"We manifest abundance wherever we go," sounds even worse. That's the kind of reason Dominionist give when trying to dodge their car taxes.
What did Hunter Thompson say about the seekers who tried to buy enlightenment by the dose?
Instead the real benefit is trying to rationally understand their experience. "Wait, was there a giant hand with my dad's watch on it's wrist crushing the room? Damn, I didn't realize I was letting that take over my life."
Without that personal insight you are just dealing with pseudo-spiritual abstractions.
“We are all wired into a survival trip now. No more of the speed that fueled that 60's. That was the fatal flaw in Tim Leary's trip. He crashed around America selling "consciousness expansion" without ever giving a thought to the grim meat-hook realities that were lying in wait for all the people who took him seriously... All those pathetically eager acid freaks who thought they could buy Peace and Understanding for three bucks a hit. But their loss and failure is ours too. What Leary took down with him was the central illusion of a whole life-style that he helped create... a generation of permanent cripples, failed seekers, who never understood the essential old-mystic fallacy of the Acid Culture: the desperate assumption that somebody... or at least some force - is tending the light at the end of the tunnel.”
Hunter S. Thompson has that reputation from younger people as "crazy guy who did lots of drugs". That was part of it, but his reputation came from his writing and journalism. He created a new, influential style of gonzo journalism where he was openly opinionated and wrote with emotional attachment, and certainly some exaggeration.
That he's remembered as "crazy guy on drugs" instead of "great writer" or "trenchant journalist" shows very well the pop culture drift that happens with public figures.
Thompson was a standout writer with a brilliant critical eye towards society and found much of it disagreeable. That he found a way to relate that to his contemporary generation is shown by his body of work.
That he's remembered as a "drug guy", so a critique of Timothy Leary is surprising is ... too bad.
Check out "Hell's Angels" or "Fear and Loathing on the Campaign Trail '72", if you've got the time.
My favorite passage is kind of a combination of the crazy guy, eloquent and beautiful writer, with deep and insightful commentary: http://www.goodreads.com/quotes/1074-strange-memories-on-thi...
that said, yeah man, he really did do a lot of drugs, and wrote about it too. he was, however, a much more grounded and reasonable person than Tim Leary, and to his credit. Leary's excesses poisoned the well for a generation.
Bodybuilders have a term that they use to describe the mythos that has evolved in their subculture regarding steroids and supplements: Broscience. This is the yuppie drug-dabbler equivalent.
Some people find the woo motivating, but I find it to be a distraction. I want my exercise regimen woo-free, thank you very much.
I think all exercise programs tend to have a something to sell, because otherwise how do you make money? It's an interesting balancing act, however. Your doctor can tell you "get more exercise", but that's a pretty abstract concept that requires planning, commitment and is by definition kind of uncomfortable. So a whole industry has grown up around branding exercise. It works, too. Some of it is better than others, but people, myself included, buy it. We might buy it because we're gullible, we might buy it because it's easier than coming up with our own plan or more interesting when executing it.
But the number of books that grace the shelves with words like "warrior", "ultimate", "prescription", "philosophy", "enlightenment", "Spartan", "SEAL", etc, etc, etc. is pretty staggering. But frankly, whatever works. Insurance companies often incentivize gym memberships, but rarely do they pay for you to regularly see a trainer, so whatever is safe that gets people exercising. I complain, but it's not even in the same league of problematic as unregulated administration of pharmaceuticals by spiritual leaders.
I took some classes and not a single instructor treated the class as anything but an exercise class with some meditation at the end. I even took an "alternative" yoga class with weights.
It can be done easily in your home (if you have some space) and you can do great full body workouts. I was pretty much out of shape when I've started it two years ago and now I feel great.
The people over at the Kettlebell subreddit are quite helpful: https://www.reddit.com/r/kettlebell
The FAQs show some good starting points
Maybe this is something for you. Altough some people around Pavel (and Strongfirst) can come off a little bit cult-ish, but I don't think that it is too bad.
My biggest issue with kettlebells is that my basement ceiling is low so swinging them is probably out and I've only got 7 months or so of outdoor training. I'll check it out, however, can't hurt to ask.
For the more advanced exercises military press, snatch and clean and jerk you need a room where you can stand up with your hands straight above your head.
I am training outside the whole year, but it doesn't get extremely cold here in winter -5° to -10° Celsius is pretty much the minimum. But I am under a roof and so it works for me (but I have to store the Kettlebells indoor so the handles are warm).
We can take psychedelics just to enjoy psychedelics. This is a good enough reason.
I may be close minded, but "To receive the essence of Grandmother's wisdom and understand the psychic vibrations, not within us, but beside us, as I'm guided by the Jaguar riding the Anaconda, who is really the glory beyond our lesser selves, being to us a more perfect realm as Grandmother wishes it through the greater understanding of our abundant vision..." doesn't really sound like a reason.
Not that I'd stop someone from doing it for that reason, but I fail to see how it's the least bit useful and it seems ripe for exploitation.
I tried it basically with as most preparation as you could possibly have and it wasn't enough. There's more detail in my posting history, but I'd suggest caution.
