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Opinion on "Mind-Altering Substances"?

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Recently, one of my buddies has discovered the joys of drugs, it would seem. Specifically, he has starting experimenting with something called DMT/Ayahuasca. He continuously pesters me to try it, saying how "mind-opening" it is, how it has given him new perspectives, etc etc, all your typical drug-user claims. It's actually becoming quite annoying, but he's very persistent about it.

 

It has actually gotten me to thinking, though, about what a typical Taoist/Buddhist perspective on using such mind-altering substances would be, as I don't really know if there is one specifically. Personally, I'm rather anti-substance use to begin with, though I also feel that one shouldn't have to use substances to open your mind (rather, I'd think it could ultimately result with negative effects on this level). In any case, I was just curious if anyone else had any input on this topic, I just want to see if there is a general consensus for or against it, if there is one at all.

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I think there are lots of posts similar to this already. My thoughts are, yes drugs can open your mind very quickly to everything but this is completely different to spiritual development through meditation. Spiritual development is not a microwave pizza, it takes years for all round understanding of the forces at play in everyday life. Similar to the saying, you pay peanuts, you get monkeys....

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Drugs are no good for cultivation (apart from very careful rituals for prepared adepts under a proper lineage, perhaps).

 

They open the mind to a different kind of perception, but different doesn't mean clearer. It's an unreliable hodgepodge of nonsense from the subconscious, like in dreams or when any channeler who hasn't seriously properly cultivated for years goes into a trance and starts talking about everyone ascending in 2012.

 

There will be some tidbits from the great processing power of the subconscious - presented as symbols, so you can't even be sure of interpreting them right. And these kinds of insights will generally be about things in your own life/psyche, not liberating realisations - unless you have a lucky epiphany, which is so extremely unlikely that you shouldn't take a drug with any hope of that.

 

The vast majority of it will be subconscious bullshit swirling about, like rehashes of episodes of Bananas in Pyjamas you saw as a little kid or random swirling lights you'll want to try to interpret.

 

And there is of course a serious risk of addiction, and any addiction majorly weakens the will, unsteadies and fogs the mind.

 

The only plus about taking drugs in cultivation is that when some people have weird experiences they get into cultivation.

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Recently, one of my buddies has discovered the joys of drugs, it would seem. Specifically, he has starting experimenting with something called DMT/Ayahuasca. He continuously pesters me to try it, saying how "mind-opening" it is, how it has given him new perspectives, etc etc, all your typical drug-user claims. It's actually becoming quite annoying, but he's very persistent about it.

 

It has actually gotten me to thinking, though, about what a typical Taoist/Buddhist perspective on using such mind-altering substances would be, as I don't really know if there is one specifically. Personally, I'm rather anti-substance use to begin with, though I also feel that one shouldn't have to use substances to open your mind (rather, I'd think it could ultimately result with negative effects on this level). In any case, I was just curious if anyone else had any input on this topic, I just want to see if there is a general consensus for or against it, if there is one at all.

I have heard many Taoists, Buddhists (even teachers!) and some innovative, successful business people that have all cited psychedelics as extremely important for starting them off on their spiritual journeys. I too agree I probably wouldn't be where I am if I didn't hit the weed. I grew up in a very conservative town so escaping with a joint and listening to bands that planted seeds of spirituality certainly got me interested in exploration!

 

HOWEVER, I'm now in a place where I'm working on cutting it out of my life altogether. That's not so easy when you have regular friendship groups etc etc. You're talking about a friend introducing you to it and I would say to that no...because habits form easily...

 

Beware your thoughts, they become your words. Beware your words, they become your actions. Beware your actions, they become your habits ... to paraphrase the saying.

 

You are already on your way, so you have no need for drugs.

 

I like that pizza analogy a lot! With drugs, you will get a meal that is loosely correct and very instant. But your meditation and clean living will be your freshly cooked, authentic, homemade recipe.

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As someone who has some knowledge with Ayahausca specifically as a friend of mine is an Ayahuasca medicine man, I would say that the Ayahuasca experience offers the possibility for valuable spiritual insight if certain conditions are met.

