The hour was late and Mr Bear was tired. But he could not sleep – however he tried and wherever he tried.
Snore, snore went Mrs Bear.
Tick-tock, tick-tock went the clock.
Would he never get to sleep?
I know just how Mr Bear felt but very occasionally one gets a glimpse of peace and today was one of those all too rare days.
I had spent two weeks stomping around the mountains in Switzerland but my customary joy in the beauty of the landscape seemed to elude me. Surroundings and activity can certainly help. Distressing surroundings and activities will destroy you. But on this occasion, something just seemed missing. Peace.
What was different about today? What triggered that precious calm? That feeling that all is right with the world?
Difficult to tell – mood is so erratic, so unpredictable. And while moods must have causes, those causes are even more elusive than the moods themselves. Causation there must be, but to track it down? Ah, that is something altogether different. It is never so very clear to me why I can feel a sense of deep peace on one day and on another be mired in a pit of existential gloom. Chemicals perhaps. Almost assuredly so. Faulty wiring.
Which brings me to the point. In an attempt to radically alter my personality I had been fooling around with micro dosing. Go ahead and look it up, it’s all the rage. Read Michael Pollan’s excellent book on psychedelics to get a feel for what it is all about. Google the phrase – the web is full of ecstatic reports of miraculous transformations. All of which you should take with a pinch of salt. And as to the scientists, when have clinical trials ever been of much help in the matter?
No, in matters of mood, the rational, intelligent individual must take matters into his own hands. It is long past the time when I would be in any danger – no longer a callow youth, the days of bingeing are long, long past. And this stuff is not addictive. Nor indeed damaging.
I had imagined that micro dosing psilocybin or LSD would transform my often all too black worldview into one filled with roses. And happiness, beauty and peace. After three months that happy day has still not arrived.
And yet it has changed me, of that I am sure. It is difficult to tell you exactly how. I think in a way I have become more distanced from myself, from my moods. I am more inclined to put my head up and think “who gives a fuck”. I seem more able to see the moods for what they are (disturbing but transient) and while emotions such as fear and pessimism are still profoundly unpleasant, I have a certain sense of “oh well, I guess I am stuck with it for now”.
Today I went a little further. I transgressed the boundaries of the micro dose in favour of something more substantial. Not enough to see aliens or the walls moving. Not enough to see fractals or to open the doors of perception in a way that William Blake would have recognized.
But enough to make a difference. Enough to achieve great clarity. Enough to achieve a sense of profound peace. And that really is something to celebrate. There is nothing “recreational” or immoral or reckless about it. It is a measured and calculated course of action to see whether one can change one’s brain for the better.
And I spent the day with my son. Kicked out of the house by my wife who was having a ghastly ladies’ lunch, my son and I met at a beautiful club and ate and talked. And walked and talked some more.
What an intense joy after all the difficult years years of childhood.
So what was cause and what the effect? Where the chicken and where the egg? The horse, the carriage?
Time will tell. But a day with my son is always special to me. Perhaps that is enough by way of explanation.