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Secular spirituality via psychedelics


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Hope this is ok to post...

 

What if everything I know about ___ is wrong? I thought this was an interesting video about the use of psychedelics to replace the "born again" process of religions, and still use the archetypal/mythological aspects present in the human mind to find personal transformation. It essentially replaces religion and rules with deep introspection, and through the experiences reshapes how one views reality and self. Rather than leaving the person in a la-la land numbness, it instead opens the mind to see things from different perspectives, creating new paths for solving problems. 

 

I've used moderate amounts of some natural psychedelics (administered by an Indian medicine woman) and seen some of what he refers to in this video. I've also seen videos of the test subjects he references that were fighting depression and were given encapsulated doses in a psychiatrist setting, and the life-changing results they experienced. I recently saw a film called "Fantastic Fungi" where mycologist Paul Stamets relates his first experience with mushrooms that changed his anxiety-ridden self into a far more confident self. The effects are not only for those fighting a problem like anxiety, but for everyone that would like to open their minds to seeing things from fresh perspectives.

 

Currently such use (outside of being administered by a psychiatrist or legit medicine-man/woman) is illegal. That speaks volumes in itself about the nature of political/religious control in which we live. Cannabis is largely on its way to being decriminalized, and mushroom use is also heading that way.

 

 

 

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When our brains are scrambled, everything seems so profound! Those "profound" and "enlightening" feelings can be achieved by brain injury, electrical stimulation, rituals such as chanting and fasting, a Pentecostal service, and of course drugs. Some "spiritual" people think drug use is a lazy shortcut but some others use drugs as a mainstay of their practice. I don't know the validity of any insights that come from altered mental states regardless of how the altering occurs.  

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In this approach, I'm not looking so much for an answer (ultimate truth) as perspective changes. As he relates, sometimes seeing a problem, or life, from other perspectives leads us to answers that are otherwise elusive. At the same time, for many people there is a craving for some kind of feeling of connection with life/nature/others that is elusive or flat hidden from them. My nieces and nephews seem particularly laden with anxiety and lack of social interest. Some on this board also relate feelings of not relating to other humans well, and settling into online activities as a modicum of interaction. Apart from religion and certain kinds of social groups, that feeling of connection can be hard to find. The use of psychedelics is one way to dredge up or feel like one is interacting with mythological beings, almost certainly a product of our own imagination, but in ways that are self talking to self and exposing or removing barriers of fear. A shortcut to some very deep self counseling. 

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Yeah, that makes sense. As religion wanes, I could see these mental and consciousness oriented directions filling in the gap. From secular angles and perspectives. 

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The reason for altered brain states doesn't matter. What matters is what you take away from the experience, and the meaning that it has for you. I've had profoundly meaningful psychedelic experiences with insights that stayed with me for decades. They are no less meaningful for being drug-induced.

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On 1/26/2020 at 2:45 PM, florduh said:

I don't know the validity of any insights that come from altered mental states regardless of how the altering occurs.  

 

I tend to agree.  If any valid research shows lasting benefits, I am unaware.  But I have seen many scrambled minds from expermintation.

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On 1/26/2020 at 8:10 PM, Orbit said:

I've had profoundly meaningful psychedelic experiences with insights that stayed with me for decades. They are no less meaningful for being drug-induced.

 

Please give an example of one.

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Please excuse the interlude, but I found this on the internet:

"My shrink told me that the path to inner peace was to finish what I start. So far, I’ve finished three beers. I feel better already." 

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2 hours ago, Weezer said:

If any valid research shows lasting benefits, I am unaware.

 

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6007659/

These results are mostly related to anxiety and suicidal thoughts. 

Also, they note "No significant association was found between lifetime use of psychedelics and increased mental health treatment or suicidal thoughts, plans, or attempts. Additionally, a review of psilocybin use in the Netherlands demonstrated similar findings. Per the authors' conclusions, dependence potential was low, acute toxicity was moderate (few mild or severe adverse reactions), chronic toxicity was low, and public health risks were negligible."

 

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My own use was first via a medicine woman (mushrooms), lasted about 3 hours for the most intense part and then far lower intensity for another 12 hours. Initially I noticed some seeming movement in a brightly colored painting we have of a nature scene. Overall, it was a very introspective time, lots of thoughts about self, people I love, interspersed with more imaginative images of East Indian gods and some interesting animated geometric shapes. My cat sat there the whole time with pupils fully dilated wondering what the hell we were doing. Physical movement was very little, I only felt like sitting there quietly and mostly with my eyes closed, occasionally opening them to check on my surroundings. 

