, because it was the only truly terrifying movement I’ve had in my life.
My life has been in danger many times, and yes I’ve been afraid. But I’ve never felt true terror and helplessness, and for that reason I must go back.
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