Leo's Blog: Infinite Insights — Page 8
I want you to rethink your notion of what hallucination is.
Various dictionaries define hallucination as:
- "Perception of objects with no reality."
- "A sensory experience in which a person can see, hear, smell, taste, or feel something that is not there."
In our culture, the label "hallucination" has a strong negative connotation because it implies a thing is unreal and hence inferior.
The problem, of course, with these definitions is that they assume a naive realist paradigm. Meaning, they don't take seriously the possibility that nothing may exist outside of mind. How can we ever distinguish a hallucination from a normal perception, given that the only thing we have of reality is perception itself? We can never validate our perceptions by matching them up to some other facts — not even in theory — because all facts must be perceived to be known. Perceptions are the only facts we've got! If hallucination is defined as a perception of something which isn't really there, then that opens the possibility that the entire world is a hallucination, because you can NEVER be sure that there is anything behind your perceptions.
And that's exactly right! The trouble is, people don't take this conclusion seriously. They dismiss it as some philosophical abstraction.
If you're like the typical person, you hold hallucination as a category of experience which is separate from ordinary "real" experience. To you, hallucinations are clearly unreal and inferior to real perceptions. But now I want you to consider the radical possibility that everything is a hallucination! Consider that there are not two categories of experience, one "real" and one "hallucinatory", but only one category: hallucination. You might wonder, "But Leo... Why call this one category hallucination instead of perception?" Because hallucination is closer to the fact. Hallucination is defined as perception without an object. Which is EXACTLY what we've got! Which is why mystics all around the world have referred to reality as "a dream", "an illusion", "Maya", etc.
Perception = hallucination! There is nothing else behind it! There is no physical, external world behind your everyday perceptions. Which literally means that what you think of as solid, tangible, physical, material reality is just a hallucination, albeit a rather persistent one — one which is shared by most of the people in your tribe. That is, until you start to play around with altered states of consciousness or psychedelics. Then you quickly realize how intangible, unreal, and hallucinatory your everyday experience was all along.
This is exactly why psychedelics are so effective. And also exactly why they are so demonized by mainstream culture. The problem with psychedelics from the social point of view is that they reveal the distinction between "real" and "unreal" to be an artificial construction. And that's bad for business.
The problem with people who demonize psychedelics is that they assume that they will ingest this physical chemical substance which will then alter their physical material brain, conjuring up "just" hallucinations. So why bother trying it, right? It's just going to be some wacky fantastical delusion which has no bearing on real physical life.
But this logic makes some overlooked existential assumptions: 1) An assumption is made that the distinction between "real" and "hallucinatory" is somehow inherent to reality rather than artificially constructed by human consensus. 2) An assumption is made that psychedelic experiences are less genuine or truthful than ordinary experiences. 3) An assumption is made that things like "the brain", "the body", "chemicals", "reality" are all REAL physical things, and not themselves hallucinations or conceptual constructions. 4) An assumption is made that a hallucinated chemical cannot interact with a hallucinated brain to reveal the hallucinatory nature of hallucination. But what if everything you've ever experienced or known, including the idea that your experience is "real", is just a hallucination? What if you're begging the question due to paradigm lock?
Think of it this way: if you are lying in bed sound asleep, you can dream up a hallucinated alien chasing your hallucinated body while you fight it off with a hallucinated machine gun which can puncture its hallucinated skin resulting it a hallucinated victory and even a hallucinated feeling of joy. So in a dream — precisely BECAUSE everything is a hallucination — a hallucinated weapon is very useful. Without it, you might get eaten alive!
Now, what if what you call "reality" works just like that?
That would be quite the mindfuck! Which is why so many people who casually try psychedelics get terrified. If we are familiar with the deep lessons of epistemology, that's exactly what we should expect when people make such deep existential assumptions so carelessly. You CANNOT accurately evaluate consciousness from a naive realist paradigm! The paradigm is so deeply flawed that the only way it can be sustained is by staying far away from any possible altered states of consciousness. Your life must be designed to maintain the consistency of your experience, because literally your entire sense of reality depends upon it. So if ever such a person happens to casually ingest a psychedelic substance, they have one of two choices: reject the experience, blaming it on the evil, delusional psychedelic, or swallow their pride, admit they were deeply wrong about the nature of reality, and have their entire paradigm overthrown.