 

A few months later I used microdoses to combat anxiety related to a neighbor conflict. It worked most of the time, taking me from heart-pounding fight or flight to calm and able to function normally. 

 

I have no experience with synthetic drugs. 

 

The lady who administered the mushrooms has a phD in a field of brain chemistry, and she also overcame crushing anxiety permanently through her use. She feels she found a more useful perspective on life and reality via her "journeys".

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I have fewer concerns with "controlled" usage where there is supervision by an experienced, educated person.  And I  have seen some benefits, especially with marijuana.  But there are also some charlatans out there who prey on people, even using "bought" sheepskins/degrees.  And beware of those who are selling their products.  And I have seen the results of some bad trips due to people getting substances laced with synthetic drugs.  If it is not a certified, or controlled substance, how do you know for sure what you are getting?  And one trouble with any feel good drug, especially the fast acting kind, is the potential for addiction.  Also, people react differently to different substances.  What may calm one person, may make others more anxious, or even violent.  The same is true with antidepressants.   Some actually make some people more depressed, instead of less depressed. 

 

The message I want to give people, is that you only get one brain.  Be darn careful what you do with it!

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Agreed. I work in a jail and see (and hear) the results of lots of bad trips combined with mental illness. Screaming for hours, kicking and punching a metal door for hours, endlessly operating an invisible switchboard, etc. Meth, bath salts, heroin, and then the synthetic ones that could be anything in any dose, and likely contaminated to boot.

 

I prefer the natural ones, and even those can have serious effects if you mistakenly choose a toadstool instead of what you wanted. Some mushrooms can kill, so make sure you either have a legitimate source or learn how to identify them yourself. 

 

That said, the good ones can open up very interesting experiences, remove anxiety, open new perspectives, and create a feeling of belonging (or remove the feeling of not belonging to the human race or nature). Some cities have psychedelic societies that can offer information and meetups. 

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On 1/26/2020 at 11:48 AM, Fuego said:

I recently saw a film called "Fantastic Fungi" where mycologist Paul Stamets relates his first experience with mushrooms that changed his anxiety-ridden self into a far more confident self. The effects are not only for those fighting a problem like anxiety, but for everyone that would like to open their minds to seeing things from fresh perspectives.

 

Sweet. :)  Fresh perspectives and you feel better mentally. 

 

 

 

 

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On 1/27/2020 at 6:45 PM, Weezer said:

 

Please give an example of one.

 

You may be using one of Steve Jobs drug addled insights right now...who knows? 

 

https://www.ranker.com/list/celebrities-who-owe-careers-to-subtsances/jacob-shelton

 

...

 

"Carl Sagan is without a doubt the most influential astrophysicist and cosmologist in history. Best known for his contributions to scientific research of extraterrestrial life, Sagan was also a chronic user of and advocate for marijuana. Sagan was openly critical of the laws against marijuana and believed everyone should have access to the herbal plant. He firmly believed THC heightened his experiences with music, food, and even sex. “The illegality of cannabis is outrageous, an impediment to full utilization of a drug which helps produce the serenity and insight, sensitivity and fellowship so desperately needed in this increasingly mad and dangerous world,” said Sagan." 

 

https://drugabuse.com/5-genius-minds-who-dabbled-in-drugs/

 

 

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On 1/27/2020 at 7:45 PM, Weezer said:

 

Please give an example of one.

 

That's a bit personal, but in general terms one involved a deep understanding of the need to accept people as they are. Another related to deep insight as to the nature of love. Insights are relative to an individual and their circumstances and life history. What is an insight to me may not be an insight to you, but that doesn't make it any less important to me.

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In response to midnightriders links, if drugs and fame floats your boat, then go for it.  I won't be joining you.

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1 hour ago, Orbit said:

 

That's a bit personal, but in general terms one involved a deep understanding of the need to accept people as they are. Another related to deep insight as to the nature of love. Insights are relative to an individual and their circumstances and life history. What is an insight to me may not be an insight to you, but that doesn't make it any less important to me.

 

Thanks for your reply.  General terms was what I had in mind, and understanding your insight was important.  That is why I ask.

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I suppose this is a good place to add my story, So here I go.

 

My last Ayahuasca ceremony back in October was the most profound and deeply healing expirience I ever had,

I've suffered from deppression anxiety and OCD my entire life, as well as alot of hate and anger issues and suicidal thoughts.

