I have written this article based on Brad Warner's article about taking psychedelic drugs. Here I am not just repeating what Brad had to write about the topic, rather I tried to add my point of view, or rather my experience with drugs versus practicing zazen. Here's the link to Brad's article:
To wake up doesn't mean to be more compassionate or kinder. To wake up means to be compassionate enough and kind enough, which sometimes means not kind at all or not compassionate at all.
Some people believe in all kinds of meditation techniques or psychedelic drugs that should make them kinder or more open to the world. To wake up is not like that. It means what is in front of me is in front of me - sometimes it is cold, sometimes hot, sometimes it is beautiful, sometimes it is ugly. Psychedelic drug users want to see things in a new way, nicer, more interesting, they want to see the world as if it was some kind of miracle. Or they want to be a bit special themselves. According to Buddha, the world is a miracle but what kind of miracle? Our naked existence already is a miracle, but what kind of miracle? It is only possible to see exactly what kind of miracle the world is when we are 100% sober and our mind is clear - that is when we are not intoxicated by any drugs or ideas or religions or movements or emotions. There is a lot of suffering and pain in this world. That's a fact. The question is how to deal with suffering and pain, our own and that of the others. According to Buddha, the best way to deal with our suffering and suffering of others is to wake up completely. Then we see that some kind of suffering must always continue, but the way we understand suffering when we see things clearly is different from the situation when we are intoxicated, be it by religion or ideas or drugs. Unfortunately, waking up is to many people just another kind of psychedelic drug - you meditate and meditate until you get into some kind of fantastic state of consciousness. Yes, then you are unable to see the truth at all. So psychedelic drugs or meditation that leads to yet another fantastic state of consciousness has nothing to do with Buddha's awakening.
When we wake up, we see that our illusions, our suffering, our imagination, our feelings, all these are necessary to a certain degree. But we also see that it is possible to see things clearly, that it is possible to drop our biased viewpoint from time to time. That it is possible to return to the state of buddha. We see that the sitting silent in front of the wall for no obvious purpose is something that has an immense value. We see that just living without an obvious purpose has an immense value. We see that it is our duty to be a logical part of the universe rather than to be yet another crazy element in it. I am not saying that doing psychedelic drugs is wrong. It is as "wrong" as watching TV or eating candy. It is everybody's choice. But if you think that your choice, your individual choice is to practice the Way of Buddha, then do not trust too much what the world has to say and what drugs make you feel or think. Rather be quiet for a while, sit down, stop moving for a while and listen. Listen to true sermons of buddhas. Listen to birds chirping and watch clouds moving. Those are things that show direction to the truth exactly. Drugs and opinions of people only show directions to other drugs and other opinions and there is no way out unless we decide to stop and see things clearly. If we cannot understand the meaning of birds' chirping or the value of clouds' colours, despite being sober and rational, how can we hope to understand what the meaning of life is when we take psychedelic drugs? That's like saying you can hear an ant run if you start shouting a lot.
When we practice zazen, we allow Buddha to enter this universe. When we do psychedelic drugs, we allow demons to dance in our head. I have taken psychedelic drugs about three times in my life. I noticed something was similar to zazen. A part of my mind opened up, but a different part got messed up. When we practice zazen, the whole mind opens completely. Then you can let go of mind and body. That doesn't mean you fly away and leave your body and mind in the room. What I mean is that when we let go of body and mind, nobody can claim what is my body or what is my mind. That my becomes irrelevant. If we take psychedelic drugs, it may be fun or helpful for one person, maybe three people. But if we practice zazen, the whole universe is changed. The mind of the universe comes back to its original state. Where is this mind of the universe? What is the original state of the universe? It's almost midnight. The trams are noisily passing by, the screen in front of me is bright.