Meditation and psychedelics affect the mind in different ways, however both in my opinion bring about transformation that enables one to better navigate the condition of being human, which pretty much all boils down to just mastering your ego…. not an easy task.
Psychedelics allow people to be mindful by over-exposing themselves to all the aspects of themselves that hold them back. There are moments when you trip and it’s all beautiful and happy, but when your mind goes into some dark places, it is usually a place that is coming from your own insecurity. From trauma to emotions and thoughts that hold you back, these experiences are usually amped up in ways that can be frightening to endure. When your mind revisits painful memories of things that happened to you or things you did to others, they are often experienced very intensely throughout the trip. Coming down from the trip, you can sometimes become so overwhelmed by it that you have no choice but to become aware of those personality traits within you that are making your life less than ideal. Those type of trips can be a tough pill to swallow as they serve as an unapologetic wake up call, a call to action to get your shit together, and deal with your issues. This message doesn’t always resonate with everyone, but to those who can handle looking at themselves in the mirror with all their vulnerabilities, it can be one of many pivotal shifts in consciousness that will navigate the trajectory of your destiny.
It’s not always shock and awe with psychedelics. Sometimes you can experience your malfunctions from another perspective outside of yourself, looking at your behaviors from the sideline, leaving you to become indifferent to the trauma. Watching it unfold from an objective point of view allows you to connect the dots between all the events and circumstances leading up to what caused the type of behavior within you that is holding you back. Forgiveness does not mean approval, but forgiving the situation allows you to make peace and move on. When you connect the dots, it makes sense to you how you allowed the effect of XYZ situation to create the X element of your character. It allows you to observe how that element of your character has helped or held you back. It’s a mirror, a window into yourself.
The old Native American proverb about the tale of 2 wolves translates to the psychedelic experience. There are so many wolves you can be conscious of until you take a psychedelic and realize all the bad wolves you were unconsciously feeding.
Terrence McKenna mentioned that as you explore the world of psychedelics, the amount of time between each trip will lengthen. In fact, many psychonauts trip occasionally because the lessons learned from the trip are applied to one’s life successfully. The need and desire to find alternate perspectives on how to master themselves subsides the more one implements their ego conquering lessons.
The transformation process with meditation is more gradual than with psychedelics. With meditation, the goal is to cease the Ego mind from chattering. All thoughts are meant to slowly fade away with patience, which can be frustrating at first, especially if you have a busy mind, but the more you simply ignore the thoughts that occupy your reality, the more the thoughts will ignore you. Eventually they fade away and all that remains is a state of balance and feeling centered, without stress, and without desire to fix something that you see as a problem in your life. All worries, however small or big in magnitude, for that moment in time of being present with your natural self, cease to exist.
In meditation, as thoughts begin to subside, layers of the ego unravel, allowing this intangible thing that is called YOU to exist without restraint. When you stop meditating, those layers come back, piling on top of one and other, making the mind feel heavy and caged once again. For one who commits themselves to meditation, a gradual desire to free the mind begins. Life becomes more meaningful by letting go of the things that keep you from being present, happy, and productive.
The more you meditate, the more you will begin to notice the difference between how you feel when you meditate and how you feel when you live your daily life. As worries and stresses make their way back into your reality, you’ll gradually begin to become more mindful of your thoughts. The responsible meditator will come to realize that their negative thoughts and feelings are what’s hindering the enjoyment of their reality. The choice of being mindful of those thoughts and feelings or indulging in them will be up to you, but your awareness of becoming more perceptive to how your thoughts keep you from feeling centered will be heightened. This is part of what it means to become more in tune with yourself, as many people who carry themselves unhappily through this existence are not in tune with the traits within them that are keeping them from happiness.
In meditation, the more you practice, the more mindful you will become of your thoughts. The point of meditation is to relax the mind, allowing it to be free of thoughts. Through this process you become more aware of how you feel when you are free of thoughts. You will notice how calm and stress free you feel when in a meditative state of mind. This may induce an altered state of consciousness that is different from your regular conscious mind. As you practice meditation more and more, you will notice how your thoughts creep in and chip away at your ideal state of being present. You’ll notice the difference in how you feel between meditating and how you feel when you aren’t meditating. As you become aware of how you feel and how your thoughts distance you from how you feel when you meditate, you will gradually make changes in how you think and you’ll begin to let go of all the unnecessary thoughts that distract you from being present.
You evolve through meditation by maintaining presence and centering yourself throughout all situations in life. It’s not easy to do all the time, but just being mindful of your ability to do it is a powerful step in the right direction. Our busy modern lives do not allow us to meditate all day long, nor would we want to when there is much to see and experience in this world, so the best we can do is to try to be as aware and mindful as possible when within our regular states of consciousness. This can only be done if we take care to prevent all the thoughts and emotions that keep us from being centered.
Meditation allows one to understand that our mind, without all the conditioning of the ego, is already balanced and centered. Who we are at the center of all the chaos in our life is all we need to feel complete and navigate through this world. On the other hand, psychedelics can be a heavy dose of the malfunctions of your reality delivered to you in the most abstract way. It breaks your ego so rapidly and abruptly that the loss of what is familiar and comfortable can make for a bad trip. Whether through passive observation or embracing the fear, one can master letting go of the filters that make their perspectives darker than they really are.