Awake

Spiritual Awakening

Noun

  1. An awakening of a dimension of reality beyond the confines of the ego, the ego being one’s exclusive sense of self or “I.”

  2. A shift in consciousness, an apperception of reality which had been previously unrealized. The culmination of such realizations is in the recognition of oneness with all of existence. 

 

Spiritual awakening is not a peak experience, nor is it an “experience” at all. Though it may certainly be accompanied by peak experiences, awakening is more of process--a process, albeit, that reconfigures the way you experience everything. Awakening isn’t so much about gaining something as it is losing everything that you thought you knew to be true, especially your deeply conditioned beliefs about who you are and what the world is. 

 

What follows are a series of peak experiences that accompanied the process of what an ex-lover dubbed my spiritual awakening—though I am always skeptical of boasting of myself in such grandiose terms. I had never even heard the term “spiritual awakening” when these things happened, and what one perceives as an ascent into enlightenment another may view as descent into madness. The sanity of my consciousness, however, lies beyond my ascertainment and judgement. All that I can attest to are my experiences and the order in which they occurred.

 

I am twenty years old and vastly more sober than I was at seventeen; no longer am I a bender of booze, a popper of Percocet, or even a connoisseur of cocaine. While I’m still a firm believer in the healing powers of psychedelics—“medicine for the soul,” as I like to call them—I haven’t touched those in a while either. Sometimes drugs can generate powerful self-healing, sometimes it’s best to distance oneself from the former in order to achieve the latter.  A person needs to be in the right headspace for a good trip down the rabbit hole, and the past few months my headspace has been consumed by healing. 

          For example, my stepbrother (and lifelong best friend) is back on speaking terms with me for the first time since nearly going to blows more than a year and a half ago. After reaching out to my high-school best friend, God (a.k.a. Donovan), for the first time in who knows how long, we are spending time together again. As for the father who kicked the shit out of me  (both physically and emotionally) for most of my childhood, well, I finally forgave him too. Now we talk regularly for the first time in more than half a decade.

          Beyond my relationships with others, my relationship with myself is the best it’s ever been. I am a straight-A student studying material that I love, and am surrounding myself with professors and peers whom I love more than the material. With many broken pieces to my life’s puzzle reassembled, perhaps I am in the right headspace to delve down the rabbit hole once again. Acid, or mushrooms? I ask myself, but my phone rings before I reach my conclusion.

          “What’s good, Miles? Long time no see, “ I say as I answer the phone. 

          “Some crazy shit actually, bro. I scored some DMT.”

          “Are you serious?” A chill runs down my spine. Acid and mushrooms are one thing, but DMT makes that thing look like caffeine. 

 

Before I move forward, a brief lesson on dimethyltryptamine (DMT) might be of some use to my readers. Dimethyltryptamine, known by many as the “spirit molecule,” is powerful psychedelic that is produced naturally in the brains of virtually every mammal--including that of the human being. It also occurs naturally in a wide variety of plant life. Certain species of plants synthesize abundant amounts of the chemical, most of which are found in Central and South America, as well as parts of Asia. The chemical has been used in religious ceremonies by various cultures for more than three thousand years, as its consumption induces hallucinations that allow users to allegedly communicate with aliens, gods, and various otherworldly entities.

 

“I’m completely serious,” Miles responds. “I have a group of people over at my house right now, and we’re all going to do it. I know how much you love your psychs, thought you might want to join us.” I laugh for a minute before I can respond.

          “That’s quite the offer to just spring on someone. Can I let you know in like an hour or two?”

          “Well my friends are flying back to California tonight, so we kind of have to do it like right now.”

          “Fuck it. I’m on my way.” When I get to Miles' house, I’m a bit anxious to see that I only know four of the seven people present. I trust the people I know, but if even one person has a bad trip it could send the rest of us spiraling. One of our buddies will be staying sober and recording the results, though, so that alleviates a bit of the angst. I introduce myself to the strangers. With the formalities out of the way, one of them wastes no time getting down to business.

