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The Bathsalt of Psychedelics: 5 Stories About a Drug You Should Never Try

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Have you ever heard of Datura, or Jimson Weed? If you haven’t, you are probably lucky.

This article is for the purpose of encouraging people not to ever try this drug. Almost every single person who tries it ends up in the hospital, and most people nearly die.

However, the experiences reported by people who tried it are incredibly insightful, about just how far the human mind can go to create illusions under the influence of a substance. The following stories are fascinating and extremely entertaining, while also horrifying. There is certainly something to be learned from them.

It seems that around 2010, a lot of people experienced a surge of interest in psychedelic drugs. At least this was my experience. At the age of 14, I became obsessed with reading trip reports on Erowid.org. I remember reading several of these Datura stories 7 years ago, and now upon revisiting them, I’m realizing how informative and relevant they are.

Here are 5 stories of people experiencing the “bathsalt of psychedelics,” from Erowid.

A Brush with Death and Total Confusion

My memories of this event are patchy at best, but through talking to the people involved I’ve patched them together in a logical order. I came very close to death and I do not reccomend datura as a recrational drug, though having survived the experience it was terrifying, incredible, and life changing. I still have trouble dealing with the emotions I experience when I look back on it. This document is perhaps a theraputic tool I am using to deal with it once and for all. All names have been changed.

Philadelphia, Thanksgiving break, junior year of high school. My best friend (and, as of 2008, my wife) Amanda slept over my house. We were big potheads at the time but had never experimented with anything else. We woke up early to go to our friend Jeremiah’s house because he grew weed and we wanted to celebrate the break by smoking all day. I drank a beer I stole from my dad on the way there.

When we got there, a strange smell filled the house. His parents were away, and he had a pot of a strange amber liquid on the stove. Jeremiah was an interesting kid. He appeared to be a run of the mill street thug, but he was very interested in botany. He would see plants in people’s yards and he would know their latin name and all these facts about them. When we got there, we asked him what the stuff was. He called it datura loco. I had never heard of it. He said he got the seeds on the internet and planted it and made a ‘tea’ from its seeds. He told me it had similar affects to weed, which was quite false. We smoked a blunt, but I was still intrigued. We hung out for a while, and decided to go to Amanda’s house and watch a movie.

Before we left, I asked Jeremiah for some of the datura tea. He put about 4 shot glasses worth in an empty water bottle and we left. On the way to Amanda’s house, I drank it all. The dose was for both of us, but Amanda didn’t want any, so I drank it all. It was the worst tasting thing ever, but I forced myself to drink it all. We arrived at her house and sat down to watch a movie. She put on herbie fully loaded. Luckily, I don’t remember any of it. Some time through the movie, I felt extremly thirsty. Since it was autumn, I poured myself a glass of apple cider. It was difficult to drink. Every time I took a sip, I felt like my throat was closing up. I tried to drink it but my thirst would not be quenched. We sat a little longer, then I began feeling very uncomfortable. I had to pee. I got up and went to the bathroom and nothing would come out. I stayed there for about ten minutes but could not pee. I decided to ignore it and I went back to the couch.

After the movie, our friend Samantha came to take us to our friend Rob’s house to smoke more. By the time she arrived, I was speaking mostly nonsense. I felt like I was talking normally, but neither of them could understand, so it was kind of frustrating. We got in Sam’s car. On the ride I thought I was smoking a cigarette, but I kept dropping it and then I wouldn’t be able to find it. This would continue for the next three days. We got to Rob’s house and they all smoked another blunt. They didn’t give me any, but I didn’t notice, I was still smoking my imaginary cigarettes and speaking gibberish. I went into Rob’s bathroom and tried to pee again. In my mind I still couldn’t pee. From what I found out later, I actually peed all over the floor and the walls. I also took all of his family’s toothbrushes and put them in my pocket. I do not know why. They all went outside to smoke another blunt and I did too. As they were smoking, I wandered away and they found me about an hour later in a neighbor’s yard talking to a pine tree. I do not remember why.

This is where my memory gets better. We left rob’s house and went to a party at my friend John’s house. Again, I smoked imaginary cigarettes the whole way there. I had no idea who I was, where I was, or who I was with and I had given up communicating because no one could understand me. When we got there, a lot of my friends were there, and John’s mom, who I had known since kindergarden. It was his birthday and there were ballons. The ballons moved around and seemed to follow me. Their shape shifted between squares, circles, and triangle. I continued to smoke imaginary cigarettes. At first no one noticed my state because I was keeping quiet, I was standing in the corner because I was afraid of the balloons. John’s mom saw me and came over to talk. She asked me about college, and I replied. To me I gave her a logical answer, but to her I was still speaking gibberish. She knew I was on something and took me to my parents, who in turn took me to the hospital.

This is where it gets messy.

On the walk back to my parent’s house, each piece of sidewalk I stepped on seemed to shatter away. I was terrified because I didn’t want to fall through but jolts of electricity ran through me when I tried to run. My parents were panicked and rushed me to the hospital because they didn’t even know I smoked weed at the time. When I got to the hospital, they took me right away. To me the doctors and nurses looked like monsters and I kept trying to get out of my chair and run. They had to physically restrain me. I didn’t even recognize my parents at this point. When they got a bed for me, they held me down and took my clothes off. I fought them as best I could, but any fast movement would send a shock of electricity through my body. I punched and kicked the nurses a few times but was unsuccessful in my attempt to escape. Eventually they calmed me down. One of the doctors told me he was a wizard and had a magic potion to cure me. He handed me a cup of black liquid and told me to drink it. It was charcoal to pump my stomach, which was futile because it had been hours since I took it. I gulped the drink and vomited everywhere.

Fast forward a little, no memory. Apparently at this point my kidneys were shutting down, so they had to put a tube in my penis so that I could pee. That was not fun at all. I remember screaming alot and trying to fight, but I was tied down.

Fast forward a little more. I was now in a different room. Chewbaca was next to my bed. I was tied to the bed still and all sorts of i.v.s were in me. I kept trying to rip them out so they had to put a lot of tape on them. Again, the imaginary cigarette came back. I smoked it for a while, then dropped it in my sheets. I tried to look for it, but instead I found the stick shift from my car. I looked up and I was driving down the street all of the sudden. I drove for a while and then went to hit the breaks, but they were gone. I kicked my feet but the sheets were covering them. Then I was back in the hospital room. I looked at the small fan in the room and a strange miniature girl was crouched behind it staring at me. I was scared of her and told chewbaca to take the fan out, and he did. I found out later chewbaca was my dad.

Next thing I knew, I was in Amanda’s dorm room smoking a bowl like I had been a few weeks ago. All of the same people were there, and that day replayed itself almost entirely. Then I was back in the hospital bed. This vision of the dorm room and the vision of driving my car kept happening over and over, interspersed with being in the hospital bed next to chewbaca. The whole time I kept dropping the imaginary cigarette I was smoking.

