How To Understand Different Psychedelic Experiences 

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One of the main differences between psychedelic experiences and other mind altering substances like alcohol or coffee is that the each experience can be so vastly different. This is true person to person as well as within your own experiences.

This disparity and lack of predictability makes trying psychedelics seem like a dice roll to some people.

What demons will I face?

Am I going to meet God? 

Am I going to have an ego death? 

Maybe I’ll meet an alien like Joe Rogan!

…so many potentialities! But with this uncertainty comes a hesitancy that prevents many people from dipping their toe into waters that could be transformative.

The goal of this post is to propose a theory and model on what someone might experience during psychedelic experiences.

These ideas are purely based on my own 20+ deep journeys and the observation of others’ experiences I’m close to.

This isn’t a scientific or clinical based concept. I am just sharing striking observations and consistencies that I think are worth further investigation.

The Big Idea

The big idea starts with this notion that we all have an innate level of consciousness at any given time in our lifetime.

Consciousness is more or less our subjective paradigm of reality and can be expressed by how we view life, ourselves in it, God, and our predominant emotional states. Think of it as your inner window to reality.

It’s my experience that this consciousness can change drastically. And as it evolves, what one is able to perceive, feel, and is capable doing in the world of form (reality) changes as well. This is why I consider consciousness to be correlated with human evolution.

Psychedelics enable a temporary leap in consciousness so that one can experience higher levels of consciousness not available to them in their everyday life. In these states, one may temporarily perceive all sorts of interesting phenomena like enhanced emotions (i.e. self love), but also abilities that have traditionally been categorized as miraculous or fantasy. An example would be the ability to heal oneself from a physical ailment through thought alone.

The formation of this realization came from comparing the evolution of the content of my psychedelic experiences over 4+ years with David Hawkins Map of Consciousness. David created the Map of Consciousness in order to articulate what the various expressions of human experience are like at different levels of consciousness. His model is robust in terms of describing the complete continuum of inner experience from the most primitive states of humanity like survival to the advanced stages of enlightenment.

I found this very compelling because most books about enlightenment merely describe what it feels like to be enlightened and skip the messy middle.

What does it feel like just before?

How do we know we are making progress if our path is gradual vs. spontaneous like Eckhart Tolle?

Most accounts of enlightenment are limited to the consciousness of the author which obscures the fact that there are many stages of evolution even when one reaches “enlightenment” or non-duality. For all these reasons, having a comprehensive and easy to understand model to articulate consciousness is a very compelling tool for the world. 

Regardless of how you feel about the measuring mechanism of muscle testing which is used to calibrate one’s consciousness on the map, the accuracy of his characterization of what one experiences as you evolve is more precise than anything else I have ever seen.

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Comparing My Psychedelic Experiences and Consciousness Calibrations  

I have written extensively about the map and my own experience measuring my consciousness. For the purpose of this post, I am just citing my measurements alongside when I started to have psychedelic experiences at age 30. You can look at how the numbers correlate in the map above.

The thing to note is that between my first and 2nd retreat, each of which were multi-night sits with Ayahuasca, my consciousness level increased slightly. 

After this, I didn’t touch psychedelics for almost 3 years and worked intensely on my consciousness using various spiritual practices. The next time I had a psychedelic experience around my 34th birthday my consciousness level was very different and so were my experiences…

Retreat 1 

As you can see above, at the time of my first psychedelic experience I calibrated just below level 200 on Hawkins’ Map of Consciousness. This is the level of pride and a very egocentric state that attempts to control life.

During my original experience was the first time I connected to source consciousness and felt the cosmic love of God. Yes, there were some other interesting phenomena visually and physically, but connecting to source and being enraptured in love was the most formative part of the experience.

My connection to source consciousness felt like I was having a dynamic conversation with a loving father who at the time I interpreted as a male God figure. Gotta love that Christian programming!

This is a page from my original notebook where I wrote down the transmission in chicken scratch.

In reference to my current life and death, he said things like: 

“Humanity is just part of it.

You will be with me and [have been with me] many times.

This (humanity) is where I need you.

I will drop you back in where I need you.”

This was just part of a very long dialogue, but the whole transmission was all about him loving me and our journey together. 

All of this was incredibly comforting especially coming from Christian programming where I was afraid I’d get punished for doing anything bad in life.

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Retreat 2

The next time I did ayahuasca was a bit different. In addition to heightened emotions and many revelations around my life, I also experienced some siddhis that were profound.

On the 2nd night, I had a sense of being able to communicate with anyone that would come into my awareness. I would picture different people in my life and then we would start to have a full on conversation similar to my connection to source. I would ask questions and they would start giving me information as if I was seated next to them in real life. Their lexicon mirrored exactly how they would talk to me and I would would verify much of what they had told me after the retreat. 

At the time this was happening, I thought I must have been making this all up in my imagination. There’s no freakin way this is real!?

But then things got even weirder…

The idea came into my awareness that I should try to connect with someone in the room. I then directed this perceived ability of sublingual communication to the shaman. I was sitting up and I opened my eyes and looked at one of them and said, “can you hear me” in my mind.

They proceeded to open their eyes and say yes in perfect harmony with my request. We had a few more silent exchanges and then I laid back on my mat completely dumbfounded and kind of freaked out. 

This was my first exposure to telekinesis. I immediately had the revelation that if we are all one consciousness, of course we can communicate sublingually and tap into the collective field for information outside space and time like I had just done.

I didn’t understand it at the time, but this was exemplary of how my level of consciousness in that moment was dictating what was possible in my experience of reality.

