meditation instead of drugs

Bill, modified 4 Days ago.

meditation instead of drugs

Posts: 9 Join Date: 9/27/20 Recent Posts
Specifically opiates and psychedelics. Both are old favorites which for various reasons are not really practical right now. I have a fairly stable daily practice and it definitely calms me down, but wondering if more is possible.

I'm particularly interested in personal experience. I'm interested in what you read about, but more interested in what you have experienced yourself and how you got there.

This is a little off topic from most of what I see discussed on this site, but considering the volume of experience here I thought it was worth a try.

Thanks
B
thumbnail
Jim Smith, modified 4 Days ago.

RE: meditation instead of drugs

Posts: 950 Join Date: 1/17/15 Recent Posts
I have always had a lot of trippy experiences from meditating. I don't know why anyone who meditates this way would want to use drugs.

Some of my experiences:
http://ncu9nc.blogspot.com/2015/02/joy-during-meditation.html#joy_trip

A detailed explanation of the meditation technique and also a set of simplified instructions.
https://sites.google.com/site/chs4o8pt/meditation-1#meditation_serenity

A Quick Guide to Producing Bliss with Meditation
http://ncu9nc.blogspot.com/2020/10/a-quick-guide-to-producing-bliss-with.html

Metta Meditation
http://ncu9nc.blogspot.com/2020/10/metta-meditation.html

Easy Meditation
http://ncu9nc.blogspot.com/2020/10/easy-meditation.html

Hacking Your Brain Part II
http://ncu9nc.blogspot.com/2020/10/hacking-your-brain-part-ii.html

Hacking Your Brain Part I
http://ncu9nc.blogspot.com/2018/04/spiritual-living-hacking-your-brain.html

Adventures of a Student Medium
http://sites.google.com/site/chs4o8pt/psi_experience
Martin, modified 4 Days ago.

RE: meditation instead of drugs

Posts: 253 Join Date: 4/25/20 Recent Posts
Less reliable in the short term. More reliable in the long term. 
George S, modified 3 Days ago.

RE: meditation instead of drugs

Posts: 1489 Join Date: 2/26/19 Recent Posts
I took a bunch of ecstasy when I was younger and it's nothing compared with the euphoria/bliss of piti-sukha. I can recreate some of the spaced-out slightly trippy effects of cannabis with meditation, but nothing like psychedelics. I'm too old to try opiates now, I suspect jhana is better but it would be interesting to hear from someone who has experienced both. There's a story on reddit that a heroin addict told Ajahn Brahm that jhana was better, but it didn't free him from the addiction!
thumbnail
David Matte, modified 3 Days ago.

RE: meditation instead of drugs

Posts: 67 Join Date: 8/3/19 Recent Posts
I had a short phase of experimentation with low/medium doses of codeine when I was a teenager. What was very interesting for me was the similarity of feeling tone and pleasure when I first reached 3rd jhana — it was quite reminiscent of those experiences over 10 years ago. I've noticed there is quite a range of depth/intensity to jhana and have experienced the 3rd jhana to a degree that was more pleasurable and clean than the opiates I took.  ​​​​​

​​​​​​​It's likely a similar chemical reaction is taking place in the brain. In fact, Leigh B has even speculated the experience of sukha is opioid receptors reacting in the brain.  ​​​​​​​Many people will say there is a reduction of physical pain in jhana too. 
thumbnail
Stefan R, modified 3 Days ago.

RE: meditation instead of drugs

Posts: 33 Join Date: 3/28/21 Recent Posts
G'day Bill, good question. I think there's a lot of merit in discussing the psychedelics-to-meditation pipeline, and also the meditation-to-psychedelics pipeline. It's almost a cliche from what I've read, that after experimenting with psychedelics, people start meditating, yoga, or tai chi. 

At the end of the day, all my psychedelic experiences have been very groovy and left an impression on my mind. They are not sustainable impressions, but rather "lift-off" points for further sober exploration. They got me out of the shell I thought was me. 

Even a quarter second of my "coolest" meditative experience is more profound than all my trips (LSD x 4, DMT x 1) combined. Just for reference, I've never taken less than 200ug at a time, and my first trip was 400ug. FWIW: most of my trips have been, assessing by content alone, "bad trips". They were definitely a crash course equanimity! In my last trip, I used to do experiments where I'd try to bring up bad content on purpose, and watch how it would change everything; the atmosphere would turn black and murky, demons would start jumping out from behind bushes, an old hag would start whispering things into my ear, a witch came out and tried to humiliate me. And then I'd watch it all go by, and see how long it'd last. I'd accuse myself of being the worst of humanity, and sit on the accusation. As the accusation bubbled up inside me, radiant light would take its place.