"Once you've gotten the message, hang up the phone."
Hallucinogens may deliver you the message, but you need to know to take it once you have it, and not go crazy taking more and more. I have a friend who fell down that rabbit hole. Doesn't seem to end well.
Over time, I had several instances of making some progress on a question (programming logic design, for example) as I was on the border of awake and asleep, but these were essentially just the result of awake-enough thinking through of a problem as I lay there just before I fell asleep.
But I did have a few instances of real solutions in my sleep that I thought were major breakthroughs. The funny thing was that almost the instant I woke up, I saw fatal flaws in those "breakthroughs" that had been completely invisible to the triumphant, celebrating genius that I was in the dream. Literally seconds after regaining consciousness, I would see how ridiculous my brilliant idea was because of something I had completely overlooked in my dream state but was instantly obvious in my waking state. (Waking up literally does bring some crucial part of your reasoning back online.)
After a few of these, I put away the dream journal with a chuckle and got another good laugh when I read about Feynman's experience with LSD. After my own experience, I can easily imagine how you might feel as though your intoxicated mind was somehow operating on a "higher plane" when cut free of the restraints of reality, but it doesn't mean that what you discover there is of any real value back in the world of reality.
As much fun as it sounds, with no benefits beyond the entertainment value and the serious risks involved--a top student and mentor of mine back in school raised his consciousness so high that he lost the ability to feed or dress himself in the real world ever again--I'll just stick to actual consciousness.
Then there's a well known psych experiment from the 60s that claims
pretty good results: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Psychedelics_in_problem-solvin...
My friend is also have difficulty leaving the path. A couple of months ago my buddy & I got some urgent texts from him-- he had taken a really large dose of LSD and ended up spending the next 12 hours in a emergency room's psych ward.
I think that part of the reason that we have this B.S. propaganda around psychedelics (i.e. "They're the key to enlightenment!") is that it can be pretty hard to encourage people to try drugs. And while they aren't the key to enlightenment, they are just such a _different_ experience that it can be... interesting, or help personal growth, in some lesser but still substantial ways. But that's not a great soundbite.
Marketing is much harder than we give it credit for.
//edit although on further googling, I think the quote is from Alan Watts and it's about sober meditation after a trip.
> "Psychedelic experience is only a glimpse of genuine mystical insight, but a glimpse which can be matured and deepened by the various ways of meditation in which drugs are no longer necessary or useful. If you get the message, hang up the phone. For psychedelic drugs are simply instruments, like microscopes, telescopes, and telephones. The biologist does not sit with eye permanently glued to the microscope, he goes away and works on what he has seen..."
I think that in our society we have a problem with people taking too many drugs already. Deadly smoking of tobacco is decreasing but still too common (killed my mom). Booze and coffee are things people tolerate but use to adjust their mood. Pot seems to finally becoming accepted by law abiding society. But do we need to encourage more than this? As a parent of a teenager who is generally tolerant of such things, I'm suddenly feeling I want society to have less drugs ;-)
Seriously, would society be improved with more psychedelics?
The key paragraphs are:
> I have two daughters who will one day take drugs. Of course, I will do everything in my power to see that they choose their drugs wisely, but a life lived entirely without drugs is neither foreseeable nor, I think, desirable. I hope they someday enjoy a morning cup of tea or coffee as much as I do. If they drink alcohol as adults, as they probably will, I will encourage them to do it safely. If they choose to smoke marijuana, I will urge moderation. Tobacco should be shunned, and I will do everything within the bounds of decent parenting to steer them away from it. Needless to say, if I knew that either of my daughters would eventually develop a fondness for methamphetamine or crack cocaine, I might never sleep again. But if they don’t try a psychedelic like psilocybin or LSD at least once in their adult lives, I will wonder whether they had missed one of the most important rites of passage a human being can experience.
> This is not to say that everyone should take psychedelics. As I will make clear below, these drugs pose certain dangers. Undoubtedly, some people cannot afford to give the anchor of sanity even the slightest tug. It has been many years since I took psychedelics myself, and my abstinence is born of a healthy respect for the risks involved. However, there was a period in my early twenties when I found psilocybin and LSD to be indispensable tools, and some of the most important hours of my life were spent under their influence. Without them, I might never have discovered that there was an inner landscape of mind worth exploring.
I am not saying everybody should do them, far from it, but people shouldn't be banned from access on their free will under threat of destroying the life by jail time - that's beyond ridiculous.
One was a carnival barker, a demagogue, and showman who preaches to the choir about all kinds of things that excites them. those people bought tickets to hear him speak, and indeed, he gave them what they wanted.
the other was a deeply insightful and contemplative man who was a scholar, philosopher, and mystic. he said what he meant and what he believed to be true, regardless of what the audience might have thought about it.
there were two Alan Watts as well, of course. he was a public persona just as much as Terrence ever was. More-so actually.
Bonnie Greewall, who wrote her PhD dissertation on specific form of spiritual emergence in the field of transpersonal psychology is one person who teaches this. She speaks of people who, having confused those peak experiences with "enlightenment", goes on trying to seek out greater and greater experiences. There is a kind of withdrawal effect that happens when the next big thing doesn't show up. This is in contrast to awakening, in which one is aware of true nature as awareness. This awareness is available in all states, whether blissful or wrathful, with or without psychedelics.
