In this article, you’ll find instructions on how to utilise Magic Mushrooms as an instrument for expanding and deepening your meditation practice. In these oh so confusing times, it’s useful to reconnect once in a while to go within, because that which we see outside of ourselves is a hologram born of illusion. These aren’t my words, but those of esoterics and mystics – as well as advanced physicists – who have been confirming this for almost a century. Nothing exists without Consciousness, and so meditation is indispensable in beginning to gain some understanding of the truth “I am the observer” and not that chaotic and casual being which is my thoughts. In the words of Joe Vitale: “meditation is not what you think”. And, if I may add to his sentiment, you are not your thoughts.
A new article was needed, written by me
The first article which launched this blog is dedicated to meditation. To “break the ice” a little and gain confidence in writing for this project I had translated an honest article from an English site (not inserted in the English language section). Having acquired a strange fear since the start of this adventure, I was glad to have finally finished something. I’d been afraid of not knowing what to write following my book, The Magic Mushroom User’s Guide, which I considered (and still do consider) to be a complete and exhaustive handbook on magic mushrooms. As always, all I needed to do to block out my trepidation was to simply begin. In fact, the articles which have resulted so far are numerous and, on average, pretty long. Now I have so many things I want to write about, I can barely keep up with them!
However, I didn’t find that translated article totally satisfactory. As with much of the information one finds online, it happens, and I’m always left with a feeling that something is missing. Specifically, I feel it lacked concrete directions for how to put things into practice. Perhaps I’m a little fixated on instructions in general, but when I read something that interests me and I want to put into practice, I always ask myself how? And I imagine this is true for everyone to varying degrees.
Do you have psychedelic experience?
So let’s start at the beginning – the beginning being mushrooms, that is – and ask whether or not you’ve been acquainted. Having or not having experience is a key discriminating factor. Indeed, if you’ve already been on a number of voyages with mushrooms, it’ll be easier to use them to meditate. And if the opposite is true, you’ll have to take into account the issue of finding the right fit for you – this is something you probably won’t manage the first time round. This is true if you use a psychoactive dose, but there’s actually an easier alternative, and we’ll talk about that soon enough. If you take a psychoactive dose and understand mushrooms very little or not at all, the biggest hurdle you’ll face is resisting all the visual and generally sensory suggestions. It’s particularly easy during the first few times to become fascinated with the visions of this new world being laid out before you.
The first times you use mushrooms, it’s maybe better to just explore the experience which puts the practice of meditation to the test. The curiosity which arises during the initial few experiences is perfectly understandable. One wants to discover the sensory magic which the fungi offer you. Just start with a little dose and you’ll be unlikely to have any problems. If you’re at home, make yourself comfortable, choose a nice, varied soundtrack and stay with the perceptions the fungi offer you. While being outside surrounded by nature is an option, you need nothing but the mushrooms themselves: the vitality of everything around you alone will be one of the most glorious spectacles you’ll witness in your whole life. There’s no reason you can’t meditate the first time you take mushrooms, but remember that it might not be easy. There’s nothing wrong with just waiting and finding your feet in this new dimension first.
However, if you already have delved into the world of mushrooms, you’ll know by now what kind of dose is right for you. This will be approximately something like 1-3 grams of dry mushrooms, but I’ll elaborate on this later.
Maybe you already know that mushrooms can already be used in not one but two ways: one can take a normal dose and have a psychedelic experience, or one can “microdose”. A microdose being the consumption of a non-psychoactive dose. How can you do this in order to meditate with the mushrooms? And which mode of consumption is best for you?
I need to say something else on this subject of meditation. Many types of meditation exist, but if you ask me the most useful of these is present meditation, or rather Vipassanā (branded in the modern world with the name Mindfulness, which is actually a registered trademark!) And what does this consist of? Referring to specific texts is needed for a detailed explanation, but fundamentally it’s a practice which helps one to develop the silent internal witness. In short: I sit comfortably on the ground with my legs crossed, or in a chair with my back straight and feet well planted on the floor.
No matter the position, start with ten or so minutes of concentration, bringing your attention to your breath. If you remain present for every inhale and exhale, you’ll feel the fresh air entering and the tepid air exiting your body. Every time something distracts you, bring your attention back to the breath, without judgement, and without saying to yourself oops, I’m distracted again, I’m not capable of this, I’m not good enough to do even such a simple thing. Okay? If you experience difficulty, don’t let it get you down. Be patient and resume. The aim of this phase – Samatha – is quieting the mind. If the mind is the surface of a lake stirred by the wind, this phase serves to calm the wind – i.e. your thoughts – and calm the surface until it becomes as smooth as a mirror, so you can reflect on what is there.
After this initial phase you remain in a state of internal observation, present to all that is happening. You listen to the sounds around you, you feel an array of physical sensations, you observe thoughts as they come and go, all without identification. Or rather, you perceive without losing yourself in the thoughts which are induced by these internal and external phenomena. The goal is to develop the internal witness who is present to what’s going on, including the observation of thoughts which pass like clouds in a clear sky. Usually, when a thought appears it drags us away. We lose ourselves in chasing whatever it is, but during meditation we must get back to being present and so let go of the thought – without losing patience. Meditation is an exercise one practices to this goal: getting back to, and remaining in, the present moment, in the here and now.
