Mushrooms in Amsterdam: Rock On!

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Seth Stevenson writes in Slate about taking mushrooms in Amsterdam, the day before he was flying home to the US.

“I’m in an H&M, on the edge of the socks and accessories aisle, when the drugs begin to take hold. My body starts to yell at me: “Something is happening! What is happening?! Yeeeee!!” Racks of cotton dresses shimmer together in a wavy mass. Sounds that were soft are suddenly loud, while sounds that were loud are now fading away.

I manage to stumble outside to an empty park bench. The trees here are waving wooden fingers at me, and birds are somehow flying without flapping their wings. It feels like I’m in a scene from Koyaanisqatsi. And my stomach seems poised to eject from my torso at any moment. I am clinging to broken shards of reality.

Then, after a few terrifying minutes like this, it all smoothes out. My stomach settles. My eyes refocus. I decide that I am not in fact dying … and that the basic laws of physics still pertain. I gather myself, and I stand up straight.

It feels like there is a magical accordion in my skull and that it’s pumping a thick, steady breeze of colors through my brain.

Everyone I see, I love. You, guy in the glasses with a backpack: You’re A-OK! Hey, you, mom with the stroller: Rock on! I feel deep empathy for all humankind. This is a feeling I wish to hold onto forever yet also wish to be rid of as soon as possible.

But I needn’t actually move to Amsterdam (or, thank God, be on mushrooms) to find the life I’m seeking. It’s all waiting for us, up there in our noggins. We choose to become who we are, and together we all create the world we live in. And now my rational, together voice is saying, “Duh! You’re a mushroom-eating moron.” But my Amsterdam voice is saying, “That is trippy!”