Three days later, I woke up in the hospital bed feeling like I was hit by a train. I still had the pee tube and was hooked up to i.v.s. I had only a few memories of the past 4 days but they made no sense to me. As I write this, I realize again how patchy the memory is. My parents were there, and explained to me what happened. They called Amanda to find out what I took. They told me my kidneys stopped working for almost two days and just now were working again and my heart rate jumped from dangerously low to dangerously high over and over. The doctors gave me a 50% chance of survival. I spent the next day in i.c.u. before they release me. I was extremely weak for the next 5 or 6 days and they made me go to a drug councelor.

Over the next three years I did many drugs heavily and developed some serious problems. Any time I did acid or shrooms I would see that small girl behind the fan and it creeped the hell out of me. 8 months ago, I went to jail and then to rehab, and I have not used drugs since then. Datura was the first step in a long road of drug abuse, and looking back I wish it scared be straight. I still wish I remembered more of what happened, but maybe its best I don’t.”

A Tale of Nudity, Arrest & Insanity…..

Here’s a life changing experience for ya’ll….I was just re-reading the stories in the Datura vault, and I decided that my experience would be one that folks would like to read.

So, let’s go back a ways…to August 22, 1998, a date that will live in infamy for me. At the time, I had just finished my first year in college, and had been working with relatives in Mississippi that summer to save money & go out to work as a roofer in New Mexico with a college buddy. My father thought I was ‘wasting my time’ dropping out of college to go roam about the country, but I was ready to get out of my home state of Louisiana and take to the road.

The road led to Dallas, TX, where my buddy (we’ll call him Lucifer) was staying with another friend (let’s call her E)for a time. The plan was for me to leave Mississippi, go home to Louisiana, and storm out to Dallas……to be free from the clutches of home for the first time of my life. The day I left Louisiana for Texas, I felt a trememdous surge of freedom, almost orgasmic in it’s implications. I felt like I had been released from a kind of prison, & was ready to hit Dallas and party for a week before heading on to New Mexico with Lucifer.

The stage is set…..

I arrive in the sprawling metropolis, and experience the debilitating effects of the worst heat wave in the city in years. (Temps were up over 110 with the heat index) It was godawful hot, ya’ll! I make my way through the scramble to E’s apartment she shared with her mother (a cool hippie type) There, I reunited with my good friends, and we chill and get stoned, catching up on each other’s summer adventures up to that point. Eventually, we feel like going out, so Lucifer goes off to visit a girlfriend and E & I go to her boyfriend’s apartment complex to go swimming in the pool.

I put on my shorts, placing my wallet & keys into my luggage (an action I was very glad I did later on) and we went off to take a nice cool dip. We arrive, I meet E’s boyfriend for the first time, and we splash around for a while. As it starts to get dark, an inpromptu party erupts around the pool, a keg gets brought out, and everyone proceeds to get fucked up, Texas style. The complex seemed to house many college-aged party kids, so there was just partiers coming out of the woodwork! All different kinds of folks, from ghetto gangstas to rave kids to cowboys crowded around, having a mellow time. But this benevolent vibe didn’t last for very long. A couple of people pull knives, and I hear someone say, ‘He’s got a gun’ so everyone scatters. We all run into E’s boyfriend’s apartment to escape the carnage.

Inside, everyone chills out, and soon the bong’s going around & the beer is flowing again. I check out the motely collection of people around me: I didn’t know a soul, but everyone seemed to be fairly cool, and ready to seriously get down. I had no idea that one of the party attendes was about to unveil something for which there is no words, no explanations, just a magic plant that takes you to the edge of death, and pushes you right over.

That’s right, kiddies, enter Jimson Weed onto the stage….

Now, I was familiar with Jimson Weed, having read Carlos Castaneda’s experiences with this plant ally. But I had no idea what awaited me……..

This guy pulls out a gallon size Ziploc baggie, about halfway filled with some kind of seed. ‘This, everyone, is Jimson Weed. It’ll make you trip for like, two days…usually, I charge 40 bucks for a dose (indicating that a handfull was a dose) but I’ll dose anyone who wants to for free.’

Good god, when someone starts handing out drugs, I’m usually first in line, but the earlier violence outside & the fact that I knew no one there kept me from swallowing the seeds that the dealer handed to me. I decided to wait for my friend Lucifer to return from his girls’ house to see if he wanted to trip. A couple of other fellows immediately swallow their handfulls. (In retrospect, after reading hundreds of trip reports on this substance, this guy’s recommended dose was WAY too much, I don’t even think calling this a ‘heroic dose’ is doing it justice) I sit and watch to see what the seeds will do to these guys….then after about ten minutes, I’m like ‘fuck it’ and down the seeds with a swig of beer.

Five minutes later, I know I’m fucked.

One of the guys starts to stare at the wall, unblinking, unresponsive. His behavior is weird because earlier, he had been very lively, but now he was catatonic. I mean this guy was out of it! People started to get worried, when the guy suddenly comes to, leaps up, and dashes out the door. (Later on, the guy said that he realized he was in for the trip of his life, so he went to his apartment, locked himself inside, and spent the next two days destroying his place & locked into the worst form of insanity.) The other guy stood up like the other dude, but started to run into walls as hard as he could. Everyone tried to restrain him, but it was like he was on PCP or something.

Oh shit, I thought, I’m about to become VERY fucking derranged. It was a horrible feeling, and a few minutes later, I started to get the worst stomach cramps of my life,and my body told me, ‘You’ve just poisoned yourself badly, and you might not make it.’

I got very scared, and ran into the bathroom where my stomach proceeded to turn itself inside out. I think this action probably saved my life. After I was finished, I had this feeling like I had drank a couple of cases of beer, and my legs were so wobbly I couldn’t hardly walk. Every muscle in my body felt flabby and loose. I returned to the living room, where I felt concern from people…..E was repeatedly asking me, ‘Are you OK?’ I tried to tell her I wasn’t, but my tongue wouldn’t work properly. At about this time, I started to feel like there were insects crawling around under my skin, an EXTREMELY uncomfortable sensation. It was so bad that I began to claw at my flesh in order to rip them out. The last thing I remembered was leaping up off of the couch, and running out the door, then, blackness.

I don’t know what happened, it was like being in a dream…..entities swirled around me, I had the vague sensation of being around people, but my memories of this time are kinda like recalling a hazy dream…nothing was substantial.

Finally, I woke up. It was morning, and I was in an apartment, lying on the floor curled up in a fetal position, naked. How I had arrived at this particular point in space & time was a mystery to me. My eyes were dry as a desert, and my contacts were sticking to my eyelids, making everything look really fuzzy. The odd thing was, it was like I had woken up into a dream, but I was aware that the dream was ‘consensus reality’ but a dream, nonetheless. I felt incredibly happy, and full of elation. Suddenly, I was aware of human presences entering the room. Intrigued, I studied them to become aware of their intent. One of the people seemed to be a average middle-aged man, but to my surprise, the other two were wearing uniforms and were armed. ‘Why, it’s the police!’ I thought. ‘But why are they here? What is going on?’

