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Meditation is basic spiritual practice for quieting the mind and getting in touch with our deeper Self, the spirit. Meditation provides a deeper appreciation of the interrelatedness of all things and the part each person plays. The simple rules of this game are honesty with yourself about where you are in your life and learning and listening to hear how it is. Meditation is a way of listening more deeply, so you hear how it all is from a more profound place. Meditation enhances your insight, reveals your true nature, and brings you inner peace.

A meditation practice is extremely useful in clearing stuff away and letting you see how your mind keeps creating your universe. The ego will keep you occupied with its endless story line of thought forms. Just keep watching them until they dissolve.

Most traditions require a regular practice in order to progress, to get ahead. On the other hand, there are traditions in which no regular practice is required and people do fine, so I can’t say it is necessary. But I certainly find it useful, and I encourage other people to do it.

Regularly practicing meditation, even when you don’t feel like it, will help you see how your thoughts impose limits and color your existence. Resistances to meditation are your mental prisons in miniature.

It’s delicate, because you have to practice from the place of really remembering why you’re doing it, with some joy and appreciation. If you go into it with, “Oh, I gotta do my practice,” the practice will eventually clean that resistance out of you, but I don’t necessarily feel that’s a good thing. That’s what happens to people when they have to go to church every Sunday. I would rather push you away from spiritual practices until you’re so hungry for them that you really want to do a practice, rather than give you a sense that you ought to do the practice or that you’re a bad person if you don’t do it, because you will end up hating the whole business. In the long run I don’t think it will be good for you. Spiritual practice is wonderful if you want to do it. And if you don’t, don’t.

There are many different forms of meditation from a host of spiritual traditions. I will share with you some of the methods that have been most effective for me over the years. They include Vip?ssana (or insight) meditation from the Southern Buddhist tradition, mantra from Hindu bhakti devotional practice (including how to practice mantra with a mala, or rosary), and guru kripa (grace of the guru) meditation.

Remember the story of a Westerner arriving at the ashram in India and asking Maharaj-ji how to meditate? Maharaj-ji became quiet and closed his eyes. After a few moments, a tear trickled down his cheek, and he said, “Meditate the way Christ meditated. He lost himself in Love. Christ lives in the hearts of all beings. He never died. He never died. ”
Lose yourself in love.

When you are with someone you love very much,
you can talk and it is pleasant, but the reality 176
is not in the conversation.
It is simply in being together.
Meditation is the highest form of prayer.
In it you are so close to God that you don’t need to say a thing
It’s just great to be together.

Swami Chetananda

Vip?ssana Meditation

Vip?ssana, or insight meditation, is a fundamental Buddhist meditation, drawn from Southern Buddhism. The focus or primary object of this meditation is the breath, and the beginning practice is just following the breath. Concentration on the breath is called anapanna, and it is just bringing you right here, now, through the breath. Everyone breathes. We all have our individual differences but we are all breathing in and breathing out.

Sit comfortably, with your body as straight as is comfortable, your head, neck, and chest aligned. Take two or three intentional slow, deep breaths, and close your eyes.

Focus on your breath going in and your breath coming out. Two ways you can do this are:
•    By focusing on the muscle in the solar plexus, which every time you breathe in, moves in one direction, and every time you breathe out, moves in another direction–rising, falling, rising, falling.
•    By focusing on the inside of your nostrils at the tip of your nose–as the air goes by, you will feel a slight whisper of air on the in breath, and as the air goes out, you will feel a slight whisper of air on the out breath.

Use whichever of those two spots is easiest for you to do. Pick one focus, either the rising and falling of the muscle in your abdomen or the air going by the tip of your nose, and stay with it for a period of at least fifteen minutes.

You are like a gatekeeper at the gate. Cars go in and cars go out. You don’t need to see where they go. You just notice the breath going in, breathing in, and the breath going out, breathing out. Your job is solely to focus your awareness on your primary object of the breath in the gentlest way possible.

