Thursday, 8 August 2013

Drugs Trip vs Natural High vs Presentmomentness

Someone I know says that in one sense she has been looking, in meditation at which she is expert, for an experience that relates to her LSD experience. (Her alleged LSD experience. Which was a long time ago, officer...)

It seems she had moments of huge insight and benevolence, out of time, in harmony with the world around her, courtesy of LSD or other hallucinogenics. The doors of perception were cleansed, and she saw, as Blake said she would, the Infinite.

That interested me. Now I never took LSD way back then. Because I was terrified of it, I guess. But I did go and see Donovan, all dressed in a white robe, who sang about the natural high being better than the drug high.

Words slip and crumble, don't they, but I take "high" as being a different thing from "tripping." With my relative ignorance about hallucinogenics and narcotics, I assume being high e.g. on an opiate or on cocaine or amphetamines, as being quite different from a hallucinogenic experience. If that's so, then a natural high is lovely, and I think quite common. Who hasn't been both elated and calmed at the same time by a moment of intense natural beauty, a piece of music that moved you out of yourself? Who hasn't been excited out of her head by some sporting moment?

(Well, not me, obviously, other than possibly, the first shot...)

(This druggy talk will eventually relate to mindfulness and mortality, just you wait and see...)

So I think we can put the true natural high to one side for the moment. It can relate to mindfulness, but in a different way. And I think we can accept that sedative or stimulant drug-taking, however useful or pleasurable people may find it to be, is not going to cleanse the doors of perception and help you live in the eternal present.

Mindfulness meditation, Zen practice, various effective meditation techniques - can help you simply exist in the present moment. Further, out of that can come a calm acceptance of your place in the universe, a feeling of identity with an infinite and unclassifiable reality. And that state, lived in even occasionally, can help you accept the insurmountable and otherwise outrageous news that one day you will fall off the log, your physical being will disintegrate and be otherwise distributed. (Sorry if that's a bit of a spoiler for anyone's self-narrative...)

Now, this next paragraph may be nonsense. Do tell me if so. But my guess is that an LSD trip is much less consistent, much more variable, much less easily acceptable, and much more temporary. Most people - no, everyone - I know who took acid back then, stopped, eventually. Some people it wrecked, some people it hasn't. (I'm not moralising here, just observing.)

Meditation won't give you synaesthetic swirling wonderlands of colour, won't give you the sound red or visions of Lucy in the Sky. But it can be a door into the infinite. It can cleanse the doors of perception. It can take you beyond either/or.

And it won't give you flashbacks or bad trips. It isn't a substitute for a trip. It isn't a trip. It just is.

I'd love some old head to put me right here....

But I think

(Sorry, I do appreciate that you can't communicate a good trip through irritating graphics...)

is probably less useful a route to awakening, to enlightenment, than simply:

I mean, taking acid may have helped people escape a dreary conventional life, but has it helped people face their mortality? I'd really like to know!

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