At the end of the day though, it's still about awareness, whether that is in the ceremony or in the ordinary life.
I think the psychedelics gives the kick out of the nest some people need. I know a lot of folks roll their eyes at some of the things being said in the article, but having participated in ceremonies and hanged out with the folks who go, they are not as far-fetched as you might think it is. Both the cringe-inducing quotes and the folks who roll their eyes are, I think, representative of the the spiritual miasma and dis-ease in modern society.
And since I got into some drama here the last time I said something like this, I'm going to try to write as clearly here: while there are some people who can answer what these peak experiences and these spiritual paths do for themselves as individuals, we as a human species and a race _as a whole_ still have not figured out the place and purpose of spirituality in modernity. Modernity was first the separation, and then the complete disassociation of spirituality. A Dagara medicine man friend of mine puts it, "there were the Keepers, the Breakers, and the Menders". The Keepers are traditionalists. The Breakers are modernists. The Menders are only emerging.
Modernity broke the traditional views, with some proponents seeing themselves as heroes for doing so. Although it isn't as if all traditional views were all that great, in the glee to toss everything out that smacked of traditional, we left a big gaping hole in our beings. We don't even have the language in modernity to speak of this without feeling cynical, or opening ourselves to being attacked for being superstitious.
This is the hole that traditional spirit medicines like Ayahuasca helps now -- despite, as the article says, it wasn't traditionally used that way. It just happens to be something a lot of us need, even if we don't always know we need it.
But since we don't have modern (or post-modern) language or framework to speak about spirituality in a coherent way ... well, let's just say we're all engaged in a grand discussion about that, groping together towards the answer. Ayahuasca is part of that ongoing groping we humans are doing.
Whatever we come up with, it's going to radically include both traditional and modern view, both rational -- and yes, irrational and transrational things about our world.
I didn't know at the time it was such a thing in SV though.
LSD is like walking through the doors of perception.
DMT (as in ayahuasca) is like being shot out of a cannon.
I wonder if it has dawned on any of these "shamans" that a fistful of risperidone might be useful for the freakouts? Antipsychotics exist for a reason. Also, anyone on MAOIs is likely to have a very bad time, and people on SSRIs may not notice a thing (other than barfing).
The whole enterprise seems very poorly thought out.
That depends on which circle you sit with. Some of them are straight up dangerous (meaning, whoever is running it has not been through the proper training), while others are incredibly well-organized and safe.
And "freak-outs" are oftentimes the point, not meant to be suppressed or dealt with, but guided through by a competent shaman / group. You get to a certain level of understanding when pushed a bit beyond your comfort zone, and that can be difficult sometimes.
It's all fine.
Ayahuasca is DMT + MAOI inhibitors and is more like the usual experiences of orally ingesting LSD, psilocybin or mescaline.
There's a reason why MAO inhibitors are so rarely used in psychiatry. High efficacy, but the side effects are nasty to deal with.
Source: first hand. :)
Speaking for myself, on the rare occasions in my life when I've taken a psychedelic (LSD or psilocybin, never DMT as here), I've found the experience useful simply because such a radical change of perspective offers access to insight which might not be available in a more ordinary frame of mind. Such insight is, in my experience, occasionally of value. Of course, such insight is, also in my experience, much more often the kind of thing that makes sense only in hindsight and with the benefit of confirmation bias, which is to say, it doesn't make sense at all.
I think it's very easy for people to make too much of experiences like these; to be taken out of the world, as these substances do, can be wonderful or terrible or both at once, but I can't imagine a case in which it could be neither, and our culture doesn't really provide a good conceptual framework for dealing with wonder and terror. And I know with certainty that it's very easy to talk such an experience to death; in the case where it does offer beneficial insight, such insight is generally of such an intimately personal nature, and so inextricably bound up in one's unique and individual experience of reality, that to try to make it comprehensible to others is often to make it incomprehensible to oneself. At the very least, you want to let it settle a good long while, and integrate into your personality if it's going to do so, before you try to elucidate it to someone else - and, beyond that, there's a very solid point to be made that, if it really is going to change you, it'll do so in a way that doesn't need to be explained to anyone.
Whether any of what I've just described has any use to you, I have no idea, and this is the kind of question you could ask five people and get twelve answers in any case. But maybe it's been worth your while; in any case, I hope it has. I'm happy to answer any further questions it might elicit, although of course I can't promise those answers will be any more useful than this one has been.
I can share a pretty concrete benefit that I received in one of my very rare experiences: for the first time, I was able to clearly see some of the not so good edges of my ego. This awareness allowed me to make some substantive modifications in my life that have brought some big, long-term improvements.
Each of my once per year experiences have proved to be beneficial, though often in very subtle and indirect ways. As you said, it's easy to get that mixed up with confirmation bias.