 

You have been physically, mentally and spiritually prepared.

This includes a long period of detox where certain foods are not eaten.

You remain celibate and retain, yes just like its described in these forums for a month prior to ingestion.

You have the experience only as part of a legitimate Native American community which has been vetted by their peers.

You find a medicine man that is legitimate and has been vetted by the elders of the tribe and they have accepted that you are ready to even begin the process of purification to go through the experience.

 

This is just the beginning and there are other pre-requisites and rituals involved and this is just for ONE experience.

 

Ayahuasca is no joke and I would reserve judgement on making comments about its use unless you have a very thorough knowledge of its history and practice. Is it spiritual cultivation? It is a form of it within its its tradition but it certainly not in the the way we refer to cultivation here. Any medicine man in the tradition would admit as much.

 

I personally have not tried Ayahuasca but since my close friend became an apprentice and is now a proper medicine man I feel I have some info on this topic. He has stayed with me many times on his way to a ceremony and we have discussed this issue from various angles. I have personally housed many of the adherents who were either on their way to a ceremony or who were returning from a ceremony. It is a long affair that usually lasts a few days at least and sometimes a couple weeks.

 

He did personally ask me if I would be interested in going through the rituals to undertake the experience but I had found my path via meditation years before he asked and I was certain that I had found the path for me. I have zero need for it as I feel that I am moving in the right direction even with all the attendant confusions and obstacles that are part and parcel of cultivation.

 

As for the OP question I would say if you are friend is asking you to "try it" he most likely is not using it within the proper confines and pre-requisites as outlined by the tradition of the elders within the tribe. In this case I would say emphatically no it would not be in your interest to experiment randomly with it.

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Recently, one of my buddies has discovered the joys of drugs, it would seem. Specifically, he has starting experimenting with something called DMT/Ayahuasca. He continuously pesters me to try it, saying how "mind-opening" it is, how it has given him new perspectives, etc etc, all your typical drug-user claims. It's actually becoming quite annoying, but he's very persistent about it.

 

It has actually gotten me to thinking, though, about what a typical Taoist/Buddhist perspective on using such mind-altering substances would be, as I don't really know if there is one specifically. Personally, I'm rather anti-substance use to begin with, though I also feel that one shouldn't have to use substances to open your mind (rather, I'd think it could ultimately result with negative effects on this level). In any case, I was just curious if anyone else had any input on this topic, I just want to see if there is a general consensus for or against it, if there is one at all.

 

There is a very very limited use in Vajrayana. Only for preliminary.

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DMT is a drug. Stay away.

 

Ayahuasca is a sacred medicinal plant, an entheogen. Stay away unless you are in a sacred medicinal context.

 

It has nothing in common with drugs. Was not created in a lab, can't cause a "dependency," can't get anyone "addicted."

 

Exercise your natural intelligence to discern between mislabeled phenomena. Labels are not phenomena. To go along with someone else's use of these is common if the mind is drugged with propaganda and conditioning, and altered on a continuous (typically lifelong) basis. Detoxify your mind from this most dangerous drug or any practice whatsoever will only be of limited usefulness.

 

You can start with your use of the labels -- "drug," "substance." I suggest meditating on them, one at a time, till they reveal to you their origins and their role in shaping your mind to fit into a particular mold. Meditate on that mold. Then it's up to you to decide if you find the shape revealed organic and sound, man-made and artificial, or archon-made -- alien, artificial, and hostile to the human mind. Meditation techniques that enhance rather than eliminate cognizance of phenomena vary from tradition to tradition -- ironically, ayahuasca is one such venue, it equips the mind to look at itself, among other things. Of course if you have a good teacher (e.g. of the purely cognitive aspects of raja yoga), you can take the long way home. The important thing is the destination, not the journey (that's right, new age one-liners don't know everything) -- just like traveling by plane from, say, Missouri to Tahiti, you don't do it for the plane ride, you do it for the mangoes.

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Thanks for the feedback.

