Shine On You Crazy Diamond
I intend on making this website a little bit more like a journal or notebook. I want an outlet, and whether or not the entries are refined and poetic no longer matters as much to me.
I’d like to write a story about something that recently happened to me.
About a week ago, I microdosed psychedelic mushrooms. At least, that was the intent: what actually ended up happening was quite an intense trip, complete with all the works: fearing for my sanity, going through intense emotional upheaval, and, in case I haven’t mentioned it already, fearing for my fucking sanity.
The trip was sorrowful. It felt like I was mourning for the sanity that I never had. The feeling was like living an entire life lost at sea and desperately craving land, but knowing you’ll never have it. It felt like desperately craving something solid to hold onto, but being condemned to a life of nebulousness and confusion, all at the mercy of the hand of God. It felt like being stuck in a hell loop of setting sail in a boat on a turbulent sea against my will as I left behind all of my loved ones who watched from land. A living nightmare. My reality being a nightmare.
And yet, something there felt saner than sane. In the insanity was a greater form of sanity. Somehow, the nonlinear reality had an underlying linearity more linear than the former linear reality. In the insanity, knowing; in the sanity, delusion.
I keep seeing in my mind’s eye Hawking in his film as he slowly faded into sickness, yet progressed as a luminary in the realm of physics. A young man with a gift that allowed for a visionary mind, slowly becoming more unable to cope with physical reality on his own as his body betrayed him. He embarked into higher realities and new frontiers of astonishing truth and illumination with the vehicle of his mind; all the while, his physical vehicle degraded.
Consciously or unconsciously, I guess I always saw myself as a savant in some type of way. At the beginning of my awakening, a symbol kept getting produced by the fornication of my conscious and unconscious minds: the autistic man who could take a relatively short helicopter ride over a city, then draw it all with incredible, seemingly-inhuman accuracy by memory on a wall hours later. The idea is of being a person with critical deficiencies in one area — so deficient as to tremendously reduce one’s ability to function in the social, cultural, and societal framework at hand — yet is light-years ahead in another. So ahead in whatever area this may be as a matter of fact, as to seem superhuman. Unable to cope with the mundane, yet able to achieve what seems impossible. Genius and inhuman in one way, yet so deficient in another as to be grounds for medical diagnosis, whether it be from the DSM-V due to mental illness, or a general physician’s handbook due to physical illness.
This is where I have sometimes seen my life heading. A new world dawns on me, and as much as I have tried to still function in the old one and grasp for some solid foundation, all it does is disintegrate into sand in my hand and slip through my fingers.
How long can a terminally ill patient hold on to life, and delay the inevitable death that lays before them? When exactly are they supposed to let go? I do not want to die, and yet paradoxically, to die in this way seems to be the only way I can truly live.
That is the life path of the Pisces, isn’t it? Of the Neptunian? A sacrifice must be made in order to give life to another. Which life will I choose? Spirit or matter? It is either the desire of the fish who desires to swim back Home and desires Spirit, or the desire of the carnal, worldly fish who desires the artifice of the physical realm. Neither desire can be really, truly satisfied without letting the other die. To paraphrase what the great teacher known as Christ once said, we cannot have two masters. No sheep can follow two shepherds at the same time.
How difficult a choice it is when choosing to follow the true master means living as, or at least feeling like, a pariah. How difficult a choice it is when letting one fish die means dying to who your loved ones knew you as.
Anyway, I’ve gotten incredibly ahead of myself.
As I said, I truly feared for my sanity during the trip. And, in this time period of about a week since the trip, I’ve felt incredible unstable. To the point where things have felt truly shadowy, as if I was approaching a precipice with a deep, deep dark abyss on the other side. It felt like the onset of true instability that had the capability of being the onset of a severe mental breakdown if things did not change — and fast.
And then I had the dream.
I do not remember how it started. All I remember is how it ended — which is all that is really important.
Imagine the dream as someone explaining to me a description of somebody’s life in the form of a series of metaphorical stages representing their evolution through life.
I remember the last two stages only, and they were something as follows:
“And then he became as tall as a giant. He was massive, like a tower, big, incredible.”
This felt like great success or notoriety. Great power, status, becoming larger than life.
Next, they said, “But then he slowly began to collapse in on himself. He kept folding in on himself, until one day, he vanished.”
I asked what caused his vanishing.
Clear as day, and firm, grim, and jarring, I heard “pancreatic cancer.”
Then, as I woke up, and fully came to, I felt a horrible stabbing pain and vibrating sensation in my upper right abdomen. I waited maybe 30 seconds for it to subside, which it eventually fully did, and then went and brought my cats into my room — because holy shit was that scary.
I was uncertain about what it meant. For the next few days, I struggled with different possible meanings, and different possible people that it could represent.
However, this morning, I woke up around 4 am full of energy. I halved my dosage of Ashwaghanda last night, which had been helping me sleep, so this was not an unexpected reaction. I tried to go back to sleep for some time, but had no success, so I eventually gave up and decided to listen to music.
I looked up a specific song on Spotify that for some reason was playing in my head. I found it, and played it, but saw that a few songs under it on the search list was a song by Syd Barrett.
The name was familiar. Wasn’t that the guy in Pink Floyd who went crazy from taking too much acid? To double check, I looked up the name. Sure enough, it was him. I didn’t know he ever released his own music, so I decided to give it a play. It was called No Man’s Land, the same name as the song I had originally looked up.
While I listened to the pleasant strumming of his guitar and resonance of his voice, I read up online about the guy’s story out of curiosity.
Then, I read something that gave me a shock.
Mentioned under Syd Barrett’s cause of death was — you guessed it — pancreatic cancer.
The rest is history. Many of you know his story. As it was put in Shine On You Crazy Diamond, he “reached for the secret too soon.”
Figuratively, he became as big as a giant. Both in a societal manner, due to his great success and fame, and in a cosmic manner, due to his psychedelic adventures that allowed for immersion with the cosmos. I’ve heard it said that we are as small as the things that annoy us, but we are also as large as the things that we adore and believe in. Through his excessive use of LSD, his perception expanded, and thus, so did he. He began to immerse into the cosmos, figuratively becoming larger, or giant, in size.
Now, the great expansiveness that psychedelic drugs provide can certainly be addicting and can definitely be unhealthy. There is nothing wrong with reaching cosmic consciousness using psychedelics, but there are healthy and unhealthy ways to go about it. Syd didn’t do it in a healthy way — at all. It is said that meditation is like climbing the mountain of enlightenment, and psychedelics are like a temporary helicopter ride up there. And clearly, for some, the mind is not prepared to comprehend and balance what there is to be seen. It is reported that he took obscene amounts of acid, both in terms of frequency and dosage, and his mind buckled under the pressure.
So, he began to collapse… he began to fold in on himself.
From his status as a larger-than-life — or giant — rockstar, he eventually deteriorated into catatonia, and, becoming, *ahem*, less than functional, he had to leave the band. He became a recluse, becoming smaller in size, until he disappeared from the public eye.
And then, he finally died — or vanished — from pancreatic cancer.
Spirit, the warning is clear, and I thank you for it. His tale will certainly serve as caution for me. I am not invincible, and psychedelic drugs are incredibly potent. If I wish to reach the top of the mountain of enlightenment, I must climb it — not take a helicopter ride up.
Psychedelic medicine does not seem to serve me at this point in time. I will not collapse. I will not fold into myself. I will be responsible. I will stay sturdy. I will be discerning and wise. I will take things slow.