The emotional effect of the easing of an almost entirely unconsidered but omnipresent background note of minor but real and adamantine anxiety is completely personal, but I would by analogy describe the before-and-after as if a decades-old background musical harmonic dissonance were suddenly reframed by the addition of a new bass note, which integrated them into a satisfying (and hitherto unimagined) chord.
I could describe the specifics, but I'm trying to avoid the cliché of sharing dream content with the expectation that its logic and e.g. discernible ties to everyday consciousness can somehow be translated and made of interest...
...I fear those are just deep-sea fish that are better discussed at a remove, or, alluded to rather than named.
If that makes any more sense itself. :)
Maybe a more direct TL;DR would be, _a long-standing semi-conscious fear which had resurfaced repeatedly in disturbing dream, was revisited and unexpectedly resolved in such a way that I came away with greater serenity, which has persisted now for many years after the experience_.
That might be akin to saying that the experience afforded the resolution of a long-standing emotional conundrum, apparently for good. The consequent sense of equanimity has stuck with me and is something I am grateful for.
(I am certain I myself might have come to the same resolution through some other path; my sense from the communities I am in is that one reason people pursue this one is that such experience are very common. Whether through intrinsic pharmacology or some alchemy of set setting and expectation seems almost not to matter, IMHO.)
Forgive my ignorance but... Aren't those anxiolytic? Does that somehow prevent ayahuasca from functioning?
In the case of ayahuasca, quite possibly because they're dead. You don't mix SSRIs and MAOIs unless you have a very good idea what you're doing, and even then probably not without a reasonably well-equipped clinic to hand.
Serotonin Syndrome is not something to fuck around with.
As an aside, it's a real pity that the side effects of MAO-A inhibition loom so large in people's imaginations. They're extremely effective anti-depressants and many of the risks can be easily mitigated, but GPs and even shrinks are now too afraid to prescribe them.
The shamans who are trained in the jungle and work with this stuff uses a variety of methods to work with those kinds of episodes. These are not fun, and they aren't really safe either. Some of the groups in the US are not trained or equipped to deal with it, and the more responsible ones will refuse to let someone drink if there are prior cases of psychotic breaks.
I do remember in one ceremony, one of the persons there went off on a journey. This was a group I don't usually participate with. To me, it wasn't unusual for someone to go into an episode like that. I've seen it happen in others and in myself. (And granted, I have heard of those who go somewhere and never come back but I have not seen it directly myself).
What was unusual in that case was that there no separate room set aside. Usually, the energies being whipped out of a person like that is intense enough to start inducing things in other people. What it usually induces is fear (fear of the unknown). As people started to get more and more uncomfortable, their own consciousness transmits feelings of judgement and censure ... which does not help the situation.
Ayahuasca is tricky like that. She'll allow situations like that to arise, and see if you're going to be mindful of things; or to facilitate an empathy exercise where you feel what it is like to be on the other side of those judgements. Freakouts like that can happen to anyone -- and likely, the more rigid, the more closed-minded, the more judgemental you are, the more likely it will be your turn next.
But if you're claiming to "guide" people through a trip with potential for physical harm (and in an inustrialized, urban environment, that's pretty much all of them), you're goddamn right I'll judge you if you fuck someone up.
If a hospital pulled this shit and didn't even try to mitigate potential harm, they'd be shut down. Would you claim it should be otherwise? People certainly have out of body experiences in the ER on a fairly regular basis...
So, no, I don't take issue with people using hallucinogens. I used a ton when I was younger and had a vanishingly small number of bad trips. The part I take issue with is where people get irresponsible. Humans are pretty fragile (stop by the ER some time, they can survive a lot, but not everything). I judge those who won't take care of each other.
However, I'm not speaking about whether someone's action is worthy or unworthy, but rather, the specific reaction of judgement itself as a form of conscious energy. When examined energetically, the intention of judging itself is often a form of social aggression, usually in reaction to aversion.
Aversion is a natural instinct when we come across something that is toxic, or more precisely, perceived as toxic to our bodies. Toxins get expelled. This is very natural, at least for human bodies.
The thing is that Consciousness spans more than being human, and it persists beyond the our given lifetime as a human. We trade roles and act out this theatre where, sometimes you are the one judging, and sometimes you are the one being judged for the same actions. What is toxic at some level of teaching is not toxic at other levels of teaching. The teaching that an individual needs is specific to that moment, in that setting.
Also, 'harm' and 'potential harm' is not so simple. There are physical, emotional, and mental damage that can be inflicted, both accidentally and deliberately. However, it's been my experience that people generally confuse pain with suffering, and conflate the two. Pain can be measured and compared, but suffering cannot. Suffering does not result from pain so much as it results from going against the natural flow of consciousness. So when we speak of "harm" in the conventional sense, we measure it in terms of pain, but we are often really speaking of "suffering" in the subtext, or subconsciously.
When people are reacting to freakouts, they are not usually reacting to the potential danger so much as the suffering from the arising fear of that danger. The aversion to suffering is so strong, there's this spiraling effect as the fear in participants start resonating, and then compound out of control. From this perspective, judgement is a kind of immune response to toxic energies, and while it might be appropriate outside of ceremony space, it isn't necessarily helping you as a participant if you focus too much on judging others within the ceremony. This is, after all, gaining insight about yourself. A good question to be asking at that point is, "What am I learning from this experience of me judging someone else?"
