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May 02, 2023


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Drugs, path to enlightenment. This is the door most of use came in on before we turned to religion.
That is, we tried it, and it was at best unsustainable. Since the 60s, literally millions of people have tried drugs. I know many of them, but I know of no one who ever made it really work.

I recently read the Rum Raisin's autobio. Still talking about LSD trips he took 60 years ago that supposedly completely rewired his doors of perception. But did they? Why then does Rum Raisin admit that he still battled neurosis for the rest of his life? Leary also claimed that acid changed his life. For the better? Read his bio and judge for yourself.

How long does a theory have to be tried before it can be discarded? In respect to the drugs for enlightenment theory, I know of millions of casualties and no success stories.

Before anyone counters "yes, there are success stories. Surely Rum Raisin and Leary would have ditched their drug advocacy if it didn't work." But all too often, "work" is a tricky term. There are many things in this world that seem utterly logical, seem totally reasonable, but in practice are invariably unsustainable. Things like day trading, a system for beating blackjack, communism, changing one's gender. So impressive in theory, perhaps, but their promise is always always somehow juuuuust out of reach. And likely forever will be. Some theories need to be tossed aside when there are no success stories behind them.

"Your brain is not a toy to play with."
Sister Andrea (Andrea Martin in Evil)

I do think that Sam Harris’s comments on consciousness seem unnecessarily confusing. As I’ve mentioned in previous comments, I much prefer to just refer to ‘being conscious of some-thing rather than talk about conscious’ness’. In that sense, seeing a tree is a process where the senses send messages to the brain which makes its best representation of the object or situation encountered.

The experience then is in the brain which has the capacity to be aware (or know) it is experiencing a tree – a necessary survival strategy honed over millions of years through evolving organisms to detect an ‘other’ for the basic purpose of avoiding, eating or mating. Such is deemed to be the early foundations of being conscious.


I have read of the medical benefits of marijuana and recently psilocybin though when it comes to drugs being used to explore consciousness or, as some do for spiritual experiences, then I am sceptical of such ‘mind altering’ drugs. The reason being that some of the unusual experiences that the brain records do not necessarily have any benefit – apart of course perhaps for pleasure or to relax, or just simply to escape for a while.

The brain can throw up many different weird and wonderful (and perhaps scary) states. Along with the brain being influenced by a number of chemical substances, social and psychological factors can also affect the brain’s chemistry and conscious experience, such as music, chanting, long hours of meditation, fasting, exercise and sleep deprivation. Such states elicited can be interpreted as spiritual truths, as windows into reality, awakening etc. – I am sceptical of such declarations.

And, I have recently come across another state of consciousness; - “The Abdicated State of Consciousness – When followers give up their will to cults, gurus, and political leaders. (From Psychology Today. May 1, 2023)

"Harris made a similar point about being aware of our breathing. He said that we shouldn't feel that we're observing the breath from a conscious vantage point up in our head, since the breath isn't separate from consciousness."

..........Interesting perspective, that. I haven't heard it spelled out in quite that way, I mean as a how-to during one's Anapan practice. In fact, when I watch my breath, I'm not sure I perceive it as observing from inside my head, or simply observing it. That's something that might be interesting to watch out for, when I sit next.


"the way I see it (not sure if Harris agrees with this), it's a mistake to look upon consciousness as if it were a thing -- like water or air. (...) When I see a tree, the seeing of leaves, trunk, branches, and such isn't separate from my consciousness that makes seeing possible. (...) It's all consciousness, just as waves that can appear very different are all ocean."

..........Not sure I quite grok that. We're seeing things, which are representations or models built within our head of things that are out there. I'm not sure what it means to say, in this sense, that consciousness is "out there". I suppose what you might be getting at is that our consciousness apprehends things that are out there. If that's what you mean, Brian, then I guess that's reasonable enough.

Actually, I suppose this might extend way further than just that much. All of what we know, that also is part of our consciousness. Everything that we are aware of, thanks to science and technology --- be it merely glasses that help us correct dim vision, or be it advanced telescopes and the science that's behind it, that lets us "see" into galaxies far far away, dizzyingly far, and back in time as well. I suppose all of that is also part of our consciousness.

I suppose it's fair to say that consciousness arises in our brain, and it encompasses much of the world and not merely the brain whence it arose from. That sounds straightforward enough, I guess.

As you say, the emergent property thing. I like how Ron puts it, that instead of thinking of it as "consciousness", we might sidestep a great deal of unnecessary baggage by simply thinking of it of it a the brain being conscious. Not conscious-ness, but simply being consciousness. (Or, as you yourself put it, a process.)


