A New Age experience is an experience in which one is able to appreciate that not everything in their lives is perfect. Many practices and rituals such as rolfing, massage therapy, palm reading, meditation, yoga, and much more are considered New Age experiences. I have decided to write about the drug ecstasy for my paper. I believe that doing ecstasy or “rolling” is a new age experience because it provides a look into one’s inner self. It allows one to escape from everyday life for a few hours, it provides an escape from the mores of mainstream society. Society today puts many restrictions on the way people behave toward one another. We have been taught by parents and teachers that repression is good; We are taught to keep our feelings and emotions inside. Ecstasy is a drug that releases all that repression and gives one a sense of being. New Agers believe that society has disrupted “what it is to be authentically human”(Heelas p18). They believe that “practices provide paths within [thereby] exorcizing the tyrannical hold of the socialized mode of being”(p20). I strongly believe that ecstasy provides that path within.
The New Age movement is not a new concept or teaching. It has just recently been adopted into Western tradition, but has been around much longer than that. Similarly, taking drugs as a vehicle to “break on through to the other side” is not a new concept. Entheogens have been around for a long time. The Native Americans experimented with peyotes, and the ancient Greeks with wine and mushrooms. Although ecstasy is a fairly new drug, the concept of entheogens can be traced to ancient times.
The basic idea behind the New Age is that a “significantly better way of life is dawning”(p15). People have taken drugs as an escape from the harsh reality of the world, and also to open themselves up to new experiences. In my experiences with ecstasy I have seen a better way of life. I have seen what ecstasy is capable of doing, and it is definitely a New Age experience.
MDMA (also called Ecstasy, X, E, XTC, Adam, etc.) is a semi-synthetic chemical compound. In its pure form it is a white crystalline powder, usually in the form of a capsule, or as pressed pills. The average cost of one pill usually ranges from $10-$30 per dose. Most people swallow the pill or snort it, but it can also be smoked or injected as well. When MDMA is taken orally, it takes effect about 30-45 minutes later; snorting, smoking or injecting produces a much quicker onset. MDMA causes an increase in blood pressure and pulse rate, modest in most people, similar to moderate exercise. The physical effects of usual doses of MDMA are subtle and variable: most people report dryness of mouth, jaw clenching, teeth grinding, eye wiggles, sweating, or nausea. Others report feelings of profound physical relaxation. The euphoria that it induces can make it easy to ignore bodily distress signals, so it is important to watch for things like dehydration, muscle cramping, dizziness, exhaustion or overexertion. Despite the many side effects, taking ecstasy is well worth the trip.
Ecstasy is so much more than a little white pill; it is a feeling, a state of mind, and an entirely new state of being. Ecstasy can bring one to physical, emotional, and mental places that nothing else can. My personal experiences with ecstasy have been incredible. I never understood how good it was until I had taken it myself. It is very hard to describe the feelings one experiences while on ecstasy. After popping the pill there is a period of eager anticipation. The onset of ecstasy is not slow, it is very sudden; one moment you are patiently waiting for something to happen, and the next minute… WHAM! It hits you. What hits you is a feeling that first begins in the head, a cloudy and heavy feeling. Another feeling arises a few minutes later, it is a tight feeling in the pit of your stomach, almost like a knot. As time progresses that knot-like feeling is quickly released, as if a bubble of energy has burst inside of you. As soon as the bubble bursts you feel the drug overtaking your whole body, you feel as light as air, and your head feels completely clear. This is a feeling of complete contentment and happiness. The feeling leaves you so speechless that the only thing you can do is exhale deeply. I distinctly remember that feeling when I was sitting at the kitchen table of my friend John’s apartment waiting for the ecstasy to take effect. I stood up and realized that I was rolling, while walking to the sink to run my hands under the water. I remember the texture of the water; it felt as smooth as silk between my fingers.
