Something Awaits On The Other Side Of Meditation
The state of higher consciousness achieved on psychedelics can be accessed through meditation.
It was a meditation like any other. Before bed, I settled down to watch my breath for 10 minutes.
I wasn’t feeling tranquil. There were two days to Boards— entrance exams for attorneys — and I wasn’t sleeping well. My mind was busy— thoughts babbling unabetted. And I didn’t really feel like watching that circus.
Still, a practice is a practice. So I closed my eyes and began to breathe. Soon, something remarkable happened.
The first few minutes were fitful. I couldn’t silence my thoughts, even with Jim Dethmer’s 4 x 4 breaths technique. They weren’t cooperating. So eventually, I stopped wrestling and let them prattle.
Suddenly I remembered a remark Yuval Noah Harari made in a recent chat with Tim Ferris about Vipassana meditation. The trick is not to focus on breathing — it’s to watch the breath like an external observer.
So I began to watch. And little changed for some minutes.
But then, something happened that’s difficult to describe.
My attention was fixed on my breath. By that, I mean my conscious attention. The awareness I take for granted to be me. That awareness was absorbed with the air moving gently in and out of my nostrils.
But, as I breathed, something else began rising into consciousness. It felt like a calm intensity had climbed up my spine into my brain, pushing outwards against my cranium with a force equal to its intensity.
At the same time, what felt like a bubble that contained my thoughts fell. Like a bubble in a bath, it came gently to rest on the surface. Then it popped, revealing emptiness inside.
Not one involuntary thought remained after that. I could still think, of course—but with more clarity and by my volition. If I did think, the thought boomed through a cavernous consciousness.
But I didn’t need to think. Because what remained was so satisfying:
- A calm intensity.
- An enlarged awareness.