Ego Death in its Purest Sense in a Realm More Real than This One

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Omar, 33, Manchester UK

I tried breaking through about two times before it actually happened. I did 50mg of DMT, which is classed as a high dose. This was my third try so I figured upping it a bit would be fine. I took 3 deep breaths of it. The first two inhales were doing the same thing I’d experienced previously: the room becomes larger; everything looks cleaner and purer, almost like you’re in a custom made room built out of ceramic and porcelain. Then I took the third breath.

At this point there are no adequate words to remotely describe what happened; it wasn't just exhilarating, it was terrifying. With a spinning whoosh the room disappeared and I entered this place that was made of turning, fractal geometric light. It was intense in a way that I can’t express… I’ve heard stories of people screaming continuously from the shock. I don't think I shouted out… but I honestly can’t say for sure. Everything there was moving and changing into different forms. It was an entirely fractal landscape, at times it looked like infinitely disassembling machinery and staring at it was causing some sort of cerebral attack.

Everything disassembles over and over until it takes a new form

It’s as if this fractal landscape was pulling me into it, making me spiral through endless dizzying tunnels. You want to stop looking at it and yet you can’t take your eyes away from it, and what you see is this continuously disassembling landscape that splits and convulses and keeps disassembling and disassembling and disassembling until it turns into an entirely new form and shape… and this keeps happening.

It was so mind bending and overwhelming I genuinely thought I was going to die. Apparently that's normal but it was so intense that I wanted it to stop.

In terms of my memory of it, it’s very difficult to fully piece together, it feels like the experience is such a concentrated rush that you lose any defined state of consciousness. It’s as if you’re actually turning into something that isn’t human at all… because surely humans shouldn't be able to experience something like this. It’s not 3D; it’s like a hyper dimensional super-state where you have to become something else in order to go there - and the mind-altering nature of the fractal geometry is the pathway to this higher state.  

My soul was being pulled from my chest and my brain was turning inside out

I don't think I screamed but I definitely felt the wind had been knocked out of me, or to put it another way – that my soul was being pulled from my chest and my brain was being turned inside out. People have said they’ve seen aliens and god… it seemed the entire landscape was alive in some sense; everything was moving but I don't remember seeing specific creatures that I could separate from the whole.

However my memory is problematic and separating me from the experience or separating living things from inanimate objects is a very difficult task. I did feel like there was something trying to show me that place; like this feeling that something was speaking in something other than a language, some kind of telepathic connection. It was saying, “Look, look at this, this here… and look at this too.”

Yet in my head I was like, “I don't have what it takes to see this, it’s too much… it’s unbearable.” I have faint memories, many of which were flashbacks that I had for days afterwards. There was something that seemed to sprinkle small black balls onto me (I’m not sure what that was but Terence McKenna mentions this also). There was another point where I remember acting in an absurd way: my mouth opened wide and dropped abnormally low and my tongue, larger and longer, dropped out and my eyes began spinning in circles, like I was some kind of animated machine. 

I wasn’t in any way separate to what was happening

I don't think I had a body there, not in any normal sense anyway. I distinctly remember touching my hair and body initially, and occasionally feeling them, but I stopped being able to at some point. After a while I realised that I wasn't in any way separate to what was happening; I was part of the landscape.

I remember at some point (maybe the start and possibly the return) seeing my legs crossed beneath me, looking like they had been sculpted in a computer in a 3D mapping process. I think the shock of the experience made me fight it for too long, and this extended the more frightening moments of losing complete control. There is undoubtedly a state of panic when it happens… but who wouldn't panic? How can you not? But this was the most terrifying part…

It was ego death in its purest sense

I didn't know how long I had been there, if I could leave or when, nor why I was there. With other substances you can say, “Oh it’s just a trip - it’s just a trip that will wear off.” Yet I’d completely forgotten how I had gotten there - I didn't know I was on a trip. I didn't know I was in my room and that I had been smoking something.

The whole experience lasted about 10-15 minutes but due to the collapse of time, I felt like I had been there for years. Perhaps an infinite loop of duration is more accurate. You get shown so much that there’s no way your brain can comprehend, grasp or remember it all. There are no linguistic descriptors, no comparative scenes in waking life. But there was a point that I got to where I felt I had been consumed by the landscape and become a cog in its machinery. At that point I knew I had died in my own mind. It was ego death in its purest sense.

