Stream Entry on Psychedelics ~ Does it Count?

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Nik, modified 6 Years ago.

Stream Entry on Psychedelics ~ Does it Count?

Posts: 53 Join Date: 8/12/14 Recent Posts
About three years ago I took shrooms (~3.5 grams) and had the best time of my life (actually)--- for a few hours I felt totally natural, had zero self-consciousness, had a feeling of intimacy and comfort with people far beyond anything that I had ever encountered. I had a very strong feeling that yes, this is how life should be. It was the only time I've ever felt utterly and truly happy (as far as I can remember) and I'm willing to bet this was a PCE. Sadly, the state had a half-life that was the same as the psilocybin... The awesomeness of this experience was enough to motivate me to do a much higher dose about a week later...

I ended up taking about 5-6 grams of strong shrooms by myself. The moon was shining through my window and I was wondering what I had just gotten myself into. Sensations started coming on and they became stronger and stronger and stronger. They became almost unbearable in my chest and stomach. My mind was racing extremely fast and at some point it felt like it was all falling apart... nothing about my surroundings was changing, but the way I thought the world was, is, was falling the fuck apart and I was utterly terrified (I want to say about 1,000,000 times more scared than anytime before). It was like all frames of reference were in doubt. I would look at my clock and actually feel like I was somehow stuck in a dream/nightmare. Things just felt very different and dreamish compared to normal.... I felt so completely scared and fucked that I decided to do the cliche thing and hope to god that calling my mom would be my saving grace. I started feeling a very very strong sense of desolation. Fuck, there's no one here, I'm all alone in the universe. Holy fuck. Talking to my mom isn't helping, I still feel utterly alone, and she's just scared that I'm scared. I'm going to wake up in the machine tomorrow. I could be anything. I could become a fucking celebrity, a serial killer, whatever, but I'll still be soooo sooo alone. Oh my god. It'll be like this forever. Should I kill myself? What if my family is real and would actually suffer if I killed myself?

I hang up the phone with my parents... I've convinced them that I'll be okay waiting the trip out. I start to calm down immediately after I hang up the phone... Then something happens.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~It's like there was a knot in my mind. Everything dissapears for a moment, or something like that. Almost feels like my mind was struck by lightning or something. It feels like fate. I have this intuition about how everything led up to me doing that huge dose of mushrooms and now this. It actually feels like destiny and it's the only time I've ever felt like that. Awesome, astounding, mind-blowing, awe-struck, are the words that come to mind, and I know that those words were reserved for things like this. It's like that mind twist you feel when the punchline of a joke is revealed, just way more powerful and profound.~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ 

I'm almost crying and laughing out of relief and happiness. What the fuck was that? I sit on the toilet for the next hour with diarrhea. I just admire the bathroom wall and everything just looks very soft and easy.

I wake up the next morning though and remember how scary last night was... I start having unnerving thoughts... what if I try to go to bed tonight and I get stuck in a dream? What if I just become crazy right now? etc etc. Almost everyone just looks a bit dead in their eyes... There's fear in my stomach again.

I get the occassional existential panic attack over the next year. I stumble across MCTB! I have a strong feeling that this Buddhism stuff is the real deal. I start meditating a lot. A few months down the road I get another panic attack after a long meditation session... things settle down again though... no more panic attacks. I don't feel like I'm living among the undead anymore, but my everyday anxieties and neuroses (which had been blown away for a bit) have crept back in. 

Now I'm here. I can't say there was any distinct, lasting perceptual shift right after the trip (as far as I'm aware of), but based on descriptions it seems as though I shot through the nanas and hit stream entry. Not sure if it can be called a true stream entry due to the lack of sobriety however.... 

Anyway, would appreciate any thoughts. 
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Dream Walker, modified 6 Years ago.

RE: Stream Entry on Psychedelics ~ Does it Count?