Your awareness is going to wander; it is going to be grabbed by many stray thoughts. You’ll sit down and you’ll say, “Breathing in, breathing out” or “Rising, falling.” Then the thought will come, “This will never work.” Now you can either take that thought “This will never work” and immediately go off on another train of thought, and even though you have instructions to follow, you just ignore them and then the meditation time is over. That’s okay. Or at some point when you get tired of that, you can say, “Gee, all I was going to do for these fifteen minutes was watch my breath. This is just another thought. Maybe I’ll just let it go, and I’ll go back to watching my breath.” See, that’s a strategy for gently bringing your mind back to the breath, for coming back to your awareness.

The art is to not get violent with your other thoughts. Don’t try to push them away. Don’t feel guilty because you are thinking them. They’re just thoughts. Very gently, again and again, simply bring your awareness back to the primary object of meditation: breathing in, breathing out. Just keep coming back to the focus of your meditation, back to the breath, back to awareness of the breath.

Whether your breathing gets fast or slow doesn’t matter; just notice it. Don’t try to change it, but just notice it. You are merely remaining aware, the gatekeeper watching the gate open and close. Any sounds, smells, or sensations, just let them come and let them go and bring your awareness back to either rising and falling or breathing in and breathing out.

If your mind wanders, just notice it, then very gently bring it back to breathing in and breathing out or rising and falling. Wherever your mind is now, just notice where it is and very gently bring it back to rising and falling or breathing in and breathing out. If it helps to think to yourself “breathing in, breathing out” with each breath, that is perfectly okay. If it helps to count breaths, try counting to ten, counting each in and out breath cycle as one, and then start over. If your mind wanders off in the middle, start over. Sometimes it can be really hard to get to ten! But don’t judge yourself, don’t get frustrated, there’s no success or failure–only your awareness of the breath.

All the sounds, everything that comes into your ears, just notice them as more thoughts and come back to your breath. There is nothing you need to think about now other than breathing in and breathing out or rising and falling.

Notice the shape and form as the breath goes by–the beginning, middle, and end of the in breath; the space in between; the beginning, middle, and end of the out breath; and again the space.

If you experience agitation or confusion or boredom or bliss or anything, just see it as another thought. Notice it and bring your awareness back to rising and falling or breathing in and breathing out.

If you begin to doze, take a few deep intentional breaths. Rising and falling or breathing in and breathing out. All the feelings in your body–the sounds, the sensations, the tastes, the smells, the sights–just notice them coming and going and bring your awareness back to the primary object of meditation.

Firm your seat, head straight, rising and falling or breathing in and breathing out. If you are getting to the end of your sit, use these last minutes consciously. There is no beginning and no end. Every breath is the first and last.

Gently but firmly each time your mind wanders bring it back to rising and falling or breathing in and breathing out. Be vigilant but gentle. Bring the awareness back to the basic primary object of meditation, basic attention to the breath.

If your mind becomes agitated in the course of the day bring it back to the breath, rising and falling, breathing in and breathing out.


Meditation on the Guru

Imagine a realized being standing before you, someone to whom you feel particularly attuned, such as Christ, Mary, Mohammad, R?m, Hanuman, Anandamayi Ma, or your guru. This being is radiant, luminous, with eyes that are filled with compassion. You feel this being radiating the wisdom that comes from an intimate harmony with the universe.

It is just so incredibly gentle and beautiful to start a dialogue of love with a being who is love. Sit in your meditation area and gaze at a picture of a being whose love is pure, whose love reflects the light of God. Experience that love flowing back and forth between you and the picture. Just open yourself and surrender.

See yourself reflected in those compassionate, nonjudging eyes, and allow yourself to open more and more. This is your Beloved. Sit before this being, or imagine such a being sitting in your heart. Just be with that being and return the love. Despite all of the impurities to which you cling, despite all your feelings of unworthiness, such a being loves you unconditionally. It’s OK to carry on imaginary conversations with this being; the exchange opens you to compassion, tranquility, warmth, patience–to all the qualities of a free being.

This interpersonal quality of devotional meditation allows you to start from your psychological need to love and to be loved and to bring it into the presence of wisdom, compassion, and peace. When you are with a being who embodies these qualities, they rub off, and you feel more evolved, even to the point of recognizing the radiant light within yourself. Acknowledging your own beauty allows you to open even more to the Beloved, until finally the lover and Beloved merge, and you find that what you had seen outwardly as perfection in your Beloved is a mirror of your own inner beauty.

