This is an email from a reader that prefers to be anonymous in response to the interview I did for Thank Earth You on Psychedelic Frontier. He reached out to me saying that he was inspired to tell his family and friends about his personal psychedelic experiences in the form of a coming out letter. Here is his letter in unedited form:
“Thank you for the relationship that we have in which I feel complete freedom to speak about these things openly… even though you may not know what’s coming up 🙂 I want to share this experience with people close to me, for 2 reasons:
I consider this extremely important because I believe it played a key and very positive role in my personal development. For years I have felt this on a subconscious level, but only recently have I truly accepted it and became prepared to openly discuss it.
I would like to encourage public acceptance of these experiences (at least in my small circle) and inform all those who may see an opportunity to positively use it in their life. If I see so much benefit, why wouldn’t others?
I’m referring to psychedelic substances (LSD, mushrooms, Ayahuasca) which, over the past 10 years, I have taken on more than 20 separate occasions. Let there be no confusion – my story refers only to the above mentioned substances, which should be viewed separately from drugs which cause addiction (and possibly greater danger), such as heroin and alcohol.
The way I see it: psychedelics can be either a tool or a toy, depending on how you approach them. Many people take them just for fun, without a search for deeper meaning (which I don’t judge in any way). But this is not a magic button which automatically expands the mind, it requires a bit of focus during and after the experience, if your interest is to gain new insights from it.
I also don’t think it’s something that should be done often. Personally, I’ve always made breaks of more than one month between trips (usually much longer than that) and I would never recommend anyone do it more often than that – in any case, there are few people who would even consider it. I think Alan Watts said it best:
‘Psychedelics are simply instruments, like microscopes, telescopes, and telephones. The biologist does not sit with eye permanently glued to the microscope, he goes away and works on what he has seen.’
Talking about what exactly is seen is not simple, since each experience is unique to the individual. For a lot of people, psychedelics increase the capacity for critical thought and encourage us to rethink ideas which we previously took for granted.
In the right mood, company and surrounding, I absolutely cannot imagine how anyone can have a bad time in this state – and I think that all three are necessary for a good trip, especially for those with little experience in using these substances.
I find it funny (and sad) when I consider with how much caution I, and those like me, approach psychedelic substances. Particularly when I see how little thought goes behind regular alcohol consumption, which carries much greater potential consequences on every level. Of course I’m no stranger to alcohol, I’m just trying to present an objective picture of psychedelics within a generally accepted context.
And what’s the point of all this? It’s not easy to sum up every effect of long term psychedelic use, so I will only mention that which I feel was undoubtedly the direct product of these experiences. All of these thoughts and feelings have been a theme in many of my trips, which I was able to take with me and apply them to my daily life over time:
Increased outward happiness and friendliness to ALL people, particularly those close to me
Significantly less interest in possessions, social status and money
Stronger feeling of connectedness to all living things
Greater enjoyment in art and music
Focusing on the present moment, less time thinking of the past or dreaming of the future
Easing of my phobia of cockroaches (no shit)
These are some of my personal experiences, which do share similarities with what others have experienced.
If you’re thinking this is just some hippie talk or a phase, consider what you know about me and keep in mind that you are just finding out something that I have been experiencing for an entire decade. Actually, I’ve been writing this letter for months… and I think I’ve written enough – I would much rather speak with you directly. So as far as any questions and the continuation of this story is concerned… please don’t hold back :)”
(Top photo by L White.)