Spritzophrenia

humour, music, life, sociology. friendly agnostic.

Posts Tagged ‘drugs’

How to Find God

Posted by spritzophrenia on August 30, 2010

Before setting out on a journey, it would be wise to decide how you will travel. Having a good map will help. I’d like to explain a little about my map.

If you’re going to find g0d, how will you know what she is like, and how will you know when you’ve found her? Broadly speaking, there is the way of the intellect and the way of experience. My method is twofold, I need both. I value truth, and I value connection.

By the way, that word “God”, has lots of baggage, so please substitute Brahman, spiritual reality, or another term if you prefer. In this post I’m not too particular about the nature of the goal I’m seeking. Reality, or Truth will do. I’ll use g0d.

Desert landscape

Experience without theory is blind, but theory without experience is mere intellectual play. ~ Kant

The intuitive mind is a sacred gift, and the rational mind is a faithful servant. We have created a society that honors the servant and has forgotten the gift. ~ Albert Einstein

I value the intuitive mind, or “experience”. I’ve been dipping into Carlos Castaneda’s Teachings of Don Juan, an ethnography of his time with a Yaqui shaman, taking peyote, datura and magic mushrooms. I like the idea of going into the desert, getting high, and meeting g0d. After all, I like deserts, and I like getting high. This seems like an experiential path that would be good for me. The problem is, how could I trust I was experiencing true Reality, rather than just curious experiences in my mind? Experience without reason could quickly lead me astray.

Most religions have a mystical element, a part that allows an experience of g0d. I’ve learned quite a lot about all kinds of approaches, and there is one thing I can guarantee— if you follow a spiritual path, you WILL have an experience. People all over the world, in significantly different faiths have had very trippy experiences. What I cannot guarantee is that your experience will be True. It’s quite possible that many mystical experiences, or even all of them, are false. Nice experiences, sure, but not experiences that actually connect with eternal Beauty. I think if the society of our time makes any mistake, it is this one.

Alternatively, it may be that I can discover “the g0d of the philosophers” through reason – science, philosophy, psychology, history, sociology… In brief, through the doorway of the mind. I’m not looking for proof. As I’ve written, we rarely get that kind of strong proof for most things in life. But I AM looking for reasonable evidence. Just because guru Mudinmipants says he experienced it does not mean it‘s true. (Do you think it would help to think about what “reasonable evidence” might be? I have a sense of it, but haven‘t written out explicit details.)

I ended up in this “mere intellectual” state the other day, saying to myself, “OK, so right now, intellectually, it looks like g0d might really be there. What now?” If there is good reason to think that g0d exists then it seems natural to try and make contact with this Reality. A dry assent that the Infinite exists, followed by life-as-usual, seems somehow flat.

Now, there are some assumptions I’ve made which you’ve probably spotted. Perhaps you think it doesn’t matter which path I take, all of them will lead me up the mountain? I think the evidence points away from this, but that’s for another time. It’s also possible that g0d is there, but we are not able to experience him. Mystical experiences on their own prove very little. These ideas are worth considering.

For me, I need both mind and heart. I hope that a path can be found which improves my life beyond mere intellectual satisfaction. And I cannot follow an experience that is not supported by reason.

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What about you? Are there any ways of finding Reality that I’ve missed?
I generally start with reason and end with experience. Should I try the other way around?
Are there problems you can see with my chosen method?

Respond

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A wonderful song that reminds me of what‘s important
Alan Parsons Project | Cant Take It With You

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Posted in agnostic, epistemology, God, god | Tagged: , , , , , , , , | 11 Comments »

Getting Off Your Face For Jesus

Posted by spritzophrenia on February 22, 2010

I wrote this about three years ago. A friend posted this Huxley quote, which has made me think a bit.

A similar conclusion will be reached by those whose philosophy is unduly “spiritual.” God, they will insist, is a spirit and is to be worshiped in spirit. Therefore an experience which is chemically conditioned cannot be an experience of the divine. But, one way or another, all our experiences are chemically conditioned, and if we imagine that some of them are purely “spiritual,” purely “intellectual,” purely “aesthetic,” it is merely because we have never troubled to investigate the internal chemical environment at the moment of their occurrence.