 

I'm pretty much with MH when it comes to drugs in general, but most of what's been said is not too far off from what I would imagine (I also like z00se's pizza analogy). I think Seeker's explanation basically sums up what I was thinking for the most part.

 

juliank: That's actually pretty interesting. After hearing about Ayahuasca the first time, I actually did a little research on it (this isn't the first time I've heard someone mention it as a part of a cultural ritual), so that's kind of cool that you know an actual medicine man.

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From Castaneda:

 

Ingesting Power Plants* allows you to shift the assemblage point* but they do not allow you to stalk* it.

 

*power plants = Hallucinogens

*assemblage point = focal point in consciousness

*stalking = the art of controlled folly

 

 

So, they will shift your consciouness into other worlds, but you will have no control over what is going to happen to you. This will lead to pschological disorders and possible insanity (unless you have been rigourously trained).

 

I found it is best to leave it to the holy spirit to open the appropriate chakras at the right time. It knows what is best for you.

 

 

 

Blessings to you all :wub: :wub: :wub: :wub:

Edited by chegg
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"Psychological disorders and possible insanity" is what I see every day in the ordinary world -- in people whose only drugs are patented designer chemicals prescribed by their physicians, in addition to the ones they consume with their... er... daily bread.

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Naysayers will always look down upon drug use and claim that it is inferior to states of consciousness obtained through "proper" methods. The bioterrorist Osho (who himself was addicted to benzos) says

 

The drug experience is a forced, phony experience

 

I have never used drugs myself, but it is almost certain that drugs can bring about far more profond experiences than natural methods. Ibogaine, for instance, lasts for several hours, even days, and has some permanent effects. Anybody who claims they can trip for days on end with only meditation is full of BS.

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Naysayers will always look down upon drug use and claim that it is inferior to states of consciousness obtained through "proper" methods. The bioterrorist Osho (who himself was addicted to benzos) says

 

 

 

I have never used drugs myself, but it is almost certain that drugs can bring about far more profond experiences than natural methods. Ibogaine, for instance, lasts for several hours, even days, and has some permanent effects. Anybody who claims they can trip for days on end with only meditation is full of BS.

 

I find it interesting when someone who hasn't experienced something claims to have a more valid understanding of that experience than those with personal experience who advise against it.

 

Perhaps it is like telling a child not to touch a hot stove...

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I find it interesting when someone who hasn't experienced something claims to have a more valid understanding of that experience than those with personal experience who advise against it. Perhaps it is like telling a child not to touch a hot stove...

 

That being said, I'd say the statement was quite accurate.

 

Talking from my experience, yes, drugs do force something to happen. I avoid ibuprofen, for example, because I don't want to artificially calm inflammation and mask pain.

 

Pot sends me into another world very quickly. Only when I gain enough patience with my meditation can I imagine not smoking pot for a kick as I'm used to an instantaneous and stronger trip! How negative does that sound lol

 

And finally, not "physically addictive"? Whatever pot users that justify their actions with this...well, this is misleading. Because a pot head cannot live without pot. Fact. Just like someone who eats junk food all the time finds that hard to quit. It might not kill you, but it will leave you attached either way.

 

So, don't do drugs kids (if you don't need to) :P *

 

* Make of that what you will

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I wrote this article back in the old days. Take it with a grain of salt and I dont think I explained it too well.

 

It may give you an idea as to why "Psychological disorders and possible insanity" is what you may see every day in the ordinary world. Feel free to edit/correct/add comments to it. :)

 

 

 

When the Shield Breaks (from a shamanistic point of view) (references removed)

 

 

Thank you for posting, I will give a better read to it a bit later (gotta run, I'm looking at the forum, as usual, when I take breaks while otherwise busy), but from the title I can already hypothesize you're on the right track. I have experienced first hand what was termed "broken gates" rather than "broken shields" but it's the same thing. Once the defense mechanisms usually keeping it all down are compromised, your consciousness gets flooded with material from your very own unconscious (not with nasties from outside yourself, mind you) and that's when the conscious mind goes south, because it is absolutely not equipped to cope.

