Sunday, June 26, 2011

Trip Report #3: Psilocybin + EEG Biofeedback

This time I bumped the dose up to 5 grams of dried fungi, a 43% increase over the last time, to the so-called "heroic" dose mentioned by Terence McKenna.  Somewhat to my surprise the trip was fairly uneventful and relatively un-insightful as compared to previous journeys.  It actually struck me as very matter of fact.  I wonder if I have now become jaded to relatively strong doses of hallucinogens?

Overall visual and audio distortion was probably less than with the previous 3.5 gram dose, although I did have some fun as things were winding down watching the surface of my thigh continually changing and morphing.  Kind of a lesson in impermanence.  Watching the foliage in the backyard dancing, shimmering, living.  And then there's the moment when you see yourself objectively as some kind of strange animal, with strange arms that come from outside the visual field, and its strange flesh-claw holding a refreshing drink that is moving towards your mouth, and it all seems both perfectly strange, and strangely perfect.

The peak phase seemed short again, with a bit less of the face melting stuff.  The face melting moments strike me at a very subjective level as a working through of blockages.  And again, these moments seem very similar to moments I have experienced in vipassana.  I have the sense, or maybe it's just wishful thinking, that there seems to be some kind of healing or positive effect stemming from negotiating these more intense or challenging moments with mindfulness and equanimity.

Maybe I'm just more familiar with the terrain.  There have been moments in the past where I had more resistance or difficulty, this time around, similar to last time, it was all okay.  In fact, that might be one of the clearer insights, a strong sense that everything is okay.

Spent a fair amount of time after the peak lying down with my electric guitar, making weird noises.  It would be interesting, maybe, to hear what that sounded like.  I had very little concern for playing anything in a melodic sense, I was just making noise, and the guitar felt very very strange.

I did change one thing, I lowered the EEG feedback range from 8-12 Hz down to 7-11 Hz.  The dominant alpha that is all over my head is fairly slowed, to around 8.3 Hz, and I wanted to emphasize that range a bit more.  I have a larger peak alpha around 11 Hz, but it is only around the parietals (probably was all over the head at one point, before slowing occurred).  Actually, because of that slowed alpha, I have experimented with regular feedback in the 6-10 range, which would make some sense for me, as that would put my dominant alpha right in the sweet spot, but subjectively that hasn't worked as well for me as feedback in the 8-10 range.  Seems to be important, at least for me, to emphasize the 8-10 range.

Although I didn't feel that there were clear insights, there did seem to be a fair amount of material dealing with identity, scenarios where I was losing track of exactly who I was, seeing roles played out from different points of view.  Difficult to put into words this time.  Perhaps seeing a bit into the impersonal characteristic of life.

Couple of things I want to try in the future, one is going back to a lower dose.  And I'm still a bit curious about experimenting again with Theanine, an amino acid that promotes relaxation (the original reason I tried it) but in this context it may be more important as a possible MAO inhibitor, which would intensify the trip.  It is possible that is what made Trip #1 take off like it did.  Another thing I'd like to try is moving the feedback sites from C3-C4 down to T3-T4, emphasizing the temporal lobes a la James Austin.

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