View Full Version : Drugs and Meditation?

Floydian Theory
12-17-2002, 09:28 AM
Just found this.....


Consciousness Expansion and Disintegration


Concentration and Spiritual Regeneration


Lama Anagarika Govinda

Buddhist Publication Society

Kandy 1973 Sri Lanka (Ceylon)

Reprinted from

THE MIDDLE WAY, August 1971

Bodhi leaves B60

When people nowadays recommend ‘consciousness—expanding’ drugs as a substitute or an Incentive for meditation, they start from the naive preconception that expansion is synonymous with the attainment of higher values. But the mere expansion of a muddled consciousness, in which the faculties of discrimination, mental balance and understanding have not yet been developed, does not constitute an Improvement and will not lead to the attainment or the realization of a higher dimension of consciousness, but only to a worse confusion, to an expansion of Ignorance and an indiscriminate involvement in irrelevant impressions and emotion. Therefore, a wise person would rather follow the advice of the great spiritual leaders and benefactors of humanity, by concentrating his mind and improving its quality, instead of trying to expand it without rhyme or reason, i.e., without having developed the faculty of understanding or discrimination.

The main medium of this so-called consciousness—expansion is LSD, and its prophets who propagate it as a substitute for meditation are characteristically only those who have neither experience nor qualification in the field of meditation, because they have never gone through any serious, spiritual training or sadhana, based on millenniums of experience and psychological exploration, as handed down and taught by many of the great spiritual traditions of humanity.

In the process of meditation, i.e., in the gradual achievement of integration, we are not concerned with an expansion’ of consciousness, but as Jean Gebser, one of the most Incisive thinkers of our time, rightly says, with an intensification of consciousness: ‘The mistake that is made nowadays and which has its reason in the quantitatively accentuated rational attitudes consists in the opinion that a material "more" must correspond to a "more" in the realm of consciousness. This "more", however, concerns only the reflecting knowledge, which has quantitative character. For this reason alone we had to Insist, that we must not fall into the error of striving after consciousness—expansion, but that what matters is a consciousness—Intensification. A mere consciousness—expansion leads as much to destruction as the material atomization, which to some extent has already taken shape (or rather "Ungestalt", I.e. its "misshapen form"). 1

We need only look at modern paintings and drawings of so—called psychedelic art, which appear to be composed out of thousands of fragments, like a smashed and splintered mirror, in ‘which the world Is reflected and broken up into a chaos of disconnected details, —and we shall understand what this process of atomization is leading to.

However, the main difference between the states of consciousness caused by LSD and those created by meditation—and here I am not speaking theoretically, but from my own experience—is the fact that LSD totally deprives us of any control, so that we are helplessly tossed about by our emotions and deceived by hallucinations or creations of chaotic imagination, that our attention is scattered and confused by thousands of fragmentary images and sense—impressions--—while meditation Is a creative process, which converts the chaos of upsurging feelings, thoughts, uncontrolled volition's and contending Inner forces into a meaningful ‘cosmos’ (a harmonized ‘universe’) In which all psychic faculties are centred and integrated in the depth of our consciousness.

It is only the creation of this inner centre that makes us into consciously spiritual beings and lifts us beyond the blind drives of our animal nature, which bind us to the ‘chaos’ of Samsara (the world of delusion). LSD, on the other hand, leads away from the centre Into an ever more fragmentizing multiplicity of unrelated, eternally changing projections of subconscious thought— contents which, though momentarily capturing

our attention, yet leaves us as completely passive spectators of a psychic film—show, which, the longer we devote ourselves to its contemplation, the surer it will suffocate all creative Impulses and all individual effort towards their realization.

In this connection we may remember the words of Goethe: ‘Was du ererbt von deinen Vaetern hast, erwirb es, um es zu besitzen’ (What you have inherited from your forefathers, you must earn by your own effort, if you wish to make it your own). —The ‘inheritance of our forefathers’ is in a wider sense the Inheritance of our own past and ultimately of the whole universe from which we have emerged, or as Zen Buddhists would have it, ‘our original face existed before our parents were born’.