Posts: 1333 Join Date: 1/18/12 Recent Posts
Nik:
About three years ago I took shrooms (~3.5 grams) and had the best time of my life (actually)--- for a few hours I felt totally natural, had zero self-consciousness, had a feeling of intimacy and comfort with people far beyond anything that I had ever encountered. I had a very strong feeling that yes, this is how life should be. It was the only time I've ever felt utterly and truly happy (as far as I can remember) and I'm willing to bet this was a PCE. Sadly, the state had a half-life that was the same as the psilocybin... The awesomeness of this experience was enough to motivate me to do a much higher dose about a week later...
4th Nana A&P MCTB 4. The Arising and Passing Away

Nik:
I ended up taking about 5-6 grams of strong shrooms by myself. The moon was shining through my window and I was wondering what I had just gotten myself into. Sensations started coming on and they became stronger and stronger and stronger. They became almost unbearable in my chest and stomach. My mind was racing extremely fast and at some point it felt like it was all falling apart... nothing about my surroundings was changing, but the way I thought the world was, is, was falling the fuck apart and I was utterly terrified (I want to say about 1,000,000 times more scared than anytime I had ever been before).
6 Nana Knowledge of fear MCTB 6. Fear
Nik:
Then something happens. ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~It's like there was a knot in my mind. Everything dissapears for a moment, or something like that. Almost feels like my mind was struck by lightning or something. It feels like fate. I have this intuition about how everything led up to me doing that huge dose of mushrooms and now this. It actually feels like destiny and it's the only time I've ever felt like that. Awesome, astounding, mind-blowing, awe-struck, are the words that come to mind, and I know that those words were reserved for things like this. It's like that mind twist you feel when the punchline of a joke is revealed, just way bigger.~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

I'm almost crying and laughing out of relief and happiness. What the fuck was that? I sit on the toilet for the next hour with diarrhea. I just admire the bathroom wall and everything just looks very soft and easy.
11 Nana Equinimity MCTB 11. Equanimity

Nik:
I wake up the next morning though and remember how scary last night was... I start having unnerving thoughts... what if I try to go to bed tonight and I get stuck in a dream? What if I just become crazy right now? etc etc. Almost everyone just looks a bit dead in their eyes... There's fear in my stomach again.
I get the occassional existential panic attack over the next year. I stumble across MCTB! I have a strong feeling that this Buddhism stuff is the real deal. I start meditating a lot. A few months down the road I get another panic attack after a long meditation session... things settle down again though... no more panic atttacks. I don't feel like I'm living among the undead anymore, but my everyday anxieties and neuroses (which had been blown away for a bit) have crept back in.
Now I'm here. I can't say there was any real perceptual shift after the trip (as far as I'm aware of), but based on descriptions it seems as though I shot through the nanas and hit stream entry. Not sure if it can be called a true stream entry due to the lack of sobriety however....
Anyway, would appreciate any thoughts.

Add to the mix that you were tripping balls, so that not everything lines up with anything extremely well necessarily. Stream entry is a permanent shift whereas the Nanas you cycle in and out of them. You seem to have cycled thru stuff without a permanent state change.
It is my best guess. Practice well and good luck,
~D
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Nik, modified 6 Years ago.

RE: Stream Entry on Psychedelics ~ Does it Count?

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Hmmmm, the only thing is that I'm pretty sure that I experienced fruition/cessation. I did have a sense of calm (equanimity) after all that fear (I had essentially given up at that point--- resigned myself to having to live a solitary existence), and then BAM literally everything (physical and mental) just completely dissapears and reappears. It was the most profound, unbelievable thing that I have experienced by like, a zillion. Yeah, the only issue is that permanent shift part though---- which is why I was thinking maybe it was possibly some psychedelic mimic of a stream entry.

"Then something happens. ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~It's like there was a knot in my mind. Everything dissapears for a moment, or something like that. Almost feels like my mind was struck by lightning or something. It feels like fate. I have this intuition about how everything led up to me doing that huge dose of mushrooms and now this. It actually feels like destiny and it's the only time I've ever felt like that. Awesome, astounding, mind-blowing, awe-struck, are the words that come to mind, and I know that those words were reserved for things like this. It's like that mind twist you feel when the punchline of a joke is revealed, just way bigger.~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ "
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Not Tao, modified 6 Years ago.

RE: Stream Entry on Psychedelics ~ Does it Count?