The police came over to me and started to ask me questions. I couldn’t tell if they were real or not, but I jabbered my jaws in a manner resembling speech, and they seemed satisfied with my answers. One of the officers gets a bedsheet from somewhere and wraps it around me, toga-style. I thought I had changed into someone from Ancient Greece, and couldn’t figure out why my hands were being cuffed. Surely the Greeks need their hands free! I was led out into the bright sunshine, when I realized just how thirsty and sensitive to light my eyes were. But I was just having the greatest time getting arrested! It was like I was aware of this happening to me, but I was so far away, I was like, ‘It’s a dream, and I’ll wake up back in my bed in Louisiana.’ So I went along with the officers to see where they would take me. Along the way, I tried to make jolly conversation from the backseat, realizing that I’m being arrested. ‘So tell me, gentlemen, what exactly am I being arrested for?’ They wouldn’t respond. ‘Oh well, I thought, and continued my conversation with the other people in the backseat with me. It was weird, I was talking to this guy in the backseat and he promptly dissappeared! But I really wasn’t disturbed by this.

The cops continued to ply me with questions, like ‘Which day is this? The year? Who’s the President’, and other such inanities. I answered them all with gusto & personality, because I wanted them to like me. In response to their question, ‘So what drugs do you like to do?’ I responded, ‘Well, I just got really drunk at the kegger last night, officer, and I just don’t know what happened after that!’ Now that I look back on that, I am glad I instinctly knew to not admit the fact that I was blasted on Jimson Weed, therby saving me three days in the Psycho Ward.

We pull into the giant structure located in the heart of Dallas which is the Dallas county jail. I was led into the heart of processing, and I was convinced that I was in an airport for some reason, what with all of the hubbub around me. My toga kept falling off, revealing my nakedness to hundreds of people, but I was so far out there, I didn’t even notice until cops kept putting my sheet back on. After the volley of fingerprinting & paperwork, I was led into a single cell and given an orange jumpsuit to wear. Man, getting locked into a cell while mad on Jimson Weed is something to behold. I immediately realized my situation, and got ‘serious’ in a dissociated sort of way. It was the first time I had ever been in jail, but the emotional impact of this was lost on me, as I was totally oblivious to everything. It was like the feeling you get when you wake up out of a deep sleep, you know, that ‘out of it’ feeling? It was like that, except about 100 times stronger. I tried to get my faculties in order, but was tripping so hard still, I couldn’t do anything but wait.

I think I was put in my cell at about eight in the morning, and stayed in there until about ten o’clock at night. It was like I turned on my ‘survival mode’, and even ate the shitty prison food, because I knew I needed to keep up my strength. As the day wore on, I started to come back to reality, and I started to worry about exactly what I had done to get here. Had I killed somebody? Attacked someone? I had no idea of the seriousness transgression that had landed me here, and no one would tell me. Finally, at long last, a jailer came and let me out, handcuffing me to a group of about ten other people. ‘Okay, people, it’s time to go see the judge!’

Alright, I thought, now I get to find out what I had done. After arriving in the courtroom, the judge scrolled down the list, and finally, when she got to my name, I feared the worst. The charge:

Disorderly Conduct.

‘Whew,’ I thought, ‘doesn’t sound so serious!’ I was elated in a way. The next thing I know, I’m going through another set of corridors to stand in another line. The friendly jailer keeps us all there, joking about what we were we all going to do when we got out. ‘I bet ya’ll all will go get drunk, huh?’ he grinned, and looked at me, ‘What in the hell did you do’? ‘I don’t know, but I got seriously wasted last night and got into some shit!’ Everyone laughed, as obviously I was on very powerful drugs and probably looked like shit. The jailer gives me some street clothes and shoes ( I had been wandering around the jail all day shoeless as well) and miraculously, lets us go!

I was elated, until I realized I had no money, had no idea where I was, and was still tripping VERY fucking hard. In jail, I had been surrounded by a lot of people, and I kept feeling like they were all still around me. I was at a loss of what to do, so I just set out walking. Spirits kept revolving around me, kinda like the way electrons surround an atom. As I walked, my trip seemed to grow in intensity. I recall myself just having great conversations with all of my friends, then just realizing, ‘Wait, they aren’t here,’ and then seeing another one of my friends walking beside me and renewing my conversation. I remember seeing Lucifer, and running up to him to tell him about my experience so far. ‘Man, you should have kept me from the cops, like, what the fuck, dude!’ and he would just smile and then disappear. Eventually, I found myself rapidly walking out of town into some weird area, the kind of place I’d normally be paranoid driving through at night sober….not to mention on foot, out of my head on Jimson Weed. Amazingly, I felt no fear, as the spirits surrounding me revealed themselves to be my ‘guardian angels’. They were spirits of my ancestors, and of people I had never met. I somehow knew they were gonna help me survive this experience, and keep me from harm.

I decided to walk back into the city, and a new problem manifested itself. As I stated previously, Dallas was in the middle of a heat wave, and I was desprately hot & thirsty. Earlier that summer, I had suffered heat exhaustion, and I felt my body slipping back into that state. My survival instinct kicked in, and I managed to keep myself hydrated by drinking out of water sprinklers and gutters. I knew if I didn’t keep myself hydrated, I would die. I imagine that a lot of the thirst was directly caused by the Jimson Weed, man, that stuff just sucks it out of you!

I finally reached a point, after walking around the city for several hours, that my body needed rest, so I found a spot under an overpass with an spectacular view of the city. I went to sleep, and woke up at dawn. Immediately upon waking, I resumed my walking. My delierium seemed to be increasing as the day progressed & the temperature climbed. It seemed like I just couldn’t keep enough fluids in me, and that I was slowly dying. Suddenly, I had a flash of memory. I remembered the name of the street that E’s apartment was on! Encouraged by this recall, I asked everyone I ran into until I was pointed in the right direction. ‘It’s about six miles that way,’ said some denizen of the city.

Great. Another six miles in this heat, along the side of one of the main expressways in the city. It was like the Battan Death march to me, I knew that I was in a struggle for my life-and there was no more water to be found. I knew I was getting very close, but the heat exhaustion claimed me, and I knew my situation was getting critical. I called on my guardian spirits to help me, but they were nowhere to be found. Out of the blue, I hear a cry, ‘Hey man, come over here and get some water! You don’t look so good!’
I looked to where the voice was coming from, and spied a city workcrew, and a black man was waving me over to their water cooler. At first, I thought these were imaginary people like all of the rest, but then a took a swig of water and realized that the spirits had saved me once again. I looked at the man who had called me over, and realized that his spirit was one of the ones that had accompanied me since I had gotten out of jail. He was like a redeeming angel. I gushed thanks to him, and asked him if I was close to the street I was looking for. ‘Yeah, it’s right over there, about a couple of blocks up.’ Eureka! I was going to survive after all!

I stagger the rest of the way to the street, and then follow it to the apartment building where E lived. I went to her door, and knocked. Lucifer opens the door, and totally flips out. We were very glad to see one another, as they all thought I was dead. I don’t remember anything except falling out on the floor in a dead faint, aware that I had made it out of the most trying event of my life.