This ‘original face’, however, is far from being the face of our already completed or immanent Buddhahood, though It may contain all the potentialities of an enlightened mind. I would rather define It as the reflection of the universal depth consciousness, in Buddhist terminology, the 'store—consciousness’ (alaya—vijnana), which contains the accumulated experiences of all forms of existence, the experiences of an infinite past, in which all possibilities of life are contained, — from the lowest to the highest states of consciousness (or, from the most primitive to the most universal dimensions of consciousness), from the blind urges of brutish or demoniacal drives and cruel passions to the most beneficial activities of divine or enlightened beings, in whom the unconscious forces and blind passions have been sublimated Into clear knowledge, love and compassion.

To equate this alaya—vijnana with the‘Buddha—Nature’, and to believe that by merely suppressing or eliminating our thoughts and aspirations, our volition and discrimination, In short, our whole individuality and our intellectual qualities, we could attain the enlightenment of a Buddha, is a naive belief and an unfounded hypothesis, unsupported by experience and contradicting the entire Buddhist tradition which Is concerned with the sublimation, harmonization and integration of all human qualities and capabilities, —a tradition which emphasizes the importance of individual effort (virya and vyiyarna), consequent religious practice (sadhana). cultivation of creative spiritual qualities (bhavona), discriminative thought (dharmavicaya). clear knowledge and wisdom (prajna), conscious awareness and remembrance (stnrti), perfect aspirations (samyak samkalpa), consciously directed concentrative meditation (ekagrata), love and compassion towards all beings (maitrl and karuna), and faith (sraddha) towards the enlightened teachers of humanity.

Enlightenment can neither be gained by passively ‘sitting’, nor by violence, in the endeavour to suppress human feelings and thoughts or in the desperate struggle for the solution of some paradox problem. The key to enlightenment can neither be found in rigid concentration nor in an expansion of consciousness through artificial means.

The mere reduction of the field of spiritual vision to a single point, a single subject, concept or thought—sequence, under exclusion of all other thoughts or sense—impressions—. corresponding to the exclusiveness of a perspective view—point, in which only a one—sided, foreshortened observation of the object is possible—prevents us from observing the organic relationship of our subject with its background as well as with ourselves. This kind of concentration, which is practised in science and discursive thought, based an strict logical laws, is as little suitable to lead to enlightenment as the indiscriminate expansion of consciousness of an untrained, inexperienced person, who has neither the knowledge nor the judgement to enable him to understand or to make use of the phenomena of this expanded consciousness. He is in the same position as a scientifically unprepared and inexperienced person who would be sent into space in a rocket or spacecraft though he goes through the same experiences’ as an astronaut, he would return to earth as Ignorant as he left it, because whatever he has seen and experienced could not convey any meaning to him, but would only leave him confused1 bewildered and terrified.

Even if the experiences caused by drugs. were similar to those experienced in meditation or mystic visions (for which there is not the slightest evidence, because those who are using drugs, have no knowledge of real meditation), they would not convey to the spiritually untrained person anything of the deeper meaning of those visions and experiences, because of his inability to interpret the language of psychic symbols and phenomena. He would not be able to establish meaningful relations between himself (as an observer) and the observed phenomena, In other words between the universal depth—consciousness and his individual (peripheral) surface—consciousness, because he skipped the way leading from the periphery of the normal waking consciousness to the depth— consciousness or his inner centre.

The experience of this way which leads step by step from our surface—consciousness into the depth of our mind In the process of meditative absorption is of paramount Importance, because it employs arid stimulates all our faculties of thinking, feeling and intuition. Those who believe that they can rely on mere intuition, before they have developed the control over the basic functions of their intellect on the level of every—day life’s experience, will never be able to discern between truth and self—deception.

