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New and ignorant; my journey through lots of LSD

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Hello! Daniel directed me to this forum, and I'm in the process of reading MCTOB. I don't have any meditation or insight-oriented culture around me, I haven't been to a retreat, and this is my first real exposure to people who seem to have experience with this stuff. I thought I'd use this post as an introduction + description of my reality for reference later on.

In 2014 ago I took (on average) large doses of LSD about once a week for 10 months. This started out (trip #2) with the sense of 'awakening,' where my eyes were opened and I realized the world was not as it seemed. This experience was intense and exciting for me, and I got comments from people who knew me that I seemed different, afterwards.

This progressed into a feeling of intense peace, emotionality, and creativity, and I was very evangelical about it all - this state, the different way of being inside the world, of doing LSD. I did art constantly, and this lasted for several months.

Another notable trip was my highest dose of approximately 600ug, about 25 trips in, after which the sensations of pain and pleasure became permanently fused/mixed/linked with each other. This manifests as an intense 'acceptance' - the feeling of yes, yes - to the experience of deep agony, particularly emotional, and an underlying pain whenever I'm happy. 

After this I entered a state of intense contentment, where I felt free of desire. My memory got really terrible, and I stopped performing most actions. My sleep schedule became random/intermittent, and I felt strongly as though I was dreaming, all the time, and my actual dreams became lucid. I compulsively whispered 'I am dead' under my breath, and became obsessed with shaving my hair (which I couldn't do, as a sex worker) to the point of drawing bald self portraits and buying wigs. Hunger stopped being significantly motivating, and I often didn't get out of bed. This might sound bad from the outside, but I was completely free of suffering.

A few more months later, and I realized if I continued down this path, I would probably die, and so I decided to quit acid. I don't fully understand this decision, but I do know that it felt to me like rejecting the Knowing. 

After quitting, I tried constantly to stop Knowing. I tried to eject the awareness of what was going on out of my life. I began to feel deeply grateful for all anxiety and fear. I was already immensely grateful for all pain. It took about another 10 months before my function from the outside view returned to where it was before I started doing acid.

Changes slowed over the next few years, but there developed a tension between knowing and not-knowing; I felt like I had left behind an old lover, and I missed her dearly. I did LSD much less often after that (about 2x/year), but each time I did I felt like I had gone home. 

One change that happened after quitting LSD was a shift from perceiving me as different from others (in my Knowing) to me as the same; that I did not know anything anyone else didn't, because that thought carries a thousand tiny preconceptions inside of it

Another change was a deep integration of silence. Silence about this state became a recurring theme - in talking to others, in thought with myself. In the years following the LSD, I slipped into holding it very privately within myself, like a secret. 

About 1.5 years ago I started having episodes - first alone, and then eventually in the presence of other people - where I meditated and then re-entered the Knowing state. They were very intense, and involve crying, ego death, and painpleasure. I have some amount of control over when they came on - with the ability to prevent them from happening or encourage them on. I have difficulty inducing episodes randomly, without a lot of effort - usually phrases from other people can trigger it, or the sensation that someone I'm talking to Knows as well. Being in a lot of pain also makes it easier.

Very recently (a week) I've started attempting to channel the feeling of the episodes into.... being? Because usually they take me out of commission and make it exceedingly difficult to act in the world - but recently, when I've felt them coming on in public in times I would normally suppress them, I try to instead put them 'into my body' - to force it into engagement with the world around me, instead of looping back in on itself and taking me down with it. It's very difficult to do this without taking steam out of the experience, but I'm also very new to it and I'm interested in seeing where it goes.

I don't know where I am in regards to the common-knowledge map here, and I feel a little hesitant to put too much effort into figuring it out - the A&P seems closest in regards to 'brief intense experiences', though I have them a few times a month and that doesn't seem super A&P-y, but maybe I'm just weird, who knows.
I have really appreciated getting a general sense of what is possible, though - it seems that people have ongoing and more well-integrated experiences than I do. I'm pretty interested with turning my Knowing from something I'm at tension with, something that takes me over and destroys me before the throne of God, to something that I can integrate with still being attached and believing in my life. 

I almost never meditate, but it seems like I should probably pick it up. I don't often enjoy it and I'm not very disciplined, though. 

Anyway, thank you all and I look forward to lurking here!

RE: New and ignorant; my journey through lots of LSD
Answer
9/14/18 2:54 PM as a reply to Aella.
Cool. I think I’ve read your blog. What are your thoughts on prayer? I wonder what spiritual value regular prayer could have in a situation like yours. LSD seems to have a religious angle for some...

RE: New and ignorant; my journey through lots of LSD
Answer
9/14/18 7:07 PM as a reply to Aella.
Thank you!
I'm not sure if I've ever experienced the Dark Night, or if I have it was mild and a long time ago. I don't resonate at all with the descriptions of fear or misery or disgust - the closest is maybe the slowdown in dissolution? I don't think I ever would have assigned the DN to myself based on reading that page. So maybe I'm just hanging out in A&P stage.

