I just released a YouTube video about my first "awakening experience" and wanted to share it here as a blog post as well in case anybody would rather read!
Hey guys, if you don't know, my name is Lauren Nikohl, I'm a singer/songwriter in Los Angeles. I've been meaning to share this story for a while now, but I guess I had been held back by fear of what other people would think. I think, though, that what I have to share today is really valuable, and that it could perhaps help others see from a new perspective. I know that, still, some people are going to hear what I have to say and think it's "crazy" or whatever, but I'm putting this out there because I know that the people who need to hear it might hear it, and I think it's important for me to speak my truth.
So, I'm going to be talking about my spiritual awakening experience--which happened to be the first time I ever took a psychedelic, and how it really changed my life, though--disclaimer-- I am in no way advocating that just anybody goes and takes these things. It was honestly the most life changing event of my entire existence thus far, but I do think that psychedelics are just one tool in our tool box, and some tools are going to work better for certain people than others.
Anyways, let me start this story off by mentioning that before my first psychedelic experience, I was an atheist. Actually, I had grown up Lutheran, then turned agnostic around age 17, and then atheist. What I experienced during my magic mushroom trip was the most spiritual and divinely connected I had ever felt in my life. This all started when a good friend of mine told me about her positive experiences with psychedelics. Previously, I had been super against any "hard" drug besides weed or alcohol, but after doing some research (because I'm a little nerd) I found that mushrooms had no negative long term side effects, and I figured it wouldn't hurt to try it out.
My first experience was taking an eighth of mushrooms at a beach in Malibu. I didn't expect too much out of the experience except for knowing I'd probably see some pretty colors. I experienced a small bit of anxiety at the beginning, as the changing of my senses felt a bit overwhelming at first. My vision felt "wavy", and I felt a bit of nausea. But, As soon as I drank some water and told myself to just relax into it and allow the experience to happen, all my anxiety went away and I started feeling super giggly, like the entirety of existence was just hilarious. Which, it kind of is if you think about it. Colors were much brighter and more vivid than I had ever seen, and it was beautiful. My vision felt much more HD than usual, as I could see very clearly every pore in my partner's face.
Fairly early on in the trip, I decided to lay my head down on my towel and close my eyes. It felt like time started to slow down, almost like time was collapsing in on itself, and I was able to perceive things in a whole new way, from a perspective outside of time and space. It felt like you could experience an eternity inside of one moment, and it felt like every single thing I had ever done in my life was leading up to this exact moment so that I could have this exact experience. I started to have an out of body experience, though at the time I don't think I would have used that exact terminology. To clarify what I mean, I was experiencing an awareness of the universe, but not from my normal point of awareness as this human body. It felt like some greater intelligence was guiding me through the multiverse, and showing me how it worked. At one point, I experienced unity consciousness where my awareness literally became one with everything and I understood how everything is truly connected by consciousness, or "god" if you wish to call it that. It was like a unified energy field that created everything in existence, and I understood that I was "god" and that everything was "god", or source energy, or universal consciousness, or whatever you want to call it. Words are just words, symbols that we use to make meaning of our experiences.
Again, what I was perceiving seemed to be outside of time and space as we know it, so even though I'm telling this story in a linear fashion, it almost felt like everything that happened in my out of body experience happened simultaneously. And I know that's kind of hard to conceptualize if you haven't experienced it. Much of this experience is pretty ineffable, as I feel that the human language could simply never get close enough to the truth of what was actually experienced.
At one point, I experienced this place, or dimension if you will, that felt like it was the place we all go when we leave the physical plane, when we transition from one life to another, or when we die essentially. Intuitively, I felt that this was the place Christian people call heaven, because it was so dreamy and peaceful. I nostalgically remembered that I had been to this place many times before, in between my many lives and incarnations. I even saw my dad and my sister while I was there, or while my soul was there I guess you could say, and I knew that I had been to this place many times before with my dad's and sister's souls as well.
Towards the end of the trip, my visual awareness became totally dark, like a great void, and all I heard were a few voices inside my head, that were not my own, softly telling me "Stay. Stay." I intuitively knew that I had the choice right then and there if I wanted to stay in this reality, or if I wanted to "die" essentially and go experience a different reality. Looking back, it is my own belief that those voices I heard were my ancestors or spirit guides, or something like that. I started remembering and understanding my soul's purpose in coming to this Earth, and that was to help people understand unity consciousness through my music.
