I'm not a big fan of death.
Being alive strikes me as, well, a heck of a lot more appealing. More than infinitely so, in fact, since the difference between (1) being alive, and (2) dead and gone forever, is the same as the difference between something and nothing.
How many zeros does it take to equal one? The answer is... not even an infinity, because no amount of nothing can equal even the smallest something.
But since death is inevitable, the next best thing is to not fear it. Or at least, not to fear it too much.
Which is why I've been enthralled by a 60 Minutes episode, Psilocybin Sessions: Psychedelics Could Help People with Addiction and Anxiety. Not just once, but twice, since it was repeated after its initial showing.
Click on that link and you can read a transcript of the episode. Here's some excerpts that include the part I found most interesting, since it dealt with a cancer patient's fear of dying.
For most of us, psychedelic drugs conjure up images of the 1960's. Hippies tripping out on LSD or magic mushrooms. But these powerful, mind-altering substances are now being studied seriously by scientists inside some of the country's foremost medical research centers. They're being used to treat depression, anxiety and addiction.
The early results are impressive, as are the experiences of the studies' volunteers who go on a six-hour, sometimes terrifying, but often life-changing psychedelic journey deep into their own minds.
...We were told we couldn't record anyone participating in the study while they were on psilocybin because it might impact their experience, but we were shown how it begins – without the psilocybin.
You lay on a couch, with a blindfold to shut out distractions and headphones playing a mix of choral and classical music – a psychedelic soundtrack with a trained guide, Mary Cosimano, watching over you.
Everything is done the same way it was for the LSD experiments scientists conducted in the 1950s and 60s. Some of the most dramatic results have been with terminal cancer patients struggling with anxiety and paralyzing depression.
Kerry Pappas: I start seeing the colors and the geometric designs and it's like 'oh this is so cool, and how lovely' and, and then, boom. Visions began.
Kerry Pappas was diagnosed with stage III lung cancer in 2013. During her psilocybin session, she found herself trapped in a nightmare her mind created.
Kerry Pappas: An ancient, prehistoric, barren land. And there's these men with pickaxes, just slamming on the rocks. So…
Anderson Cooper: And this felt absolutely real to you?
Kerry Pappas: Absolutely real. I was being shown the truth of reality. Life is meaningless, we have no purpose. And then I look and I'm still like a witness, a beautiful, shimmering, bright jewel. And then it was sound, and it was booming, booming, booming. Right here right now.
Anderson Cooper: That was being said?
Kerry Pappas: Yes. "You are alive. Right here right now, because that's all you have." And that is my mantra to this day.
Later in the segment, Michael Pollan, who took psilocybin in the course of writing his book, How to Change Your Mind, described why he thinks psilocybin has such a potent power to alter someone's perspective on reality. Then Pappas talks some more about how psilocybin has eliminated her fear of dying.
Michael Pollan: It seemed so implausible to me that a single experience caused by a molecule, right, ingested in your body could transform your outlook on something as profound as death. That's-- that's kind of amazing.
...Michael Pollan: There is a reason [that love is on a Hallmark card]. And one of the things psychedelics do is they peel away all those essentially protective levels of irony and, and cynicism that we, that we acquire as we get older and you're back to those kind of "Oh, my God. I forgot all about love." (Laugh)
Pollan said he also experienced what the researchers describe as ego loss, or identity loss - the quieting of the constant voice we all have in our heads.
Michael Pollan: I did have this experience of seeing my ego-- burst into-- a little cloud of Post-It notes. I know it sounds crazy.
Anderson Cooper: And what are you are without an ego?
Michael Pollan: You're, uh… (Laugh) You had to be there.
Researchers believe that sensation of identity loss occurs because psilocybin quiets these two areas of the brain that normally communicate with each other. They're part of a region called the default mode network and it's especially active when we're thinking about ourselves and our lives.
Michael Pollan: And it's where you connect what happens in your life to the story of who you are.
Anderson Cooper: We all develop a story over time about what our past was like and who we are.
Michael Pollan: Right. Yeah, what kind of person we are. How we react. And the fact is that interesting things happen when the self goes quiet in the brain, including this rewiring that happens.
...Michael Pollan: Maybe the ego is one character among many in your mind. And you don't necessarily have to listen to that voice that's chattering at you and criticizing you and telling you what to do. And that's very freeing.
It was certainly freeing for Kerry Pappas. Though her cancer has now spread to her brain, her crippling anxiety about death is gone.
Kerry Pappas: Yeah, it's amazing. I mean, I feel like death doesn't frighten me. Living doesn't frighten me. I don't frighten me. This frightens me.
Anderson Cooper: This interview frightens you, but death doesn't?
Kerry Pappas: No.
It turns out most of the 51 cancer patients in the Johns Hopkins study experienced "significant decreases in depressed mood and anxiety" after trying psilocybin. Two-thirds of them rated their psilocybin sessions as among the most meaningful experiences of their lives. For some, it was on par with the birth of their children.
Kerry Pappas: To this day, it evolves in me.
Anderson Cooper: It's still alive in you--
Kerry Pappas: It's still absolutely alive in me.
Anderson Cooper: Does it make you happier?
Kerry Pappas: Yeah. And-- and I don't necessarily use the word happy.
Kerry Pappas: Comfortable. Like, comfortable. I mean, I've suffered from anxiety my whole life. I'm comfortable. That, to me, okay. I can die. I'm comfortable. (LAUGH) I mean, it's huge. It's huge.
Sounds good to me. No, more than good. Great!
Which is why I'm hoping that the Oregon Psilocybin Society is successful in gathering enough signatures to put an initiative on the November 2020 ballot that would legalize the use of psilocybin in my state. And then, that voters approve the measure.
Measure 34 will legalize access to “psilocybin services” – also known as psilocybin assisted therapy – statewide. Psilocybin, currently a Schedule 1 drug, would be administered in licensed therapeutic environments, supervised by trained facilitators. Rooted in research, the service model involves a sequence of sessions, including preparation, psilocybin administration, and integration afterwards. Each client will be screened for contraindications prior to scheduling a psilocybin session. Clients would not need a mental health diagnosis to qualify.
I think psychedelics can be a great aid. We are stuck in our habitual thought processes and psychedelics serve to break up this patterning and reassemble or eliminate these allowing a fresh perspective from a different more comprehensive realm of consciousness. We have been hearing this for quite a few decades now since the days of Huxley and Leary, and of course various cultures have known about this through the ages.
Anything potent enough to be life-changing does come with some risk. Re-assemblage sometimes does not integrate harmoniously and difficulties can be enhanced. This is generally avoided by proper preparation in regard to environment, purpose and associates who have your best interest as their intention.
"Michael Pollan: I did have this experience of seeing my ego-- burst into-- a little cloud of Post-It notes. I know it sounds crazy."
Yes. This break-up can be frightening but if it is not resisted, if the pieces are allowed to blow away as by a breeze in the park, what remains is what we have been seeking all along, what has been all along. It was always right here as the place between seeing and the moment when what was seen becomes a memory.
Posted by: tucson | January 05, 2020 at 09:14 PM
Psychedelics will certainly change your perspective on reality regardless of who you are. I actually credit psilocybin and LSD with helping me break free from main stream religion. However, there is a downside. I believe these chemicals can create states of consciousness within the brain that point to an alternate reality—one you weren’t nurtured to accept. But LSD, shrooms, what have you don’t always give you the full story. And in some cases they can be more detrimental than “main stream religion”.
I was always afraid of the dark—most kids are. I would sneak into my older brother’s room to feel safe from whatever monsters I imagined to be lurking in my room at night.
It wasn’t until I was much older that I understood myself and my own “programming” well enough to understand why psychedelics had a particular effect on me. The positive side of my experience in using psychedelics was that I was profoundly articulate. And this isn’t just my personal opinion but based on comments from other people. Somewhere inside of me there was this voice trying desperately to get out.
The down side to psychedelics in my personal experience (and it’s always unique to each individual) was that for the first time in my life I felt truly alone. I remember thinking I’ve felt every emotion under the sun from extreme depression to intense anger to complete elation but had never felt loneliness. Not once in my life did I ever remember feeling lonely. In fact, solitude was always the answer to any negative emotion I felt. I also felt elation at any opportunity to spend several days alone. But those opportunities were few.
Fast forward to the last trip I had—I was with a friend that happened to be living in an apartment next to the day care center my mom took me to as a baby. About 15 minutes into the trip I knew I was in serious trouble. I called my younger brother who came and got me. Around him I felt safe. He took me to my parents house where he was living, naturally, since he was a senior in high school. I was able to calm down but when he fell asleep I felt alone and I kept waking him up.
Years later I discovered why psychedelics had the effect of making me feel alone. They always tell you (as silly as it is) not to look in the mirror while you’re tripping. Of course I did, but the only thing different was my eyes looked really large. But what they failed to tell me was never google your birth date! I did that the last time I had a major chemical shift and the feeling of isolation was so severe I had to go to the hospital and get sedatives. I remember a psychologist at the hospital asking me what was the last thought I had thought about or the last thing I did before this profound sense of separation came over me and I felt too stupid to tell him it was when I googled my birth date and year.
Let me back up for a minute. It’s important to know that when I was born there was another baby girl born in the same room with the same name but different by one letter. I grew up with a sense of ”not belonging” because I didn’t look like anyone in the family—not at all. To compound that my father continuously said, half-jokingly, that I wasn’t his daughter and both of my grandmothers would comment on how I didn’t look like anyone in the family. And my mother’s mother would said it disapprovingly.
Fast forward to lots of therapy and finally a therapist who suggested I should get a DNA test. So I ordered one for $100. My DNA doesn’t match my family’s and yet they refuse to talk about it. I don’t press the issue because I’m still psychologically a child around my parents and it doesn’t seem worth the fight to upset them.
The best way I can describe my worst experience on psychedelics would be to take a baby away from its mother and put it completely on its own for a period of time. A baby in the womb recognizes its mother as “God”. It has no formed concepts beyond what it perceives. So this isolation is one of terror. One of being completely cut off from “God”. Newborns are far more sensitive and dependent than many people realize or acknowledge.
Today I understand this better yet I still can’t get the questions answered because it troubles my parents too much to talk about.
Psychedelics uncovered this “realization” for me but only with perception and feeling. They didn’t give me the knowledge I needed to understand and cope with these intense feelings. From the time I was born until this very day rejection has always equaled death to me. I hate being ignored and am incapable of ignoring others because of an acute sensitivity to the suffering it can cause others. Luckily my husband had a similar experience of abandonment as a child, and the one thing he has never done is ignore me—no matter how insane my behavior was.
My point is, psychedelics can be mind opening in a profound and beautiful way. But if you have experienced any suppressed traumas that you have no access to information about it can rip your mind apart. In some people this can do more damage than good. That’s why, quite honestly, I think it would be better to try to achieve certain states of enlightenment through some sort of meditation process where you can gently peel back the layers of your illusory self without being thrust into a potentially traumatic situation (like a really bad trip).
If Surat Shab Yoga actually does what they say it does, then I think it would be a lot safer than using psychedelics.
Posted by: Sonia | January 06, 2020 at 12:25 AM
Yep, if ppl know they are on their way out, I’ve always wondered why not let them have these experiences or highs if they want them.