Meditation is not an extemporaneous activity. It must be practiced regularly, and become a good habit almost like brushing one’s teeth. The basis is the meditation itself, upon which one can add microdosing for a certain number of weeks (or an occasional psychoactive experience). Psilocybin tolerance could impede one from tripping more than once a week, so one must limit its use out of necessity. Practice on a regular basis and incorporate the stimulus of a psychoactive substance according to which mode you chose, the significance of which I will explore shortly.
How exactly can sacred mushrooms help this process? Let’s start with microdosing, which is less tricky to manage in comparison to higher doses. A microdose – which I spend a whole chapter of my book exploring – is a small quantity of mushrooms or truffles, equivalent to the content of one or two milligrams of psilocybin or psilocin, insufficient for producing a psychedelic effect in anyone. Take the dose in the morning on an empty stomach and then make some breakfast. It’s best to eat something, actually. Coffee though? It’s best to avoid your morning brew because it’s a stimulant and can prompt a physical reaction that might be quite uncomfortable. On the first few occasions at least, I’d suggest postponing coffee for at least two to three hours as it tends to interfere with the microdose.
And what effect does a microdose have? The reaction is very subjective and furthermore can change with time as you microdose on more and more occasions. At times, you’ll take the capsule and then for two or three hours you’ll feel a strange sensation, like a slight feeling of agitation or restlessness, along with a few physical sensations – light ones – in the body, perhaps in the arms or the chest. Some may find themselves moved by emotions like anger or fear, or tears even. It’s nothing terrible, but it does happen. Just remain observant. These emotional and physical effects happen after the first consumptions and then pass. That being said, you might always have it, or never even. There’s no hard and fast rule. Most importantly, don’t worry: after three hours, all the effects will be finished anyway. Eating something after consumption helps to dampen the eventual effect, but not even this is guaranteed. If therefore you’re used to practicing on an empty stomach, you can take the capsule anyway and have breakfast later. On a physiological level, you won’t encounter any problems. You might feel the magic mushroom effects, and if you do you can include it in your practice. Experimentation really is always worth the effort.
Consuming a microdose happens every four days, or more exactly, every 72 hours (an interesting number for various reasons). More frequent consumptions will create tolerance issues and nullify the effects. Think of anything you take before that 72 hour grace period as being wasted. This microdosing cycle is advised for a period of 10 weeks, which equals to about 24 consumptions overall. If for whatever reason you should miss a day, just resume the day after and remember to maintain the 72 hour rule after that.
How can you incorporate meditation into this microdosing cycle? Simple: every morning, possible in the same place at the same time – a general rule for meditation practices – do it for twenty to thirty minutes until Vipassanā (the first 10 minutes being Shamatha, the last phase of self-observation).
The microdose will have a subtle effect, but in practice you will feel the difference, especially if you’ve accumulated a little experience. Test things out and experiment – there’s almost three months to see what happens in your practice. Do you do yoga? That’s great. You could even see a difference in your yoga with regards to your internal perception. Overall, the microdose will help you experience yourself in a way that’s subtly different to normal, which could lead to interesting and unexpected discoveries.
Keeping a nightly diary
Finally, I want to suggest this very powerful additional practice you can do during your microdosing period: recording all your observations from the day in a nightly diary. What kind of notes should these be? You can divide them into three parts: body, emotion and mind. Try to write freely on what you have observed, but the key part of this is to remember to do it every single night. This kind of diary-keeping can have many positive effects: it will help you sustain your everyday self-observation (helped also by the microdosing), but knowing you have that nightly appointment to keep will do much more than that. Putting pen to paper is also a kind of power, a power which makes the interior work you’re doing all the more effective. Do not use a computer keyboard, and don’t underestimate the profound effect that writing by hand can have on you – along with the self-observation and presence you’re practicing, of course.
I recommend nightly diary keeping as an aid to microdosing as well as with psychoactive doses. Regardless, it works. In time, re-reading what you’ve recorded can illuminate changes you might not notice otherwise..
The psychoactive dose
Now we’ll take a look at how to link meditation with the consumption of a psychoactive dose. Remember that meditating just once for the experience makes little sense, so integrating meditation into a mushroom trip should be a continuous path. In the days following a trip, you might perceive a so-called “afterglow” (that particular sensation which lingers a few days after taking the substance). Many maintain that this facilitates one’s entry into a much more vivid and consistent state of being present.
If with microdosing I suggest you practice after taking the dose – and obviously on the days following – you must naturally practice while under the psychedelic effects. So how many mushrooms do I take? This will depend on your experience, but as an indication don’t take more than three grams (if your tolerance level is average). That being said, I’ve tried – and even succeeded – to stay in a meditative state for over four consecutive hours on 8.47 grams of dry mushrooms!