To come back to your points though: what I said above comes out in groups that act responsibly, and can provide a reasonably safe place to explore dangerous aspects of life like that. They don't spike the brew. I've been with groups where there are EMT or an MD on hand. There are sufficient facilities to isolate someone going through an intense journey (which always look like freakouts). There are sober helpers to make sure people get what they need ... and keep the knives hidden away. The shamans know how to deal with the really nasty stuff that will pop up once in a while.
While the nature of medicine is such that many will experience a safe way to explore some very dangerous stuff, one of the things people explore is life, and the inherent dangers and risks of life. At some point in someone's journey, they learn by taking falls and getting back up.
Honest-to-god shamans that are the recipients of generations' worth of accumulated cultural traditions aren't my concern; I'm hardly fit to judge them. But that doesn't seem to be what's going on in some of these ceremonies. It's irresponsible (and kind of shitty) to act as a guide unless the guide is prepared to handle extremal behavior.
As far as judging others for taking hallucinogens, nah. People's brains react differently to different agents at different points in time, and that's something that you either learn to deal with or you stop taking hallucinogens.
Secondly, why take the potion instead of pure DMT? If that is the active ingredient (along with an MAOI), I'd imagine just taking the pure compound to be more efficacious. (And the trips last only 20 minutes or something- under an hour)
Thirdly, say you have a chronic illness that requires constant management, like type 1 diabetes or something. I've heard the potion takes 12 hours, or in some extreme cases days, to work itself out of your system. Would that person still be a candidate for the ritual, or would they need to go through it with a medical professional on-site or something?
The legality of it is something I am not worried about. The reagents to make DMT are not illegal to possess, only DMT itself. I keep them all separated at all times and I do not possess any baggies, scales, or any drug paraphernalia. The drugs are created on-site by me a day before the trip - this is part of the package I offer. Basically you come stay at a gorgeous (sometimes less so but generally nice) home and relax, put your cell phone in an anti-static bag in a safe and unwind before the next day. Sometimes I throw little parties with my friends' bands, but thats at the discretion of the client (after all a party is a good way to attract cops). If I do get caught, I would try my best to use the case as a legal vehicle to change the scheduling of DMT and other psychedelics.
With regards to potions + crystals (the 'pure' form of DMT), well, like other business I offer various products and packages. The trips are different, totally separate categories of mind-altering. Both options are available plus other packages. There's a DMT + LSD two-night stay that I personally think is the most fun (depends on my ability to procure that though, since I'm not that good at synthesis and LSD is legit the hardest drug to make) since they get both the intense "next-level" DMT and then they can ride it out on some low-dosage LSD where we paint, read, write, occasionally program (lots of 'hacker' clients), discuss, and whatever else the client wants to do. I get a lot of couples who just want me to be there to administer the potion and then be "on-call" in case they freak out but that's only happened once. I just write on those days. Working on a fantasy novel.
I have friends who have chronic illnesses who swear by "recreational" drugs such as LSD, DMT (both forms), and, of course, THC. They have good judgement of their limits and I would say are more in touch with their body than able bodied people, it's fascinating to hear them talk of their conception of their physicality as compared to (this is a real quote) the finance bro who sees it more "like a bunch of car parts that evolution glued together". People with illnesses are attuned to their systems in a way that offers a unique perspective to me. However, I have personally never administered a trip to someone who wasn't able-bodied or otherwise 'healthy' - not bc of my preference, it's just been the clientele so far. We generally do not trip with medical people on staff unless requests but that's never come up.
2. From your experience, how does ayahuasca compare to other psychedelics?
3. Any personal advice for someone interested in experimenting with these drugs?
2. I personally am not the biggest fan of ayahuasca, but am in awe of it. I respect it and let it do its work upon people but I rarely take it and I have a feeling I never will again. I usually just smoke a bit of DMT mixed with THC shatter when I'm coming up with the client(s) to get into a similar headspace but other than that I'm sober and there to guide and work with the psychonauts. I've taken it four times, each time was different and each time I found new words and new ways to express myself but I'm much more careful about it now. LSD on the other hand I do about every month or so. It is, in my opinion, the finest substance known to man besides cannabis. If you want to have a profound physical and mental experience that takes over your body and melds your mind, by all means drink the potion. LSD lets you have a little bit more control and is less, in my opinion, 'religious'.
3. Do them with people you know and love. Don't go into it expecting wisdom or enlightenment and don't be surprised when the work you create or the thoughts you write are inane and obtuse once you see them through sober eyes. Do it because the mind and body and spirit need to be explored and known in ways that some may see as meandering or even farcical (how many times has acid been the butt of low-rent sitcom gags?) but to the determined can be a wellspring of experience and, perhaps most importantly, a joy that is inimitable.
But upstate is 100 percent the way to go. The Hudson Valley is the most beautiful place on earth to me and there are tons of amazing amazing places to explore, like old mansions, crumbling stone forts, just like straight up lore-making kinds of environs to let your mind unravel.