Is it not better to go via a drug OD than to sufferer, or worse watching others having to suffer, in a drawn-out process?
Why aren’t drug laws suspended? If you are at that stage, probably doesn’t make an iota of difference what the drug laws say anyway.
Posted by: Georgy Porgy | January 06, 2020 at 05:35 AM
It sounds like some BDE ..experience.
Posted by: s* | January 06, 2020 at 05:39 AM
I'm not a fan of drugs. But in my son's case they have become a critical part of his daily life and well being. I like to think a natural approach is best, but I wash my hands with soap, I fly in jets a couple times a week, my entire work life is documented in the cloud.
So the natural argument has become meaningless. There are imbalances in life and health. Whatever helps the body and brain function in balance with minimal side effect is, to me, a good. And for many people, critical for their well being.
Meditation is a great method to deal with anxiety and can produce much the same experiences reported in the psilocybin studies. But there are circumstances where anxiety is so great, it is impossible for most folks to sit for meditation. To reach that level where we maintain our peace of mind under all circumstances through meditation is appropriate for those of us who have made it our lifestyle, our primary career.
But it's nice to see human progress in developing alternatives for a broader group of humanity.
Posted by: Spence Tepper | January 06, 2020 at 06:04 AM
Psychedelics promote schizophrenia and other unhinged brain functions
Should be avoided, they don't enhance spiritual development or perception
They can provide alternative state of mind but they are mentally projected exposure to thought processes, not anything that can be controlled or maintained by the recipient of the hallucinogenic substance.
These so called 'highs' are ephemeral mental conditions they are called hallucinations for a reason because that's what they are.
They don't strengthen willpower if anything they do more damage than good.
Posted by: Whodunit | January 06, 2020 at 07:59 AM
Such drugs may have therapeutic value but can not replace the natural spiritual experience whether in meditation or without. To me should be avoided lest it becomes habitual and troubling.
Posted by: Meditator | January 06, 2020 at 09:21 AM
"Psychedelics promote schizophrenia and other unhinged brain functions
" Should be avoided, they don't enhance spiritual development or perception
They do have a bad history. But like mold on bread that helped spread disease and death in centuries past, and now is the basis of Penicillin that saves lives, many modern and refined medications are essential to health and well being. In fact modern drugs for schizophrenia and other forms of psychoses are nothing short of miraculous. Perhaps Psilocybin is next up for refinement and adjustment, and will turn out to be a life changer for good.
Posted by: Spence Tepper | January 06, 2020 at 09:57 AM
Are you sure?
Posted by: tucson | January 06, 2020 at 10:15 AM
On the whole, I’d agree, but if you at death’s door, and the grim reaper’s a calling your name, and there’s not a good Gdam left for medical science to do - how about then ? Does it matter if it buggers you up or not, as you already buggered.
I guess if your at a stage of being some kinda adept where you can control your mind through meditation - you don’t need drugs - but for normal schmo’s - why not?
Hit me with the triple LSD doc and let me check out what Huxley was on about!
Posted by: Georgy Porgy | January 06, 2020 at 10:57 AM
Alpert gave his guru Neem Karoli Baba 900mg of potent acid which would blow most people's heads into neverland and nothing happened.
The lesson was that it's not the chemical that produces the permanent awareness or the awakened mind. There are better more controlled and more substantial measures to arrive at such states and definitely less neurologically damaging.
Posted by: Whodunit | January 06, 2020 at 11:09 AM
lol - I wonder if that story is true.
Posted by: Georgy Porgy | January 06, 2020 at 11:50 AM
I'm definitely no doctor and even less of a neurologist or neuro scientist, but I reckon if it takes a mind altering substance to free the mind from attachment to pain and anxiety then why do we suffer those consequences of conditions to begin with?
If the body is the field of action where excess pleasure begets suffering are we becoming less prone to paying for our repercussions simply by ingesting substance that alleviate the consequences?
Why not then legalize euthanasia (which in some society they already have done). If pain gets too overwhelming simply allow assisted suicide, then the easy way becomes the more comfortable option.
Perhaps my logic is flawed, I don't really know where natural remedies for human health ailments begin or end.
Posted by: Whodunit | January 06, 2020 at 11:55 AM
lol - I wonder if that story is true.
Posted by: Georgy Porgy | January 06, 2020 at 11:50 AM
Posted by: Sonia | January 06, 2020 at 12:37 PM
If the story wasn't true then as a doctor (professor) at Harvard University Alpert told a bald faced lie, because it's documented in his book and on his record, and told in lectures around the US.
The guru asked when they first got acquainted "where's the yoga medicine". Alpert wasn't sure what he was asking, but Karoli held out his hand and suggested he hand the stuff over.
So he took out one cap 300mg and Karoli kept his hand out, so he gave another 300mg cap, and Karoli said that he should give the rest. So he gave a third 300mg cap and the guru swallowed all of it.
Alpert waited for the psychedelic trip to take effect but nothing happened, they continued normal conversation and I think it was a big factor in Alperts convincing of Karoli's authenticity.
Posted by: Whodunit | January 06, 2020 at 12:57 PM
Well, even GSD has gone through chemo along with other treatments for health problems. He’s had lots of health issues naturally due to stress.
So, RSSBs stance on medicine is that it’s fine. They’re just not advocates of mind altering substances and things that can potentially destroy your health like smoking. They should probably talk a little more about jalebis...
However, if you’re chemistry is so altered that it can only be brought to “normal” through the use of medication prescribed by acdoctor then that’s different. And the difference is those prescribed medications are intended to stabilize and normalize your brain chemistry—certainly not to alter your brain chemistry. That’s a big difference. I can tell you though, there are naturopathic medicines that when mixed together in a certain way can REALLY alter your brain chemistry. I could give you some formulas of potions you can create from over the counter products at Whole Foods that are just as powerful as the ones drug companies make! 😂 But they haven’t been tested and they still have side effects. Yes, naturopathic medicine has side effects too!
And because one cannot predict the outcome of an hallucinogenic trip, it could actually make the “patient” worse off. It could possibly help them but it definitely could harm them and there is no way to predict the result as it varies dramatically from person to person.
Instead of psychedelics for anxiety or depression, how about a mood stabilizer—something that will bring your brain back to where it should be—NORMAL. If a normal person took a mood stabilizer it would mess up their brain chemistry but when someone who needs it takes it then three medicine just normalizes them. Klonipin is a good one—can relieve anxiety without need to increase dosage for years if necessary in severe cases. It can easily be tapered off... but very slowly under doctors care. Xanax, Valium and Ativan can be more addictive so a safe doctor is more cautious in prescribing them but they have their merits. And antidepressants don’t cause one to hallucinate, they can have negative side effects in some but it’s all trial and error.
Anyway, that was a bit of a rant. I think the key is, if you’re suffering any sort of illness—physical or mental—then medication is a good thing to bring your body back to a normal state.
Naturopathic medicine isn’t morally any better or even any more pure than a lot of allopathic medicines. They are ALL medicines—even the food you eat.
I’m not advocating RS in general but I do strongly agree with their stance on no mind altering drugs, alcohol or smoking. Clearly because those things do hurt people. Opiates are fine for severe pain for a limited time and only with doctors prescription. And CBD does seem to help a lot of people who need pain medication for long term illnesses—not sure how trippy it is on a high dose... 🤔
That was my sermon. I apologize. It was obnoxious but I get worried when people demonize allopathic medicine. I get even more worried when the wrong person gets the wrong dose of a hallucinogen and makes a one way trip to never never land.
One more thing—food is one of the main culprits of disease when people eat too much (obesity—which is 2/3 of America) it wrecks absolute havoc on the body leading to all kinds of disease that you’ll end up needing all kinds of medicine for. I don’t believe in fat shaming at all. But I don’t think it can be stressed enough how harmful being overweight is for your health.
And then some people aren’t overweight but they never eat fresh fruit or vegetables just healthy stuff in general. Fried foods bad. Vegetables AMAZING!!!
So... if you made it to the end of this comment we just went from Psilocybin to vegetables. Actually, mushrooms might be a vegetable. 🤔
Posted by: Sonia | January 06, 2020 at 01:24 PM
Sonia wrote: " Actually, mushrooms might be a vegetable." 🤔
-- they are fungi.
Whodunit wrote: "Perhaps my logic is flawed,"
-- Well, it is not impressive., i.e. " I reckon if it takes a mind altering substance to free the mind from attachment to pain and anxiety then why do we suffer those consequences of conditions to begin with?"
Posted by: tucson | January 06, 2020 at 04:13 PM
-- Well, it is not impressive., i.e. " I reckon if it takes a mind altering substance to free the mind from attachment to pain and anxiety then why do we suffer those consequences of conditions to begin with?"
Posted by: tucson | January 06, 2020 at 04:13 PM
I think it’s karma that causes us to suffer but it’s God’s grace that allows us medicine for these conditions. We cause our own suffering but God’s mercy helps us get through it.
Posted by: Sonia | January 06, 2020 at 05:00 PM
What was your experience with LSD? Was it eye opening in any way? Did you have any good experiences, bad experiences or both? You certainly seem to know a lot about it. I had a friend who took God knows how much acid in eye drop formed and tripped for 48 hours yet he remained rather sane and normal afterwards. But he said it got really old after a while. I believe your mind can build a “tolerance” hallucinogenics after a while. Mine did. It became more annoying than illuminating after a while.
I thought LSD was the greatest drug known to man the first time I tried it. Then had an endless supply of shrooms. A roommate cultivated them and we had an abundant supply on hand in the 8,000 square foot warehouse that 4 of us shared. It was very much an Andy Warhol experience—raves in our basement and a huge art gallery in the store front area.
To tell you the truth I took so much LSD and shrooms that I eventually became really bored of the experiences. It was almost annoying towards the end. And then I had that one really bad trip that changed everything.
I know you’re not going to respond as you seem to have a “thing” but I hope this resonates with other readers on this blog.
Posted by: Sonia | January 06, 2020 at 06:05 PM
Yes, I believe in mercy and grace and forgiveness which don’t seem to be tenets of the Sant Mat faith.
“You are what you believe.”
Posted by: Sonia | January 06, 2020 at 06:13 PM
If the body is the field of action where excess pleasure begets suffering are we becoming less prone to paying for our repercussions simply by ingesting substance that alleviate the consequences?
Posted by: Whodunit | January 06, 2020 at 11:55 AMH
Oh, that’s right, I almost forgot you’re all about karma, judgement, retribution and suffering.
Thank you, Kaal, for your contribution to this post. 🙄
Is Whodunit a nickname for Kaal?? Why did GSD’s wife suffer so gravely? Abdominal surgery is a bitch especially when their are complications. I suppose you believe she deserved it in order to “pay for her sins/karma”.
Posted by: Sonia | January 06, 2020 at 06:29 PM
I remember GSD saying in an evening meeting, at a time when he was going through chemo and looked gravely I’ll, that the saints have no karma. He wanted to let the sangat know that he was faultless, had no karma and wasn’t suffering because of anything he might have done.
As bizarrely insane as that sounds, he truly believes he is above the law and incapable of error.
He sits in judgement and does not believe in any such thing as forgiveness. I can’t name a single saint in history who thought this way. The only reference I have for that type of thinking is the RSSB archetypal Kaal. It seems GSD worships Kaal more than his own master, Charan, who actually understood the meaning of grace.