Psychedelics are very cool for doing things like this. But they pale in comparison to the realisations in meditation. Why? Hard to tell. I think there's definitely a sense of ownership on the experiences, as in, they're right there. All you need is your prefrontal cortex and away we go. All you need a 5min break to get some peace back. You can't do that with any drug, as far as I know. Each drug takes more than it gives; even LSD, which is a very generous drug. The day after, I'll need to rest and am very sensitive to light and sound. Then you have the interesting take on cause and effect; I have some suffering, and taking X drug relieves some of that suffering. Does that mean my suffering was caused by a lack of drug X? Meditation changes your relationship to that simplistic notion of cause and effect, and you start seeing how the mind perpetuates unproductive conditions for its happiness. 

Overall, I think psychedelics are a tool just like any other. They have pros and cons. Same with meditation. Meditation produces more profound and sustainable changes. Psychedelics are a great impetus to wanting more change. I think one of the best practices with psychedelics is to make a firm commitment to want to make a change, focusing on that change, and drawing on archetypal energies associated with that change. 
Bill, modified 3 Days ago.

RE: meditation instead of drugs

Posts: 9 Join Date: 9/27/20 Recent Posts
Hmmm... I think I was not as clear as I should have been. Sorry. I'm looking for techniques to get me to a specific place on the map. I can only describe that place as the place where the "Psychedelic-Like Experience" or (and I'm guessing it is an OR) the "Opiate-Like Experience" can be found. The experiences will (I expect) be SIMILAR but not identical to the drug induced experiences. All of that is theory. I do not know for certain there even is a "Psychedelic-Like Experience" or an "Opiate-Like Experience" in meditation. Though there seems to be some evidence for it based on what I've read here and in other places. 

In other words, Daniel's maps describes "places" in a field of experiences. The assumption seems to be that you have to visit these places in order, mostly. I go to Toledo to Cleveland to Houston to NYC. Some might go through Cleveland so fast they barely notice it, but in general there seems to be an assumption of a standard order. Is that true? What if someone wanted to go directly to NYC? Is that possible? The general tenor of conversation here seems to be that no, that is not possible. Or have I misunderstood? And I'm speaking here of people in general, not the one special person who became instantly enlighted after tripping over a stool in the kitchen.

Does that help? I'm looking for clear and simple instructions to go straight to Houston. And I'm assuming here that Houston is one of the "Psychedelic-Like Experience" or "Opiate-Like Experience" places on the map. I grant you it's an odd request. And as someone pointed out it kind requires a rare character. Someone with deep experience in both realms.

Is this explanation better or worse?
thumbnail
Jim Smith, modified 3 Days ago.

RE: meditation instead of drugs

Posts: 950 Join Date: 1/17/15 Recent Posts
Bill
Hmmm... I think I was not as clear as I should have been. Sorry. I'm looking for techniques to get me to a specific place on the map. I can only describe that place as the place where the "Psychedelic-Like Experience" or (and I'm guessing it is an OR) the "Opiate-Like Experience" can be found. The experiences will (I expect) be SIMILAR but not identical to the drug induced experiences. All of that is theory. I do not know for certain there even is a "Psychedelic-Like Experience" or an "Opiate-Like Experience" in meditation. Though there seems to be some evidence for it based on what I've read here and in other places. 

In other words, Daniel's maps describes "places" in a field of experiences. The assumption seems to be that you have to visit these places in order, mostly. I go to Toledo to Cleveland to Houston to NYC. Some might go through Cleveland so fast they barely notice it, but in general there seems to be an assumption of a standard order. Is that true? What if someone wanted to go directly to NYC? Is that possible? The general tenor of conversation here seems to be that no, that is not possible. Or have I misunderstood? And I'm speaking here of people in general, not the one special person who became instantly enlighted after tripping over a stool in the kitchen.

Does that help? I'm looking for clear and simple instructions to go straight to Houston. And I'm assuming here that Houston is one of the "Psychedelic-Like Experience" or "Opiate-Like Experience" places on the map. I grant you it's an odd request. And as someone pointed out it kind requires a rare character. Someone with deep experience in both realms.

