A Doctor’s Experience – Non-Chemical Dependence

“I have prepared myself in the last week for this ibogaine experience. Meditated, specified purpose, etc., etc.”

I have prepared myself in the last week for this ibogaine experience. Meditated, specified purpose, etc., etc. I have prepared to die, although I do not worry that will happen. This morning I cleanse. Then, having fasted since a light supper, take two little vials of a Chinese herbal preparation, give them thirty minutes to take effect, then down the huge capsule of ibogaine (I am taking 8.5 mg/ Kg). Eric and I chat a while, then I ask her to meditate with me. After 55 minutes, I have grown dizzy, and take myself off to bed, light a candle and settle in, my emesis bag beside the bed.

My dizziness expands exponentially, and soon there is a whirling disk of light which changes the direction of its spin periodically. The big show, though, is an enormous amount of noise of all kinds — whistling, groaning, popping, hissing, and a steady binaural beat exactly like Hemi-Sync

. The beat will be present for the entire rest of the experience. During this time I am reminiscing of receiving ether anesthesia at the age of four. The induction phase had exactly the same noises, etc., as this stage, and I wonder if I will be put completely out this time as well.

And my body is doing very strange things, indeed. The whole nervous system is lighting up. Tingling, warmth, electricity, and muscle fasciculation are happening everywhere. The left side of my body feels like it’s rocking like a boat, while the right side does not. I do a whole soliloquy about seeing through a porthole, but the rest of my surrounding is darkened. The puzzle is to guess where one is by the view through the porthole, by what the scenery is out there rather than what’s inside and can’t be seen.

After what seems like a very long time when I am beginning to wonder if there will be no images, the screen of my eyelids suddenly lights up onto a beautiful sunny day. There is a male figure squatting at the top of a cliff, looking out over the ocean. Suddenly, he stands up and jumps off the cliff. As he goes into the water, his hands are extended above his head, and I leave the scene with just his hands remaining out of the water. And so with the leap of The Fool, it begins.

Then images begin — nightmarish in quality — much like hypnotic sleep. They are somewhat more grotesque and bloodthirsty than hypnotic sleep though. I consciously try to change these and cannot. I am now aware of the very strong separation of me, the dispassionate watcher from the proceedings. These scenes are, throughout the day, without much emotional content other than humor. Most are quite matter-of-fact. And I have a dialogue with myself throughout. The dialogue is constant.

After a while I wonder if I will be stuck in this nightmarish stuff the whole time. Then, other images start, many of them very fleeting and hard to catch. A recurrent one — people, men, women, children, standing waist deep in water, naked. They are often ugly people, not particularly pretty or graceful and they just stand in the very dark water, with a copper sun reflecting on the water, and look at me.

This is all extremely intense as the body feelings, the noise, and the images create quite a cacophony of sensations, not all entirely pleasant. I am aware of my neck being rigid, my jaws grinding, my back arched a bit. My hands feel like they are moving, though they are not. I have some trouble with my arms and hands going numb, and move them from time to time. After a time, a pain develops in my stomach, which stays for almost twenty hours. It reaches a peak, when it feels like it could result in vomiting but then subsides a bit and just remains steady. I notice it from time to time.

The rush of images is very similar to the experience of hallucinations I had all night after my head injury from the car accident. The only difference is that those images were memories of the last 48 hours before, while these images are not memories and do have sound connected to them in a coherent way. And sound is enormously distorted, reverberating crazily around in my head, so that the littlest sound in the house sends me off on crazy excursions, fascinates me, trying to figure out what it is, which I cannot, because it’s so distorted. Any voices sound as if they’re talking too fast — I have trouble following them.

But now I encounter what appears to be the meat of the Iboga God experience. I begin to get exercises and lessons in causality, and what I need to work on, though as they are brought up there is the sense they are being resolved at the same time. This is presented in a scene. Then, in case I missed the point, the words show up in printed form and then move to a list forming at the lower right of the picture. Before these lessons begin, I have a very real scene in which my mother is dying, I am holding her in my arms, then she dies. I am worried at this point, as it was so real, and feel I should call her, but it would be impossible for me to get out of bed or stand up, so I give up on that.

Each of these lessons is presented in such a way that every side of the question is examined; the cause, the action, and the reaction or result. This all seems to take place at hyperspeed, and though I can change certain things in these scenes at will, I can not change their content or where they want to go. They are definitely going of their own volition. These are not memories, and except for my mother, there are not any other people in any of this that I recognize. So here are some of the lessons or things I need to work on or things that were finished working on during this VERY strenuous day.

1. Give up needing to seduce (not necessarily in a sexual way).
which played right into the next lesson…
2. Give up needing approval.
3. Live in the NOW moment.
4. Give up being so hard on myself.
5. Accept growing older, becoming the crone.

This last one was particularly humorous in the way it played out. First I was in a conversation with someone and I was saying to them, “I don’t believe you didn’t…”. At this point the words coming out my mouth appear in print form, and I and the other person disappear from the screen. Now the words “you didn’t” are chopped off and the other words “I don’t believe” enlarged and centered. So now I am looking at, “I don’t believe” in large letters, and must contemplate that — I shout “But I DO believe”, But the letters keep pulsing back at me. Then, the “I don’t” is chopped off and now there is just gigantic, pulsating, in my face BELIEVE. What a fun exercise.

I am amazed throughout this at the amount of self denigrating, negative dialogue I have with myself, lecturing, degrading, etc. It goes on and on — you are so flawed, so imperfect, so unworthy, etc. That was a superb lesson to me to have revealed that inner dialogue I am long-since no longer aware of at all, and it is this inner dialogue which seems to be what will be modified after this experience. Some of the lessons above came out of my becoming aware of this constant dialogue.

