Spirituality or Hallucination?

I never had a spiritual experience with any of the drugs I took during the 80's (LSD, MDMA, psilocybin, cocaine or pot - yes, I was an idiot then).

I have had experiences, as Wil described, where I've become aware that things are not as they seem - meaning things are unified and connected rather than seperate - but I took no drugs to have this experience.

I wish I had the brain cells back that all the LSD killed off.
Many people swear by the psychelic experience, but I am not one of them. I took LSD twice, and only for recreational purposes. The first time was a charm, and was extremely pleasant. I could see why many make the claim of gaining spiritual insight. The second time was another story, however. It took me to a place I never want to be again.

I think if you're mentaly capable, little harm can come from occasional use, but if you're like me, I wouldn't take the risk. There is no doubt in my mind that Lsd, mushrooms, etc... can cause more harm than good.

Then again, a multitude of people do so with little to no bad effect.
wil said:
As the experimentation both medical and personal has shown...when it is just right...a change occurs, an event, call it spiritual or not, one becomes aware that things are not as they seem, that they can be in this world but not of it, and then for the rest of their life this experience changes perception, they become more connected (spiritual?) and have no desire to trip again.

Actually, that raises a point I think needs to be underlined - hallucinagenics are not a quick fix for spiritual development. An atheist taking LSD isn't suddenly going to become a theist.

The point about hallucinagenics is that that are "mind expanding" by way of opening perceptions of reality to new interpretations. Some people use this for artistic exploration, some may use it simply for fun, and others for the weirdness of the experience.

My suggestion is that they can also be used as a spiritual development tool.

Like all tools, the importance is the skill of the wielder to use it for specific purpose. Simply using a tool doesn't make one a crasftman, and the same tool can be used in different ways. In that regard, I guess psychedlics are a psychological tool that can be used for spiritual exploration, but the use of one does not necessitate the other.

It's also worth pointing out that spiritual insight can come from many sources - grief, joy, and other emotional extremes force us outside of our normal human condition as well.

In other words, drugs aren't necessary for spiritual development, but may be useful for some people.
A close friend of mine recently told me about his experience with LSD.

He took it once after a night of using a number of other drugs (mostly MDMA and Cocaine).

He told me about the good parts, understanding all of creation, communicating with nature on a spiritual level.

He also told me about the bad parts. How the baby photographs on the wall became monsters trying to reach him, and the entire universe collapsing around him.

He spent 4 months in councelling with a psychologist.

At the end of the story, he gave me this advice:

It's a personal choice that everyone has to make. Either try it and find that deep, spiritual understanding, even if only for a breif time, but take the risks that go along with it, risk of serious psychotic episodes and lifelong mental scarring. Or, Don't try it, don't take the risk, and accept that there are things that you will never understand.

He could not decide if he regretted his experience or not.
Correction please!

You know I must correct a post I made earlier on this thread where I mentioned "Gordon Alport"...I think it was yesterday in post #15 above... Gordon Allport was a famous psychologist but this is not the person I meant who was an associate of Timothy Leary. I meant Richard Alpert who was Leary's associate. Please accept my apologies for this error.

- Art
I wouldn't give up my acid experiences for anything. I don't have any desire to do it again, but it sure was a fine thing at the time. I had nothing but good, if wild, experiences. Maybe one day I'll try to write about some of those experiences.

Shoot, man, I got to fly in some kind of cosmic dragon, go up in a neat silver UFO, visit Venus and only cause minor havoc for the astral police there ... as well as watch the tears of Bodhisattvas falling through space from world to world. And the whole time, I was walking around in a `beautiful blue Dharma suit!' Or at least, the pajamas on the hospital ward were light BLUE. :rolleyes: :confused:

Let me tell you, grass or what-have-you, I'd venture a WAG that it was PCP that led to all that ... but don't ask me what was REALLY going on, I prefer the delusions. :p

On the other hand, I've been sh*tfaced drunk enough to know what a "demon" is ... you know, encounter my own personal satan firsthand. I learned that he can drive a car very fast, and elude mutliple police occifers at once. Trying to run them down? Bad, very bad.