Is this explanation better or worse?


I don't practice noting exclusively but I have experienced many stages on the progress of insight map but not in the order specified. Because of that I don't really believe the map is a real thing. It lists real "places" but not their real location (order) and not their real causes.

So I would suggest you look at the experience itself not it's place on the map and look for what meditation techniques can cause it.

Many meditation techniques can produce equanimity and increase your level of enlightenment. Metta meditation produces metta, Jhana meditation produces bliss, and the other jhana states. I am not an expert on effects of recreational drugs but based on what I have heard, I think jhana and metta meditation might be opiate like or ecstasy like

If you are looking for psychedelic states maybe you shold try practicing lucid dreaming?

Is there any particular state you would like to experience through meditation?
Martin, modified 3 Days ago.

RE: meditation instead of drugs

Posts: 253 Join Date: 4/25/20 Recent Posts
The short answer is that what you are looking for is not very practical. There is a psychedelic place called A&P but it doesn't last. It's a transit hub only. (Directions can be found in The Progress of Insight). If you want a place you can revisit at will, you probably want the jhanas. But it's kind of far. I don't think many people get there in less than five hundred hours of cumulative sitting. It is certainly possible to spend many thousands of hours and not get there. (The go-to guide is Right Concentration by Leigh Brasington. )

Have you considered endorphins or adrenaline as alternatives. People routinely take up sports and start getting to highs in less than fifty hours. Adrenaline highs from things that feel dangerous, like gocarts, skiing, mountain climbing, or whitewater kayaking are available with zero warmup. 

Bottom line: yes, you can get high by meditating, but it is easier and faster to get high in other ways. This is not just a guess on my part. I've fully investigated all the ways of getting high. 
George S, modified 3 Days ago.

RE: meditation instead of drugs

Posts: 1489 Join Date: 2/26/19 Recent Posts
Ok so I guess the answer would be: figure out how to get into a hard jhana (Ajahn Brahm) to mimic the effects of opiates and do visual kasina to mimic the visual hallucinations of psychedelics. I've only been able to do that in a small way, but extrapolating I can imagine that similar effects are possible. The challenge is that progress requires letting go of attachment to outcomes lol.
George S, modified 3 Days ago.

RE: meditation instead of drugs

Posts: 1489 Join Date: 2/26/19 Recent Posts
You can also try Buteyko breathing or holotropic breathwork as an easy way to get high. But with all this stuff, you should really question your motivations and examine your karma, otherwise you run the risk of getting a lot more than you bargained for XD

How much are you currently sitting and what's your practice like?
thumbnail
J W, modified 2 Days ago.

RE: meditation instead of drugs

Posts: 366 Join Date: 2/11/20 Recent Posts
Personally I don't see too much of a risk in natural cultivation of the jhanas, which can feel a lot like getting high to me. I think it goes without saying jhana work is not the end all-be all of practice, but in my experience it can actually help boost motivation and build confidence. ("Hey look, I did that, all by myself.").

I would second the recommendation of using breathwork and jhana to accomplish what you are looking for. I'm a semi-regular user of psychedelics myself (mostly just cannabis), and I would say states of absorption, especially 2nd/3rd Jhana, 5th/6th Jhana, are pretty comparable to a cannabis high.
And of course all the usual warnings, which have already been listed here several times over, but again, kind of go without saying I think.
Bill, modified 3 Days ago.

RE: meditation instead of drugs

Posts: 9 Join Date: 9/27/20 Recent Posts
Ok, thanks for all the comments. Very helpful. I send you all a respectful bow and much metta. You are too kind.

I think I found what I was looking for. Jim's comment that "places" on the map are not necessarily in a fixed order is helpful to know. And surfing through  other threads by some of you I'm impressed by your ability to consciously move from one "place" to another. Very interesting.

In short, I think what I was hoping for were some bliss-like states along the way to keep me motivated. It's really just that. If I wanted to do drugs, I would do drugs. They work. They are predictable, reliable, and easy. But it's a dangerous path and not for me. As someone pointed out psychedelics have brought many people into meditation as a sort of "look what's possible", but it's more of a demo than the real thing. The actual "software" is more difficult to use.

For now, I'm getting just enough out of my practice to keep going so that's fine. When things open up I'd like to try a retreat to jump start my progress, but that's probably a ways off yet.  

In the meantime I'm going to keep experimenting with longer sessions and bring metta practice back into rotation.

Thanks again everyone!

B