Mystical Experiencer: Female in early thirties
Current location: U.S.A.
Age at time of experience: 32
I had been experimenting with 4-AcO-DMT for a couple of years leading up to the experience. I slowly worked my way up from around 15 mg (first dose) to 75 mg (mystical experience dose) by consuming the drug once every few months. My exploration was driven by a search for existential meaning, which is something that I have always been concerned with. I had a lot of depression and lack of meaning in my life, although the 4-AcO-DMT did help me with that even at lower doses. I thought psychedelics could give me the answers to life and solve all of my problems.
The night I took the 75 mg, the drug came on much faster than it had before, and the open-eyed visuals were so intense I could hardly tell whether my eyes were open or closed. I closed them and laid in my bed, in the dark, listening to ambient music. I didn’t think about much during the earliest parts of the trip, apart from some mild anxiety over whether I had potentially consumed too much and placed myself in danger. That quickly subsided and I just watched the geometric, snaking visuals.
At some point, I began to see a light. Accompanying this was a physical sensation of dissolution, as if the barrier between my body and the external world was dissolving. I had briefly experienced this sensation before on previous doses at around 50 mg, but it felt like I was dying, and I would get scared and “pull back,” and regain control over the direction of the trip. At 50 mg or so it was easy to put my hands back on the steering wheel, so to speak. But at 75 mg the effects of the drug were so overwhelming, it was extremely easy to just let go and let the dissolution happen.
Once my sense of space and separation went, there was a feeling of being centerless and edgeless. And then, at some point, everything else – my identity, sense of self – went away as well. At this point it becomes very difficult to recall what happened, because there was no distinction between subject and object, and there was no “me” there to observe or remember what was happening. I can really only recollect it by recalling what happened immediately after I “came to,” and was once again aware of separation, aware of space, and aware of being back in my bed in Arkansas.
I guess the most general way to describe it would be as pure perfection and bliss. There was no suffering, and no desire, and, most importantly for me, no existential questions. Everything just IS, because what else could there be? There is no riddle to solve. I suddenly realized I had spent all my life searching for the answers to existence, and, ultimately, I ended up right back where I started, with myself. I was what I had been looking for this whole time. It was as if the world had been purposely set up to make me search outside of myself, and it was under my nose the entire time. It felt like I had been playing a prank on myself my whole life. The absurdity made me burst into laughter and I laughed for a long time. Not just giggling, either. Full on, tears streaming, belly laughs, like a small child who had just witnessed a dog do something silly.
After the laughing, I started sobbing deeply. Snot running, ugly crying into my pillow. Not because I was sad, but because for the first time in my life I felt completely and truly liberated. I didn’t have to chase after things anymore, because what I needed was within me the whole time. I also wanted to immediately go and tell everyone in the world, to shout it from the rooftops that everyone is walking around with this inside of them, and none of us have any clue. I thought, if we all knew this, there would be no more violence, no more hatred, no more depression, and no more yearning.
The next few days were very peaceful and serene. The months following were not so wonderful. I took one more mild dose of 4-AcO-DMT around a month later, which went fine. Two months later my 4-AcO-DMT had degraded, and I abused the drug after a particularly bad day, which led to a very bad trip (no mystical experience). As of writing I have not taken any more psychedelics in over a year, though I imagine I will take some light doses in the future.
As the experience of everyday reality sank back in, and I put more days between me and the mystical experience, I ended up having a huge existential crisis. The experience was nice while it lasted, but it did not immediately change my behavior, and a lot of my behavior at that time was detrimental to myself. I had been struggling with substance abuse (alcohol and opioids) for years, I smoked like a freight train, and I had behavioral problems as a result of depression, anxiety, and trauma. I had no one to guide me out of my mystical experience in the months after, and it was really needed, because looking back I now see that I was just not prepared for that information at all. I took psychedelics because I wanted The Answer, but the problem with that is, when you don’t know what it is that you’re looking for, you might end up getting more than you bargained for when you actually find it.
I spent the following months actively studying philosophy and religion, unable to accept the truth that had been revealed to me during the mystical experience. My drinking and smoking continued as I vacillated between seeing beauty everywhere in the world, in every living being, and seeing the world as hopeless and filled with deluded and materialistic people. Approximately five months after the mystical experience, as I studied philosophy and religion, I started meditating daily. By September 2018, I had a fairly stable meditative practice, and I had also given up drinking, drugs, and smoking. I started trying to take better care of myself. I am still clean.
I still struggle existentially somewhat, mostly because it’s so easy to see my mystical experience in a variety of philosophies and religions, and I have always had a need to make my beliefs neatly fit into one convenient box. I am not a perennialist, but I do believe a handful of religious traditions and people are all talking about the same “thing,” and I am 100% certain that “thing”* was whatever it was that happened during my mystical experience. I see no difference between the writings of the Upanishads, Huang Bo, and Meister Eckhart. It’s reconciling that information with the experience of everyday life that is the problem. It can make life seem very pointless and vapid, but it is clear that it changed my life. I am still not perfect, and never will be, and I am not sure if I will ever fully reconcile the everyday world with that experience, but I am much improved from where I was even a year ago, and especially five years ago.
*I say “thing” but that isn’t entirely accurate, as the experience was a state of no-thing-ness.
I should probably also note that I had been taking amitriptyline for migraines and depression for a while leading up to the mystical experience. 75 mg daily. Unlike the attenuating effects of SSRIs, I have read that tricyclic antidepressants might potentiate the effects of psychedelics, which might be something to take into consideration regarding my dose of 4-AcO-DMT.