With one toke, I was already possibly higher than I’d ever been before, and was hurtling through the universe hanging on by a mere thread. Then I took another toke, even though I’m already feeling like I can’t take any more – I mean, I couldn’t even see properly, by this point! I held it in for a really long time, and when I exhaled, I hear this voice echoing through the ether, saying, “Have another one, Simon.” So, as I feel the pipe hit my lips, I inhaled really deeply on it again.
By this point, I’m beyond my body, so it’s really easy to take in that moth-bally, acrid, chemical taste. I could just suck it to the depths of my lungs, and my soul, and really hold it for a long time. Then, I got to the third toke that McKenna talks about , and just laid back on the sofa in silent darkness.
First of all, I had that initial rush, which is fiercely intense. Then I sort of plunged into this portal, about where my 3rd eye was, and yet out in deep space, where I was met by these entities. I can only describe these beings as “entities” – they were without bodies or physical features, more like a collection of intelligent energy continually shape-shifting that communicated with me through a variety of mediums, not all of them language, sometimes color, sound, or a form of telepathy that I cannot describe with mere words. One of the things they said to me was, “Oh, we’re so glad to see you! You made it! You’re here.”
Then they started examining me in a very frivolous, excited, joyful, and playful kind of way. When I say “examining me” I don’t mean physically or medically, which would be horrible. Rather, it was like all of the information in my brain was accessible to them. The hard drive was open, so to speak, and they were rebooting me. They were feeding me information, nourishing me, and then they asked, “What do you want to see?” For some reason, I thought “time.” I don’t know why I thought “time,” but they replied in a slightly ominous way, “okay, we’re going to SHOW you time!” Although I can’t conceive of it in my head now, or transcribe it with such a limited form of language (maybe that’s what music is for?), but in that moment, I TOTALLY understood time.
They showed me the universe without time, which was the clincher that made me think, okay, I get it. If I’m able to step outside the universe, I see the cogwheel of time and how it fits into the larger cosmic machinery. My memory of it is that it’s a method, or a required construct, to keep us in this dimension–while we are here, with our bodies, on planet Earth–in order to witness the universe that we see every day. Or possibly nature’s way of preventing everything from happening at once. Haha!
With that, they also reminded me that I’m really so lucky to have a body for this transitory period of, what? Eighty years, if you’re lucky, and really, you should be making the most of it. You should just be experiencing everything in life, all of it–love, joy, pain, anger, sorrow, bliss, enlightenment. Everything that you experience–that’s really why we’re here, because at some point you’ll return to the Source, and we won’t have these bodies to be able to savor these experiences from the Garden of Earthly Delights. It was just revelation after revelation. It was very much like a near-death experience, or an out of body experience.
People speculate that a chemical very similar to DMT is released in the brain when we die, and it felt a bit like that. In a way, it felt like I was dying. I was communicating with what might be souls or something, I don’t know. There are definitely energies out there that communicate, and see stuff that I have achieved in my life, and will, perhaps, reprimand me for the bad things that I’ve done. It tied in with the Christian idea of Heaven and Hell, where you’re there for eternity. When you die your heartbeat stops, your body is still and you have no reference to any time whatsoever and yet this chemical might be coursing around your dying brain. At least during my DMT journey I had my breath, and my heart was beating, although I wasn’t really aware of how long I was out there.
If your brain is active after you die, for between five and fifteen minutes, as some medical professionals suggest, then you’re effectively there for eternity, experiencing what could very easily be your own personal private Heaven or Hell in this psychedelic state. So it raised the question to me: is consciousness chemical in nature? Really, the whole experience raised far more more questions than it answered–although it provided me with a lot of personal revelations about my life, including behaviors I could perhaps improve–even down to the song that I was working on.
I could see the music we had been working on, leaving my head as a flowing liquid mercurial stream of holographic colored symbols, and these “machine elves,” as Terence McKenna calls them, appeared to be getting off on it. They were dancing, laughing and enjoying it. There was a little flute riff in there, that we could all see, it was red and blue and melting like one of Dali’s clocks. These creatures suddenly turned serious and told me, “You have to go back and find this particular flute riff. It is the divine riff, and this is the one that you have to use.”
So when I came down, I went through one of Raj’s takes to find it. When we make music, Raj will just play and I’ll record him for around twenty minutes. Then I’ll edit it, and find the juiciest chunks to put into the track. So I was searching very specifically for this particular bit that the entity explained to me on DMT, that I should use, and sure enough, there it was. But he fluffed it a little bit in the playing, so I tried to get him to replay the melody. Raj is a very improvisational player. He can never play the same thing twice, so to get him to be specific, and really try and play this riff, was very hard. But he got pretty close, as close as we could get. The tune was “Behind Closed Eyelids” and the flute riff that appears in that track was an imitation of the riff we had been instructed to use by the alien creatures we encountered on DMT.
It affected me so deeply, on so many levels–from what I was working on right then, down to my core beliefs and all of the paradigms of the universe that I’ve encountered, from Buddhism, Christianity, religion, science, and the various different interpretations that people make in trying to explain the world. It provided a model of the universe that could fit comfortably–or relatively comfortably–in my small human brain.
David: That’s extraordinary that you were able to bring so much back from such a powerful experience.
Simon: It has taken a long time to assimilate it. I still think about it everyday. Initially when I came down I thought I would never speak again – what’s the point? Words… they are so inadequate, lifeless and stultifying. I spent a day in silence, before admitting that I have to try and express myself, and share these experiences.
Even this single moment made the whole experience worthwhile: I received the message to “Just Be.” Amongst all these crazy hyper-dimensional visuals, universes being created and exploding around me, suddenly a phrase I’d maybe picked up somewhere about an aspect of Enlightenment is to “just be.”… And suddenly I “just was!” I literally had no thoughts. There was no “me.” There was obviously no ego remaining, but really there was no thought, no body, no universe… no thing. It was like thirty years of yoga and meditation practiced every day to try and get to that point, and suddenly there I was.
All of the visuals up to that point had been very intense, and this was just white light. It was just “just be,” and all it was was white light, with no “me,”… nothing. I realize I’m gabbling now, but I can’t even really put it into words. I would imagine that that’s the closest that I’ve ever come to some kind enlightened bliss state, which people have described. Then, suddenly, I had the thought, “Oh this is it! I’m just being!”. But by then, of course, you’ve lost it–because you’ve got a thought, and you’re already analyzing your own experience.
David: Did this experience influence your thoughts about what happens to consciousness after death and your perspective on the concept of God?
Simon: As I say, it raised more questions than it answered. I mean, I’m still thinking about what happened during that experience now. I’m still wondering, as I said, is consciousness chemical in nature? Is God chemical in essence? Here I am, a load of chemicals, and I believe in science. I take another chemical, and then suddenly, I’m in this other universe–which is SO real, so convincing, so familiar in a way, and yet also so alien. But certainly as authentic as the universe I witness everyday without chemical assistance. That experience still confuses me, in that, I’m not sure if I particularly believe in God. But it’s hard to say that when you’ve met some kind of, what appeared to be, God. Or maybe more like a goddess, as it was a more feminine energy.
David: What type of relationship do you see between psychedelics, music, and shamanism?
Simon: If you had a Venn diagram of the three, there’d be this huge overlap, because shamanism obviously uses music and psychedelics. It’s heavily based in ritual, and music and psychedelic plants