 

Back when it happened, many moons ago, I damaged my gates ("shields") with meditation, I never took any drugs, not before and not after (I hate drugs with a passion, and have objected on many occasions to the use of the term "drugs" to refer to sacred plants, in my native tongue the practice is called mixing strawberry marmalade with gramophone needles -- can I have the marmalade separately, without the needles please? -- no, our policy is to only supply them mixed together... So, when I damaged my gates with meditation, I wasn't familiar with either, i.e. never tried any sacred plants either. My ayahuasca journey took place much later.) Later...

Edited by Taomeow
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Eva Wong's book The Shambhala Guide to Taoism talks about certain schools of alchemical taoist who do not distinguish between drug and food when making elixirs.

 

I like this view because it transcends the binary "drug/not drug" dualism. Food is like drugs. Especially processed food with added artificial chemicals. The nice packaging and lingustic conventions makes it harder to see Doritos like a drug than coffee or cannabis, but that is just perspective really. Your body is a cauldron, in alchemical taoism - anything you intake will be psychoactive and mind altering.

 

As someone who has experimented with drugs, and as someone who consider myself done with that stage of life for now -- I can neither advocate it nor warn one against it. Do what thou wilt, in the words of Aleister Crowley. I would advise, however, for people to wait until they are at least 20 (ideally 25+) before they do psychedelics, and to start light. They CAN mess people up, especially those who are pre-disposed to mental illness and abuse drugs at a young age. I know lots of people who have benefited immensely from psychedelci drugs, or at least claim they have. In truth, some of these folks may be slightly-delusional (mistaking smoke and mirrors for enlightenment), but is that any different from the TV addict who claims that they are doing well?

 

Psychedelics and pot have helped me in many ways, but in some ways I think they have hindered my development. I don't blame the drugs so much as my own naive use of them at the time. For a while, I smoked a lot every day and had maybe 15 trips in the span of two years. These substances have made me more sensitive, which is both an ally and a hinderance depending on my environment. Initially, LSD had helped me get over my self-doubt and insecurities, but it also led me to some confusion and bipolar-like swings. Cannabis is useful in moderate from my experiences, or for certain medical conditions, but a lot of users I know end up becoming abusers. Ultimately, I have gained potent insights from these drugs and do not regret using them in general. However, I realize now that they are unnecessary for expanding consciousness, despite the fact that they can be helpful.

Edited by futuredaze
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Naysayers will always look down upon drug use and claim that it is inferior to states of consciousness obtained through "proper" methods. The bioterrorist Osho (who himself was addicted to benzos) says

 

 

I have never used drugs myself, but it is almost certain that drugs can bring about far more profond experiences than natural methods. Ibogaine, for instance, lasts for several hours, even days, and has some permanent effects. Anybody who claims they can trip for days on end with only meditation is full of BS.

 

I think this deserves to be looked at a little more closely for a few reasons, and from both sides of the argument. This is the same stance that my acquaintance has with drugs, so it most certainly fits well with the topic.

 

On one hand, it's hard to imagine drugs providing the same philosophical insights that can be found through meditation. As the typical consensus has been, drugs seem to provide a jolted, wild ride, but there doesn't seem to be any control, and thus very few beneficial effects come from it.

 

On the other hand, it is important to point out that there is a key point in this, in that people who practice meditation are going to ever claim that one can easily achieve the same effects with a natural or man-made substance. Why is this? Simply, I think it boils down to the fact that those who put significant amounts of time and effort into achieving something are going to instinctively claim that the same cannot be achieved through something simple, easy, and enjoyable. To exemplify this concept, it's similar to the idea that no wage-earning lower/middle class person is going to say that getting rich is easily done, and that it takes lots of hard work and time in employment, in spite of the fact that there are plenty of people who become rich out of mere luck. So, automatically, there is going to be a huge bias in favor of meditation over drugs in the first place.

 

However, even after weighing these two together, I think that the issue runs a little deeper than a simple argument between the meditation group and the drug group. Namely, I don't imagine that drugs and meditation even take people to the same state of mind in the first place, let alone in the same manner. Exploring the mind's capabilities is really interesting, but that's not really what philosophy is about.

