What my internal experience was like then and what it is like now. Meditation has changed EVERYTHING.
I will never forget what it was like before my awakening began. It was as if even something as simple as breathing was a struggle. Anxiety was provoked by just about everything. Someone would say “Hi!” and I would get just as anxious as if someone had told me to never talk to them again. It was pretty much Hell on Earth. The drugs made it easier, they made me forget, until I would try to numb out the feeling of being numb. Everything was just a battle, I dropped out of high school and it wasn’t even because of the drugs or the fact that I didn’t really apply the intelligence I knew I possessed. I still managed to pass everything. I just couldn’t be and so I left.
I don’t regret any of the reckless drug use, not one bit. If anything they saved me, it forced me to go so far down that I was going to either cease living or ask for help. Fortunately for me, my lack of care for my mind or body seemed to be beneficial when it came to the first time I ever had a TRUE psychedelic experience. I had tripped before, but not like this. I had seen time stop, walls breath, energy dance and reality turn into what seemed to be alien worlds. But never had I ceased to exist. This would be the beginning, the first part of my awakening.
A bag of possibly a “heroic” dose of psilocybin did the trick. I didn’t weigh it, but I remember we purchased a lot and ate it all. Everything started to dissolve. First it was my ability to keep the external world as something solid, it broke down into flow. People began to physically change and so did their voices. I remember hearing my friends laughing and talking to me, but their words fell apart. Then my ability to have subconscious definitions for my surrounding dissolved. As my sense of self ceased to exist everything just became one giant “blahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh”. I and the world were just one happening. It was horrifying, I grasped for all meaning until it all just collapsed and the external world ceased to exist. I was just a void.
It was peaceful there, in those moments that seemed timeless. It was a familiar type of being, not something I perceived as novel. It felt like home. At times I would lapse out of this void and come back to this so called “real world”. At certain points I would start to throw up and when that was occurring, I was conscious of existing. Then it would stop and I would go back to the void, the peace, home. I remember in my fits of vomiting, I laid on the ground at one point and I looked up and saw Duncan. I said “Wait, wait, wait…wait….WAIT! WHAT!?!?!? This doesn’t make any sense” and he responded “Life doesn’t make sense”. That is really the only thing I can remember about lapsing back into consciousness. Apparently I kept having seizures, but I think it was just the part of my ego resisting its demise more so than having an actual seizure. I don’t remember them though, so perhaps I am wrong.
When finally I started to exist again, I woke up to an empty house. My “friends” had left me alone and camped up in another room and there was a mess of body fluids everywhere. I didn’t know where I was or who I was. I looked at my body and I thought I was dead. I walked around thinking I was in purgatory for a while, until I found a CD, it had an angel on the front and it said “This Place is Haunted. Everything You Know is Wrong.” At that moment the memory of who I was as a person came back. All the fears, anxieties, memories. All of it. I knew something big had just happened and I knew that some big changes were about to happen.
My consumption of pills and really damaging drugs came to an end. I was just so tired of running and this experience really showed me that there was more to reality than I was aware of. I was in my 2nd go at rehab at the time and now awakened to the power of psychedelics. I had lived in the woods with a nomadic group of campers when I dropped out of high school and attended my first rehab a few years previous to this time. That is where I was introduced to meditation. I began to meditate again and it just so happens that I would encounter a skilled meditation teacher who worked at the rehab as an acting coach. After I discussed my awakening and my desire to start exploring meditation, she basically took me under her wing in the meditation world. I felt very connected to her from the very beginning, before we even had spoken to each other. I thought psychedelics were my path, but deep down in my heart I knew it was meditation.
When I ended up getting out I lived with a fellow psychonaught I had met there. We began to extract mescaline and DMT. We were buying a sheet of the strongest acid I have ever had the pleasure of ingesting at a time and tripped weekly. I really thought I was getting somewhere with the psychedelics, but deep down I knew it wasn’t taking me to where I wanted to go. Slowly but surely, I realized this was not the road that would take me home, at least not the way I was going about it. I learned a lot from those experiences, many insights were cultivated but nothing like that which meditation would be providing in the future.
I stopped everything, weed, psychedelics, drinking, hell even coffee for a while. My relationship with the first girl I ever let myself fall in love with, who I felt really saved me from diving into old behavior patterns, had fallen apart. I could tell another transition was starting. I began to meditate every day again, like I had in rehab. I called my teacher weekly and attended meditation classes and workshops. Eventually all my hard work would lead me to some pretty extraordinary experiences. Experiences I don’t really discuss because it made me realize that it isn’t the point. It was more profound, crazy, wild, and literally MIND BLOWING more so than any psychedelics trip I had ever encountered. The world was there and so was I, separate but not. There was a barrier between me and everything, but I also became the barrier which made me become everything. Truly EYE opening, truly beautiful, yet also truly delusional when trying to understand it. After about a week of this, the most horrifying experiences of my life began to follow. The word terror doesn’t do it justice. I thought I was losing my mind, I had lost my mind, but now I see why the fear and torment was necessary for my spiritual growth.
Things began to settle down. The “psychic, meta-physical, mystical” experiences began to dissolve, at least the intensity of my awareness to them did. There were a lot of delusional perspectives in those days, but I am very grateful that I received that gift. I feel like many people get off the train there, it’s a fascinating place to be in. Many experiences to be lived, but just like my psychedelic use, I knew that this was not the road home, only a detour. When things started to get back to normal, I noticed my daily experience started to change. It no longer felt the same, emotions weren’t as intense, there was less mental chatter and visual thoughts. I stopped taking everything so personally and for the first time in my life I felt free. I began to become more aware of this internal world, but stopped identifying it as who “I” am. It’s just another experiencing arising and passing like all things. It’s really fascinating to experience the internal arisings as THE SAME THING as the external arisings. I am not the sound of the cars passing by, or the people yelling and I am notthe idea of an image of a car passing by or the sound of the mental chatter inside yelling.
I began to increase my meditation to about two hours a day and started to even teach a little. Life was turning around and I was finally happy. Don’t get me wrong, there were those moments where things would “come up,” things I didn’t want to deal with from my past. The thing is when you push things down, they eventually have to be fully lived or else they will just live you. I recognized those moments for what they were and felt grateful to be able to finally love them, literally to DEATH, till they were no longer arising.
One night as I sat down, nothing was happening. There was no mental chatter, no thoughts, no emotions, just emptiness. Instead of doing a typical meditation technique, I just did “nothing”. When I opened my eyes I couldn’t have told you how much time had passed by the experience itself, because there was no time or anything to experience time. It felt like I had visited home again. When I looked at the clock it had been an hour and a half on the dot. There were no internal or external sounds, no visions or interruptions. I didn’t feel any physical or emotional sensations, it was just nothingness. I never could have imagined in my wildest dreams how peaceful vanishing could be. That peace has never left me, though sensory events still arise.
When an emotion arises and it feels like something is happening to me, it is as if this peacefulness I had experienced arises too. I can tune into if I want, but I can choose not to. It’s not difficult to be alive anymore, it’s not always easy, but it is nothing compared to the past. If some emotion is “negative” I don’t have to run from it anymore, I just literally love it and the love starts to absorb that negative emotion and it is no longer a problem. It sure as hell doesn’t always go away, but it just isn’t an issue anymore. I’ve learned that sometimes pain is the bitter medicine the physician is prescribing and to drink that medicine. If I don’t do it now, I know it will come back to me some day. Not having to battle with the world or myself, is liberating.
I’ve learned a lot from my love and I learned a lot from my suffering and neither is better than the other.