Aya completley wiped those clean, I felt as if the old me had died and I was reborn.

My brain felt squeaky clean and refreshed, I was able to think far more clearly and deeply, I even felt smarter too.

I was filled with a sense of happieness peace and love and an innser sense of calm that had eluded me all my life.

Everyone else at the ceremony also had an amazing life changing expirience and the desire to make real changes in their live.

There was an alcoholic who said he didn't want to drink anymore, And an Iraq war vet with severe PTSD who had given up on life Who now had a completley new outlook and desire to live!

For me it was all about thinking, I didn't see any visions but many others did.

It is said by many that Ayahuasca is a plant spirit, A divine female being. And a few people at our ceremony even communicated with her directly.

I didn't, I was one of the very few Christians there so i'm thinking that was a block keeping me from fully connecting with her,

However that is no longer the case, And I can't wait untill my next ceremony to see what a difference that makes!

 

When I returned home all of my friends and family were shocked at the changes they saw in me, I was a completley new man.

I went to church the week after I got back and they were also shocked at the changes, I told a few of them what I had done, But they dismmissed it as just being god's work.

 

It was then that I started feeling very disconnected with these people and disillusioned with the whole church and what they were preaching.

So I started thinking why am I going here? Why do I believe in a god that I cannot see or hear when I could belive in this divine goddes that ACTUALLY SAVED MY LIFE?

 

So that's when I decided to stop going to church and stop reading the bible, And I grew more and more distant from the faith.

And guess what? It felt SO GOOD and natural.

 

A few weeks later I had a dream where I was visited by a woman who told me that the medicine loves you, You're on the right path, Keep up the good work.

 

This past month I started becoming very bothered about all of the hypocrisy in christianity, So I looked online for articles about this,

I then came across stories of people who had left the faith and I became more and more interested.

I read about a man who had been a pastor for 25 years and then left to become an atheist, He mentioned Ex-christian as  the main source for his inspiration, So I came here and read a bunch of testimonials and arguements against the bible and how the whole damn thing just doesn't make any sense, Feelings that I had harbored deep inside for years but never felt I was able to accept, Until now.

 

It was then that I decided it's time to leave this bullshit behind, So I did. 

 

And it felt amazing! The feeling I got from renouncing the faith was incredible, I would say atleast half as good as I felt after the Ayahuasca ceremony,

which was completley unexpected.

 

My mom took notice and was supprised, She asked me why are you so happy and upbeat? Are you stoned?

I said no mom, I can tell you why but you're not going to like it.

I won't like it? She asked.

So I told her, I renounced my faith and she was shocked, WAIT YOU DID WHAT?

After her intial shock she calmed down and seemed to take it better than I expected, She seems to be ok with it, But I know deep down it's killing her.

 

She's the only family member I have told, But I told most of my friends and the support I got from them was overwhelming.

Except for a few believers that were dissapointed, But the ratio of 25 positive reactions to 3 negative ones ain't too bad I figure.

 

This one guy tried to reel me back in with something called the book of Enoch, Saying that it proved some of the stories from the bible.

I told him politley but sternly NO, I just escaped from that prison and I am not about to lock myself back up.

He then backed down and said that he hoped my decision brought me the peace and happiness I was looking for.

 

It sure as hell did!

 

I really want to tell the rest of my family but I understand the dangers of doing so, I see being an Ex-christian as a badge of honor, But i know they won't see it that way.

 

 

Well anyway there's my story, I hope you liked it.

 

If you want to write me off as a rambling lunatic pushing hallucinogens on people that's fine.

But I know what worked for me when everything else failed.

 

If any of you are interested in drinking Ayahuasca please feel free to contact me I will be glad to offer any advice or answer any questions you may have.

 

I think it would incredibly useful for anyone struggling with the de-conversion process, Aswell as anyone with trauma or emotional issues, Or anyone who just wants to find out who they truly are.

 

Thanks for taking the time to read this.

 

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That is awesome, Phoenix! I will be going for a similar trip soon. Pretty nervous about it all! But I think it will be alright!

I will post my comment if I come back sane and alive ;)

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8 hours ago, AyahuascaPhoenix said:

 

After her intial shock she calmed down and seemed to take it better than I expected, She seems to be ok with it, But I know deep down it's killing her.

 

It might not be as devastating as you think.  A few weeks after telling my mother I was agnostic, she admitted to having doubts about the faith from time to time.  But she  decided it was best to hang on,  "just to be on the safe side."  When she got older and stopped driving, she decided going to church was too much trouble, even though members offered to give her a ride.  