The Aftermath

It took me about four days to get back to ‘normal’. I had to use a cane to walk for about a week after, as my body had been smashed like I had been in a motorcycle accident. Evidently I had fallen repeatedly during my blackout phase. I pieced together what had happened to me with the help of people who had been at the party. Seems that I had jumped up out of the apartment, took off all of my clothes, and spent the rest of the evening jumping in and out of the pool (accounting for all of the abrasions & lacerations suffered from banging into concrete repeatedly) What got the cops called was that I started to go up to people’s apartments (stark naked, of course) and saying, ‘I am the TERMINATOR,’ then laughing gleefully and running away. So I didn’t do anything too bad. The worst thing that came out of the entire ordeal was that E’s boyfriend got kicked out of his apartment because of my behavior. Turns out the guy who had been with the cops when I came to was the apartment manager, and that my arrest was enough to get E’s boyfriend & roomates kicked out. Pretty weak reasoning, but shit happens, I guess. Surprisingly, the boyfriend & roomates weren’t really mad at me, saying ‘It could have happened to any one of us, dude.’ I was decent and helped them move their shit out, while I did this, I had all of these people who lived in the complex make comments like, ‘Fucked up, weren’t ya?’ and ‘nice ass’ and shit like that. Hey, I would have laughed at me too!

I will NEVER do Jimson Weed again, but I am glad for the experience. If any of ya’ll do it, be out somewhere FAR AWAY from civilization, with plenty of good trip-sitters. And prepare to have one foot in the land of the dead, and one in the land of the living for about three days. This experience changed me as much as my first acid trip did, but this plant will make you realize what death is all about. It was said that Jim Morrison, known for his seemingly superhuman ability to consume substances without any ill effect was permanently changed by this weed, as was I. Be careful, ya’ll, and stay away from this stuff, because its trip is a death trip.

Love and light……..”

Eating Bugs While My Friends Convulsed

“My first and last datura experience started with me and 2 friends sitting around at a house deciding to rip off a Datura plant. After finding one and tearing a few flowers off it we sat at mates house and boiled it all up for half an hour and drunk about 3 cups each.

Now I’m a very experienced drug user but what happened next I was totally unprepared for…

At first the only feeling I felt was extreme muscle tiredness and I was almost un-able to stand. Neither could my friends. BANG! I’m at my friend’s flat chatting to his flatmate, I say ‘I want to go home now’. He says ‘you are home’. I say ‘I want to go to home where my mum lives’. SHE says ‘I am your mum’. BANG! I suddenly realize I am at home, its almost midday. As my memory comes back I remember smoking many invisible cigarettes, thinking my mum and brother were friends of mine, talking to invisible people. Basicly not knowing where, what, how, or why.

I later found out I had been crawling on the floor, where we originally drunk the datura, eating ‘bugs’ while my friend convulsed and foamed at the mouth. When his straight sister called the ambulance, I lept off the balconey in pursuit of a friend who was actully on the other side of the house. Then my mum was called (by whom I still don’t know) and she took me home where I spent hours rolling imaginary joints, snorting imaginary lines, talking to thin air about crap and basically scaring the shit out of my family.

One friend wound up in some bushes with no belt, pants around his knees ‘listening’ to music. The other was in hospital in a morphine induced coma. He was released the next day. He had been on anti-depressants and that fucked him up.

I can tell you its a very disturbing experience to take a drag on your ciggerate and find out you dont have one.. Or to talk to your brother about himself thinking he’s someone else… or having your friends come round to see how you are, having a long chat with them only to realize they are not there. I cannot remember it all as it was only three days ago and I can’t operate properly (its taken 2 hrs so far to write this because i cant see).

I do remeber trying to smoke my belt, throwing my cat in the bathtub, thinking my mum was Spike Milligan. The list goes on.”

I Lost My Pets and Almost Burned the House Down

“I am in my mid thirties and have tried many different things in my time (lsd, mescaline, mushrooms, etc. I would call myself experienced with hallucinogenic, which were always fun for me especially when I was younger. This experience was not one of those times. I must mention that I was trying to make a very light dose to just see what the effects would be. I did not intend to become incapacitated. Although I tried to document my experience exactly, I soon realized this was an impossibility. Here is what I do know.

11:00 AM
I boiled exactly 10 leaves about 6-8 inches long in 8 cups of water for 10 minutes. This was the first time with this plant and I didn’t want to overdo it. I took it off the burner and let it steep for a few minutes. As that was cooling I made a pitcher of really sweet tea from concentrated dry tea mix. Then I filled 20oz glass with ice and filled the cup halfway with tea. I then filled the rest of the glass with the leaf brew. I ended up using only about 6-8 oz of the brew.

11:30 AM
I drank the tea all at once. It tasted quite nasty even though it was heavily sweetened. It only took me a few minutes. I then removed the leaves from the pot, threw them away, and the pot with the remaining brew back on the stove.

11:45 AM
I started to wonder if I had enough and thought it a good idea to make another glass. So I did, exactly as before and drank it quickly as well. This time I noticed it was a little hard to get down though, almost like my throat was closing up making feel like I was choking. I started to walk back to the couch and realized I felt funny, like my body was drunk but my mind perfectly coherent. From this point on, I cannot tell you the exact timing of anything else because although I didn’t realize it yet, I lost track of all time and reality.

12 ish (maybe)
Oh shit! I am totally wasted. I am sitting on the couch and notice things are really strange. Corners of the walls turning into spider webs, very blurry vision. I was watching TV but realized I can’t really see it anymore or understand what they’re saying. I forgot to mention I was alone, for now, my wife and daughter were due back late that afternoon. More on that later. I never intended to be this messed up. So I decided to get up off the couch and go the bathroom. I realized then that it would take every effort, almost herculean strength just to get off the couch.

Finally I got up off the couch and stumbled to the bathroom and caught a glimpse of myself in the mirror. Oh my God! The first thing I noticed was that my eyes were completely dilated. Then I looked down at my hands, I had a hard time focusing but when I finally did I realized they were beet red. I mean red. Worse than the worst sunburn you have ever seen. I looked back up at my face in the mirror and I finally came into focus again I realized my face looked the same. Now I am freakin. My whole body was red, from head to toe. I need to mention at this point that I still felt like I was still there mentally. All I noticed were these physical problems. Completely dilated pupils, inability to focus, beet red skin.

I decide that I had better try to puke up whatever I could so tried. Only a little came up, more like an acid reflux type thing. Except now I have a bigger problem, my throat is closing up. Breathing was difficult and I had dry mouth like never before. No amount of water would satisfy. And every time I tried to drink it felt like was going to choke. I must mention that although I thought at the time my mind was still rational; I realize later that I was far from rational. Even still I calmly (even though I felt I was dying) went to my computer to look up websites to try to find out if there was a way to reverse the effects I was having.

Somehow I made it to a site ( I think) but then realize I couldn’t read it. Every word on the page was gibberish, it didn’t make any sense. I knew the answer was somewhere but I couldn’t find it. Looking back, I estimate I spent hours on the computer staring blindly at the screen. At the time I thought it was minutes. I went outside to smoke a cig and realized I couldn’t see anything outside; it was way too bright, so I came back in quickly.