Posted by: Sonia | January 06, 2020 at 06:37 PM
A fascinating 15 min talk on psilocybin and it’s connection to spiritual experiences
Posted by: Jen from Austin Texas | January 06, 2020 at 07:22 PM
@ In fact modern drugs for schizophrenia and other forms of psychoses are
@ nothing short of miraculous. Perhaps Psilocybin is next up for refinement
@ and adjustment, and will turn out to be a life changer ...
Hm, I don't disagree in theory but I sense over-prescription of "wonder"
drugs has become a malaise of our times. Consider doctors, and not
just the most avaricious, routinely and questionably prescribing opiates
for doubtful maladies. Or even ritalin for "hyper active" kids which as
reached epidemic levels. Ritalin use tripled in just five years (90-95) and
five-fold in recent years. So too are risky sedatives for dementia and
Alzheimer patients to keep them "calm and manageable".
Alternatives to most "miracle drugs" should be given priority in my
opinion. Over reliance on quick remedies and hype from medical
"authorities" about them can be harmful to health. God help those
raring to volunteer for psilocybin trials.
One study's author concluded:
"Americans have a tendency, more than any other nation on this Earth
I think, to want to pathologize behavior which they do not understand
or which they have no patience for."
Posted by: Dungeness | January 06, 2020 at 07:35 PM
"To tell you the truth I took so much LSD and shrooms that I eventually became really bored of the experiences"
Sonia, your comments are very confusing to me. Are you a satsangi? Were you ever a satsangi? Following the rules - vegetarian, no alcohol or mind altering drugs, living a moral lifestyle, meditation. Which Master initiated you? I ask because I have never known initiates, even ex-satsangis to be so very immersed in mind altering drugs like you seem to be. You also don't even know how to spell the negative power called Kal. Never heard anyone else calling him Kaal.
Posted by: Jen | January 06, 2020 at 08:05 PM
The atheist will take the 'God' equation out of the formula
So in a 'scientific' world its 'OK' to take mind altering substance as a panacea for physical or psychological ailments.
Where do we draw the line between acceptable drug use and harmful?
Huxley Leary Alpert even Castaneda with his natural mescaline all experimented with it, even advocating it as means to get beyond suffering, or at least take a look at mental states that through disassociated aloofness via chemical adjustment to the brain the mind trips out of its body consciousness to alleviate the physical condition.
Meditation practice says get the permanent high, the chemical induced high not only is addictive and hallucinogenic its also mentally damaging and disruptive to a permanent solution.
Posted by: Whodunit | January 06, 2020 at 08:05 PM
"Michael Pollan: Magic mushrooms and LSD could help solve mental health crisis | ITV News - YouTube" https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=LHIUcch4ISc
Pollan could be associated as the modern Leary, brave enough to explore the world of modern psychedelics in experiment with his own experiences.
In a psychiatric framework it can be used productively, as a self medicating experience you're dicing with mental instability, as a recreational stimulus to enhance feelings of excitement or ecstatic experience it's delving into its potential for negative effects.
As responsible research it's OK to do the experiment. As a
Posted by: Whodunit | January 06, 2020 at 09:33 PM
Kaal Bhairav is a Hindu deity, a fierce manifestation of Shiva associated with annihilation. Other RS groups spell it that way sometimes so I kind of like it.
I was initiated by Gurinder and followed all the vows intensely for 13 years.
My husband was initiated by Charan so he’s had a completely different experience with Sant Mat. I’m sure if I had been initiated by Charan I would still be following Sant Mat. Charan is far more powerful that “Kal”. Gurinder has never made it past Trikuti and that’s what makes him unfit to be an RS master.
Every line has to end somewhere. Why did Charan appoint Gurinder? Maybe the Masters aren’t perfect masters when they are first given the role. Maybe they have the potential and are expected to grow into it but there are no guarantees.
Andrew always had questions about Gurinder until I got initiated and he didn’t want to discourage me. He always said he’s glad he was initiated by Charan. He doesn’t speak anything more about it though. Like I said he never defends GSD but he doesn’t attack him.
I wouldn’t either if I wasn’t convinced he’s Kal.
Posted by: Sonia | January 06, 2020 at 11:16 PM
And I stopped using mind altering drugs way before I knew about Sant Mat. I have’s used them since my 20s. Other than alcohol. And I only drank maybe two or three times a month before I became at satsangi. Antidepressants, anti-anxiety medications and anything prescribed by a medical doctor is not mind altering. Mind altering substances are illegal in America, Jen. Except for marijuana which is only legal in certain states and last time I used that was 20 years ago.
I know who Gurinder is. And just knowing that and being aware of it keeps me from being worried about going to Beas. And my husband has the protection of Hazur so it’s different for him.
BTW, my husband’s parents have been devout Satsangis for over 50 years but they quit going to Satsang soon after Gurinder became Master. They had doubts about him, but when there youngest son decided to get initiated they respectfully wished him the best. Although they never started attending Satsang again. They just stuck to their vows. This happened with A LOT of Charan’s flock.
I remember my mother-in-law telling me she received an abrupt and rude letter from Gurinder not too long after GSD was Master and that’s when they knew something was a bit off.
Interestingly enough the RSSB website has posted this:
What does the term "perfect living Master" mean?
The term "perfect living Master" is used for spiritual teachers who have attained higher consciousness through the practice of meditation and stay connected to the Shabd within, making them 'whole' or 'complete,' which in Hindu scriptures is referred to as "puran" – complete or perfect.
Main God in Hinduism is Supreme Brahman/Para Brahman/Paramatma. The Trinity (Brahma, Vishnu, and Shiva) & their avatars are the manifestation of one Supreme Brahman.
Taken from a different Radha Soami sect online article: Hinduism considers highest level of consciousness up to Brahmand. But Radhasoami, Sufism, Sihikism considers a region beyond Brahmand, called Sat Lok (Suh Kund). Beyond the highest level of Brahmand.
Gurinder has never made it past the mind region.
Posted by: Sonia | January 07, 2020 at 12:04 AM
Correction: “haven’t” used them...
Posted by: Sonia | January 07, 2020 at 12:05 AM
You know, when people who like GSD talk about him they talk about how he’s so cool or funny and how clean and big he’s made the Dera and how he’s helped them (some) financially. People like him even love him because of his rock star charisma. That’s what attracts people to Gurinder. And yes, I agree he has all those qualities. He’s very entertaining.
But no one has ever described him as peaceful. Definitely never heard that word used to describe him.
Posted by: Sonia | January 07, 2020 at 12:30 AM
“Baba Ji is so peaceful and serene” said no one ever.
Posted by: Sonia | January 07, 2020 at 01:06 AM
If peace and serenity aren’t necessary attributes of a saint then no one needs spirituality.
Posted by: Sonia | January 07, 2020 at 01:27 AM
"Like I said he never defends GSD but he doesn’t attack him.
I wouldn’t either if I wasn’t convinced he’s Kal."
Thats very interesting Sonia, that you think Gurinder is the negative power. Because I never had any kind of meaningful talks with these gurus now it makes me wonder how gullible I was to believe in these so called perfect living masters. They could very well be that negative power fooling and controlling so many innocent people. Humans seem to be programmed to want to believe in some kind of saviour.
Posted by: Jen | January 07, 2020 at 01:48 PM
How came you to be programmed to believe what you believe?
Who was the programmer?
Why did he/she want you o believe what they said?
Posted by: Um | January 07, 2020 at 02:24 PM
Lets be clear. My take.
Barring some outer sanity and an ounce or more of spirituality in a Spiritual Master - Perfect or widely known as Perfect or even nominated by a Perfect Master that one may make out at some stage , still with wavering mind its all a Big Blind faith into belief of God and Godliness till there is really some progress inwards which may authenticate the path ahead.
Till such time it is a routine obedience to the Omni Power by the Beleivers that powers the World and its articles ( creatures) and the whole drama.
A thinking mind always doubt the blind faith that he/ she has to indulge in at the outset of his / her journey inside.
Posted by: Meditator | January 07, 2020 at 03:03 PM
My words "Humans seem to be programmed to want to believe in some kind of saviour" have obviously triggered you...
"How came you to be programmed to believe what you believe?"
I think I've chucked out all my beliefs. (This is like a Zen nightmare)
"Who was the programmer?"
God only knows!!! (don't believe in God)
Why did he/she want you o believe what they said?
I don't know... he/she must be idiots... (truth)
Posted by: Jen | January 07, 2020 at 04:07 PM
After 4 decades I came to realise that I first believed what I heared from others and acted upon that hearsay and got initiated.
Now I am faced with what i didn't want to do in the very beginning and closed my eyes for, asking myself what is it that you want.
MCS use to tell the audience that in order to eat 2 conditions had to be fulfilled, here had to be hunger and there had to be food … both were given he said. Like many people in the west who just eat because it is dinner time without having real hunger, i started out on this path.
Now, I do realise that in order to overcome all sorts of doubts the mind puts before us one has to have that inner calling, that pull from within a real spiritual hunger.
The cloud of unknowing, starts out with begging the reader not to continue if here is no genuine longing for the divine.
Whether a guru has an "obligation" to check whether that calling is there as they do in monasteries [two years] I don't know. The teachings tell that he needs not as he doesn't make the choices for whom to initiate or not, being the shepard.
Why would one have inner experiences? …. if one would not have told me about these things and I would not have lent my ears, I would never have had the idea that these things existed and have had any longing for things beyond, the natural.
Posted by: Um | January 07, 2020 at 04:43 PM
And as crazy as this sounds—Kal isn’t “evil”—judgements but not evil. As GSD says, Kal is the Lord’s most devoted servant. So... the thing is—it’s just not going to get me where I want to be.
When I wrote last night:
“If peace and serenity aren’t necessary attributes of a saint then no one needs spirituality.”
That was an aha! Moment for me where I realized that peace and serenity is the path I want to follow. And currently I am in a Zen nightmare that I want to break free from. I really want peace in my life.
If you go to the RSSB site and look at their description of what a perfect Master is (and they say there are only one or two in the world but I’m not so sure about that) you will find a lot of interesting things. The RSSB site is updated frequently, the books get updated and it’s probably a good idea for Satsangis to keep up with it. And not a bad idea to compare the current teachings with some of the older teachings that other RS groups follow. I’m not saying Sant Mat is or isn’t the answer. And a few of the other groups have had their troubles as well—hence all the many beaches of RS since Shiv Dayal. But people should be informed and make their own choices. But be informed.
For me, I’d like to follow the Zen path. That’s what my aha moment was last night.
Posted by: Sonia | January 07, 2020 at 05:29 PM
“hence the many branches of RS”.
I have to be more disciplined about rereading and editing my posts when I type from my phone. A few typos in previous comments—hope you can discern them.
Posted by: Sonia | January 07, 2020 at 05:33 PM
For all RSSB Satsangis from Sar Bachan ~
Characteristics of a Perfect Guru and True Parmarthi [Seeker of Spirituality*]
Sar Updesh (True Teachings) Test of a Parmarthi*
“Guru-chela vyavahar jagat mein …
The relationship between Guru and Chela, as is prevailing in the world, is all hypocritical.”