Ultimately you become that kind of love. You’re living in that space and don’t need anybody to turn you on to love because you are  it, and everybody that comes near you drinks of it. And as you become more and more the statement of love, you fall into love with everyone.


A mantra is a repeated prayer, words, a holy name, or a sacred sound or sounds. It’s like a tape loop going on inside that reminds me of who I am. It’s like a niche in the wall where the candle flame never flickers. It always brings me right back into to my heart, into the eternal present.

A mantra can be a name or names of God, in Sanskrit or English or Spanish or whatever language you know. It is usually recited silently in the mind, though at times you may want to say it aloud or subvocally, still keeping it internalized and without intruding on other people’s psychic space. Sanskrit is interesting because it is based on seed syllables, or bij mantras, that set up vibrational fields through sound. They work even when recited silently, reverberating within.

Some mantras are more conceptual. All mantra works by repetition. Practiced consistently, mantra has the ability to steady the mind and transform consciousness. Mantra should be repeated frequently. It can be repeated any time, any place–when you’re walking, taking a shower, washing the dishes, waiting in line for the movies.

In Buddhism, the word “mantra” means “mind protecting.” A mantra protects the mind by preventing it from going into its usual mechanical habits, which often are not our optimal conscious perspective. Mantra is a powerful spiritual practice for centering and for letting go of strong emotions, such as fear, anxiety, and anger. The more you practice mantra, the more it becomes a part of you. When you need it on the psychological level–for example, when you feel afraid–using your witness, you notice the fear and replace the fear with your mantra. This will occur naturally once mantra becomes an established practice. Mantra is a daily reminder of the presence of the Divine within ourselves and in the universe.

Mahatma Gandhi said, “The mantra becomes one’s staff of life and carries one through every ordeal. It is no empty repetition. For each repetition has a new meaning, carrying you nearer and nearer to God.”

Keep repeating your mantra consciously until it becomes a strong habit. Go for a walk and say the mantra all the time you are walking. Notice everything but keep the mantra going. Keep realizing that being with God is your focus–and therefore everything you see is part of God.

Maharaj-ji said, “The best form in which to worship God is in all forms.” Everyone you meet is R?m, who has come to teach you something. Mantra is remembering that place in the heart. R?m, R?m, R?m. Say it, mouth it, think it, feel it in your heart. You are continually meeting the Beloved and merging into perfection.

The Divine is present in the soul of all living beings and throughout the universe. God has been called by different names in different ages, countries, and religions. According to the Hindu view, an avatar is an incarnation of divine consciousness in human form. An avatar takes birth at a time when spiritual teaching is needed to establish new pathways for realization. R?m, Krishna, Buddha, and Jesus are all avatars in the Hindu view. Their names evoke divine power and are often used in mantra.

Once you choose a mantra and establish a practice, it is a good idea not to change mantras too much. If you stick with the same mantra, the practice will become deeper. Following are some mantras; you can select one that feels right for you or find one from a tradition that feels comfortable to you. Use whatever name you associate with the Divine.

My guru, Neem Karoli Baba, used R?m, and he often could be seen mouthing, “R?m, R?m, R?m, R?m, R?m . . .” R?m (or R?ma) in the R?mayana is a being of great light, love, compassion, wisdom, and power, who lives in perfect harmony with the dharma, the One. R?m is the essence of who you are when you realize your true Self, the Atm?n.

Sri R?m, Jai R?m, Jai, Jai, R?m (“Beloved R?m, I honor you”)

If you use R?m when you meditate, say/think/feel R?m on the out breath. The out breath is the breath you will experience at the end of your life. Associate it with love, mercy, compassion, bliss, letting go. Train yourself into this R?m mind.

Another option is the maha-mantra (“great mantra”) to both Krishna and R?m:

Hare Krishna, Hare Krishna,
Krishna, Krishna, Hare, Hare.
Hare R?ma, Hare R?ma,
R?ma, R?ma, Hare, Hare

Krishna represents many aspects of human love: parental love, romantic love, and love between friends. His instructions to Arjuna in the Bhagavad Gita are a complete teaching on living life as a spiritual practice.

Om is a sacred sound mantra, one of the bij (seed) syllables mentioned earlier, sometimes called the sound of the universe. It’s very primordial–think, “In the beginning was the word, and the word was God.”

