Essay:My Enlightenment Experience
Last night I had an experience. It was similar to an experience I had years ago (under the influence of a psychedelic). Both events had the following major characteristics:
- Intense introspection
- a feeling of being divorced from my body, or a feeling of complete numbness
- Anxiety or panic (comes and goes)
- A feeling that every thought in my mind is inter-connected, part of a beautiful spiral.
- A feeling of timelessness.
- A deep understanding, equatable with what the mystics might call 'enlightenment'. If you've never experienced anything similar likely you will simply not be able to comprehend what this 'understanding' feels like. It is a truly remarkable life event. A moment of clarity that one only gets a couple of times in one's lifetime. With appropriate meditation and concentration, you can drag out this moment of clarity and really get to the roots of what defines you as an individual. It also facilitates a more thorough understanding of philosophy.
I had a few drags of some particularly potent weed, and it was set off. I could sense the depersonalisation approach, for me it always announces itself by a hypersensitive awareness of colours. (I had also consumed liberal quantities of red wine). I remember the moment when 'it' hit me. A dawn of realisation. I said goodbye to my friends and retired to my room. I was still more than capable of social interaction, and the conversation at that time was quite magnificent, but I really wanted to spend some time alone in order to 'get the benefit' of this. I knew what was happening. I was touching the void. Depersonalisation is for some a rather unpleasant experience, because throughout it all you are 'fighting' off the idea that you are going mad, or having a heart attack, or that you're going to have a stroke (This is why it often mistaken for a panic disorder). You're investigating the nature of reality - debating whether it is a construct and that we are alive only inside of our minds, that our thoughts and perceptions determine reality and that there is no definable and objective measure of what is real and what is not. I often thought Descartes was smoking serious ganga when he wrote cogito ergo sum. That phrase holds a wealth of information and meaning that I was simply unable to appreciate before. I have a strange kind of 'afterglow' today, but the effects of the depersonalisation/derealisation have nearly completely worn off. It should also be noted that I am not referring to what some people call 'weed induced psychosis' where the individual loses all contact with reality and undergoes a distressing psychotic break - at no point do you really lose your sense of self or your grasp of what is real and what is not. There are no hallucinations, voices, or anything that might indicate a severe mental disorder.
I've flirted with Buddhism and eastern philosophies for years, and occasionally try meditation (When you get into the zone meditation can be the most beautiful experience ever). Although I don't consider myself a regular drug user (the last time I had weed was about 6 months ago, the last time I had anything harder than that was nearly 2 years ago etc.) I'm not adverse to the idea of occasionally taking mind altering substances in order to help focus and concentration and encourage 'outside the box' thinking. I'm currently in the middle of a life changing event, one which will determine my future trajectory and understandably I occasionally have feelings of mild anxiety or dread. But on the flip side, I've never been more optimistic about my future and what it might contain. I'm thinking the depersonalisation episode was induced by a combination of factors - I've a major life event looming, I was a little drunk, I smoked a little weed, and I was generally eager to delve into myself and have a real 'conversation' with my psyche.
You're probably wondering what the point of all this is. Back in the day, when I did quite a bit of weed and other mind altering substances, I found that my capacity for higher thought was severely enhanced and that some of the conversations I have had with people were the closest one can come to a spiritual experience. I stopped doing it because I found myself enjoying it too much. I still like a drink and whatnot, but that is mostly just a manifestation of my culture where drinking is a common and communal experience between friends (In any case I'm a happy rather than an angry drunk). I have a sardonic sense of humour and I read (re-read) something by Jonathon Swift at least every six months.
So I thought I'd try to create a conversation about this here on Rationalwiki. I'm assuming many of the people on this site are well used to the occasional mind altering substance and its effect on their consciousness. I'm assuming that for most, like me, this is usually an uplifting and worthwhile experience. I'd be interested to hear what you think and to learn of your experiences of such events. Peace. Marcus Cicero SPQR 10:55, 22 July 2013 (UTC)