“The Guru hankers after money, name and fame. The Chela, for his selfish ends, has got himself tied to the so-called Guru.”
“Both Guru and Chela are imposters and hypocrites. Both will go to Chaurasi.”
Posted by: Sonia | January 07, 2020 at 07:40 PM
When I first went to Dera in Feb 2013 I learned that there are several sects of Radhasoami. Having been on the path for 8 years at that point I was absolutely shocked that I had never heard this before. And all of these sects claiming to be part of Shiv Dayal’s lineage. When I returned I informed my husband of this who had been an initiate for 25 years. He too was not aware of this but shied away from the information almost as in fear that it might compromise his faith. I also shared the Radhasoami story with my in-laws who were just as unaware.
I’m sure initiates in India are familiar with Sant Mat’s history. Surely they must be. But how can anyone be a true devotee of any path without knowledge of its history and development. Blind faith is ignorance of truth.
Posted by: Sonia | January 07, 2020 at 11:00 PM
We shouldn’t be afraid of the facts. We shouldn’t be afraid to research and learn more about what we’re committing our ‘souls’ to. If anything the truth would make itself more apparent through investigation. When you find yourself afraid to learn more then you have a fear of the truth. And the sad thing is that only the truth can set you free.
Posted by: Sonia | January 07, 2020 at 11:12 PM
Hi Sonia, you wrote: "shouldn’t be afraid of the facts. We shouldn’t be afraid to research and learn more about what we’re committing our ‘souls’ to. If anything the truth would make itself more apparent through investigation. When you find yourself afraid to learn more then you have a fear of the truth."
Posted by: Sonia | January 07, 2020 at 11:12 PM
Nicely put. Unless we do our due diligence, preferably before choosing a path, but never too late after. We should always be questioning, testing our thought processes and belief systems to ensure they're relevant and still valid. If we become afraid to face this, to test our own faith, then there is an underlying issue we are not facing heading on.
This is the scientific method. To constantly challenge a hypothesis or formula to make sure the solution still holds. When we stop doing this, we stop evolving and moving forward.
Posted by: Amar | January 08, 2020 at 08:13 AM
OK, this is definitely relevant to the blog post:
Micro-dosing! This might actually be a good thing. 🤔
The Science Behind Microdosing
Psychedelics have the power to change the physical structure of the brain. On a normal day, the brain has thoughts and carries out processes by firing electrical signals along neural pathways called "synapses."
On psychedelics, the brain's synapses and neurons fire at a heightened rate. During this process, the brain forms new neurons and dendrites, creating newly formed pathways. In other words, psychedelics literally change the way you think, as they alter the structure of the brain's synapses.
Microdosing is believed to elevate the mood while increasing focus, motivation, and productivity.
On recreational doses of psychedelic substances, much larger than those used in the practice of microdosing, this heightened brain activity is responsible for the hallucinations users experience. They might see or hear things that aren't actually there, as the visual or auditory centers of the brain light up without external stimuli.
In patients suffering from mental illnesses like depression or anxiety disorders, psychedelics' ability to form new neurons, dendrites, and synapses could potentially repair areas of the brain which might be damaged. As a result, patients might be able to achieve a more desirable state of consciousness by creating a new pattern or structure of thought.
Posted by: Sonia | January 08, 2020 at 09:46 AM
So many times you write how you value science. Mathematics has quite an important role to play in Science. So you should know that the infinity / infinity is not zero, just as I am sure you know that the sum of all positive integers is a small negative number. (calculates to -1/12 as Leonard Euler proved in 1735, a result that was only made rigorous later: today physicists have been seeing this result actually show up in nature. If you dont believe me, look it up.
on the rare occasions I visit your blog, I see so many references to science and how solid it is, and I puzzle about the statements made and wonder how anyone with a true knowledge of science can write so many false statements. Do please enlighten
Posted by: Phil | January 08, 2020 at 12:38 PM
Phil, I was mainly making a philosophical, not a mathematical statement, when I wrote: "How many zeros does it take to equal one? The answer is... not even an infinity, because no amount of nothing can equal even the smallest something." But read my last paragraph below and you'll see that I also was mathematically correct.
If you can show me how some amount of nothing can equal some amount of something, congratulations! You've surpassed what the alchemists dreamed of, since their goal was to make something (like lead) into something else (like gold).
Also, if you look through the start of this Quora discussion about how many zeros are in one, you'll see that the discussants are saying what I did: no amount of zeros can equal one. Sure looks like I was right and you were wrong. See:
Posted by: Brian Hines | January 08, 2020 at 12:54 PM
Interesting post. I've considered responding to this for a few days and as I have an evening free and this is a subject I have a deep interest in........THESIS ALERT!!! (RS religious fundamentalists may skip the below and revert to regurgitating basic RS dogma as if nobody here has heard it before or understands it :)
I feel there's a fair bit of misinformation and speculation grounded in ignorance in some of the comments above.
Regarding the comparison of the relative benefits and dangers of "pharmaceutical medicines" prescribed by Doctors and natural "psychedelic medicines", that's an incredibly complex subject.
I have personally witnessed up close the profound harm a life long dependency on pharma chemicals to alter moods can cause in a very close friend of mine I have known since I can remember, as he was a neighbour who even came to visit me in hospital when I was born. Prescribed some sort of anti-depressants as a teenager after the break-up of a relationship with his girlfriend, his entire life since has been roller-coaster ride of changing drugs, moods and other physical effects. Permanently off-kilter, doctors still to this day (35 odd years later) trying to find the right combination of pharma drugs to get some sort of stability of mind.
Personally, I believe this is because science (self-admittedly) has no real understanding of what "mind" or "consciousness" is, and to ideologically (because we cannot scientifically) reduce "happiness" and "well-being" to merely chemical states in the brain is an incredibly dangerous and harmful belief and ideology to hold. The result is a psychiatric profession that in truth has no clue about holistic happiness, working hand in hand with a multi-billion-dollar pharmaceutical industry to create and define new "mental" conditions for which they have patented pharmaceutical "medicines".
In an absolutely ideal situation, doctors and psychiatrists would be able to diagnose and to prescribe en-masse brain-mind-mood altering chemicals at a very young age to children, which will leave them with a life-long hyper-dependency on daily usage of very expensive, patented "medicines". In this way, they are captive customers/revenue-streams for life. Meanwhile, "happiness" remains far, far away, and of no ultimate concern to either pharmaceutical companies or psychiatrists - in fact, to the contrary would be in their financial benefit. That could never happen though, could it? :-/
Look, I'm no doctor (but am fairly well read on related subjects), and I'm very confident these pharmaceutical anti-depressants, SSRIs etc are of huge invaluable help to many people who may perhaps not be able to function without them. But I think it foolish not to at least consider alternative methods and means, before jumping on the pharma-chem-roller-coaster ride.
For example (and I will limit myself to articles linking to scientific evidence only dated within the last week, so vast and overwhelming is the growing body of scientific evidence!), there is evidence to suggest just ONE SINGLE dose of psilocybin containing mushrooms can reduce anxiety for up to 5 years or more:
Seeing as magic mushrooms are a fungus and can be cheaply cultivated/grown by anyone at home quite simply, and can generate almost endless quantities for next to no financial cost, pharmaceutical companies are unable to patent them (:-). Further, whatever the cost may be, as is reported above a single dose can have countless beneficial effects lasting years, such as a reduction in anxiety. I simply cannot understand why these truly amazing and genuine "medicines" are so maligned & demonised in western culture to the extent they generate more fear than a life-long dependency on daily usage of extremely expensive big-pharma chemicals?! And that isn't even taking into account that, honestly, the type of profound joy and happiness that can result from psilocybin mushroom usage is not even in the same universe as the "make do" dullness of pharma anti-depressant dependency.
We hear scare stories all the time, always about somebody who took an unspecified quantity of an unspecified psychedelic in unspecified surroundings and with an unspecified mind-set. I'm deeply sceptical of all that scare-mongering. If you don't take precautions before using a tool and you hurt yourself, don't blame the tool. These psychedelic medicines can and have been used safely for millennia. Regardless, like 777 mentioned recently, perhaps we should be paying more attention to the scare stories regarding SSRIs for example, like this fascinating BBC article?:
I will be astonished if we ever hear a GENUINE story as scary as this but about psilocybin mushrooms?
On a personal level though, my real interest or passion here is the intersection of "psychedelics" and "mystical experiences". First of all, the reason why I believe "magic mushrooms" can be truly great and genuine teachers, unlike RS gurus for example, is that they work PERFECTLY with the individual person on THEIR OWN level, with whatever UNIQUE issues or "reality" they are dealing with, be it parental, self-esteem, relationship, anger, fear, addiction, psychological, somatic, emotional, intellectual, spiritual, WHATEVER.....it meets you exactly as far you're able to come. Physical worldly gurus, you know, the ultra-rich guys with court dates, come with one tool, one solution, and apply it to absolutely every single one of their millions of religious followers. The problem is, shabd yoga and the mystical search really isn't for everyone. In fact, I'd say it's only for about 1% of the RS sangat worldwide......and that 1% eventually leave the organisations.....:) The rest are content with their worldly psychological issues masked by religious-like blind belief, miracle stories, minor visionary experiences and social aspects, just like any other religion's followers.
To really understand entheogens in the context of metaphysical practices and philosophy, you really need to understand the history of eastern mysticism, which is something that no follower of RS I have ever encountered does understand, believing as they do the erroneous version of mysticism painted by "Sant Mat" dogma, which has only existed for 200-300 years. So, to sum it up as briefly as possible:
As far as I have found, he oldest trace of a metaphysical school of practice and thought that contains the core concepts and/or experiences of inner vibration, heat, ecstasy, visions, ie. "kundalini & shabd phenomena and thought", is from the San tribes of East Africa (the !Kung). From there humanity apparently spread over the globe, taking with them core elements of this belief/experience. Amongst these are the various "pashupata" sects, spread from Greece to China. Around 300-500 AD these groups found their most fertile and productive area & period in the "Oddiyana/Uddiyana" region of northern India (near Kashmir region). From that golden period of mystical thought and practice exploded all the tantras, cosmologies and philosophies of Tibetan Buddhism and Kashmiri Shaivism. These include the core concepts, beliefs and practices of today's RS's "shabd yoga". (These were deeply sophisticated philosophies and the most detailed of "yogic" technologies probably in humankind's history, imo. Life-affirming, genuinely loving, compassionate, non-dual, highly sophisticated philosophies about "kal", embodiment, "god" etc. Unfortunately, due to Islamic invasions of the prior idyllic communities beginning around 1500 years ago, all these schools were destroyed, lost, dispersed etc. These philosophies and practices went underground. The deeply sophisticated non-dual philosophy of kashmiri shaivism within which shabd yoga was embedded is lost. Instead, the technological practice lives on via the legend of Goraknatha and his yogas. It is the legend of Goraknath that gives birth to the practices described in texts like hathayogapradipika, shiva-samhita, gheranda-samhita etc. It is THESE practices that Namdev, Ravidas, Kabir, Nanak etc were practicing, as they clearly let slip some of their "secret" yogic practices, such as breath control, in numerous verses in the Granth Sahib, which are almost identical in description to the hatha yoga text descriptions associated with Goraknath's yoga. The big difference, and where the "bhaktas" of the SGGS distinguish themselves from Goraknath's technology-alone school, is in their gnostic cosmology. In other words, shabd yoga stripped of it's deeply sophisticated, non-dual philosophical underpinnings in Kashmiri Shaivism, via a rudderless technique-only-school, then - over a period of centuries become associated with a life-negating, anti-world ancient-gnostic-like cosmology, beginning in the late 1400s and peaking in the 19th century, and what RS dogma is still today; outdated. I, personally, find it interesting that these life-negating, dualistic, kal-centred gnostic cosmologies tend to arise in the most chaotic, bloody and dangerous of times. It's also worth noting, there are countless versions of the ancient gnostic myths and not all are life-denying. Shabd yoga can generate mind-blowing dualistic inner experiences. I personally think it is clear, by definition, the narrative interpretation of any kind of dualistic inner experience is moulded by our mindset, beliefs, surroundings, culture, language etc. And that is why at at a certain place and time in history, many "mystics" were having "mystical" experiences, either via NDEs, psychedelics or other yogic techniques, that were of "kal" like entities, or reincarnation, or the world as a hell etc, but at another time - like RIGHT NOW in the western world - except in RS circles - where people's "mystical" experiences, either via NDEs, entheogens, meditation, channelling, "past-life regression" etc etc are almost always of an infinitely more loving God, existence, world, our "purpose", our "relationships" with each other and the planet etc. Regardless of the "reality" of any particular narrative - it is worth noting that interpretation of "inner experiences" via any means including shabd yoga can and does change depending on our culture, mind-set and intention , and that shabd yoga and mystical experiences in general do not have to be tied up with a dodgy-guru-centric cult that says all creation including our family and friends is a hell that we must escape, whilst the guru themself accumulates more money than a million of the rest of us mere mortals ever would combined!)