While typing this out, I got to wondering if our consciousness might not be limited to our brain in another sense as well. It might be that consciousness "arises" not just in the brain, but also in the nervous system, and indeed the gut biome, and that whole entire human ecosystem --- albeit concentrated within the massive awesome computer that is the brain, sure. Should that be the case, then that opens up the possibility of consciousness in creatures that don't have brains, I don't know, like plants for instance. A consciousness far more ...diffused, than in more complex creatures like us, but for all that consciousness of a kind.

It might be that consciousness isn't limited to the brain not just in terms of what it apprehends, but also in terms of where it arises.

(Just random speculation, that last! I don't mean to suggest that that's actually the case, that's just me ...well, speculating away, gassing away, running off for a bit with some random thoughts that came to mind while typing this comment.)

...Although I suppose that's something science might actually be weigh in on. Is it that there's a certain minimum threshold level of complexity, below which consciousness does not obtain at all? And might that minimum level be defined by the complexity of a brain? If so, then just how complex a brain? Or might consciousness of a more diffused kind obtain even in less complex organisms, not just those with less developed brains but even those that don't have brains at all?

(Heh, sorry, that sounds kind of pantheistic, doesn't it?! Like I said, I'm not suggesting that's actually the case, it's no more than me thinking aloud, is all.)

I wouldn't normally respond to this post or the predictably antiquarian and biased comments here, but in context of Brian's very next blog post https://hinessight.blogs.com/church_of_the_churchless/2023/05/dt-suzuki-on-the-zen-doctrine-of-no-mind.html I couldn't resist the nice synchronicity:

D T Suzuki wrote about Aldous Huxley's experiences on Mescaline:

"In his book The Doors of Perception, Aldous Huxley described his own experience with the drug [mescaline]. He saw a hitherto unknown world upon opening the "door". he then tried to relate this experience with that of Zen. Though Mr Huxley had taken an interesting Zen, he did not have the guidance of a Zen teacher. He thus sets forth to writing a detailed description of the world of illusory vision brought on by mescaline" & "Zen experience is quite often confused even by so-called Zen people, with the hallucinatory state (makyo)".

Interestingly, Huxley once wrote to Dr Humphrey Osmond (who, between the both of them, coined the word "psychedelic"!) in June 1957, printed in his collection of writings titled "Moksha":

"I also saw dear old Suzuki in New York....Have your read his most recent book on Mysticism, Christian and Buddhist? It is very good.............It makes one realise how much subtler how much subtler these Far Eastern Buddhists were, in matters of psychology, than anyone in the West. They know all about the "existential experiences" and the horrors of the human situation as described by Sartre, Camus and the rest - and they know how to come through to the other side, where every relative manifests absolute Suchness, and where Suchness is identical with mahakaruna, the Great Compassion."

So much to unpack there!:

D T Suzuki assumes, based on biases and assumptions as he had no direct, personal experience, that "psychedelics" engender illusory or "makyo" experiences.

Huxley wrote "They know all about the "existential experiences" and the horrors of the human situation as described by Sartre, Camus and the rest - and they know how to come through to the other side". Wow, lots to unpack here for the blow owner and some of his like minded thinkers there, imo! :)

"every relative manifests absolute Suchness, and where Suchness is identical with mahakaruna, the Great Compassion."

Suchness is identical to "the Great Compassion". Again, wow.

It is beyond abundantly clear that some of the types of experiences Huxley and other psychonauts describe cannot be classified as any more "illusory" than any Zen experience (even more so when contrasted to the infantilised visionary and magical journey of RS, for example!), and indeed that they are descriptively identical and indistinguishable in many ways.

The words of D T Suzuki, and other commenters here, are clearly deeply grounded in a lack of personal experience and understanding, and instead based on cultural biases and prejudice.

As for D T Suzuki, in the 2006 documentary film "A Zen Life: D T Suzuki", Okamura Mihoko who was the longtime personal secretary of Suzuki until the end of his life said that at 85 years old, Suzuki often requested LSD! Dr Albert Stunkard, D T Suzuki's personal physician in Japan said Suzuki frequently requested LSD but that those around him always declined, using his high blood pressure as an excuse, fearing the psychedelic experience would be too overwhelming for him!!

(info taken from Steve Odin's "The Unconsciousness in Zen and Psychedelic Experience").

@ Manjit

If people wood be at a given level they would speak the words of that level.

I never herd that men like Einstein etc ever used derogatory language about others that were not at his level

What kind of compassion is that to do otherwise, Manjit?