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Did you experience everything disappearing and then reappearing - i.e. were you there to experience the event?  The blip that Daniel talks about can be misleading.  What he's referring to is lost time or blacking out.  So, say you're paying attention to your breathing, you might notice you're taking a breath in and then suddenly you're breathing out.  You don't notice that everything disappears and then comes back - it's your awareness that disappears and then comes back.  Which is to say, there is no gap experienced, just a complete skip in the sequence of events.  Maybe a more illustrative example (though I'm not exactly sure this is possible with the eyes open?) is if you were watching an ant crawling across the floor and had a fruition, the experience would be akin to seeing the ant teleport from one spot to another.  For a few moments, your awareness would disengage, the ant would crawl, then your awareness would re-engage and suddenly realize a bit of time had been missed.

Your experience of reality blinking out and then re-appearing sounds like something that has happened to me a few times.  It's generally a side effect of very high concentration, I think.  I'm guessing you slipped into a formless realm for a second and popped back out.  If you consider that concentration would also amplify any emotional experience you were having, it seems to explain the whole experience rather well.  I've noticed anxiety attacks are kind of like a reverse jhana where concentration is focused on bad things.  If you experienced a flip in emotions with extreme focus on them, it might have forced you to let go a little too far and lose contact with your body/senses.

I haven't had any fruitions, FYI, I'm just trying to clear things up for you based on how I've seen them explained elsewhere on here.  Your popping in and out of reality definately sounds familiar to me though (not on drugs, just after lots of concentration practice).

P.S. I'm curious now - has anyone had a fruition with eyes open?
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Nik, modified 6 Years ago.

RE: Stream Entry on Psychedelics ~ Does it Count?

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It's very hard to describe, but it was definitely more like a black out. Different from the normal black out because I sprang back to being completely clear headed instead of out of it (for the normal blacking out reasons). It was also very different from just waking up in the morning. There was also a very powerful OOMPH/'twist' I feel that occurred. It felt like everything was short circuited. But it happened so fast that I can't describe what happened in between the before and after. I have to say though, it was by far the craziest, most mind-blowing thing that I've ever experienced (compared to sober states, compared to anything else I experienced on psychedelics back then, etc) So yeah, it's very different from the rest of the trip because the rest of the trip I was experiencing stuff, I was in a 'state', but this was like state (terror, despair, etc) ---> state (calming down) --> ||'BOOM'|| ---> holy fuck what in the world was that (feelings of relief, exhilaration, awe, etc) ---> various states until now

I don't have much experience with jhanas. I don't know if I've ever gotten past 'access concentration'. So yeah, the formless realm thing may be a possibility. I dunno. I have read  descriptions (briefly) of all of the jhanas though. I suppose the 8th/9th? jhana and fruition are the only things that I've seen and felt like 'oh yeah, I think that's it'. BUT it was definitely more blippy and more of a 'shock' than what I'd assume a jhana would feel like---- it also occurred following all this really powerful dark night stuff, and it happened when I was in a pretty average (non-super concentrated) state (although I was on shrooms). 

The most novel 'state' that I've encountered since then (being sober), has been this really interesting one that has happened during/after a sort of actualism-like practice where I'm just really focused on observing every sort of feeling/emotion/reaction that pops up and trying to decipher them. I was in a lecture one time doing that sort of thing and then suddenly it seemed like a layer of film over my vision started 'peeling' back and it's as though I started seeing things in HD compared to normal. I was in lecture though and I was in paranoia phase that year after my trip, so I got scared and it just went away. It happened a few other times as well to a somewhat lesser degree.
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Jenny, modified 6 Years ago.

RE: Stream Entry on Psychedelics ~ Does it Count?

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What I'm calling stream entry happened to me August 8 during a 30-sit with meditation group at my workplace. My eyes were open. The reboot was spectacular, the most earth- and self-shattering happening in my 50 years of life. I'll try to find links to my description and edit here.

With regard to getting what Daniel defines as "stream entry," I happened to recently have an exchange with Daniel about whether it were possible to land stream entry on DMT or other psychedelics alone, because I know someone to whom this seemed to have happened. The short version of his response was, "very unlikely" in the absence of a strong, well-established meditation practice. People can get a kind of cessation under these drugs, but A&P Event is much more common, and the cessation, if it occurs, doesn't produce the permanent deep insights that he sees in the strongest meditators he knows. It can produce insights and change something, but Daniel hasn't seen an example that has held up to his definition/characterization of "stream entry."

I should point out, as did Dan, that he ran sound for musical acts for years and has been an ER doctor for 11 years, so he's had quite a lot of up-close experience with and exposure to people with drug-induced experiences (an nonexperiences). 

