|On hindsight I guess I did flinch, or at least she did touch a nerve. Not that I feel very committed to defending drug use. Not that I feel very committed to defending drug use at an outdoor trance party. I’ve felt quite strongly at times what a waste it seems to be for people to spend their time this way. But I’m also obliged to consider the other side of the coin. I’m obliged to withhold judgement. At the same time I can’t stand how smug someone can be saying something like that especially if they haven’t been down that road themselves already. What is the point actually? If the whole point of being on the path you are on is to get you to a space that transcends all this, transcend things like passing judgement or getting caught up in the detail of what constitutes the games we play in day to day reality then why admit to having a chip on your shoulder about something that for all intents and purposes is completely trivial?
Personally I wouldn’t be inspired by a teacher that felt obliged to descend to that level, step down to a level that involved having to discuss the merits or demerits involving drugs. Or that if they did that the discussion would involve a little more that throwing stones at glass houses. Sure there is a debate going on about mediation versus drugs that expand the mind / expand consciousness. What needs to be considered is a dynamic does exist between one and the other, that it does seem like a lot of interest in eastern mysticism, any mysticism at all, in meditation and yoga does get inspired by experiences brought about by the use of psychedelic drugs. It doesn’t seem to be a situation to me that involves needing to use one or the other, it would seem more accurate to me to say interest in one only exists because of the other.
When people turned to the east for guidance in the 60’s at a time psychedelics burst into the consciousness of the western mainstream they were inspired to do so as a result of their experiences of being under the influence. When others didn’t know what to make of their experiences they were encouraged to do the same. That if you look around at different peoples in different places at different times their spiritual inclinations seem to be tied up with some or other substance, some or other sacrament, that’s responsible for an altered state of consciousness, that as far as I know when such a substance works it’s way into the lives of a group of people it is relegated to the realms of the divine, and a structure invariably gets built on top of that to accommodate it, to help integrate it.
So is that it then? Dismiss drug use even if that’s what it took to persuade someone, to persuade a culture, to persuade a society to seek out the divine? If that’s what it took to make people take a look around them at the world, take a look around them at all this life, and realize what an awesome and magnificent experience it is, and inspire them to commit to trying to align themselves more closely with the divinity of it then might it not be something to stop and think about, something to think twice about before throwing the whole thing in the bin? And as an aside have you ever wondered at the possibility of being coerced into feeling that way in the first place not for any valid and verifiable reason but by propaganda spewed out by the mainstream media puppets whose strings are being pulled by big business, a business that has a vested interest in a dumbed down and diseased public, a business that has a vested interest in monopolizing all things ‘medicinal’?
I’m compelled to admit to not being convinced of any particular quick fix answer to this. I’m compelled to admit to being a little biased considering a resurgence in my interest in wanting to use the teacher plants again at some point in the future. And that I’m confused and unsure about how to put it all together. The general idea is to pursue a particular lifestyle, to immerse myself in the practice of healthy eating, regular exercise, doing a bit of meditation, a bit of yoga, try growing our own food and to spend as much time as possible in nature. To fill my head a bit with Kabbalah and the Tree of Life, with the Tarot and use the plants to help me contemplate / explore the subconscious during the period I manage to live this way, to pay attention to what they bring to the table and consider whether the practice is more helpful or more harmful.
I want to see whether they manage to help breathe life into a life being lived this way. I want to see whether they inspire me to pursue this way of living more passionately, with a bit more conviction. Up to this point I have aimed my life in this direction in preparation, in anticipation, of consulting with them at some point once again and not until I feel I have adequately incorporated these things into my life so from that perspective they have served some kind of purpose already. In fact it’s been a couple of years worth of abstinence up until now on account of not feeling adequately prepared. I don’t think using psychedelics on their own got me to where I would like to be, but I do think they have helped guide me, inspired me to know what else I need to do, how I need to live. That day to day stuff is a very big and important part of achieving any noble goal. If I can’t get on top of that part I don’t think I’m ready for any other part.
Some more reading on the subject of Meditation vs Psychedelics;
Mysticism and Psychedelics: The Case of the Dark Night by Christopher M. Bache, Ph.D.
“Background and introduction
The publication of Aldous Huxley’s The Doors of Perception in 1954 touched off a heated debate among philosophers and theologians on “chemical” versus “natural mysticism” that lasted for about 15 years. Participants on both sides of this debate shared one point in common. In assessing the spiritual merit of psychedelic substances, they focused on the euphoric side of psychedelic experience. What intrigued them about these chemicals was their capacity to release a state of consciousness in the subject which was strikingly close to, if not identical to, mystical ecstasy. The phenomenological proximity of psychedelic “highs” to mystical “highs” led some to celebrate the mind-openers as initiating a new era of spirituality, while others criticized the sleight of hand of “instant” or “chemical mysticism.”1 Aldous Huxley and R.C. Zaehner first defined the issues of the debate, which others adopted and refined in the years that followed.2”
Are Psychedelics Useful in the Practice of Buddhism? By Myron J. Stolarof.
“In the fall of 1996 issue of the Buddhist magazine Tricycle, various teachers of Buddhist meditation practice commented on the value of psychedelic experiences, with opinions of them ranging from helpful to harmful. Here, the author hopes to explain these conflicting viewpoints by describing important aspects of employing psychedelics that must be taken into account for effective results. These embrace proper methodology, which includes set and setting, dose levels, appropriate substances, appropriate intervals, and proper integration of each experience. The author has found the informed use of psychedelics to be a valuable tool in accelerating proficiency and deepening meditative practice and offers recommendations for successful use The adverse comments of several recognized teachers are evaluated to shed further light on fruitful application of psychedelic substances.
AUTHOR’S NOTE: The author wishes to express his appreciation to the management and editors of Tricycle for their special issue on psychedelics and to all the contributors for their willingness to present their views on a controversial subject.”