Reverse Engineering a Higher State of Consciousness
After the 300mcg 1P-LSD experience I wrote about in Me, LSD & The Meaning of Life I became occupied with the concept of achieving a higher state of consciousness on a permanent basis. LSD does not make things happen that could not happen otherwise, it just opens one up to different perspectives, and so I must be able to achieve the same higher state of consciousness in normal life. Over the last two weeks I have been developing theories, experimenting with different strategies and I have taken LSD on four more occasions (25mcg, 25mcg, 250mcg, 400mcg.) Eventually, it was a success.
What is a higher state of consciousness? This is the fundamental question. If one does not know what something is then how will one know when one has reached it? The state I described on 300mcg was something akin to enlightenment: I was completely at peace, with eternal confidence and assurance, I knew everything, my vision was on everything at once and no effort was exerted. What is the difference between that and not that? What is it? How do I get there at will? After two weeks I now have the answer to these questions.
Dear reader, this is the story of how I got there and what I discovered. Allow me to continue from where I left off in my previous article.
My initial theory was the concept that one can have more or less ‘awareness’ and the quantity of free awareness one has dictates the height of consciousness. So the average person might have, let’s say 10 units of awareness, and is using 9 units stressing over life and chattering to themselves inside their head, with 1 free. If the person has no free awareness then they are overwhelmed. Therefore a higher state of consciousness could be achieved by the popular method of reducing stress and self-chattering to free up those units of awareness, or by increasing the total quantity of awareness units.
In my higher conscious state I did still have a chattering mind only I didn’t care too much for it; I let it chatter away in the background. It felt as if I had 100 units of awareness rather than the usual 10. Therefore instead of 1 free I had 91 free and it was no problem letting 9 be used up by chattering. This lead me to believe that increasing the awareness quantity was more important than reducing the stress and chattering.
Following this theory I tried various methods of increasing total awareness, without focusing on reducing chattering. There was no real progress. Time for my new solution for everything: more LSD.
In order to determine the path to higher consciousness I wanted to see what happens when I am part of the way there. I tried two threshold doses of 25mcg of LSD and went about a normal day, with a free day in-between doses.
At this quantity I was perfectly capable of having a normal day, without hallucination, but everything was better. You could say I was normal but in an extremely good mood — I consider being contemplative and philosophical as me in a good mood; it is what I am. I noticed that I was unable to get frustrated, but unlike the large dose in which frustration was non-existent, at this threshold dose I could feel the frustration coming but it couldn’t catch hold.
On the first day I was driving — much better than usual, don’t worry — between the mall and a friend’s house, which was 5 minutes drive away. There was construction on the main junction, forcing me to reroute on a 45 minute detour during rush hour. Normally this is exactly the type of thing that would drive me crazy, but on 25mcg of LSD I smiled to myself and accepted it. Feelings of frustration rose, made some attempt to catch me, failed to grasp onto anything and fell away. The important aspect was that I could witness this happening. There was a clue here somewhere.
The following weekend I took 250mcg of LSD and had a very enjoyable, healing and contemplative day, but without any major breakthroughs. I suspect I had built a level of tolerance and so took the rest of the week off from LSD and concentrated on meditating, theorizing and philosophizing.
One night during that week I was lying in bed and I asked myself “how do I expand my awareness?” Immediately something in my mind responded: “you don’t.”
I noted that reducing self-talk and self-analysis, i.e. just being without judging, during meditation lead to a slightly higher level of consciousness that remained for some time after the mediation. The answer to my own question implied that it’s not something that I can actively try to achieve. This brought me back into the idea that awareness, while it can grow and shrink in perception, is not a thing that can be possessed or lost and so does not have quantity.
But how can this be the case if I was capable of having higher consciousness and also chattering at the same time? How can I get something if there is not a sure method to achieving it? There was something missing from my understanding.
Analyzing Past Experience
I searched my memory for all occasions in which I’d experienced a state of consciousness that I now label a ‘higher state’ in order to determine some kind of pattern. What I got was as follows, all of which are memories of times I had reached a higher state of consciousness:
- Being awestruck at a natural phenomenon, such as an amazing sunset or rock formation, causes a temporary lapse into non-thought and results in a higher-state of consciousness.
