Psychedelics and Meditation
Updated: Mar 19, 2022
In a paper by Chris Letheby with the above title, he suggests that psychedelics and meditation can both (1) disrupt self-binding processes, (2) promote decentering, and (3) confer phenomenal opacity on (self-related) mental contents. On the last point, Letheby writes:
"Both psychedelics and meditation 'unbind' mental contents from this self-model, rendering those contents phenomenally opaque: rather than being experienced as reality itself, they are experienced as mere models or representations."
This sentence reminded me of my experience in the (very) few times I experimented with psychedelics over the last few years. The most striking and significant takeaway for me from these experiences was that the entire sensory, perceptual, emotional and cognitive "circus" that I experienced while being "under the influence" was taking place outside of me. In other words, the still center of my experience was completely untouched by the experiential hurricane engulfing it.
When I spoke about it with some of my psychedelic-experienced friends, they suggested (of course) that I should increase the doses. But I think that my experience was such because I had been meditating for forty years, and wonder if I haven't already learned from the drugs the most important lesson I have to learn from them.