Let me look for my links re eyes open during stream entry.

EDITED to provide link to my practice journal; fourth entry from the top describes fruition with eyes open:

http://www.dharmaoverground.org/web/guest/discussion/-/message_boards/message/5569853

E
DITED again for typos; also, I should report something else Daniel said: people will often mistakenly ascribe too much "done-ness" to these experiences and therefore not delve further by developing a strong meditative practice. This result can, in his opinion, be a shame because often he has the sense that some of these people who don't go beyond the drugs to develop permanent insights under their own power would have been the kind of people most likely to benefit by delving deeper (under their own power).
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Nik, modified 6 Years ago.

RE: Stream Entry on Psychedelics ~ Does it Count?

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"As soon as I realized that "gone" wasn't actually GONE gone, absolute discontinuity! So I remember up to that moment, and then I remember back to what it was like when reality was coming back online. And that was really the most earth-shattering moment--the rebooting of the world: During those few moments, "I" was dislocated into everything around me, with nothing on "my" side, no center, no sense of within-body or location-grounding. "I" was gone!

I knew something transformative was happening, or had happend. I remembered to try to see clearly.There was this hard-to-describe quality that was visual, I think (but I'm not absolutely sure I was physically seeing), and the closest I can come to describing it is to point to what happens in planetarium shows or movies when they are trying to convey warp speed through the stars, and the stars turn into whiteness bleared out into bright white lines. The difference in this case was that there was no contrasting darkness or outer space background, so I'm not even positive it was visual apprehension of white lines at all. If so, my sense was of white-on-white/clear. I guess sometimes experiences are so unusual that all we can do is grab onto metaphors for them. At any rate, there was a quality of ZOOM! and radical dislocation, or diffusion, of center and ground--no "this" side. I now understand, "In the seeing, only the seen. . . ."

This is almost exactly what happened to me. I was just standing in the middle of my room, eyes open. I like the warp speed analogy, but it all went too fast for me to really make sense of it. Just this feeling of a sudden extremely fast acceleration and then everything just dissapears in this really powerful flash (but no light or anything) and WOW suddenly you are back (nothing seemed to have past but I still realized that I had 'blacked' out for a second) and your hair is completely windswept. It felt like I had just been absolutely, totally mind-fucked (in a good way). It also felt like the flash had a ton of 'gravity' or power--- but in a sort of non-physical, mental way. It felt extremely significant.

You do talk about the three doors. That's one thing that I'm not sure about. I didn't read about the three doors until months later, so maybe I wasn't really paying enough attention to remember them distinctly. I just remember having felt extreme suffering, my self-feeling dissapeared for a while during that dark-night/equanimity phase of the trip (it was much different from the 'PCE'/A&P (?) experience), and I did have this feeling that everything had logically led up to that crazy moment immediately after (I wasn't thinking about in the normal way, it was this sort of intuitive/gut thing with a few memories interspersed). I always wonder if that last feeling was the result of getting a glimpse of Interdependent Co-arising... though I haven't come across any stories about what it's like to get that insight (maybe that understanding is just what happens when you shift to non-dual mode?)
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Jenny, modified 6 Years ago.

RE: Stream Entry on Psychedelics ~ Does it Count?

Posts: 566 Join Date: 7/28/13 Recent Posts
Nik,

I just want to clarify for anyone else reading along that the zooming, decentering, radical dislocation, sense of all turning and finding me not there where I had been the meditator meditaing, and then gradual laying back into being me occured over what I think was a couple minutes after the cessation. I may be misreading, but it sounds like your similar moments were before the cessation.

I was very puzzled by my rebooting-of-reality experience, if you can call it "my experience." For one thing, MCTB doesn't describe that phase at all, yet it was the truly significant part of the whole event for me. It, not the cessation, is what I will, I bet, go to my grave calling fruition. A fruition, after all, by definition is the after-effect, the result, of something.

Moreover, I was a little (well, maybe more than a little) frustrated that I couldn't convince Daniel to comment on what happened to me in that rebooting phase, not at all. He told me to read the Abhidhamma and see what I thought of that. Pinpoint citation anyone? Not sure I have time to read the whole Abhidhamma anytime soon!

