In Response to somebody's experience of being God facilitated by a Psychedelic
On 14th July 2008, James W. from New Zealand wrote:
indeed the rave scene will be at the forefront of this 'spiritual revolution', but only because of it's strong association with drugs, and with that - an increase in spiritual experiences :D . In my opinion, you can read about the concept all you like, but unless one has experienced it for themselves they will never fully 'get' it. and i guess this is where modern religion failed (or succeeded, depending on who you are). it's all well and good to give a bunch of bibles out, but most people will only retain the words, not the metaphorical meanings or message underneath. As words can be interpreted in many different ways, people can manipulate the message to their own advantage, and then you know what happens :P
well here’s my experience, it was about 3 months ago
It was the start of a 2 week school holiday. My general situation was how you say – shit. My family had taken out a second mortgage to buy a takeaway 5 months ago in the hopes of making a comfortable living, however the area never attracted enough customers and we were losing quite a bit $$ each week. Of course, we couldn’t hire any staff so I had to work there 5-9 weekdays and sometimes more on weekends. The only way I could go through the day was with a nice amount of opiates in me in the form of poppy seed tea. But after a few weeks tolerance becomes an issue, and by now I had to use 3x my original amount just to stave off the withdrawals. Even though seeds are relatively cheap, when using 1kg+ a day my weekly $50 wage just didn’t cut it. After a few unsuccessful attempts to quit using an OTC methadone-esque type program I devised, I realized I didn’t use the opiates just to dull physical pain, but also to smother my hidden emotional issues. Twas quite a dark period for me – suicide seemed like a good idea, and I would’ve tried if benzos and strong opiates were more accessible. After stumbling upon a post on a drug forum I visit (bluelight, u may be interested in their philosophy/spirituality section, quite a few interesting people there ) regarding ego-death and how it basically changed this dude’s life, I became intrigued and started reading on the about the ego, psychology, freud/jung’s work etc. During this period I also read greatly in philosophy and spirituality. What I found out from my studies was that a lot of the original religious texts (both east and west) seemed to have things in common – like the use of paradox/opposites etc. Also, a high-dose psychedelic experience (forgetting who you are ie ego death/loss) pretty much mimicked a natural near-death-experience. Anyway, I drew out 2 texts from this learning period which I used to prepare me for my ego-loss attempt : The Psychedelic Experience by Timothy Leary, and the Chinese classic Tao Te Ching. The one piece of advice these 2 texts gave me was to just let go – don’t be afraid – and just be.
At about 11pm everyone in the house decided to go to bed. I discovered I had 224 morning glory seeds left and thought I should put all my knowledge into practice. I didn’t really think much would happen as 224 seeds was quite a low-med dose and would usually only get me moderately tripping, but thought I should practice the techniques from Leary’s book in an appropriate mindset. So ingested the seeds and waited for them to kick in (30mins). As I started to peak I climbed into bed and started to hallucinate quite nicely. But I remembered the advice from the texts to not pay attention to them – as they were merely illusions. i remembered seeing some nice/friendly images, followed by scary/horrific ones, and then good ones again etc (heaven + hell lol?). Usually I would be very engrossed in this sensory experience, but this time I viewed them from an observer’s point of view and didn’t see them as good or bad (which also stopped me from having a bad trip). My memory starts failing me from this point onwards, but sometime during the experience I felt this incredible energy in my head, it was like I had an electrical storm circling round and round inside, faster and faster – until boom. It felt like I had dissolved into the universe, i was no longer me, i was nothing - but because i was nothing i was everything? haha it's quite hard to describe. Then next thing I know my eyes start opening and I see light, it was 7am the next morning and I couldn’t believe what just happened. I checked to see if I was still alive and started crying tears of joy, it was an incredible feeling – like being reborn. My previous depressive moods and anxieties were all gone, and I finally felt at peace. I continued the day like normal, but this time with a smile on and an incredible feeling of empathy towards everyone/thing. It felt GREAT to just be alive! Also, my opiate addiction had disappeared off the face of the earth! I didn’t have any withdrawal symptoms nor any cravings! (and still hasn’t come back, I still use a variety of substances on occasion, but not in the escapist sense)
However, that wasn’t all. It seems I had obtained some strange abilities which were extremely prominent at the start but most of them eventually faded away after about 1 week
- I could “read” people, it’s hard to explain but I could tell if someone was happy/depressed/good/bad just by looking at them – it was like some sort of aura surrounded everyone. This extended to their
-talked in paradox,metaphor etc. I wrote down more poetry in an hour than I have in my entire life (I used to hate it, could never get the meanings etc) also talked/wrote A LOT, like my friend would ask me a simple question on MSN and it would turn into a 30min conversation into the nature of the subject.