RE: New and ignorant; my journey through lots of LSD
Answer
9/14/18 9:23 PM as a reply to Aella.
Hi Aella!  Thanks for sharing your experiences, it was interesting to read!

Aella:
I don't know where I am in regards to the common-knowledge map here, and I feel a little hesitant to put too much effort into figuring it out - the A&P seems closest in regards to 'brief intense experiences', though I have them a few times a month and that doesn't seem super A&P-y, but maybe I'm just weird, who knows.
I have really appreciated getting a general sense of what is possible, though - it seems that people have ongoing and more well-integrated experiences than I do. I'm pretty interested with turning my Knowing from something I'm at tension with, something that takes me over and destroys me before the throne of God, to something that I can integrate with still being attached and believing in my life. 

I almost never meditate, but it seems like I should probably pick it up. I don't often enjoy it and I'm not very disciplined, though. 

Sometimes the meditative type experiences we have, whether via drugs, dreams, or just randomly in life are not easily classified.  The important point as I see it is that you have had some profound spiritual experiences, and are now drawn to explore the path via meditation.  

Just to get started, I recomend you start a regular meditation practice, explore different styles and teachings, and see what resonates with you and how the path develops!  A consistent meditation practice, even just for 20 - 30 minutes a day, helps to start building a personal familiarity with the experience of meditation described in books like MCTB, and helps our practice to progressively deepen.

Cheers! -Tim

RE: New and ignorant; my journey through lots of LSD
Answer
9/18/18 4:26 AM as a reply to Aella.
Hi Aella,

Sounds familiar, I was heavily into psychedelics around 2012-13 and got deeply into meditation shortly thereafter, having practised a little before.

I would really recommend the work of Shinzen Young, no other system has made it so easy (for me) to integrate all the craziness and transcendent experiences into daily life and make sense of it all. His stuff carries none of the superstition while retaining all the mysticism of contemplative practice. Really easy to get into and goes very deep if you pursue it. And he offers monthly home retreats where you can hole up and practice intensively for a few days via phone/skype/web. Learning his stuff makes it really easy to then jump into basically any traditional practice if you want to go further - he uses his own terminology with very precise definitions, whereas many teachers use the traditional languages of Buddhism in varying ways, meaning subtly different things - so I've found it much easier with his stuff to stay grounded and really understand what he's getting at. 

You can find his articles here: https://www.shinzen.org/resources/articles/

I made some unofficial kindle/ereader versions if you prefer here: https://cloud.lost-terminal.co.uk/index.php/s/9w9oPpr8zqpMdkM

Youtube: https://www.youtube.com/user/expandcontract
https://www.youtube.com/user/ShinzenInterviews

There's a free course you can take here (it's a little cheesy but the technique is great): https://unifiedmindfulness.com/core

Monthly retreats: http://homepracticeprogram.com/

I recognise your name from Reddit so you might also be interested in the /r/streamentry subreddit for more info on deep practice.

RE: New and ignorant; my journey through lots of LSD
Answer
9/18/18 10:23 AM as a reply to Aella.
Hey Aella,

I highly recommend going through  MTCB as well as the The Mind Illuminated by Culadasa, and seeing whether you resonate with Samatha practice or Noting practice more, picking one and giving it your all. 

One thing I have found with LSD and shrooms is that it does not improve your ability to focus (not afterwards anyway), a skill so potent and enjoyable that meditation provides. Being able to focus and ignore distractions will help with your discipline. Improved discipline will make it easier to meditate, which will improve your discipline even more and so on in an upward spiral. 

RE: New and ignorant; my journey through lots of LSD
Answer
9/20/18 5:28 AM as a reply to Jinxed P.
Hi, Aella, loved to read about your LSD experiences.
You got me curious.
Shame i cannot find it.emoticon

RE: New and ignorant; my journey through lots of LSD
Answer
9/20/18 3:03 PM as a reply to Aella.
I bounced your reports off of Michael Taft, and he wondered about the quality of the knowing, what it knows, how often it is going on, and thought that, like has been mentioned above, some sort of basic meditaiton training that could start to ground the mind in the experience of emptiness in a way that separated out the experience itself from the ideas about it might be helpful.

He thought that learning some good basic meditation skills in a proper context would help integrate and stabilize whatever has happened to you.

He's a good guy, if you are looking for someone to help process some of this.

RE: New and ignorant; my journey through lots of LSD
Answer
9/20/18 8:54 PM as a reply to Aella.
Welcome!

I would strongly urge you to just stop it with the LSD (and other drugs by the way) and now explore your mind through meditation.

The past LSD experience probably will help you down the road if things get weird from meditation and has probably shown you a glimpse of some of the truths one is supposed to realize from meditation.  

But eventually the continued use of LSD will just fuck up your brain and your ability to enjoy normal life.  You will be conducting a science experiment on your must important possession— your mind.  

I know it’s terribly unfashionable to say these days, but drugs ultimately are a dead end.  A temporary escape.  Count yourself lucky that you had that experience and that you kept it together and you are still an interesting and articulate young woman and move forward from that phase.

Good luck!