The Sensory Deprivation Psilocybin Experiment

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For quite a while now I have been tinkering with many modalities to investigate the mind and the self. When it comes to these matters good or bad is not a part of this non-dual process. Things and feelings just are. I found meditation about 15 years ago and it’s an integral part of every day.

About 4 years ago I heard about isolation (float) tanks and immediately wanted to give it a go. I figured it would be like a meditation supercharger, which I have found is true. The first 60 min experience was like learning to ride a bike, and the following 90 min session some months later was like jumping on the bike and riding it. I have floated a handful of times over the years and always find my body appreciates the near zero-g effect of deep relaxation, and the isolation portion of the senses seems to free my mind to wander, or enjoy razor sharp single pointed attention.

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     A couple years ago I found that psilocybin or “magic” mushrooms had a deepening effect of spirituality in my life. Not the religion or dogmatic type, but the experiential type. It truly opened my eyes to many light and dark places within my character. Exploring the bemushroomed state can take some time to process, which is why there is so much success when used in conjunction with psychedelic assisted psychotherapy.

When I had reached a point in my explorations where I could no longer process by myself, I reached out to find a psychedelic friendly therapist. One that would not judge me as a “crazy person on drugs”. One that knew the terrain and how to map out integration for self-actualization. Our good friends at MAPS (The Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies) pointed me in the right direction and I was lucky to be able to find a local therapist that was a great fit.

For the last year I thought it would be pretty incredible to combine all these powerful tools, but I realized there were many moving pieces to the puzzle. I won’t bore you with all the unnecessary details, but the stars seemed to align. I scheduled a 4 hour float session, the longest I would ever attempt by double and by chance no one at this float center had gone that long in a tank. I decided to take the advice of Terence McKenna’s dose of 5 dried grams in silent darkness. All my explorations previous to this had music, which I felt was a MUST with every trip. But I’ve wanted to experience 5DGISD since I heard him speak of it. I instinctively knew there must be something to it. There are not many places that one can experience the kind of silent darkness that is found inside the float tank. Along with no sight and sound, the Epsom salt water solution has the buoyancy of the Dead Sea. You cannot sink. It is also heated to approximately the same temperature of the skin. There is essentially no feeling in the body, like weightlessness. The only smell is a faint odor of salt. So what it creates is a high tech version of silent darkness…

I decided to steep a mushroom tea. I have had previous experience with the tea method and found it has the ability for rapid onset (sometimes within 20 min) and has a slightly shorter duration. It also seems to hit harder and a bit more intense than ingesting the mushrooms alone dried. On the way to the float center I took a couple mindful sips and imagined the psilocybin locking into my neurotransmitter system like DNA synching up in a double helix.

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     When I arrived to the center I was welcomed by smiles and warm personalities. We talked about floating and some other interesting small talk then I was ushered to my private room. Once I was in the room I drank the remaining ½ of my tea and hopped in the shower to clean off before getting in the clean tank. As I am in the tank room I see it in my mind’s eye as a chrysalis that I will emerge from somehow changed. I have no direction on where my mind will go, only the surrender of whatever will come attitude required to facilitate such a journey. I lay down and I feel my body try and adjust to the weightlessness. It creaks and I feel pain in my back as my spine starts to decompress. Within about 10 minutes I feel myself “sync” with the tank and my arm twitches. A minute later I have a full body twitch and feel complete physical relaxation. Right about this time, psilocybin makes its appearance in the scene. Whenever going deep, especially in a psychedelic arena “Set and setting” is paramount. Setting being the place and surroundings of your area, and the set being your mindset going into the experience. For this experience the setting was perfect and on point exactly how I had planned, however my set was not where I wanted it to be.

The day before was challenging to a close relationship in my life. I actually debated calling the whole thing off, or maybe just go in for the float but not take the rocket fuel. I was concerned that it may facilitate a “bad trip” and debated this over in my mind. I figured whatever I saw during the experience was probably exactly what I needed to see. So with trepidation I stayed the course. Usually I have closed eye and open eye visuals at this dose, but I only see some rainbow colors passing behind the eyelids serenely and then things go completely internal. I’m unsure if it is the lack of sensory, my mindset going in, the preparation of the tea, or whatever but just as things usually go, I start to think about the relationships in my life and what joys and challenges there are. I started to feel how the expectations of others and outcomes may influence my moods, but ultimately I am the one that facilitates the emotions such as anger, jealousy, greed, etc. I have to own it and not shift the blame. I am able to peer with my mind’s eye into some of the actions of others and how my feelings related to them are mostly collateral damage. Most people don’t go through life trying to make things difficult for others… It is mostly just a by-product of a decision to do what is in our human nature… Largely to avoid suffering. The Buddhists call it Dukkha, but it’s more apt to be translated as “unsatisfactoriness”. In moments like these the sense of self seems to start to become translucent… Sometimes the veil drops out completely and you may have what you consider to be a real understanding of the workings within another’s mind. In a way I feel this is the essence of compassion. The feeling of empathy can be overwhelming.

