Based on the author’s nearly 50 years of meditation, it is observed that as a given alternative state is accessed and used over the span of years, experiences and capacities within that state are not merely static but may themselves shift as a practitioner develops neuropsychologically. An ethnographer using a substance within the context of a cultural practice may gain helpful direct insights into that cultural practice, but the researcher may fail to realize that the state attained by a novice may be substantively different from that gained by an elder or shaman with years of experience in the practice. The author’s meditation led to insight that visual and other phenomenal experiences are constructed out of sensory particles, or sensory dots. This practice later led to a state in which pure awareness was aware only of itself, and to an experiential realization of the Buddhist teaching of no-self.

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