What Happens When People Take Psychedelic Drugs?

By George A. Boyd © 2011

Q: What happens when people take psychedelic or hallucinogenic drugs?

A: You can visualize the effects of ingestion of these substances on seven different layers of the body-mind.

  1. Biochemical/Neurological – This appears to generate passive movement of the astral body through the deeper layers of the mind when the electrochemical action of the drug overwhelms the normal homeostatic mechanisms, and breaks through the protective etheric veil.

  2. Attentional – Absorption of attention into altered states of consciousness and loss of ego awareness. While under the peak influence of the drug, it may be difficult or impossible to return to the waking state of awareness.
  3. Movement – When energy and awareness open into the unconscious bands of the mind, there may be a variety of involuntary motor behavior, including jerking, tics, spasms, or spontaneous posturing. This may also take the form of involuntary speech, such as uttering mantras, making organismic sounds, or speaking in an unknown tongue (glossolalia).
  4. Sensory – Hallucinogenic drugs are known for their rich tapestries of visual displays, sensory illusions, and temporary synesthesia—a blending of the senses.
  5. Emotional – During the psychedelic experience, the person taking the drug may experience a wide range of deeply repressed emotions, such as rage, terror, anxiety, depression, and grief.
  6. Reason – When reason turns off during the depths of the experience, the person may experience the loss of reality testing and inability to identify what is real. This temporary reason-suspending effect of psychedelic drugs is called psychotomimetic, which means, resembling psychosis.
  7. Kundalini – Some individuals experience an awakening of their Kundalini. This powerfully focuses their attention and awareness into altered states of consciousness during the height of the intoxication.

What happens when these different layers are activated during the psychedelic experience?

Layer one is common to many classifications of drugs that overwhelm the homeostatic mechanisms of the brain and passively move the astral body into deeper levels of the body-mind. Similar to hypnosis, these substances appear to readily open the portals of perception into the Subconscious and Superconscious levels of the mind.

Layer two occurs when attention is irresistibly absorbed in the psychedelic experience. Those ingesting these substances may experience that their attention is drawn to a particular center of the Superconscious mind, and may become fixed in it. Depending on the environmental setting, attention may become absorbed in different nuclei of identity, the spirit, or the Soul.

Layer three appears to indicate that the Kundalini has penetrated the unconscious layers of the mind, which produces the involuntary movement and speech characteristic of emergence phenomena. This usually occurs when the Kundalini moves beyond the cutting edge of spirituality.

When Layer four is opened, the normal sensory veil that restricts sensations to the physical environment is transcended, and the individual undergoing the psychedelic experience may temporarily be immersed in the subtle impressions arising from the astral, attentional, attentional principle, spirit, illumined Mind, or Soul octaves of the mind.

Layer five is a direct encounter with deep layers of emotion that are normally secreted in the unconscious mind. The individual undergoing the psychedelic trip may simply experience what is there in the hidden vaults of the mind, or something seen during the drug high may evoke powerful emotional reaction. For example, visions of a demon or extraterrestrial during a trip may evoke terror; beholding an angel or spiritual guide may bring up joy and exultation. In the rare case where the individual experiences temporary possession states during this visionary journey, the fear can become overwhelming.

Layer six appears to occur during powerful psychedelic experiences, which temporarily shut down the rational mind and lead attention to transcend and disidentify with the ego. If these functions are not restored after the drug has worn off, the individual may be left in a sustained delusional and dissociated state.

Layer seven, Kundalini awakening, appears for some people taking the psychedelic substance—not everyone experiences this. When this energy is drawn to levels beyond the Soul—which we refer to the cutting edge of spirituality—the Kundalini energy may move beyond the Soul’s ability to control it, and the individual may experience a full-blown Kundalini emergency syndrome. If the energy is not brought back down, these symptoms may persist beyond the trip.

In Mudrashram®, we recommend that seekers avoid using these powerful psychedelic drugs. Instead, we advocate that they learn to control their attention and intentionally open their awareness to encompass each of the levels that they might encounter during a drug-induced trance, and visit these realms in full consciousness.

Those wishing to learn how you might do this, we teach these methods in our intermediate meditation classes, in in-person Mudrashram® Master Course in Meditation and the by-mail and online Accelerated Meditation Program.