I was also quite anxious, in a detached way, that for some reason the drug would not work on me. It took a long time to take effect, then I worried at each stage that nothing else would happen, thus the lesson in living the now moment. This is also a lesson, I see, in expectations, and a joke on me, as I had felt I had no expectations. But I did — I expected travels elsewhere, past and current life memories, all sorts of specific encounters with beings and tunnels of light, etc. Instead it took me a while to settle down and see the quite real and important and transformative stuff speeding past my vision.

I receive instructions somewhere in here to take up walking again. Also some humorous physical stuff — stomach churning noisily, then some kind of trickle coming up my esophagus which I can’t feel but is noisy — happens several times. And swallowing is so loud (and has to be done a lot) I fear disturbing Eric at her computer in the next room.

There is a long soliloquy about the nature of things seen from a true metaphysical sense. During this time I am in wonder at the magnificent way in which this universe works — and I am thinking, in the same kind of dialogue as a Fritjof Capra etc., of the true core of all. I see the electrons running in wiring and the magnificent structure of the human body, in all its intricate and perfect placement, such an incredible miracle how all has its order and structure. Although I have seen these things and known these words and processes, this is another kind of “seeing”. I also had a whole thing about form and function — how they really explain the shape and nature of something, but that it really holds no meaning or completeness until it is moving through space.

Also a long piece about when I say, “I can’t”, I really mean I don’t want to or I won’t, and just say that in the first place.

And a very long piece about not feeling, how there is a very thin film, like saran wrap, which is lifted to capture any feelings beneath it when they occur, thus hiding them from my knowledge. I see this film needs to be removed but I have a sense that this is not resolved during this process.

There are times when I specifically try to address certain issues, like eating and sexuality, past memories, and past life issues, but the screen follows its own order and pays no attention to my directions, letting me know these things will not be brought up. Later, I understand that any glitches in these areas are results of the above six areas and if those lessons are carried out, the rest will be resolved.

My body begins to be very uncomfortable, and when Eric checks up on me I ask the time — 3:30 — six hours into this. The biggest onslaught is over but there continues the same pictures, etc. and enormous dizziness. I am so astounded I can observe my body quietly breathing, obviously asleep, though not paralyzed, though not really asleep, as I could open my eyes and talk to someone any time I wanted. This is like being in a lucid dream, in that one can direct the dreams somewhat, and remain fully conscious of what is going on. It is exactly like being asleep, and the heart functions and respiratory function seem also to indicate sleep, but not actually be asleep. This drug is a powerful stimulant because, as it turns out, I went all through till the next night without any sleep and without feeling sleepy. Imagine laying on a bed for 24 hours, with eyes closed, and never once falling asleep, and then getting up the following day without the slightest drowsiness (though still with a bit of dizziness).

I get up for a little while and sit in the living room, miserable with dizziness and noise and hardly able to open my eyes. But I eat a banana and a peanut butter sandwich, then go back to bed.

Throughout the rest of the experience, I spend my time reviewing current life situations, and just basically reverie — the intensity is now gone, as are the printed lessons, etc. Really, for the rest of the time my enormous physical discomfort begins to be uppermost. I stagger to the bathroom once, then gratefully climb back into bed. I begin to suffer greatly from increasingly painful numb arms which cannot be laid in any position without angry pins and needles starting almost immediately. I try putting on my carpal tunnel splint, which only helps slightly, and then, finally, the problem just goes away.

My back and neck are very sore, as are my shoulders and hips, so I toss and turn, only comfortable for a few minutes in one position. I am afraid to take aspirin because my stomach still hurts. Even my big toes hurt where the very light covers touch them. After a very restless night I get up and eat a bit of breakfast, take some aspirin, and go back to bed for two hours, this time to sleep. When I am awake, the pain is gone, and I am clear, except for some slight dizziness. And so it ends.

Eric and I have spoken intermittently over the last two days, during this process, and it has helped me enormously to put this in some kind of context. During the worst (or best) of it, I thought more than once I must be crazy to get myself in this miserable state. This A.M. I still had my doubts, but now tonight I feel very positive about the whole thing, and could conceive of doing it again in a few years. I am especially pleased I was able to remember the list of lessons, though I’ve forgotten many of the scenarios. It was such an onslaught, I feared I’d not be able to remember anything.

This experience reminds me of two things more. First, lying on the bed and experiencing this, with the accompanying suffering associated with bringing forth something new and precious was just like lying in labor, silent, with no complaint, struggling to give birth to my sons.

Secondly, I realize during conversation with Donald, how similar this is to those things described in the Tibetan Book of the Dead. And I see exactly the initial confusion, which cleared after a time — is the same as during the near death experience and actual death as described by the Tibetans.

Also, in talking with both Jane and Donald, they both talk about the noise as being similar to what they experience in the astral body and I know this to be true, just never thought of before. Sound, as usual, is very important and significant.

And in talking with Melissa, she wonders if all the pain in the body has to do with body memory and blocks — I think she is probably right about this.

The day after I arrive home, I am talking with my mother about some information she has learned about her grandfather (he was a murderer). While this talk goes on I begin to again experience the noise and beat of ibogaine, then see a scene, while my mother goes on talking, of myself being held, naked, arms pinned back, and a person in front of me brutally grabs my breast and cuts it off. Then the other one. I am screaming in this scene while being totally with my mother in the discussion of her grandfather. That night, the beat and sound return as I go to bed, together with some of the physical sensations, and the night is like a mini-ibogaine experience again.

I am, since arriving home, feeling calm, more like my old self, except deepened somehow, better than before all the life dissolution began to take place. A definite and palpable change.