When the ecstasy kicks in it is as if you enter a whole new world. All inhibitions are lost, and people connect physically and mentally. Ecstasy is about self-exploration, it allows you to bring up past memories and experiences. The night I “rolled” with my friend’s John and Alicia was the best experience I’ve ever had with ecstasy. I have never felt such a strong connection to anyone; it was almost as if they were a part of me. We decided to “roll” that night for one main reason: we were fighting with each other and we wanted to make everything better; we wanted to resolve our conflicts. After the initial excitement, we were still “rolling our faces off” but we calmed down and we began talking. We sat in a small circle, and we had a very deep and interesting conversation. Not one of us was afraid to speak our minds; secrets were shared and many issues were resolved. When under the influence of ecstasy talking, sharing, and revealing is not a hassle; it is completely natural. Talking is one of my favorite things to do whilst “rolling”. Not only do you feel a connection with people physically and emotionally, but mentally as well. When taking ecstasy with John and Alicia I felt like I knew exactly what was going on in their heads. Surprisingly, sometimes we did know exactly what was going on in each other’s heads. Alicia would look at me as if she was about to say something and I would know exactly what it was before she even opened her mouth. Another interesting thing about ecstasy is that you have an improved sense of perception– you feel a part of everyone’s conversations, and you know what is going on around you even though you clearly aren’t part of it. Although the mental and emotional aspects of using ecstasy are amazing, the physical aspects cannot be ignored. The rave culture has invented many “e-tricks” to increase the effects the drug. These “tricks” seem so simple yet when you are actually “rolling” they do wonders for your trip. There are millions of “e-tricks” some are well known and practiced by many, and others are just made up on the spur of the moment. My favorite “e-trick” is inhaling Vicks. It is menthol therefore it feels amazing when it is inhaled, or blown on the body.
Ecstasy is rightly called the “hug-drug” because physical touch is very important. A simple massage feels incredible, as if you’re being taken to another world. The reason a simple touch feels so good is because all one’s senses are incredibly heightened. Your vision is trippy, lights are powerful, and you see trails from bright lights.
Music and atmosphere can greatly affect your “roll”. It is very important to be with the right people; people with whom you feel comfortable. I find that the best type of music to listen to is trance. Each track takes you on a journey and has a proper beginning and an end. It has a substance, unlike other songs with meaningless words. The music carries with it an emotion which you can feel in your body.
In general, doing ecstasy with someone is a tremendous bonding experience; physically, emotionally, and mentally. Most people who have done ecstasy a few times have a strong appreciation for the drug. Usually, first time “rollers” experience only the physical aspects. They can’t believe how good their body feels, and not much is concentrated on mental and emotional aspects. The more you do ecstasy, the more emotional and mental it becomes. The physical aspect is still important, but it doesn’t remain the main focus of your “roll”.
While people who have done ecstasy a number of times have developed a strong appreciation for the drug and its benefits, there are also those people who have abused the drug. The abusers are similar to the first time “rollers” where they concentrate on all things physical, and taking ecstasy loses its meaning. It doesn’t remain special anymore. I decided to stop doing ecstasy for many reasons. One reason is that I was beginning to lose appreciation for the drug. Each time I did the drug it seemed to lose it’s mystery and excitement. Another reason is because it became harder and harder to “come down”. Some people find themselves in a state of euphoria for the next couple of days after their trip; the more I did ecstasy the more I found myself in a state of depression. I was very emotional, and I couldn’t really face the “real world”.
Ecstasy is a great drug; it has made me realize that it is important to enjoy life to the fullest. It has given me very much insight into who I am, and who I want to be. I believe that there is no better form of therapy then ecstasy. It has helped me deal with my past, and continues helping me on my path towards the future. I have stopped doing the drug for now because I feel as though I have abused my privileges, but I do not doubt that I will do it again soon. Everything is good in moderation. This is something very important to take into consideration when deciding whether or not to take ecstasy; taking the drug can be a life altering decision. Whether it’s effects are negative or positive is up to you.