Sunday, July 24, 2011

Various Thoughts On All This Stuff

  • On alpha EEG biofeedback with psychedelics
I'd say it has an influence, but perhaps slight. Based on the research I mentioned in an earlier post, the alpha state seems to be more associated with euphoria, and not so much with hallucinations and fantasy. And for whatever reason, I'm not getting much in the way of hallucinations. It amazes me that back in the nineties, with a 2 gram dose, I experienced closed eye visuals, and now with 6+ grams and nitrous oxide I'm not even getting that. I mean, sure, I'm getting the fabric of space and time melting away, but I'm not seeing other worlds or monsters. I would call it more distortion than hallucination.  I'd also say that my pre-alpha biofeedback trips had a substantially larger anxiety component, particularly my first trip which was on LSD.  Then again, I was young and psychologically less experienced.

  • Theanine
Theanine I can't really say. It's plausible that it would help similar to alpha biofeedback. Still a bit unsure about it's MAOi status. On wikipedia it is listed as a substance that should not be used with an MAOi, still not quite sure if it is an MAO inhibitor itself. Based on my last experience, my guess is that it is not.

  • Nitrous Oxide
N2O, classed as a dissociative, takes you beyond, but I personally find it somewhat "egoic." For me it seems to keep the ego or the narcissism strong up until the point where you actually go substantially beyond. I had experienced this before with cannabis and N2O, and had actually decided to abstain from it for that reason, among others. Coming back to it and using it a couple of times with psychedelics I felt like there was a learning process for letting go of that.

  • Photic Stimulation
The use of a light and sound machine, at least the light portion, makes a very fun addition to a trip. I recall reading Stanislov Grof describing how as a psychiatry student he took LSD as one of the first experimental subjects, and at some point they turned on a strobe light set to flash at his dominant alpha frequency. He described it as being "hit by a radiance that seemed comparable to the epicenter of a nuclear explosion, or perhaps the light of supernatural brilliance said in oriental scriptures to appear to us at the moment of death."

I can't say it quite did that for me, but at high enough doses the photic stimulation seems to provide a structure for the mind to compose amazing visualizations. At lower doses a stable alpha frequency was not quite so interesting, programs that varied the frequency seemed more fun. I found the lower frequencies of photic stimulation to be less interesting, but I do find that I sleep better after exposure to lower frequencies rather than high. And at higher doses a stable alpha frequency is just fine.

  • The Progress of Insight from Theravada Buddhism
My wild speculation is that this map of spiritual progress may come into play with psychedelics. Perhaps if you are in the ballpark of approaching the 4th nana, for example, the trip has a better chance of hitting all that 4th nana stuff, the big bliss and love stuff. Once you have solidly passed the 4th nana, then maybe you don't hit the bliss and love quite so much, maybe you could hit it big again if you make it past stream entry and get into the next cycle, or alternatively if you backslide.

  • The learning process
These trips seem to build on each other. Something "new" is encountered, then on the next trip what was once new and barely glimpsed becomes more familiar. I would definitely say any fears I have about tripping are substantially gone (famous last words, I'm sure).

After I became comfortable with tripping, a learning process in itself, particularly after my 2nd trip back, I was just dying to trip again. It's like I got some kind of glimpse or taste, and wanted to go back and see more, understand more. It's like I wanted to trip again the very next day, but grudgingly waited a few weeks to regroup and avoid any tolerance. But the last trip gave me some sense of completeness. Can't really say if I will go back, I kind of assume I might, but I do feel done for the moment. I got a decent glance at what I was looking for, maybe someday I will go back for another look. In Zen they have a map of progress, the 10 oxherding pictures. I feel like I at least caught a glance of the ox. Based on a few ethereal moments, I feel like I got the joke.

One way of putting the joke is that I kind of feel like I am writing to myself.

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