Too Far Too Fast With Psychedelics?

The issue of too far, too fast, especially with solo high-dose psychedelics, is important for many. A colleague recently emailed me a link to a 16-minute YouTube video titled, “5 Gram Mushroom Trip Report: ‘I Am Nothing’ ” and recommended I watch it.

I found it striking and an important concern for those exploring psychedelics, especially in higher doses—what Terence McKenna called heroic or committed doses—and maybe especially for the many who take substances like psilocybin mushrooms on their own without a sitter, guide, therapist, or experienced and ethical ceremony leader. As evidence of its relevance, the video has had a million views in one year. There were also close to 3000 comments, a number of them effectively mirroring the distressing and lasting experiences described in the video.

Chris Bache is a friend and colleague as well as the author of the brilliant and important book LSD and the Mind of the Universe: Diamonds from Heaven. His 20-year odyssey of 73 carefully constructed and meticulously transcribed high-dose LSD sessions harvested incredible insights. With Chris’ rare mystical experiences in realms beyond ego dissolution and into “the mind of the universe” in mind, I wrote him to ask his take on this video. Here is his carefully considered insightful and instructive reply.

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Dear Stephen

This is an interesting and complex session. It also seems to be a cautionary tale of what can happen when the ego softens enough to dissolve to some degree into radically expanded states of consciousness but not enough to die completely into that expanse and integrate what one experiences there. Rather than fully dissolving into the ocean of consciousness, this brave individual seems more like a cork bobbing on its waves, being tossed back and forth between transcendental glimpses and personal filters.

So the first issue I see is “too far, too fast” and not dying completely enough to truly transcend the limits of our body-mind existence. In this respect, his last observations about the importance of purifying one’s life are correct, but in well-paced therapeutic sessions, these purifications take place inside one’s sessions in addition to after one’s sessions.

His experience also points to the challenge of integrating these experiences, again not only after but during the experience itself. I see many legitimate insights into certain cosmological truths but mixed together with a spacetime perspective that is not large enough to fully understand and interpret what he is seeing, resulting in distortions. As in some NDEs where the intensity of one’s experience is mistaken as being a validation of the truth of the insight being experienced. “Jesus was right there and I saw that he is truly the only way to God.” From these experiences we have learned that an experience can be overwhelmingly powerful and yet mistaken or limited at the same time.

The result is a confusing combination that conveys an incomplete and incoherent vision of the relation of infinite and finite existence. Instead of witnessing the wonder of Dharmakaya manifesting as Nirmanakaya in exquisite and subtle beauty, he is caught in the tumble cycle bouncing around in creation and terrified because he does not see how these levels of reality can be reconciled and put together. The result is fearful confusion instead of ecstatic joy that celebrates our individual existence as a self-manifestation of the Creative Intelligence of the universe. Of course, it’s not surprising that our small mind cannot comprehend the early glimpses it receives into the workings of the Big Mind of the universe. 

I do not mean to denigrate this person’s endeavor, which was heroic in many ways, but my bottom line, I think, is that it is a mishmash that signals “too far, too fast” and the chaos that can result when different levels of reality are juxtaposed without being fully integrated or reconciled. This happens, I think, when the ego has not been given sufficient time and context in one’s sessions to release its constrictions before entering deeper levels of consciousness. An egoic existence that has not completely died and which takes its residual conditioning into the infinite potentials of consciousness generates a confusing blend of experiences and insights that makes the universe look more frightening and less intelligent than it truly is.

My two cents worth. I’d be interested in how my take aligns with yours,


Note: For more on skilled use of psychedelics for individual and planetary healing Read this.

Note 2: For interviews of and by me, please visit either the “Interviews” page on, or my YouTube channel, which is primarily devoted to my interviews of leading figures in psychedelics.

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