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     Often on psilocybin I find myself in tears. This experience was no exception. I started to feel the heavy wave start to wane. It can be a good time to take a deep breath and reset. Find the center and prepare for the next blast of whatever may come. I start to take an accountability of my body, which I could barely feel unless I was to move slightly. I started to have a feeling of being surrounded by an amniotic fluid. It wasn’t uncomfortable but wasn’t blissful either. It just was. I felt the stillness deeply now. I had a vision of a scene in the Matrix movie when Neo wakes up in the pod. I felt a strange sensation that this world definitely has an illusory simulation quality behind it. Like a secret right around a hidden corner in plain sight. I remember thinking “someone please wake me up out of this life dream” and found myself whispering silently all I could muster into language. “Wake me up” over and over again.

Another wave passes and I wonder how long have I been in here. I remember my float consultant saying the pump would have to come on at the 3 hour mark. I figured I was about ½ ways through but resolved myself to stay in there no matter what else may surface. I relaxed and focused on the breath again and the next flood of insights soon began. At this point I started to have kind of an overview of all the recent trips, challenges, and changes that have been going on in my life over the last year. It has been exhilarating and humbling. Sometimes both entangled. I start to think of all the things I have learned about myself while really diving as deep as I can. Searching the realms of the shadow and repressed emotions from the past can truly unlock things you never knew about yourself. I feel that I really know myself better at this point with what I want out of life. The problem currently now is not the search, but the integration phase. How to be my truest self without hurting others is the question, especially the ones I love. Is it even possible? There have been many different versions of myself through the years. Is it fair to subject others to constant change needed in my life? The short answer I decide is it’s complicated. I come full circle to the beginning and realize it is a vicious cycle of people accidentally hurting each other, taking things out of context from the originating mind that was subjected to their own filters, the ego taking things too personally as an attack, and ultimately creating friction within the new mind and the relationship of the two entangled in such unconscious psychic murder-suicide. No one means to cause the harm in most cases, just a byproduct of living in the same sphere as other people going on about their lives making one decision or the other again, trying to minimize their suffering or unsatisfactoriness. Right about this time the pumps go on and they are quieter than I was anticipating.

I was expecting the pumps to be very disruptive but I almost didn’t notice the few minutes it was on. I knew I now had an hour left and the first visit of claustrophobia came in. There was a sense of being overwhelmed with all the info that was downloaded into my mind, the turbulent last couple days, and just being confined for so long. It started to turn into a sense of restriction in the sense of not doing some things I desire and feeling restricted. Like a governor switch has been turned off. I have been trying to dial down that governor switch in order to feel and be more “free” but I also see how simultaneously I give control over to others to dictate my life. Really a multi-faceted conundrum that has and will continue to take time to process. Someone once told me that people will go to great lengths to get their control back. I feel if I don’t make it my responsibility, who will?

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     I spend the final 30 or so minutes listening to some relaxing downtempo music and trying to clear my head. I know I will be getting out soon and moving right into my therapy session. Finally, when I almost can’t take it any longer, the lights slowly dim up signaling me that my time is done. I stand up wearily and shower off the Epsom salt solution, get dressed, and take a deep breath before opening the door (what I still imagine as an emergence from the chrysalis) and into the real world.

When I walk out into the reception area I am greeted by warm smiles, hugs, and verbal pats on the back. I now hold the local float record. My therapist can sense I have been through an ordeal and we retreat to a private space to talk for the next hour. I recount many of the things you just read and more. The talk therapy was so important to just talk through some of the things that were running in my head allowing further investigation and introspection. I still had the immediate insight of psilocybin but it was not debilitating at this point. It was more like razor sharp focus. It was the best session I have ever had.

