We cannot solve our problems with the same thinking we used when we created them. – Albert Einstein
When people are killing themselves in such high numbers that catch nets are being set up outside apartment buildings, we can no longer ignore the fact that there is something deeply wrong with our society.
So Where Do We Go From Here?
Do we maintain complacency, and continue down the same road that leads to our imminent demise? Or do we summon faith and take a courageous step down a new path? Do we choose fear… or love?
Love is the most powerful force in The Universe. It is the path we walk when operating from our True Self. However, the ability to operate from that level of Self depends on the acknowledgment of that Self… and we have forgotten.
We chalk ourselves up to brains encased in bags of bones, and damn our existence to this three-dimensional reality. We work jobs we hate from Monday to Friday, get drunk to forget on Saturday, then try to recover on Sunday, so we can repeat the process on Monday. We ignore the opportunity to connect with others as we scour our phones in search of connection. We continue to rape and pillage our planet, and her survival hangs by a thread. We have all the greatest comforts and luxuries in life, yet we no longer understand what it really means to be alive.
My friends, the time has come to take that step down a new path.
A New Way of Perceiving The World
I believe that psychedelics are the key to restoring equilibrium within ourselves and this planet. They have the power to teach, heal, and reconnect us with our True Selves. They allow us to see beyond the illusion of separateness, where there is but one God, one Love, and one Truth. Psychedelics show us realities beyond these three dimensions, and they are here to help us.
Moving Beyond Judgment
What we do not understand we shall inevitably fear.
How can we expect to understand psychedelics if they are not even acceptable dinner table conversation? In order to understand anything, we need open, honest channels of communication that are free from bias and judgment. Before we can put psychedelics back on the table, we need to address our bias towards them.
So, let me ask you: do you do drugs?
If you said yes, we can move on. However, if you said no, we have some clarifications to make.
If you drink coffee, smoke cigarettes, consume alcohol, or take any medications, prescription or over-the-counter, the answer is yes, you do drugs. The reason we don’t think of these substances as drugs is because of our conditioning. They are legal, so there is no social stigma around these drugs, and their use is not only accepted in our culture, it is encouraged. However, when we learn that the overdose rate from over-the-counter medications alone trumps that of all psychedelics, our conditioning begins to unravel.
Just because something is legal, does not mean it is safe. Just because something is illegal, does not mean it is unsafe.
So, What Exactly Are Psychedelics?
Psychedelics are ego-dissolving substances that allow us to see beyond the illusion of separateness and conditioned and time-bound reality. They allow us to experience altered states of consciousness in which our true nature, that which is Pure Spirit, and the Source of All Creation, is revealed. Psychedelics show us that this life is but one option in an infinite sea of realities.
The history of psychedelic use dates back thousands of years. I believe that humans have been using psychedelics ever since they first came upon them in the wild. Many cultures around the world still regard these substances as medicines. It is primarily in first-world countries, where we lack cultural roots, that there is a disconnect between society and psychedelic use.
In Mexico, psilocybin mushrooms are consumed to heal wounds, cure addiction, and strengthen the connection to God. Native Americans consume the sacred peyote cactus, and South Americans drink ayahuasca brews. These cultures show ultimate respect for these substances, regard them as teachers, and rely on them for guidance.
A Modern Application
Western use of psychedelics became popular in the 1950’s. At that time, scientists started researching the benefits of these substances, and the roles they could play in medicine. In these government-funded studies, the main psychedelics tested were LSD (acid), MDMA (ecstasy), psilocybin (magic mushrooms), and DMT (the psychoactive compound in ayahuasca). Not only did the studies show that these substances carried enormous potential to effectively treat issues such as depression, PTSD, addiction, and anxiety, they allowed the user to experience something “beyond themselves.”
The subjects, for a brief period, could step out of their egos and hold an objective view on reality. They were able to emotionally detach from their problems, which gave them new insight into their patterns of behaviour and allowed them to move past their traumas. No drugs or treatments had ever shown such promise. Clinicians were ecstatic. All was looking up. And then…
“America’s public enemy number one is drug abuse.” Richard Nixon’s famous words ended it all in 1971.