I know some of you may be wondering whether or not I experience telekinesis today in my everyday waking state. I do not. However, I definitely go into the field of collective consciousness for information on a daily basis. Through lots of positive reinforcement of using this information to direct my life, I have learned to trust it even when it does not make sense to the logical mind.

Comparing Journey 1 and 2 to the Map

If you were to plot the quantitative experience of retreat 1 and 2 on to the map of consciousness, what emerges is a paradigm jump by around 250-300 points in each experience.

predict Psychedelic Experience

In experience 1, I moved from pride to to feeling completely enraptured in love. I saw god as loving and had tremendous revelation around existence.

In experience 2 with a higher consciousness starting point, I plunged further into the 500s where I got to experience siddhis. This emergence in special abilities is described in detail by Hawkins:

“The ‘spiritual ego’ is tempted to arise when the seeker begins to experience the phenomena of the so-called siddhis that characteristically appear in the energy field of 540 and especially on up to around level 570. They should not be pursued for their own sake, nor should a person take credit for them as the phenomena are autonomously consequent to the rise of the spiritual/kundalini energy itself. They are gifts of the spirit to be accepted with gratitude. The phenomena cannot be controlled but merely witnessed.

David Hawkins: Reality, Spirituality and Modern Man

The striking consistency in both cases to the map couldn’t be ignored.

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3 Years Laters , Shit Get Even Crazier

When I reintroduced the ceremonial use of psychedelics into my life a year ago, my experience was much different over the course of 10ish sits with various plants. The punchline to characterize my experience is consistent every time.

“Oh, you’re all of it (reality). Duh. How could you forget that silly!?”

It wasn’t so much the assertion that my local consciousness in particular is God in a “I’m special” kind of way. Rather that we are all consciousness. That is the truth of who you are. And that in waking reality, everything is a projection of consciousness which is you. Thus, you are the substrate of reality itself. You are the subject (awareness) and you are object (reality)

It’s hard to describe, but it’s kind of like you are watching the movie of reality, but you’re also the screen. You’re all of it. Everything you see is you (consciousness).

In the life happens to me, by me, through me, as me model of consciousness, this is Life As Me. Eckhart Tolle describes it as “being one with life.”

You can read about these truths from many great mystics, but you can’t really understand it until you experience it directly. Many wisdom teachings call this non-duality, and there are many levels of it.

I know this might sound radical and preposterous to some people, but this is my experience every single time I do heavy doses of psychedelics now. And funny enough some version of that is my fiancée’s experience too! She also calibrates in the 500s.

Psychedelic Experience

Referring back to the map, a 200-300 temporary leap in consciousness for me puts me into the top state on the map. Here you can see that the God-view of enlightenment past the 700s is Self and the experience is identified as pure consciousness. This is congruent with my experience.

It is so striking to me that there is such a correlation between the evolution of my experiences, my spiritual growth, and the map that I can’t help but wonder whether this explanation has some universality.

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Briefly On Variances of Psychedelic Experiences In This Model

When I started to compare these experience with the map, it all started clicking and I thought all one would have to do is understand their baseline consciousness to have a directional prediction of what one’s experience might be.

But as I have compared my experiences with others while also testing their consciousness, it became clear there was more going on here. Perhaps that “the leap” component can also be variable. For example, one might experience a 50 point jump in consciousness vs. someone else experiencing a 300 point jump. 

So the aggregate function of what one may experience not only has to do with one’s baseline level of consciousness, but also their capacity for increase in a given experience. 

I will write more about in this another post, but to summarize some variables that cause differences in experience finishing with the variables we just discussed:

Provable, well accepted variables with current instruments:

  • Chemical – which substance and dose
  • Environmental – Set and setting
  • Priming variables – Guide/Shaman, exposure and imprinting around what one may experience during one of these journeys and the nature of reality

Quantum/energetic variables:

  • Baseline consciousness (starting point)
  • Jump potential
    • Amount of programming + residual imprints blocking higher levels. Mechanically, this is reflected as energy in your etheric body/field
    • Karmic inheritance / energetic charge at birth – your consciousness starting place in the world. This is the sum of all spiritual progress, across all incarnations to date.

Describing the “jump potential” hypothesis is worth its own post and something I will write about in more detail in the future.

Closing Thoughts On Psychedelic Experiences

There is an immense amount of scientific research going on at the moment on the effects of psychedelics on the human experience. The more we understand, the more we can help people use these substances in a constructive way. There is also lots of designer psychedelics being created for the purpose of providing a more predictable experience. 

The takeaway from this post should be that psychedelics cause a temporary increase in consciousness from where you are today. 

Consciousness’s primary desire is to experience itself and expand. Inevitably, you will come back down from these experiences, but with this new experiential knowledge, you will have tasted a subjective reality that can become your inner world permanently. In the case of myself, these experiences inspired me want to do whatever it takes to make the higher states my everyday reality. And relative to my original experiences, this desire has come to fruition.

The cool thing is that congruent with the core desire of consciousness, once you experience transformation you don’t get fat and happy. The desire to expand just continues because with each progressive level of evolution, the rewards become increasingly compelling. 

My hope is that this idea provides some model for what the hell happens to us when we engage with these substances that can help you make sense of the experience in the context of your own evolution.

As for how one should think about applying this theory, for me there’s really ever only one thing someone has to do…work on your consciousness! 

I guess we gotta pass the time somehow : )

What has your experience been with Psychedelic Experiences? Let me know in the comments

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