Citation: clearlight. "Making the Most of It: An Experience with Yoga, Meditation & LSD (exp25635)". Erowid.org. Oct 2, 2003. erowid.org/exp/25635
This report is for those of you who are using psychedelics for their 'spiritual' properties, but haven't quite made the breakthrough you are seeking yet. Other curious parties may be those who wish to augment their spiritual practice with psychedelics or vice-versa. This is a long-winded account that may only be of interest to those who are trying to put the theo- back in entheogens.
The premise here is that use of spiritual techniques such as meditation and yoga can greatly aid in psychedelic research, giving one a surfboard to ride on the sea of mind instead of being tossed around to and fro, the waves of thought crashing down on your head time and time again. They give you a true path to keep you grounded during the experience and provide a more spiritually useful context to the whole idea of 'tripping'.
Having first tried LSD for its alleged mind-expanding qualities, I was eager to see if I would be one of the lucky few who have a bona-fide mystical experience through psychedelics. Even that first trip changed my life and outlook thereon forever. Upon repetition however, it became clear that I was only sinking more and more deeply into internal confusion and becoming even further separated from my fellow earth citizens.
A simple lack in my community (N.America) of an honest, sacred context for using (not abusing) plant teachers forced me to go to the subculture. There I found disease, depravity, death. After several years and several hundred psychedelic trips, I realized that I was only making baby steps in the right direction with the occasional two steps back.
The raves, the house parties, the weekend-long acid tests in nature... none of these environments nurtured the spiritual longing that originally called me to psychedelics. Everyone just wanted to party, so I partied with them. For my troubles, I afforded myself many opportunities for guilt, and a marijuana habit to boot.
The spiritual texts I had been reading throughout these years pointed to an experience that was out there...out there somewhere, but I sure wasn't having it. I was putting some of the world's finest chemical in my body, but I just wasn't getting it. I knew the goal was real, but I felt that I was at a dead end. It was time to stop, 'At least for now,' I told myself.
So I meditated and did yoga every day for six months while managing to put together some length of relative sobriety. For the first time in my life, a new peace, calm and centeredness descended on my being. School, work and relationships were still a challenge, but they were no longer the weary loads I could hardly bear. They became opportunities for me to practice my patience, mindfulness, skill and compassion. Things seemed to have never been better and I was honestly thankful of my station in life.
That's when the thing happened. An accidental trip. I was struck by lightning. Not literally; what I mean is the trip chose me this time, instead of me hunting it down. I had moved into a new house, and had been living there for a week or so when I opened up a cabinet to get some item or other. I looked in the cabinet and perfectly at eye level I spied a little glass vial with just maybe one half milliliter of liquid in it. Knowing that the previous occupant traded in lots of acid, it occurred to me that maybe she left some behind. This would not have been surprising since she left so much other stuff behind as well, an understandable oversight. To make sure it wasn't just some essential oil or perfume or whatever, I opened the vial and smelled it: nothing. Then for some reason, without really thinking it through, I put my finger over the open mouth of the vial and turned it upside-down, then put my finger in my mouth. I guess I was thinking that I could tell by the taste if it was really acid. Then it hit me, 'You just dosed yourself.'
Instead of freaking out, I just rode it nicely, using my meditative and yogic techniques, alternating between the two. It all fit so well together!! Instead of paying attention to my thoughts, I focused on breath; visions resulted. Yeah, yeah, acid is supposed to give you visions. But this was different. It cannot be described in words because It is beyond words. I was getting worldviews and vistas unlike any at my previous high-dose experiments, and this was low-dose. It was only the one little circle on my finger, not even a full drop (I did remember that batch from when it was fresh, it was just normal strength stuff, not the concentrate designed for transport and dilution).
It was such a great little trip. I got over an invisible hump in my meditative path that I wasn't even aware existed before, to a deeper level of inexpressible truth. Even my yoga changed: it transformed from fixed postures and stretching into a fluid-in-motion expression of tangible energy. I could touch it. I could feel it. I knew energy. my universe gifted me in a way that no one can ever take away. I cannot express it. If you know, then you know what I mean.