I then thought of how fucked up I was and that I need to warn my daughter of the danger of this drug (she’s 12). I went into her room and started to lecture her about the danger of drugs and to never try it and pick good friends,and so on. I remember thinking how good she is being. She sat quietly and listened to me intently. When I thought I made my point, I got up to leave and realized she left the room. I was pissed. How could she just walk away like that. I went out in the living room to complain and realized she wasn’t there. Nobody was there. I was still alone.

I remember feeling at that point like I am in trouble. What have I been doing. I must note that I still had all of the symptoms I had earlier, The most troubling being I stumbled everywhere I went; my body was beet red still, and choked every time I tried to drink something. I wondered how long it had been. I don’t remember exactly what time it was when I looked but I did realize it was a lot longer than I thought. I recall thinking my family would be home soon. I realize later I lost several hours doing what I don’t know. Then they came home. All of a sudden there she was: My Wife and boy did she look pissed. After what happened earlier though, I didn’t believe it was actually her. This part of the story is now her recollection of what she came home to. She is a paramedic by the way, too. She said she came home, opened the front door and smoke came pouring out of the house. She ran to notice that the stove was on fire. There I was just standing there, looking off into space. She was screaming at me ‘ what the hell is wrong with you’. I remember saying nothing is wrong, but she says I was mumbling something about she needed to get off my back and go to bed. Then I saw my daughter run by and thought what was wrong with her. I didn’t realize then but she was scared shitless about what was going on. Then they left. Or had they even been there? I wondered. Oh, think I’ll go have a smoke. Then what seemed like a few minutes (actually hours) they came back.

We have pets by the way too. Three dogs and a cat. When they came home the second time, all the animals were gone and the door was wide open. Now she’s really pissed, She screams to me about almost burning the house down and now all the pets were gone. I told her she was nuts and to get off my back. Then they both left again.

Damn, I thought, were they even there? I spent the rest of the night on the computer (mostly just staring at the monitor).

I woke up the next morning on the couch and had a talk with my wife. I still felt funny but the worst was over.

So this is what really happened.

My wife and daughter came home about 5:30 PM to find the stove on fire. She put out the fire. I must have taken the leaves out the garbage and tried to make more tea. The stove was scorched. I think I drank more tea but can’t be certain. She drilled me about what was going on. She said I wouldn’t tell her and kept telling her everything is cool. She asked me repeatedly what I was on but I wouldn’t tell her. She didn’t realize I was as bad off as I was. She was more mad than anything. So she and my daughter took off and came back about 8:30 PM. She found me on the computer and screamed this time say I lost the pets.

I could go on and on with more details but I don’t want to miss the point. I could have burned to death in this house. I could have choked to death, heart attack ( heart was racing too). I could have easily died. Those things didn’t happen but I will tell what did. It has been two months since this happened and I am still not the same. I hate to say its permanent, I hope not, but truth is, I screwed myself up. My throat is partially closed. I have trouble breathing when I sleep. I cough up liquids sometimes because it tries to go down my windpipe. I still see shit that is not there.

But worst of all is my brain. I can’t maintain my thoughts. I am a writer but I can’t focus anymore. It took me forever to write this.”

A Window to Insanity

After hearing my friends talk about there experiance with Jimson weed I figured I would like to be able to tell a story as crazy as them. I didnt know exactly what I was doing so I just ate one large ball (a little smaller than the size of a baseball), flesh, seeds, spikes and all. It was the most terrible tasting thing I have ever eaten in my life.

After about 10-15 mins or so I could feel almost like a hot poison was running through every bludvessel in my body and I started to feel a bit strange. It was getting to be late summer and the sun was going down and I had left my jacket at home so I decided to run back and get it, BIG mistake! Running caused my trip to excellerate and as I was running home there was a large silent vortex forming in the middle of the road, it was starting to swallow everything that was on the opposite side of the street. It was almost like the cars and buildings were painted on a big sheet of cloth and the vortex was pulling it down (kinda like the magic trick where you pull cloth out from under dishes) into the hole.

I cant remember getting to my house, but I do remember my mom finding me lying in the middle of the living room talking gibberish. Needless to say she freaked and took me to the hospital, I guess I had told her that I was shooting heroin into the ends of my toes. She had to help me to the car because I couldnt walk, and my mouth was soo dry it was painful. After I got in the passenger seat of my moms car, people I knew were appearing to me in the space between my legs under the dashboard. They were all curled up with there knees under their chins asking me where I was going, and soon as I would start to answer them they would vanish in a puff of silver sparkles. When I reached the hospital I couldnt remember my name anymore and I could just barely understand where I was, this was the beginning of the real intense hallucinations.

A lady and her kid were sitting across from me and my mom in the waiting room, at this point I was having severe audio hallucinations, I though there were people talking to me all the time but I couldnt really tell what they were saying. Every now and then I would yell ‘WHAT!’ at the lady and her kid; after yelling ‘WHAT ARE YOU SAYING TO ME!’ a couple of times she got freaked out and left. When it was our turn to see the nurse at the front desk I could no longer walk at all and I thought my mom was a fat man that ran a french fry wagon on the roof of the hospital. When the nurse began to ask my mom questions concerning my condition I would butt in loudly saying that this french fry guy should come over and meet my mom sometime cause they looked alot alike.

The next thing I remember is sitting on a hospital bed hooked up to heart machines, I kept thinking that the heart monitors stuck to my chest were someone’s headphones and that I needed to return them. I wasnt very happy being in the hospital, that is to say when I wasnt hallucinating that I was elsewhere (note: visual and audio hallucinations were soo intense I could not decipher between them and reality, much of my reality was made up of these hallucinations) ie: partying with my friends, sailing my yacht down the streets of London, reading ancient books in enormous libraries. So when I was cognisant of the fact that I was in a hospital I was looking for ways to escape. I had noticed that there was a space where the walls didnt meet with the floor and I figured I could get out through there. My wife (at that time she was my girlfriend) said she cant remember how many times they had to drag me back onto the bed after finding me trying to leopard crawl my way through an imagenary space in the wall.

I remember one instance when I was sitting on the bed where I could hear a very loud rusty screeching noise. Out of the tops of my eyes I could se a garage door opening in my forehead. Once it was up and had retracted back into my skull, small black triangles started flying out of my head, 100s of them! I then looked over at my girlfriend and asked her why she was crying so much (at that point in time I couldnt remember her name and she appeared to be a fat balding man with a greenish atomic glow). Some time after that I met a friend for the first time that night which would stay with me for the remaining three days of my insanity. He was a small albino chihuaua with a large cheshire cat type smile and red eyes. He was always asking me if I wanted a smoke, but his mouth never moved and he was always smiling. Whenever he went off to find me smokes he would always return a couple of min later with a single duhmorier hanging out of his pointed tooth smile, the agravating thing was that everytime I would light one and take a drag it would immediately burn all the way down to the brown filter and the melt into hot orange wax all over my hand.

