My third and fourth Ketamine sessions didn’t produce the same mind-rending results as the first two, but that’s not to say they weren’t significant. They were just subtler in their effect. Both shared in common the experience of having the universe tell me I’m a good person. And while I can struggle to accept that complement from a friend in my waking life, there is no way to disagree when I’m down the K-hole. What I experience there is absolute truth.
There are hours of these experiences on Ketamine in which I’m zooming through the space of my own mind, something for which there simply is no language that can adequately describe. What takes place is largely without imagery. They are otherworldly encounters. During one session the world melted, only to have me melt seconds or minutes later. Who can tell? As I melted, I settled into all the crevices of my life, of my family, helping to weave together broken threads. That’s about the most referential experience I can describe. But there were times when I had clear thoughts and I would articulate them, actually say them aloud.
It was a big thing for me to realize, some years back, that I ought to try to be nice to people—not just polite, but nice. That, given who I was as a young person, was a notable stage of growth. But that didn’t get me to where I need to be for the happiness I aspire to. I realized that it wasn’t enough to be nice to people, the people I admired were kind to others; I’d like to be good to other people. Twenty-year-old me would have thought that was some daft mumbo-jumbo.
It may seem like being kind to myself is an epiphany cut from the same cloth as being kind to others, but it’s not. I heard myself say, “I just need to be kinder to myself,” and it carried the power to arrest all movement in the K-hole. It was as if the universe stopped and for a moment I could actually see those words as if they appeared on a computer monitor in my head. This is no grand insight. Everyone knows they should not just be nice, but be kind, and not just to other people, but also themselves. However, when under Ketamine, these thoughts take on a physical bearing, a mass that I was able to drape over myself like a blanket so that kindness was able to keep me warm.
I know how this sounds. Trust me.
I will insist that even in the bright light of day, I feel lighter, more relaxed, much more eager to find the good in someone else, rather than look at the driver of the car next to me and wonder what variety of asshat they are for drifting two feet into the bike lane. That’s not to say I haven’t seen some of my old struggles on repeat, like how that driver really is an asshat. To me, this is a kind of justice, that no matter how much work I might do within the expanse of my mind, back on Earth I’ll still have more work to do.
The psychic weight that has been lifted catches me off guard at the oddest times. It’s a remarkable experience to be walking down the sidewalk and realize that you’re smiling for no apparent reason. I’ve wondered if other people who see me worry that I’m a mental patient thorazined to the horizon. Really, who walks down the street grinning? Well, apparently, I do.
My second in-office session subscribes to a flavor of theme and variation, due in no small part to the fact that I have continued to set the same intention for the trips: I need to learn how to be kind to myself, not just not beat myself up, but to nurture myself and not when it’s convenient, but every minute of every day. It’s a tall order in my case.
For this one I was given an injection of 75ml of Ketamine in my arm and was told to massage it in. Mere minutes passed before I left for points unknown.
After the zoom, I began to rise and to open. My sense was that this was a physical experience, something like opening a box, but even after the flaps were opened, so to speak, I continued to open. I was stretching, and in some fashion swirling. There came a point that I was opening so much so that I began to turn inside out. This probably doesn’t sound pleasant, so I want to assure you that it was. It was liberating, a freeing of the soul and for a moment I began to merge with the universe. This was a dimension I was ready to explore, to grow into. Unfortunately, it didn’t last long. I can’t say if it was a change in the music or simply that my dose wasn’t high enough to deliver me to an orbit that high, but what seemed moments after my ego began to dissolve, my return commenced.
My next clear memory was of a scene in which I was with a woman, but not just a woman, the archetype of my romantic partners, if there can be such a thing and in a K-hole there definitely can be. She was translucent and something like green cones of light were radiating out of her and toward me. Only they weren’t just radiating, I was drawing them out of her. Not in some vampiric way, but as though I was drawing out of her something she’d been afraid to reveal, an inner beauty for which she felt too vulnerable to share with the world, and I was helping her to release that energy for the first time. I know this sounds not just insane, but utterly egotistical and probably arrogant, too. There was, however, a humility to the act, that I was in service to her, that I simply wanted to help the world see how beautiful she was.
Next, I became aware that I was looking at myself from another vantage, though it was still the same scene and I was with the translucent woman. I was seeing myself not through the eyes of others, but the eyes of someone or something infinitely more powerful. In the scene, I was interacting with others and bringing them joy. After each new interaction the people would depart as if lit from within—and that inner light was something I was giving to them. This cosmic viewpoint also allowed me to see that I had an infinite well of good will to share with those around me. Unlike my life as an introvert, where following sustained contact with others I need to go home to rest and recharge, in this setting, no matter how much I gave of myself I did not diminish my ability to give. And because I was looking at me from a place that was not me, I simultaneously enjoyed a first person and second person epiphany.
I said, out loud, “Holy shit. I am an amazing person.”
Once I said that, it was as if I was taken on a medley of my greatest accomplishments in this world, an “It’s a Wonderful Life” for the psychedelic set, which only served to confirm this out-of-body epiphany. I can’t be certain, but I have the sense that I may also have been given a glimpse of events or works I’ve yet to accomplish. Why I’m not certain could be because of the brevity of the experience and the speed of which required a combination of keen recognition and intantaneous memory, or it could be because of the dream-like state, where very little occurs in sharp focus. I suspect a bit of each.
I’d been told that with the intramuscular injections of Ketamine that it is possible to experience waves of otherworldliness, that after departing, I might return for a bit before departing once again. That did happen to me and in the second departure, I felt my body gradually melt away as I sank in some sort of ooze until I could only feel my lips, teeth and tongue. I could feel them because they were drawing in breath, and they were my sole anchor to this dimension.
If I was challenged to render an opinion on my experiences, as to what makes for the most useful and productive session, my answer might be surprising. The higher the dose, the more disconnected my mind is from my waking life, the greater the insight and the more profound the experience. And while the return can be less than pleasant, those higher orbits are easily worth the bumpy ride back home.