This past Saturday I went on my first journey with lysergic acid diethylamide.
Like most things, my expectations and presumptions about what would happen were almost entirely false. I expected phantoms - full-on visual hallucinations, terror lurking in every shadow and a colorful, kaleidoscopic projection of my imagination.
Very little of this actually occurred.
But what did occur was a seismic shift - a colossal recalibration with my inner self.
I found a door.
But before I explain, here are a few other reflections:
I was taken back by how ‘physical’ the experience was. The metallic taste in my mouth. The urgent need to urinate every 15 minutes. The jittery, internally anxious feeling as if I had chewed up several Adderall and chased it with a whole pot of coffee.
Of course colors were more vivid (especially those within nature, plants and rocks) and spatial dimensions were liberally skewed (a la “Alice in Wonderland”). The world was indeed enhanced, though more so in the way a Fun House mirror distorts reality, rather than the introduction of something novel or new (visual hallucinations / phantoms that weren’t there before).
I worked on some art. I had conversation. I attempted to ruminate. None of these things seemed affected in any significant way. Neither my creative center nor my thinking mind felt incredibly altered. In contrast, on cannabis I both have an elevated rational/cognitive perspective as well as an increased propensity toward creativity, original thought and visualizations. Conversation, thinking and artistic vision surprisingly were (for the most part) unaffected.
Then I went into my meditation room. Alone.
This, my friends, is where things get interesting.
I lay on my back on the floor, the meditation cushion behind my back and the meditation seat as a pillow. And I went in.
I have meditated before. Many, many times. At various times in my life I have held a very regular, daily practice. But this was different. Utterly and completely different. And like all true experiences, the words that will now follow will not be sufficient.
I began stripping off parts of myself piece by piece. My thinking fell away. My personality fell away. All tension fell away. Open. Opening. Opening more. It became more and more obvious that WHO I AM is UNDERNEATH all the layers of the onion. But unlike the thousands of times I had meditated before, I peeled those layers until there was truly nothing left but awareness.
It was as though this awareness was floating in infinite space - extending endlessly in all directions - and the overwhelming feeling was FREEDOM. Pure, unhindered openness. Openness. ALL THE WAY OPEN. And it was unfathomably blissful. There was no want, nothing to desire, nothing but complete surrender and the ecstatic “feeling of being.” Total and complete satisfaction.
This, as it turns out, is ego death… not the end of awareness, but in essence the end of mental constructs. Ego, suffering, troubles, the personality, likes, dislikes - I saw these as little packets of tension that bubble up from within the pure, joyful, infinite emptiness. Everything that causes suffering, anxiety, disappointment, the constant human condition of being unfulfilled and searching for something - anything - to fill it… all of these things are functions of the mind. Even knowledge and growth seem to be in the way - there is nothing to learn! There is nothing to add! There is only so much to subtract!
Upon reflection, I also intuited this empty field as the ground zero upon which the entire physical world is built. A potentiality field where any combination of the building blocks of matter assemble to form the world as we know it. And it all bubbles up from the same source! All things physical are made of the same packets of tension that congeal upon this empty field of potentiality.
That means that there is nothing - nothing - that we experience that is not God - or “God-stuff.” And that means that I have only to experience what is being manifested in any moment. Why should I care if it is sunny or cloudy? Why should I care if I am being praised or blamed? Why should I have preferences? Just watch it - it’s remarkable that there is anything at all! The myriad of forms and formations and actions that ripple out of this “ground zero” are wonderful and magical, just in the fact that they exist at all.
Things are different now.
Though I have meditated for years, my awareness has always been stuck just behind my eyes. Sure I could occasionally clear my thoughts and find a sense of being grounded, but I was always still just right there on the other side of my eyelids. I fumbled around in the dark trying to navigate deeper but not knowing how to pass through.
Today I have a door.
True fulfillment IS within. There’s nothing that I will build, or accomplish, or create, or experience, or taste that will bring any kind of lasting fulfillment. But at any time, the door is now right there. I didn’t NEED the medicine to get there, but it was a tool to blow open the door with dynamite. And now it is just below the surface, at all times. I can in an instant put my awareness back in that empty, blissful, infinite cavern, where I want for nothing and feel connected to everything. I now find myself doing this multiple times a day. Endlessly scrolling through Twitter, frantically trying to get things done, striving to make something happen - it’s just not as interesting anymore and those efforts only lead to wanting more - not peace. Not fulfillment.
And with that I can just… be here now. Witness what’s coming forth from the nothingness into being-ness. Rest in my infinite heart space within and observe what happens without. Whatever form God is taking on in that moment. The whole vibrant rainbow of duality - Fox News and Donald Trump, orgasms and houseplants, tax bills and Thanksgiving turkeys - are all arising from the same Ground of Being.
It may even be presumptuous to assume I even truly got to where I did - perhaps all of this too is a function of ego… perhaps there is further to go to where even the witness disappears. Perhaps I am fooling myself. Time will tell - but in even the past few days my experience of life is radically different.
I’m certainly not saying I won’t have bad days again and, hell, I may even eventually forget where the door is. But for now I keep one hand on the handle.
And I believe that door is available to you. And to everyone. And maybe it takes a medicine to blast it open - but more than likely it does not. The journey to the center, the inner spelunking, is not a fruitless venture.
“Let go, and move closer to existence in silence and peace, in meditation. And one day you will see you are so full - overfull, overflowing - of joy, of blissfulness, of benediction. You have so much of it that you can give it to the whole world and yet it will not be exhausted. That day, for the first time, you will not feel any free - for money, for food, for things, for anything. You will live, not with a constant greed that cannot be fulfilled, a wound that cannot be healed. You will live naturally, and whatever is needed you will find it.” (Osho)