Levels — My First Psychedelic Journey

I found myself in a small dark room with a stage in front. It was like a theater of some kind.

There was a band playing. A band I went there to see. But it started to feel more like they were there to see me.

It felt as if my entire life was leading me to this place, at this time, to see this band, with these people.

Everything in my life was adding up. I was supposed to be doing this and nothing had been more clear.

The first level presented itself.

It was scary.

As everything went black except for the stage, all of the band members turned into the same person. I guess it helped that each one of them had a big, bushy beard.

They were playing instruments, but it seemed more like a language. They were teaching me something, but I didn’t know what yet.

My entire being was exposed.

I felt as if I couldn’t control my body.

My legs and arms were heavy and my eyes kept shutting even though I was completely stimulated by the musical energy being thrown at me.

Thoughts began to enter my head.

“I am going to fall over”

“I am out of control”

“This isn’t normal”

“I am going to throw up..isn’t that something that can happen? Oh no, it’s happening to me. I’m going to be sick.”

“Oh no, here it comes!”

[Opens mouth to yawn…]

“Oh, it was just a yawn!”

“I’m fine! I control my body, therefore I choose to be strong and in control.”

While this self-talk took me for a spin, I ultimately got through the first uncomfortable wave of my trip.

Then, Shoshanna, my girlfriend who was with me, points out a fake owl casually sitting on one of the speakers at the back of the stage.

As I make eye contact with the owl, I begin to have some negative thoughts.

Thoughts like,

“he sees me, the owl knows. The wise owl knows everything and I am completely exposed.”

This went on for a bit until I was able to distract myself from looking at the owl.

He’ll show up later in the night…

Lesson one

This first level taught me that I get to choose how this experience goes.

Just as I had this realization, level two began.

Level Two

Things started to feel a little dark or negative.

My reaction to this feeling was of course, “Holy shit, I’m having a bad trip!”

Well, this never helps.

The music became so high pitch and loud that it felt as if a creature was screaming in both of my ears.

Not cool…

It was so loud and terrifying that all I could do was surrender to it.

Lesson two

Thus, lesson two was learned and level two was done.

The noise went away and the music came back.

I learned that I must surrender to the experience instead of trying to control it or fight it. The faster you surrender, the quicker you’ll learn that lesson.

Level Three

As I stand there panning across the stage at the 4 musicians and their amazing instruments, I start to become very tired.

I think to myself, “I can’t fall asleep, that would be so embarrassing! People would know I was tripping. People would stare and make fun of me. I might even be kicked out or get in trouble!”

“Be cool…be cool.”

This thought rarely helps either since your mind likes to play tricks on you and do the exact opposite of what you tell it to.

I then noticed two people in the row in front of me were sitting down. I realized they were probably on a similar journey that I was.

In fact, one of them was sleeping!

So I took this as justification to sit down for a bit.

I could barely see the band and could now see all the people around me dancing and having a great time. Why couldn’t I do that!

“I’m a quitter,” I thought.

I sat there for probably 5 more minutes or so as I adjusted my body in the seat every 15 seconds.

Finally, I looked at the guy who was sleeping in front of me, said to myself “he gave up, I won’t give up,” and stood up with confidence and power.

As I stood up, I had a strong visual that can only be described as coming up out of a hell-like place and coming into a positive space.

I could distinctly see that the sleeping man was still in that hell and I wanted him to come up to where I was.

About a minute later his friend woke him up and he stood up. I genuinely felt happy for him since he was able to remove himself from that dark place. ?

I felt as if he realized this too and that we were on the exact same journey together.

I felt extremely strong.

I remember flexing my legs and abs and feeling whole in my body. Feeling as if I could do anything if I simply thought of it.

Lesson three

This was the end of the third level. I learned that I must face my fears and accept the challenge, not back down simply because it’s scary.

For the next 10–20 minutes I kind of went in and out of different emotions and reactions, but nothing too severe.

I started to notice a trend. This was the first time I realized that I was going through different levels and each one had a lesson for me to learn.

I started looking out for the next lesson which was kind of frightening.

“Don’t most people just enjoy the show!? Why can’t I?”

Level Four — Set Break

I couldn’t tell you how long the first set was. But if I had to guess, it was probably a little over an hour or so.

Apparently, bands who play shows such as this one take set breaks in the middle of the show [this was new to me]. They announce set break and walk off the stage.

The lights come on and everyone socializes. ?

Well, this was another level for me. Maybe the hardest of them all, but also the most important.

Shoshanna was also on her first Psilocybin [mushroom] journey as intense as this one.

We began talking. Or should I say, she began talking and I tried with all my might to listen.

I struggled with communication.

I would be extremely interested to hear what she had to say but would lose track shortly after she began speaking.

I think this had something to do with me being hyper-aware about everything to the point where I couldn’t process one thing at a time.

I would hear her first few sentences and then fade into deep inner thought about what was happening to me, if it was normal, what it meant, and how long it would last.

I would be thinking about my appearance and what I just said.

“Am I making sense? Am I speaking English? Is she speaking English?”