At the absolute least, a psychedelic experience should teach you a lesson about the reliability of the senses and about how subjective our experience of reality can be, which is a valuable lesson to learn, IMO, and no matter how much you understand it intellectually, directly experiencing it is another matter entirely.
in most cases, you don't see much of the world past you own eyes anymore, but some "fantasy", which is why it is aptly called an hallucinogen. It messes with your head and you have a hard time making sense of the world so you revert to some basic notions of knowledge, that appear like an epiphany because they are that basic. I don't think these are new found insights and good luck if these facilities of your brain are damaged in the process. It is called acid for a reason.
Edit: A neat analogy would be fuzzing a production system. Not only that, it is randomly deleting files and flipping bits of memory to see how robust the system is. If your system is error free, the fuzzing is not a problem, but every system has bugs.
You don't need drugs at all to learn how subjective our own perceptions of reality are. And the risks suggest that it would be unwise to do so.
I would argue that psychedelics are much more powerful than a notebook, but also require greater care and preparation.
Many opt to simply have the analogous experience of "doodling in the notebook", as it requires much less effort and can be great fun. However, this does leave greater potential for a bad trip if one is not ready to face what they may encounter.
“Do you have doctors or anyone on hand who understands what’s happening on a pharmacological level if something goes wrong?” There was a tense silence, and then Little Owl replied, “We are healing on a vibrational level.”
I asked how she could tell it wasn’t something requiring immediate medical intervention, and the [mediator] replied, “Intuition.”
Not saying shit doesn't happen, but if you're going to the jungle to work with these plants, with a reputable practitioner, you're at vastly greater risk from things like snakes and mosquitoes — or even jaguars and alligators — than you are the plants, themselves.
I wonder if there is maybe something simple, medically, that can be done by a 'non pro' - like - if there are specific and identifiable symptoms - 'take this pill' which has a neutralizing or softening effect or something. Hopefully something safe and natural. Maybe even something like 'drink caffeine and eat something fatty' - or whatever might work that's easy and accessible.
Source: Burnout friend.
But psychological risk is real. My friend did something similar in Brazil and had 'fear' episodes for years.
If you go at it with the attitude that this is simply a reason to get high, or to observe visual disturbances for the sheer sake of hallucinating, there's a very good chance that will comprise your experience. Conversely, if you set an intention of learning about yourself, life, death, existence, the universe, etc., and approach it with regard, then there is a very good chance you will have that experience.
From what I have gathered observing myself and my friends, the latter can be quite transformative to the self. It can encourage profound positive changes in attitude and improve quality of life, increase spiritual awareness and feelings of interconnectedness, greatly diminish or eliminate one's fear of death, among other things. These feelings can last, sometimes for life, and it can take months to fully integrate the lessons learned and information gained after returning from the "journey". See the John's Hopkins study on psilocybin for more information.
Preparation and intent simply cannot be understated when it comes to the use of these substances. What the psychedelic enthusiasts refer to as 'set and setting'.
These aren't just the waxings of a hippie distracted at work, I can point you to studies that demonstrate the repeatability of it all (i.e., 'most important experience of life' claims, noetic properties, ineffable, etc.) Many people use these descriptors when regarding their respective psychedelic journeys.
In my opinion, the reason some people have awe-inspiring life-changing experiences and some just see neat visuals or have the ominous 'bad trip' goes back to my first comment. Set, setting, and intention are absolutely everything with these substances. The stuff just seems to be of a higher order, and it seems it gives you just what you deserve.
Our brain chemistry is exceedingly complex. Also, our emotional state primes our brain with other chemicals. Fear can produce a rush of adrenilne, for example.
So yes, thinking about it 'correctly' changes your brain. Your brain is a chemical reaction, so adding another thought modifying chemical is likely to have different results based on the chemicals already there.
I wonder about the evolutionary reasons for its emergence. Does the plant influence the Human so that the Human protects and nurtures the plant? When did Humans begin altering South America? 15,000 years ago? More than enough time for the plant to adapt.
It's a strange feeling to ingest a hallucination producing organism. I remember being 19 years old, in the 90s, being given mushrooms. I spent the next several hours sitting at a tree stump feeling myself sink into it, feeling merged with plants around me. I remember thinking a lot about the juxtaposition of the natural with the concrete and brick and asphalt just a few hundred meters away - and wanting to tear it all down. Now, decades later, reading the woman's experience, I wonder if the fungi had somehow manipulated me.
You mean "reason" in the sense of "why" and he means reason in the sense of "logical conditions". The why is an interesting question, what environmental or other factors provided an advantage in a plant containing this chemical, or was it a non-important side effect of some other change. It is interesting, maybe not easily knowable.
Hope this clears it up. I may be wrong, but I get annoyed when I read comments that are negative without an explanation, so I thought I would attempt to shine some light.
A similar story exists around the discovery of LSD (LSD-25 was just one in a sequence of lysergic asid that was synthesised by Albert Hoffman) – it was years later that Hoffman decided to revisit the compound, thinking... "There must be something there..."
It's all likely coincidence, but there exists (especially with plants, such as those that produce DMT, and Psilocybin) that we have evolved together.
