I hesitated before writing this, but I decided to do it because it’s a valid life experience, and whatever people think of it, I’m OK with.
I’ve been fortunate enough to have taken a lot of trips in my life to various places. However, the most spectacular I ever took was a trip inward when I took a concentrated form of Ayahuasca also known as DMT. The location shall remain a mystery; all I will say is it is legal there.
I’d heard about this from some documentaries and, being who I am, wanted to try it. I’d tried mushrooms a few times before and found them mildly amusing and insightful, and I expected this to be something similar. I was wrong.
I took three large tokes on the pipe stuffed full of DMT. After the third, I walked to the sofa in my friend’s flat and lay down, waiting for the effects to come on. Having done my research, I had some ideas that I’d experience something ‘profound,’ but I had absolutely no idea what I was about to experience.
Within about 30 seconds, I began to experience visuals. First, an interwoven floral pattern enveloped my field of vision, spinning and turning, layer upon layer opening like curtains and inviting me deeper inside.
Before long, I saw golden buddhas and Egyptian pyramids. It was profoundly beautiful and rich in detail. This is not something you will even be able to comprehend unless you experience it yourself. It’s as real as everyday reality, or it seems so.
Then, slowly, something happened that frightened the wits out of me. I physically felt myself float above my body and vibrate at what can only be described as warp speed. I felt the presence of an entity beside me, and panicked.
“I’m in trouble, aren’t I?,” I asked.
“No, you’re not in trouble,” it communicated. “You can’t ever be in trouble.”
I was literally freaking out at this point and tried to force my eyes open, but to no avail. The entity told me I had to come with it, and it wasn’t asking. It showed me something about myself that I don’t do anymore because it was profoundly ugly; how I arrogantly patronized anyone who believed anything other than the scientifically accepted worldview. After this experience, that side of me died for good, and I’m much more open-minded and patient with different perspectives.
I shot high into the sky with this being and saw everything below me. As far as I could see, golden light bathed everything into an infinite distance. The first being was no longer there, but now a strong, very clearly male presence had taken its place. Being from a Christian culture, most people would interpret this as God. However, I’d be far too humble to say it was actually him — it felt something like it at the time, though.
“F*ck,” I said out loud, causing my mate to laugh hysterically, but there was nothing I could do to break the grip of this thing and return to reality.
“Relax,” it commanded. I absolutely surrendered. The presence of this thing is indescribable — a combination of terrifying and absolutely loving in an unconditional way.
At this point, I was genuinely terrified. I was convinced I had died and was facing my maker, yet, all I felt was love and unconditional acceptance.
I was totally convinced I would be judged for whatever wrong actions I had taken in life. But the entity responded: “There’s nothing you can ever do that I do not permit for your growth and learning. Stop being so harsh on yourself,” it communicated to me, instructing me to look down.
I did, and I saw a giant golden grid with various points of light on it which I understood to be souls. “You can go anywhere on the grid,” it said, “I made all of it for you to explore. Where you are now is fine. You wouldn’t be there if I didn’t permit it. Your free will is to explore the grid , but you can never go off it. I knew everything you would ever do before you were born. There are no wrong turns.”
I accepted this and immediately was back on the sofa. I forced my eyes open and shook my head.
For the rest of the trip, I experienced various visuals. Incan-style masks and objects appeared and disappeared (it’s weird because that’s the exact region this plant comes from), and a strong female character started dancing and chastising me. Unlike the other entities, she didn’t love me unconditionally. I felt she was darker and didn’t like me. I asked her/it to release me and let me go back, but she only replied “you came to my world. You go back when I let you go.”
Again, I surrendered. I had no choice but to watch the show until completion, slowly coming back to my senses, although visual weirdness continued for about half an hour.
What was all of this?
I have spent a lot of time since I experienced this thinking about what really happened and what it all means. The accounts people recall of Ayahuasca and DMT are deep and often life-altering. Heroin addicts and alcoholics have quit immediately, never to look back, after trying it under the guidance of a shaman, and I can totally see why. To this day, vast numbers of people travel to the Amazon to have the experience. Most of them emerge as different people.
Ultimately, I remain a skeptic. I think it was simply the interaction of my brain with a profound chemical. However, there’s always a little part of me that will wonder if I got a glimpse of something bigger that our senses and brain don’t allow us to see in the everyday state. It reminds me a lot of some of the experiences reported by those who had an NDE, although I was never in any physical danger. I researched a lot before I took it, and it’s impossible to die or overdose, hence I went ahead with the experience.
I’ll never know for sure, and I’ll never do DMT again, but I’m glad I did it once. It was the most earth-shattering experience I have ever had, and it killed off my hard materialist worldview from the culture of scientific dogmatism I inherited growing up in the West.
Until you see it with your own eyes, you will never believe such an experience is possible, but once you do, there’s no going back. What is it? Nobody really knows, but it has been written about for thousands of years, and it will be written about for thousands more.