@ Manjit

Something else ...

These days I am not interested in the achievements of anybody,whoever he is, whatever he does.

I am in the process of letting go of al hearsay. and just satisfy myself with my day to day life.

As said several times, if nobody had spoken me about god,inner experiences I would have had no knowledge of it let alone interest

To that state I try to retrieve as solid base to put my feet on.

I am not born, to digest what others were or are doing, not to take notice of all that there is to know on earth .. before I ;leave this world I do hope to know by means of experience what it is to live a simple live in a simple way and a natural life in a natural way.

No LSD is needed .. can garantee you

Hi Um :)

Re. your first comment and question, I have no idea how that relates to my comment or Brian's blog post? If you have something non sequitur to add, perhaps lets move it to the open comments thread? Suffice it to say, things are not always as they seem, and there is a place for everything.

Re. your second comment, I find all that great and wonderful, I wish you all the luck with it! Though I am not sure why you need to add you "can guarantee me that no LSD is needed" to achieve it? It should go without saying that LSD is not needed to live one's life. I am discussing something else entirely, your confessed personal lack of experience with what is labelled "mystical experiences" in contrast to your frequent proclamations of what "mystics" say, think or do, or how nobody can have these experiences by their own efforts, or that "God has not spoken to you directly" etc, based, it seems, purely on your association and knowledge of the concepts and gurus of the RSSB religion (who I contest are not mystics at all!).

You wrote to AR in another thread that you would not react at all to his posts if he didn't use "certain adjectives". Well, as I will comment shortly, I disagree with this claim.....I myself genuinely wouldn't react to your posts if you didn't do 2 things which I feel compelled to counter-balance: 1) You repeatedly misunderstand and misrepresent the role of love and compassion in the minds, hearts, experiences, lives and ACTIONS of those "mystics" who have had deeply transformative spiritual or mystical experiences, be they average Joes or Baba so and sos. This is epitomised in your repeated reference to Charan's escapist, deeply dogmatic and conceptual "don't exchange iron chains for gold ones" as what all "mystics" teach. This is not only a deeply mistaken perspective which misrepresents what genuine mystics actually stood up (and often died) for in life, as well as their experiences, it is also an inherently dangerous, regressive and unpleasant world view. And, 2) Your reactivity to any and all posters who even dare to question any sort of patriarchal oppression, especially the RS gurus who despite their, for eg., blatantly uncompassionate and judgmental homophobic comments, or attempting to hoard obscene wealth through obviously fraudulent means, you can say with a straight face as you did above "Spence you try too to draw him in the field of the world, and and use the measures of that world". Yes, sure, let's not judge these beturbaned magical supermen in the field of "the world" using silly things like "worldly measurements", these dudes are obviously so far beyond that!! Your instant reactivity to posters who you don't know a single thing about, their level of experience, knowledge, character etc, reducing them to mere caricatures as a foil for your invariable defence of RSSB "mystics" and patriarchal control, I find quite abysmal. These people summon enough courage to share their experiences here in public, possibly for the first time, and they are faced with instant proclamations about their misplaced questions from somebody who hasn't even taken a second to actually understand where the person is coming from! And from somebody who repeats the same line WHATEVER the circumstances, to hell with flexibility or adapting to a complex and multi-faceted reality!

As you stated recently somewhere, the "misery" started in 1968....presumably, when, with the aid of psychedelics, people started questioning patriarchal society, and the deadened, materialistic world-view this entailed, and the civil and women's rights, and anti-war, movements & protests occurred, and were brutally suppressed by those who said we should not question patriarchal models of society, to question if it's okay for men to grab women by their pet cats, or to be dehumanised and hyper-sexualised in the workplace, or for managers to use racist language with the staff, or to take the inane meanderings of a failed fraudster on domestic abuse as divine, infallible nectar from the mouth of God Herself?

To each their own. Just don't be surprised when these quaint views are challenged.


@ Manjit

You could not impress Gurinder, ....and you are still in the process of digesting that blow

Hey Um! "You could not impress Gurinder, ....and you are still in the process of digesting that blow"

Hehehe, that is truly very funny, thanks for the laughs!! I have had quite a few bizarre claims thrown at me online over the years, and perhaps I'm forgetting a few, but this must be one of the most absurd and ridiculous ones!! :D Coming from somebody who has been reading my posts for nearly 15 years, I strongly suggest, Um, that you don't jump to premature conclusions about posters you're reading for the first time, it seems quite likely that you really may be quite clueless with your assumptions about where they're coming from!