Suffice it to say that this propelled me powerfully on my spiritual path and lent a more sacred context to my psychedelic 'research', which I had temporarily put on hold for the purposes of meditation. This led to another experiment two months later with two hits of blotter. It is hard to talk about such things in words, but I can say that I learned to 'let go'. I had been clutching and grasping for this spiritual truth, trying to grab it, hold it and contain it. It had finally become clear that I had to cease grasping, let go, empty myself and let It flow in. Yes that sounds very Buddhist, and I guess it is. My experience was beginning to confirm the things I had read that sounded so vague and abstract. The words of the Masters came back to me time and again as I saw the Truth manifesting itself before my eyes (eye).
These two experiences affected me so much that I'm still spinning (literally) off of them today, but all this was just setting me up for what was to happen Halloween night 1996. Taking a break from work, studies and meditation I decided to go out and party. We hopped around from house to house until we got to a party where they had Kool-Aid acid. It was said that one cup (the little paper kind you find in the bathroom), equaled three hits of average blotter. For some reason, maybe it was the few beers I had, I quickly downed four cups. Lots of other cups sat out on the counter there, with a little left in the bottom; I hungrily downed these as well, many of them containing pieces of the shredded up sheet. (that's how they made the stuff: one 100 hit sheet shredded by hand and left to soak in one pitcher of Kool-Aid for a few hours)
Five minutes later I'm starting to feel a major change in perception, and realize that I need to get to a safe place. The walk home had me vacillating between self scorn for stupidly ingesting somewhere between 12 and 20 hits in a thirty-second period and realizing that 'what's done is done, just surf it correctly'. So by the time I got home +15min, I was zooming hard, shaking. I tried to smoke some herb to calm myself down, but I could not load the bowl.
So I closed my eyes and focused on my breathing and not my thought-stream running wildly out of control. That was when the thunderbird revealed itself to me; over the red desert, the blue bird manifested. Before I realized it, I was on my feet in excitement. Thoughts had returned and the vision had vanished. So much energy coursed through my body that I needed to do some yoga. Instead of the traditional postures, I began to spontaneously move in the fluid way I had been practicing since that last trip. I began to vibrate and move in a way that might have been described by an outside observer as break-dancing. Thirty minutes of this stuff had me mapping out every possible position of my body. That first 'accidental' trip initiated me into it, but this experience sealed my union with what I have heard referred to as The Flow, Liquid and spontaneous yoga. Much more could be said here about this part, but that is one for another report.
Channelling all that energy enabled me to take to the cushion again, where I used another technique I had been trying: listening to the ringing in my ears. This helped me normally in sober meditation to let go of thoughts; much like breathing, it gave me something else to pay attention to. But unlike the state of neutrality and emptiness that resulted from doing it sober, this again led to a striking vision, only this time it was purely audio. Ringing became buzzing became whirling became screeching became clanging became hissing and on and on. The addition of each new sound did not mean the departure of the last, they all stayed in focus and gelled together in a harmonious cacophony that was at once beautiful and delightful, if not a little scary. It finally crescendoed in an audio vista that seemed to include every possible frequency that my ear can detect all resounding at once. it sounded like Om.
Eventually, my focus came to rest, once again, on my internal chatter. It was now more than ever before clear to me that my focus was the main factor. Not focusing on thoughts seemed to be a requirement for having these 'true hallucinations.' At any rate, this type of thing went on all night and into the morning. Some of these closed-eye visions lasted hours while seeming infinitesimally short; many lasted mere seconds but yet seemed to last forever.
A common theme was that at the beginning of each vision, fear tempted me to go no further, but if I saw the truth for myself, it was liberating, bringing in more light, allowing me to sense a higher Love. At each turn the viewer can bail out and return to normal thought by taking the bait. In the beginning, the bait is fear ('don't look at this next thing or something bad will happen') later the bait is an egotistical excitement ('Wow!.._I_ am finally seeing the Truth, Me, Me, I, etc). To maintain the states one must not take the bait and instead focus on what Is.
The most compelling part of this experience and the part that has had the longest-lasting and most important impact on my life was a direct result of inner stillness. Lying on my mat, letting IT take me over, I was taken into hell-realms. I'm sure many of you know of what I speak. The most excruciating physical pain combines with utter terror in what seems like you are being psychologically gang-raped by demons while insects devour you from the inside out. Instead of squirming in the face of this horror however, my inner stance was one of stillness. To approximate this posture with words: 'ok...what's next?'
