What causes bad trips?

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AshvinP
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Re: What causes bad trips?

Post by AshvinP »

Hedge90 wrote: Mon Sep 13, 2021 12:33 pm Adur, regarding the divide between the psychedelic experience and other spiritual paths, are you sure that they differ that much? I think this is a pretty difficult question to resolve because I assume there are very few people who have ventured far both on the psychedelic path and the path of meditative spiritual exercise, but only someone who is personally versed in both could really answer this question.

Well said, Hedge. There are laws against the unauthorized or unlicensed practice of medicine and practice of law. If I were to give any specific legal advice here (which I never would), even though I am licensed to practice in certain jurisdictions, I would include a massive disclaimer at the bottom making clear "this is NOT intended as legal advice and should not be relied upon as such". Perhaps we need something similar for unlicensed practice of psychonautic travel. I don't like the idea of people relying on laws to direct their behavior, and especially not their speech, but at least some sort of basic licensing process like we have for driving various vehicles. There is a worrying amount of reckless suggestions thrown around about psychedlic use which seems extremely dangerous to me. The egoistic desire to own all of one's spiritual experiences and keep them "personal" is no excuse, just as it would not be for practicing medicine or law.
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Re: What causes bad trips?

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AshvinP wrote: Mon Sep 13, 2021 3:24 pm
Hedge90 wrote: Mon Sep 13, 2021 12:33 pm Adur, regarding the divide between the psychedelic experience and other spiritual paths, are you sure that they differ that much? I think this is a pretty difficult question to resolve because I assume there are very few people who have ventured far both on the psychedelic path and the path of meditative spiritual exercise, but only someone who is personally versed in both could really answer this question.

Well said, Hedge. There are laws against the unauthorized or unlicensed practice of medicine and practice of law. If I were to give any specific legal advice here (which I never would), even though I am licensed to practice in certain jurisdictions, I would include a massive disclaimer at the bottom making clear "this is NOT intended as legal advice and should not be relied upon as such". Perhaps we need something similar for unlicensed practice of psychonautic travel. I don't like the idea of people relying on laws to direct their behavior, and especially not their speech, but at least some sort of basic licensing process like we have for driving various vehicles. There is a worrying amount of reckless suggestions thrown around about psychedlic use which seems extremely dangerous to me. The egoistic desire to own all of one's spiritual experiences and keep them "personal" is no excuse, just as it would not be for practicing medicine or law.
I'm not against responsible use of psychedelics, but yeah at the moment (and in part due to the prohibition itself) the kind of information available tends to be either very uncritically for psychedelic use (psychedelics forums / literature), or entirely against it (governmental and medical resources). So you can only get really one-sided opinions in most forums where psychedelics are discussed. I think one can have very valuable experiences with them (actually I owe my venturing into the realm of idealist philosophy to psilocybin), but the risks shouldn't be neglected either. And I'm not talking about teens irresponsibly driving while high, I'm talking about things like HPPD or hallucinogen-induced psychosis.
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Adur Alkain
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Re: What causes bad trips?

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Ben Iscatus wrote: Mon Sep 13, 2021 10:57 am Adur, although I find what you say fascinating and cannot dispute it, I would like you to explain how you think Consciousness arises from Absolute Emptiness. The reason I ask this is that it strikes me as an incorrect use of the term, since by normal definition and use of English, something cannot come from nothing. Can you not use the term "plenum" or a "void containing the superposition of all unrealised possibilities", or similar?
Hi Ben,

I can't explain this to you, in the same way that I can't explain how Consciousness can know itself, and Awareness be aware of itself, without splitting into a subject and an object. These are fundamental truths that can be directly experienced, but not explained conceptually.

In ordinary knowing (or what you call "normal definition and use of English"), it is impossible to know anything without a subject-object separation. In the same way, it is impossible for something to come out of nothing. But at a more fundamental level of knowing (what Almaas calls "basic knowing") all these dichotomies disappear. This is why all deep spiritual experiences seem paradoxical to the ordinary mind.

The something-nothing duality is a creation of the ordinary mind, just like any other duality or dichotomy: fullness-emptiness, subject-object, mind-matter, etc. These are just concepts. On a more fundamental level, these concepts simply don't work anymore.

It's not only that Consciousness or Being arises from Absolute Emptiness. When you reach the direct experience of Absolute Emptiness (an experience that is actually a total absence of experience, a mind-boggling paradox in itself), you realize that this Absolute Emptiness is the true nature of everything, including Consciousness. The Absolute Emptiness never goes away. It's always there, somehow, at the core of everything.

In some Buddhist teachings, they express this insight by saying that the universe is being annihilated at every instant, and created anew out of Nothing at every instant. Like I said, you can't make sense of any of this using ordinary logic.