Annnnyways, point is, those ancient Kashmiri Shaivist schools from which "Sant Mat" emerged orphanless 1200 years later, also included secret texts and practices which included entheogens as a viable yogic technology, alongside shabd yoga for eg. This is a well known secret amongst the tantric descendants of KS throughout India, where they still consume "intoxicants" to this day in a degenerated version of the ancient practice or where Shiva is sometimes shown with a blue throat due to "drinking the poison of the world" or some such, which is the colour a psilocybin mushroom turns if bruised or chopped up into a drink. The same practices also exist in Tibetan Buddhism (I haven't seen this video, but have heard of the work......I have found evidence independently in tantric texts of whatever is noted here):
Aside from ancient Shaivist tantra's usage of "plant medicines" to aid their "spiritual journey", RS is also influenced by the Vedas. It is worth noting that these ancient "spiritual" texts which influence nearly all Indian metaphysical thought clearly allude to some sort of entheogenic plant or mushroom as "Soma". It clearly describes some physical substance that is pressed, made and drunk or eaten to achieve communion and ecstasy with the Gods. The Rig Veda, I believe (?), mentions something about "drinking the piss of the gods who drink Soma". Amanita Muscaria, the famous red and white mushroom, is a well known psychedelic used by shamans across Europe and Asia, and the only psychedelic that drinking the urine of somebody who has ingested previously actually makes the effect STRONGER. So the Vedas make infinite sense if "Soma" is actually the amanita muscaria mushroom. PS - I have never tried Amanita and would seriously not recommend it to anyone, it is a deleriant, not a "magic mushroom" of the psilocybin variety. One can only wonder what the authors of the Vedas would have written if they managed to get hold of some psilocybin, which by all accounts is infinitely more pleasurable than Amanita :)
In my personal experience and opinion, I spent the first 35 years of my life thinking no "psychedelic" had ever come anywhere near close to the "astral projections", visionary experiences, kundalini and non-dual "awakenings" I had naturally and all my life. And I had tried LSD, Salvia, DMT and mushrooms. Even argued the case on forums. Then, fine-tuning the "practice" over the past 5 odd years, I have changed my opinion to magic mushrooms, ayahuasca, DMT and possibly LSD, at the right dose (high), right quality (high), right settings (prepared, safely, with reverence, perhaps ritual or meditation etc), can induce experiences that are indistinguishable from any full on "shabd" or "kundalini" visionary experience, and even by that I mean "high-level" experiences, not just visionary experiences which are basically just poorly-understood semi-lucid dream states of consciousness. Absolutely indistinguishable, and that IS a challenge.
And why shouldn't it be? These entheogens have been in the toolkits of all the greatest metaphysical schools of thought globally, from the amazonian rainforests to siberia to kashmir.
After years of speculation, science has finally confirmed in the last year or two that DMT, one of the few chemicals in nature able to pass the brain-blood barrier, naturally occurs in the human brain!! Let that sink in - DMT is a NATURALLY occurring chemical in the brain. Psilocybin is basically the DMT molecule with an extra oxygen molecule or something which makes it orally active (unlike pure DMT, which must be smoked or IVd).
Imo, it is worth considering that all meditation and yogic technologies, such as pranayama, meditation, shabd absorbtion (most DMT/mushroom journeys begin with a high-pitched noise), fasting, prayer, dancing etc etc, are technologies to encourage the natural release of DMT within our brains.
Having experienced both a natural "kundalini" awakening which included such experiences as literally feeling some metallic tasting chemical dripping down the back of my neck which resulted in psychedelic ecstasy (amrit, modern kechari mudra connection?) and subsequent experiences years later with high doses of psilocybin mushrooms, DMT etc, I am personally convinced that is a very plausible, even probable, suggestion.
A lot of people speculate based on zero experience, copious concepts and infinite arrogant ignorance. Nothing beats personal, direct experience, imo. But each to their own.
Anyway, I've rambled on enough - My apologies to those so affronted by my freely sharing my experiences and insights of over 30 years of intensive and continuous researching, experimenting, experiencing in this here interminable thesis. I beg you ignore the ramblings of this mad man, and pray to your respective gods and gurus for my forgiveness.
Posted by: manjit | January 20, 2020 at 03:13 PM
Found some time to have a look at and respond to what Manjit (M) posted on the 20th.
M - ‘truly amazing and genuine "medicines" are so maligned & demonised in western culture’
Certainly seems that way. Pollan’s book was really interesting and gives some background to why this is the case. Seems like a lot of the relatively recent negative press relates to issues stemming from bad trips and counterculture use in the 60’s.
M - ‘my real interest or passion here is the intersection of "psychedelics" and "mystical experiences”’.
Intersted in this too, so is Pollan. To me mystical experiences are essentially of the non-dual type. Some of the experiences discussed in Pollan’s book and by others definitely present in this way. So one could argue that taking psilocybin mushrooms could well provide experiences of a unitive nature ‘beyond mind’, whereas visions produced/witnessed in a meditative state are of a ‘lower order’.
M - ‘it's [Mystical shabd yoga] only for about 1% of the RS sangat worldwide......and that 1% eventually leave the organisations.....:) The rest are content with their worldly psychological issues masked by religious-like blind belief, miracle stories, minor visionary experiences’
- These figures could well be accurate. Brian has often discussed current Sant Mat and that the vast majority of practitioners have few or zero experiences in meditation. However, maybe there’s truth to the stories about not getting off at train stations before the final destination. That is, some folk are prevented from having such experiences as their sense of ‘ego’ would be increased. Maybe.
Interestingly we just had a visit from a couple of RSSB devotee friends . One actually mentioned the terms ‘blind faith’ being part of their current modus operandi. Amazing that they could still think like this after decades of meditation/RSSB path walking.
M - 'the history of eastern mysticism, which is something that no follower of RS I have ever encountered does understand, believing as they do the erroneous version of mysticism painted by "Sant Mat" dogma, which has only existed for 200-300 years'.
This is really interesting. I guess many of us when we found the ‘path’ never considered it’s authority and history. All this was taken on good faith as it was seen as the highest path of all so how could it’s history be questioned? I agree with Manjit that Shabd yoga likely came out of the ‘deeply sophisticated non-dual philosophy of kashmiri shaivism’. What’s possibly questionable about this is how/why the Sant Mat dogma developed into what Manjit calls ‘erroneous mysticism’ that - ‘over a period of centuries become associated with a life-negating, anti-world ancient-gnostic-like cosmology’. As I’ve said before the dogma of RSSB seems to generate such views in at least some of the followers. Case in point - one of our recent guests said with full conviction about ‘wanting to get out of here ASAP’. Granted things are getting pretty rough on planet earth. But having this thought as a central theme throughout one’s life, is likely not the best for the development of an empathetic, helpful, socially and environmentally responsible citizen - so needed at the present time imo. Definitely a limitation imposed by dogma and enhanced through blind belief.
Also I’ve never really considered where Shabd Yoga originated. If you think about it scientifically/historically and not in mythical terms it could well have originated with early hunter gatherers in Africa hundreds of thousands of years ago. Who knows? Has David Lane looked into this?
Without going on too long Manjt’s point about ‘soma’ is also interesting, as is it’s likely use in a lot of earlier religious/spiritual practices in India. I found Chowdry’s presentation on this quite eye-opening when I viewed it several years ago: https://youtu.be/kPf4FYNt9ok
Some may think this is all intellectual waffle - I think it’s not only intellectually stimulating but highly relevant to how consciousness is evolving and could well help to fill in the gaps/provide insight into a path many of us have/continue to follow. A path which seems ultimately non-dual. But in my view both dualistic in its approach and potentially limiting/problematic for those with open minds who are after the truth of things and adverse to dogma.
Posted by: Tim Rimmer | January 27, 2020 at 05:50 PM
Thanks for the very thoughtful and considered comments Sir! I missed this reply before (the problem with a blog's comments section being the main discussion forum for rs related subjects!) and am on a mobile device so will spare all another thesis in response :)
Just wanted to post a link to this recent article:
Posted by: manjit | January 30, 2020 at 12:01 PM
Well, seeing seeing as it's lockdown, I thought I would return to your comment here, Tim, with some random thoughts of my own. Hopefully it's not too off-topic to be blocked by the Capricious Gods of the Blogosphere:
Tim wrote: " What’s possibly questionable about this is how/why the Sant Mat dogma developed into what Manjit calls ‘erroneous mysticism’ that - ‘over a period of centuries become associated with a life-negating, anti-world ancient-gnostic-like cosmology’. As I’ve said before the dogma of RSSB seems to generate such views in at least some of the followers. Case in point - one of our recent guests said with full conviction about ‘wanting to get out of here ASAP’."
I find this to be a profound observation/question that really gets to the roots of the Radhasoami Mat illusion (The term "Sant Mat" is a neologism that didn't exist pre-1850s-ish, and is indeed synonymous with "Radhasoami Mat", in the sense that there was no such codified set of beliefs and practices called "Sant Mat" prior to the 1800s. In this sense, "Sant Mat" is a like a verbal sleight of hand that creates the conceptual illusion of continuity and connection to previous Indian mystics and yogis, almost all of whom pre-1800s practiced and believed at the very least subtly if not radically different things to today's Radhasoami groups).