As for the trippin-outta-my-skull flyin' eyeball zonked on LSD kind of experiences, I confirmed during some of those:
  • that there is a God
  • that we're all "connected"
  • more than that, that we're all really `one'
  • that I was a knight, pre- all that jousting crap
  • that the Floyd were mostdef some tripped out dudes, and that Live at Pompeii really rocks
  • that Metallica, death metal, hate metal, thrash metal, and all that other bullsh*t that we listened to back then - ain't so cool after all
I probably missed the whole part about being haunted for most of my life by the shell of an incarnation that ended overseas with a bullet fired by the VC ... but LSD only cast that in a bit more (or different) light. I'd been dealing with that for most of my life anyway. But quite possibly, dosing that half sheet did help a bit in realizing what my responsibility was this time around, relative to some of these prior incarnations.

So, LSD, yeah sure. I have always been scared sh*tless of coke, crack, smack, whack, jack, whatever. Don't stick them needles in yer arm ... just a fool, just a fool ...

Now as for whatever the hell that grass was laced with, PCP or you-name-it, maybe just a bad hair day behind the scenes, that was a solid month (1995) during which I was checked out of reality. And for the diehard "it's all in your brain-ists" out there, you go figure. I have memories of that month, very much so more vivid and "real" than most of the rest of my life. I conversed, often enough, with beings who were either not there physically, or who were there, but appeared to me quite different than was likely the "reality." If I've ever hallucinated, it was then.

One more thing. Possession - it happens. No fun. Not when you aren't the one in control any more. Thorazine might calm you down, but it doesn't exactly set you right. Other medications, same deal. I suspect that if most of us knew a fraction of the reality behind brain chemistry and the superphysical mechanism involved, we'd run from drugs screaming bloody murder.

Watching `What the Bleep Do We Know?' is good for starters. But wrecking one's chakras, polluting the aura, risking permanent damage to the pineal and pituitary? Bah - child's play. Those are unfortunate, but relatively minor side effects. The esotericist knows that everything you are, we are, anyone is - physically, astrally and mentally - is "stored" in a single atom, per respective plane. An electron, then a particle thousands of times smaller than a quark ... and one that is as a speck beyond our wildest imaginings.

Yet to a Master, these are as weighty boulders, perhaps the smooth and polished stones over which flow the crystal clear waters of the Bubbling Brook, the Stream - "Let your living waters flow." Ahhhh .....

How many angels is it again, can dance on the head of a pin? No one will believe me when I keep saying - all of them. :)

God particles and Galapagos ... we don't need drugs, but they're there - and a for a reason. There are horror stories, and miraculous, magical transformations. I'd rather glorify drugs than war, but I'd hate to have to justify either. Force me to CHOOSE one of these evils to have to curse humanity with, I think I know my choice. But I could never be certain ... :eek:

The VC shot the marine, because he was shooting at them, of course. No problem. But he was there, because the US gov't wasn't happy with his means of livelihood. Plea bargaining, mandatory tour of duty, beats jail time, right? I don't know, did it?

Now another layer. One incarnates for a purpose. If one's vehicles (bodies, psychology, mind) become too polluted, too unusable for the soul, and the life's purpose gets too far out of focus, the train starts to derail. One can only learn from so much disaster. Many, many lives - end in `abortion.' And so it was.

Hi, folks. Nice to be back. Deja vu ... If I had ever been here before I would probably know just how to deal, with all of you ...

Who do you want to hear say it? Tell it. Confirm it. If you toot the horn, talk about drugs, then LISTEN to the Wisdom they have to speak. But be careful of the Prophet. As Thomas once pointed out, the Man on the Silver Mountain speaks with a slivery tongue, but he may not tell the whole truth, or his truth may be slightly different ... I guess I prefer Paul's Fool on the Hill. What!?! Same fellow??? Balderdash! :p :cool:

I do not credit drugs with showing me most of the insight into `last time around.' But I do believe they were the practical manifestation of an unresolved, and dark, karma. They do not always pull every soul, so far down in to the mire. Others, they pull under. But they sully the feet of EVERY person that uses them, spiritually speaking. It adds to our burden, the cleansing that we must all do as souls, as we make our way to Enlightenment, or Redemption.

It's contextual. I'm not a shaman, just because I can put on some trip-hop music and burn incense while I smoke my ganja. Writing down the Liber Goofaloojis while I'm stoned isn't gonna change that, either. But if I was a medicine man, as may have been the case several thousand years ago, then perhaps the peace pipe WAS a spiritual too - and a very useful one, overall. The kid in the alleyway, shooting up and watching the colors run ... well, he's in the mire. It's one planet, it's our collective ooze, no matter what we like to call it, or how icky it may seem when tracked in on other people's feet. :eek:

Brian, I really enjoyed some of the videos from your link. Check out the dude Ali G, and his tips for scoring primo quality stuff, right dosages, etc. I laughed my balls off. The Jamaican tour guide, now WOW. He was funny, kind of, but if that was real - I was starting to cringe in expectation of his next laugh. I guess that's part of why they call it "the chronic." Rastaman Bob, on the other hand, he seemed okay, eh?

