MY JOURNEY INTO MYSELF – WHEN THE EGO GETS TURNED OFF
A psychedelic journey can fundamentally refocus everything we think about ourselves and the world around us. It allows us to step outside the framework we create about ourselves and in which we often find ourselves trapped.
It took me a long time to think about writing about my own beautiful experience with sassafras – a powerful plant, the medicine of love. But the urge to share something so miraculous is so strong that here and here I do.
I don’t believe in coincidences. Today I know that nothing in our lives happens by chance and everything that is supposed to happen finds its right time. I have been waiting for this for forty-some years. I recently met a wonderful girl with whom I formed an unusual bond in a very short time. She was the one who asked me if I would like to join an intimate group of trusted people for an experience with sassafras. I knew nothing about it, but my answer “YES” came straight from the heart, without a second thought. I would never do that, I always analyzed and planned everything. I also didn’t want to read the link she gave me about it so I wouldn’t have any expectations. All I knew was that it was about a very subtle and gentle psychedelic.
Driving to the ceremony site there was a light mist, it was snowing gently in the twilight, with the relaxing music the whole way seemed so fabulous. I arrived at the place a little before time. There were mattresses and blankets prepared in the attic. I talked for a while with the leaders, for whom I gained a lot of trust. I knew that I would spend many hours with people of “deep consciousness”.
I have been meditating for many years, and at times I have attended weekly workshops (Dr. Joe Dispenza) where we meditated for up to six hours. These have been very special experiences for me, but other than complete relaxation, shutting down my thoughts and feeling energy surge into my body, I have never been able to achieve a state of “higher consciousness”, a connection to the Creator and the universe. I know from the experience of friends that it is possible, but often the path that leads to this state can take many years.
I’ve always known that meditation can take us to similar places as psychedelics, which is primarily a place where the ego doesn’t exist.
Once everyone arrived after 7pm, everyone took a seat on their mattress, the lights were turned off, only a soft green stream of light could be seen. We were given a tiny capsule to swallow and told that we could start feeling something in about an hour. Until then, everyone was to relax and meditate in the position of their choice. Some were sitting, some were lying down. Very soft and beautiful relaxation music was playing in the background. I lay down and focused on my breathing, on my heartbeat and on feeling my body fully. It was very pleasant. I felt safe in this place, the energy of the room and the people had a high vibration.
After a while, the leader came up to me and started to gently massage my temples. After a while he asked me if I started to feel anything. I said that I did not feel anything, but I felt pleasure in this meditation. He gave me another capsule to swallow and left. I thought to myself that probably nothing would happen as usual, because I can’t completely surrender to the unknown and because I can’t completely let go of my control over the situation.
The girl lying next to me was there for the second time and she told me that she didn’t feel anything and failed to enter the process the previous time. She had high hopes that she would succeed this time. Especially since she is struggling with a terminal illness and badly needs such a cleansing.
Before this event I decided not to have any expectations, so lying on the mattress, covered with a blanket, I fully accepted that this time nothing “special” will happen, but it is good as it is.
I lay like that for a while, listening to my breathing, heartbeat and music. Not much later I found myself in a multidimensional dark space. I had always been afraid of the dark, but this space was so subtle and warm. I felt like I was floating in it and it felt so good. I couldn’t feel my body anymore. I thought to myself that I could stay there forever. Not much later I felt a sudden surge of overwhelming love. As time passed, I felt more and more of it. The energy of love was bursting out of me. I had to sit down.
I looked around the room, most of the intimate group was already seated. Some were motionless, some were quietly talking. I felt omnipresent. I could hear all the conversations and was aware of what was going on around me. I could also feel what others were feeling. I had a great sensitivity towards others. There was a person whose intention was clearly to heal her relationship with her partner; she was crying, apologizing, working through her very complex process. At one point she asked me to place my hands on her cheeks. I did it without thinking and it gave me great joy and she said she felt great motherly love.
