Meditation can be described as a way of changing your state of awareness without using any substances. This practice is not new, especially in the Buddhist community, to whose religion meditation is a vital part of. Recent developments in scientific research have led to the interest of scientists in studying the benefits of meditation as part of psychedelic treatment modalities.
It is unclear how important psychedelics are in the meditation path for the Buddhist community. What is clear though, is that meditation and psychedelics are somehow entangled and work well together.
The scientific research of meditation in cognitive neuroscience has led to the creation of standard meditation styles accepted across different cultures. The renaissance in psychedelic research, on the other hand, has revealed a lot about the neurophysiology of states of consciousness caused by psychedelics like psilocybin and LSD.
There has undoubtedly been glaring evidence of an overlap between the neurophysiology of meditation and psychedelic states. Interestingly, little has been done to answer the question of how the two are intertwined.
Many meditative acts are focused on dissolving your sense of self and eliciting altered states of consciousness. Similarly, classical psychedelics like LSD work by disrupting the self-conscious state through a phenomenon known as Drug-Induced Ego Dissolution (“DIED”). In this way, psychedelics and meditation are similar. However, we’ll see below that the altered states in meditation can be used alongside psychedelics.
Meditation consists of over 100 cognitive training techniques, and researchers have found that the most common of these techniques is Focused Attention (“FA”). In this technique, you focus on a thought or an act, like your breathing, so keenly that your mind is clear and slowly begins to drift into a different cognitive state. This technique can be used as a ‘calm down’ step from a psychedelic trip.
Classic psychedelics (also known as hallucinogens) like psilocybin and LSD cause a Drug-Induced Ego Dissolution when taken in high dosage. Many people’s first experience with psychedelics is characterized by uncontrollable hallucinations and a steep downhill ‘calm down’. For a number of experienced users, however, DIED is a chance for them to meditate.
After a psychedelic peak, a general feeling of calmness and peace is reportedly felt by a sizeable number of users. In this state, right after the climax, your mind is sharper and in a position to see things in a different perspective. This is the best time to meditate, especially using focused attention.
Meditation, when done in the right spot, can help you control your psychedelic trip and improve your experience as a whole. Be sure to try it out at different points to see what works for you. Needless to say, lots of companies like ATAI Life Sciences AG will be sharing more information on this subject as it becomes available.
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