“Why is that guy looking at me, does he know I’m tripping?”

I was also trying to seem as if I had everything under control.

This was exactly the problem.

She continued to talk about the show and the music and how amazing it was [one of her favorite bands].

“Are you talking about the music or….” I said.

“I’m talking about the same thing you’re talking about.” She would say.


I would laugh in amazement to the fact that we were both thinking about an extremely deep subject even though it sounded like she was just talking about how she liked the music.

This initiated a back and forth telepathic interaction where I felt as if we were literally thinking the same thing.

I believe in many ways we actually were.

This Next Part is Hard to Explain

Shoshanna began to explain how everyone there is connected. How everyone is both conscious and human in the most beautiful way.

I started taking this to mean we were not actually human, but much, much more. ?

I would ask her things like, “Then why are we in this human form? What is the point of all this [sounds scary I know, but it was a completely controlled thought].

She would go on to explain that we are still human. There is just much more to being human than we thought.

I remember it taking me a while to fully understand this concept, but once I did it was groundbreaking. ?

I began to see this experience as a secret club that you could only get into by facing your fears, lowering your human walls, and opening up your soul to love and light. Or taking Psilocybin mushrooms.

I Felt Honored to Finally Be There

I would look around the theatre to see other people looking around like I was. It felt as if every single person in the room was going through what I was going through and making the same realizations.

I would even make eye contact with some people and feel as if we were communicating telepathically.

I began to experience immense love for everything and everyone.

A lot of the battle in this level was letting go of the ‘human stuff.’

For example, my hair would fall into my face and my reaction was to fix it right away before anyone saw how dumb it looked.

Then I would say, “oh yeah, I’m human, who cares!”

As I started to let go of my ego and insecurities, I become happier and could enjoy the trip more.

“And we’re back,” Shoshanna said as the light dimmed and the band walked back out.

Level Five

I saw a clear break between the levels at this point.

The first few levels were the hardest. The set break was like going over a test to see how I did and what I learned.

The second half was nothing short of amazing and blissful.

I was loving and laughing [otherwise know as loaghing] at every small realization I had. I couldn’t believe that I didn’t know or understand any of this until now.

I would get lost in the music. Especially the guitarist. Since I play the guitar, I had a special connection with him and the way he played.

It was calming.

Keep in mind, this is a jam band. So whenever there were words, I would here exactly what I needed to hear.

Every lyric would somehow connect to my life and guide me somewhere.

Sometimes I could confidently make out was he was saying and other times I heard only noises but knew exactly what he was saying.

There were no real challenges in this level. Instead, I was able to share this lovely experience with Shoshanna whereas during the first set I wanted to be left alone.

Level Six — Trip to The Bathroom

“I have to pee.”

I said to Shoshanna.

As if she had some groundbreaking solution that didn’t involve me walking to the bathroom and peeing.

“Go to the bathroom,” she said.

“Oh…you mean like walk through all these people and find the bathroom on my own!? But how?” I thought. ?

I am not sure what got me to this point, but I saw this as another important level. I had made it this far, I might as well continue on this journey.

So I slowly squeezed past dozens of people, made it out of the crowd and smiled. I made it through the hard part!

Now I have to go into the bathroom and hope no one says anything to me.

As I walk past a man who just left the bathroom, he had a look on his face like he was also tripping.

I took this to mean that he had just passed the level I am currently on.

I remember laughing and thinking, “good for him! If he can do it so can I.”

And that was all the confidence I needed to successfully use the toilet.

As I walked out of the bathroom, Shoshanna was walking out of the ladies room at the same time. This validated my thinking that this whole thing is planned for us by the universe.

We laughed and talked for a bit before making it back to our seat with ease.

I passed level six with flying colors. ?

The Grand Finale

As I began to enjoy my trip, I was also confronted with thoughts like, “I am so happy I was able to come through and enjoy this challenge, but I am ready for it to be over.”

It’s like I was trying to get to the end of the show so I could say, “Okay, I made it through my first trip without embarrassing myself too much.”

I also didn’t want risk dipping down to more negative thoughts again.

Well, this was my final challenge.

I knew I needed to be comfortable with this show lasting forever. I needed to live in the present and enjoy the moment more.

So I did.

I surrendered to the fact that this show could last forever and I would enjoy every single second of it. Every note and every word.

Shortly after that, the show began to come to an end.

I looked over at the owl.

He was staring deep into my soul with big yellow eyes and a grin on his face that said…

“Proud of you.”

Major Takeaway

This compound provided me with very real lessons. It uncovered truths that were already there the entire time.

It showed me what was possible, but it didn’t implement these lessons into my ‘real life’. It instead showed me what was possible and left it up to me to act on them in ‘the real world,’ which so far I have.

I learned that it is a tool that can guide you through some of your deepest fears and insecurities.

There were many other small lessons within my journey that I didn’t speak about.

Overall, the trip was challenging and life-changing.

Don’t be afraid to look at the owl.

Photo by James & Carol Lee on Unsplash

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