The mere ‘expansion’ of consciousness, therefore, has no value unless we have found our inner centre in which all the faculties of mind and psyche are integrated and to which all our experiences are referred as their ultimate judge and arbiter. This inner centre is situated between the poles of the individual peripheric consciousness of the intellect and the non-—individual depth— consciousness in which we partake of the greater life of the universe. ‘When this centre functions rightly the whole impression is one of evident harmony with inner life, The inner and the outer exist not against but for each other.

Always then the presence of the basic vital centre is expressed in the easy equilibrium of the two poles and if one preponderates over the other the result is a wrong relation to heaven and earth, to the world and to the self.

Just as failure to achieve the right centre Always implies a disturbance of the living whole so the achievement of It demonstrates nothing less than that state in which the whole is kept alive in the right tension between the, two poles’ 2

The tendency towards centralisation is not only a biological and psychological necessity but a law of universal dynamics, pervading the entire cosmos—irrespective whether applied to spiral nebulae or solar systems, planets or electrons, Every movement has a tendency to create its own centre or its own axis, as the only possible form of stability within the infinite movement of all that lives.

Where, however, life becomes conscious of itself, there a new, subtler centralisation takes place in a consciousness that creates its own focus, moving as if It were on an infinite axis from distant past towards an equally distant future (as It appears to us), or more correctly: which moves towards a present that (to us) is in a state of continual transformation,

The universal depth—consciousness is common to us all, but it depends on the Individual what he makes out of it or what he extracts or distills from it and brings to the surface. Just as the waters of the ocean contain all kinds of substances in a state of dissolution, in a similar way the universal depth—consciousness contains potentially all the psychic qualities. From the waters of the ocean we can extract gold as well as ordinary kitchen—salt, depending on the degree of (chemical) concentration and the method employed. In a similar way it is possible to extract from the universal depth—consciousness either divine or demoniacal forces, life—promoting or life—destroying powers, powers of darkness or of light

Those who descend into the depth of this universal consciousness, without having found their inner centre, will be swallowed by it or will be swept away to their doom, like a rudderless ship that is lost in the immensity of the ocean. Only to the wise the depth will reveal its treasures. Knowledge and wisdom, however, are founded on the patient observation of the laws of existence in the mirror of the stilled mind, in which the inner relations of all things became apparent and our intuitive awareness is brought to fruition.

If, however, intuition does not find also a clear expression in our thoughts, it can have no effective influence on our life, but is dissipated in the fog of vague feelings and dream—like phantasies and visions; because no force can be effective, if it is not formed, i.e. concentrated and directed. On the other hand, thoughts and items of knowledge or truths which have been developed only on the intellectual level, have to be verified in life by direct experience, in order to become living reality. Only then they will have the power to transform our life and to influence our deepest nature.

People who cling only to their thoughts, remain prisoners of thoughts, Just as those who live only in vague forms of intuition become prisoners of their momentary moods and impressions.

Those however, who are able to harmonise the faculties of clear thought and intuition, make the best use of both. They will enjoy the freedom of intuition, and at the Same time they will be capable of utilizing its results in the creation of a spiritual universe or Weltanschauung, whose structure will be an ever growing edifice of sublime beauty and transparency, and whose crowning pinnacle will be the radiating jewel of enlightenment, in which the structure will find Its completion.

12-17-2002, 10:21 AM
Oh man, I could hardly wait to finish reading that. Please allow me... to play the devil's advocate...

For years, alongside (timewise) buddhists, native americans worshipped the Great Spirit. As a ritual they would consume peyote and go in a sweat lodge and trip for 3 days. Now, whether or not they ever acheived Nirvana or a higher frequency, I don't know, but I do know that their spiritual life was far more personal and exciting than western religions today. What makes buddhists my forefathers more than Native Americans?
LSD has different effects on different people. Based on my experiences, I can control the direction of the trip, not down to the last detail, but I would rather not have absolute control over everything. To me its about losing control. Letting it go and seeing what there is to see. Attention scattered and confused? I find that I can focus more intensely than ever before under the effects of LSD. However, I have always picked carefully my environment beforehand. I'm not out and about, among sober people, I'm not sitting in a pile of trash, I always clean up and put incense on and make sure that my tripping partner and I will not be disturbed. A good way to do this, if you have roommates, is to do it at night, when the others are asleep. Not that hard.