I was starting to come down after this bit, coming back to "Lauren consciousness", and I awoke out of my inner journey. As I lifted myself up off the ground, I started crying these tears of joy, thinking about how life was so beautiful, and how I knew what my soul's purpose was. I also felt a bit like I had forgotten how to be a human, because Jeff asked me if I needed to pee and I was a little confused and thought "hm yeah I guess I should pee". It felt like I had experienced an "ego death" and then a rebirth, like I was seeing everything with new eyes again.
After I struggled to figure out how to be a human and go to the bathroom, I was looking out at the beautiful sunset and could see birds and bugs flying in perfect formation with each other. It was almost like I could see every movement of the birds all at once, like I was seeing multiple frames of time at the same time, from when the bird was at position "A" to when they got about 3 feet farther in flight. The connectedness of the ocean was so beautiful too, like a perfectly organized chaos. I remember asking my friends "Why do we have jobs?" because I just couldn't even understand the concept of why anyone had to "work" when there was this beautiful world of nature to just enjoy and experience. I also remember saying to my partner that I understood that we were soulmates, and I was so happy we found each other again in this lifetime. I was very introspective in the car ride home, as my entire worldview had been shattered.
That trip completely changed my outlook on death, reality, love, god, & consciousness. I knew after this trip that I am an eternal spiritual being having this human experience, and that death was only a transition to something else. That's not to say that if I were hanging over a cliff, I wouldn't experience fear, because I'm sure I would I'm only human. But deep down, I no longer fear death because I know my consciousness will exist forever, as all consciousness can exist forever. I also felt a renewed sense of purpose in needing to help other humans become aware of what I had become aware of, and to help others experience the "oneness of all things" for themselves.
Again, psychedelics are only one tool in the toolbox, and I actually think that meditation is one of the best tools you can use to foster more self awareness and unity consciousness. Other tools include yoga, chanting, fasting, breath work, and more. Magic mushrooms, albeit, are very powerful tools, and I think that with the right circumstances and intentions, that they can be used for the betterment of humanity. Scientific studies are showing that psychedelics have greatly reduced depression in patients who are terminally ill, and I personally believe that psychedelics, or entheogens, as I like to call them (which means "god inducing" substances), could be very beneficial and healing for many people.
Definitely don't try them without doing some of your own research. I've actually written up a harm reduction guide on how to conduct an "intentional plant medicine experience" based on my own experiences and the research I've done, so if you want me to send that to you, click here to learn about my advice on how to set yourself up for a successful healing experience. Of course, these things are not yet legal in the United States, so use precaution, but I really do think that with the new studies coming out that it won't be long before mainstream culture accepts psychedelics as a valuable therapy and mode of exploring our own consciousness. I'm not encouraging the use of these plants, but I think it's important to foster awareness of them at least.
So, that was my awakening experience. To be honest, I don't think spiritual awakenings are a one and done deal, and I've had a few other "awakening" experiences since then. I'm not sure if the journey ever really ends, as I've realized that the stages of awakening can just keep going deeper and deeper, but this was the first experience that really popped my reality bubble. I'd like to mention that not every psychedelic experience or spiritual awakening is going to be the same. I happened to have a very mystical experience my first time trying mushrooms, but you might have a completely different experience, based on a variety of factors. In fact, I've had other psychedelic experiences since then, and must say that no other experience was quite as mystical as that first one. In general, Awakening experiences can come in all sorts of different forms. I also want to mentioned that Shamans in indigenous cultures have been using sacred plant medicines for thousands of years for divination and healing purposes. I personally think that Western cultures have demonized these substances because they allow us to experience the divine for ourselves, and that takes away power and control structures from the church and state.
If my story resonated with you in some way today, I do accept donations via Paypal or Venmo, and would super appreciate them, as I am creating my first album soon that explores all of these ideas about consciousness. I'll put the links below. You could also support me on Patreon if you'd like to gain access to exclusive, behind the scenes content and access to my songs before they're released. But, really, the fact that you even made it this far into the story is enough for me to feel super grateful, and I hope it helped you see with new eyes today.
Leave a comment with any questions you might have, or if you've had any similar experiences, I would love to hear them! I'm going to create videos about a few of my other psychedelic and spiritual experiences as well, so hit the subscribe button on YouTube to stay tuned.
I am you and you are me, we are reflections of each other, and we are the universe experiencing itself in human form. I love you. And I hope you have a great rest of your day.