Let me be very clear what I'm saying here: reality is literally a self-interactive hallucination, whether you're on psychedelics or not. There is no such thing as "real". The notion of a "reality" had to be constructed by humans! How else would it exist? It exists from the human's point of view. The reason it SEEMS so real is precisely because there's nothing to easily contrast it with — the hallucination is so all-encompassing you can't see its edges.
To avoid this inconvenient truth, mainstream society expends a lot of energy spinning intricate webs of belief, ideologies, and rules to construct and maintain bubbles of delusion which insist that ordinary experience is really "real". What society must tell you is, "No! Reality is really real! It is that way! We didn't construct it. We promise! Trust us. What, are you crazy??? Do you want us to lock you up in the loony bin?" But the truth is, the notion of "reality" is just a social convention. It is a useful convention in order to get a normative grip over the minds of the masses so they can be manipulated towards the propagation of the species.
No wonder the world is so ideologically fucked up. People are eager to kill other people over mere webs of belief because the very nature of reality and the success of the species is at stake (for them). Now that's what you call Maya at its finest!
The irony is that this insight was revealed to me by a psychedelic.
P.S. You might still be left wondering, "But Leo... What about REAL crazy people, like those who hallucinate demons? Aren't they really psycho?"
Well... Maybe they aren't as psycho as they seem. After all, what is the concept "psycho" but a social convention? If you really cared about understanding "psychos", you'd have to find a way to enter their paradigm, their reality. And if you ever did, maybe you'd agree with them ;)
When you're meditating, your face should look as limp as a sleeping baby's.
Relax your entire face!
Especially your jaw and brow.
Stay vigilant against facial tension and relax it away over and over again. It will take months of practice before your face learns to relax. So keep reminding yourself because you will forget.
Remember that body tension is the default position and happens unconsciously. Body relaxation requires conscious letting go (at least for neurotic adults).
Of course don't fall asleep as you do this. Be totally relaxed, but fully alert.
Watch these two videos. They will be important for your understanding of Absolute Infinity — or what Absolute reality is. I'll explain this a lot deeper in the future. The important thing to understand for now is that it's not just a theory. You can become directly conscious of it. If you ever do, you'll instantly recognize it as "God".
And here's a bonus video: Imagining The Omniverse.
First, let's not lose sight of the highest goal: it's far more important to just meditate anytime in the day whenever you can vs not meditating that day at all.
But once you've got that habit locked in, you might want to optimize it further. Best times to meditate are:
- Whenever you're naturally most alert and awake
- Immediately after a nap
- Early morning (as long as you aren't still sleepy)
- After orgasm/sex
Worst times to meditate:
- When you're dead-tired
- When you're sleepy
- At the very end of your day
- When you're motivated to be elsewhere: hungry, horny, busy, etc.
The general rule of thumb is: your meditation session will be most effective when you are most refreshed, most mentally sharp, and least sleepy. Whatever time of day that is for you, that's your ideal time to meditate. For some people that will be early morning. For others, mid-day. For others, right after gym. Etc.
Right now I meditate first-thing when I wake up, but this is not my ideal time, because I'm still sleepy and foggy. I like to have a second meditation session mid-day, when I'm most alert. Of course when I'm most alert I tend to procrastinate meditation the most because I tend to want to put that alertness towards getting work done. It's a counter-intuitive move to interrupt the peak of my workday for an hour of meditation, but this is an investment that will pay back in spades over the long term, so it's worth it — an example of applied strategic thinking.
Note: this rule-of-thumb also applies to self-inquiry. Especially so!
I find my meditation and self-inquiry ability skyrockets immediately after naps, and orgasm. Because in both these cases the mind is relaxed and attentive, but not sleepy.