 

Let's even assume for a moment that, yes, drugs are an amazing and simple way to "expand your mind" (whatever that might mean), and opens you up to entirely new possibilities. So what? That doesn't really do anything on its own. The most I could possibly see is that it could cause someone to want to explore further into the avenues of philosophy and such, similar to Rara's account. Still, it's not going to make up for time spent trying to actually fortify your mind's positive attributes, diminish the negative ones, etc. This isn't the greatest example I could come up with, but it might help put it in perspective: if you want to build a computer yourself, it doesn't matter how many manuals you read on putting it together, or how much you know about using computer programs, or how cool you think computers are; until you actually open up the case and start taking things apart and seeing where everything fits in place, chances are you're probably not going to have any idea on how to actually "build" the computer from scratch.

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I think this deserves to be looked at a little more closely for a few reasons, and from both sides of the argument. This is the same stance that my acquaintance has with drugs, so it most certainly fits well with the topic.

 

On one hand, it's hard to imagine drugs providing the same philosophical insights that can be found through meditation. As the typical consensus has been, drugs seem to provide a jolted, wild ride, but there doesn't seem to be any control, and thus very few beneficial effects come from it.

 

On the other hand, it is important to point out that there is a key point in this, in that people who practice meditation are going to ever claim that one can easily achieve the same effects with a natural or man-made substance. Why is this? Simply, I think it boils down to the fact that those who put significant amounts of time and effort into achieving something are going to instinctively claim that the same cannot be achieved through something simple, easy, and enjoyable. To exemplify this concept, it's similar to the idea that no wage-earning lower/middle class person is going to say that getting rich is easily done, and that it takes lots of hard work and time in employment, in spite of the fact that there are plenty of people who become rich out of mere luck. So, automatically, there is going to be a huge bias in favor of meditation over drugs in the first place.

 

However, even after weighing these two together, I think that the issue runs a little deeper than a simple argument between the meditation group and the drug group. Namely, I don't imagine that drugs and meditation even take people to the same state of mind in the first place, let alone in the same manner. Exploring the mind's capabilities is really interesting, but that's not really what philosophy is about.

 

Let's even assume for a moment that, yes, drugs are an amazing and simple way to "expand your mind" (whatever that might mean), and opens you up to entirely new possibilities. So what? That doesn't really do anything on its own. The most I could possibly see is that it could cause someone to want to explore further into the avenues of philosophy and such, similar to Rara's account. Still, it's not going to make up for time spent trying to actually fortify your mind's positive attributes, diminish the negative ones, etc. This isn't the greatest example I could come up with, but it might help put it in perspective: if you want to build a computer yourself, it doesn't matter how many manuals you read on putting it together, or how much you know about using computer programs, or how cool you think computers are; until you actually open up the case and start taking things apart and seeing where everything fits in place, chances are you're probably not going to have any idea on how to actually "build" the computer from scratch.

True that! I didn't get any posture, non-fidgeting practice when high. Plus, it makes me wanna eat chocolate!

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I'm not in favour. There is a way into samsara - the way we came in - and a way back out.

 

During meditation, that path is re/discovered.

 

The mind is complex and drugs are mind-altering.

 

The pathway out is subtle and can be easily overlooked or trashed.

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I recently casually took some "grass" and had some interesting experiences, but i think I only had those experiences because I have been practicing internal work for a moderate time. Also what I experienced was not permanent, as soon a I came down from the high everything dissipated. I felt energetically heavy for the next few days and did not practice normal cultivation for those days.
http://my-path-notes.blogspot.com/2013/10/drug-notes.html

By the time I finished I concluded that it wasn't good for my practice in the short term or the long term, though it did give some interesting insights into the energy body and resulted in some intense bliss. However, if I was ever offered the opportunity to do more intense types of substances (ayahuasca, DMT) this is the thought process I would go through.