Mushroom Jesus

continued…

Furthermore, it is a matter of historical record that most contemplatives worked systematically to modify their body chemistry, with a view to creating the internal conditions favorable to spiritual insight. When they were not starving themselves into low blood sugar and a vitamin deficiency, or beating themselves into intoxication by histamine, adrenalin and decomposed protein, they were cultivating insomnia and praying for long periods in uncomfortable position in order to create the psycho-physical symptoms of stress. In the intervals they sang interminable psalms, thus increasing the amount of carbon dioxide in the lungs and blood stream, or, if they were Orientals, they did breathing exercises to accomplish the same purpose.

Today we know how to lower the efficiency of the cerebral reducing valve by direct chemical action, and without the risk of inflicting serious damage on the psychophysical organism. … Knowing as he does (or at least as he can know, if he so desires) what are the chemical conditions of transcendental experience, the aspiring mystic should turn for technical help to the specialists-in pharmacology, in biochemistry, in physiology and neurology. And on their part, of course, the specialists (if any of them aspire to be genuine men of science and complete human beings) should turn, out of their respective pigeonholes, to the artist, the sibyl, the visionary, the mystic-all those, in a word who have had experience of the Other World and who know … what to do with the experience.

– Aldous Huxley ‘Heaven and Hell’

I am not at present sure if we have a spirit as such or where it interacts, but I agree with my friend that we are much more physical than many believe. It’s been one of my hobbyhorses for years that, if one accepts Y’shuan theology, Jesus was physically resurrected, now has some kind of body, and there will be a new earth in teh world to come.

I have only recently realised i am, by my practice, a supporter of drug-induced happy states. I must be, I drink alcohol, which is a drug. I also take caffeine, another drug, rather more than i used to. My alcohol use is sometimes with the intention of getting tipsy. (I stay away from getting really plastered, but it’s a slippery slope definition.) Which is not to say i therefore support ALL drug states.

I haven’t ever had what i consider a spiritual experience while drunk. And I am still of the opinion that drug experiences aren’t spiritual, although will ponder Huxley’s point that all our experiences are chemical-physical ones in the brain. Two of the practicing neopagans i know are adamant that drug experiences are not spiritual experiences, and i’ve already quoted a buddhist monk saying the same thing.

I am wondering if drugs could be a gateway to the spirit, but we are not equipped to handle them in a discerning way, much like we are not equipped to handle encounters with other spirits well, if they exist. (See http://www.christian-thinktank.com/sh6end.html and http://www.christian-thinktank.com/eyesopen.html for what i think are insightful discussions of this topic)

What do you think?
See also my Buddha and Drugs.

Posted in agnostic, personal development, spirituality | Tagged: , | 12 Comments »

Buddha and Drugs

Posted by spritzophrenia on December 22, 2009

The Fifth Precept: ‘I undertake the rule of training to refrain from distillled and fermented intoxicants producing heedlessness’. (1)

… All the [first] four precepts depend for their purity, upon constant vigilance and if the mind is overcome by intoxicants, then what harm may not result?

(footnote 1) It is significant that all substances producing a distortion of normal human experience find a place under the Fifth Precept. In India, both ancient and modern, the use of drugs to stimulate ‘religious’ experiences including visual and auditory hallucinations, has been and is very well known and quite widely practised. The ‘insights’ claimed by some who in the present day take mescalin, etc, should be tested against the difference which these experiences make to the forces of greed, aversion and delusion in their hearts and conduct. Particulartly if it is claimed that these drugs offer a kind of shortcut to Enlightenment, whether called vipassana or satori, then it must be stressed that no real shortcut of this sort is possible and such experience cannot replace effort spread over years or even over lives.

From Buddhism Explained by Bhikkhu Khantipalo (Buddha Educational Foundation, Singapore, circa 1973) Old technology, a book that I cannot link to on the net! I must borrow this back from my friend David sometime.

In this post I return to the subject of spirituality and drugs. Also see my proposed list of topics for 2010. [Edit: Now woefully out of date]

What do you think? Do psychoactive drugs help bring us closer to g0d/enlightenment? According to this monk, Buddha says no, mmkay? Just say no.


listening to
Kate Bush | The man with the child in his eyes

Posted in Buddhism, spirituality | Tagged: , , , , , , | 7 Comments »