Ever since my very first full LSD trip my meditation changed. Gone was the ‘good’ meditation and ‘bad’ meditation, gone was the hope for a more enjoyable state, it was an end to meditation as an ambitious activity. I can’t understate this shift. It was huge, and at the same time completely without effort. Sometimes our conditioning is so strong that it is intertwined with the things we hope will free us from it. This is a challenge we all face when we set out to change things our lives. Meditation, yoga etc. can be very attractive activities for someone suffering with obsessive compulsive or addictive personalities as they offer another channel for perfection to be directed into. This is a side of meditation (especially mindfulness) not often talked about. Western interpretations of meditation and techniques are very far removed from Zen and tantric perspectives and other ancient philosophies – even if the teachers honestly believe they embody these traditions. Furthermore, the way that the benefits of meditation are measured too often focus around western ideals and values. It seems the western approach to meditation is very dualistic, and goal-oriented.
One of the great things about microdosing with LSD and other psychedelics is that the whole experience can be meditative. Whether it’s walking in a forest, listening to music, working, or writing, a gentle relaxation can be felt that is not always there day to day. I have found that this feeling has stayed with me in these activities long after the microdose has supposedly worn off. Scientists are now studying the effects of low dose psychedelics and their potential to ‘re-wire’ the brain. I have no doubt that this is what is happening when you take psychedelics and I think most people who take them would relate to this. A year or two after starting my microdosing journey, I am sure the positive changes that have happened so far will stay with me, even if I never take another dose again.
Taking a microdose and meditating
I’m not sure that this is the most effective way to microdose. The reason is that meditation is not really about sitting still for 1 hour or however long and thinking of nothing. It’s not about detachment. The idea that meditation starts and finishes, is in my view, where everything goes wrong. It’s not about getting to a state or bliss, or silence and it’s definitely not about perfection.
One of the most important experiences in my life was visiting Japan when I was 14. I instantly felt at home there, although at the time I wasn’t really sure why, I just knew I resonated with something, a feeling I had never really felt in the UK, where I grew up. Looking back now I understand what it was. The Japanese make a meditation out of everything, particularly things that westerners have little time for. Watching an electrician at work in Japan can be like watching an artist paint. We all know the Japanese are known for their work ethic, but there is something deeper going on than that. There’s an attentiveness to the mundane, that rather than being obsessive, as it would surely be here, it is done with a lightness and an appreciation for simplicity and elegance. I’m quite sure my resting heart rate is lower in Japan than anywhere else I have travelled. I felt relaxed there, and free.
Thinking about it, Japan may well have been my first psychedelic trip. When I returned to the UK, my priorities shifted and I started to pay attention to my intuition more and noticed how I was being influenced by things that I was previously unaware of. Bullshit was also easier to detect, much to the frustration of my elders.
Taking a low dose of LSD reminds me of my experience in Japan. Simple things are enjoyable, meditation happens spontaneously and naturally without having to force it. Looking at the sky for a few minutes during a microdose and feeling that connection with nature is surely more helpful for the psyche than forcing yourself to sit still for a set period of time. This isn’t to say that if you enjoy silent sitting, yoga, meditation you shouldn’t to it whilst microdosing, just that it’s not essential and should not be seen as an ideal. I like meditation because as an introvert, it’s easy for me to do, it’s relaxing and it helps me to recharge – but that’s what I enjoy, it doesn’t mean everybody else has to enjoy it too.
So, microdosing can often bring about a meditative awareness without any effort on your part, that’s the beauty of it. I’m firmly of the view with psychedelics that if you try to control the experience too much you are asking for trouble, so why complicate things?