-basically most of the ‘symptoms’ for mania
In addition, our crappy takeaway which we had on the market for a while with no success was finally sold, was almost too good to be true.
From Thursday through to Sunday, I felt great. Then on Monday school started, I felt a compulsive urge to tell my peers about what I had realized, and how that reality is entirely subjective, we are all god etc etc. However, most of the kids thought I was insane because I was on tripping or something (unfortunately I have a bit of a reputation as being a druggy at this school). They didn’t really say it but I could “feel” it. Only 2 of my friends took what I said seriously, and people started to avoid me. Needless to say, I came home distraught and isolated. But I re-read the tao and regained myself.
I decided that like everything in nature, I need to adapt. It was obvious taking the preacher route would lead to me being placed in people’s “loony” list, and everything I said automatically disregarded, not to mention the possibility of being admitted to an mental hospital/loaded up on antipsychotics. Thus, I decided to take a more subtle approach – integrating the things I learned into everyday life. For example, if someone was unhappy I would give them a different way of looking at the situation, in order show them there’s nothing to be upset about (usually money, girlfriend, social anxiety etc).
This approach works quite nicely for me in my current situation, maybe later when I become independent etc shall I try to show the blunt truth again. I do need to appease my parents educational expectations (and that’s not going to happen if I end up in a psych ward) as well as enjoy the last few years of my teenage life - you must admit, getting trollied at parties etc is an enjoyable and timeless activity :)
heh, this is the first time i've fully written my experience down (have thought about it, but never bothered finishing any attempts). thanks for providing the motivation :) Last thing, hope you dont mind me asking - how did your parents/family respond to this?
Thanks for your detailed reply. I certainly read it with some interest. Yes, there are many parallels in our lives. Only I had my hardcore druggy phase a little later in life in my early to mid 20s. Also the Chinese fast food experience is an integral part of my childhood. I can definitely sense from your writing style and way of putting things that you are probably quite similar to me when I was your age in how your mind works and also attitude.
In reply to your first point. It is definitely true that words will never do the full blown mystical experience complete justice. Words will always have their limitations. At the same time, words can be used to show people that valid mystical experiences exist in the first place and set them on the journey. The problem today is not only that people don't know the way to God, it's really that people don't even know that it exists. In the modern world view, transcendent experiences are mere illusions, whereas we know it's the other way round. It is the transcendent that is real, indeed hyper-real, that the material that is illusory and that it is the 'normal' way of looking at things that is delusion. I guess words are useful in this regard in order to persuade people that there different ways of looking at things.
Also even for people who have had full blown mystical experiences, words and concepts are helpful for reminding people of the truth and for keeping people connected. After all, psychologists tell us that much brain activity during waking and even in sleep, involves us talking to ourselves in an inner dialogue. This inner dialogue, expressed in words, can sometimes take us away from the truth or else make it less accessible. That's why it's important to have the proper concepts and words which capture something of the essence of the divine truth of our real identity and also which allow us to interpret all the other words and concepts that go on in our heads, in a way that points towards the sacred instead of away from it.
