11:30am - 12:00pm
Track 3: Albrecht Kossel room (Charité)
Psychedelic Use in Meditation Practice: Theories, Evidence, and Future Directions
How, for whom, and under what circumstances could psychedelic experiences positively impact meditation training? And how could meditation training positively affect the preparation, quality, and integration of psychedelic experiences? To begin answering these questions, I will map some of the theories, assumptions, and debates that characterise present-day discourses on psychedelic use in meditation practice. Relatedly, I will outline contextual conditions that potentially shape the effects of psychedelic-assisted meditation training, namely person-related factors (e.g., personality, intentions, worldview), meditation-related factors (e.g., forms of meditation, conceptual frameworks), and psychedelic-related factors (e.g., substance, dose, preparedness). In this context, I will also touch on new conceptions and modes of practice that are emerging in contemporary meditation circles.
I will then present data from the largest study to date investigating regular meditators’ relationship with psychedelics. More than 1,000 experienced meditators provided information about their most meaningful and most difficult meditation and psychedelic experiences, their personality traits, relationship to set and setting, and perceived changes in well-being and ethical decision making. We also asked participants how their psychedelic use (including microdosing) has affected their meditation practice and vice versa. I will aim to evaluate our findings in light of previous work that aimed to address theoretical, methodological, and clinical implications associated with meditation- and psychedelic-related challenges and potentials.
To conclude, I will propose questions and directions that could contribute to the maturation of this nascent research field. I will also venture to make tentative suggestions – partly based on reports from expert meditators – for future work exploring potentially valuable synergies of psychedelic substances and meditation practices (e.g., 5-MeO-DMT and jhana practice). By considering the conceptual and methodological challenges of this research field, I hope to highlight how models of the psychedelic experience and theories of meditation could fruitfully meet and inform each other.