Also, make a distinction between an established meditator vs a newbie meditator. Once you've spent a few years doing daily meditation, your practice will be strong enough that you can meditate almost anywhere, any time. But during those first few years of starting up your practice, you need to focus on building a quality meditation. This is where it really helps to meditate at the ideal time in the day. If you're a newbie, you need all the help you can get. It won't do you much good to ingrain a habit of meditating while you're dead-tired. Your results from that will be very minor compared to meditating when you're most alert. The key to meditation is to do it consciously, not mechanically.
Always be double-checking with yourself: "Has my meditation become mechanical? Am I just going through the motions of meditating but actually forgetting to be aware?"
Alexander Shulgin was a lone-wolf chemist who single-handedly advanced the field of psychedelics the most. He synthesized and personally tested over 200 new psychedelic substances, which he describes with clinical precision in his books, PiHKAL and TiHKAL.
Watch this illuminating documentary of him and his work:
Interestingly, of all the substances Shulgin self-tested, he describes 5-meo-dmt as one of the most powerful and spiritually significant, rating it a ++++ experience. The substance was so special to him that he and his colleagues agreed to hold back from popularizing 5-meo because they didn't want the DEA to ban it. Their plan was successful until 2011, when it was finally banned in the USA.
Read about Shulgin's 5-meo-dmt experiences.
I wanted to share this excellent description of what enlightenment feels like, by Suzanne Segal, so you're clear what you're shooting for:
"After months of this mystifying witness awareness, something changed yet again: The witness disappeared. The disappearance of the witness meant the disappearance of the last vestiges of the experience of personal identity. The witness had at least held a location for a 'me', albeit a distant one. In the dissolution of the witness, there was literally no more experience of a 'me' at all. The experience of personal identity switched off and was never to appear again."
"The personal self was gone, yet here was a body and a mind that still existed empty of anyone who occupied them. The experience of living without a somebody, an 'I' or a 'me', is exceeding difficult to describe, but it is absolutely unmistakable. When the personal self disappears, there is no one inside who can be located as being you. The body is only an outline, empty of everything of which it had previously felt full."
"The mind, body, and emotions no longer referred to anyone — there was no one who thought, no one who felt, no one who perceived. Yet the mind, body, and emotions continued to function unimpaired; apparently they did not need an 'I' to keep doing what they always did."
"In an attempt to understand what had occurred, the mind began working overtime, generating endless questions, all unanswerable. Who thought? Who felt? Who was afraid? Who were people talking to when they spoke to me? Who were they looking at? Why was there a reflection in the mirror, since there was no one there? Why did these eyes open in the morning? Why did this body continue? Who was living? Life became one long, unbroken koan, forever unsolvable, forever mysterious, completely out of reach of the mind's capacity to comprehend."
"The oddest moments occurred when any reference was made to my name. If I had to write it on a check or sign a letter, I would stare at the letters on the paper and the mind would drown in perplexity. The name referred to no one. Without a personal self, the inside or internal simply did not exist. The inward-turning motion of the mind became the most bizarre of experience when time and again it found total emptiness where it had previously found an object to perceive, a self-concept."
"The more baffled the mind became, the greater the fear. Worst of all, simultaneous with the cessation of personal identity, the experience of sleep had changed radically, leaving me with no escape from the constant awareness of emptiness of self. Sleeping and dreaming now contained the awareness of no one who slept or dreamed, just as the waking state of consciousness contained the awareness that there was no one who was awake."
"In that moment a deep despair settled over the mind as it realized that I would never again experience having a personal self — even though the mind could never grasp how that was possible. I walked around wondering who was still alive. I wandered the streets gazing into every shop window, praying that the next glimpse of my reflection would bring back a flicker of recognition, praying for a solid experience of seeing myself in the eyes that stared back from the window's glare. It never happened."
It's time to grow up; time to stop pretending there's a you here.
Credit: Collision With The Infinite by Suzanne Segal
When are you going to finally face up to your web of excuses?