My memories of this trip are very fragmented, I can only recall certain things I had done in the three days that I forgot my name. I remember nurses asking me by name, ‘Rob, do you remember your name?’, and I would answer ‘of course I dont, stop asking such stupid questions’ One time my girlfriend was asked to bring me into the bathroom to help get a urine sample out of me, but when she went to help mister happy pants out of his house I smacked her hand away violently, thinking that it had been a hungry cat. I cant really remember leaving the hospital with my mom but I do remember that strange green fat man sitting beside me in the back seat crying his face off because I couldnt remember who he was, hahaha. Thats about all I can remember, I think I came close to a lethal dose that night, I definately had the symptoms of being poisoned. Even havin moisture from ice chips touch my tongue was enough to make me cry from pain. I highly recommend using caution when taking this substance; I think I just got lucky.”

(Image credit: ericlawton, newfs, fairegarden)

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Consciousness

9-Year-Old Mexican Girl With Higher IQ Than Albert Einstein Already Studying to be Astronaut

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Adhara Pérez may only be nine years old, but she already has big dreams – which is only fitting, considering the Mexico City native has an IQ of 162, a score even higher than quantum scientists Albert Einstein and Stephen Hawking.

Adhara has been taking IQ tests since she was only four years old, and has been applying her considerable brain power to studying advanced subjects that some of us could only dream of grasping.

At the age of seven, she was already ranked by Forbes magazine in 2019 as one of the most powerful women in Mexico.

The young prodigy is already studying for two degrees: one is systems engineering at the Universidad CNCI, and the other is industrial engineering at UNITEC.

She’s also been invited to pursue a master’s degree in atmospheric science from the University of Miami; as well as an offer to study physics at the University of Israel.

To top it off, she’s been invited to join the Aeronautics Program in Alabama and to study Space Science at NASA, reports Telemundo. She hopes to eventually become an astronaut.

However, the youngster is aiming to continue her studies at the University of Arizona and is quickly learning English in hopes of preparing to pursue her dreams.

“I have to stay there for three months to learn and get accustomed to hearing and speaking English,” Adhara explained to NBC San Diego.

At the age of three, Adhara was diagnosed with autism and bullied by neighborhood kids in the Mexican capital for being different. The youngster eventually fell into a deep depression, but this also began her journey toward a brighter future.

Upon being placed in therapy by her mother, she underwent various IQ tests and got a score of 162 – two points higher than Einstein and Hawking, who each scored 160.

Upon finishing high school at the age of eight, she began working on her degrees online. She’s also already written a book about her experience being bullied and the need for perserverence.

Her advice?

“Do not give up, and if you don’t like where you are, start planning where you want to be!”

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7 Powerful Books That Will Unleash The Hidden Potential Of Your Mind

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“A mind needs books as a sword needs a whetstone, if it is to keep its edge.” ~George R.R. Martin

There it is: your mind –all leashed-up, bored, bookless and chasing its own tail in the corner. It’s time to unleash it. It’s time to toss it back into the shocking waters of wonder and awe. It’s time to distract it from the all too familiar tail (or tale, to wit), and give it a juicy carrot to chase around instead. Seven juicy carrots, to be exact.

So, store that leash, open up your mind, curl up with your best friend, and dive right on in to the following mind-unleashing books. But keep the light on. As Groucho Marx wittily opined, “Outside of a dog, a book is man’s best friend. Inside of a dog it’s too dark to read.”

1.) “The Beginning of Infinity” by David Deutsche

“We never know any data before interpreting it through theories. All observations are, as Popper put it, theory-laden, and hence fallible, as all our theories are.” ~David Deutsche

From epistemology and quantum fungibility to environmental ethics and societal evolution, David Deutsche takes us on a thought-provoking journey into answering a single question: Is there a limit to what can be understood? He comes at a mind-expending answer of “no” by diving deep into the expanding waters of epistemology and ontology. He profoundly claims that our understanding of anything is always at the “beginning of infinity” and there will always be an infinite amount more left for us to understand. Basically surmising that, with accurate and adaptable knowledge, anything is possible unless it is prohibited by the laws of physics.

Highly rational and integrating, The beginning of Infinity launches us into higher thinking on the path toward better and better explanations. He takes us from parochial, outdated ways of thinking to the concept of universality and updated ways of thinking about the universe as a thing to be progressively evolved into using ever-expanding technologies. Thus bridging the gap from man to overman. As he made clear, “There is only one way of thinking that is capable of making progress, or of surviving in the long run, and that is the way of seeking good explanations through creativity and criticism.”

2.) “Flow: The Psychology of Optimal Experience” by Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi

“Most enjoyable activities are not natural; they demand an effort that initially one is reluctant to make. But once the interaction starts to provide feedback to the person’s skills, it usually begins to be intrinsically rewarding.” ~Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi

Thanks to Csikszentmihalyi, the idea of the “flow state” has become a vital aspect of our cultural awakening. The optimal experience is gained through deep discipline in a particular field/art/sport that provides intrinsic reward, challenge, and feedback, thus integrating confidence, concentration, control, adaptability, and connectivity. Time stops or slows down. Insecurities disappear. We stop caring about what others think of us. A creative unfolding of something larger manifests. Everything flows effortlessly in interconnected unison with us as its interdependent spearhead. In short: we stop thinking and just do.

By simply asking the question, “When are people most happy?” Csikszentmihalyi, through time tested research, pinpoints flow states as the answer. Athletes call it “being in the zone,” mystics have described it as “ecstasy,” and artists term it “rapture.” Unleashing optimal experience is about doing what we love as a pathway toward greater meaning, happiness, and a self of higher complexity. By doing what we love in challenging ways, we leverage optimal experience into our lives. This book powerfully explains the psychology of this vital process.

3.) “Phi: A Voyage from the Brain to the Soul” by Giulio Tononi

“Murky thoughts, like murky waters, can serve two purposes only: to hide what lies beneath, which is our ignorance, or to make the shallow seem deep” ~Giulio Tononi

Phi takes the reader on a mind-altering journey through the nature of consciousness. It interweaves science, art, and the imagination with golden ratios, Fibonacci sequences, and fractal cosmology. The reader has the joy of perceiving the world through such masters as Galileo, Alan Turing, Darwin and Francis Crick, among others. From neuroscience to pseudoscience, from deep introspection to mindful meditation, Tononi elucidates on how consciousness is an evolving, ever-deepening awareness of ourselves as finite, spiritual beings in an infinite universe.

We learn how consciousness is integrated information and how the power of that integration requires the utmost responsibility and credulity. It teaches how the brain is the seat of our perceptions, and is a creative force par excellence, and can even create new shapes and new qualia. It teaches how, by growing consciousness, the universe comes more and more into being, and synthesizes the one and the many, the ego and the eco, the individual and the interdependence of all things into a unified force of Nature.

4.) “The Art of Fear” by Kristen Ulmer

““Everything is fine” is actually a copout, a stuck place, an obstruction to the exploration of who and what you are expanding into higher and further, not to mention the evolution of humanity.” ~Kristen Ulmer

The Art of fear is about curiously embracing fear rather than conquering or repressing it. It’s about rebuilding our understanding of fear from the ground up. It’s about realizing that Fear is only one of 10,000 employees at You Incorporated, and how they all need a voice. But Fear most of all, lest all voices become repressed shadows. The key to fear, she explains, is being curious about it, thereby harnessing its power rather than conquering it. Between courage and curiosity is everything we need to be fearless.