There's just so many different aspects of RS Mat being an insufficient vehicle of genuine "spiritual growth" that it is hard to know where to begin, so I'll just ramble randomly:
The first thing to note is, once you accept or start believing in any particular mythological narrative, then of course it should be understood that there will be an overwhelming abundance of "evidence" in that person's life that will appear to confirm that narrative because we start to filter/co-create that very reality through those beliefs. Experiences can range from the mundane, physical evidence (filtering only the scientific evidence which supports our belief, ignoring other evidence), to seemingly physical miraculous evidence (coincidences, synchronicity, health & wealth re-generation etc), to the almost infinite variety of "altered state" or "inner experience" confirmation. These are universal experiences, regardless of which religion or guru you follow, or indeed if you follow 2 antagonistic gurus who imply the other is a fake guru or even kal, like Kirpal and Charan for example. It should be worth noting, for 777's sake if nobody else, there is more physical, scientific evidence of genuine inexplicable "altered states of consciousness" in Catholicism (the Medjugorje seers for eg.) than all the RS organisations put together.
So, regardless of the reasons why the sophisticated, life-affirming, non-dual origins of Shabd Yoga as taught in Kashmiri Shavism many, many centuries before even the bhakta-sants of India, "degenerated" into the "life-negating, anti-world, ancient-gnostic-like cosmology’", it should be understood very, very clearly, that once you accept it, your world WILL BECOME "life-negating, anti-world, ancient-gnostic-like cosmology’". You will see Kal everywhere...in your friends, family, society, culture, your inner visions, your day to day thoughts.
But, to randomly speculate on a reason why Radhasoami Mat in particular remains stuck in a life-negating dogmatic cosmology where the rest of the "inner adventuring" world (NDEs, other mystical practices, astral projectors, channellers, psychedelic experiences etc) seems to be heading more towards a positive, loving light......and more importantly despite shabd yoga itself being deeply, deeply grounded in a similar life-affirming, the creation is a magnificent, awe-inspiring manifestation of the Absolute, I am It, I am That, I am All etc etc worldview is.....and this is the first time I have explicitly said this, iirc, maybe due to the fact that only in Radhasoami is there such a visual emphasis on the "inner radiant form of the master" and on the "inner journey" in general being described as a visionary journey. This is an aspect that simply does/did not exist for most mystics throughout history, obviously not for non-dualists, and neither for Kashmiri Shaivists, but also not for Kabir, Nanak etc. They did not practice dhyan of their own "guru's physical" form and there is no reason to think theuy did except some poorly over-interpreted and clearly poetic verses. There is far, far more evidence Kabir, Nanak and other bhakta-sants practiced breath yoga to hear the inner sound than anything remotely resembling RS practice.
And, perhaps, that's where the illusion, delusion and perpetual attachment to duality in RS originates? Attachment to the illusion of vision. Most shabd yogis in history, those who actually achieved non-duality (Sach Khand) never had this attachment to an inner, visual form. Without naming names, I have heard long time, apparently long meditating RS initiates describe their "inner journey" to realms as lofty as "Sach Khand" described in terms of what they saw when they meditated, this light then that light, nodded off for a bit so that was the Maha-Sunn, then Sach Khand....experienced whenever they meditate! Well, I'll be darned if Sach Khand is no different to a somewhat uninteresting lucid dream!! :P I mean really, ultimate reality itself.....which is going on right now, everywhere......is reduced to this colour then that colour, this sound then that sound? Sach Khand is a colour you experience for 5 minutes in your dreams?
This is what the false claim about "5 magical words" to test the authenticity of an experience does, when there is no such thing as an authentic "5 magical words" in the first place. This lacks all subtlety, intelligence, wisdom....it is a mass-produced cheap knock-off of real guidance. Five "regions" experienced, but all lower astral. The Yoga Vasistha, a great Indian text on non-duality, describes all these visionary delusions and illusions like those clearly experienced by RS meditators in great detail. (or perhaps it was the Tripura-Rahasyam, another great text.....read both! :).
I would suggest that the nature and type of the deeper "spiritual experiences", which would accord with the "par brahm" and beyond of RS, are of a radically different type and nature to the dualistic visionary experiences recounted by RS that I have heard, even including from such luminaries as Kirpal Singh, who apparently claimed to count the number of steps leading into the visionary Mansarovar (84, btw :) as some sort of "inner test" of the authenticity of RS initiate's inner experiences. I find this remarkable, personally. A reduction of the space prior to the manifestation of the physical universe as a swimming pool with 84 steps leading up to it. I cannot but help believe the vast majority of RS meditators, including many Satgurus like Kirpal, are merely indulging in the illusion and delusion of what is called the "astral realm". Miracles and synchronicity are par for the course, of course.
Non-duality is not a visionary experience, it is an experience of a radically different order. It is not about the narratives we can weave. It is about the the thread we weave with.
Posted by: manjit | April 07, 2020 at 12:48 PM
More food for thought Manjit.
Regarding mythological narrative. Well I guess we’ve all been following some sort of narrative to try and make sense of things as we go along. The danger is allowing ourselves to fall into complacency. Yet a core element in many traditions is this ‘handing over’ thing - some folk seem to have done it. Has this lessened their ability to still think critically? Do some people start to see ‘kal’ everywhere? It was my observation that some RSSB followers did/do but this was more of a passing phase, until for some, the scaffolding was removed and they saw the ‘light’ and either stayed/moved on.
What really interests me are your points about previous mystics and ‘non-dualists’ not practicing dhyan, but rather they (including the likes of Kabir and Nanak) practiced breath yoga in order to hear the inner sound. Was this a step on the way or the main highway? Be good to see some further intel on this? I do recall you posting a fairly long list from the Adi-Granth a while back. How about some other references? It’s clear quite a few former practitioners of Sant Mat RSSB (including several on this blog), now align their meditation with different mindfulness practices that involve breath awareness. However ‘breath yoga’ is quite different with much more specific focus imo. And of course RSSB teachings (from memory) were pretty staunch on not using breath techniques at all in meditation - they were considered a type of ‘lower order’ practice. In light of your view of the origins of shabd yoga you’d think such techniques would be kept/utilised, given they were good enough for the likes of Kabir and Nanak.
Best wishes to all
Posted by: Tim Rimmer | April 10, 2020 at 06:45 PM
Another fascinating and referenced article on psilocybin which directly touches on some of the points I made earlier:
Posted by: manjit | April 28, 2020 at 08:26 AM
manjit, i've just begin reading that article, but the beginning part about politics and social stigma regarding entheogens and it reminds me that before my time the psychedelic movement was crushed, the rave movement of my generation, which was very much into psychedelics, was crushed, but the opioids that kill tens of thousands of people every year in USA alone is going strong with almost no government response whatsoever.
Not only is there no response, but one of the main suppliers of deadly opioids did so legally and made billions of dollars doing so. Neither he, nor his family, nor the company they own will never be punished for the murder of over 100,000 people, but around the world millions of those who sought to explore the limits of consciousness in peace have been jailed for decades.
Posted by: Jesse | April 28, 2020 at 07:32 PM
Hi Manjit,.....you are definitely the COBRA writer of both Hine’s Church and Lane’s RSS when you decide to make your entrance. Hands down, you have no challengers that have enough weapons to pierce your armor! But you have never dared to accept my challenge of facing up to a DRAGON, i.e......Allan Chronshaw, The Brother of Jesus, as a brave Warrior named Pankaj, did, who is none other than a Gurinder Singh Initiate!
Here is Allan, the Dragon’s Link to who he is. I will post the Link to Pankaj’s Debate with the Brother of Jesus. You can post your thoughts about Allan Chronshaw right on Pankaj’s on going comments about Allan the Dragon with out joining Allan’s Forum. Test your Cobra Venom against Allan’s Dragon Fire, to determine the lethality of each! Take Tim Rimmer with you to help you, as he looks like one of your Fans. Nasty Jessie already took a look at the Dragon, and snuck away with his tail between his legs knowing his nastiness could never stand up to Allan’s Dragon Fire!
Posted by: Jim Sutherland | April 29, 2020 at 08:05 AM
@Manjit, Tim Rimmer and Jessie. Here is the Link to Pankaj’s Brother a Of Hesus Envounyer should any of you dare pist your comments which will get to Allan Chronshaw because he has access to the comments. Wear your thickest Armor! The Dragon Fire boils Cobra Venom!
Posted by: Jim Sutherland | April 29, 2020 at 08:11 AM
How's it going buddy? :)
You make an excellent point and it is a perverse state of affairs imo. I've seen first hand in close friends and family the damage legal & illegal opiates, as well as long-term alcohol addiction, causes people physically, mentally, financially and on a societal level. It is truly heartbreaking and horrific. There simply are no happy stories of long term addictive use of any of these substances, yet they're a legal multi-billion dollar global industry. I've taken all these substances too at least once, so I speak only from experience, not based on moral biases and prejudice without any actual personal experience.
On the other hand, psychedelics like psilocybin can and usually do result in the most glorious, ecstatic experiences humanly possible, and the disruption of numerous negative & destructive patterns of behaviour, addiction, thinking etc, with lifelong lasting benefits - with just a single dose which costs next to nothing. And this is of course a massive, massive understatement because words cannot do the experience and it's benefits justice, which can only be understood by someone who actually takes that large dose of an entheogen, at which point understanding will dawn naturally and automatically. As I have stated here many times, this is an actual challenge. Lots of people talk lots about this or that spiritual practice or experience, but get completely knocked on their ass with just a mild dose of a psychedelic. I find this amusing. All talk, no walk, most of these "initiates". And I'm not just talking about those who won't ever have the cohonas to take a large dose & hide behind "vows", but more specifically those who DO have the courage to do so. I have yet to encounter a single initiate who's meditation experience helped them for shit during a high dose of psilocybin, Ayahuasca, LSD etc. Doesn't matter how "far" they thought they had gone before.....it's like they've spent a lifetime jogging, thinking they're getting somewhere....and when they take a sufficient dose of an entheogen, they see it come up roaring past them at a casual canter, playing with them, their previous experiences and beliefs, revealing to them they knew nothing.....then zooms off into the distance laughing. I am of the personal opinion that if you can't mentally handle, or are scared to take, are unable to maintain clarity & presence throughout, or have any kind of negative experience at all on a very large dose of one of the physically "safe" psychedelics like Psilocybin, Aya or LSD, then you really haven't achieved much of any significance in your spiritual practices or beliefs, it's all just bullshit stories and mild experiences you're content with, a kind of hobby with no reality to it. Because in part what these substances do is reveal or manifest your own deep-mind back to you, not what you're pretending to be on the surface, or on forums and blogs :) I base this opinion on the simple fact I personally can't even imagine it is possible for me to have a negative experience on these substances however high the dose. And I'm just a lowly un-initiate. You would imagine it would be even more glorious for initiates.......but like most claims of RS and their Satsangis, this kind of fanciful thinking must remain in the imagination, because in reality it is simply not the case. In my personal experience, satsangis are usually either overwhelmed by how amazing the experience is, specifically in relation to everything they had ever experienced in RS meditation before, or more likely overwhelmed with fear and other psychological suffering which can manifest as negative thoughts, encounters with "Kal" or other experiences which are a product of their clinging to duality and self-identity. To be fair, this is based on only 3 or 4 satsangis I have heard mention their experiences with entheogens. My challenge remains should anyone wish to prove me otherwise. From the comments I read online, and the many satsangis I have known personally, I suspect I may well be right.