I'm not sure what you mean by "plenum", but you certainly could call this Absolute Emptiness a "void containing all possibilities", or something like that. This Emptiness is absolutely full of infinite potentiality.

The experience of the Absolute is sometimes described as a "luminous darkness", a "total blackness shining with infinite light", and other paradoxical expressions of this type. You really need to have the experience, or at least to get a glimpse of it, to be able to comprehend these descriptions. Some would say that human language is simply not adequate to talk about these things. I would rather say that human language is perfectly capable of expressing this kind of knowledge, but it can only do so through the use of paradoxes. It's reason and logic that are limited, not language. People who have had these experiences can perfectly communicate with each other, and see very clearly if they are talking about the same spiritual reality or not.

I've personally met many people who have had this experience of Cessation and the Absolute (most of them are students and teachers of the Diamond Approach). As far as I know, it's the most profound and liberating experience a human being can have. I don't find it surprising that the ordinary mind can't even conceive the possibility of such a thing!
Physicalists hold two fundamental beliefs:

1. The essence of Nature is Mathematics.
2. Consciousness is a product of the human brain.

But the two contraries are true:

1. The essence of Nature is Consciousness.
2. Mathematics is a product of the human brain.
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Adur Alkain
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Re: What causes bad trips?

Post by Adur Alkain »

Soul_of_Shu wrote: Mon Sep 13, 2021 11:47 am
Ben Iscatus wrote: Mon Sep 13, 2021 10:57 am Adur, although I find what you say fascinating and cannot dispute it, I would like you to explain how you think Consciousness arises from Absolute Emptiness. The reason I ask this is that it strikes me as an incorrect use of the term, since by normal definition and use of English, something cannot come from nothing. Can you not use the term "plenum" or a "void containing the superposition of all unrealised possibilities", or similar?
And as per previous chats with Adur on this notion, I'm still awaiting the explanation for how a state utterly absent any awareness of it, can be a memory that one recalls? By definition there could be no recall of it. I'm fine with with no-thingness, but since awareness is not a 'thing', then what does the absence of thingness have to do with the absence of awareness?
Hi Dana,

The word-play of "no-thingnesss" only works in English, which as we all know is a language with lots of curious materialistic expressions, like for example "every-body", "any-body", etc. In every other language I know, the word "Nothing" doesn't contain the word "thing" in it (German Nichts, Spanish Nada, Basque Ezerez). So no, when I use the word "Nothing" I don't mean "no-thing". I mean Nichts. Nada. Nil.

There is no memory that one recalls. I know my awareness dissolved and I went into Absolute Nothingness. But I can't remember that Nothingness, I have no memory of it. You can ask: "If you can't remember it, how can you know it happened?" I know it happened because that experience changed me completely. It liberated me from fear of Death. And it marked the end of an unconscious striving that had been pushing me all my life. I finally found what I was unconsciously looking for. I found my true Home.

I also know it happened because I remember myself sitting on the floor of my bedroom, feeling my awareness dissolve, and willing myself to relax and let go. And then I remember myself lying on the couch in my living room, amazed at my awareness arising from that absolute blackness. It was like witnessing a miracle. The most life-changing experience I've ever had. As I let myself slip into the Nothingness, I truly felt it was the End. But now I was back! I felt renewed, reborn. I have no recollection of what happened in between, and I have no idea of how much time passed while I was "gone". I don't remember anything in that gap.

Another way of talking about this is to say that I can't remember that Absolute Nothingness because it's not in the past. It's right here and now. It never left me. I can feel it at the core of all reality. At the core of my Awareness, of my Consciousness.

So, I don't need to remember anything to know that this Absolute Nothingness is real.
Soul_of_Shu wrote: Mon Sep 13, 2021 12:59 pm
Hedge90 wrote: Mon Sep 13, 2021 12:27 pmHe wrote that it was actually just a gap in his experience ...
Nonetheless, that is recall of a 'gap' in one's experience. That gap being no-thingness, or the absence of things
to be aware of. As Spira has put it, there is no absence of awareness, only the awareness of absence—which would also be the absence of any experience of time passing—which means that one can't, by way of recall, now be aware of a gap that no-one could have been aware of, if there was no awareness to be aware, period.

A video has been shared here previously of Spira and Almaas discussing this premise, in which I feel they did seem to reconcile their takes on it, at least to my satisfaction.
Like I said above, there is no recall of a gap. There is just a gap in your awareness. You recall what happened before, and what happened afterwards. You don't recall the gap itself.