- A moment of epiphany. Also a lapse into non-thought.
- Almost colliding into another car at high speed (while I was a passenger.) There was nothing I could do so I just closed my eyes and was at complete peace. The cars swerved at the last moment.
- The split-second of jumping off something, e.g. bungee jumping. This is similar to being awestruck and causes lapse into non-thought and becoming fully in the moment, for a short time.
- Freediving. Swimming underwater for an extended period causes thought to cease (probably because the brain is preserving oxygen) and a sense of peace.
- Meditation to a particular point can result in higher-state of consciousness, although it tends to come and go for no obvious reason. (I now know the reason.)
- Speed-reading. A particular method of speed reading, in which one looks at the words but makes no attempt to read them, after some practice results in one being able to read a page at a glance with full comprehension and retainment. This also produces a higher state of consciousness.
All these experiences share the same no-thought; and yet I distinctly remember being in a higher-state of consciousness on 300mcg LSD and still having rambling mental chattering! Something is missing… still there was a path for exploration, the signposts pointed to no-thought and so I developed exercises to reduce mental chattering.
Exercising no-thought is in itself interesting. The reading technique mentioned above is particularly relevant; it is something that I practiced, among other self-enhancements, when I was 17 and it taught me one of the most useful gems of knowledge of self: one does not need to think in order to know and understand. Knowledge and understanding are separate to thinking.
Let’s say I ask you, politely of course, to pass me the salt. Your hand will reach out, pick up the salt and pass it to me. You do not need to think to yourself “pass the salt, pass the salt, pass the salt” over and over again to know what you intend to do; you just know it. Neither do you tell your hand “move!”, you just move it.
I spent the week practices exercises in no thought. The first being the looking-but-not-trying reading technique. The second basically being an attempt to consciously stop mental chattering, although this is difficult to keep up for extended periods.
The third technique was meditating whilst ‘thinking’ of different concepts, without saying the name of the concept, without straining, and preferably without a mental image. Breathe in: apple. Breathe out: orange. Breathe in: white. Breathe out: black. Breathe in: a pen floating underwater. Breathe out: a dog being eaten by a rhino on the moon. This method was relatively successful at (1) reinforcing the trust that it is possible ‘think’ in knowledge rather than thought, (2) good practice at thinking without thought, (3) expanding my knowledge of mind and how it works.
After a week off I took the largest ever dose I’ve taken: 400mcg of 1P-LSD, which is four times a normal dose. BOOM! Mind-blown.
What happens is this: on LSD, especially this much, there is so much sensory input that one is left with two choices: either (1) freak out and rock back and forwards mumbling to yourself and crying, or (2) complete and utter acceptance of everything. The moment that you give up and just go with it is the moment when everything clicks into place and the universe is perfect; hallucinations stop and everything becomes crystal clear as exactly what it is (which may be different to how you’ve seen it before.)
That’s it! That was the missing link. I knew at that time that the difference between a higher state of consciousness and a lower state of consciousness was not no-thought per-se, but acceptance. No-thought leads to acceptance because without thought there is nothing to worry about, but acceptance is the key. This is why I was capable of having higher consciousness without no-thought, and also why I had a higher state of consciousness when I had no-thought.
Suddenly everything made sense. My vision was sharper when I didn’t try hard to look. I could hear everything clearly when I neither tried to focus on one thing, nor tried to ignore any of it. The reason why I lost the one-glance reading skill I once had was that at some point I started trying to read like that rather than just practicing it in a relaxed fashion, without putting so much weight on it having to work now.
So you get what you want by not trying? You get what you already have without trying. If you have to try to achieve something then you’ve already told yourself that you don’t have it, and if this thing is something that you already have without knowing it then you are trying to get it by doing something that cannot achieve it; hence all you’ve done is thrown it away. The more you struggle the more you’re telling yourself you don’t have it and the further away you are taking yourself from it. Incidentally, it does actually apply to everything worth having.
