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What's So Funny
by sakithin
Citation:   sakithin. "What's So Funny: An Experience with LSD (exp108184)". Mar 26, 2016.

2 hits sublingual LSD (blotter / tab)


I had been going through an extended difficult period, and had gotten into a very dark place psychologically. I was reading 'The Globalisation of Addiction' by Bruce Alexander, and felt that I had adopted some addictive behaviours (mostly around computer use, and romance seeking). I felt like nearly everything around me had collapsed, and was terrified that I was close to reaching the end of my rope and collapsing too.

A friend of mine was preparing to pack up his life and go become a modern monastic at a meditative community in Vermont. Naturally this called for a going away party. A short while before the going away party, he realized that his community would be webcasting a meditation retreat on the day of the party, so the party was restructured to allow people to come early (by about 6 hours) and participate in the retreat. While discussing this with him, and whether the shift in timings would change my choice of drug for the rest of the party (which was to involve watching some psychedelic anime, and then going to a rave), he made it clear to me that I was welcome to participate in the retreat on psychedelics.

Having that permission, and knowing that I was in a dark place that only seemed to be getting darker, I became hopeful that a day of meditation under the influence of a dose of LSD on the strong end of moderate, would be a perfect opportunity to perform something of a reboot on my brain. I've heard that people have a bad habit of driving cars into trees, lampposts, etc. when they begin to lose traction in a large part because we tend to drive towards what we're looking at, and we also tend to look at what frightens us. In many ways, I felt like I was staring at my impending ruin, while skidding towards it, and I wanted to direct my gaze as forcefully as possible, back towards the road that I'd been sliding off of.

The retreat was to begin at noon. At around 11:30, I placed 2 tabs of respectably strong blotter (I'd estimate their strength at around 100-125ug per hit) under my tongue, and then got on my bicycle to ride to the party.

By the time I arrived, I could feel my first report coming on, and was introduced to several of my friends' coworkers who were either there for the party, or were hosting it. We got ourselves onto cushions on the floor (except for one guest, who'd brought a meditation seat), got the webcast going, straightened up, and settled in.

The first exercise began with a cultivation practice. An early instruction was to consider how fortunate we were to have the time, the energy, the safety, and the intention to engage in the practice. Because of the dark place I was in, I felt like I lacked the energy and safety being referenced. I sought to convince myself that I must have the time and safety because I was there, when the instruction came that we may be feeling happy, grateful, or relieved. I clung to relief as a positive emotion that I was capable of feeling at the time, the practice then switched to observation, then inquiry, and then doing-nothing, to complete the overview of the techniques we'd practice in more depth throughout the day.

There was some discussion, and a dedicated sit for each practice. One event of note was that I opted to do the cultivation practice lying on my back on the couch, and that around the time we were instructed to add the feeling of a little love into the breathing feedback loop we'd established, the host's cat wandered on to my chest. In the state that I was in, I felt this was an excellent vehicle for the cultivation of love, and took to petting the cat for the remainder of the meditation. She also seemed quite happy becoming the object of cultivation of love, and remained on my chest and in my arms for the balance of the practice (which was somewhere in the neighbourhood of half an hour).

I don't remember anything particularly notable from the observation practice, so will skip along to the inquiry practice, in which I had my most intense experience. The general idea of the inquiry practice was to remain in the state of not knowing by asking a question. Every time our mind would produce an answer, we were advised to immediately respond by asking ourselves 'what's that'. At some point in this practice, I found myself confronted with a slight chuckle coming out of me, and with the question 'what's so funny?'. Having already taken the cat laying on my chest as a vehicle to cultivate love, it seemed entirely natural for me to take 'what's so funny' as a line of inquiry. Answers kept coming at me: I'm making a disruption and it's wrong, this is some sort of strange meta-joke, it's become a running gag, it's completely absurd; and each time I asked myself what's so funny about that, I laughed harder and harder, until I fell over laughing. And I kept asking 'what's so funny about that?': it's hard to tell whether it's a laugh or a sob at times, it's got a spasmodic quality like a cough, something's coming out in this laugh, it's an eruption like a zit being popped, it's still unbelievably funny, I can't not be making a scene with all this, this is certainly the longest I've held focus on a single thing, surely the most intensely too, what an astonishing joke, and somehow it isn't even a joke.

The instructor rang his bell. I let go of the question and gradually regained my composure.
The instructor rang his bell. I let go of the question and gradually regained my composure.
I apologized to the group for having been so noisy, explaining that I'd somehow latched on to 'what's so funny' as a line of inquiry, and that it seemed to be working as something I could hang on to. My monastic friend (who I should probably mention had already done a lengthy temporary residence in the community in question, and led the occasional workshop himself) mentioned to the group that it's not uncommon for people to break out in laughter or sobs during a sit, and we chatted a bit about it. He made a remark in the psychedelics-as-shortcut vein and how he looks forward to having enough practice behind him some number of years down to road, to be able to have a sit like that without the need for drugs.

While we were having this conversation, and as the day progressed (and then night, as we went to the rave), I realized that I was thinking and acting with a levity and joy that I hadn't remembered feeling in quite a while. There wasn't any impending doom coming to my mind any more. That sensation I had while laughing, that something unwanted and unhealthy was erupting from me--there really had been something there. The darkness I'd been living with was gone, burst out of my soul in a fit of laughter while I asked myself 'what's so funny'. I had become my real self once again.

The pharmacological effects of the LSD are long past, but the darkness is still gone, and I'm continuing to feel the joy and levity that I was missing for so long.

Exp Year: 2016ExpID: 108184
Gender: Male 
Age at time of experience: 36 
Published: Mar 26, 2016Views: 2,904
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LSD (2), Meditation (128) : Therapeutic Intent or Outcome (49), General (1), Group Ceremony (21)

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