It has taken me some time to write all this out. Every time I sat down to write it gave me something deeper to consider. It has really even continued the therapeutic process. I don’t expect everyone to dive into the abyss; it’s probably not for everyone. I encourage anyone who desires to explore hyperspace to do your research, plan your set and setting, and come to the experience with reverence or at least a healthy amount of respect. This was a difficult trip, not a bad trip. That being said, those are the ones that teach the most.

Hang Loose out there.

-Vorian

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IGC 54 – Dennis McKenna

IGC 54 - Dennis McKennaDennis McKenna returns to the show to talk with Jason Abbott and Doug Noble about his role in his brother Terence’s book True Hallucinations. We also recap his own account of the experiences at La Chorrera in Brotherhood of the Screaming Abyss. It was great to discuss a wide range of topics from the history of the intellectual dyad that are the McKenna brothers, shamanic induction, and integration of the psychedelic experience. We also talk about the McKenna legacy of “working for the plants” and what it could mean for the future. Come join in the discussion and support the IGC by using our Amazon, Audible, Onnit and PayPal links at www.intellectualgentlemensclub.com/support. You can also find the 1/2 off link within to the 30 minute advantage metamorphosis program. You should follow us on Twitter @igccast and on Facebook to receive updates and random interesting information. The Intellectual Gentlemen’s Club is available on iTunes, Stitcher, and other directories as well. Direct Download Here. Please share this Podcast… Get the word out!

Ethnopharmacologic Search for Psychoactive Drugs II: 50 Years of Research
Tyringham Hall, Buckinghamshire, England
Live Stream on Facebook
June 6 – 8, 2017 – Website

Dennis McKenna – www.brotherhoodofthescreamingabyss.com and www.heffter.org

Doug Noble – Chasing Bodhi

Ascending Apes Book Club – Facebook Group

Metamorphosis Program – Website

Mikey Fat (The Terrorplex) – Website

Gramatik (Makes Me Wonder) – iTunes

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IGC 53 – Jeff Hank

IGC 53 - Jeff Hank

Jeff Hank of MI Legalize joins Jason Abbott in a discussion on cannabis in the state of Michigan. MI Legalize 2018 is a grass roots organization dedicated to the legalization of recreational marijuana in MI. We discuss some of the challenges of the legalization process and how to design such laws, the benefits of taxation to the state, and the court petition process. We also cover some differences between medical and recreational use, the dangers of big pharma and why it makes sense to end the drug war. Come join in the discussion and support the IGC by using our Amazon, Audible, Onnit and PayPal links at www.intellectualgentlemensclub.com/support. You can also find the 1/2 off link within to the 30 minute advantage metamorphosis program. You should follow us on Twitter @igccast and on Facebook to receive updates and random interesting information. The Intellectual Gentlemen’s Club is available on iTunes, Stitcher, and other directories as well. Direct Download Here. Please share this Podcast… Get the word out!

     Jeff Hank – Website

     MI Legalize – Website, Facebook

     Metamorphosis Program – Website

     Autograf (Episode) – iTunes

     Kid Cudi (Marijuana) – iTunes

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IGC 52 – James W. Jesso

IGC 52 - James W Jesso

James W. Jesso joins Jason Abbott in a candid conversation about his book, Decomposing the Shadow: Lessons from the Psilocybin Mushroom. We talk about the darker shadow self and what can be learned from seeking within, the spiritual potential offered by psilocybin, and social evolution. We also cover meditation, the importance of surrender, and cultivating psychospiritual maturation. Come join in the discussion and support the IGC by using our Amazon, Audible, Onnit and PayPal links at www.intellectualgentlemensclub.com/support. You can also find the 1/2 off link within to the 30 minute advantage metamorphosis program. You should follow us on Twitter @igccast and on Facebook to receive updates and random interesting information. The Intellectual Gentlemen’s Club is available on iTunes, Stitcher, and other directories as well. Direct Download Here. Please share this Podcast… Get the word out!

     James W. Jesso – Website

     Metamorphosis Program – Website

     Martin Ball – Bandcamp

     Ritual “Too Deep” – iTunes

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IGC 51 – David McCullar

IGC 51 - David Mcullar

Jason Abbott talks with David McCullar of Inception for the season 4 opener. Inception is located in metro Detroit and is a mind-body enhancement center offering float tanks, neuroptimal brain training, magnesphere, cryosauna, chiropractic, acupuncture and mental health services. We talk about the stress and trauma of the nature of existence and how to cope on a day to day basis with balance in life. Come join in the discussion and support the IGC by using our Amazon, Audible, Onnit and PayPal links at www.intellectualgentlemensclub.com/support. You can also find the 1/2 off link within to the 30 minute advantage metamorphosis program. You should follow us on Twitter @igccast and on Facebook to receive updates and random interesting information. The Intellectual Gentlemen’s Club is available on iTunes, Stitcher, and other directories as well. Direct Download Here. Please share this Podcast… Get the word out!

