Sometimes, during a deep meditation, unexpected things can happen.
On one occasion I read up on Dimethyltryptamine, or DMT, the psychoactive molecule in the plant Ayahuasca. It’s been consumed by people of the Amazon rainforest for thousands of years. Some even refer to it as the ‘god molecule’ for its transcendent properties, its apparent ability to deliver a person into other realities.
DMT is also produced in small amounts in the brain. So the next morning I got up to do my meditation in the garden as usual. What if, I thought to myself, it were possible to increase the amount of DMT in my system just through willing it? Would that even be possible? So, along with meditating in the usual way, I kept saying, ‘increase the DMT, more DMT’ Over and over,whilst all the while visualising everything I’d read the previous night. So I finished up, but nothing seemed to happen. Oh well worth a try, I thought.
About a half an hour later, I went upstairs to clear out a back room with a view to putting in a writing desk. Suddenly I noticed something odd floating in the air in front of me. I stopped what I was doing and stared at it. It’s not that easy to describe what I was seeing. It was like a black and yellow geometric shape whose outer parameters gradually shifted and adjusted themselves. As I stared at it it slowly became larger, and more subtle colours unfolded out of its interior. Then I looked around the room, and wherever I looked the shape was right in the middle of my vision. Whatever this was, it was going on inside my eye, or my optic nerves, or the visual processing centre of my brain. It’s like there was this gap in the centre of my vision, black in the middle, with a complex geometry around the edges out of which inexplicable colours were slowly emerging. At first I was fascinated by it. But then I began to worry: what if it was permanent? Had I somehow messed up my vision? Had I inadvertently ‘hacked’ my brains visual cortex? But then it began to shrink in size, its edges becoming less distinct, more of a fuzzy blob. Then it became opaque, and was gone.
It was a real case of ‘careful what you wish for.’ As I’ve already pointed out, if you go long enough with any meditation routine, or indeed any spiritual discipline, eventually you will get shown things. You’ll start to see through to other realities, albeit briefly. In this particular case I inadvertently altered the chemical composition of my brain. Maybe that sounds grandiose, but people do things like that all the time, in various ways. Chanting, fasting, doing drugs, walking while chanting mantras, all these things can ‘hack’ your brains chemical structure. Usually the effects don’t really last very long; the human brain is very plastic, that is, it’s a dynamic structure which reshapes itself constantly.
I had a similar experience in a nightclub many years earlier when I was younger. I was chatting to a friend, when suddenly I slipped into a kind of trance. It’s like I was no longer fully in the same room anymore. I was aware and I could still hear everything that was going in around me, but its like the sounds were all coming from the other end of a long tunnel. It was like the aural equivalent of looking at the world through the wrong end of a telescope. Thankfully my friend Sarah, who is a workshop facilitator and an extremely advanced person, understood immediately what was happening, and stayed with me until I came out of it. Again I saw what I can only describe as a kind of abstract geometric shape that seemed to weave itself out of the air in front of me. It stretched along the horizontal right across my vision. It was black in the middle, a kind of blank space out of which emerged all these colours that defied any description. The effect it had on me was so hypnotic that I couldn’t pay the slightest attention to anything else around me at all. For years after that I puzzled over just what I saw that night. No one could have slipped me anything, or spiked my drink, as I was drinking from a water bottle which no one else could have accessed in the short time I was holding it. I think now that there was something about being in that space which, again, affected the balance of DMT in my brain.