A few weeks ago, I'm personally gratified to report, I looked at the draft Fruition section from MCTB2 and, lo and behold! Daniel had added a brief explanation of just the sort of rebooting experience I had on August 8 after cessation. He had included it well before August 8.

Note that Daniel had insisted that my prior-to-cessation 4 slow frames of experiencing everything as synchronized up and arising and then passing were more like an A&P Event than a path culmination. Reason? Because I describe those moments as very, very slow-motion--like drops falling off a stalagmite. Daniel says the 3 or 4 pulses of profound clarity happen extremely rapidly, like a shudder--so fast that most people miss them. However, when I turn back to MCTB, I see that his description matches the Impermanence door; to this day I am convinced that No-Self/Emptiness was the primary insight that ushered in sychronization of the field and cessation.

May Dream Walker comment further here on the fact, via his own multiple experiences, that the moments leading into cessation, those frames, can indeed be experienced as slow-mo, contrary to Daniel's insistence that they must always be super fast. I've been pursuing this matter with the author with regard to how these descriptions play out in MCTB2. 

Didn't mean to hijack things here. I just want to be as clear as possible about whatever my experience may offer.

Although Daniel's silence on my Grand Event frustrated me, especially months later when I tried to discuss it again with him to no avail, I did come on my own to realize that he was and is right about this: Regardless of what it was, it is in the past. Realization is found only here and now, and by diligent practice at this point of engagement.

EDITED for a typo (omission of phrase) and to add that Daniel has added a bit about the reboot phase to MCTB2, whereas MCTB1 doesn't address it.
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Dream Walker, modified 6 Years ago.

RE: Stream Entry on Psychedelics ~ Does it Count?

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Jenny:
May Dream Walker comment further here on the fact, via his own multiple experiences, that the moments leading into cessation, those frames, can indeed be experienced as slow-mo, contrary to Daniel's insistence that they must always be super fast. I've been pursuing this matter with the author with regard to how these descriptions play out in MCTB2. 


I have experienced a slow motion version of the three moments before cessation. For 2 years post first path and before starting second path work I had cessations most days of my daily practice. So 365 days times 2 = 730 days of practice. Lets say I had 400 cessations during that time and I experienced the slow motion clarity of the three moments leading to the cessations around 7-10 times. This makes it a very rare occurrence in a large sample set. I have not experienced it since that time frame. Cessations have gotten progressively more subtle.
Description-
I would be sitting in the sauna and get to EQ then I would feel the heat arise and pass away; get more intense then peak and fade more quickly than the build up (This was slow for me, it builds for like 2 - 3 seconds then passes away quicker like 1-2 seconds). at the bottom of the pass away it would hit bottom with a *thump* into a barrier that was solid but had some give to it like packed dirt. Then consciousness would fade slowly to (almost?) gone and then fade back and this would happen again - Heat arises and passes away again, *thump* , fadeout again, on the last one the *thump* would be a breaking through the barrier into cessation, nothing, totally gone. The experience coming back was instant, consciousness was back, moment to notice, strong in breath and the bliss wave would roll over me.
~D
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Nik, modified 6 Years ago.

RE: Stream Entry on Psychedelics ~ Does it Count?

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Yeah I wish I remembered more. I can't remember if anything just before the cessation happened. Right after it happened it was like I got hit by a massive punch line. That's when the intuitions of fate happened as well. Real fast right after from what I recall.

****Anyway even if this is not real stream entry, I think it's important that things are clarified. If I encounter such an event again while sober, it'd be nice to know whether it was the A&P or Cessation/Fruition or one of the Formless Realm Jhanas. 

I still think I had a cessation event. I've looked at other people's descriptions, read about them, etc. And the context and description fit really well. I don't understand how it could be an A&P event but maybe someone could clarify. I'm sort of assuming that there's a natural progression to the nanas, whether or not you're on psychedelics (perhaps the insights don't get stamped in though). If what I experienced was an A&P event, then that means the horror that I experienced right before that wasn't even the dukkha nanas.... but I had essentially already given up EVERYTHING at that point. This was the closest to suicide that I've ever come. Just imagine that everyone in your life basically just died... everyone on earth is just part of the machine.... you are completely ALONE and this is how it will be forever. It was very very disturbing... But I decided I'd just keep going, and that's when I calmed down a bit and then the 'cessation' happened. It wasn't a state whatsoever--- no flashing lights or good feelings. Some feelings of relief afterward though. I kind of doubt it'd be a slip into a formless realm jhana, unless I somehow shot through all the jhanas at light speed and dropped out at light speed as well. At this point in the 'trip' I felt pretty 'normal'. I was just standing around in my room, not focusing on anything in particular.
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Nik, modified 6 Years ago.

