Illustration by Jordin Isip

The match is lit and, slowly at first, I inhale the contents of the pipe, some Santa Maria and about 8 mg of 5-MEO-DMT sprinkled in the bowl. As I fill my lungs and close my eyes, my initial nervousness has been replaced by an overwhelming feeling of blissful terror, and there is no choice but to surrender to the substance that has entered my bloodstream. It’s like being faced with a certain, immediate death: My ego is completely shattered; I feel as if my body is falling upward into space at light speed, very much like in the movie Contact, when Jodie Foster rockets through the wormholes. I am experiencing every emotion simultaneously as one. It is complete and strange.

Then, against the black backdrop of space, there appears a series of vibrantly colorful, multidimensional holographic veils that swirl and dance to a strange and beautiful sound. I realize that these veils are music, sound waves, so I decide to sing with them as they dance around in my mind. (I am later told that my eyes were wide-open and I was screaming like a banshee the whole time.) The singing and breath remind and reassure me that I’m still alive. There is nothing left but to let go. All the clichés apply: Resistance is futile. I remember I had asked the medicine, as an intention for my experience, “Show me what you know.” And it knows a lot, and shows it in spades. And what it shows in a flash is the Whole Enchilada, the Big Picture, the All and Everything of existence.

As with all entheogens — the word means “God within” — context is everything. While it lasts, I am physically incapacitated. As the sensation of falling subsides, I arrive at what I call the living end: There is no me, there is no time, there are no boundaries. I am in “samadhi state,” a feeling of being suspended in space with an absolute knowledge of being connected at an atomic level to everything that ever was, is now, and ever will be.

In that final, perfect moment, I feel myself re-entering my body, grateful for the gift of this humanness, for every sensation afforded me so far in this life. Within 15 minutes, I have returned to a “base-line” state of normal waking consciousness. The entire session lasted about 40 minutes, but I perceive it as eternity.

It was once said that all actions are either expressions of love or a crying out for love. After this experience, I know this to be true.

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