          “Well, shall we?” asks a kid named Dustin. We agree that the time is upon us. “You mind if I go first?” I am thrilled that someone else will play guinea pig. The rest of us watch intently as Dustin deeply inhales the smoke that arises from the white powder as he burns it. His eyes roll back in his head, and he lays down on Miles’s living room floor.  For five minutes he remains motionless, before our trip sitter, Jase, goes to check on his breathing. Dustin laughs and opens his eyes as Jase draws near. He gets up, walks around the room, and hugs everyone present. He tells all of us that he loves us, and I get the additional gesture of a hand kiss. Thanks, stranger. I love you too. 

          “How was it,” Jase asks, now back behind his computer with his hands ready at the keyboard, “anything worth recording?”

          “I saw two… two… I don’t know what. They looked liked gods. Goddesses, really. They told me that everything will be okay. They told me that I’m loved. That I am love. That everything is love.” 

          “And how do you feel?” 

          “Better than you can possibly imagine.” Miles goes next, then a girl named Autumn. Neither of them see any beings, mostly just shapes and colors—like an intense acid trip condensed into five minutes. They say that they feel like they would have gotten "deeper," but that our conversations, the sound of our voices, kept them tethered to reality. They assure the rest of us that they feel incredible anyways, but I want to severe my bonds with my current mode of existence entirely; I want to experience the full force of dimethyltryptamine if I can help it. 

          “Hey Miles, how much of that stuff do you have left?” I ask.

          “Plenty, bro. More than enough for the rest of us.” 

          “Do you care if I take, like, twice as much as everyone else?” He laughs. 

          “Be my guest, you crazy son of a bitch.”

          “And do you mind if I borrow some headphones?” Again he obliges my request, and I pick my favorite lyric-less song. I am determined to break past the bonds of language that bind me to Miles’ living room. I hit play, set down my phone, and inhale a hearty helping of the universe’s craziest chemical. As I hold my breath, a swarm of incandescent colors and shapes swirl about my field of vision. I feel my consciousness separating from my body, and I don’t remember exhaling. One moment I am laying back onto Miles’ floor, the next “Toby” and his surroundings cease to exist entirely. I become nothing and bear no semblance of the person I am on Earth. My body, my thoughts, my memories—all of it, just gone. All that remains is a point of view within a field of conscious awareness. Before I go any further, I must explain what I mean by this.

 

Whenever I illustrate the following experience to anyone, I must preface it by trying (and more than likely failing) to describe what it’s like to experience senses beyond the five permitted to us by our human bodies. While I’ll describe the journey in terms of what I “see” and “hear” and “feel,” the truth is that terms like “see” and “hear” and “feel” have as little applicability to a DMT breakthrough as MMA does to scientific or political knowledge (I'm looking at you, Rogan). Although I maintain a viewpoint in the journey, it is more accurate to say that I experience everything simultaneously rather than perceive any of it; all that I perceive, I am. So while I might mention “seeing” entities, the truth is that I deeply feel myself within each and every entity that I “see.” I am both the viewpoint and the view. I am pure conscious awareness of everything happening to and around “me.”  Many DMT users insist that what they experience on their journeys is more “real” than reality. Perhaps this hyper-sensuality explains why.

 

My point of view emerges in a plane of infinite horizons, permeated by a brilliant light whose color spectrum far surpasses that of the visible-light spectrum I’m accustomed to. The landscape’s structure comes from millions of shapes coalescing into impossibly intricate geometric fractals that fill every inch of the unending scene. They move in constant waves, such that each moment produces surroundings entirely unique from the instant that precedes it. After a few seconds in this ever-changing dimension, two flashes of incredibly intense light explode to the left and right of my point of view. Evanescent tears in the geometry accompany the light flashes, and from them the first entities appear.