Let’s imagine that you’ve ingested two to three grams of dry mushrooms – and consider that the psychoactive dose starts at a single gram. Then after around 30 minutes you start to feel the effects. At this point, there are two possibilities: one more challenging, and one that’s a little easier. The first requires you to sit in a meditative position – comfortably sat down with your legs crossed – from the start; the second involves doing this once the initial and most intense effect has passed (so around 90 minutes after the mushrooms start taking effect). I suggest trying the first, because if you manage to resist the body load phase – in which the body “charges up” the substance – all the effort you put into staying seated directs you right back and helps you maintain that meditative position. It’s not easy, as temptation to lie down can be strong, but that’s the beauty of the challenge – confronting yourself with what you believe to be your limits.
How to meditate during the trip
What do you do in the middle of a trip and you want to meditate? Simply put, keep reminding yourself that you’re tripping, and remain conscious of your breath, your body, and observe your thoughts (exactly as you would while meditating). Will it be easy, or will it be hard? I can’t say how it’ll be for you, but it’ll certainly be interesting! It’ll either be very hard, and you’ll clearly see exactly what those difficulties are – whether they be physical, emotional or mental – or you’ll enjoy a deeply powerful meditation in which you can discover unexpected resources to support you. Or it might just happen that the mushrooms’ magic causes a temporary reawakening within you. At that point you can even stand up, look around you and do things without losing that state of grace – a state of continuous meditation, in which nothing can distract you – for as long as it lasts.
Compared to meditative practice carried out in an ordinary state of consciousness, this psychedelic meditation lasts a much longer time. However, it’s the exception that proves the rule: don’t exaggerate the lengths of your daily meditations (30 minutes at most every day is definitely more than enough).
Furthermore, remember never to force things during a psychedelic meditation. And more specifically, don’t play with your breath or (even worse) try to raise your Kundalini! You’ll risk hurting yourself, maybe even irreparably, so don’t rush. Everything will arrive naturally and in its own time.
Should you use music? I’d say no, namely because it doesn’t help you stay present with what is, i.e. the goal of your meditation. Indeed, most music will steer you away during the trip or at the peak of the effects. The only exception I know of is perhaps the special OM, which is composed of a very special person who was a bit of a therapist and very much a shaman: Frank Natale.
Years ago, I had the privilege of knowing and seeing him. He composed a series of OM which was very strong indeed and has an integrity I can personally confirm. During the trip, you can rely on it without hesitation. Below, I’ve popped a link to one of these, which is also in my ceremonial playlist. Every time, I hear it marks a breathtaking experience. And it might be able to help you too while meditating. It could carry you away from your goal, of course, but you’ll need to try and see for yourself.
Ego Death – The collapse of the Ego
And finally, a few words on Ego Death – the so-called collapse and dissolving of the ego. As described by most people on the net, it’s a stupid thing. The ego (with a lowercase “e”; your personality) is necessary in this life – we wouldn’t have it otherwise. Rather than destroying it, we ought to recognise and transcend it instead, maintaining the possibility of using it (in an educated manner) when needed. Recognising, transcending and being present to one’s self serves to solidify the awareness that what you are is not your ego/personality.
If you think it’s something to dissolve or to bring to your death, you’re off on the wrong foot and, best case scenario, you’ll be disappointed. Many describe this experience as marvellous or terrifying, confirming that the expectations or convictions which you take into an experience are a decisive factor in determining what you’ll go through. Throw away any expectations, don’t force, don’t resist… If you go with the flow, you’ll be able to leave the identification of your daily life behind and perceive that you’re always there, beyond thought, emotion and physical body. This is the essence of “ego death”, that to which we should aspire. Other things are too far removed to have any use once the trip finishes and you return to our shared reality.
“Dissolution of the ego” is kind of bullshit. The correct term is probably disidentification. This term helps you realise, in fact, that you’re there all along, even when your personality is momentarily put aside as you go beyond. Don’t think it’s who knows what. It is magic, but it’s not something which involves your absence. If that were true, you wouldn’t remember it and it would be as if nothing had happened.
Yes, with very high doses you can feel something much more profound than what I’ve described as “disidentification”, but you’re always there. The knowledge that you exist is always present, even if perhaps in that moment you have no memory of the physical plane in which you’re now reading this article. If you no longer know you exist, you won’t return to reality with the memory of what you’ve experienced. It won’t have been “ego death”, or however you want to call it, but something closer to losing consciousness, or (perhaps better) fainting!
Aspire not to the dissolution of the personality itself, but to presence.
Here is the mighty track from Frank Natale, Mother OM. Listen to it on a good sound system or with headphones, and listen well – above all during a voyage with magic mushrooms – because you’ll discover things which you can’t hear with superficial listening exercise at all. Beyond Mother OM, there are two other very nice OM which I recommend. You’ll find these on YouTube though. If you listen to them insequence you’ll have material for about an hour. Good stuff!
Always read the WARNINGS!