I spoke to almost every person in attendance.
All the time I felt the level of love rising in me. I wanted to share it, but I didn’t know how.
Then I thought to myself, this is the right time to forgive myself and others for all the sins and mistakes I have made. I knew this was the “key” to healing. I felt fully connected to the Creator, nature and the universe. It’s really impossible to describe this feeling in words, but I try to make it as close as possible. Then a second person came up to me, grabbed my hand and told me to breathe in love and goodness and breathe out everything bad and unnecessary. So I started to breathe in… but I had nothing to breathe out. I felt no evil and nothing unnecessary that I wanted to expel with my breath. I told her that. I just hungrily inhaled… I thought everyone could hear the breaths, but they were quiet.
I felt like I was in a blessed state where everything was absolutely perfect. My mind had many plans of what I should do, how I should take advantage of this situation, but my heart was filled with love and was pure. I felt that everything in my life was exactly as it should be (though I always had doubts), that I was perfect (though I always thought I wasn’t good enough), that I had nothing to forgive or reproach anyone for (though I thought I did and mostly to myself), that I was able to give love and was loved (though I had doubts about that too), that I was fully healthy (though I wasn’t 100% sure that my health challenge was a thing of the past). I’ve only listed the most important thoughts, but I’ve received virtually all of the answers to my life’s questions. I feel very grateful for that and for the whole experience, which lasted about 11 hours.
The leaders kept telling me to drink a lot of water. It was amazing to be fully aware of what was going on around me, so much was going on in my head and soul on so many levels.
There were moments when someone came up to me, sat down in front of me or lay down next to me, we held hands, talked or were silent and I felt an incredible flow of energy between us. And it didn’t matter if the person was a man or a woman. The sexual aspect was completely turned off. We were all connected to each other, we were all supporting each other.
It was a beautiful feeling and I am convinced that we are all wonderful beings, connected to each other to support each other. It’s just a shame that we don’t remember that every day.
I also felt a very deep bond with the girl I mentioned at the beginning (who invited me). This bond already existed in our subconscious. We lay next to each other for an hour and a half without moving in meditation, holding hands. It was an amazing feeling and understanding. I now know that we have a lot in common with each other, although we didn’t necessarily realize it before.
I felt an immense amount of gratitude for all the people who are and surround me in my life. The vastness of love within me and the love surrounding me. But what is “me?” I don’t think I was there at all, or I was me, no ego, me-part of the universe, a being created by God who is perfectly cared for.
Love is omnipresent and changes everything. In this state, it is so easy to finally let go of things. To trust life, to trust the unknown. When we do that, everything falls into place in the best possible way.
You begin to truly feel the perfection of life, the wisdom of energy, the perfect synchronicity of the Universe.
I was ready to give all the love that filled me to a girl who was struggling with a serious illness, just to have that love fully heal her.
I will never forget this experience, I will return to these feelings and sensations in meditation. I believe I will be able to experience the same through meditation. It was very necessary for me to understand myself and to feel that I can fully trust the Creator, trust the unknown…. I realized that everything is happening for our best good.
***There are many scientific publications on this topic. For example, Michael Pollan, a researcher at the world’s best universities, author of many bestselling books, a man named by the “Time” weekly on the list of the 100 most influential people in the world, not only wrote a laudatory book about psychedelic drugs, but also – as part of his research – took them several times himself with spectacular results.
For many years, these substances have shown surprising results in the treatment of depression, addiction, anxiety and obsessive-compulsive disorders. Research on their medical application is currently being conducted in the most prestigious centers, e.g. Johns Hopkins University or University of California, Los Angeles. The results are more than promising.
Here we are talking about psilocybin and LSD, powerful hallucinogens called psychedelics, or mind-revealing substances. They induce classic mystical experiences: a sense of union with the universe, all-encompassing love, the dissolution of the ego into a universal consciousness that transcends individuality. Interestingly, such an experience has a primary therapeutic effect.