          The beings gaze down at my point of view from above, and the first thing I notice is their size; they are incomprehensibly colossal, as if their forms contain several galaxies within. Without warning, they hoist my point of view upward until it is level with theirs, and the words “I’m awake, I’m home now,” reverberate through the infinity in which I find myself. In the distorting landscape five more flashes and tears occur, and I watch as seven entities arrange themselves around me in a half circle. Their basic structures resemble that of humans—heads on top of torsos with limbs—but beyond that they are more alien than the imaginings of even the wildest science fiction films. Some have two arms and two legs, others have several dozen of each; where one’s eyes consist of planets orbiting the pupil, another possesses only orbs of golden light. What they wear, however, is strikingly consistent. They all dawn a sort of armor comprised of unnamable metal, whose infinitesimal gears and wires interweave with flesh and organs such that the biology of the beings are inextricable from their machinery. I am overwhelmed by the feeling that this technology and the entities who built it into themselves predate mankind--predate time itself. What I am witnessing, I realize, is inexpressible outside of terms like “god,” though even “god” as I've heard it used doesn’t quite encapsulate the essence of their being. 

          My point of view drifts from entity to entity, and each one nods towards me as our gazes meet. Eventually my view fixates on the being in the center of the seven, who is slightly larger than the cosmic giants that surround it. It nods at me one last time before it flashes what resembles a smile. Its “teeth” illuminate like little suns until it abruptly dissipates into the geometric patterns that surround it. The landscape quickly spirals into a sort of tunnel where the entity just stood guard, and a beautiful light that outshines the rest of the scenery lies at its end. Immediately, my point of view flies towards it with the speed of light itself.

          As I move down the tunnel towards the light, I notice that the fractals do not compose its walls; rather, I am caught between two rows of entities exactly like those I just encountered. Millions of them. Their limbs move with the same blinding speed as my own point of view, and I soon discern what it is they’re doing. As I pass them, each entity tears a piece of armor from itself and attaches it to my point view. It’s as if they are trying to make me one of them (even though I feel like I am already all of them). 

 

This is a good time to remind readers that my experience of this journey encompasses everything that I perceive. I am every being that donates a piece of its armor, just as much as I am the point of view receiving it. I am the wildly-flying limbs and the armor they hold. I am the geometric patterns and the light at the end of the tunnel. I am all of it, all at once. 

          Just as my point of view reaches its final destination at the tunnel’s end, the entities finish assembling my armor. I enter the light right as the “glass” face of the helmet snaps into place. Instinctively, I open my eyes.

 

Opening your eyes on DMT is something like putting on a pair of sunglasses. When you put on sunglasses the hue of everything you perceive changes slightly, but you still perceive the same things. When you open your eyes on DMT you are able to recognize your surroundings, but with extrasensory information from the chemical laid over the top of it. The analogy isn’t perfect, but you get the point.

 

When I am first brought back into contact with my earthly senses, I am completely bewildered and overwhelmed. I have virtually no sense of where—or who—I am.

          “Yo Toby, you’re back? How was it man? Anything you want me to write?” Jase asks in between the song I tripped to, which ended in perfect synchrony with the journey. The other six in the room gather around me as well. Toby? Toby… That’s right. I’m Toby. I’m in Miles’s living room right now. That was DMT. I look around at my friends, and can distinguish who is who. They are all glowing, however, as if lit from within by the sun or some other star. Another noteworthy change in my environment are the walls of Miles’s apartment, which appear to recede into infinity; I still feel as though I’m on an infinite plane. What strikes me most, however, are the symbols. Characters of a language that I do not know—or at the very least can’t read; they had to have come from somewhere inside of me—plaster the surface of everything. My friend’s skin, my own skin, the furniture, the carpet. Everything. And not just everything, but the space between everything too. A constellation of these strange symbols stretches in every direction, deep into the never-ending horizons. 

