Ego and Symmetry on 5-MeO-DMT

Transcript from: Using 5-MeO-DMT To Become Enlightened – Interview With Martin Ball (~43:00 – 47:00)

Martin Ball: Here is what I learned very quickly in working both with 5-MeO-DMT and other medicines during the same time period. First, I noticed this in myself, and then I started looking to see if this was true for other people, and very quickly found that this was true. There is a fundamental distinction: when people go into fully energetically open non-dual states of awareness -and I do qualify it with ‘fully energetically open’ because that is different than, say, a meditative non-dual experience, which I do not qualify as energetically fully open- when someone is energetically fully open and goes into a non-dual state of awareness, what happens is that they always open up with a perfectly mirrored bilateral symmetry, with the left and right sides of the body always mirroring each other. And nothing ever crosses the center line of the body. People move spontaneously or their bodies open up, and their hands may come together, but they come together right here, in the middle along the center line, and then they separate, and then come back together. Then you can see a transition when suddenly someone comes back into the ego. So, they are fully immersed in the experience and their bodies are opened… and then as soon as the ego comes in, there is some kind of break when suddenly the left side of the body is doing something different than the right side of the body.

For people who don’t get all the way to being fully energetically open, you give them a very powerful psychedelic -which again is changing the energetic experience of the body- and you can watch them fight with it, and you will see that there is always some kind of asymmetry taking place in their body language when they are fighting with it. Or if they are still residing in their ego. So I learned very quickly that non-dual states of awareness coincide with balanced bilateral symmetry and the ego almost always functions through some form of energetic asymmetry. Which is perfectly natural! I mean, there is noting wrong with it, I am not trying to criticize it. But for example (I use this example all the time): My glass of water is to my right. Now if I -a subject- become thirsty and I want my water, operating with bilateral symmetry isn’t going to get me my water. My water is over here to the right. So I break into object-subject duality so we can have an interaction between these two different parts of the self. So working with psychedelics for the intention of achieving… not only achieving, but also working out the distortions of the ego, means paying attention to how either symmetries or asymmetries show up within the body.

So this is the challenge that I give people: Take some 5-MeO-DMT, and see how long you can stay perfectly symmetrical within your body. Now, some people can ride it all the way through. And they can do that fairly easily. Many people… I would say the vast majority, can’t. And even those who do, who open up initially and are in this nice bilateral symmetry, you will see, after 10 or 15 minutes, or for some people after 30 seconds, as soon as the ego starts to reintegrate, they start breaking into asymmetries. Now, what can happen is… so the ego itself, and this is also coming out of my own experience, this is not based on anybody else’s model, this is just my own definition of the ego… the ego itself is not a singular thing. It is a collection of patterns of energy. So as we are coming into ourselves, as young beings, what we are doing is learning different -what we perceive as acceptable- ways of engaging our energy.


  1. JAY RUEDI · January 26, 2022

    the machine elfs and other dmt entities

  2. Hoz · December 10, 2020

    I find this brilliant with the massive exception, just glossed through at the outset:

    ‘There is a fundamental distinction: when people go into fully energetically open non-dual states of awareness -and I do qualify it with ‘fully energetically open’ because that is different than, say, a meditative non-dual experience, which I do not qualify as energetically fully open-‘

    Staggering arrogance. Is this presumption based on experience, or faltering experience, with meditation?

    • algekalipso · December 10, 2020

      Hi Hoz!

      I very much agree this is arrogant and it strikes me as him not being aware of the maps of states that can be achieved via meditation. He probably believes that you do not get “very high energy” consciousness on meditation (rather, it seems he believes that meditation is usually relaxed, closed up, serene, peaceful, etc.). Truly, Jhanas and e.g. Fire Kasina states can be as intense as strong psychedelics! It’s just that you need very high doses of the practice to get there… what Daniel Ingram might call “hardcore dharma practice” where “if meditation for most people is like climbing the stairs to get to the office, hardcore dharma practice is like the people who climb the Everest”.

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  6. Anthony Garner · June 9, 2019

    How is this to be interpreted? Used even? I guess normal life would not be possible in this state. We could not do everything on perfect symmetry. We only have one heart for instance on one side of our chest. We would find it unnatural or difficult to undertake certain actions with both hands simultaneously acting in concert. Driving, feeding ourselves for instance. Perhaps as far as your research is concerned however the brain can be in harmony and symmetry while still be able to direct the body to take non symetrical actions. What is an “energetic” non dual state? Miving, talking, acting rather than zazen?

    • Eril · June 12, 2019

      The concept of symmetry collapses (or transforms) duality into a single state (or non-dual state). What you call “normal life” has a dual-state structure so symmetry has relatively limited use in day to day life.

      Symmetry acts as a “guide” or “anchor point” when you want to go beyond “normal life”. A good analogy might be the normal life is a bundle of approximations and nothing is “perfect”. But say in mathematics, we can talk about “perfection”. Symmetry helps you to *experience* “perfection” in “perfect realms”.

      • algekalipso · June 12, 2019

        I would generally agree with what you said. Now, I would also say that the Qualia Research Institute has made an additional and novel move here, which is to connect symmetry and valence at the core. The high-level symmetry that Martin Ball is talking about (bilateral) is really just a macroscopic facet of the symmetry of an experience. On 5-meo-dmt as well as on MDMA there is a far deeper connection to symmetry than merely bilateral symmetry. Namely, the microstructure of consciousness also becomes more invariant upon transformations. In addition, this *feels great* – indeed one could say it hints at the very essence of pleasure and bliss. We are not merely claiming this; we are working on developing precise, empirically testable predictions based on this theory, and then to going ahead and actually testing them.

        For more, see:

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