Om Namah Shivaya
(“I bow to Shiva.”)

Other mantras from Buddhism are:

Om mani padme hum
(“I bow to the jewel in the lotus of the heart.”)

Om Tare Tu Tare Ture Swaha (“to the Mother in the form of Tara.”)

A mantra from the Greek Christian tradition, in the Philokalia:

Lord Jesus, Son of God, have mercy on me, a sinner.

Mantra can be practiced with a mala, a string of prayer beads. In the West, a mala is commonly called a rosary. A mala has 108 beads, plus a larger guru bead. A wrist mala has 27, 36, or 54 beads, plus a guru bead. All of these numbers–108, 54, 36, and 27–are sacred numbers in numerology, with digits that add up to nine. The mala is an external aid to doing mantra. You recite the mantra as you pass the beads through your fingers. The feeling of the beads moving through your fingers is a wonderful centering device.

In the traditional way I was taught to use a mala, you use your right hand, passing each bead between the thumb and the third finger, bead by bead, moving the beads toward you. With each bead repeat the name of R?m, or whatever your mantra is. Proceed to the guru bead, pause, and bring your guru or teacher to mind. Then turn the beads around and go the other way. Do not complete the circle. That helps you mark each cycle of 108.

Swami Ramdas, a devout Indian saint of the last century whose life revolved around listening to the will of R?m to guide his every activity, tells us, referring to mantra and kirtan (devotional chanting), “People do not know what the Name of God can do. Those who repeat it constantly alone know its power. It can purify our mind completely. . . . The Name can take us to the summit of spiritual experience.”

EXCERPTED FROM Polishing the Mirror: How to Live from Your Spiritual Heart by Ram Dass. Copyright © 2013 by the Love Serve Remember Foundation. Published by Sounds True.

Ram Dass means “Servant of God.” Born Richard Alpert, Ram Dass is the founder of the Love Serve Remember Project and co-founder of the Seva Foundation and the Prison Ashram Project. He is the author of the worldwide spiritual classic Be Here Now (Crown, 1971), and his new book, Polishing the Mirror: How to Live from Your Spiritual Heart (Sounds True, August 2013), among many others. For more information, visit ramdass.org.

Psychedelic Resources

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DMT Resources
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Differentiating DMT and Near-Death Experiences
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DMT Research from 1956 to the Edge of Time
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The Ultimate Guide to DMT Pricing
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The Ayahuasca Experience
Ayahuasca is both a medicine and a visionary aid. You can employ ayahuasca for physical, mental, emotional and spiritual repair, and you can engage with the power of ayahuasca for deeper insight and realization. If you consider attainment of knowledge in the broadest perspective, you can say that at all times, ayahuasca heals.


Trippy Talk: Meet Ayahuasca with Sitaramaya Sita and PlantTeachers
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The Therapeutic Value of Ayahuasca
My best description of the impact of ayahuasca is that it’s a rocket boost to psychospiritual growth and unfolding, my professional specialty during my thirty-five years of private practice.


Microdosing Ayahuasca: Common Dosage Explained
What is ayahuasca made of and what is considered a microdose? Explore insights with an experienced Peruvian brewmaster and learn more about this practice.


Ayahuasca Makes Neuron Babies in Your Brain
Researchers from Beckley/Sant Pau Research Program have shared the latest findings in their study on the effects of ayahuasca on neurogenesis.


The Fatimiya Sufi Order and Ayahuasca
In this interview, the founder of the Fatimiya Sufi Order,  N. Wahid Azal, discusses the history and uses of plant medicines in Islamic and pre-Islamic mystery schools.


Consideration Ayahuasca for Treatment of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder
Research indicates that ayahuasca mimics mechanisms of currently accepted treatments for PTSD. In order to understand the implications of ayahuasca treatment, we need to understand how PTSD develops.


Brainwaves on Ayahuasca: A Waking Dream State
In a study researchers shared discoveries showing ingredients found in Ayahuasca impact the brainwaves causing a “waking dream” state.


Cannabis and Ayahuasca: Mixing Entheogenic Plants
Cannabis and Ayahuasca: most people believe they shouldn’t be mixed. Read this personal experience peppered with thoughts from a pro cannabis Peruvian Shaman.