The War On Drugs
Civil rights, women’s lib, gay rights, the anti-Vietnam war movement, and environmentalism – the social movements of the 60’s were all causes fueled by the freeing power of psychedelics. The government was terrified of a societal uprising, and they responded with panic-stricken legislature.
Enter: The Controlled Substances Act and the drug schedules – the classification system that put a screeching halt to the positive trajectory of psychedelic research.
Drugs became classified into five distinct categories, depending upon the drug’s accepted medical use and its potential for abuse. Substances in level one were said to have no known medical benefits and posed the highest risk for abuse. Virtually all psychedelics were thrown into this category, including LSD, MDMA, mescaline, and psilocybin.
Drugs placed further down the schedules were said to have more therapeutic applications with less potential for abuse. To put this into perspective, marijuana is a schedule one drug. Cocaine is a schedule two.
If we do not understand the differences between drugs, we can assume that a person could be just as likely to end up on the streets from an addiction to psychedelics as they could from opioids. The fact is, very few psychedelics pose the risk for abuse. Sadly, the same cannot be said for most of the legal drugs in our society: alcohol, tobacco, caffeine, and prescription pills.
We have spent billions of dollars fighting the war on drugs. We built more prisons so we could shove users and dealers in cells alongside rapists and murderers, and we increased law enforcement to patrol the streets in armies. A 2008 study published by Harvard economist Jeffrey A. Miron revealed that by legalizing drugs, the US alone could save approximately $41.3 billion dollars per year in incarceration and enforcement costs.
Increasing Hostility in an Unregulated Black Market
Though we have paid through the nose to fund the war on drugs, we have paid infinitely more in blood. Death and violence are stark realities in illegal markets. There is next to no information available on the safe use of these drugs. What little information we do have is meaningless, because there is no way to regulate the production of prohibited substances. This means that a standard hit of acid, which should contain around one-hundred micrograms of LSD, can actually contain four or five times that amount. We endanger our lives, and the lives of our youth, by playing Russian roulette in an unregulated black market. The only way to ensure safer use of psychedelics is to legalize them, regulate their production, and provide public education, just as we do for alcohol and tobacco.
The Fed’s Sugar Daddy
Were it solely up to policy makers to reorganize the drug schedules, they may have already done so. But there are more powerful players in this game. Who has more power than government, you ask? The ones with more money. And who has the most money? Why, our good ol’ pals Big Pharma, of course!
The lobbying power behind pharmaceutical companies is infinite. If they wanted psychedelics legalized, it would have happened decades ago. But Big Pharma has no interest in this process. Why? Because psychedelics are off patent. This means that the formulas to reproduce them are public information. Anyone can do it. However, the bigger reason pharmaceutical companies maintain their stance on prohibition, is they know that psychedelics, with their power to heal and cure addiction, will put them out of business.
In our current society, when we are sick, we take Big Pharma’s drugs. Those drugs treat the symptoms of our problems, but do not heal the causes. Once the symptoms are masked we start to feel better, which makes us think we no longer need the drugs. So we stop taking them. But the symptoms return, usually worse than before we started taking the drugs. So we hop back on the pill train, only now we need larger amounts of the drug to feel any improvement. All the while, the true sources of our ailments run rampant in our bodies. We are slapping band-aids on bullet wounds, and we are bleeding out.
Thankfully, it’s not too late.
Born to Be Free
As children, we are mentally and physically pliable. We can put our legs behind our heads and accept any ideas proposed to us as truth. However, the older we get, the more rigid we become in body and mind. We adhere to a strict set of beliefs about ourselves and the world. These beliefs, which are drilled into us by older generations, govern the way we live. We become so stuck in these toxic patterns of thought and behaviour that we cannot even fathom there could be an entirely different way to view life.
Psychedelics provide a reset button to escape these toxic patterns. They have been called “messenger molecules” because they work like neurotransmitters and create vast volumes of new neural pathways in our brains. They also decrease activity in regulatory control centres of the brain that, under normal consciousness, filter out most of the information we receive from our environment. Gaining this access to unlimited information allows us to see that everything in The Universe is connected. There is no dividing line. We are all One. This “lifting of the veil”, coupled with these new neural pathways are what allow us to form new belief systems about ourselves, the world, and our place in it.