Speaking of Bob, Jay and Silent Bob, now those are some funny dudes. Having said my peace, I mean piece, I wish we could put THEM in the drivers seat, get all the hippies and stoners and trippers, into the White House, into Parliament, for just a few short decades - I mean years ... oh you know, long enough to sort things out and get the world back on track. When we've mellowed out, stopped kiling each other, decided that togetherness is really what it's all about, and accepted that Loving one's Mother Earth ain't so bad after all ... THEN the leavening. THEN get Bono in there. We'd really need him by then, I should think. :D


andrew (lightbearer)

Actually, that raises a point I think needs to be underlined - hallucinagenics are not a quick fix for spiritual development. An atheist taking LSD isn't suddenly going to become a theist.

Indeed. I actually had taken mushrooms with a group of people...about 6, as I remember. One of my good friends had seen the aftermath of my bad trip, and he was very interested in the ways in which I came to understand it as spiritual experience. However, to this day he is quite confident in saying that he walked away from the experience having had only a good time. Nothing spiritual, at all.

I might venture to suggest that what hallucingenics may do is simply strip away an individuals ordinary reality for some amount of hours. From there, the experience can be interpreted in many different ways by different people. For people that haven't used a psychedelic, the idea that "ordinary reality" falls away may seem like an exaggeration perhaps, or a convenient way to loosely speak about things. For my part, I will say that I mean it quite literally... "reality" as one ordinarily knows it is simply unavailable.

On one end of the spectrum, an individual may become horrified or even temporarily psychotic, because "reality" can be a hard thing to part with. I will say that, during my bad trip, the knowledge that the effects would "wear off" after 4 hours wasn't reassuring in the least bit. Time being a foremost governing aspect of our ordinary reality, it went with everything else. Time was gone...it was wasn't even a realistic consideration...the moment was literally all there was. To say it was an eternal moment, even, is to defy how it actually felt...because there wasn't even a sense of time with which to judge eternity. No time...at all. I remembering looking at a clock and feeling like it was a hysterically meaningless piece of nonsense (that was before I started to go downhill).

On the opposite end of the spectrum, an individual may be delighted by the effects. For some people, it verifies with direct, unavoidable experience certain realms of consciousness or religious states of mind that they may feel like they've only been able to theorize about or vaguely experience. Perhaps this end of the pole doesn't perceive their experience so much as a loss of reality, but as reality becoming transparent?

In between these two poles are those who were mildly uncomfortable with it...those that like it for the trivial kinds of visual hallucinations...and those that use it primarily to escape from ordinary reality without further intention of exploring any new perspectives. For them, there is nothing particularly spiritual at all, and nothing to panic about either.

Now that I'm part way through the book, "Higher Wisdom: Eminent Elders Explore the Continuing Impact of Psychedelics," I believe I'm less skeptical of their potential benefit-though the book's contents only appeal to me "intellectually" as I've never used them nor intend to do so. Even those who have no interest in them per se might find this book interesting. It's a compilation of interviews with a number of psychologists, theologians, (such as Huston Smith and Rabbi Zalman Schachter-Shalomi,), and others, (including Albert Hofmann), who were instrumental in investigating the use of psychedelcs in the 1950's & 60's. What I find interesting about this book beyond its discussion of the history of that time, (including some of those participants lambasting Tim Leary for his excesses & blaming that as 1 of the reasons for the political climate turning against the research with these drugs), is the discussion by these participants regarding their actual experiences with the drugs and their subsequent views on "ultimate" reality and spirituality. What I find interesting about some of these experiences is how much they seem at times to be identical to some near-death experiences including some long-lasting impacts on the experiencers: i.e. acid trips can at times "reveal" the same types of reality as near-death experiences. Tis a shame though that to get a deeper, more profound view of reality we have to be out of our right minds &/or bodies.;) Psychiatric research with psychedelics is again resuming in limited ways though as in recent time there have been some studies with MDMA as well as psilocybin. have a good one, earl