     Inception – Website

     Neurofitness – Website

     Metamorphosis Program – Website

     Martin Ball – Bandcamp

     Hans Zimmer “Dream Within a Dream” – iTunes

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IGC Bonus Ep. Not Afraid

Ascending Apes logo

Author and general awesome human Daniele Bolelli was gracious to join Jason Abbott and Doug Noble to discuss his book Not Afraid: On Fear, Heartbreak, Raising a Baby Girl, and Cage Fighting. This podcast / bookcast is a companion for the third book of the Ascending Apes book club,  To join the book club, head on over to Facebook and search for Ascending Apes or AscendingApes.com  Direct Download here. Come on in, the waters warm.

     Intro Music by Martin Ball – Bandcamp

     Daniele Bolelli and all of his work can be found within his website, DanieleBolelli.com

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IGC Bonus Ep. The Doors of Perception

Ascending Apes logo

Jason Abbott, Doug Noble, and Paul Moran discuss the first book of the Ascending Apes book club, The Doors of Perception by Aldous Huxley. To join the book club, head on over to Facebook and search for Ascending Apes. Come on in, the waters warm.

     Intro Music by Martin Ball – Bandcamp

     Exit Music by James Young “Dark Star” – iTunes

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IGC 50 – James Coleman and Brandon McDaniel

IGC 50 - James Coleman, Brandon McDanielJason Abbott welcomes Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu black belts James Coleman and Brandon McDaniel. We discuss our personal journeys in martial arts, some philosophy and history of Jiu-Jitsu, and how martial arts plays an integral role in the mental health of practitioners. From the traditional studies to the relaxed rolling with partners, Jiu-Jitsu has a little something for everyone. Come join in the discussion and support the IGC by using our Amazon, Audible, Onnit and PayPal links at www.intellectualgentlemensclub.com/support. This podcast has been sponsored by Reno Video Productions, and I Am Detroit Clothing. You should follow us on Twitter @igccast and on Facebook to receive updates and random interesting information. The Intellectual Gentlemen’s Club is available on iTunes, Stitcher, and other directories as well. Direct Download Here. Please share this Podcast… Get the word out!

     James Coleman – Website

     Brandon McDaniel – Website

     Martin Ball – Bandcamp

     TV on the Radio “Wolf Like Me” – iTunes

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IGC 49 – Paul Levy

IGC 49 - Paul Levy

Jason Abbott welcomes author Paul Levy to the show. We discuss one of his recent books, Dispelling Wetiko: Breaking the Curse of Evil. Wetiko is an illusive virus of the mind that is hard to study as it seems to be non-local, non-dual, and ineffable at its core. The modern equivalent could be considered Malignant Egophrenia. We also chat about the mental health system, the war on consciousness, and a bit on shamanism. Come join in the discussion and support the IGC by using our Amazon, Audible, Onnit and PayPal links at www.intellectualgentlemensclub.com/support. This podcast has been sponsored by Reno Video Productions, and I Am Detroit Clothing. You should follow us on Twitter @igccast and on Facebook to receive updates and random interesting information. The Intellectual Gentlemen’s Club is available on iTunes, Stitcher, and other directories as well. Direct Download Here. Please share this Podcast… Get the word out!

     Paul Levy – Website

     Martin Ball – Bandcamp

     Remmy “Awake/Asleep” – iTunes

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IGC Promo

Curious to what the Intellectual Gentlemen’s Club is? Treat your eyes and ears to some highlights of our podcast for the curious.

Featuring Daniele Bolelli, Dennis McKenna, Sylvain Renaud, Dr. Carl Hart, “Big” Don Richard, Josh Macin, Gabriel D. Roberts, Nicolas Gregoriades, Dr. Penny Sartori, Toby Aylesbury, Jason Abbott, Michael Sherlock, Paul Moran, and Ethan Jordan. Music track “Opalescent Concrescence” provided by Martin Ball.

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