Just drop some acid like a normal person, or take a harmaline cap and some dmt later. No need for all this 'purging' and ceremony.
It really winds me up. You're doing oral DMT, not magic...
Psychedelics can be therapeutic or "spiritual", but once you have some familiarity they can also just be fun. I've had equally wonderful experiences sitting alone in the woods, playing beer pong at a frat party, exercising, playing an instrument, having sex, etc. Higher doses of certain psychedelics will make some of these experiences less pleasant / possible, but in general it can be much more than the solemn introspection that most people expect.
I'd disagree there. It's less experience than actually doing something, but more than just getting a chemical flow across the brain. Reading is a weak sort of experience, no?
There was no preparation as far as set and setting. Basically I was a chronic drug-using teenager who was trying something new. Took the stuff before a concert and began tripping during the opening act. Had a great time. Saw some weird shit. Blacked out for a while as usual because I was also smoking a lot of pot and drinking beer for hydration.
Somehow reconnected with the people I went with and got a ride home, with some intervening adventures on the way. Lay down in bed to sleep and that's when it got weird. Hard to describe and kind of boring if you weren't there (but you might have been! ;-))
Woke up the next morning still tripping balls. Couldn't stop it, got kind of scared. Called people and said shit I don't remember and that they still won't repeat.
Finally stopped tripping later that day, and was exhausted for another day. Found out later from the genius that the dose was roughly equivalent to 350-500 mcg of LSD (i.e., a lot).
Read The Yage Letters shortly after that. Haven't tripped since. Occasionally consider it since I've done a lot more reading and work in the 37 years since that experience, but now it's a hipster thing so it's embarrassing to admit. I mean, the New Yorker is writing articles about it. You don't even have to dig through a few different grungy bookstores to find a copy of the Beat take on it from the '50s.
So, probably never yage / ayahuasca, but maybe someday a tab of acid. Or maybe not. I'm a lot more self-aware and enlightened than I was at 17, but I think that's mostly because I've lived another 37 years and survived all the trouble along the path, not because I tripped once.
P.S. People had these exact same kinds of conversations on this topic 35 years ago.
Maybe it's because I missed Burning Man this year, but I haven't heard of anybody doing this outside of articles on Tech Crunch that say people are (let alone normal hallucinogens).
Marijuana or Adderall, sure (Meadow and Eaze are doing well here); maybe even the /r/nootropics stack, but not hallucinogenic substances.
I know people who have experimented with shrooms, but they don't consider them a "drug of choice," let alone a productivity enhancer by any means. In fact, one of my acquaintances ended up going off the deep end when he started taking LSD. It was a really sad story.
It's a difficult feeling to describe (three Ayahuasca sessions at home so far.) – it's similar to N,N-DMT but whilst DMT feels like chapter-skipping, Ayahuasca feels like things are being played at 1x – If you have specific questions I will try to answer them.
The shamans who train out in the jungle are trained directly by the plant spirit. Each plant carries an energy, a consciousness, and a host of insights and realms connected with it. The icaros of the Mestizo tradition will call upon those plant spirits with whom the shaman has gained a relationship with. And by "gain a relationship with", usually means ingesting and working with the consciousness of that specific plant -- some requiring cycles of years to establish a powerful relationship.
So when such a shaman sings, that plant spirit is brought into the ceremony space while your consciousness is open. In a group setting, it will express itself in a form that somehow blends what you need with what the group needs. This means that the medicine coming through in an Ayahuasca ceremony facilitated by someone trained in a lot of plant medicines will not just be bringing Ayahuasca to the table -- but also specialist medicines that Ayahuasca enables as a "master plant".
It's also not just the material you are using. The relationship you have with the Ayahuasca spirit will inflect and influence your own experience. Ask her about this next time you decide to try it at home again.
1) Do your research; don't go in there not knowing what you've signed up for. It can be incredibly transcendent and healing, but also quite possibly the hardest experience of your life. Difficult experiences make you stronger; this is the point. 2) For first timers -- and really anyone -- I would highly, highly recommend starting at a minimum of TWO nights. When going into the experience for the first time there's a lifetime of tangled psychology that the medicine loosens up, and there have been many people who go in for a single session unaware that the experience changes over multiple nights, end up disappointed or scared, and then leave and never touch it again. Night one untangles, leading into the second night and beyond which tends to get much, much deeper. 3) Read this book by Ralph Metzner, who has studied the subject extensively; it will give you a better idea of the pharmacology as well as the experience: https://www.amazon.com/Sacred-Spirits-Ralph-Metzner-Ph-D/dp/.... And lastly, 4) leave your expectations behind. I can only speak from personal experience, but the Aya seems to enjoy toying with those who expect certain things from her -- this ends up generally being a valuable lesson in humility, for better or for worse.
The day we try to standardize Ayahuasca dosages in order to create a map of causal effects ... that's the day we missed the point of this.
