Together with two colleague trauma therapists we had decided to do ‘research’ into the effects of psilocybin, the active ingredient in the so-called magic mushrooms.
Various scientific studies are currently underway into the effect of this substance in the treatment of depressive complaints, among other things, and one of these two colleagues is involved in an investigation.
Now this substance has been declared illegal a number of years ago, but if you pay sufficient attention to safety and circumstances, the risks are negligible. The substance is non-addictive, has a low toxicity and offers a promising perspective for the treatment of addiction (especially alcohol and tobacco), obsessive-compulsive disorder, post-traumatic stress disorder, psychological suffering from treated cancer and (treatment-resistant) depression.
In the period from 2006 – 2011 I have already gained experience with psilocybin in a therapeutic setting and it has indeed had a great effect on me. I sometimes say, there is a life before, and after that time.
This substance (and similar substances) is about the insights you gain during the session itself. It is therefore a promising alternative to anti-depressants that you have to take all your life.
So over the past few weeks I’ve grown mushrooms myself for my own use. They were miraculously ‘well done. They literally shot out of the ground like mushrooms. And just as we planned, we were able to use them freshly picked.
Neatly we had followed the guidelines and sat down on a ‘safe’ dosage. Two of us underwent the session and one was the ‘sitter’. In advance we carefully considered our intention and clearly defined the boundaries. In other words, set and setting were good for each other.
However, during the session it soon became clear that, despite the precisely measured amount, the effect was nil. Apart from some psychedelic effects in the beginning, not much happened with both my colleague and me. The higher insights resulting from de-identifying with the inner experience, which I had experienced in previous sessions, did not occur. We decided not to take a second dose and to take it for what it was.
Still, I learned an important lesson from it.
From the direct insights I gained during, among others, my vipassana retreats, that all the experiences that come up, also pass by. That everything is constantly changing and that there is nothing you can hold on to because the ‘me, me and my’ we believe in do not exist at all in an absolute sense. They are ‘merely’ manifestations of the mind. The problem with our experiences is (however ‘pleasant’ or however ‘unpleasant’), when we appropriate it and confuse it with who we are this automatically causes suffering or stress when the experience is different than expected. This is intellectually easy to understand, but the mental mind is incalculable and has many layers and dimensions.
For example, we may be ‘enlightened’ or awakened at some level, until circumstances ‘trigger’ us in an old piece with which we are still identified. A teacher I have followed in the past for a while said aptly; “The best way to test whether you are enlightened is to go and live with your in-laws (very appropriate for this day and age)”.
And sometimes we don’t ‘see’ what we unconsciously identify with.
Of course, my intention was to solve ‘my’ childhood trauma. A large part of my life I was looking for ways, methods and techniques to solve it. People suffering from trauma are likely to recognize this. I even notice the kind of reactions under my posts and through personal messages, how people identify with my ‘suffering’, and want to alleviate or solve it by offering their help.
In the end, there’s nothing to heal, because the word healing implies that there’s something not right about who you are. By focusing on healing, you focus on that which is not good, or worse, you seek the ’cause’ of inner suffering outside of yourself.
And I often hear myself thinking, yes, I know, I’m all my trauma and I’m good the way I am. But who am I with or without my trauma? Whose trauma is it anyway? Trauma is just a manifestation of the mind and says nothing about who I am, or rather, it says everything about who I am not.
If that insight penetrates all layers of the mind, nothing needs to be healed. That is the paradox of the healing process.