After watching those two videos of Rupert Spira and Almaas in conversation, my take is that Rupert has never experienced Cessation, the total cessation of awareness Hameed (Almaas) was talking about. Hameed didn't push the topic further, because it is pointless to try to convince somebody that an experience they've never had and that they can't even conceive is possible. And from the point of view of Awareness (which is Rupert's point of view), Rupert is of course right. Awareness can't experience the absence of awareness. That's an impossibility. So, Awareness can only conceive the "awareness of absence", meaning the absence of everything but awareness itself. This awareness of absence is in itself a very profound spiritual experience, and it is deeply liberating in its own right. But it's not the same as the Cessation Hameed was talking about.

I think you can trust me on this. I took part in a 9-day online retreat this summer, in which Hameed (A. H. Almaas) talked at length about Cessation and the Absolute, contrasting it with other kinds of nondual realization (like Formless Awareness), and we did practical exercises exploring these topics. I don't mean to say that Almaas is right and Rupert Spira wrong, what I'm saying is that they have different views, and that in that conversation Almaas didn't pursue the discussion because it was clear that Rupert wasn't familiar with this kind of realization (Cessation).
Physicalists hold two fundamental beliefs:

1. The essence of Nature is Mathematics.
2. Consciousness is a product of the human brain.

But the two contraries are true:

1. The essence of Nature is Consciousness.
2. Mathematics is a product of the human brain.
Ben Iscatus
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Re: What causes bad trips?

Post by Ben Iscatus »

Adur, I think you describe it very well. Thank you. Where you say the universe is being annihilated and created anew, and is total blackness shining with infinite light, I feel I can make sense of this. It's like a light blinking on and off, but happening simultaneously instead of sequentially.
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Re: What causes bad trips?

Post by MaartenV »

From a study from the Netherlands about psychedelics and the brain and what's causing good and bad trips:

(1) Higher levels of medial prefrontal cortex glutamate were associated with negatively experienced ego dissolution. This may help explain the paradoxical effect of psilocybin: administered acutely to healthy controls it has been found to increase feelings of anxiety, but in clinical trials, the administration of psilocybin has been shown to result in long-term anxiety relief for patients. (2) Lower levels of hippocampal glutamate were associated with positively experienced ego dissolution. This finding provides support for the theory that ego dissolution is caused by a temporary loss of access to autobiographical memory, as the hippocampus plays a key role in memory.
https://www.brainpost.co/weekly-brainpo ... xperiences

Original scientific paper:
https://www.nature.com/articles/s41386-020-0718-8
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Re: What causes bad trips?

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Adur Alkain wrote: Tue Sep 14, 2021 9:08 am I also know it happened because I remember myself sitting on the floor of my bedroom, feeling my awareness dissolve ...
Yes indeed, any personified, i.e. 'my', awareness is dispelled, and what remains is irreducible Awareness. To say that the fundamental nature of that Awareness is 'nothingness', is only to say that Awareness remains in the absence of 'thingness', and as such so-called 'Nothingness' and Awareness are inextricable and irreducible. And while some apparency of personified awareness can be said to arise and 'dissociate' from it, in essence one is never other than, or apart from the Irreducible. Naming that 'nothingness', well, makes no difference to this experience.
After watching those two videos of Rupert Spira and Almaas in conversation, my take is that Rupert has never experienced Cessation, the total cessation of awareness Hameed (Almaas) was talking about. Hameed didn't push the topic further, because it is pointless to try to convince somebody that an experience they've never had and that they can't even conceive is possible. And from the point of view of Awareness (which is Rupert's point of view), Rupert is of course right. Awareness can't experience the absence of awareness. That's an impossibility. So, Awareness can only conceive the "awareness of absence", meaning the absence of everything but awareness itself. This awareness of absence is in itself a very profound spiritual experience, and it is deeply liberating in its own right. But it's not the same as the Cessation Hameed was talking about.

I think you can trust me on this. I took part in a 9-day online retreat this summer, in which Hameed (A. H. Almaas) talked at length about Cessation and the Absolute, contrasting it with other kinds of nondual realization (like Formless Awareness), and we did practical exercises exploring these topics. I don't mean to say that Almaas is right and Rupert Spira wrong, what I'm saying is that they have different views, and that in that conversation Almaas didn't pursue the discussion because it was clear that Rupert wasn't familiar with this kind of realization (Cessation).
Sorry, I have no trust in this take. I just find it putting a spin on that discussion that buttresses what you are reading into it. Can you show me where Almaas actually states that Spira has yet to know what Almaas knows? Alas, as before, it seems unlikely this will be resolved any further, so I'll leave it at that.
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Re: What causes bad trips?

