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Do Flashbacks Have a Spiritual Aspect?


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I have previously written about my experiences with HPPD and I think that I presented my experiences accurately. However, there is an aspect of my recovery that I did not include previously. What follows is a description of an amazing experience that I had just as my flashbacks ended.

 From the point in 1973 when I experienced my first flashback, my personal experience was radically altered. I experienced extreme anxiety, agoraphobia, and panic attacks. In addition, I experienced many visual changes which included enhanced perception of color intensity, an altered sense of awareness (depersonalization), trails behind moving objects and visual snow. Also, I was afraid of hallucinogens, so afraid that I couldn't tell other people about my fear. I knew that I had to avoid these drugs at all costs.  My first flashback occurred about 6 months after a trip where I took too much LSD. Immediately prior and almost simultaneously with my first flashback, I noticed visual snow, felt depersonalization, and then the flashback began with ensuing panic. These experiences would recur for 27 years.

Then in the year 2000, something extraordinary happened. One night, I got up to go the bathroom and while sitting on the toilet, half asleep, I noticed a light hovering in front of me. As I focused on the light, I could see that it was incredibly detailed. It consisted of bands of light travelling in a figure eight pattern. It was changing ts shape in a way that gave the impression that it was intelligent and alive. After a few minutes, it faded away. I thought of it as a manifestation of God, but I think that it could be seen as the same higher power that many other cultures describe. It seemed to convey a message that everything was alright now. From that point on, I had no more flashbacks and I had no fear of having another. Over the next three to five years, I would occasionally have similar hallucinations. They all happened upon waking and me feel comforted and seemed to be loving beings. There were several types of them. One type was shaped like a snowflake. They were colorful and morphed in shape. Another was made entirely of light and looked like angels. Yet another, was a sphere that was made up of objects floating on its fluid surface. These objects would emerge from within the sphere to float on its surface before submerging again. Many kinds of objects would emerge as the the sphere turned on its axis. I thought that the objects represented ideas that were being communicated to me. These hallucinations gave me peace of mind and coincidentally may flashbacks stopped after my first encounter with them.

It was interesting to me that seven years prior to having these hallucination, that I had beenexporing religion. My approach was in line with my family traditin. I grew up attending the jCatholoic Churchm whle my mothers's father was a protestant minister. So, I tried to understand the Bible. Because I have a degree in bgiology I had difficulty accepting many of the accepted interpretations of the scriptures. Then, after years of attempting to reconcile mu scientific knowledge with biblical writings, I read 

CarlSagan's "The Demon Haulnted World: Science as a Candle in the Dark". Afte3r reading this book, I decided that Carl Sagan was rightthat there exists no mechanism by which human beings can access 
Gof telepathically or experience life after death. So I decided to become an atheist. Within a year of that decision, I began to have the hallucinations described above and I coincidentally experienced the end of my flashbacks.; This was the most profound experience I ever had. It changed the direction of my life and converted me into a believer in a supremebeing.

My experience with hallucinogens always seemed to have a spiritual quality. 

The first time I tripped, I immediately felt like I was in a spiritual place of some kind. Asso, the end of mhy trips would end wiht sole profound insight. On jone trip, I ascended into heaven and observed haw the end of the worldwpi;d jappern. The nextr day I couldn't remember details.  only had a general sense of what would happen. My impkression was that niobgody has anything to worry about and that it will work out for everyone in a way which is simple, natural and easy tio accept Many years after I used hallucinoges, I ledarned that native americans and others have n`


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I'm trying to write this with a cat and a dog fighting next to me and I it submit before I meant to...

Anyway you can probably see what I am saying that hallucinogens have been used for spiritual enlightenment for thousands of years and that maybe there is something to this.

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Yes I do belive that, 


I am from India. Where there are yogies who sit all day and meditate , and they say that there are 6 chakras in the body they wanna activate, i have read a lot about pineal gland , and how they activate it, i strongly belive that hppd is somewhere connected to the pineal gland, they spend years of there time to activate it through intense mediation, through which they have an ego death as we have on acid , acid plays a big role in the pineal gland, they also have ego deaths , i spoke to one guru , who says he has activated his pineal gland and now he can see people spirt animal, which can help him tell their personality and traits . 

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So many gurs here talk about who they have no ambition and they have had ego deaths whithout doing any drugs , there is a famous guy called sadguru who talk about being high all the time because he activated his chakras and he has not done any drugs . 

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Hi Akshay,

Thanks for your response. I saw an interesting video on YouTube "DMT The Spirit Molecule" where it talks about DMT (dimethyltryptamine) which is a naturally occurring hallucinogen theorized to be released by the pineal gland under certain circumstances. Maybe this is how the yogis experience ego deaths? Also, have you ever read any near death experience accounts? Many of these people report death experiences where they met spirits who sent them back to life, telling them that they haven't finished their life's work yet. I remember wondering, when I was about seven years into my HPPD experience, whether I had agreed to go through this  experience before I was born. Since that time I began to think of my HPPD experience as a continuation my LSD experiences where I experienced continued loss of ego. Since, HPPD weakened me, I was unable to lead a life that was impressive to other people and this was deflating to my ego.

Speaking of yogis, did you ever hear of Paramahansa Yogananda? He was an Indian yogi who moved the America and popularized yoga here. He was born in the late 19th century and died in 1952. Yogananda spoke about learning to have control over the mind. I think this is how I gained control over my HPPD symptoms. I'm currently reading the book "Your Body Keeps the Score" by Bessel Van Der Kolk, M.D. where he talks about the treatment of post traumatic stress disorder. He says that the flashbacks that people with PTSD experience are caused by traumatic memories. Also, I think that HPPD is a type of PTSD. Van Der Kolk says that the cure for PTSD involves integrating emotional memories of traumatic experience with the rational part of the mind. He says that traumatic emotional memories are stored in an area of the brain that responds much faster (the amygdala) than the rational part of the brain (the medial prefrontal cortex). So when we experience a traumatic memory (i.e. a flashback) it registers in our consciousness faster than our rational mind can respond. The result is that we tend to have a panic response. I think that a yogi would have insight into this phenomena.  

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