I can personally vouch for the power of the Magic Mushroom. Apropos of a recent conversation over at the new radhasoamistudies forum:
There is much talk of the inner visions and experiences of "Satgurus" like Kirpal or Soamiji, specifically in relation to encounters with entities such as "Guru Nanak", "Jesus", "Kal" etc, and how "real" they may be. To give some context of my own experiences, I was having visionary "inner" meetings and discussions with "Guru Nanak", "Jesus" and "Buddha" since I can remember, right through up until I was around 20ish. To explain how weird I was, my mum would catch me sleepwalking when I was aged 5 or under, walk down the stairs and sit in front of our family's portrait of Guru Nanak on the mantelpiece and start touching his forehead as if worshipping it, repeatedly. I've had numerous "inner experiences" involving Sawan Singh, Charan and Gurinder from aged 18ish-21ish. This would include alleged "past life" experiences like 777 recounts, where I have been an entirely different person with a history and relationships I could remember, back in India whilst Sawan was alive, and my darshans and discussions with him. I could tell these stories with far more details as if they're real, but never paid TOO much attention to them even back then, as I've grown older I realise their insignificance even more, let alone consider them objectively "real". One such experience with Gurinder occurred where I dreamt lucidly that I was sat somewhere in a field and Gugu walked right past me with folded hands and looked into my eyes. The very next day (less than 12 hours later), Gugu made a surprise visit to Haynes Park where I was scheduled to do my weekly seva, and by a series of coincidences I ended up sat in a field with a friend from another seva team during tea break because we had to discuss something personal. Whilst sat far away from everyone else during our tea break, Gurinder's Bentley driven by his henchman is slowly driving up to the large group of sevadars a fair way from us, when Gurinder sticks up his arm to the driver's chest indicating him to stop. Gugu then gets out of the car to specifically give darshan to the 3 or 4 us sat alone on the grass, he walks right past us within touching distance and looks right into my eyes - in an EXACT replica of the dream I had less than 12 hours before, from where and how I was sat, to how Gurinder approached, to the folded hands, to the exact way he looked into my eyes! (PS, I have looked directly into Gugu's eyes on more times than I can count, and often within touching distance. It is clear to me it is what is within one's own self is projected onto the so-called "guru". I have had many beautiful ecstatic experiences looking into his eyes, but I've had enough experience since to know it is all a projection of my own "self", which is kind of the point of this whole essay :). In addition to this I've experienced so called "past lives", lives as animals, lives in entirely different worlds and cultures, and sometimes many millions of lives lived simultaneously, experiences of aliens, and many visionary experiences involving "kal" or the "Demiurge". I know when I repeat these experiences many satsangis think this is some kind of boast (and no doubt all delusions of kal!), but I really couldn't care less about any of these experiences and only do so to provide some context and clarity precisely where I'm coming from. I am not ignorant of these experiences, I grew up with them since childhood.
So it amuses me to see ancient satsangis on forums discussing the "reality" of these experiences when had by Kirpal or Soamiji etc. Yes, Kirpal was speaking to the "real" Nanak, Jesus, Jaimal, of course. And all the initiates are speaking to the "real" "radiant form" of Charan or Gurinder or Kirpal or Thakar or Paul Twitchell or Fubbi Quantz or Koot Hoomani or Kal etc. Of course they are. They have a magical five word test that has never failed anyone! Just ask any of the millions of disciples of the hundreds if not thousands of RS gurus out there!
I'm sorry, but this is precisely why nobody progresses beyond these mayaic appearances within any RS group, the teaching and philosophy is so outdated and unsophisticated, the relationship to the guru-of-the-masses so inexistent for personal instruction, pointers and guidance that one continues to cling to appearances as if they are real, enforcing the illusion of duality, perpetuating suffering & incompleteness, creating and believing in false narratives. In my opinion, Kirpal was a Master of this, he believed his own inner visions a little too much, even when it is clear they were merely extensions of his own human, egoic mind and self.
This is why Mahayana Buddhism is hands down the most sophisticated, advanced and complete of the well known eastern philosophies and practices. It teaches from the get go that all inner visionary appearances are "mind only", "both form and emptiness" or "One Mind manifesting as multiplicity"....and then it goes about generating these experiences with a solid philosophical base, whereas RS more or less leaves you to believing whatever inner narrative fantasies and illusions your mind can generate without ever getting close to breaking through to true peace, non-duality.
Annnyways, point was this.....even after having experienced all this, and then a non-dual awakening along with a kundalini awakening some 20 years ago and which has continuously deepened since, all without any kind of "entheogen use", I am still startled at the power of a very high dose psilocybin journey. I would say it is one of the more powerful "spiritual technologies" out there, but also I guess a potentially dangerous one if you're not prepared well enough to use it. The peak of my natural, spontaneous "kundalini awakening" some 20 years is easily comparable if not identical to the peak of a 7g+ dose of psilocybe mushrooms. Both of these are way, way, way beyond the astral type experiences of meetings with radiant forms of past or current gurus that most RS initiates only dream of.
Beyond this, I have to testify that since I started experimenting with large dose mushroom journeys, some 5 odd years ago maybe, I have shed many negative and self-destructive habits or addictions that I never felt the need to after my natural "non-dual realisation". This includes things like quitting smoking, going vegan - and one other thing I shall keep private - and I am very grateful to the mushrooms for this, they have literally done more to change and improve my life than any other guru or teacher I have met, and I have met many, many of them - including complete devotion to Gurinder for many years. This all happened in almost miraculous and easy ways and with real world synchronicities too. I know from personal experience just how beneficial they can be, and I believe it is a demi-urge like influence that portrays them in such a dishonest & ignorantly negative light. They are a secret in plain sight, imo, a gift from the gods.
Right, enough rambling for the week. Thanks for giving me the opportunity to ramble, Jesse, even if nobody is listening. It's therapy for the soul to unburden yourself every now & then :)
PS - My well placed informants tell me that the dubious organisation HOGWASH have been blocked from replying to your devious plans to rule the world in your pyjamas, like some sort of demented Pinky & the Brain episode. Probably for the best....
Posted by: manjit | April 29, 2020 at 09:39 AM
"On the other hand, psychedelics like psilocybin can and usually do result in the most glorious, ecstatic experiences humanly possible, and the disruption of numerous negative & destructive patterns of behavior, addiction, thinking etc, with lifelong lasting benefits - with just a single dose which costs next to nothing."
I overheard someone telling a story about comparing experiences. One man said "it took me 25 years to have these spiritual experiences." and the other replied "25 years? It only cost me $5."
"Lots of people talk lots about this or that spiritual practice or experience, but get completely knocked on their ass with just a mild dose of a psychedelic."
Wasn't it the Be Here Now Ram Das who said he gave a big hit of acid to a very experienced yogi and the yogi said "this is ok, but not as good as what I normally experience." I'm obviously paraphrasing, but it does keep the door open to the possibility of there being methods coming purely from within the body. And that's not a judgement of ways and methods, or anything negative directed at entheogens. Just an observation.
The last time I did LSD I remember fading out of the trip for many hours and towards the "end" getting a short term depression and thinking to myself that I felt I'd tried to cheat my way into heaven and that there must be a better way to have those experiences. It was as if I'd been allowed to approach the gates and get a glimpse, but not enter. But that could also be some kind of moral thing I learned from others that resurfaced, or something I read in a book somewhere, possibly something from the later years of Ram Das himself. I could have even just been a reaction to the overstimulation followed by the coming down in a bleak midwest USA winter for all I know. It wasn't the best setting for such powerful experiences. I'm not sure what to think of any of the reactions I had anymore, but I definitely am not averse to psychedelic use, and have considered doing it again, most likely Ayahuasca or some kind of DMT.
That unusually powerful LSD experience I had however was positively life changing. I'm no longer very interested in RSSB, but LSD is what brought me to RSSB in a way, as well as all the religious and spiritual concepts and practices I've been interested or taken part in over the last nearly 2 decades since I took that really powerful acid. The descriptions in RSSB books seemed to answer my question about not being allowed to enter whatever it was I was prevented from accessing during that last trip. And as I said in another response to one of your comments, acid made me believe in "God" to a certain degree. Or if not God, which does seem a bit too implicitly anthropomorphic a title, then some kind of non-physical routes to "realms" or parallel universes of finer consciousness. It sounds corny to say these things, but I have no words to explain it. There was something more than "tripping" happening. Something much more.
As for your release from bad habits, I don't even think that's anecdotal at this point. You're not a lone case, but one of many who've benefited similarly, which obviously you already know. I mostly stay out of peoples' affairs, but I've had friends who I've wanted to encourage to consider using psychedelics. There are people you can see going through long periods of mental and spiritual turmoil, and you almost know that even a one time casual use of mushrooms would likely lift them out of the funk for months. But it's not my place to advise or prescribe so I refrain from talking about it.
You mentioned your disinterest in gurus, but psychedelic plants and the entities/deities/visions they summon were and still are the gurus of many indigenous and shamanistic cultures. The forever lost substance of Soma was Indira's real guru, and that's something I like to remind modern Hindus of. Mother Aya is still a guru to many in the Andes and the Amazon. There was that saint who I can never remember, and who I believe was Sindhi, who found some 20+ gurus of various species in one day as he learned lessons from the trees, animals and people he encountered during a period of ecstasy or epiphany. Gurus are everywhere and in every form imaginable.
Hopefully RSSB initiates and other more dogmatic followers of traditional religions, and maybe more importantly governments, can finally accept the fact that humans were communing in the divine presence with the help of plants and their intoxicating derivatives long, long, long before any of the religions of present popularity ever existed, and will continue to do so long after the relatively modern religions fall away into obscurity. And if the dogmatics can finally accept this, then maybe they can leave behind the theological competition and start really seeking and studying experiential truths without the sectarian boundaries.
And Manjit, please forgive me for giving you such a hard time in the past. It really is one of my favorite things to be mischievous online and I do it for many reasons, one of which is just the pleasure derived from pissing people off, but more importantly I truly believe people will express themselves differently when put under various pressures, and I want to see what they say, and how they say it when they are confronted by such crass absurdity. I especially do it to people who are likely more intelligent than me. I'm not saying that to kiss ass, as I have nothing to gain from respecting or disrespecting anyone online. It's just a simple fact. But don't take the trollishness personally.
Posted by: Jesse | April 29, 2020 at 07:03 PM
James Sutherland - how are you doing?
I’ll pass on the suggested challenge thanks - the Jesus thing just doesn’t do it for me.
However thanks for assigning me to the Cobra gang! Whose gang are you with?
I’m gonna get some PJs and I’ll be looking for a pair with a snake motif - Cobra of course and probably the spectacled species as I can’t read any of this without glasses.
BTW dragons are cool but I think Cobras especially blue ones (psilocybin connection - OK Brian?) are cooler - seen that picture of Shiva as the ‘universe’ with the cobra draped around his neck? And what about the story of the giant cobra who spread its hood over the meditating Buddha to keep the rain off …
Polishing that Harley in anticipation of an upcoming ride?
cc other members of the PJ Cobras.
Posted by: Tim Rimmer | April 29, 2020 at 08:47 PM
Jesse and manjit agreeing on getting high on psilocybin or mushrooms or Lsd is becoming enlightened.