As hilarious as the notion of seeking validation from a fraudster is, I was shovelling shit in the compost heap during my time as an RSSB follower, Gurinder didn't know me, and I never made the slightest attempt at making him get to know me, so it is not a surprise I didn't "impress" him, whatever the hell that may be worth to some people!

Speaking of chemically enhanced relationships to the Divine, and Gurus one has met (and tried to "impress"?, I dunno, to each their own way of seeking meaning in this world I suppose! :), here's my Top 4 Countdown of PHYSICAL Gurus that have had a major impact on my life (I am not including "inner" or visionary beings or "Gurus", of which my association has been prior to and ever since I can remember as a child of 4 or 5 say!).

In order of importance (drumroll, please? :):

4) Gurinder Singh. My first and only "traditional" guru relationship on this list. Intensely following Gurinder for 5 or so years was a great educator and character builder. In the intense fires of traditional guru-bhakti, many aspects of the ego are burned away. Basically, if the bhakti is intense enough, and I feel mine towards Gugu was back then, many layers of the superficial ego are burned or cleared away, and one could give a f~ck about public approval or validation as one ceases to care about the materialistic things of the world. This dynamic is related in numerous "mystic tales" of guru and follower.

In retrospect, it is obvious to me that Gurinder could have been replaced with a melon but if I had the same level of devotion, the same effects would occur. The traditional guru, especially of a religion for the masses like RS, is merely a symbol, or idol.....just like Charan admitted about himself. Often time, they can by their lack of skill and wisdom, be more damaging than a melon.........

3) Osho Robbins, who posts here! My relationship with the poster here known as "Osho" is a far more brief and less devotion lead affair. I met him briefly, through an RS acquaintance, whilst I was going through some fairly seriously physical "trauma" which I would now quite comfortably label the beginning of a "kundalini awakening" which started a few years after I left RS disenchanted (no, not because I did not impress Gurinder!! :D :D :D). My first meeting with Osho, which lasted several hours, prompted an enormous release from an array of physical pains in my spine and throat, which had incapacitated me from work for several months. This also prompted my first "non-dual" realisation.

I don't believe Osho is the most enlightened being who ever existed, or that his "realisation" is the deepest experience or insight into the ultimate nature of reality ever known, but I will be eternally grateful for that discussion with Osho, it was a very significant milestone on my personal journey. A debt I am unable to repay. That is the grounds for genuine gratitude. For that reason, Osho R has been a more significant guru to me than Gurinder, despite only being in my life for a fraction of the time. And having no turban!

1 and 2) I cannot separate these, it feels like a travesty, a sin, to even attempt to do so.

Psilocybin mushrooms and my 18 month old Cockapoo dog, Rumi.

These are truly the most magnificent physical manifestations of the Divine I have ever encountered, and I've spent a lifetime looking.

Re. psilocybe cubensis mushrooms, they are the ONLY guru I have personally encountered where there is the sense of a GENUINE "OTHER" or "Divine Presence", or "Guru" which does not contain any hint or element of projection, like there certainly was with Gurinder, but even with Osho. The psilocybe mushrooms are the only physical gurus where you are left with no doubts you are dealing with a divine entity whom you can learn from, project or deny whichever way you want, it seems undeniable and unavoidable in the moment.

People will always try to misrepresent entheogenic experiences, alleging similarity between kids who don't know what substance they're taking, how much they're taking, with no religious or mystical context, in dangerous settings, with the proper, safe, perhaps ritualised or sacramentally contextualised use of precise amounts of precise substances. This is obviously as absurd and ridiculous as saying nobody can carve a statue of Michelangelo from stone because I once through an axe at a wall and all I got what a splinter in my eye!

It is astonishing that even these kids who didn't know what or how much substance they were taking, without any sort of theoretical framework, criminilised by society, still managed to pull society out of the dark ages by being deeply associated with the cultural and artistic revolutions of the 1960s, with it's civil and womens right and anti-war movements, fantastic music and colourful art. It also paved the way for all the interest in eastern gurus and sects, like RS, because you got to have been quite high at least once to be able take all that shit seriously :)

We can instead look to ancient Greek, where psychedelic experiences were the very bedrock of all the greatest Greek mystics and philosophers worldviews, and continue to shape western society today, or the practices of indigenous groups and shamans, to see how healthy and profoundly spiritual entheogens can be. Even the Indian metaphysical systems is deeply grounded in a belief system that was born of psychedelic usage of "soma", which it is obvious was a plant or mushroom of some kind based on the writings in the Vedas themselves.

