Guided: Michael Pollan shrooming

UCal Professor and food journalist Michael Pollan writes in the New York Times about his first mushroom trip experience, with an underground professional guide:

I WOULD HAVE preferred to have my own guided psilocybin session aboveground in the reassuring confines of a medical institution, but the teams at Hopkins and N.Y.U. weren’t currently working with so-called healthy normals (do I flatter myself?) — and I could lay claim to none of the serious mental problems they were studying. I wasn’t trying to fix anything big — not that there wasn’t room for improvement. Like many people in late middle age, I had developed a set of fairly dependable mental algorithms for navigating whatever life threw at me, and while these are undeniably useful tools for coping with everyday life and getting things done, they leave little space for surprise or wonder or change. After interviewing several dozen people who had undergone psychedelic therapy, I envied the radical new perspectives they had achieved. I also wasn’t sure I’d ever had a spiritual experience, and time was growing short. The idea of “shaking the snow globe” of my mental life, as one psychedelic researcher put it, had come to seem appealing.

Michael Pollan

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