Using Psychedelics Wisely
By Myron J. Stolaroff
From GNOSIS, No. 26, Winter 1993*.
Via The Drug Library
MY WIFE JEAN AND I had driven several miles up the mountain to an elevation of 6000 feet a few miles south of Mount Whitney in California. We were about to meet Franklin Merrell-Wolff, author of the book Pathways through to Space, an impressively articulate and detailed description of a person entering a state of enlightenment and savoring it over several months. When we were ushered into his private office, we found ourselves before an outstanding personage who radiated a marvelous glow. When we had talked for a few minutes and I felt sufficiently at home, I spoke of our research work, telling him that we had spent three and a half years administering LSD, sometimes in conjunction with mescaline, to 350 research subjects and had published our findings in medical journals. "My oh my!" he said, looking at us with consternation. "I hope you haven't used these drugs yourselves." We admitted that we had. He continued, "According to X" (here he mentioned an Indian sage whose name I do not remember), "it will take you seven incarnations to recover from the damage of taking such substances!". Naturally I was upset, but I didn't think of the appropriate reply until we were driving back down the hill: "Never underestimate the grace of God!"
There is no question that psychedelic substances are remarkable graces. The farther one can reach into the vastness to be explored, the more one realizes how powerful these materials are. There seems to be no end to the levels of awareness that can be realized by those who use them to explore their psyches with integrity and courage. The great value in these chemicals is that, in some way still not scientifically explained, they dissolve the boundaries to the unconscious mind. They give us access to our repressed and forgotten material, to the Shadow that C.G. Jung so effectively dealt with, to the archetypes of humanity, to an enormous range of levels of thought, and to the wellspring of creativity and mystical experience that Jung called the collective unconscious.
At the heart of the unconscious is what many experience as the source of life itself, and which some call God. Those who have experienced this describe it as a wondrous, ineffable source of light and energy that infuses all of creation, embracing all wisdom and radiating a vast, unending, and ever-constant love. Immersion in this is the essence of the mystical experience and produces what the great mystics have described as the state of unity or oneness. Such union is the culmination of all seeking, all desire; it is the most cherished of all experiences of which man is capable.
Not all who ingest these substances can count on such revelations. In fact, psychedelics are powerful agents and can be misused. It must be remembered that they help reveal the unconscious, and most of us have made its contents unconscious for very specific reasons. We may not welcome the appearance of repressed, painful feelings, or of evidence that our values and lifestyles might be considerably improved. Nor is it always easy to accept the spaciousness of our being, our immense potential, and the responsibility that these entail. We may also refuse to believe that we are entitled to so much beauty and joy without paying any price other than being ourselves!
To assure a rewarding outcome, let's look at some factors that should be taken into consideration when using these materials. I must add here that in no way am I encouraging the use of illegal substances. I do hope, however, that greater understanding of these materials will help restore an intelligent policy that will make further research possible. Here are some things that will help ensure beneficial results:
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