Buzzer Beaters and Magic Mushrooms
⛹🏾 “As a kid, you always have those 3, 2, 1 moments,” James said. “When you’re a kid and being able to have one of those moments, that’s what it kind of felt like. I felt like I was a kid all over again, just playing basketball inside my house with a makeshift hoop, and my socks as a basketball, making the [swish] noise.”
🍄 “ “I” now turned into a sheaf of little papers, no bigger than Post-its, and they were being scattered to the wind. But the “I” taking in this seeming catastrophe had no desire to chase after the slips and pile my old self back together. No desires of any kind, in fact. And then I looked and saw myself out there again, but this time spread over the landscape like paint, or butter, thinly coating a wide expanse of the world with a substance I recognized as me.”
⛹🏾 “I practice pretty much every shot”. “I trusted what I always worked on”.
🍄 “I saw my fear…located under my ribcage,” a woman with ovarian cancer told me (Pollan). “It wasn’t my tumor, it was this black mass. ‘Get the f — out,’” she screamed aloud. “And you know what? It was gone!” Years later, her fear hasn’t returned. “The cancer is something completely out of my control, but the fear, I realized, is not.”
LeBron talked about how he would dream about these moments as a kid, how he would “work” on these buzzer beater moments.
Michael Pollan, in his new book, explained what he had experienced and found out about psychedelics and the trips he went on.
Then I started wondering, what is it like to have trips, these out of body experiences? I also started thinking, I too have day dreams. Why are LeBron’s dreams different?
I day dream about scenarios. I think we all do. I imagine how I would perform at a presentation to a large group, or write a story on medium, or ask someone out on a date. I often imagine the ideal versions of what we want these experiences to be. The crowd pleasing preach, the claps I get, a resoundingly grateful/happily-ever-after yes from my highschool crush.
Then in reality, it seldom ever happens the way we imagine it. What gets in the way, most of the time, is my own ego, self doubt. It doesn’t get in the way as in they disturb my ability to perform. More often then not, my ego reminds me of the reality, pulls me away from the idealistic/pure version of the dream, and stifles the motivation to work towards it.
In other words, when reality sets back in, or when my ego wakes up, I cannot exert the required dedication and persistence to work on and work towards these “dreams”.
Michael Pollan actually explains how ego actually works in our brain. He calls this the default mode network:
“The default mode network is a brain network involved in a range of “metacognitive” processes, including self-reflection, mental time travel, theory of mind (the ability to imagine mental states in others) and the generation of narratives about ourselves that help to create the sense of having a stable self over time. The Imperial scientists found that when volunteers reported an experience of ego dissolution, the fMRI scans of their brains showed a precipitous drop in activity in the default mode network, suggesting that this network may be the seat of the ego.
One way to think about the ego is as a mental construct that performs certain functions on our behalf. Chief among these are maintaining the boundary between the conscious and unconscious realms of the mind as well as the boundary between self and other.”
Pollan continued to talk about how the influence of psychedelics:
“Our ego defenses relax, allowing unconscious material and emotions to enter our awareness and also for us to feel less separate and more connected — to other people, to nature or to the universe.”
Or … how ego gets out of the way.
“… (LSD) microdosing doesn’t cloud my vision or tune out my issues (we’ll always have alcohol for that). Rather than an escape or release, microdosing is the opposite. It’s a direct confrontation with everything in my life. No more avoidance. No more hiding.”
I hate when ego gets in the way. It happens very often. Whenever it creeps into my mind, I know I then expand way too much energy to try to block it off, or to rationalize myself, or to re-motivate myself, where instead I could have use the same energy to do whatever I might be doing.
Erica then described the state of mind when it’s freed:
“LSD wipes away the murky filter that usually makes me hypercritical and negative. Don’t get me wrong, I’m still hypercritical and sensitive to my surroundings, but being that way doesn’t get me down like it used to.”
I now understand better how ego actually works. I also think I have a better idea where I want my mind to get to. I am not saying (yet) I am going to start taking magic mushrooms, I need to, as Erica puts it succinctly …
“ … like meditation, mindfulness, or yoga, it (microdosing psychedelics) alters the way you react to your surroundings.”
I need to figure out how to get onto a trip, on demand, when the basketball is in my hand, with 3 seconds left on the clock. ⛹🏻♂️🍄