The key to life is to not try. I don’t try to move my hand, it just moves and I trust that it will move. The key to higher consciousness is to accept everything and trust in oneself that I already have everything I need and am perfectly capable of functioning without trying.
There are multiple hurdles to full acceptance. All are ego-related issues. I will outline them.
Trusting That One Is Capable Without Thought
Most people believe that the mental chattering is them. Probably they don’t think they can function without it. One must first trust that they don’t need the chattering and that they don’t need to worry. One must trust that they are entirely capable, in truth more capable, of functioning without needing a voice in their heads whispering “Oh no, this thing happened! What am I going to do!?” You do not need the inner voice to solve problems.
If you really think back, where do ideas come from anyway? Did you know that Einstein didn’t work out out E=mc² through rational means? It just came to him and then he spent some time working backwards to get proof for it so he could convince other people. The same is true of all the good ideas that I’ve had; they just pop into my head, none of them have ever come from rational reasoning — the reasoning happens afterwards. We use logic only to convince other people and ourselves of things that we already believe, things that come from no perceivable place.
The same is true of my realizations about higher consciousness in this article. I had various theories, they proved wrong. I kept the concept in mind — kept trying different things, none of which were correct — and then eventually the answer just popped into my head from nowhere. That is how true-thought really works.
Practicing the no-thought exercises I previously mentioned will help to trust that you don’t need thought to think.
The concept of karma is relevant to acceptance and achieving a higher level of consciousness, and I can explain why.
‘Karma’ is a Sanskrit word that literally translates to something like ‘action’ or ‘deed.’ If you read the Bhagavad Gita it’s explained as attachment to the results of action, i.e. caring about consequences.
Karma is the leftover pains that we’ve held onto from the past. It is attachment to the results of action that has already occurred and this attachment is collected. In this sense karma can be thought of as emotional energy — since there is neither good nor bad, only emotions via interpretation of good or bad — that need to be expressed to be released; basically it’s our issues. How this works in my experience is that we hold onto unresolved feelings as we felt them at the time, not as we would see them now (although we can create even more karma by stressing over the past event), and those feelings still need to be expressed as they were.
Let’s imagine that you were a chubby kid and someone at school called you fat, and you were hurt by it. Maybe if this happened now you wouldn’t care, but that doesn’t mean just because you don’t care now that the unexpressed emotional energy from that time is gone. The piper must be paid.
A Buddha is unaffected by karma. Why? Because such a person accepts everything and so they do not amass any unexpressed emotional energy. That is why a Buddha can do anything and karma never comes back to bite them, it’s because they don’t give a shit. They are not attached to the results of action; nothing happens that they don’t like because they accept everything.
But even if you don’t give a shit now you still need to express the emotional energy that is already there, and that is why in Buddhism they say that you have to work out your karma. If you don’t work out your karma, i.e. deal with your unresolved issues, then it will be extremely difficult to maintain a state of acceptance because you have not accepted and expressed your past. How can you accept everything if you have not accepted your past? That would not be accepting everything.
How does one work out their karma? By expressing all the unresolved emotional energy you have built up throughout your life. I do this as follows:
Every time I take LSD there is a stage in which I go on a witch hunt inside my mind. I ransack the place. It’s a massacre; I take no hostages. I troll through my memories looking for events with any form of connected feeling. When I find one I express whatever feelings I have, and also run through a succession of scenarios. What if I said xyz? What if I turned into a lion and ate them? What if I saw this person now and shot them through the head? What if this person came and said sorry to me? What if? What if? What if? If I have any feelings on any scenario they are expressed with full LSD imagination, until everything is neutral, expressed and accepted. Each time it becomes increasingly difficult to find anything that I care about.
The ego exists. It’s what you think you are. It’s your self. It’s the voice inside your head. It’s all your wants and needs. It’s everything that you think makes you you.
But it’s an illusion and it’s the cause of non-acceptance. I will explain why on both counts.