RE: Stream Entry on Psychedelics ~ Does it Count?

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Jenny:
People can get a kind of cessation under these drugs, but A&P Event is much more common, and the cessation, if it occurs, doesn't produce the permanent deep insights that he sees in the strongest meditators he knows. It can produce insights and change something, but Daniel hasn't seen an example that has held up to his definition/characterization of "stream entry."


Yeah, this is probably the case. I'd say the only perspective change I had, was due to memory (so more of an 'intellectual' perspective change). I remembered that 'people' don't exist in the way that I think of them, but my normal 'feelings' and associations to the people in my life mostly returned. It was scary for a while, but it was great in that it hammered into me the principle of how flexible feeling and normal perception can be (result of most psychedelic experiences). It also felt a bit solipsistic at times, because I realized that if I were to go crazy ever, I'd be seeing things that other people might not see, but it would be 'real', ya know. MCTB was super super nice to come across because I felt like this was what I needed to do, and maybe I wasn't as isolated as I was feeling back then. 
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chris ., modified 6 Years ago.

RE: Stream Entry on Psychedelics ~ Does it Count?

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Jenny:
...

With regard to getting what Daniel defines as "stream entry," I happened to recently have an exchange with Daniel about whether it were possible to land stream entry on DMT or other hallucinogentics alone, because I know someone to whom this seemed to have happened. The short version of his response was, "very unlikely" in the absence of a strong, well-established meditation practice. People can get a kind of cessation under these drugs, but A&P Event is much more common, and the cessation, if it occurs, doesn't produce the permanent deep insights that he sees in the strongest meditators he knows. It can produce insights and change something, but Daniel hasn't seen an example that has held up to his definition/characterization of "stream entry."

...



That's interesting, it makes sense but I never really considered that you could have a cessation experience through psychedelics, but no stream entry, because it's not real insight and one doesn't have the context to put it into.

I did an 'adventurous' amount of DMT in 2001, and I experienced something. I found and read MCTB a few years ago, and - trying to match my memory of the dmt experience to descriptions of the stages of insight - figured I had had an A&P experience that night, but it always fit the fruition description more closely, but there was no way I had gotten stream entry so I ruled that out. Now that I read this, I'm pretty sure I had a fruition or cessation or whatever.

Anyways, yeah... DMT. whoah man.

ps. Speaking of life changing experiences with heroic doses of psychedelics - check out this old shroomery.org thread on "thumbprinting" acid.
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Jenny, modified 6 Years ago.

RE: Stream Entry on Psychedelics ~ Does it Count?

Posts: 566 Join Date: 7/28/13 Recent Posts
Chris:
That's interesting, it makes sense but I never really considered that you could have a cessation experience through psychedelics, but no stream entry, because it's not real insight and one doesn't have the context to put it into.

Yeah. Daniel seemed to suggest that, with drug-induced cessation events, some people, and rarely, can get something that seems to be something between nothing and stream entry--so something, but not profound and permanent. By the way, the person I know who says his DMT cessation changed him also says that over about 4 or 5 months some of the changes that were positive faded and dropped out. So he agrees that he may have something more and more durable to gain by taking up a practice someday. He's not yet read MCTB; he's waiting for the MCTB2 version, the actual book he can hold in his hands. 

May we all practice well and awaken.
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Simon T., modified 6 Years ago.

RE: Stream Entry on Psychedelics ~ Does it Count?

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As someone who had a similar experience (I will call it Event X) on mushrooms three years ago, doubted it significance for a while, came to believe it was stream entry for a while and finally came back to question it again, now being more inclined to think it was an A&P, I connect with your puzzlement.

There are a few important questions to be asked:
1. What is the actual experience of stream entry?
2. What flavor that experience has?
3. How can we diagnose it and distinguish it from other experiences like the A&P? How can we be confused about it?
4. What is the effect of stream entry, what change after it?
5. Are every stream entry experiences born equal?
6. Why it matters to be able to diagnose it?
7. Why it matters to get it?