Ulmer’s personal journey with fear eventually led her to study with Zen masters, from which she learned a mindfulness tool called “Shift” which shifts our perspective of fear from ignorant repression to proactive curiosity, thus aligning it authentically with our true nature. The basic tenet being this: Instead of repressing fear, empower it, by being curious and questioning rather than judgmental and accusing. Honor it with deep respect so it doesn’t operate covertly in twisted ways beneath the surface.

5.) “Endgame: The Problem of Civilization” by Derrick Jensen

“Premise One: Civilization is not and can never be sustainable. This is especially true for industrial civilization.” ~Derrick Jensen

Endgame will take everything you think you know about being a social being in a seemingly functional society and turn it on its head. Definitely not for the typical statist, nor the faithful law-abiding citizen. Endgame is about the imperative need to immediately dismantle the unhealthy civilization that surrounds us. Endgame is a scathing, raging critique against the unhealthy, unsustainable, and ecologically unsound man-machine that is our modern culture.

Breaking the book down into a series of simple but increasingly provocative premises, Jensen takes us on a mind-bending and convincing ride into the unhealthy belly of the violent, ecocidal beast that is modern day civilization. His basic premise is simple: Industrial civilization is unsustainable. It’s not a question of “if” but a question of “when” it’s going to fail.

He argues that the longer it takes civilization to fall, the worse the tragedy will be. In that light, there are two things we should be doing: Bringing about the fall sooner rather than later; and preparing to survive it. His attitude is caustic and cavalier, but all the better for the shock value it provides. This book really flattens the box we’re all so desperately trying to think outside of. A complimentary (and perhaps less aggressive) read is Beyond Civilization by Daniel Quinn.

6.) Trickster Makes this World: Mischief, Myth, and Art by Lewis Hyde

“Better to operate with detachment, then; better to have a way but infuse it with a little humor; best, to have no way at all but to have instead the wit constantly to make one’s way anew from the materials at hand.” ~Lewis Hyde

Trickster Makes This World is a mythological cornerstone for Sacred Clowns and practicing trickster-gods the world over, digging into the guts of the primordial importance of sacred play and rowdy behavior. Hyde explores how trickster figures represent the “disruptive imagination” that inverts, rearranges, and overturns conventional wisdom. From Raven to Coyote, Monkey to Crow, Hermes to Loki, Eshu to Legba, Hyde reveals connections between mythological tricksters that form a hidden network that connects cultural divides.

The best part about this book is its ability to show how mythology becomes reality. “Trickster consciousness’” is a vital component of human imagination. It reveals that we are the gods of renewal and rebirth, if we choose to be. We are the creators of mischief and mayhem. We are the trickster gods in training. Trickster is us, and we are Trickster. We are the ultimate boundary-crossers. No manmade rules or laws can contain us, unless we let them. Even cosmic rules and laws can hardly contain us. Trickster makes this world by tearing the old world down through high humor, moral ambiguity, foolishness, and strategic transgression and then dances in the ashes of its destruction. But it is precisely from the dancing, the kicking up of dust and ash, where brave new worlds emerge.

7.) “Moral Tribes: Emotion, Reason, and the Gap Between Us and Them” by Joshua Greene

“We need a kind of thinking that enables groups with conflicting moralities to live together and prosper. In other words, we need a metamorality. We need a moral system that resolves disagreements among groups with different moral ideals, just as ordinary first-order morality resolves disagreements among individuals with different selfish interests.” ~Joshua Greene

Moral Tribes is hands-on moral psychology and a refreshing new take on utilitarianism. Greene wraps game theory, evolutionary biology, and neuroscience into a nice digestible package to bolster his theory of cognition, which builds elegantly into a theory of moral psychology. A sweeping synthesis of neuroscience, psychology, and philosophy, Moral Tribes opens a can of psychosocial worms that takes the concept of morality to the next level, revealing how we are exceptionally well-adept at solving the dilemma between “Me” and “Us,” through the concept of the “tribe,” but how we are ridiculously less-adept at solving the meta-dilemma between “Us” and “Them.”

Greene’s concept of metamorlity squares this psychosocial circle by counterintuitively applying utilitarianism to our base, knee-jerk reaction to morality (evolved morality) by becoming aware of our apathy in order to become more empathetic. By reinforcing humanity instead of nationalism, and worldly patriotism instead of patriotic nationalism, we turn the tables on both xenophobia and apathy and we become more compassionate and empathetic toward others. When we celebrate diversity instead of trying to cram the square peg of colonialism into the round hole of cultural affiliation, we turn the tables on the monkey-mind’s one-dimensional moral tribalism and we usher in Joshua Greene’s multi-dimensional metamorality.

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10 Things You Don’t Wan’t To Know About Yourself

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“Freedom is the right to tell people what they don’t want to hear.” ~George Orwell

Sick of all those self-affirmation articles? Tired of all the self-help gurus blowing sunshine up your skirt? Need something a little more grounding? More down-to-earth? More humbling? Here’s a fresh batch of wake-up calls and kicks-in-the-shin straight from the oven. Get it while its hot…

1.) You are an animal:

“What a chimera then is humankind. What a novelty; what a monster, what a chaos.” ~Blaise Pascal
This one is painfully obvious, but you probably need a reminder.

You are a naked ape. You are blood and bones and improbable apposable thumbs. You were born from the womb and you will one day be food for worms. In the womb, you went through all the phases of evolution: from a single-celled amoeba to a multicellular tadpole to a brain-wielding infant.

In your short life, you will piss and shit and bleed. You will rage and cry and sleep. You will go through all the profane motions of being a mortal mammal within an amoral universe. And here’s the real kick in the teeth: it’s going to hurt like hell. Hope you have a good sense of humor, because you’re going to need it.

2.) You are fallible:

“Things fall apart. The center cannot hold.” ~W.B. Yeats

You are terribly imperfect. You will make mistakes. More so, you are mistaken about a great many things. Most of which you will probably never admit to yourself, because admitting you are wrong is one of the most difficult things a human being can do.

But it goes deeper than that. There are fallibilities within fallibilities. It’s a veritable fractal forest of fallibility. A fractal wrongness, if you will.

You are more wrong about things than you can possibly imagine, and yet you insist. You force your wrongness. You are fierce with it, ruthlessly certain with it. You are so hungry for rightness that you bludgeon the Truth with your wrongness. All the while imagining that you are right.

As it turns out, you are more likely to be right by admitting that you are probably wrong than by declaring that you are probably right.

3.) You are a hypocrite:

“You have not learned to play and mock the way a man ought to play and mock. Are we not always seated at a great table for play and mockery? Learn to laugh at yourselves as a man ought to laugh. Learn to laugh beyond yourselves, and learn to laugh well.” ~Nietzsche

You are a hypocrite by nature. By the fact that you perceive an unfathomable reality with fallible faculties. It’s not even your fault. Just the fact that you are a “you” precludes hypocrisy. The self is smoke and mirrors, masks and mayhem. More akin to a chaotic theater of actors than a single personality.

