Throughout my life I have been infatuated with darkness. I remember upon watching my first horror film, A Nightmare On Elm Street, I found myself completely mesmerized by the terror on the television screen. From that moment on, I developed quite the obsession with horror. Since its start, the popular series American Horror Story has captivated my attention. The dramatic story lines, in conjunction with violence, gore and the wondrous Jessica Lange, have been enough to keep me hooked. A few weeks ago, in this season’s incarnation titled “Freak Show” there was an episode in which a couple drowned and cut off the ears of a baby with a disability because they no longer wanted to hear the baby’s screams. They then blamed it on one of the shows ‘freaks’ named Pepper. After being wrongfully accused, Pepper was sent to live in an insane asylum for the rest of her days. I didn’t really think much of it at the time. “It’s not real, so what harm could it possibly do?” I thought. In a recent ‘trip’ with the psychedelic medicine Yopo, a snuff created from the seed of the Vilca tree containing 5-MEO-DMT and bufotenin, I was shown just how damaging violent images like these are to our psyches.
Once the medicine was blown through my nose and hit the back of my head, I had a foreboding sensation that my ‘trip’ wasn’t going to be particularly pleasant. I laid down, closed my eyes and began to feel anxious and uncomfortable. I would open my eyes and be in the room, but the second I closed them I would become engulfed by ominous visual formations and patterns. The space did not feel like the loving Yopo that I knew. This space was menacing, cold, devoid of human emotion and filled with sounds of absolute terror. This noise filled my surroundings and began to expand and contract, completely encircling me. Why was this happening to me? What had I done that made for such an awful experience?
I could not find my center, and felt that darkness was consuming me. The vibrations I was experiencing created an eerie feeling of death and decay. Suddenly, the image of the baby being drowned in American Horror Story started to replay over and over. It was a nightmare that I could not escape from. I felt the pain of these characters, and realized that some part of my mind had mistaken the images for reality, even though I knew all along that they weren’t real. The medicine gave me the message that the images had caused a disturbance in my frequencies. They distorted my perception of reality and perpetuated a state of fear, causing spiritual unease. This made me question everything that I’ve ever watched: all of the violent imagery that I have subjected myself to, or have been forcefully subjected to throughout my life. Are all of these images stored in my visual database? Are they responsible for those fleeting negative thoughts that seem out of union with my own character? As the medicine was presenting these negative vibrations, it was clearing them as well. By the end of my journey, I felt completely rejuvenated and cleansed from these disturbances.
Why do we subject ourselves to needless traumas? This only adds onto the traumas that life already has us endure. Whether we like it or not, the images that we take in have the power to manipulate our reality. The constant images of war, violence and hate fed to us through the media seep into our minds. It’s peculiar that many of us choose to subject ourselves to violent imagery while other people all over the world are literally submersed in violence, living in war-zones with no choice but to witness real-life horrors.
The forms of entertainment in which we mindlessly indulge have more influence over our thoughts and ideas than we would like to believe. Moments where you think that your ideas are out of character may just be something locked away in the dark crevices of your mind — they may not even be your own. Am I saying that all news is bad and that it’s wrong to indulge in a little bit of horror here and there? Of course not. I’m saying it’s important to be mindful of how the things we watch and images we choose to surround ourselves with truly affects us.
It’s easy to escape and hide behind all of the noise, but life will become easier than you would ever believe once you stop hiding and become whole within yourself. Psychedelics such as psilocybin mushrooms, ayahuasca and yopo have the ability to reset our minds, providing us with a clean slate and fresh perspective. They are nature’s gifts and medicines that can heal us from the layers upon layers of social conditioning instilled upon us. They provide us with lessons that in turn will open us up to the awe and wonder of being alive and the infinite wisdom of this boundless universe.