Saturday, May 21, 2011

did the drugs work at all?

Guardian | Is LSD a great spiritual teacher? Or indeed a teacher at all? My answer is an emphatic "Yes", even though there will always be students who learn nothing from their teachers or misuse what they do learn.

For me LSD is the ultimate psychedelic. It's a tough one – one not to be taken lightly or often. A typical trip lasts eight to 10 hours and there's no respite or way out once you've popped that tiny scrap of blotter in your mouth. I will even admit that on those rare occasions when I take it I feel some deep physiological reaction that makes me involuntarily shaky and afraid just before that fateful moment.

So why do it? Because the fear is worth – a million times over it's worth – the experience.

That experience, as many writers have explained, depends dramatically on the set and setting – on what you expect of the trip, where you are, whom you are with, and how safe you feel. One of the tragedies of drug prohibition is that we have never developed a culture in which young people can learn how to use powerful drugs properly from older, wiser and more experienced psychonauts. I count myself lucky to have encountered such good teachers to guide me with such drugs as LSD, psilocybin, DMT, MDMA and mescaline.

Of course the psychedelics can be just plain fun – the amazing colours, the shifting and moving scenes, the flowers that turn into cats that turn into rabbits that disappear down holes; the sounds that turn into streams that flow away into the sky. But very few people have eight hours of simple fun. This drug, above all, confronts you with yourself. The flickering flowers can turn into scenes of horror and desperation, the coloured-streaked sky into a theatre of unwelcome memories and shame.

9 comments:

nanakwame said...

Our question mentions "spirituality" and whether anyone becomes "kinder and wiser". Surely knowing oneself underlies all these – knowing and accepting your own mind, taking responsibility for what you have done and what you might do. Even simple kindness grows with self-knowledge. When we see ourselves clearly we can see others more clearly, and then it is so very much easier to be kind.
Actually, I would dispute that claim. I've known a lot of people who regularly do mind altering drugs and to be honest I've yet to see someone who is not pretty self absorbed and self interested. I'm not saying that they did horribly selfish or bad things but they were not much fun to be around and when coming down from the drugs their moods were not at all pleasant. I didn't see much self responsibility going around. It looks a lot more like hedonistic pleasure seeking - which is not in itself a bad thing but I don't think it increases kindness or the well being of others.
And the more serious and dangerous issue is the potential for serious drug addiction - with terrible consequences on the addict, their family and friends and society as a whole.Donella 22 March 2011 11:49AM 

One is born with a mood inclination, one has to learn to conscouiously  tweak it

CNu said...

When we see ourselves clearly we can see others more clearly, and then it is so very much easier to be kind.

Or, "so very much easier" to dispense with others with aplomb..,

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