So maybe psychedelic remedies remind us Love is paramount. For what else? Power? Some people want it, but only love really gives life meaning.
But why do we need psychedelics to realize that?
The mental journey we embark on under the influence of psychedelic substances is characterized primarily by the disappearance of the ego. Along with it, various defense mechanisms that operate in our psyche and separate us from the mass of stimuli that constantly bombard us, also disappear. Including emotions, sometimes very strong ones. These kinds of barriers are conducive to the survival of the species, but at the same time they make our view of the world incomplete.
So when, under the influence of psychedelics, these barriers collapse, a wave of information flows into our minds, information that was previously marginalized. We feel, for example, that we are much more deeply and strongly connected to other people than we thought. Or that there are no boundaries between us and the natural world, because we are an integral part of it. And because the walls we erect in our daily lives are no longer there, we begin to feel love much more intensely as well. It turns out that we have much more of it in us than we realized. And that we need it much more.
Do we need a psychedelic awakening in today’s world? A return to those very primal emotions – love, connection with nature and others – that we have almost completely forgotten about as individuals and as a civilization?
While after many years of meditation one may or may not experience such an altered state of consciousness, after taking psychedelics one is almost one hundred percent sure that it will happen. Or at least the probability is very high. That’s why I hope that one day we will use psychedelic substances as tools to support the initial phase of meditation practices. For me, these experiences have been very helpful. Already at the beginning of the path you get a sample of the state of consciousness you are aiming at. Then you stop focusing so much on the future and start focusing on what is happening here and now. I think a lot of people meditate without really knowing where it’s all going to lead.
Thanks to neuroscience, we know that the same areas of the brain are activated in states of deep meditation and psychedelic travel. You can think of meditation and psychedelic states as therapy, but also as a religious or mystical experience. These perspectives complement each other. This is where the uniqueness of these remedies lies. For it turns out that the mystical experience – the absence of ego, connection to everything, all-embracing love – has a healing effect.
Research was conducted at Johns Hopkins University, where psilocybin was administered to smoking addicts and terminally ill people suffering from fear of death, among other things. The positive results were closely correlated with the occurrence of a mystical experience in the patient. I want to make this very clear – the therapeutic effect did not come from the pharmacology, but from the nature of the experience that these drugs induced. It is non-dual consciousness that is the key here. And of course, some people seek it only for pragmatic purposes, wanting to solve some immediate problem: to stop smoking, to cope with the fear of death, or to recover from depression. Others see it as an opportunity for spiritual growth.
In a sense, these two functions or dimensions come together in the case of the terminally ill. The deep spiritual experiences they experience under the influence of psychedelics relieve their fear of death and allow them to come to terms with the inevitable.
Psychedelic substances are obviously a shortcut. Some people make an accusation of this – that it is something one has not earned. By the way, this is not entirely true, such experiences also have to be earned. But certainly not as hard as in the case of meditation. Which variant is better? I don’t know. I would point out, however, that each of us has an inner puritan hidden inside, which makes us instinctively think that we have to earn every success with hard work.
Risks need to be talked about loudly and openly. Certainly, psychedelics can be dangerous and there are people who should stay away from them as much as possible.
There are psychological risks associated with taking them. Anyone who has an increased risk of a psychotic episode should steer clear of them.
I don’t know what the experience of a complete loss of ego actually compares to. You realize that you are not the same as your own self, and it is very pleasant and useful. It undoubtedly affects your later life because you begin to see your ordinary identity as a construct. You gain distance from yourself. You understand that you don’t always have to listen to your ego, that it has its own interests and needs and you don’t necessarily have to follow them.
In any case, if very many people were to undergo such an experience, it would certainly have an impact on our entire social life.
***fragments of Tomasz Stawiszyński’s interview with Michael Pollan 05.12.2018 Przekrój