1. Listen to my intuition and ask my guides for advice
2. Do divination to see the results
3. Make sure the individual whom is handling the substance is a professional in that capacity. (Shaman, Priest....etc)
4. Understand the intent behind the ceremony. Is this being done for fun kicks or is it for deeper spiritual insight and healing?

IMO, casual taking of these kinds of substances is not intelligent at all. As others have mentioned, anything outside of a ritually sacred and medicinal context is risky.

My 2 cents, Peace

Edited by OldChi
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Recently, one of my buddies has discovered the joys of drugs, it would seem. Specifically, he has starting experimenting with something called DMT/Ayahuasca. He continuously pesters me to try it, saying how "mind-opening" it is, how it has given him new perspectives, etc etc, all your typical drug-user claims. It's actually becoming quite annoying, but he's very persistent about it.

 

It has actually gotten me to thinking, though, about what a typical Taoist/Buddhist perspective on using such mind-altering substances would be, as I don't really know if there is one specifically. Personally, I'm rather anti-substance use to begin with, though I also feel that one shouldn't have to use substances to open your mind (rather, I'd think it could ultimately result with negative effects on this level). In any case, I was just curious if anyone else had any input on this topic, I just want to see if there is a general consensus for or against it, if there is one at all.

 

 

If I explain it from Sufi/Islamic point of view, everybody will attack. I will explain it from Shamanism point of view.

 

Psychedelic substances are mainly used in Central-South America shamanism.

 

In Central Asia Shamanism, (Tuva Turks, Mongols, Tunguz, etc, all Turkic origin) psychedelic substances are never used. It is a negative practice.

 

There is a shaman called Cenk Sertdemir.

 

Please look at the link for his Vimeo page. There are four videos.

 

http://vimeo.com/cenksertdemir

Cenk Sertdemir is a tuvan wolf shaman, who lived three years with shaman of the Republic of Tuva. He is a powerful shaman, who's mission is to strengthen humanity with conferences, seminars, educating new shamans, treatments and rituals.
He is educated by Kara-ool Dopchun-ool, the supreme shaman of Tuva and founder of Adyg Eeren Shamanic Clinic.
Cenk Sertdemir is currently working on a natural calender, which will reveal the truth about the seasons and their qualities, the rituals to be made, as an ordinary human being, during spesific days.
As you can see in the videos, the trance happens by the rhythm of the Shaman drum. The rhythmic "dum...dum" voices puts you to a trance. You do not need any psychedelic substances for that.
Edited by Isimsiz Biri

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Just my opinion: I don't think I have a reason use them, but then again I value grounding more than random exploration. Everyone's experience may differ.

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Recently, one of my buddies has discovered the joys of drugs, it would seem. Specifically, he has starting experimenting with something called DMT/Ayahuasca. He continuously pesters me to try it, saying how "mind-opening" it is, how it has given him new perspectives, etc etc, all your typical drug-user claims. It's actually becoming quite annoying, but he's very persistent about it.

 

It has actually gotten me to thinking, though, about what a typical Taoist/Buddhist perspective on using such mind-altering substances would be, as I don't really know if there is one specifically. Personally, I'm rather anti-substance use to begin with, though I also feel that one shouldn't have to use substances to open your mind (rather, I'd think it could ultimately result with negative effects on this level). In any case, I was just curious if anyone else had any input on this topic, I just want to see if there is a general consensus for or against it, if there is one at all.

 

Cultivation (Buddhist or Daoist) is generally a way of discovering and understanding who and what we are and coming into balance with our "natural state." Drug use takes us out of the "natural state" and subjects us to challenges and experiences that are foreign and contrived. On the one hand, this sort of 'shake up' of our natural condition can be a way to help people let go of their illusions and delusions and make breakthroughs. On the other hand, intoxicantion is a distraction from our "natural state." I think that there are some limited insights that intoxication can provide but they tend to be artificial and superficial, though they may seem quite profound while we are intoxicated. Most importantly, if you choose to work with plants and entheogens as teachers, you must know how to approach them shamanically and should absolutely work with a guide. Otherwise, you are just entertaining yourself (or worse).

Good luck!

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