Indeed, the self is masks all the way down perceiving delusions all the way up. Hypocrisy was always inevitable. Merely the biproduct of a fallible self.

Amidst this mayhem of fallible selfhood, you will experience dissimulation and self-deception, dishonesty and deep pretension, inauthenticity and artificiality. And that’s just the tip of the iceberg. The rest is hidden beneath layer upon layer of subconscious/unconscious double-dealings, feigned sincerity, two-faced unctuousness, and the mealymouthed choruses of canting contradictions.

Your hypocrisy knows no bounds, so you might as well own up to it.

4.) You will fail:

“Ever tried. Ever failed. No matter. Try Again. Fail again. Fail better.” ~Samuel Beckett

Failure is a given when you are merely a fallible, hypocritical animal going through the motions of living life in an uncertain universe.

But there is wisdom hidden in failure if you are keen to it. Setbacks can be transformed into steppingstones. Tragedy can be hardwired into comedy. Catastrophe can be whittled into accomplishment. You can build a ladder out of the shattered pieces of your life and climb out of the abyss.

But guess what? You will probably fail again. The higher you climb the farther you may fall. When it comes to failure, there is always a deeper abyss. Defeat, hard luck, and utter collapse are right around the corner. Disappointment is Accomplishment’s kissing cousin. Tragedy is Triumph’s red-headed stepchild. Today’s achievement could very well be tomorrow’s tripwire. So be it. Use it all as a sharpening stone for your all-too-mortal soul.

5.) You are never not broken:

“We adore chaos because we love to produce order.” ~M.C. Escher

Wholeness does not imply perfection. It infers embracing brokenness as an essential part of being human. There is never a state in which you are not broken.
You are a walking, talking broken heart going through the motions of breaking apart and coming back together again. This also applies to the mind, the body, and the soul. You are constantly in a state of repair.

Your suffering is sufferable. What’s insufferable is your ideal of perfection. There will always be pain. There will always be heartache. There will always be existential angst. We wreck ourselves against these. Then we knock out the dents, mend the cracks, and heal the wounds. We do this in the hope that it will make us stronger. But perhaps it won’t.
The wound may or may not become a sacred wound. All you can do is hurt, heal, and hope. Hurt, heal, and hope. From fragility to robustness to antifragility, you will always be in a state of falling apart and coming back together again. Embrace it.

6.) You have a dark side:

“There are no shortcuts to wholeness. The only way to become whole is to put our arms lovingly around everything we know ourselves to be: self-serving and generous, spiteful and compassionate, cowardly and courageous, treacherous and trustworthy. We must be able to say, ‘I am all of the above.’” ~Parker J. Palmer

You have a shadow. Even your shadow has a shadow called the golden shadow. Your shadow is your repressed or unconscious self, struggling to be liberated and more conscious. Awareness is key. Becoming aware of our shadow side is shining a light into the darkness and giving our dark side permission to shine its blacklight back into the blinding light, which creates a unity of opposites.
An empowered dark side balances out the equation of the complicated human condition. Without this balance, you risk fragile one-dimensionality and a brittle ego terrified of taking responsibility for its shadow and thus fearful of the shadow of others.

You cannot fully know yourself without knowing your dark side and embracing your shadow. Such wholeness breeds wisdom and the ability to experience the full range of what it means to be human.

7.) Your beliefs limit you:

“If you adopt an idea or perception as the absolute truth, you close the door of your mind. Attachment to views, attachment to ideas, attachment to perceptions are the biggest obstacle to truth.” ~The Buddha

Your beliefs are incredibly restricting. You’ve been indoctrinated to think that you need to believe. Even worse, you’ve been brainwashed to believe more than you think.

In the battle against bewitchment, all beliefs, no matter how powerful or well-intended, are a hinderance to clear thought and self-improvement.

tter to think rather than believe. Thinking that something might be true allows for error, fallibility, and wrongness. Believing that something is certainly true cuts us off from all other possibilities. Belief is all or nothing, predicated upon faith despite facts or evidence. Thought is open-ended, taking beliefs, facts, and evidence into deep consideration and then using probability and validity to discover the truth.

More importantly, thinking rather than believing allows for skepticism and questioning. It is considered blasphemous to question a belief. Whereas questioning a thought is considered appropriate. Might as well just skip belief altogether and simply take things into thoughtful consideration.

8.) You are culturally conditioned:

“When war turns whole populations into sleepwalkers, outlaws don’t join forces with alarm clocks. Outlaws, like poets, rearrange the nightmare.” ~Tom Robbins

You are programmed to think a certain way. This programming has propped-up your identity into perceiving a particular worldview that may or may not be based in reality. It might not even be healthy. This identity tied up in your worldview is an abstraction of an abstraction, a story within a story that you’ve convinced yourself is true.

But you have the power to reprogram your programming.

We are all conditioned by culture. The key is to become aware of it and to weigh our conditioning against the truth of reality. Then recondition the conditioning. We each have our own Plato’s Cave to navigate.

The extent to which you can become aware of your own “cave” will be the extent of your flexibility, open-mindedness, and personal freedom.

9.) You know less than you think:

“Some people are more certain of everything than I am of anything.” ~Robert Rubin

You think you know more than you actually do. Your certainty about a great many things limits your imagination, creative thinking, and ability to question. It leads to dogmatic reasoning and close-mindedness.

ou are just so certain, aren’t you? Your certitude is so powerful that you cannot see past your beliefs. Hung up on what you’ve found, you have given up the search. Your journey has come to an end. Your certainty has led you to a dead-end. You are stuck. And the only way out is to question what you think you know.

The more you question, the more you realize that the only answer that makes any sense is to keep questioning. When you stop questioning the journey for truth comes to an end and stagnation, sloth, and dogmatism begin to rule your world. Keep things in perspective by accepting that you know less than you think you do and keep questioning.

10.) Your life is terribly inconsequential:

“Don’t slip on the banana peel of nihilism, even while listening to the roar of Nothingness.” ~Lawrence Ferlinghetti

When it comes down to it, your life is a flash in the pan. It’s dust in the cosmic wind. It’s an infinitesimally insignificant spark in an unfathomably dark, unforgiving, and meaningless universe. But it is a spark.

What you do won’t matter in the grand scheme of things. But it’s very important that you do it anyway. Why? Because you are the universe attempting to become aware of itself. You are an awareness machine in an otherwise unaware cosmos. You are a meaning-generator in a reality void of meaning. You might be nothing more than a speck in the universe, but you are also the entire universe in a speck.

Either way, you will one day be dust. Your tiny insignificant life will end. Face that fleetingness with a fierceness. Laugh into the abyss. Face fear with fearlessness. Climb the highest mountain and kick God in the nuts. Rage, rage against the dying of the light. Or not. None of it will matter in the end. You will still be the butt-end of the cosmic joke. It’s all laughable. So you might as well have a laugh.

Gary Z McGee, Self-inflicted Philosophy, republished here with permission.

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