I’m going to present a question first: how is it that you can see you? How is it that you can know yourself? Surely there must be a knower and a known? There must be a seer and a seen? Think about it… can an experiencer ever experience itself? Can an eye see itself?
The answer is no… unless it has a mirror. Unfortunately our mind doesn’t contain an actual mirror, so instead it draws up a sketch based on the mind’s own witnessing of your actions and others: I enjoyed eating a banana so I like bananas, bananas are good. I am someone who likes bananas. I am someone who doesn’t like broccoli. My teacher said I am good at maths so I am good at maths. I am a good person, my mum said so. You say I’m not a good person… shit… what am I? I better define it based on action: “There’s nothing wrong with me, you’re just a retard who doesn’t know shit. Get out of my face!” Phew! That was close!
Over time the ego is built up, a sketch that we draw of who we think we are. But we are not the ego, we existed before we made that ego. We are the experiencer that experiences the ego. We are the thing that is looking at the ego because an eye cannot see itself. We are the thing that sees, feels, hears and experiences. We are the thing that comes up with those awesome ideas out of nowhere — apparently from nowhere because we are unable to see ourselves and so we are unable to see where our ideas come from. We are the thing that wakes us up 1 minutes before our alarm clock goes off, because we always know what time it is but we are unable to know that we know it because we can’t see ourselves. We are the thing that, as I once did, jumped out of the way of a car travelling at 100mph one tenth of a second before it hit me, did a perfect dive and roll and stood up again without knowing what just happened. We are the thing that can read an entire page of text at a glance with full comprehension. We are the thing that can deal with any situation and take the best possible action, if only we start trusting ourselves. We are pretty damn awesome but we are unable to know it because we can’t see ourselves, we can only see a picture we’ve drawn of what we think we might look like. We’ve cheated ourselves. We’re better than that. All of us are.
While one cannot experience the experiencer directly, one can experience experiencing the ego in contrast to not experiencing the ego. I will explain more about this below.
Dissolving the Ego
In theory the ego does not need to be dissolved, it only needs to be demoted. This was the experience I had had on 300mcg in which I had a higher state of consciousness with the ego being present, but in the background rather than the foreground; the ego was there but I as the experiencer was not paying it any attention.
The ego is useful to keep as a servant but only if it follows strict instructions, specifically not trying to take command, not complaining, not interrupting, and most importantly: not considering itself in any way responsible for anything. The reason to keep it as a servant is that it allows one to play the game of life for fun rather than seriously. You can keep the ego like a pet, and allow it to have arguments with people and generally act out superficially— but secretly you don’t really care, it’s just a game like everything else. This is, in my opinion, preferable to sitting under a tree meditating for the rest of your life, which is also an option but it’s rather a boring one and why limit oneself? Life can become a giant game and you’ve got the book of cheats ;)
There are only two ways the ego can be dissolved or demoted. One way is that the ego commits suicide out of pure hopelessness; this actually happens: for someone who is being tortured or close to death it is not uncommon for the ego to give up entirely, leaving the person effectively enlightened — a beautiful way to go. Alternatively the ego needs to actually be built up, become secure and then make a rational decision to step down with it considering this the best decision for the whole.
