LSD, Meditation, Enlightenment, and Ego Deathpost by Fink · 2014-04-20T19:41:39.459Z · LW · GW · Legacy · 33 comments
A little background information first, I'm a computer science/neuroscience dual-major in my junior year of university. AGI is what I really want to work on and I'm especially interested in Gortzel's OpenCog. Unfortunately I do not have nearly the understanding of the human mind I would like, let alone the knowledge of how to make a new one.
DavidM's post on meditation is particularly interesting to me. I've been practicing mindfulness-based meditation techniques for some time now and I've seen some solid results but the concept of 'enlightenment' was always appealing to me, and I've always wanted to know if such a thing existed. I have been practicing his technique for a few weeks now and although it is difficult I believe I understand what he means by 'vibrations' in your attentional focus.
I've experimented with psilocybin mushrooms for about a year now. Mostly for fun, sometimes for better understanding my own brain. Light doses have enhanced my perception and led me to re-evaluate my life from a different perspective, although I am never as clear-headed as I would like.
I've read that LSD provides a 'cleaner' experience while avoiding some of the thought-loops of mushrooms, it also lasts much longer. Stanislav Grof once said that LSD can be to psychology what the microscope is to biology, with deep introspection we can view our thoughts coalesce. After months of looking for a reliable producer and several 'look-alike' drugs I finally obtained a few doses of LSD. Satisfied that it was the real thing I took a single dose and fell into my standard meditation session, trying to keep my concentration on the breath.
I experienced what wikipedia calls 'ego death'. That is I felt my 'self' splitting into the individual sub-components that formed consciousness. Acid is well-known for causing synaesthesia and as I fell deeper into meditation I felt like I could actually see the way sensory experiences interacted with cognitive heuristics and rose to the level of conscious perception. I felt that I could what see 'I' really was, what Douglas Hofstadter referred to as a 'strange loop' looking back on itself, with my perception switching between sensory input, memories, and thought patterns resonating in frequency with DavidM's 'vibrations'. Of course I was under the effects of an hallucinogenic drug, but I felt my experience was quite lucid.
DavidM hasn't posted in years which is a shame because I really want to see his third article and ask him more about it. I will continue practicing his enlightenment meditation techniques in an attempt to try to foster these experiences without the use of drugs. Has anyone here had experiences with psychedelic drugs or transcendental meditation? If so, could you tell me about them?
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