Legitimacy of experience/the path forwards.

Ted Fussell, modified 8 Months ago at 9/30/22 7:57 PM
Created 8 Months ago at 9/30/22 7:57 PM

Legitimacy of experience/the path forwards.

Post: 1 Join Date: 9/30/22 Recent Posts
Hey there! I was just about to shoot a quick little email that was neither quick nor little to Mr Ingram while and decided a little investigation into more options for feedback and advice would be appropriate.....so here I am! 

My question(s) revolve around the feeling that having some input regarding where I am at in my meditative journey would bring some clarity and renewed direction. What now? Where go? I have made an intentional attempt to communicate these experiences without exaggeration or a "hey look at me! I'm using fancy language! I must know a lot!" attitude, please bear with the little bits of prose. It's just the way I attempt to explain things that are beyond my capacity to explain clearly and to fill in the picture a little more. 

Little background, I have been in a vaguely buddhist meditative sphere for about two years now, was raised as a Christian and have found my own, new perspective on the lessons contained in the tradition, and have been involved with psychedelics for the purpose of spiritual development for about three years with a steady decline in imbibing. Please forgive me if I am fairly ignorant of the technical terms surrounding my experience. My "Way" has been a heavily syncretic experience and technical language is something I am just beginning to pick up.

The first question I have is whether fruition and stream entry are regarded as legitimate and carry the same illusion shattering benefits if experienced while under the influence of psychedelics. Details about the experience below. 

During a few of my trips prior to "the big one" I ran into some sensations that were entirely new to me. I had been through the "ego death"/expanded sense of interconnectedness and feeling of a broader, formless self too many times to count, the majority of which were on the pillow during meditation after my first or second encounter with it. The new sensations were akin to the feeling of a larger death or a sort of flatlining of the vibrational awareness I had spent so long trying to create a self in. Very spooky for me as I had no real advice or framework to conceptualize this with at this point. I grounded and left that state as fast as I could.

A while after these experiences, during another trip, I shifted awareness away from conversation (although I am told the conversation only had a few brief pauses) with my friend and attempted to zoom my perspective "out" and focus on noting incoming sensations, which became automatic and seamless after a few moments. After a few minutes(?) of this, I became aware of the distinct feeling that I was in a sort of "in between" place and began to see my environment as intensely symbolic and visually representative of inner processes. Internal became external, external became internal, then it was just...something that I was unable to categorize as "here" or "there". As I noticed this, my attention was pulled to a door across the hallway that was slightly ajar. I felt a pull towards it and noted that I wanted to "enter" the door, although I knew it was a more visionary process than just getting up and walking in. An intense fear gripped me as I thought of this and I communicated to my friend that I was afraid I'd "find *Nothing* behind that door". There was also the feeling of alone-ness and a nearly unbearable presence of energy in my neck. My friend at this point was simply part of the fabric of reality instead of an outstanding object. I felt as if going through the door was "wrong" and a "permanent exit" from reality. As I went to go through it, my sense of hearing, seeing, and touch seemed to gradually fade away. The sense of awareness started to flutter. I did NOT go through it at this time and went through a severe depressive episode for a few weeks after as I felt I had missed my shot at *something* due to fear of the unknown. 

Fast fowards to my next experience about a month and a half later, with plenty of daily vipassana in between, I was on yet another trip. Going through the "checkpoints" (a sort of call and answer feeling. Do you know the truth of this? If not, loop around until you do.) and I reached the sensation of this door again. The only way I can describe it is an impending sense of utter death that is very...twisty. Physically it felt as if I was turning my neck so hard into itself I was going to break it. I watched my reality dissolve until awareness was the only thing I could identify with, and this was dissolving. I cannot recall any sense of being or anyTHING after a certain point in this process, only a re-emergence of reality and my identity and the feeling that I had access to new insight about the nature of it. Being on cloud 9 in a way I never had before. I felt that reality had a certain beingness to it, so I went ahead and danced for the audience for a while. This feeling lasted for about a month before it faded into semi-normality, but concentration meditation became much easier to fall into and still has retained that ease. 