Words on their own will always be limited and subject to misinterpretation and deliberate manipulation. The process of getting any kind of message out is to create structures and/or safe guards that protect against interference and distortion. It involves debate, persuasion, organization and struggle generally. I'm glad I do the public speaking, the spoken word adds another dimension to the mere written word, powerful though that can be on its own. I guess the best thing is a combination of words, direct experience, symbolism and conceptualization, ritual and more formal spiritual practices, i.e. meditation, yoga, tantra etc.etc. Anyway I going off on a tangent. :)
Onto your experience. It seems tp me that the combination of factors surrounding the experience probably contributed to the final outcome. Psychedelic writers talk about the importance of 'set and setting', which I take to mean inner and outer environment, as important factors in determining the effects of psychedelic substances. Some of the most powerful drug induced experiences I've had happened during times of my life where my head was in a totally different place already, really indifferent, non attached and not caring about anything or anybody including myself. Sometimes this would be during or immediately following a major depressive episode. And also mystical experiences either borderline of full on, facilitated by psychoactives or not, have often happened during times when my body is in some trauma, either through sickness or extreme tiredness, coldness etc. I also noticed from my own experience or hearing about other people's that full blown mystical experiences seem to happen often when people are out of their normal context, in social isolation, in another country or perhaps other environment that is far removed from their normal habitat.
I'm in two minds about the use of psychedelic drugs. Of course they are powerful and sometimes instructive. They can also be quite dangerous and destructive. I saw first hand some of the more damaging effects. A close friend who died as a result, people I saw literally lose their minds and become incurably schizophrenic and less extreme cases of people not realizing their potential or anything much and becoming trapped in a hopeless perpetual psychedelic rut.
So I would neither like to encourage their use nor say that people shouldn't use them. I guess a certain type of character will gravitate towards these sorts of thing no matter what. Characters like you and me I suppose. :) Anyway, these days the strongest psycho actives I take are caffeine and chocholate and even then I'm careful and regulate things closely. Jogging, meditation, public speaking and deity yoga is my path to God, i.e. my true self. It's harder to obtain peak experiences when you're in a relationship and doing a full time job I find. I guess the trick is to create the conditions around you that allow and faciliate the attainment and maintainence of full on and borderline mystical states of mind. To create divine life style and a sacred environment in which to bring about the experience of being God, not just to yourself but to those around you.
I think psychedelic drugs can be best understood using an analogy. I believe that Psychedelic spirituality is something along the same lines as Heroin happiness. Nobody would say heroin happiness is true happiness though of course it feels very very happy to be on heroin. Likewise psychedelic spirituality and drug induced states of being one with God can never be understood as true enlightenment, while at the same time the actual experience itself is unmistakably GOD. The trouble with psychedelic spirituality is the same trouble with heroin happiness. It wears off when the drug wears off, and then the state that you find yourself in is neither divine nor very happy. Carrying on the analogy, in the same way that there are ways of achieving a state of sustained happiness and well being, so there are methods of achieving sustained states of connectedness with God. And ways of not just being God to yourself, but also God to those around you and inspire the God that is in them at the same time.This is what the mythic, mystical and spiritual quest is all about. But there is no doubt that in first giving people a glimpse, even if brief, of the ultimate prize then this can start the quest in the first place.
I could ramble on about this stuff for pages and pages.
I remember when I was experimenting a lot years ago, I used to have a friend and we'd try things out together. Sometimes we did things that we're risky or else did not so risky things but in risky combinations. The idea was that if something went wrong then there would be someone around to call an ambulance. A few years down the line my friend would be found dead alone in some seedy flat in North London. A lot of stuff was found in his system, but the cause of death was a heart attack probably induced by an alcohol and cocaine synergy, I believe from what I've read it's not a totally uncommon cause of death. Anyway, the moral of the story I suppose is to be careful, understand there are always limits and to try to live to tell the tale.
What do my Parents and Family think about what I do. They know about my public speaking and website, my Mother and Father don't really understand it, they just know it's something to do with religion and God. My two older Brothers actually quite respect what I do, these days. They've both lead very respectable middle class lives but can appreciate that I'm keeping busy and following my calling. I was always the deviant one so the sort of message I'm promoting is the kind of thing they'd expect of me. I think they're all glad I'm doing a steady job and am in a steady relationship. One of my Sister in laws who for a long time really considered me as a total aberration, recently over the past few years got into yoga heavily and is now an instructor. Maybe one day she'll invite me to her class to tell her pupils the truth and purpose behind yoga. :)
Anyway, keep in touch and let us know how you're getting on. I'll come to New Zealand one day and maybe you'll make your way over to London in the not too distant future. We'll have a chat.
Kindest regards Wai