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Adur Alkain wrote: Tue Sep 14, 2021 9:08 am After watching those two videos of Rupert Spira and Almaas in conversation, my take is that Rupert has never experienced Cessation, the total cessation of awareness Hameed (Almaas) was talking about. Hameed didn't push the topic further, because it is pointless to try to convince somebody that an experience they've never had and that they can't even conceive is possible. And from the point of view of Awareness (which is Rupert's point of view), Rupert is of course right. Awareness can't experience the absence of awareness. That's an impossibility. So, Awareness can only conceive the "awareness of absence", meaning the absence of everything but awareness itself. This awareness of absence is in itself a very profound spiritual experience, and it is deeply liberating in its own right. But it's not the same as the Cessation Hameed was talking about.
It is also impossible to tell if that Cessation was the actual absence of awareness, or if it was simply a cessation of memory functioning in the presence of awareness. The absence of awareness is impossible to prove or witness in principle, that's an impossibility. But anyway, why is it so important to prove that the state of "Cessation" is actually the absence of awareness? What would be wrong with such state if the awareness would still be present?
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Re: What causes bad trips?

Post by AshvinP »

Soul_of_Shu wrote: Tue Sep 14, 2021 12:01 pm
Adur Alkain wrote: Tue Sep 14, 2021 9:08 am I also know it happened because I remember myself sitting on the floor of my bedroom, feeling my awareness dissolve ...
Yes indeed, any personified, i.e. 'my', awareness is dispelled, and what remains is irreducible Awareness. To say that the fundamental nature of that Awareness is 'nothingness', is only to say that Awareness remains in the absence of 'thingness', and as such so-called 'Nothingness' and Awareness are inextricable and irreducible. And while some apparency of personified awareness can be said to arise and 'dissociate' from it, in essence one is never other than, or apart from the Irreducible. Naming that 'nothingness', well, makes no difference to this experience.
After watching those two videos of Rupert Spira and Almaas in conversation, my take is that Rupert has never experienced Cessation, the total cessation of awareness Hameed (Almaas) was talking about. Hameed didn't push the topic further, because it is pointless to try to convince somebody that an experience they've never had and that they can't even conceive is possible. And from the point of view of Awareness (which is Rupert's point of view), Rupert is of course right. Awareness can't experience the absence of awareness. That's an impossibility. So, Awareness can only conceive the "awareness of absence", meaning the absence of everything but awareness itself. This awareness of absence is in itself a very profound spiritual experience, and it is deeply liberating in its own right. But it's not the same as the Cessation Hameed was talking about.

I think you can trust me on this. I took part in a 9-day online retreat this summer, in which Hameed (A. H. Almaas) talked at length about Cessation and the Absolute, contrasting it with other kinds of nondual realization (like Formless Awareness), and we did practical exercises exploring these topics. I don't mean to say that Almaas is right and Rupert Spira wrong, what I'm saying is that they have different views, and that in that conversation Almaas didn't pursue the discussion because it was clear that Rupert wasn't familiar with this kind of realization (Cessation).
Sorry, I have no trust in this take, i.e. a projection. I just find you putting a spin on it that buttresses what you are reading into it. Alas, we're not likely to resolve this any further, so I'll leave it at that.

Agreed.

Adur, you are still completely ignoring Cleric's many posts disputing with detail all that you are claiming here. Do you think he is lying? I suppose not, which makes it that much more confusing. Note that you are writing as if your own conception is certain, without investigating the possibility that there is structure beyond the threshold where you stop your own investigation. This cannot be chalked up to his interpretation is different than yours. And, if you are asserting the underlying Reality itself is structured in ways that allow completely opposite reasoned conclusions, then you are creating a dualism or pluralism which also negates much if not all of what you claim in your own papers on "intuitive idealism". Pulling down the experience into abstract concepts will inevitably lead to some "contradictory" formulations, but those are of a completely different sort. Here it is the very inner experience and meaning which contradicts.

Dana was referring to the memory that some meaningful experience occurred (not specific details) and the experience of duration of the state. Those have not been addressed at all. We cannot abandon Reason simply because we are dealing with mystical-spiritual experience. These phenomena must be accounted for or the lack of ability to account for them must be accounted for. Neither have been done in your framework. It seems clear to me much of this done (subconsciously) to avoid the implication that Thinking capacity, essential "I", was still present in that state and therefore one can utilize that capacity to go further and gain higher resolution. This would then imply we have an obligation to go further before claiming to know what if anything is beyond the threshold (besides our own spiritual activity).
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Re: What causes bad trips?

Post by Ben Iscatus »

Surely the absence of awareness is the easiest thing (sic) in the world to understand. It's falling asleep. But sleep is not death - there are still things (sic) going on and consciousness still exists. When we awaken from sleep, we are aware of duration, even if we forget all our dreams. Just so in the Cosmic Mind - as below, so above. I reckon everyone likes a nice kip, even MAL.
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