Thursday, February 2, 2012

Psychedelic Swimming Lessons

When I was in the third grade, my parents signed me and my brother up for swimming lessons. I'm still a horrible swimmer, so obviously the lessons were not as effective as my parents hoped, but I took away one really important lesson. Every time she dropped me off at the YMCA pool, my mother would say, "Respect the water. Don't be afraid of it, but remember that it is powerful." She would say it at the beach, before pool parties, and every time we walked along the edge of the canal. Respect the water. She still says it every time I go back to my college, which borders a turbulent lake.

Water really is a powerful force. We need it to live. It makes up more than 70% of our bodies. But, if we immerse ourselves in it and get too careless, it can obliterate us in less than a minute.

This lesson has stuck with me, and continues to provide me with a framework for using psychedelics: respect the acid. Yes, it's fun and enlightening and important and spiritual to very many people, but never treat it with carelessness. LSD has none of the physical dangers of other substances, but it can have a powerful effect on your psychology, both temporarily and permanently. You are playing with the deepest recesses of your brain, and you can get overwhelmed. Swim around, immerse yourself, have fun, but always keep in mind that you can drown.