By Travis Bodick, Aug 20 2017 03:43PM
Someone online recently asked if I had any personal experiences with God, and this is what I wrote in reply:
When I was a young atheist I got sucked into a undertow in the ocean and while drowning I left my body and met God. Not a god, or some anthropomorphized projection.... But I became one with the force that makes up everything in existence. Complete unity with everything, no separation, and deep knowing. Within this oneness I then saw visions of the life I have been experiencing, but I saw that life from the perspective of oneness and no separation.... While I knew the life was something I had been experiencing, I knew that I was more then just that experience of life.... And at the same time I saw that I had to return back into that life and that experience of separateness to finish something.
When I realized I needed to go back I was then suddenly in my body again and a spirit was carrying me to the surface of the ocean. The experience was so intense and frightening to me that I tried to pretend it didnt happen for the next couple months. I kept trying to be an atheist because I didnt want to change my worldview. I tried desperately to hold on to my previous identity....
But a couple months later I tried mushrooms for the first time.... And wouldnt you know it - I ended up leaving my body and experiencing oneness and unity with God again. I had never heard of God described as oneness or unity or energy.... I mostly only knew about Abrahamic faiths and Buddhism, and as an atheist had never been much interested in religions or ideas of God.... I had never heard that mushrooms could cause mystical experiences either - I just thought they would be fun. But even though I had never heard of these ideas and I didnt believe in them - I was experiencing them in a way that felt more real then life. More real then anything I had ever experienced before. And so far from anything I would have ever imagined or heard from someone else.... Not an idea from a book or a priest - but just natural experiencing when confronting death and loss of my ego.
Over the next few years I would sometimes experience this oneness of unity when eating mushrooms or sometimes when just praying in nature sober.... Every time I experienced it and came back I would understand myself better. I was seeing the deepest core of who I was - not just in this life, but I was seeing the spark of divinity within myself that is within all people. Eventually I heard this perspective of universal energy being God was sometimes called pantheism, and eventually I discovered I wasnt the only person using psychedelics for mystical experiences. Eventually this led me to shamanism, animism and after healing my own deep depression learning to work as a healer myself.
These days I mostly focus on healing work. But sometimes I get the most excited when someone comes and asks do do ceremony looking for mystical experience. I dont tell them what to expect or push my experiences on them in any way - but the medicine will guide them into mystical union while I hold space for them.... And it always turns out that they experience something similar to what I keep experiencing. And it is always deeply insightful and life changing.
Looking at modern research on psychedelic assisted therapies it also seems that the deepest lasting healings usually involve some type of mystical experience. I think this provides a sense of connection, love and forgiveness. At the same time I think it also offers a unique perspective about your own life that helps people make healthier decisions and helps people let go of some things which might have been holding them back while at the same time embracing new perspectives and ways of living that are more in-tune with what they need in life. Sometimes a change of perspective can change everything.