Event X came during a meditation session at a very difficult time in my life, when I was a barely functional human being, experiencing severe cognitive impairment, high anxiety, sad events were happening in my life, and I convinced myself that “I had to do this thing” to fix myself up. So I spent an evening meditating with strong resolve under the influence of a sub-psychedelic dose of mushroom.

When Event X happened, it was like if something really fundamental, reality itself basically, looked back at itself. It was if the most granular unit of existence found itself alone, with nothing else but itself and nothing else to look at but itself. In a sense, everything stopped in reference to time, but the way I remember it there wasn’t necessarily a gap of unknowing. Of course, the immediate aftermath of this was the feeling that something profound has been understood, spending the rest of the evening feeling very enlightened, failed attempts at repeating the events (with massive amount of energy flowing as my concentration was boosted to a ridiculous level, belief in powers, etc).

The A&P is said to be more about “nailing it” and stream entry more about letting go of it (Almost like falling asleep Daniel said). I was definitely more in a “nailing it” mode that night but I can’t remember how effort vs relaxation were at play when Event X happened.

What had led me to believe for a while that it was stream entry was that I was left with the feeling in the months after that something, some cycle perhaps, had been completed. Some weight had been lifted from my shoulders, there was things my mind didn’t do anymore (for instance, the fear of shame and the need for pride was greatly reduced). Very soon, I also found myself in a very obvious A&P phase (and crossing it without anything spectacular happening, and going through a textbook case of the dark night).

So, there was elements of this experience that led me to believe it was stream entry. An alternative explanation is that before the event I was experiencing a very bad case of the lower stages like the 3C. Event X opened things up, but instead of finding myself in the dark night, I found myself in the A&P stage in the following months, which simulated some of the benefits of what stream entry would entail.

There was a lot of wrong diagnosis from my part in the last two years so those are mainly speculations. The questions that I asked still interest me but I also moved to a kind of practice that is less dependent on the stages (and less goal oriented, I must admit), to accommodate the current circumstances of my life. Still, I understand your desire for a more definitive diagnosis.
Small Steps, modified 6 Years ago.

RE: Stream Entry on Psychedelics ~ Does it Count?

Posts: 248 Join Date: 2/12/14 Recent Posts
Simon T.:
There was a lot of wrong diagnosis from my part in the last two years so those are mainly speculations. The questions that I asked still interest me but I also moved to a kind of practice that is less dependent on the stages (and less goal oriented, I must admit), to accommodate the current circumstances of my life. Still, understand your desire for a more definitive diagnosis.

Simon, I really appreciate this sentiment. In the last 10 months or so, my practice has largely moved in a similar arc... less puzzlement about where I am on the path, due to less need to know and frankly less interest in having a verified attainment of any sort. The practice is very fulfilling, no matter what comes up, owing to the way the range of experience (mental, physical, emotional, etc) has been widened over time and practice.

Nik, I would gently urge you to not look too hard to fit your experiences into any kind of mold or map, but rather use these to (hopefully, skillfully) guide you and inform you of the potentialities of practice.
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Not Tao, modified 6 Years ago.

RE: Stream Entry on Psychedelics ~ Does it Count?

Posts: 997 Join Date: 4/5/14 Recent Posts
These are some interesting stories guys.  Thanks for the link, Jen. emoticon

So, Nik, maybe a better qualifier is, how did this event change your experience of "being" - what do you feel you are? I've had a number of events that fit with the A&P descriptions Daniel gives, and none of them have really changed much about me. Stream entry is (well, according to Theravada tradition) a perceptual change about what you are at a fundimental level.

The formless realms can give a bit of this experience - for example, as you move through them you see that "you" are not your thoughts, nor your body, nor the sense of a point in space. At the deepest level in the formless realms experience, you are still you even though everything identifiable has been stripped away. Which is to say, at the lowest level we identify with awareness itself as a "me." In the last formless realm, this starts to blink away, and then the cessation of perception happens. Maybe stream entry isn't even the cessation so much as the ability to watch your own awareness turning off, and then turning on again in a clear way. That way you can see in a very final way that there is nothing left to cling to, and you can only take yourself to be a conglomeration of factors - like the aggregates - rather than a single, trancendent unit of perception.
Elijah Smith, modified 6 Years ago.