On my recent 400mcg 1P-LSD experience all my egos — I experienced splitting to a high degree — held a meeting. I had already given up on pretending to be normal and so the meeting was acted out physically with me standing in front of a mirror talking to myself. The subject of the meeting was to determine the best possible action for my personal development in light of recent realizations, specifically whether the ego should step down as the master of my consciousness. Tensions were running high. The main topics were: (1) whether I could function fully without the ego’s help, (2) what would happen to the egos if they dissolved, (3) surely I need them to keep me focused on my dreams and desires in life. My higher-self was also present, but being a higher-self it just floated around neutrally observing the incident with complete acceptance of everything and didn’t have any opinion unless asked. One ego made the point that we already trust the higher-self and it makes sense for the higher-self to take the highest position. The higher-self said that it would gladly do so if everyone wanted that, but it doesn’t really mind either way. Another ego was worried that if it dissolved then the higher-self, with it not giving a shit about anything, might abandon everything that is important to me. This question was put to the higher-self who very interestingly explained that the wants and desires of the ego are interpretations of the true self’s destiny; which is going to happen anyway but in the meantime the ego interprets what for the true self is destiny by thinking that it is some kind of mission that is possible to fail, something that I desire but do not have, and then worries a lot about it and tries to achieve interpretations of it in different ways, none of which being the fulfillment of the destiny and so none of which satisfying. This made sense to the egos and gave support to their dissolution. One ego was hurt that he’d been trying so hard to help all this time and it was all for nothing; but the other egos and the higher self reassured him that that was how we got here to this meeting and everything they’ve all done has been greatly appreciated; it’s just that it’s time now to let the higher-self take charge. Another ego was worried about what would happen to it if it dissolved, the higher-self explained firstly that anything that can disappear was never really there in the first place, but that if he was elected he had no problem letting the ego stay along for the ride as long as it agreed not to try to do anything. This was found to be an attractive idea among the egos, who frankly had been way out of their depth for a long time and after consideration were quite keen on the idea of giving up responsibility to someone more qualified, especially if they can still enjoy the show.
In the end the decision was unanimous: the egos agreed to all step down and adopted a new mantra: “it’s not my responsibility” — which was to apply to everything that happened from now on.
I’d like to now say that my ego then withdrew and I’m fully operating as my true self with all the bells and whistles. Unfortunately I’m not all the way there yet; the ego is somewhat tricky. The ego has habits and requires training. The first hurdle was not so difficult, it was to drill home my new mantra of “it’s not my responsibility.” My egos came up with this in the meeting and now chant it every time they start thinking or worrying about something. The ego still needs to truly accept this, currently it has to remind itself and that pulls me out of just being each time it reminds itself. But it is a great leap forward. The second hurdle is that whenever I become fully immersed in experience, as the experiencer, the ego shouts “it’s working!” which then pulls me out of the experience and back to the ego. So while I have the groundwork set in that the ego is now determined to step back, the actual stepping back is going to take some more time. Still, I am most of the way there; it’s now self-perpetuating in that the ego wants to not be there. It’s only a matter of time.
The “it’s working” voice is particularly interesting because this is where one can witness the contrast between being the ego and not being the ego. While I cannot feel the experiencer, I can feel the difference between being without ego and then coming back to it. But to question whether I am being in the ego or not is a question asked by the ego and immediately brings the ego to the forefront.
You can see where it’s tricky: if I question whether it’s working then it stops working, and if the ego thinks that it’s the ego’s responsibility to be quiet then it’s going to try and that will stop it from working. The only way for it to work is that I do not question, do not try to not question, I do not consider it my responsibility to try or to question, and I do not have to remind myself of any of these things. The only solution is complete trust and acceptance. Everything ends up as a leap of faith.
I suspect that I have a little bit of karma still unresolved that I need to address before I can fully make that leap, and also that I’ve generated new karma by my ego’s frustration at itself that it did not step back entirely.
The conclusion is that full acceptance is the key for higher state of consciousness. The ego is the thing that doesn’t accept and so the ego must learn to accept by letting go of responsibility and trusting the higher-self. While it is possible on a temporary basis to achieve a higher state of consciousness by confusing or overwhelming the ego, for permanence the ego will need to make a decision to step down. In order to choose to step down the ego must fully trust that the higher-self can do a better job, and it needs to work out current barriers to acceptance which are called karma.
- Work out all your current emotional issues, aka karma. This is done by facing your fears and experiencing your pains.
- Practice no-thought to gain trust in the higher self and understanding of true-thought.
- Allow the ego to rationalize itself away.
- Repeat until the trust is complete.
Both meditation and LSD will drastically speed up this process, both being superb tools for emotional resolution, no-thought and introspection.
Bonus Breakthroughs & Hidden Worlds
I had some mystical revelations on my last experience, which you probably won’t understand but I will share anyway.