          My friends continue to pepper me with questions but are met only with bewildered eyes. Finally, Miles says, “Hey guys, let’s give him some space. I don’t think he’s out of it yet.” I shoot him a cursory glance of what I hope conveys gratitude, before stumbling out of the living room and into his bedroom. I close my eyes again, and am immediately put back into a different state of consciousness. It’s not as intense as the one I just came out of—I’m at least still aware that I’m “Toby—“ but it’s still wildly different from “reality.” It feels as though millions of souls, the energies of distinct-yet-unified individuals, rush in and out of my body. And it feels absolutely incredible. Pure ecstasy. Then the second song that came on the headphones ends, and again I open my eyes. This time I am completely sober, all the way back to baseline. Very little comedown: I was gone, and now I’m back. I exit Miles’s room with a beaming smile stretched across my face.

          “Toby, bro, are you alright?” asks Jase.

          “Never been better. Never doing that again, but never been better. How long was I gone for?” I reply.

          “Did you just come out of it?” he looks at the clock on his computer.

          “Yeah man.” 

          “Eight minutes. How long did it feel like?” I laugh hysterically for a good fifteen seconds.

          “It felt like I died and was reborn. It felt like space and timed ceased to exist. It felt like—“

          “Like longer than eight minutes,” he interjects.

          “You could say that.” We both laugh wildly for a few seconds, before Miles gently shushes us and gestures to Parker.

          “He just went under,” whispers Miles. 

 

Meditate

Verb

  1. To engage in contemplation or reflection.

  2. To engage in mental exercise (such as concentration on one’s breathing or repetition of a mantra) for the purpose of reaching a heightened level of spiritual awareness

According a study conducted by the National Center for Biotechnology Information, the positive benefits of meditation are empirically demonstrated by the way the practice causes your brain to behave chemically. In short, proper meditation causes your brain to change the rate at which it synthesizes and releases most of the chemicals associated with feeling positive and relaxed. Meditation results in a decrease of cortisol and noradrenaline, while it increases dopamine, serotonin, melatonin, and (you guessed it) dimethyltryptamine. Buddhist Tradition dictates that Siddharta Gautama reached Enlightenment and became the Buddha after meditating for 49 days straight. Perhaps it was the influx of DMT that gave him his visions.

 

For about a year and a half leading up to my DMT trip, I had been in the practice of meditating every day. The week after I did DMT, however, I didn’t meditate once. I’m not sure why, maybe I just didn’t have enough time for it on top of midterms. The weekend after I finished my tests, though, I decided to do it again.

 

I sit down on the floor next to my bed and cross my legs. Closing my eyes, I inhale deeply through my nose and exhale through my mouth. Normally I would jump straight into my meditation technique involving several hand gestures and heavy visualization, but since I’ve been neglecting my practice I figure some basic breathing would be good for me. On about the sixth or seventh exhalation, however, I am transported away from my room. In an instant I am swimming through complex geometric patterns, whose colors lie beyond that of the visible spectrum. Holy shit, this feels like DMT. 

          I spring to my feet and fly instinctively to my mirror. In it, I do not see myself. I see only the armor that was assembled around my point of view during my trip, as well as the strange symbols which organize themselves around the upper half of my body in a half circle. This isn’t normal. I’d better lay down. 

          Stepping back from my mirror, I lay down flat on my back and close my eyes. The second I close them it’s as though my body dissolves into a light as brilliant as the one at the end of the tunnel. But it’s not just my body. My bed, the walls of my room, my girlfriend and all of her possessions in her room, the trees in my yard, the neighbors in their house, the mountains in the distance—they all become a part of this light, and I can feel all of them. But I don’t just feel them. I feel as though I’m a part of all of them, and they a part of me, and all of us a part of this unified field of light. The strange symbols arrange themselves above me, before spiraling downward into the area of my forehead that sits between my eyes. For almost five minutes the words “everything is love” resound through the field of light consciousness on repeat: 

          Everything is love.

          Everything is love.

          Everything is love. 

          When this finally ends, I feel the light from everything come rushing back into my body. If I didn’t think that DMT had made me go insane before, I am less sure of that fact now. Crazy or not, though, I feel fucking superb.

           I rush into my girlfriend’s room to tell her what just happened to me.

          “I figured it out, babe.”

          “Figured what out?”

          “Everything.”