How's that for the biggest hogwash story to hit these pages yet?
The story goes Richard Alpert was carrying a stash of Lsd when he was taken to Neem Karoli Baba's ashram in northern India by an American disciple named Bhagawan Das around late 67, when Karoli Baba held out his hand for Alpert to hand over the 'medicine' (Lsd). So he took out one cap, Karoli Baba continued to hold out his hand and beckons Alpert to give him the rest which normally would blow anyone into heightened psychological overblow (something manjit would refer to as a spiritual experience). Karoli Baba took the entire handful of the 'medicine' Alpert had and swallowed all of it. Alpert waited to see signs of the effect of the chemical induced high and nothing happened. This being a catalyst for Alpert to be convinced that Karoli Baba was an advanced adept in spiritual development and Alpert took initiation by Karoli Baba and became known as Baba Ram Das.
Posted by: someonedunit | April 30, 2020 at 03:02 PM
Dunit, you'd be surprised to hear that after LSD, the next most inner self revealing experience in my life actually wasn't RSSB or any other religion, but trading stocks.
Yes, religions have had a profound effect on my life, but they didn't expose me to my inner self like risking large amounts of money did. What I learned about myself from watching my net asset value rapidly fluctuating in real time can't be duplicated anywhere or by any spiritual method.
It sort of reminds me of the quote in Charan Singh's picture book about the superiority of "grihast" over "sanyas.". Those who have no worldly problems to deal with don't really know if they're the saints that society celebrates them as. Likewise, those who aren't way over leveraged in a shitty forex trade that's going against them don't really know their own true feelings about money and security.
Posted by: Jesse | April 30, 2020 at 11:59 PM
Hey Jesse, thanks for your response!
You wrote: "Wasn't it the Be Here Now Ram Das who said he gave a big hit of acid to a very experienced yogi and the yogi said "this is ok, but not as good as what I normally experience." I'm obviously paraphrasing, but it does keep the door open to the possibility of there being methods coming purely from within the body. And that's not a judgement of ways and methods, or anything negative directed at entheogens. Just an observation."
I think you're spot on and I totally agree! My perspective on entheogens "Vs" natural methods is extremely complex and the above posts filter out a great deal of that. For example, for the first 37 years of my life I used to think that any dose of any psychedelic (which from my experience included psilocybin at McKenna's 5g "heroic dose", full OBEs on Salvia, "breakthroughs" on DMT and double doses of extremely strong LSD in comparison to the other 10 or so times I've taken it etc) wasn't anywhere near as powerful, full of clarity, "grace" and love as my natural experiences (though I took the LSD before my most intense "natural experiences"), and I considered them all childs play basically. I've even argued this on the Radhasoamistudies forum, in depth, and one other forum. It was only when I started pushing 6.5-8g of very high quality mushrooms over the past 4 or 5 years did the experience begin to match the intensity of my natural experiences and state (you will note I said 7+g of psilocybin is comparable, almost identical to a "natural kundalini" awakening, but never implied it transcended it). The only reason I even tried DMT, Salvia and mushrooms in the last 20 years was to "test" my current state to see if I was kidding myself, and intellectual curiosity at the potential relationship between endogenous chemicals like DMT (to which the psilocybin molecule is almost identical btw) and "spiritual experiences".
I think, in fact I know with certainty from personal experience, that these experiences are an intrinsic part of our inner human nature and potential and can be "unlocked" in an almost infinite variety of ways. Entheogens are just another "tool", as is meditation, prayer, seva, bhakti, lucid dreaming etc. Nobody is going to become "enlightened" just by taking 8g of psilocybe, 1000 micrograms of LSD or 100milligrams of DMT etc. But what they can do if utilised intelligently and within some sort of positive and constructive context or framework, is open you up to to growth & healing in precisely the areas you need it. So, as you often see RS Satsangis with a whole host of mundane psychological issues to do with such as sexuality, parents, self-esteem etc, they ignore all that and pursue their religion through all these filters without ever addressing them, thinking merely repeating a mantra over and over in their head is going to help them with all these things; instead they end up with spiritualised psychological neurosis and petty egoic desires. Case in point is someone like Kirpal, who desperately wanted recognition and attention imo, and his "inner experiences" duly provided it to him, with "confirmation" of him being the "chosen one". You could call this some sort of psycho-spiritual by-passing. Maybe if he took some psilocybin, he wouldn't have become a satguru, but he would have the much better prize of being someone who knows he doesn't the need the recognition, attention, approval etc of others to be deeply happy.....in fact quite the contrary?
But yes, when you've done the work, perhaps you can be as Neem Karoli Baba may have been, someone who can take a large hit of LSD and not be visibly affected. I'm always game, myself, for such challenges :) My point isn't that NKB and some others couldn't remain unaffected - I find it almost certain they could, I suspect even Charles Manson may well have been someone like that, but that is a subject for another place! - but that the vast majority of RS satsangis would be heavily affected. At the end of the day, I have no real idea about Gurinder's inner state - and nobody else other than him and perhaps anyone he's actually ever be honest and open about it to could know - but I have my doubts he'd be someone who could do a Neem Karoli Baba with a large dose of LSD? And going back to that Ram Dass story, some few decades ago I was fascinated by it so really tried to dig into it. I'm not sure to what extent we can take that story as completely accurate. It's been a while since I looked into it, but there's not enough detail to take it as gospel. For example, was "palming" the LSD definitely out of the question? Ram Dass says nothing happened, but I don't recall hearing a version where Ram Dass was still with NKB during the peak 6 hours later monitoring his mental state etc? I mean, no LSD however strong is going to blow you away noticeably in the first hour or so? Etc etc. But again, I personally do think it is possible to take very high doses of these substances and maintain perfect clarity and balance throughout......that was the point of my original post! I just don't see many RS satsangis, including most of the current crop of gurus, being able to do so.
Anyway, I once read a book that contained articles from several well respected meditators etc that discussed entheogen use in relation to "natural spirituality" from many perspectives both pro and con and in-between. I'm not sure if I've found the same book, but I think this is it (it's a quite well know title, I thought I hadn't read it but it must be this I read!):
I find your experience with LSD fascinating - I get ya, I've been there - and what sounds like your subsequent turn to metaphysical teachings like RS Mat. Fascinating! Are you able to go into more detail of how this experience of approaching "the gates of heaven" manifested, or is it just too difficult to put into language?
Like I say I think these things are just tools and need to be wielded as part of a larger system of behaviour. These things will only take you to the place you need to be to grow - there's no magic pill that will take everyone straight to Sach Khand and stay there permanently, that would be way too easy!! For example atheists and anti-theists, if they took 7+g of psilocybe they won't suddenly find themselves in a permanent conscious state of awe, love, ecstasy, non-duality etc. But they almost certainly will realise they really don't know what they're talking about when they absurdly imagine their puny human minds understand the absolute nature of reality. And that may encourage them to look deeper into these things. Growth.
I can't recall if it's in this blog's comments thread or one of the open comments, but I say LOVE is the ultimate spiritual path, practice or technology. It is like the tiny ember that can burn an entire forest down. But people don't understand the power of the ember, so they go in with their axes and saws and tractors and what not, and work and toil for years to do what that tiny ember of a flame could do in just a moment. Love, real love, used in conjunction with any of these other technologies will create the appearance that these other technologies are doing something; imo not really, it's just love, it's all love. It's love generating the desire to sit in meditation, to take that large dose of an entheogen, to do seva, to read those books etc Until you have love, you must be like the person ready to sacrifice their head in an instant to get it, not the person who thinks going satsang once a week and doing an hour or two meditation a day then getting on with your "real life" is enough. Once you get to that stage, you have it. Or at least that is my personal experience.
Re. DMT - ahh, not for me. I mean it's a completely different reality with it's own entities, just like McKenna describes, but just didn't do it for me, I was like "yeah, so what". Probably because it only lasts 5 mins. You really need far more time to explore, which is why I prefer the 8 hours of a high dose psilocybin journey, which is identical in it's peak to a DMT "breakthrough", only lasting for hours. If you ever do decide to do a Aya retreat, I'd recommend Blue Morpho I think it's called in Peru. I've heard very positive things from very knowledgeable people - I was planning on going at the end of this year but probably not due to COVID19 (massively reduced income at the moment, and there'll probably still be issues at the end of the year with social distancing etc). Maybe 2021!
I better go eat something, but I agree with the rest of your comments. We should have sovereignty over our own consciousness and it is obscene and absurd that we don't. A human being cannot take a plant or fungi out of the ground and ingest it without being criminalised? Utterly absurd, who gives the right to anyone or any government to interfere with that natural relationship? Criminalise crimes, not acts of nature.
Thanks for the chat & take care of yourself Jesse!
Posted by: manjit | May 01, 2020 at 08:48 AM
Jesse wrote: "Yes, religions have had a profound effect on my life, but they didn't expose me to my inner self like risking large amounts of money did"
Bingo! For sure this is it.....WHATEVER exposes you to your "inner self", whether its what you mention here (which is obviously a spiritual technology Gurinder is a big fan of too :), or rock climbing, mountain climbing, going for a marathon run, sitting in meditation on a dark retreat for 7 hours, days or months, necking 7g of mushrooms, literally being near death etc.
This is precisely the point we need to be at!
Posted by: manjit | May 01, 2020 at 09:09 AM
"I personally do think it is possible to take very high doses of these substances and maintain perfect clarity and balance throughout..."
Manjit, I'm not super experienced with the stuff, but I remember having a conversation with a workmate years ago and the one thing we agreed on at that time is that there was absolutely no way we could have presented ourselves as normal on LSD. I'm not sure what sort of mental clarity you're referring to, but it's hard for me to imagine.
But with that being said I do feel like there was something more present in my most powerful trip compared to the weaker ones that was a certain kind of awareness of what was happening i.e. I was having the experience almost as much as I was watching myself have the experience. But I wouldn't personally count that as clarity per se. Had you asked me a question about anything including my own name, my response likely would have been unintelligible noises that in no way resembled human language.
As for your question about the experience about being at the gates as I described it, it really isn't easily summed up in words, but I can say that there was a very intense ecstasy that I felt for hours that basically carried me away. Later during a more subdued period about 8 hours in, I was traveling, or attempting to travel, through a kind of tunnel or path but there was a black and brown "wall" directly in front of me that changed shapes faster than I could penetrate its openings (banwar gupha?). It seemed clear that something was right beyond that wall and I wasn't able to get there.
I was laying on a big bed with my friends at that time, and one of the women said "Jesse, where's it at?" And it shocked me because though I was getting stuck on that wall, it didn't occur to me that I should maybe be looking for this "it" that she mentioned, though there clearly was an "it" that we were all chasing for lack of a better word. I asked her "where's what at?" out of a bit of nervousness which in retrospect actually was rude. But it was really a shock to hear those words and my response just came instinctually.
If I ever decide to try Ayahuasca I'll look into that Blue Morpho place. These days (pre covid at least) I'm mostly going to Churches and temples to just enjoy silence and ponder. Mundanity interests me more than anything, and whether it be astral travel, kundalini awakening or an LSD trip, I'm not sure I want it now. Watching grass in the park on a windy day can be intense enough.
Posted by: Jesse | May 01, 2020 at 03:51 PM