Firstly, I did mention above the concept that the desires that we have are actually interpretations of the true self’s destiny. Your destiny is the same as your individual life’s meaning. There are multiple destinies at play at any one point in time. Each person has a major personal destiny that represents you as an individual. All of these destinies come from God’s desire to experience every possible variant of himself — so you could say a destiny is a question to which God wants an answer, the answer to which is played out as a reality, and you are part of that. You have your own destiny but you also participate in multiple group destinies, including the destinies of other people, countries, the Earth, etc. Everything has a purpose; for instance war is playing out some experience which is the answer to a question, and therefore the war itself is desired by God. Actually war is extremely desirable, it’s awesome — all those experiences, all that expression, all that conflict, all that resistance — that’s what life is about. Same with rape and murder: the more intense the experience and the stronger feelings everyone has about something, the more desirable it is, as far as God is concerned.
Most people are unable to know their own meaning, their own destiny, because that would stop them from being able to achieve it. It would take away the immersive experience of it; it’s necessary for most people to think that everything is super-important otherwise it would not be an immersive experience. Most people can never achieve a higher state of consciousness because that would not help them achieve their destiny. However, they are not ‘lesser souls’ than any Buddha. They didn’t fail at anything. None of us fail. We are all entirely successful, there is no other way to be.
I happen to know what my destiny is, but the reason for that is that my destiny is something that requires me knowing what it is in order to do it; whereas for most people it’s required that they don’t know what their destiny in order to do it.
With all this talk about destiny, where is free will? You both have free will and you don’t have it at the same time. What you will do is already determined because God is outside of time, but since you are God, you were the one who decided what you will do and what will happen to you. So basically you don’t have free will as a human being, but you do have free will because God decided what will happen and the experiencer that you really are is God. Plus since you as a human don’t know what is going to happen, you have an illusion of choice, which for all intents and purposes is the same as free will.
The next realization was about this reality and the size of all reality. Reality is infinite. All reality is about resistance because that is what happens when two things interact, they must resist or they don’t know they are there. You know that this computer monitor is here because it resists light and it resists your hand. Resistance is a form of conflict and this is why it is said in Buddhism that life is suffering, because life is by nature resistance else it couldn’t exist. Resistance is another manifestation of the one consciousness trying to feel itself (as discussed in my earlier article), to become the knower and the known, the yang and the yin, there must be resistance else it could not know and feel itself.
Whenever there is resistance the resistance itself is acted out as a reality. It’s not exactly like this, but I’m limited to metaphors using English, so I’ll present it as best I can: each time you touch something it is like asking a question “what is here?” and you get an answer to that question as the object resisting your hand. But to get that answer an entire universe, just as complicated as this universe, comes into existence and acts out the resistance battle over what is in that universe trillions of years (is a way of thinking of it.) This universe that we are in and everything in it, along with the specific laws of nature that we happen to have, are all finding an answer to some question that could have just been another being in another reality stepping on the floor. That’s a massive simplification and it’s not quite like that but it’s one way to imagine it using the tools for communication we have.
I had a glimpse of other realities that are so different to this reality there is no adequate way to communicate it. There are realities that have no time and no space. There is a reality which, using our metaphors, looks something like music, existing without time and space, and the beings in that reality produce more and more beautiful music. However, there are different opinions on what beautiful is and some beings sometimes sabotage each other’s music according to their musical desires. The beings in this universe think they are the music and so to sabotage another’s music is an act akin to rape, and there is great anguish over it. Silly music beings!
Finally I will say that even on Earth there are multiple patterns going on simultaneously, with crossover and combined destiny to one extent, but also acting with different destinies. There are unimaginable secrets and hidden-in-plain-sight treasures all over the place. There are entire communities of human beings on Earth with an entirely different agenda to what we think of as mankind. We are on the tip of the iceberg, there is so, so much more.
Read more about my LSD adventures and the nature of reality:
Me, LSD & The Meaning of Life
Eggs, a Short Story from Ali’s Adventures in Wonderland
Reverse Engineering a Higher State of Consciousness
A Journey to Hell and Back Again
The World Has Gone Mad
Me, LSD & Everything
The End of the Line: Looking Back
Please recommend this article and send the link to your friends.