Well, what was next could still have been termed as very uncomfortable, but everything went up a notch. By up I mean from the fear end of the spectrum towards love. I was still in pain and scared but it eased up somewhat, so at least I felt a little gratitude for that. But instead of thinking about it too much or looking for something to cling to or something to save me, I maintained. 'ok...what's next?'
It got better (to use a dualistic word), but still I did not move internally: 'ok...what's next?' Gradually, the feelings moved up, up, up the spectrum, all the while, I remain a rock. Before my naked eye was laid as if in pages of a book what seemed on the order of 10,000 different thought-emotional states. These ranged from the lowest fear up to the highest joy, and they came in order. At the end it felt as though bubblenergy was expanding through every cell in my body (much better than the disco-biscuits of old). Everything was perfect and I had once again reached harmony with All That Is. Still I did not move. 'ok...what's next?'
What was next is obscured from my current human vision. I can comment however on the lessons that that final moment imprinted on me. Everything is love and fear. but since fear is a lower form of love, then everything is love. god is love. everything is god. one cannot point at something that is not part of god. god/devil, love/fear are only creations of our limited thought-state. in the world beyond our dualistic logic, everything is what it is. everything is everything.
This non-dual mindset gives us the ultimate gift: freedom. Your reaction is truly your choice. That is what makes us human. The input you receive can be of the highest amplitude fear frequency but you can still choose to output love. I later learned that this is called transmutation.
It is the most selfless, compassionate gift you can give to your universe, your planet, your fellow people.
In the 7.5 years since this occurrence Iíve only used psychedelics a handful of times. Now I need it much less frequently and on the occasion that I do feel it might be helpful, I can get so much more out of the experience by taking so much less. By turning off my internal chatter (by which I mean not pay attention to it) I can download all this information from what can rightly be termed the Other Side (of Self).
It's actually been a couple of years since Iíve had a proper trip. The experience and its impact are so great that I feel it would be sacrilege to use it when unnecessary. Besides, the calm waters of my mind may be disturbed by turbulent forces. Meditation has focused my awareness to such an extent that it carries over into my dreams, providing me with many opportunities for what you may call lucid dreaming. And if I ever feel the call, the peruvianus out in the back yard will provide nicely =)
So to give some advice, if I may, to those psychedelic researchers who are seeking but not finding: slow down, use less frequently and when you do use, do so in a sacred context. Don't drop at a keg a party and then expect a merger of creator and creation. Don't trip and smoke pot staring at each other dumbly thinking, 'Who's going to show me The Way.' Don't waste your trip watching the Matrix or listening to your roommate talk about her asshole boyfriend and her crappy job. believe me, seeing how far you can obliterate your mind while staring at the walls trying to 'get visuals' is unlikely to facilitate a re-Union of Mother and child.
while these situations may provide you with some room in which to enlighten yourself, it is less likely than when you set up a safe, sacred space in which to explore Self. I highly recommend tripping alone if you are experienced, or with a sitter if you prefer. trip partners can work too, but often they only provide each other with distraction from The Work. If you plan to do a high dose experiment, be it acid, shrooms, cacti or oral DMT (debatably the most useful of earth's compounds) you may feel more comfortable having someone else within reach. But make sure it is someone who will stay out of your face and just sit quietly on the other side of the house and let you trip. They will be there if you think are dying and need to go to the hospital, or if you think you are permanently insane. They will silently check up on you from time to time to make sure everything is within normal limits. Their job is not to keep you entertained but to keep you physically safe while you explore the depths of consciousness.
The most useful advice, I believe, is to develop your skill with 'normal' spiritual practices and then once you feel comfortable with them, try doing it while tripping. Learn at least one form of stillness (emptiness) meditation and one moving form (yoga, tai chi, etc). some types of meditation are hindered by psychedelics; some seem to be aided by them. most however are simply different. If you are really interested in subjects like these, check out Zig Zag Zen: Buddhism & Psychedelics. (Badiner/Grey,Chronicle Books 2002)
Ultimately, psychedelics seem to me to be helpful in showing the Way, but not taking one there. If I may dust off an old chestnut: 'The map is not the territory,' as one finds out after traveling the road for awhile without psychedelic aid. These plants/drugs are undeniably useful when used with skill in a spiritual context. However, when used in ways less mindful, they can hinder our spiritual growth at worst and at best it's still a roll of the dice in a game where the stakes are high.
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