Lessons in Self-Care From 2 Grams of Psilocybin

There’s a “there” there.

Michael Papas
4 min readNov 11, 2020


Photo by Simon Berger on Unsplash

The clouded horizon grew vivid. My breathing deepened. The stream of thoughts faded until only awareness remained. I had come up.

45 minutes earlier, I’d eaten 2 grams of psilocybin mushrooms, commonly termed magic.

I’ve tripped before, but this time was different. No visuals. The sky, though bright and beautiful, refused to form its usual geometric patterns.

The world was crisp, and my mind felt unlike itself. It didn’t feel like anything at all. I was simply aware. More aware.

That’s weird. Awareness is supposed to be binary. It’s on or it’s off. Here, it was a matter of degree. My awareness had grown larger, somehow.

The transition was itself curious. I had just arrived but was always there. Like waking from a deep slumber.

In this state of aware awareness, I realized something. And it seemed obvious.

The brain in my head generated awareness. The interaction of its billions of neurons produced consciousness. A clear relation. No mysticism to speak of.

I felt this crisply. Yet I reasoned as much since, by ‘supercharging’ my brain with psilocybin, my awareness had become somehow more. I wouldn’t say it had enlarged. It was simply more of itself. My awareness was more aware.

This study shows that psilocybin reduces activity in the prefrontal cortex. To use the authors’ words, this enables a “state of unconstrained cognition”. My own experience was a sense that the ‘self’ in the mind had evaporated— there was no ‘thinker’ in there, thinking.

With this thinker silenced, my awareness could grasp what was important. I was keenly aware, not of what I wanted, but of what would be good for me.

Sam Harris often discusses the psychedelic experience. He views it as a window. A window through which you see the brain’s potential. You see that “there’s a there, there”. That well cared for, the brain generates a higher state of consciousness.

In that higher state, humans are their better selves — their compassionate, loving, powerful selves.



Michael Papas

Insights from neuroscience, non-dual mindfulness, and psychedelics to upgrade your awareness. For gigs or just to chat, get me at michaelpwriting@gmail.com.