Well hello again! Yesterday’s discussion of psychedelics and meditation left me intrigued. While researching the topic, I discovered SO MUCH MORE than anticipated, especially on the topic of “psychedelic meditation” – meditation specifically intended to induce a particularly “psychedelic” state of consciousness (no substances required). I found out that a variety of psychedelic meditation practices exist, yet many techniques are trademarked and only practiced in special group settings behind closed doors (for some serious $$$). Today, my goal is to make the magic of psychedelic meditation feel a little more accessible to the world. All earthlings are welcome here!
Let’s talk about how you can use psychedelic meditation in your personal practice at home. Better yet, let’s talk about how to use psychedelic meditation to free your mind and make positive changes in your life!
(Yes, it’s possible. And yes, you CAN try this at home! Consider this article the inter-dimensional pizza guy delivering a slice of enlightenment that you can reimagine and enjoy again and again at your eternal convenience.)
Now that our society is witnessing both a Renaissance in psychedelic knowledge and a heightened appreciation for meditation practices, I predict that the study of these two subjects and how they relate to the human mind will continue to advance. And with it, the relationship of these two subjects is likely to grow and intertwine as they come together to help facilitate the growth and exploration of human consciousness. We understand more than ever about our brains, so why not explore them?
WHAT IS PSYCHEDELIC MEDITATION, REALLY?
Now that science has shown us that meditation and psychedelics have similar effects on the brain, it could be argued that ALL meditation has somewhat of a psychedelic effect.
Let’s back up for a second: what does psychedelic really mean, anyway? Dictionary.com defines the word “psychedelic” as “of or noting a mental state characterized by a profound sense of intensified sensory distortion.” But the goal of practicing psychedelic meditation is not just to distort the senses. It is to “distort” the sense of self enough to experience a temporary death of the ego, allowing the freedom to experience that coveted feeling of universal oneness that accompanies an expanded state of consciousness. Now THAT is trippy.
So what does it feel like to reach this state? You may have heard it described similarly in “drug trip reports” or descriptions of meditation, or you may even have experienced it yourself! This expanded state of awareness is characterized by a feeling of oneness with everyone and everything; oneness with consciousness itself. It is the feeling of “coming home” and realizing the intimate interconnectedness of all the workings of the universe. This state is often accompanied by feelings of bliss, joy, belonging, inner peace, and unconditional love for all life.
Here’s the funny thing. Yoga, which originated as a breath-focused form of meditation, gets its name from the Sanskrit word Yuj, meaning “to join” or “to unite.” Uniting with universal consciousness has always been the underlying goal of meditation… we are just finding new ways to explain it.
Both meditation and psychedelics have the power to induce this self-dissolving experience of “ego death” due to their ability to decrease the activity of the brain’s Default Mode Network. Technically, any meditation can have this effect, so what sets “psychedelic” meditation apart? When a meditation is described as psychedelic, this emphasizes its ability to “free your mind” from its default setting so that the true expansive nature of consciousness can be experienced.
While experiencing a state of universal oneness through meditation is as old as the practice itself, breathwork marketed as “psychedelic” emerged in the 1960s alongside LSD research. While there are many different varieties of psychedelic breathwork available today, many of them are centered around breathing until you basically hyperventilate and trip out. By pushing as much carbon dioxide out of your body as possible, you experience a “high” that is believed to fast-track you to an altered state.
Today I would like to offer a chill version of the psychedelic meditation practice. Using techniques derived from Kriya yoga, we will gently explore different breathing patterns and their effect on our state of consciousness.
(For those new to the psychedelic mental landscape: Please note that while psychedelic meditation produces some similar sensory experiences to psychedelic substances, the experience IS NOT the exact same. I say this because I would hate to have someone go into a first psychedelic trip expecting the exact same thing as a meditation. Meditation feels a lot more gentle, and you can “snap out of it” whenever you are ready.)
LET’S TOUCH ON THE BENEFITS OF PSYCHEDELIC MEDITATION…
What can psychedelic meditation do for you? To name a few benefits, it offers:
-A way to instantly calm yourself the fuck down (AKA decrease your stress levels)
-A deep sense of inner peace and peace in the world around us
-A sense of belonging and feeling “at home” in the universe
-Encouragement of neuroplasticity (the process in which our brains form new neural pathways and connections to change and evolve based on our experiences), inspiring lasting positive changes in the mind
-Connection with your inner wisdom, intuition, and Higher Self
-It is fun and it feels cool (someone had to say it)
Sold? Let’s go!
HOW TO USE PSYCHEDELIC MEDITATION TO FREE YOUR MIND! (IN THE COMFORT OF YOUR HOME)
If it sounds appealing to you, I would highly recommend first putting on some type of relaxing Hz frequency in the background to set the meditative mood!
To start, find yourself in a comfortable seated position. Place your hands on your knees, palms open to receive. Close your eyes and let your focus drift softly upward (connecting with the third eye). Take a few slow, deep breaths through your nostrils (all breath in this practice will be through the nose, not the mouth).
When you are ready, on an inhale, bring your palms together as if in prayer in front of your heart. Then draw them upward as you continue to inhale until they are pressed together above your head as high as they can go, arms straight. Pause at the top, expanding upward as the fullness of your breath expands your belly. On the exhale, let your hands separate as you lower your arms, drawing a circle in the air around you. Let your hands rest on your knees for a second at the end of your exhale, palms facing up. (Feel free to reference the friendly alien demonstrating these positions above.)
On the next inhale, bring hands back to prayer at the heart, and repeat. Try repeating this process with 10 slow, deep breaths to start. (You can definitely do more – try working your way up to 100!)
Now that you have settled in, it is time to add Breath of Fire. Breath of Fire is done by taking deep, powerful inhales and exhales. The inhale should physically expand your belly, and on the exhale you should feel your belly flatten as your navel draws toward your spine. You can choose how fast or slow you would like to do this – and feel free to experiment – but make it powerful! In this meditation, we will raise and straighten our arms again, hands touching in prayer position above the head. Take a deep breath in, and begin Breath of Fire. Try for 100 breaths – or, if you don’t want to count, something that feels like 100.
You may start to feel a little dizzy or lightheaded; please listen to your body and do not push it in a way that feels unhealthy. But do allow yourself to calmly notice the sensations you are feeling, and let them come and go. After 100 breaths, or when you feel like it’s time, lie down.
As you lie down, simply breathe and experience. If thoughts come, let them pass; keep your attention on simply being. You may notice a sensation of sinking into the floor, some tingles, maybe even subtle closed-eye visuals or colors or other bodily sensations. Let thoughts and feelings drift through you from a perspective of calm observation (the Buddhist term for this is “non-attachment”). You are not your thoughts, you are not your feelings. You are all that is. You ARE. In this moment you might experience incredible joy and a feeling of unity with all that is; you might also just feel relaxed. It takes practice.
Even if you don’t get as “deep” as you want to on the first try, you are still priming your brain for future adventures in expanded consciousness. Feel free to repeat this practice as often as you would like, experimenting with the amount of time or breaths. And now that you are familiar with the basics, you may want to explore more! I highly recommend looking into Kundalini yoga, as it incorporates Kriya meditation practices for a very fulfilling “psychedelic” experience.
If you take one thing away from this practice, let it be that you always have the power to open, expand, explore, and change your mind. Enjoy your trip!