The Danger of Divisive Language: The “Good”, The “Bad”, & The Ugly
For there is nothing either good or bad, but thinking makes it so. – William Shakespeare
I hesitate to label any one experience, psychedelic or otherwise, as ‘good’ or ‘bad’, as these are divisive words. Anything ‘good’ cannot simultaneously be ‘bad’, and anything ‘bad’ cannot simultaneously be ‘good’. It is only through our subjective perspective that we are able to define good and bad anyway. What might be ‘good’ for me may be entirely ‘bad’ for you.
If we do not face our fears, they will forever remain trapped within us, and we will be unable to heal. Psychedelics initiate healing by bringing us face-to-face with our fears. Therefore, some of the most cathartic psychedelic experiences may not feel ‘good’ in the moment. These experiences get typecast as the ‘bad’ trips, but they are the ones from which we stand to gain the most insight into ourselves.
Let Go of Resistance, and Simply Allow
In order to gain the healing benefits from a psychedelic journey, it is important that you allow whatever comes up during the experience to happen. If you feel like you need to vomit, vomit. If you feel like you are being pulled into a dark vortex, allow yourself to be pulled. If you feel like you need to call your mom and tell her you are sorry and that you love her, do it. When we surrender to these moments of guidance, we ride the impetus for positive growth and change.
Laying the Foundation: The Set & Setting
Set and setting are two of the most important factors of the psychedelic experience. The ‘set’ refers to your mindset. What is your current state of mind going into the experience? If you are trying to escape your problems, you will likely experience resistance when your reality is mirrored back at you. However, if your mind is in a healthy state and you are open to whatever comes, you will almost certainly have a profoundly positive experience.
The setting is the environment in which you take your journey and those who surround you. The sounds you hear, the smells you smell, the sights you see, the things you feel, the flavours you taste – all of these contribute to the quality of your psychedelic experience, and none of them should be overlooked.
If you take a handful of mushrooms at a house party where you don’t know anybody, you will have a dramatically different experience than if you take them on a mountain top with your best friend.
You Get What You Expect
Another key component of the psychedelic experience, and of life general, is intention. What do you want to happen? What do you expect will happen? If you think you are about to have the most amazing experience of your life, you probably will. But if you are plagued with anxiety and worried about what you might say or how you might look to other people, your experience will reflect that. Always take time to set your intention. If you want to have a ‘good’ experience, intend it. If you are not in a supportive environment in which someone can help you during challenging moments, perhaps wait until you are before diving into eternity.
A Word of Caution
Most fears surrounding psychedelics are negative propaganda perpetuated by the media, but there are things to be aware of. Because psychedelics can bring traumas to the surface, if someone has a predisposition to a psychological condition such as schizophrenia, revisiting those traumas can trigger the on-set of that condition. There have been cases of people who retract into permanent states of psychosis through the use of these substances. These instances are incredibly rare, and psychedelics are only one of many triggers that can cause the onset of such a condition.
Are We Just Trading Addictions?
Johns Hopkins, NYU, and other American universities reopened the door for psychedelic research in the 1990’s. Studies are finding once again that not only do psychedelics show very little potential for abuse, they can help us overcome addiction to other substances such as alcohol, cigarettes, and heroin.
While the evidence is inspiring, we need to remember that humans can become addicted to anything in life. We cannot blame the substances when we are the ones who misuse them. The best way to mitigate the risk of addiction is to be aware of our intention as the user, be provided with adequate information, and strive for balance. As my mother always says, “everything in moderation.”
Out of Freud’s Chair & Onto the Dance Floor
Some people believe that psychedelic use should be limited to therapy settings under the supervision of trained specialists. I believe that to limit their application is to misunderstand their purpose. Psychedelics are not only designed to heal sickness, but to maintain wellness. They remind us of the intrinsic beauty in everything, and they reconnect us with nature.
Therefore, I feel that one of the most important applications of psychedelics is in nature itself. Walking through the forest on psilocybin mushrooms, where you can see the trees breathing and feel the connection of life all around you, reminds you that Mother Earth is alive. She loves and cares for us deeply, and all she asks is that we care for her in return. I believe we can restore our respect for the planet and ultimately heal it by spending more time on psychedelics in nature.