Is this fruition? Should I believe that stream entry was achieved? Does it count? Experientially, I can't say that I ever went through that door. It is a continual question in my mind that is hard if not seemingly impossible to break down into it's pieces. I feel that I know the answer logically, but I can't come to a seemingly truthful answer about it. The experience has not repeated itself as of yet, most of which I attribute to the fact that it was performed under the influence and beyond my sober capacity...however. 

Recently the sensation has returned in normal, sober meditation and in waking life off the pillow. It seems as though I have been experiencing that trip over the course of the last year, in slow motion. I am still extremely fearful of this (non?)experience and know that it is only present because I have not intended to go through or close the door. It seems like every time I approach it, the confidence I had in my previous run-in suddenly disappears and I am faced with seemingly permanent non-existence, which still feels wrong. I have backed off of meditation for the past two weeks and introduced spoken aloud prayer, which has so far eased the fear I feel. 

Is this fruition again? Or something else entirely? Am I psyching myself out about some low level phenomena? Is the issue at hand that I have artifically extended my meditative ability and possibly gone through something I was not yet prepared to go through? 

Please feel free to ask clarifying questions or let me know if I am way off base. I have no apprehension about confronting the possibility that I have fooled myself. Not sure if I am leaning too far into disbelieving in a possible achievement or giving too much credit to my own BS. Thank you in advance! 
Adi Vader, modified 8 Months ago at 9/30/22 9:13 PM
Created 8 Months ago at 9/30/22 9:13 PM

RE: Legitimacy of experience/the path forwards.

Posts: 208 Join Date: 6/29/20 Recent Posts
One of the effects of a path moment (stream entry being first path) is that the fruition is available and can be accessed again.
​​​​​​​For a conclusive answer one possible way is to meditate while sober and make it happen again.
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Chris M, modified 8 Months ago at 10/1/22 7:55 AM
Created 8 Months ago at 10/1/22 7:55 AM

RE: Legitimacy of experience/the path forwards.

Posts: 4688 Join Date: 1/26/13 Recent Posts
Recently the sensation has returned in normal, sober meditation and in waking life off the pillow. It seems as though I have been experiencing that trip over the course of the last year, in slow motion. I am still extremely fearful of this (non?)experience and know that it is only present because I have not intended to go through or close the door. It seems like every time I approach it, the confidence I had in my previous run-in suddenly disappears and I am faced with seemingly permanent non-existence, which still feels wrong. I have backed off of meditation for the past two weeks and introduced spoken aloud prayer, which has so far eased the fear I feel. 

I can relate to this - though I've had a non-psychedelic meditation practice. It's been unassisted in that way:

About two years into my vipassana meditation practice I started experiencing a very solid fear of non-existence. This fear would prevent me from experiencing specific states which I suspected would eradicate "me." Figurative, or maybe even literal, death. I thought I might be driving myself to it by continuing to meditate in this way. I suspected I might end up in some form of psychosis. It felt like what you are describing - approaching a very meaningful experience (a door, of sorts) and being afraid to open it or to walk through it. So I would meditate right up to those feelings and experiences and then back things down because my heart would race and my breath would quicken from the fear.

Turns out this fear was a fabrication of the mind. I just kept going, having been assured by folks with far more experience on the path that this fear was normal, a part of the path. So in just keeping things going, in small increments, the fear slowly subsided and eventually, cessation and fruition occurred.

For me, the root of the fear was a misunderstanding of terms like "not-self." My mind had decided those things literally meant the self, which I had always interpreted as a permanent me, would be gone, and along with it any sense of familiarity with the world and my experience of it. This, of course, is what the mind does - it tricks us into believing in permanence, including the illusion of a permanent self.

Do what Adi Vader said to do - keep going. Replicate your experience without the drugs.
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