Regardless, in my own experience I am unable to show enough gratitude and thanks for not only the mind-blowingly beautiful experiences on psilocybe mushrooms, but the many, permanent effects that have lasted for years (and, I have not taken mushrooms for several years now, btw, lest we lapse into further cliched and inaccurate portrayals of "addiction" or other silliness. This isn't the silly sort of drug Soamiji was addicted to, tobacco, these are powerful, non-addictive entheogens!).

I was having OBEs, visionary experiences and Samadhis before I was 10 years old, frequent astral projections and visitations with inner gurus and masters, including of RS, by the time I was 20, and had a non dual and kundalini awakening by the time I was 25. I've practiced many different types of yoga, meditation, rituals and assorted other practices for many thousands of hours for almost 40 years.

Yet I would simply be lying if I didn't admit psilocybe mushrooms were not the most direct and powerful technology I have ever experienced, and that it did not take me even further than all of the above did.

They are the most powerful, honest and direct "Guru" one can ever hope to encounter.

The result is love, compassion, connectedness, peace, contentment and a deep gratitude.

And the dog? I am not sure if she is a guru per se, she's actually more like the fruit or fulfillment of a lifetime of spiritual searching. Now it is time to play!

Every time I look into her eyes, I am left in no doubt whatsoever that God, the Divine, the Universe - call it whatever you want - exists, and that I am in it's presence.

The rest is inconsequential.


Dearest Um, I wrote both a reply to your delightfully amusing, if emotionally revealing, childish outburst of yours, as well as an ode of gratitude to psilocybin mushrooms and my beautifully divine dog 🐶 , Rumi, but it got swallowed up by the Blog Gods 😢 maybe the emissary of the Gods, Hines, will discover this post like a sacred, secret terma, and reveal it to the peasant population 😉



Blessed Be

@ Manjit

Enjoy yourself and I wish you many a comrade to share your experiences with.

Hi Um! If you ever wish to discuss something of any actual substance or meaning, let me know! :)

Otherwise, I will let you continue with your non sequitur, desperate, ridiculous, bizarre, childish, wildly inaccurate attempts at psychological diagnosis of psyches you clearly cannot even begin to comprehend, with your transparent Freudian projections which reveal far more about your own psychological state than anybody else's, all whilst adding absolutely no information or knowledge regarding the subjects of this blog.

I too wish you enjoy yourself, but sincerely so. As sincerely as I doubt it is so.

Blessings. :)

@ Manjit

Thank you for the offer ... but you are to far out for me to keep up with you

@ Manjit

When young we had a house friend, that had become an nuclear scientist during the time he came to see us. We liked him and enjoyed his visits. Over time he started to explain more and more about nuclear science.

One day my eldest brother said, You havent learned much in life, you are more stupid then all of us here together. When he asked my brother what do you mean ... he said have you no idea how ignorant and stupid we are, we are simple not able to understand a word of what you say and yet you go on and on.

We just like you for who you are .. that is enough for us

You cannot impress stupid and ignorant people as they have no idea what you are talking abot Manjit

@ Manjit

That is why I wished you some comrads with whom you can share your world

Hi Um. I know why you said that. You may or may not recall you said the same thing, and more transparently, back on the RSS forum many years ago. You were just as wrong in your amateur pop psychology diagnosis then as you are now. But do carry on, it is mildly amusing at least :)

In the meantime:


@ Manjit,

hahaha ... many hours, I walk with my good late friend, that used just about everything that was loose and stuck in mind altering drugs. When life was pushing him down and drugs could not lift his spirit .. he came to see me ... some coffee and a liitle time togheter brought again color on his cheeks and a twinkle in his eyes.

You go on on your path and see where it leads you.

Hey Um, your lack of self awareness is stunning.

As I say, if you want to bring any actual substance, knowledge or insight to the discussion, please let me know.

Otherwise continue with your delusional, bizarre, childish and wildly inaccurate attempts at psychological profiling and fortune telling. It should be quite obvious by now you've "cracked" and are spouting delusional nonsense.

@ Manjit

Given the meaning and value you attribute to me, as expressen in the adjectives you use,... what the heck are you doing in answering me??

You are just wasting your precious time on me.


I am not of your level, I have nothing to share with you, ..it surprise me as if I would encounter a man during my walks outdoor, that is talking to a bolder.

Wait, don't bother reading anything I've written about psychedelics, religion, consciousness recently, just watch this excellent 13 min video.... that should be a far pleasanter experience for everyone concerned! 🥰


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