 

Thanks for the story.  I am glad it is working for you.

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12 hours ago, Karna said:

That is awesome, Phoenix! I will be going for a similar trip soon. Pretty nervous about it all! But I think it will be alright!

I will post my comment if I come back sane and alive ;)

Thanks! Don't be nervous, It's a wonderful expirience. Just remember not to fight it because that will make it worse, 

Just go in with an open mind and be ready to accept whatever happens.

 

I talked to a few people in the Aya community, And they said that worshipping Aya as a goddess is not such a good idea,

But the way I see it is i'm just going to have fun with it and not take it too seriously, After all what's the harm?

Plus it could be funny to freak people out when they ask me what I believe.

 

Thanks for the reassurance Weezer, I think she may just have som serious doubts too, Though i'm sure i'll never convince her to leave.

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22 hours ago, AyahuascaPhoenix said:

 

This past month I started becoming very bothered about all of the hypocrisy in christianity, So I looked online for articles about this,

I then came across stories of people who had left the faith and I became more and more interested.

I read about a man who had been a pastor for 25 years and then left to become an atheist, He mentioned Ex-christian as  the main source for his inspiration, So I came here and read a bunch of testimonials and arguements against the bible and how the whole damn thing just doesn't make any sense, Feelings that I had harbored deep inside for years but never felt I was able to accept, Until now.

 

It was then that I decided it's time to leave this bullshit behind, So I did. 

 

And it felt amazing! The feeling I got from renouncing the faith was incredible, I would say atleast half as good as I felt after the Ayahuasca ceremony,

which was completley unexpected.

 

 

 

Glad that you found us!  You did yourself a big favor by reading testimonials and arguments like you did.  Deconversion is a process, and successful deconversions involve moving away from regarding faith as a way of knowing what is true, replacing it with knowledge and reason.  You know why you don't believe and the change in your mindset keeps you from being taken in by half-baked Christian apologetics.  We call it gaining intellectual immunity to Christianity.

 

Yes, it is amazing!  It's hard to describe the feeling of relief, even euphoria, that comes with letting go of a complex, oppressive belief system and opening your mind, realizing that there's a lot we don't know, and that's OK.

 

I don't know much about Ayahuasca or similar substances, but it sounds like you've had a very positive experience.  I'm curious as to how the benefits stay with you afterward.  The physiological effects probably wear off after a few hours, but it sounds like that experience has lasting benefits.  

 

22 minutes ago, AyahuascaPhoenix said:

 

I talked to a few people in the Aya community, And they said that worshipping Aya as a goddess is not such a good idea,

But the way I see it is i'm just going to have fun with it and not take it too seriously, After all what's the harm?

 

 

I agree it's best avoiding the idea that there's a deity of some kind involved.  That can be a slippery slope:  people who believe in gods tend to eventually say "God tells me...."  or "God wants...".  This can lead to all kinds of trouble.  So keeping it non-theistic is best.  I like Fuego's title "Secular spirituality via psychedelics" for this thread.  Spirituality, or something very close to it, doesn't require god beliefs, and is better without them in the long run.

 

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10 hours ago, AyahuascaPhoenix said:

 

Thanks for the reassurance Weezer, I think she may just have som serious doubts too, Though i'm sure i'll never convince her to leave.

 

I didn't think about it at the time, but looking back,  there were signs that something was going on.  Sometimes it is in what is NOT said in certain situations.  She was present at some discussions with my ultra religious father, but she kept quiet. 

 

Respect is okay, but I agree with not worshiping Aya.  That would be using a substitute for the religion you left. We already have too many hero worshipers in the world.

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On 1/30/2020 at 11:11 AM, AyahuascaPhoenix said:

I suppose this is a good place to add my story, So here I go.

 

My last Ayahuasca ceremony back in October was the most profound and deeply healing expirience I ever had,

I've suffered from deppression anxiety and OCD my entire life, as well as alot of hate and anger issues and suicidal thoughts.

Aya completley wiped those clean, I felt as if the old me had died and I was reborn.

My brain felt squeaky clean and refreshed, I was able to think far more clearly and deeply, I even felt smarter too.

I was filled with a sense of happieness peace and love and an innser sense of calm that had eluded me all my life.

Everyone else at the ceremony also had an amazing life changing expirience and the desire to make real changes in their live.