          “Oh yeah?” She rolls her eyes, probably assuming I’m just having one of my acid “epiphanies.” “And what is everything?”

          “Love.” I say. “Everything is love.”

          “Oh my god, Toby, yes!” She nearly jumps out of her seat with shock and joy, but mostly with deep understanding. After all, she went through the same experience a few years earlier after taking way too much acid for her first time. “I was wondering when you’d finally figure it out. What brought this about?” I explain to her what had just happened to me and how I think it was somehow triggered by my DMT trip. “I’m proud of you,” she says.

          “Thanks,” I reply. “I think I’m going to call my mom and tell her. Maybe my sister too. Oh! And my professor Kate, and maybe Cliff too!”

          “And I think you need to chill out.” She laughs. “Those are all fucking terrible ideas.” 

          “Why’s that?”

          “Do you remember when I went through all of this and I tried explaining it to you?”

          “Yeah, and?”

          “And do you remember how you responded?”

          “Ah, that’s right.” Immediately my enthusiasm disappears. “I treated you like you were fucking crazy. You sounded fucking crazy. I guess I sound pretty fucking crazy right now too, huh?”

          “I don’t think you sound crazy,” she reassures me, “but they probably will. I don’t think you should tell anyone until you can properly articulate what you mean and why you think it’s important. Even then, I’d be careful.”

          “You’re probably right. Thanks, Kayla.” After our conversation, I feel more instead of less insane. Maybe the only reason I had this experience is because of the seed she planted in my subconscious years before. Maybe our shared experience isn’t proof of our shared sanity; maybe it means we’re both equally crazy. Maybe I shouldn’t tell anyone else, ever. 

 

Replicability

Noun

  1. The quality of being able to be exactly copied or reproduced.

  2. The ability of a scientific experiment or trial to be repeated to obtain a consistent result. 

Given the incredibly intense, fast-paced, and alien nature of a DMT experience, it is unlikely that any two experiences will be exactly the same (unless the drug is ingested simultaneously by two or more people in the same setting, but that’s a topic for another day). That being said, no matter what form a DMT hallucination assumes most users report the same feelings afterwards. Specifically, they feel like their understanding of reality is challenged. They question the core beliefs they once readily accepted: religious beliefs, faiths, and the nature of the universe. 

 

A week has passed since my “everything is love” experience, and I feel as crazy as ever. Kayla doesn’t really want to talk about it (it’s all old news to her), and the friend or two that I’ve mentioned it to don’t have any advice for me, even if they don’t think I’ve gone off the deep end. As much as I want to just repress everything until I have some time to really process it all, I can’t help but fixate on it every waking moment. Something inside me tells me that the past few weeks have been some of the most important of my life, while at the same time I wonder if I shouldn’t check myself into a looney bin. At least I’m still performing well in school, so I suppose that’s a good sign. 

 

It’s a Saturday, and I am taking a field trip to the Denver Art Museum with one of my design classes. One of my buddies who lives in the area sees that I’m in Denver and calls me with excellent news: my favorite living artist, Alex Grey, will be live painting at the Fillmore. 

          When my friend Dylan and his girlfriend Katie pick me up a few hours later, I immediately begin to question what I signed myself up for. Dylan sports a hoodie with the Milky Way plastered all over it, as well as a fractal-pattern hat. Katie looks even trippier with her tie-die clothes, furry animal ears, and a googly eye stuck in the middle of her forehead. I, on the other hand, wear a pair of Levis and a grey hoodie with a University of Wyoming logo on the front. 

          “I think I missed the dress-code memo,” I say as I step in their car. “Not that you guys don’t look fucking awesome, but, uh, do you always dress this way?” Dylan just laughs.

          “Oh shit, man. Did I forget to tell you? They’re live painting at a rave.”

          “Oh, okay cool. I’ve never been to a rave before.”

          “Does that make you nervous?”

          “Nah, I’ve been around people on drugs enough. I wish I would’ve worn something a bit more colorful though,” I reply. The three of us laugh, and he assures me I look fine. Then he asks if there’s anything new going on in my life. Fuck it, they’re a trippy enough couple. I decide to recount all that’s happened to me the past few weeks. 