One of the most outrageous unacknowledged crimes committed by the U.S. government:
“The Nixon campaign in 1968, and the Nixon White House after that, had two enemies: the antiwar left and black people. You understand what I’m saying? We knew we couldn’t make it illegal to be either against the war or black, but by getting the public to associate the hippies with marijuana and blacks with heroin, and then criminalizing both heavily, we could disrupt those communities. We could arrest their leaders, raid their homes, break up their meetings, and vilify them night after night on the evening news. Did we know we were lying about the drugs? Of course we did.”
The above is a verbatim confession of Nixon administration and Watergate co-conspirator John Ehrlichman.
That psychedelics are illegal and so demonized by the state is a crime against human rights. What they taught you in school about psychedelics — and what has now become the general population's default position on psychedelics — was a propagandistic, scientifically invalid load of horseshit. A political smear campaign which will take us more than a century to correct.
Make no mistake, we are still in the Dark Ages. If only people knew to what extent... Of course the very tools that can quickly and easily show the extent are demonized and outlawed. The ego's devilry knows no bounds. It simultaneously does its dirty work at the private and collective levels, without qualms.
For the same reasons, The War on Terrorism will prove a far greater failure than The War on Drugs.
A few months ago I heard doctor Jeffery Martin of the Finder's Course — who's doing great research on enlightenment in an academic setting — referring to enlightenment as "persistent non-symbolic experience".
At first I thought: what an awkward way to phrase it.
But the more I meditate and self-inquire, the more I see the power of this phrasing. Because it captures the essence of what we're aiming for.
What are we REALLY trying to do when we meditate or self-inquire?
We're trying to escape symbolic experience! Monkey mind is symbolic experience. Rationalization is symbolic experience. Traditional learning is symbolic experience. Talking is symbolic experience. Western philosophy is symbolic experience. Science is symbolic experience.
To escape all that and to see reality AS-IT-IS you have to drop symbolizing. Because symbols, by definition, are NOT the things they represent. People really overlook this simple point: to symbolize a thing is to immediately misrepresent it. Because you have to substitute the thing itself with a second thing, while forgetting the second thing's being! This is the core of how illusion happens. Symbols cannot get at the BEING-level of anything. All symbols are metaphorical, which means they aren't the bottom-most level.
Mindfulness = the opposite of symbolism. Mindfulness is the untying of the knot of being wrapped up in language, to return back to a non-linguistic, non-symbolic mode of being.
First-order reality is non-symbolic. Second-order reality is symbolic, but this entire second order is by virtue of the first. It's eye opening to pause throughout the day and realize, "Oh, hey! I've been lost in symbolic reality all day. That's not primary! Let me get back to what's primary by letting go of all this symbolizing."
Symbols are a very powerful tool. Just think of how much it has allowed mankind to achieve. But like all powerful tools, when used unconsciously, it's a source of great suffering and danger. Symbols creates the possibility for delusion.
This insight is MASSIVE in it's scope and significance. It will take you years of mindfulness practice to grasp what I'm saying. But that's okay, it will be worth it.
Anal-Haq (pronounced: an'aaal h'aaak) is an Arabic phrase which translates as, "I am Truth".
This phrase was famously uttered by the great Sufi mystic Mansur Al-Hallaj, who was executed in Baghdad in the year 922 A.D. for proclaiming: "Anal-Haq! Anal-Haq!"
"I am God! I am God!"
Of course he was dead-on. So much so it got him hung. A tragic example of how organized religion backfires, killing the very truth its meant to promote.
I wanted to bring this phrase to your attention so you could add it to your nonduality lexicon. I love collecting and studying the many different phrases for enlightenment found around the world. Hopefully this expands your appreciation of mystical traditions around the world and makes your pursuit of nonduality more cosmopolitan.
Be diligent with your self-inquiry work, and one day you will exclaim "Anal-Haq!!!" with a shit-eating grin.
I saw my Lord with the eye of the heart
I asked, "Who are You?"
He replied, "You".