Every single time was difficult and challenging. Each one of them brought a theme that picked off where the last left off. What I worked on was a range of things: from physical ailments, to letting go of attachments and facing fears, to purging out BS in the mind, to spiritual ailments spanning across multiple lifetimes. I had to work through a lot of internal resistance. There were training in a variety of things at a variety of levels of being. It did not help that there was something within me that drove me to keep coming back, like I'm hurrying to make it. There was period where, by the next ceremony rolls around, I forgotten the initial suffering and I have fond memories of the peak. By the time I got to the most recent one I participated in, I could intuitively tell when I was going to work a lot.
My experiences are atypical and intense. I am sensitive to it, and it took a while to figure out where the right dosage was for me. Every person's experience and work is going to be unique to them, even if it might fall into broad, general patterns.
I'm currently on hiatus, and will probably be getting back into it... well, when the time is right again. In the meantime, I've been keeping up with my daily practices of meditation and sometimes chanting, getting into the darker spaces of my being, when necessary. If anything, my experiences in the ceremonies taught me to have courage to look. And although the hiatus was due to external circumstances, I'm training to access these visionary states without taking the medicine directly.
I participated in a Yagé ceremony -- locally, though led by a Columbian shaman and apprentice -- about a month ago on recommendation of my individual therapist. This was my first experience with psychedelics (or anything stronger than marajuana), and I went in with a set of expectations: powerful wakeful hallucinations, ego death, and a total emotional asskicking. (This latter expectation in particular is almost a manifestation of my own personal issues; ymmv.)
The description of the plant as having her own agenda and laughing at your plans is quite accurate; much as I tried to find a way to use the experience to reveal all of my own deep emotional flaws, I felt a presence just laughing and saying-without-saying to choose to love myself as an action, not just a concept and a feeling -- and to take the active step of choosing not to beat myself up so damn much, and all would be okay.
Also as written, this experience was deeply personal; for me to go into much greater description of my own interactions and experience would require you, dear reader, to both know and care about all of the issues that I carry. Suffice to say that if you were to try this, you would likely find your experience also to be both profound and incredibly difficult to communicate satisfactorily.
To follow on the description as personal: it was also incredibly isolating while _in situ_. You may be sitting with a dozen or with fifty people, but (aside from the sounds of retching and of guidance from the shaman, apprentice, and/or assistants) you are very much alone with whatever is going on inside of you.
* * *
For contrast, my wife had a less typical and more powerful experience with ayahuasca about ten years back while traveling in Peru. She and a friend participated in a ceremony in a much more intimate environment (just the two of them, a shaman, and a female bystander for safety) without as much of the physical preparation; they did it practically on a whim, so while my wife was fairly prepared emotionally and spiritually from her own work, she hadn't, say, avoided pork or alcohol for the week before. She downed two or three cups of the vile stuff over the course of their ceremony, to little obvious effect that evening. It was on the travel back out of the jungle that everything hit: the most intense projectile vomiting of her life to date, followed by extremely intense daytime hallucinations, and a strong sense of spiritual connectedness and openness that she carries to this day.
Having asked around, this significantly delayed and highly intense experience is very uncommon.
Finally, as a quick followup on the original article discussing the anthropomorphization of the leaf as grandmother/_abuela_ -- it's worth noting, for context, that frequent medicinal users, devotes, psychonauts, etc. refer also to peyote as grandfather/_abuelo_. I have no personal experience, but have been given to understand that peyote gives a very different but complimentary experience: communal and reassuring rather than individual and truth-revealing.
I suspect I will never try to try it given the above.
Some of my ideas:
Woo multiplies entities beyond necessity.
Woo uses imagery (goddesses, grandmotherss, spirits, 'energy') that we find aesthetically displeasing?
Woo has an anything goes feel to it (whatever is true for you...)
But perhaps we should look at our own woo before criticizing others too much for theirs, after all the world of business is full of it's own sort of woo (synergize our two platforms to leverage our cloud based infrastructure going forward...)
To me when someone speaks woo, it's a sign that the person may be on to something that can't yet be expressed.
This can happen to techies, for example during that interval when you feel that you have solved a problem you have been working on, but can't quite express it clearly yet.
But woo is so open ended, that this is only true for the best cases. Often it's just nonsense, but so are scientific abstracts and press releases sometimes.
Although, it seems to me that the burden of providing such literature is on you, not OP (no, erowid.com doesn't count).
let me ask you a question: is nothing true unless a credentialed academic writes a peer reviewed journal published paper about it?
DMT was banned ages ago.
We have consciousness. We see. We feel... but existence remains a mystery. No one on Earth can properly put into words what THIS is. It's unexplainable, at least to me. You can perhaps say "we are in the Milky Way" or "we are located in the Universe" or "we are existing" but these are just vague primitive monkey explanations.
Substances like DMT can shed light on these questions from a different vantage point.
Is it proof that there has to be a purpose behind them?
I forgot what the term is, but is this not like the fallacy of believing there must be a creator, because there is this wonderful planet for us to experience? But if we were not here to experience it, we would not know it was missing.
The very fact that poisons exist in the first place cannot be a coincidence.
The very fact that pointy sticks exist in the first place cannot be a coincidence.
The very fact that razor blades exist in the first place cannot be a coincidence.
That may be so, but that's no reason to ingest them.