          “Holy shit man, that’s wild,” is all he can say when I’m done with my tale.

          “It’s beautiful,” says Katie. They both look at me like I’m a little crazy, but at least their demeanor towards me doesn’t change. It’s all laughs and reminiscing on good times the rest of the ride to the venue, and I feel like I’m in for a good night.

          When we arrive at the Fillmore, the first thing we see is a security guard taking a vial of acid out of a broomstick from a man who is dressed like a witch. A woman wearing devil horns, a tail, and very little else pleads with the guard to let them through anyways. He dumps out the LSD and sends them on their way. I’m a long ways from Wyoming, I can’t help thinking. 

          We pass through security without a hitch, and step into the land of the freaks. The evening’s theme is “deities and demons,” and my dull clothing sticks out like a sore thumb. Peacock feathers and angel wings and skeleton face paint and third-eye dermals and fake contact lenses and horns and tails and any other crazy thing a person can think of sticking to their body dominate the scenery. But weirdos are my favorite people, and I immediately fall in love with the place. 

          We are pretty early, and we decide to wander around the venue. All along the sides, more than a dozen live painters set up their workstations. Their subject matter ranges from geometric fractal patterns to anthropomorphic godlike beings, all eerily reminiscent of the dimethyltryptamine landscape. On the stage sits the canvas that Alex Grey and his wife, Allyson, will be using, that of another featured pair of artists, a screen for visuals, and a DJ booth. As the start time draws near, we position ourselves about two rows back from the front. The lights dim and the first DJ comes out. 

          A group of women follow as the music starts, each dressed in spangled leotards and headdresses shaped like stars or planets. They dance for a while, before the Greys enter the scene. Alex and Allyson, with their faces painted like skulls and their heads topped with mad-hatter caps, introduce themselves and get straight to work. The DJ starts playing fast-paced electronic music, and the visuals screen projects constantly-shifting geometric patterns from which gods of various cultures sometimes emerge. As for Denver’s finest crowd, we just dance our asses off. Such is the scene for about an hour, until it’s time for the first DJ to be replaced by his successor. Before that happens, however, Alex and Allyson take center stage and address the crowd, replacing the visuals screen with a slide show they’ve prepared.

          They begin talking about life, death, and the nature of existence. Their slide show is a collection of visual art and literature that illustrates how different cultures have represented these ideas throughout time, from the ancient Egyptians to Michelangelo’s Last Judgement and everything in between. Though somewhat bewildered by this sharp change in vibes, the crowd listens intently nonetheless. After about fifteen minutes the next DJ is ready to rock, and Allyson and her husband reassume their post.  The rest of us resume our violent ass shaking without a hitch. Another hour passes, the DJs switch again, and the Greys talk for fifteen more minutes. This cycle repeats, and on the third and final slideshow Alex discusses his own personal beliefs about life, death, and the nature of existence. 

          “When Allyson was 24 and I was 22,” he begins, “we decided to take a large dose of LSD together. Blindfolding ourselves, we lay naked together in a dark room.” The slideshow turns to a photo of the young naked couple, blindfolded and holding hands on their bed. 

          “For a while we didn’t see anything,” Allyson chimes in. “But then, all of a sudden, something happened to both of us at the same time.” They change the slideshow to a painting of that represents the moment Alex is about to describe.

          “We got to a place where it felt as though our bodies turned into light. But it wasn’t just our bodies: it was all of our possessions in the room, and the room itself. The bed, the walls, all of it. And it was the objects and people outside of our room, too. It all turned into this incomprehensibly magnificent light that we were inarguably a part of. We could feel all of it, and feel ourselves within it. And because we were there together, we knew that it was real. More than that, we both intuitively felt that this field of light was love. It was the moment in our lives when we realized that everything is love, and the moment that defined my path as an artist. The message that I try to convey through my artwork is the notion that all is one, and that one, at its deepest core, is love. Thanks for coming out tonight ladies and gentlemen, we love you all more than you can imagine.” I smile subtly to myself as their presentation ends and the last DJ comes out, before I gently smack Dylan on the chest.