Ayahuasca Retreat 101: Everything You Need to Know to Brave the Brew
Ayahuasca has been known to be a powerful medicinal substance for millennia. However, until recently, it was only found in the jungle. Word of its deeply healing and cleansing properties has begun to spread across the world as many modern, Western individuals are seeking spiritual, mental, emotional, and physical well-being. More ayahuasca retreat centers are emerging in the Amazon and worldwide to meet the demand.


Ayahuasca Helps with Grief
A new study published in psychopharmacology found that ayahuasca helped those suffering from the loss of a loved one up to a year after treatment.


Ayahuasca Benefits: Clinical Improvements for Six Months
Ayahuasca benefits can last six months according to studies. Read here to learn about the clinical improvements from drinking the brew.


Ayahuasca Culture: Indigenous, Western, And The Future
Ayahuasca has been use for generations in the Amazon. With the rise of retreats and the brew leaving the rainforest how is ayahuasca culture changing?


Ayahuasca Guide: Effects, Common Uses, Safety
The Amazonian brew, Ayahuasca has a long history and wide use. Read our guide to learn all about the tea from its beginnings up to modern-day interest.


Ayahuasca and the Godhead: An Interview with Wahid Azal of the Fatimiya Sufi Order
Wahid Azal, a Sufi mystic of The Fatimiya Sufi Order and an Islamic scholar, talks about entheogens, Sufism, mythology, and metaphysics.


Ayahuasca and the Feminine: Women’s Roles, Healing, Retreats, and More
Ayahuasca is lovingly called “grandmother” or “mother” by many. Just how feminine is the brew? Read to learn all about women and ayahuasca.

What Is the Standard of Care for Ketamine Treatments?
Ketamine therapy is on the rise in light of its powerful results for treatment-resistant depression. But, what is the current standard of care for ketamine? Read to find out.

What Is Dissociation and How Does Ketamine Create It?
Dissociation can take on multiple forms. So, what is dissociation like and how does ketamine create it? Read to find out.

Having Sex on Ketamine: Getting Physical on a Dissociative
Curious about what it could feel like to have sex on a dissociate? Find out all the answers in our guide to sex on ketamine.

Special K: The Party Drug
Special K refers to Ketamine when used recreationally. Learn the trends as well as safety information around this substance.

Kitty Flipping: When Ketamine and Molly Meet
What is it, what does it feel like, and how long does it last? Read to explore the mechanics of kitty flipping.

Ketamine vs. Esketamine: 3 Important Differences Explained
Ketamine and esketamine are used to treat depression. But what’s the difference between them? Read to learn which one is right for you: ketamine vs. esketamine.

Guide to Ketamine Treatments: Understanding the New Approach
Ketamine is becoming more popular as more people are seeing its benefits. Is ketamine a fit? Read our guide for all you need to know about ketamine treatments.

Ketamine Treatment for Eating Disorders
Ketamine is becoming a promising treatment for various mental health conditions. Read to learn how individuals can use ketamine treatment for eating disorders.

Ketamine Resources, Studies, and Trusted Information
Curious to learn more about ketamine? This guide includes comprehensive ketamine resources containing books, studies and more.

Ketamine Guide: Effects, Common Uses, Safety
Our ultimate guide to ketamine has everything you need to know about this “dissociative anesthetic” and how it is being studied for depression treatment.

Ketamine for Depression: A Mental Health Breakthrough
While antidepressants work for some, many others find no relief. Read to learn about the therapeutic uses of ketamine for depression.

Ketamine for Addiction: Treatments Offering Hope
New treatments are offering hope to individuals suffering from addiction diseases. Read to learn how ketamine for addiction is providing breakthrough results.

Microdosing Ketamine & Common Dosages Explained
Microdosing, though imperceivable, is showing to have many health benefits–here is everything you want to know about microdosing ketamine.

How to Ease a Ketamine Comedown
Knowing what to expect when you come down from ketamine can help integrate the experience to gain as much value as possible.

How to Store Ketamine: Best Practices
Learn the best ways how to store ketamine, including the proper temperature and conditions to maximize how long ketamine lasts when stored.

