Let’s be honest; we’ve all had moments when existing as a human being feels a little too heavy. Sometimes, light-hearted jokes to brighten the mood are exactly what we need to feel like ourselves again. Other times, it takes the words of psychedelic wisdom to help us see beyond our current situations.
Often relegated to being an experimental phase for young people, there’s much more to this realm than many believe.
Hippies, psychonauts, activists, creatives, and several scientists can agree on one thing – psychedelic experiences can be profoundly impactful. Over the years (and often centuries, for some cultures), psychedelics — like LSD, ayahuasca, DMT, and psilocybin — have been shown to help connect humans to a larger spiritual belief.
Some psychedelic research has even suggested evidence supporting the value of various hallucinogens to human mental health and information processing (1). There is a reason the history of psychedelic shamanism dates back 1,000 or more.
If you find yourself feeling disconnected or in need of centering yourself, consider the generations of researchers and thinkers that have come before us. Use these trippy, inspirational quotes to transcend existential anxiety and help you feel like yourself again.
“As we experience a resurgence of interest in psychedelics, we can again fantasize about a different future.”
—Erika Dyck, Ph.D., Associate Director for the Chacruna Institute for Psychedelic Plant Medicines
“Part of what psychedelics do is they decondition you from cultural values. This is what makes it such a political hot potato. Since all culture is a kind of con game, the most dangerous candy you can hand out is one which causes people to start questioning the rules of the game.”
―Terence McKenna, American ethnobotanist
“Who was this ‘I’ that was able to take in the scene of its own dissolution? Good question. It wasn’t me, exactly.”
—Michael Pollan, Journalist, and author of How to Change Your Mind
“In many, many ways, all of us are indebted to Indigenous peoples and their traditions and their knowledge when we are interested in these medicines.”
—Beatriz Caiuby Labate, Ph.D., Anthropologist, and Executive Director of the Chacruna Institute for Psychedelic Plant Medicines
“Today, a young man on acid realized that all matter is merely energy condensed to a slow vibration, that we are all one consciousness experiencing itself subjectively, there is no such thing as death, life is only a dream, and we are the imagination of ourselves. Here’s Tom with the Weather.”
— Bill Hicks, American stand-up comedian, and social critic
“Surrealism to me is reality. Psychedelic vision is reality to me and always was.”
—John Lennon, Musician
“I think psychedelic medicine has the potential to help heal the wounds of those suffering from racial trauma and bring healing to the consciousness of those who perpetrate and perpetuate racial violence.”
—Monnica T. Williams, Ph.D., Certified psychedelic therapist
“Everyone carries a piece of the puzzle. Nobody comes into your life by mere coincidence. Trust your instincts. Do the unexpected. Find the others.”
—Timothy Leary, American psychologist, and author
“It’s a very salutary thing to realize that the rather dull universe in which most of us spend most of our time is not the only universe there is. I think it’s healthy that people should have this experience.”
―Aldous Huxley, Author of Moksha: Writings on Psychedelics and the Visionary Experience
“With psychedelics, if you’re fortunate and break through, you understand what is truly of value in life. Material, power, dominance, and territory have no value. People wouldn’t fight wars, and the whole system we have currently would fall apart. People would become peaceful, loving citizens, not robots marching around in the dark with all their lights off.”
— Gary Fisher, Ph.D
“Taking LSD was a profound experience, one of the most important things in my life. LSD shows you that there’s another side to the coin, and you can’t remember it when it wears off, but you know it. It reinforced my sense of what was important – creating great things instead of making money, putting things back into the stream of history and of human consciousness as much as I could.”
—Steve Jobs, Co-founder of Apple
“What if, through responsible exploration with psychedelics, we free our minds? Free-thinkers are more difficult to manipulate and control, which begs the question: Why are psychedelics illegal?”
— Zoe Helene, Founder of Cosmic Sister
“When you get the message, hang up the phone.”
— Alan Watts, Writer and philosopher
“Through all of history, mankind has ingested psychedelic substances. Those substances exist to put you in touch with spirits beyond yourself, with the creator, with the creative impulse of the planet.”
— Ray Manzarek, Musician
There is a wealth of information built into us … tucked away in the genetic material in every one of our cells … without some means of access, there is no way even to begin to guess at the extent and quality of what is there. The psychedelic drugs allow exploration of this interior world and insights into its nature.”
— Alexander Shulgin, American chemist
“It’s very, very dangerous to lose contact with living nature.”
— Albert Hofmann, Swiss chemist
“Nobody stopped thinking about those psychedelic experiences. Once you’ve been to some of those places, you think, ‘How can I get back there again but make it a little easier on myself?’”
—Jerry Garcia, Musician
“I believe mushrooms can lead the human being into some form of mature sanity, leaving behind the immaturity of the last twelve thousand years.”
—Kilindi Iyi, Mycologist and teacher
“Every tree, every plant, has a spirit. People may say that the plant has no mind. I tell them that the plant is alive & conscious. A plant may not talk, but there is a spirit in it that is conscious, that sees everything, which is the soul of the plant, its essence, what makes it alive.”
—Pablo Amaringo, Artist and curandero
Once you can accept the universe as matter expanding into nothing that is something, wearing stripes with plaid comes easy.”
— Albert Einstein, Scientist and Nobel Prize winner
While quotes aren’t a full-on psychedelic trip, they are here to help us remember the truths we hold about ourselves and the universe. Thanks to the thinkers, philosophers, artists, and teachers who have journeyed before us, there is so much more that can bring us back home to ourselves.