          “See, I told you so man.” He and Katie just stand there petrified, staring at me. 

 

Integrate

Verb

  1. Combine (one thing) with another so that they become whole. 

  2. Bring (people or groups of people with particular characteristics or needs) into equal participation in or membership of a social group or institution. 

 

One of the hardest and most important parts of legitimately utilizing psychedelics as medication is integration after the trip. Having a great flash of inspiration while you’re spun out on acid is one thing, but remembering that epiphany and constructively implementing it into your sober life is another. The full-blown bat-shit-crazy chaos that is a DMT breakthrough is probably the hardest psychedelic experience to integrate back into reality, since it is  the one that removes you the furthest from it. Even after Alex Grey’s live painting, I still wasn’t sure how to begin integrating my experiences—even if I now felt validated. All I knew was that my view of the world had been inalterably changed, that I felt more at peace with the universe and my place in it than I ever had before, and that I wanted to share these feelings with as many people as possible. In the span of a few weeks I had gone from being a hardcore atheist teetering a fine line between recreational user and junkie, to a spiritualistic believer with very little desire to take illicit substances.

 

Although my newfound belief system was still a work in progress at this point (and I suppose it always will be, or else what’s the point of being alive and learning?), I knew that I had to share it with as many people as possible. They could call me crazy if they wanted, but maybe they wouldn’t. Maybe I would actually be helping them, which is all I’ve ever really wanted to do. After telling virtually all of my friends about my DMT adventures, it was my greatest delight to find that none of them rejected me afterwards. Most of them, in fact, met my stories with the most open of hearts and a plethora of questions. A few have actually adopted my standpoint on the nature of existence—which is a bit more nuanced than simply “everything is love,” though that principle certainly lies at the core of my doctrine. After about a year came the last real test: the conversation with my mom.  

 

“Mom,” I bother her out of the blue one day as she folds laundry. “What do you believe in?” 

          “Like spiritually?”

          “Yeah, like spiritually.” Her siblings are some of the most hardcore atheists I know, and I assume that she’ll be the same way.

          “I don’t know if I believe in a “God,” but I believe in energy. I believe in spirits and that we’re all connected somehow. Why? Where is this coming from?” Perfect, I think to myself.

          “Well I kind of believe the same thing…” I launch into the DMT chronicles, and try to deliver as many details as I can without coming across as too insane. I finish, but before she can speak I add, “I already told my therapist and he doesn’t think I’m crazy, if that makes you feel better.”

          “I don’t think you’re crazy either, Toby. I think it’s great that you found something to believe in, and I would never try to take that away from you. I would even go so far as to say that you have a special connection with the universe. I do have one concern though, do you want to know what it is?”

          “Of course.”

          “It bothers me that you seem to think you have to take drugs to have this spiritual connection. How are you supposed to help people, or even maintain your own beliefs, if you have to get high to have them in the first place?” She poses her question, and stares at me with a deep intensity. I can’t help but beam a large smile back at her. 

          “That’s the beauty of it, Mom. You don’t have to take anything to have these beliefs. You’re carrying DMT inside of your brain right now.”

          “But I’ve never experienced anything close to what you’ve described.”

          “Well, it would be hard for your brain to synthesize the amounts of DMT that you can smoke, but it would be easy to up the synthetization enough to alter the way you experience the world. We should meditate together sometime.” 

Research Links

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3190564/#CIT16

https://scottjeffrey.com/spiritual-awakening-signs/

https://www.urbandictionary.com/define.php?term=Spiritual%20Awakening

https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/full/10.1177/2050324516683325

https://www.evergreendrugrehab.com/blog/power-downfall-psychedelic-drug-dmt/

https://hareesh.org/blog/2016/8/16/what-spiritual-awakening-really-means

https://www.lexico.com/en/definition/replicability