There was no me, or you, or this or that - I was everything. I became everything, and everything exists, always. At that point I felt a sense of peace and contentment that I’ve never experienced in my life.  

The madness made me feel that I had lived infinite lives

The best way I can describe it is that the fractal journey seemed to induce a profound kind of madness… and the madness, along with the complete removal of time, made me feel like I had lived an infinite amount of lives. I was you, I was me and I was every living thing that had ever existed or could exist. And then at some point I had transcended the cycles of birth and death and reached a higher plane of consciousness… pure awareness.  

I initially considered this to be a state of nirvana, or perhaps it was the fifth state of the Bardo. I was feeling really emotional the next day when I was thinking about it, I had to stop myself from crying a number of times.

The strange conclusion to this state of awareness and eventual state of emptiness is that time isn't real. It’s just a construct of lower sentient beings like ourselves. We will therefore never be satisfied with statements like: "Reality is infinite" or, "Before the universe existed, there was no time." Our lives are governed by time; they are meaningless without time... so what happens when you experience a reality where time doesn't exist? 

That place is a cauldron of realities more real than this one is

When I returned it took me quite a few seconds to realise who or what I was. It was like being born. As I came to my senses, the strength of the knowledge that I had accumulated just evaporated... and I felt human again. I was a human who had just smoked something, sitting on a carpet. Yet the journey was there in endless fragments. I had been there forever.

I have to say it’s changed my beliefs about certain things. I can’t see how someone can experience that and say that their brain has just invented it. I just don't see it. Your brain can invent worlds but it can’t invent hyper-dimensional God states like that. Those who disagree likely would agree if they were ever to experience it. That place is more real than this is. It’s like a thousand realities converging in some sort of portal. It is a cauldron of realities.

It is the experience of reality without time that shows you that human consciousness is seated and contingent upon determinism: a causation, a pattern of actions, e.g. you go to work, the pub, the gym, you come home, you sleep... and it all begins again. But a reality without time means a reality where you are unable to form a sense of personhood, a life. Therefore perhaps without time we can no longer be a person, a self, an ego.

The existential and ontological constitution of the totality of Dasein (being) is grounded in temporality. Accordingly, a primordial mode of temporalizing of ecstatic temporality itself must make the ecstatic project of being in general possible. How is this mode of temporalizing of temporality to be interpreted? Is there a way leading from primordial time to the meaning of being? Does time itself reveal itself as the horizon of being?
— Martin Heidegger

This seems to be the place you go when you die

Pondering on the experience for months afterwards, I have considered a few possibilities as to what that place might be. My first thought was that it was an alien civilisation that had achieved some higher state of consciousness, and this was the only way to communicate with them. My second was that it was the mind of ‘God’ or rather something we might want to consider a God-like entity in a pantheistic sense. But the one I’ve settled on more than any others is that this is the place you go to when you die (that is, unless you return to inhabit another corporeal body). Although I feel like all three possibilities are connected, or somehow one and the same.

You have to understand, that for someone like me, who has believed in empiricism and science my whole adult life, to talk like this is quite a big deal. It’s both profound and preposterous and the absurdity of it is deeply disturbing. It just can’t be explained. I’m in awe of it. I think about it every day. Let me be clear: I cannot say anything for sure as I still believe that science is the primary excavator of our shared experiences... but 'shared' is the key word here. I don't believe in materialism. I don't believe that this is all there is. There is clearly something else. And the belief that consciousness stops with the body is something I now fundamentally doubt.

It may be the most profound experience a person can have 

Is this the most profound experience that a person can have? It really is hard to argue otherwise. Unless you're a religious person then essentially you live; you have sensory experiences and then you die. No one has any idea why you are here. No one knows why the fuck we are here experiencing this in the first place… what’s the point of reality?

In all my life this is the closest anything has come to answering that question, and it can’t be described in words... it’s a state of infinite awareness. The indivisible Godhead of reality. The chasm between this reality and that one is that the memory of it has dissipated like a dream.

The more time passes, the further I am from it, so what may have been profound is now a dream that I have woken from. As my perceptions become stale within this reality and the experience drifts further and further away.