July 24, 2015

To Wake Up Is Better than LSD

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:

https://hardcorezen.info/why-i-dont-do-psychedelic-drugs/3759 

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.    

3 comments:

Unknown said...
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Ivaylo Arteaga said...

Nice one... I as a psychedelic user have to give credit to mushrooms and LSD for allowing me to know that there are other entities outside my head and to thank them for letting me explore duality. But... there is always a but. I have experienced some of my wildest ups & downs in my life. They explained duality perfectly, sometimes they allowed me to control the time... They've shown me how thermodynamics work in real life situations. Also, i have to give them credit for explaining me how mind control over people work... To be honest once you know that the world is using you, there is almost no way, not to freak out... Side effects are caused by the enormous amounts of information they give you at a small portion of time. If you know what to ask them they might be a good friend. If your intentions are not that good, they know how to make you feel sorry for what you have done to others... So in a way i am convinced open mind can be achieved without the use of psychedelics and they have side effects... But on the other hand i learned so much from them that i can not imagine to gather so much information in such a short period of time... To be honest i might have over done it... 2 years straight almost every week. They brought me to my knees, but at the same time they pushed me to the limits introduced me to hermetics, alchemy, sufism, buddhism, hinduism, zoroastrism, daoism and so much more... Scariest part about using psychedelics is that once you do them it's not what you expected and not what you heard on the news... It's weird to listen 25 years about hallucinations from psychedelics and in the end it turns out that when taking them it's not you the one who's hallucinating, but it's the world that's under hallucination with wild politicians playing nations... Incredible reality check... Good luck with your blog and mission! I really enjoy reading some entertaining articles such this one!

Sincerely,
;)

Anonymous said...

You raise some interesting points, especially in the last paragraph. Perhaps it's true that psychedelic drugs are unhelpful for a person who seeks to balance themselves through zazen. However, I think this overlooks the benefits of psychedelics for people who don't know they're out of balance to begin with.

In my understanding, drugs like LSD or Ayahuasca work to dissolve mental and emotional barriers. Unlike zazen, this process is unmeasured - the user is literally along for the ride - but this isn't necessarily a negative thing. It can be enormously helpful when that person is unconsciously repressing trauma, or is simply unaware of the entrenched patterns in their day-to-day lives.

Psychedelics don't offer a fast-track to enlightenment any more than zazen does. However,they're undeniably useful in showing the user a glimpse of a possibility they might otherwise never seek to understand.