Chapter 1 of the latest book by Kai Teo “The Universe and I Walked into a Bar”
It must have been over a decade ago when I first embarked on the journey to explore my consciousness. Yes, it was psychedelics that opened the doors to my own deeper existence, it was LSD and psilocybin mushrooms that helped give me a clearer insight into life, and thanks to these medicines, I’m able to sit here today to begin writing this book, to share with you everything that I’ve learnt.
Not like I know better about anything than you do, I’ve just been lucky enough to be able to pluck out some little fruits of wisdom from our eternal, combined consciousness. And today, I would like to share them with you – no self righteousness, no holier-than-thou-join-my-sex-cult-I-am-your-guru bullshit. Kinda like I bought a watermelon and I’m offering you a slice, not gonna judge you for not having money to buy a watermelon, nor be all proud and shit because I am more generous than you. Just sharing, freely.
I sincerely hope that you will read this book with an open heart, and not judge me for sharing my watermelon, just because you’re more of a grapefruit kind of person.
Over the past years, I’m deeply grateful that my own learning from entheogenic medicines – psychoactive substances used for the purpose of self discovery, spiritual exploration, and learning – has indeed made me a kinder, less materialistic, more compassionate human being. But it’s like going out for happy hour, once you drink the first pint from the universal brewery of knowledge, you want the next pint, and the next, and by the end of the evening, you’re doing tequila shots and downing some weird rainbow coloured flaming drink.
With psychedelic exploration, once we see that there’s something more than this 9 to 5, get married, have children, die of cancer, kinda life, we’re often too eager to find out what’s more. I’ve seen the plants breathe and the oceans sing, but what is their message? I’ve felt myself becoming one with the planet, but why are we One? Who is The One? The current systems of modern life are fucked up, but isn’t it all going according to the universe’s plan?
In order to pursue the answers to our endless questions, we often think, “Maybe one more tab of acid would open my mind up even more, maybe even 1200 micrograms”, or “How about DMT? We push into the breakthrough, meet the entities, come back, then re-enter”, or even, “Maybe one more Ayahuasca session with the shaman and I’ll be satisfied, if not, I’ll come back again next summer.”
I too, have pushed myself to the limits of my own sanity, often venturing into the realms of what has been mistakenly termed “heroic doses”. You know, just to see what’s more, to see what the human mind is capable of; to see if I really am a hero. Every time, I’ve come back learning that there really is nothing heroic about my ability to take psychedelic punches, I mean, what was I trying to prove? But of course, the thirst for knowledge, and the ego’s thirst for its own gratification, was a difficult to satisfy one.
After every trip, I return with tons of souvenirs, numerous glimpses of wisdom, and more answers than I asked for. But there was always one more question that I wanted to ask, one more “truth” that I was seeking. Am I not smart enough? Am I not worthy of the whole truth? Which substance can give me the ultimate trip and give me the full apple from the Tree of Knowledge? Next time we’ll take more, psychedelic hero. Maybe then, we’ll see.
I chased, and I chased hard. Maybe because I thought I could gain enlightenment this way, or maybe because I could somehow, casually mention in the next conversation about the time I went for 1000 micrograms on the festival dance floor, get looks of approval or even the occasional “You’re crazy”. And then, I’d somehow deny that I was actually proud of it and boasting to you, but instead, trying to give you advice because I’m “wiser” than you. “I’ve experienced ego-loss more times that you, so here’s what I have to say.”
Spiritual teachers, friends, respectable musicians and artists – everyone’s going on and on about Ayahuasca, natural medicines, and life-changing ceremonies. Naturally, I wanted to move my exploration further into the realms of the gods, venture beyond the festival grounds, and soak in the precious nectar of knowledge the ancient shamans have known for thousands of years. I wasn’t really into meeting entities, or go on a deep trip about the regrets and pain in my life. I wanted the holy grail, I wanted to meet the universe itself.
So here’s how it all began, the grand rollercoaster ride that ended my pursuit, the one trip that stopped me from chasing further, and the big boom boom that told me that there was nothing more to discover. Come with me, happy hour has just begun.