We have come forth in these bodies with these senses to take in all the pleasures of the world. With psychedelics, we can see hues we have never witnessed, shapes we didn’t know existed, and beauty beyond anything we have ever experienced. That is why I believe another one of the most important applications for psychedelic use is in rave and music culture. The lights, artwork, costumes, music, and open hearts that surround you greatly enhance the psychedelic experience. In these moments, everyone is orchestrated by the same symphony, and dance rhythms harmonize into one ecstatic movement. It is the most beautiful example of human interconnectedness I have ever witnessed.
The Teacher Awaits
It requires a great amount of trust in oneself and The Universe to use psychedelics such as DMT, whereby upon total break-through you temporarily lose all connection to your body and this reality. However, there are countless lessons to be learned from The Guides once we cross over into other dimensions. This is where intention is especially important. If you desire to know something, you may ask The Guides to provide you with the answer. They know whether intention is pure or not, and though they may not always show you what you want, they always give you exactly what you need.
If you go in with the intention of “seeing some trippy shit,” you will likely be obliged. If, however, you desire to go deeper, and ask to understand the source of pain and suffering, be prepared to witness some astonishing, potentially disturbing things. Just remember, in order to appreciate the light, we must first bare witness to the dark.
Trading Legal Code For Moral Code
Written law is a modern invention. Before legal code, humans governed themselves by the laws of nature. We acted on instinct, not out of fear of being locked in a cage. If we propagate the condition that society can only maintain order by adhering to a strict set of written rules, we undermine our inherent code of law – our Intuition.
Intuition, commonly referred to as our ‘sixth sense’ or ‘gut feeling’, is the part of our Being that knows the answer to everything, without needing evidence, because it is connected to everything in The Universe.
In our society, the feminine whisper of Intuition has long since been drowned out by the masculine bellow of the intellect. We can reverse so much of the damage we have caused in this world by harnessing the power of our Divine Feminine Intuition.
Psychedelics take us out of an egoistic ‘thinking’ state and put us back into an intuitive ‘being’ state. Centred in the present moment, this state of ‘being’ allows us to make decisions based on what feels right. When we do what feels right, our hearts burst open and our Intuition becomes activated. When we are guided by Intuition, we find love, balance, and healing. We are also able to see through the holes in our current legal system.
The psycho-active molecules in psychedelics connect to receptors in our brains and produce altered states of consciousness, which means we are hard-wired for psychedelic experience. It is as vital a part of the human condition as eating or making love. Just as we are free to explore the external world around us, we need to be free to explore the infinite Divinity that lies within us, especially if we, as a species, are to survive.
It Starts and Ends With Gratitude
I am grateful for the paradigm shift in legislature initiated by the Canadian government through the legalization of cannabis. I am grateful for the scientific community who are working hard to recover and build upon the research that was lost during the war on drugs. I am grateful for the clandestine chemists and growers who are not deterred by unjust laws and who do what they know is right. I am grateful for all of you who share my burning desire to effect positive change on this planet, and who have read this article with open minds and hearts. And lastly, I am grateful for B, my partner and fellow explorer of the mind. Together we have built the foundation from which we can sail into the depths of the cosmos and return to end the night in each other’s loving arms.
This life is but a dream, and to chase security in dreams is a fruitless search. The only true security is that of transcendence, and I have never come to know a truer definition of the word ‘home’ than by transcending this reality through psychedelics, and dissolving back into the Eternal Cosmic Soup from whence I came.
Until next time,
All my love,
Always and forever,
Recommended publications: Academic Publications by Johns Hopkins Psychedelic Research Unit
Recommended literature: Mycelium Running by Paul Stamets, The Psilocybin Solution by Simon G. Powell, The Four Agreements by Don Miguel Ruiz (not on psychedelics but an amazing book on shedding false beliefs), Articulations: on the Utilization and Meanings of Psychedelics by Julian Palmer, Pihkal and Tihkal by Ann & Alexander Shulgin.
A few of the most prominent figures in my psychedelic education, to whom I am extremely grateful for their work and discoveries: Ann & Alexander Shulgin, Paul Stamets, Dr. Roland Griffiths, Albert Hofmann, Terence & Dennis McKenna, Aldous Huxley, Julian Palmer, and Hamilton Morris.