RE: Stream Entry on Psychedelics ~ Does it Count?

Posts: 71 Join Date: 4/14/13 Recent Posts
I had pretty much the same experience, I did shrooms at a club a few years ago having absoutely zero clue what I was getting into (I wasn't into drugs generally and didn't realize how ridiculously potent the effects would be). It started with some wicked fear, which sort of resulted because I had no idea the effects would be that powerful (reading your post brought back some of this) and didn't want to be feeling that way in public, let alone a club. 10 minutes felt like an hour of hellish fear and confusion, I remember thinking that if I felt that way until the effects wore off it was going to feel like an eternity. 

Then, eventually that opened up and I experienced full ego death. In the latter stage, I was having thoughts along the lines of all the things I had read casually about Buddhism when I was young being true, and the effects being 1000 times stronger than something like alcohol (in a good and enlightening way at this point). I felt like an observer looking down on the reality of my life. I was really into chasing women at that point in my life, and I remember seeing this as meaningless in the grander scheme. I also remember a lot of perceptual distortion.  

Unfortunately, it seemed like the dark parts had a stronger effect long term, since I've been in experiencing a "dark night" of sorts that developed since then.
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Nik, modified 6 Years ago.

RE: Stream Entry on Psychedelics ~ Does it Count?

Posts: 53 Join Date: 8/12/14 Recent Posts
Yeah I had a feeling that it was going to last an eternity as well... it was weird though. Like, I wasn't even sure anymore that death would be the end. Maybe I would reboot in a new body after or a new world or whatever and that it'd go on forever... it was honestly the first time I was really thinking about death. Just so many uncertainties to think about.

Yeah, the fucking dark night.... I definitely dropped into it after that trip. It was pretty difficult for about a year. Luckily the worst of it (panic attacks and weird super strong emotional chest pain) subsided.
Alexander Rice, modified 6 Years ago.

RE: Stream Entry on Psychedelics ~ Does it Count?

Posts: 36 Join Date: 2/20/15 Recent Posts
I think that I've had 'events' on both DMT and LSD that have led to permanent baseline shifts in awareness and moved me from EQ to A&P based on the frequency that things flicker (my gold standard as it's something I'm familiar with and percieve easily) along with review periods afterwards where I cycle through the nanas relatively quickly. They didn't happen by accident any more

I've also had plenty of trips where nothing of the sort has happened because I was not in the right part of the cycle and I didn't go looking for them.

I personally think that if supported by a consistent daily practice while sober and if the dose of the drug is not so high as to make the insights only applicable to that state then psychedelics are a spectacularly valuable tool in unlocking awakening in individuals (like myself) who would otherwise have the most tremedous difficulty attaining even basic levels of tranquility, let alone awakening.

If it doesn't 'stick' first time then do more meditation while sober, perferably in the afterglow period, and make use of your new insights to learn to do it unaided.

I think of trying to learn meditation techniques like trying to find the door in a dark room -- it's damn sight easier if you have some sense of what's in the room and roughly what direction you need to go. Psychedelics are like striking a match.
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Dream Walker, modified 6 Years ago.

RE: Stream Entry on Psychedelics ~ Does it Count?

Posts: 1333 Join Date: 1/18/12 Recent Posts
Alexander Rice:
I personally think that if supported by a consistent daily practice while sober and if the dose of the drug is not so high as to make the insights only applicable to that state then psychedelics are a spectacularly valuable tool in unlocking awakening in individuals (like myself) who would otherwise have the most tremedous difficulty attaining even basic levels of tranquility, let alone awakening.

If it doesn't 'stick' first time then do more meditation while sober, perferably in the afterglow period, and make use of your new insights to learn to do it unaided.
Insites created by altered states have the problem with State dependent memory. The "confusion" that is seen thru may not be accessible once out of the particular state or to put it another way the confusion settles back in albeit to a lesser degree. So Nik may have SE but only when tripping balls.
To complicate things more - there are people who consider the A&P event as the first "stage" of awakening that just doesn't neatly fit in a 4 path model. There are some other attainments that are not "path worthy" yet happen mostly between 3rd and 4th path. (I had one even before that).
There are also "near misses" to SE that can cause additional confusion.
Hard to sort all that out....so much variation in peoples expereinces that are not mapable outside skillful practice and retreats.
Good Luck,
~D

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