I understand that the point here is to move to the higher frequency on your own, through meditation or ritual or your own particular method of focus, but in this article the good qualities of hallucinogens are not mentioned. For people who do not grow up around Zen Buddhists or Tibetan monks but instead a greedy business world and corrupt government, where do we find our peace? How do we discover that there is more to life than money, or sex? We are a conditioned society that teaches our young the most important thing in life is to make a living. We have celebrity heroes who flash large ornate jewelry and cars and mansions and we glorify it. Whatever gleams, is golden and the only thing worth fighting for. Where is there a point where we can break the cycle? For me, I discovered my potential tripping on some great liquid acid in a sugarcube and AEnema. I was never the same after that, and never wanted to be. I had to rebuild my thought processes in one night, no easy task. I think I was supposed to do that, I see nothing that was negative about the experience or what followed.

However, the next time I tripped was 8 months later to 311's Transistor. I saw more things revealed to me, such as their message of unity. I also saw that there is only so much that can be learned by consuming acid, or shrooms. There's where my experience ends. I knew that I wouldn't be taking acid again for a long time. My intuition told me that was enough, I can do it on my own. But when would I have come to this realization? When would I have known that I am a star without experiencing what it was like firsthand, via LSD?

I'm just saying I think doors can be opened, doors that lead to larger rooms, through the proper and respectful use of hallucinogens. But eventually, you should find a door you really want to go through but have to do it by yourself. Respect it, keep it simple, and love your life.

Floydian Theory
12-17-2002, 11:05 AM
I really liked what you had to say.
I agree with you pretty much completely.
I also had doors opened for me by the different things that I experimented with. I, as well, learned eventually, that the true challenge lay in accomplishing almost the same (perhaps better?) things without the substances.
The reason I posted this is because I had some people jumping my case in another thread because I don't feel that drugs can help you ascend, or become whole.
I agree that they may open you to the theory of it being possible, even give you slight examples or visions of what you are capable of, but those things are fleeting, and only a sliver of what we can truly find if we put the dedication into it.
In any research I have ever done on these types of concepts, and also in my own experiences, I have found that drugs tend to inhibit you more than help you in these matters.
I comend you on taking it that next step further and trying to get there on your own, and in a way that will teach you how to get back anytime you would like. After all, the main point in getting there, is to discover yourself in your purest form, so rationally thinking, you need to be very aware and in a good state of mind, therefor drugs would hinder the progress.
Thanks again for replying. And thanks for not attacking me for my oppinions. :)

12-17-2002, 11:19 AM
attacking you or anyone because of their thoughts is pointless. another thing that irritates me is the use of absolute statements, like "this song is definitely about..." down to other not-so-blatant forms of "thats the way it is" attitudes.

Floydian Theory
12-17-2002, 11:55 AM
I agree. Although sometimes I have to watch myself too.
I guess I understand what it's like to believe something so strongly that you get upset if anyone feels differently.
But I have also learned, that usually, the picture is so much broader than I ever imagined.
Life leaves me so stumped, but in such awe.


"There's someone in my head but it's not me" - Roger Waters

12-17-2002, 01:51 PM
I don't know about you, but I take the person I am sober into the trip. The difference is that my senses are meshing together and it causes me to see things that aren't there in my normal sober reality. Emotions play such a huge part in what we see or don't see during a trip, and in sober life. They are neglected by our society these days. I get tired of reading all of this analyzing and long winded talking. I'm not trying to be rude or discourage anyone but rather slow the disection of life. Listen with your heart rather than your mind. Just my two cents...