There was an alcoholic who said he didn't want to drink anymore, And an Iraq war vet with severe PTSD who had given up on life Who now had a completley new outlook and desire to live!

For me it was all about thinking, I didn't see any visions but many others did.

It is said by many that Ayahuasca is a plant spirit, A divine female being. And a few people at our ceremony even communicated with her directly.

I didn't, I was one of the very few Christians there so i'm thinking that was a block keeping me from fully connecting with her,

However that is no longer the case, And I can't wait untill my next ceremony to see what a difference that makes!

 

When I returned home all of my friends and family were shocked at the changes they saw in me, I was a completley new man.

I went to church the week after I got back and they were also shocked at the changes, I told a few of them what I had done, But they dismmissed it as just being god's work.

 

It was then that I started feeling very disconnected with these people and disillusioned with the whole church and what they were preaching.

So I started thinking why am I going here? Why do I believe in a god that I cannot see or hear when I could belive in this divine goddes that ACTUALLY SAVED MY LIFE?

 

So that's when I decided to stop going to church and stop reading the bible, And I grew more and more distant from the faith.

And guess what? It felt SO GOOD and natural.

 

A few weeks later I had a dream where I was visited by a woman who told me that the medicine loves you, You're on the right path, Keep up the good work.

 

This past month I started becoming very bothered about all of the hypocrisy in christianity, So I looked online for articles about this,

I then came across stories of people who had left the faith and I became more and more interested.

I read about a man who had been a pastor for 25 years and then left to become an atheist, He mentioned Ex-christian as  the main source for his inspiration, So I came here and read a bunch of testimonials and arguements against the bible and how the whole damn thing just doesn't make any sense, Feelings that I had harbored deep inside for years but never felt I was able to accept, Until now.

 

It was then that I decided it's time to leave this bullshit behind, So I did. 

 

And it felt amazing! The feeling I got from renouncing the faith was incredible, I would say atleast half as good as I felt after the Ayahuasca ceremony,

which was completley unexpected.

 

My mom took notice and was supprised, She asked me why are you so happy and upbeat? Are you stoned?

I said no mom, I can tell you why but you're not going to like it.

I won't like it? She asked.

So I told her, I renounced my faith and she was shocked, WAIT YOU DID WHAT?

After her intial shock she calmed down and seemed to take it better than I expected, She seems to be ok with it, But I know deep down it's killing her.

 

She's the only family member I have told, But I told most of my friends and the support I got from them was overwhelming.

Except for a few believers that were dissapointed, But the ratio of 25 positive reactions to 3 negative ones ain't too bad I figure.

 

This one guy tried to reel me back in with something called the book of Enoch, Saying that it proved some of the stories from the bible.

I told him politley but sternly NO, I just escaped from that prison and I am not about to lock myself back up.

He then backed down and said that he hoped my decision brought me the peace and happiness I was looking for.

 

It sure as hell did!

 

I really want to tell the rest of my family but I understand the dangers of doing so, I see being an Ex-christian as a badge of honor, But i know they won't see it that way.

 

 

Well anyway there's my story, I hope you liked it.

 

If you want to write me off as a rambling lunatic pushing hallucinogens on people that's fine.

But I know what worked for me when everything else failed.

 

If any of you are interested in drinking Ayahuasca please feel free to contact me I will be glad to offer any advice or answer any questions you may have.

 

I think it would incredibly useful for anyone struggling with the de-conversion process, Aswell as anyone with trauma or emotional issues, Or anyone who just wants to find out who they truly are.

 

Thanks for taking the time to read this.

 

I am curious...what made you go for the Aya trip? Moreso as a practicing christian (I get that you were a practicing christian when you went for the trip).

I don't think it would be easy for a practicing christian to go in for something as radical (and heretic).as an Aya trip.

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Here is a 42 minute video by mycologist Paul Stamets (Washington State) about how he started studying this kind of mushroom and the effects it has. There is a clip from the movie Fantastic Fungi where two cancer patients at Johns Hopkins are given a capsule dose of the mushroom in a clinical setting, and what they experience. It doesn't change the cancer, but it changes their approach to their remaining life and death. The FDA is considering rescheduling these mushrooms from Schedule 1 to 4 (useful medically and has lowest potential for abuse). He also speaks about the Lion's Mane mushroom for its ability to regenerate nerves and remove plaque on brain nerves which is related to Alzheimer's. 

 

Paul also has a couple of cautions about look-alike poisonous mushrooms and one species that has a too-powerful effect even for him.

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-4zsJAADuxY

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