How To Buy Ketamine: Is There Legal Ketamine Online?
Learn exactly where it’s legal to buy ketamine, and if it’s possible to purchase legal ketamine on the internet.

How Long Does Ketamine Stay in Your System?
How long does ketamine stay in your system? Are there lasting effects on your body? Read to discover the answers!

How Ketamine is Made: Everything You Need to Know
Ever wonder how to make Ketamine? Read our guide to learn everything you need to know about the procedures of how Ketamine is made.

Colorado on Ketamine: First Responders Waiver Programs
Fallout continues after Elijah McClain. Despite opposing recommendations from some city council, Colorado State Health panel recommends the continued use of ketamine by medics for those demonstrating “excited delirium” or “extreme agitation”.

Types of Ketamine: Learn the Differences & Uses for Each
Learn about the different types of ketamine and what they are used for—and what type might be right for you. Read now to find out!

Kitty Flipping: When Ketamine and Molly Meet
What is it, what does it feel like, and how long does it last? Read to explore the mechanics of kitty flipping.

MDMA & Ecstasy Guide: Effects, Common Uses, Safety
Our ultimate guide to MDMA has everything you want to know about Ecstasy from how it was developed in 1912 to why it’s being studied today.

How To Get the Most out of Taking MDMA as a Couple
Taking MDMA as a couple can lead to exciting experiences. Read here to learn how to get the most of of this love drug in your relationship.

Common MDMA Dosage & Microdosing Explained
Microdosing, though imperceivable, is showing to have many health benefits–here is everything you want to know about microdosing MDMA.

Having Sex on MDMA: What You Need to Know
MDMA is known as the love drug… Read our guide to learn all about sex on MDMA and why it is beginning to makes its way into couple’s therapy.

How MDMA is Made: Common Procedures Explained
Ever wonder how to make MDMA? Read our guide to learn everything you need to know about the procedures of how MDMA is made.

Hippie Flipping: When Shrooms and Molly Meet
What is it, what does it feel like, and how long does it last? Explore the mechanics of hippie flipping and how to safely experiment.

How Cocaine is Made: Common Procedures Explained
Ever wonder how to make cocaine? Read our guide to learn everything you need to know about the procedures of how cocaine is made.

A Christmas Sweater with Santa and Cocaine
This week, Walmart came under fire for a “Let it Snow” Christmas sweater depicting Santa with lines of cocaine. Columbia is not merry about it.

Ultimate Cocaine Guide: Effects, Common Uses, Safety
This guide covers what you need to know about Cocaine, including common effects and uses, legality, safety precautions and top trends today.

NEWS: An FDA-Approved Cocaine Nasal Spray
The FDA approved a cocaine nasal spray called Numbrino, which has raised suspicions that the pharmaceutical company, Lannett Company Inc., paid off the FDA..

The Ultimate Guide to Cannabis Bioavailability
What is bioavailability and how can it affect the overall efficacy of a psychedelic substance? Read to learn more.

Cannabis Research Explains Sociability Behaviors
New research by Dr. Giovanni Marsicano shows social behavioral changes occur as a result of less energy available to the neurons. Read here to learn more.

The Cannabis Shaman
If recreational and medical use of marijuana is becoming accepted, can the spiritual use as well? Experiential journalist Rak Razam interviews Hamilton Souther, founder of the 420 Cannabis Shamanism movement…

Cannabis Guide: Effects, Common Uses, Safety
Our ultimate guide to Cannabis has everything you want to know about this popular substances that has psychedelic properties.

Cannabis and Ayahuasca: Mixing Entheogenic Plants
Cannabis and Ayahuasca: most people believe they shouldn’t be mixed. Read this personal experience peppered with thoughts from a procannabis Peruvian Shaman.

CBD-Rich Cannabis Versus Single-Molecule CBD
A ground-breaking study has documented the superior therapeutic properties of whole plant Cannabis extract as compared to synthetic cannabidiol (CBD), challenging the medical-industrial complex’s notion that “crude” botanical preparations are less effective than single-molecule compounds.

Cannabis Has Always Been a Medicine
Modern science has already confirmed the efficacy of cannabis for most uses described in the ancient medical texts, but prohibitionists still claim that medical cannabis is “just a ruse.”

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