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I've been meaning to ask you a personal question. You don't have to answer it if you don't want to. A few post back you stated that you were originally an atheist and then jumped on the spiritual side.

I was wondering what made you take that jump? I'm currently on the edge as in "I have no idea if there is anything after death, etc".

passenger, I too feel compelled to reiterate my strong recommendation that you NOT experiment with psychedelics, especially DMT.

Go the Monroe Institute. Seriously. It would be a great opportunity. One of the items on my wish list is to go there myself.

Let's not forget that psychedelics are illegal.

I repeat that when you purchase drugs on the street, in addition to potentially being arrested, you don't know what you are getting, even if the dealer is a "cool" and knowledgeable person.

I was fortunate to have been a member of an informal "cognoscenti" group - these were people that generally, were professionals in their respective fields - and we had connections to sources for supply that no one else would have - I am talking about professional PhD chemists, some of whom you may have even read about. Even so I can tell you a horror story that I personally witnessed. A friend - and group member - thought he was purchasing and then ingesting pure mescaline. The compound had been sold (or given) to him, by one of our regular sources, as mescaline. He ingested an amount that would have normally produced a very strong mescaline experience. However, the substance was not mescaline. It was Bromo-mescaline, one of the so called "designer" drugs based on mescaline (see Shulgin) which is many times stronger than mescaline itself. The bottom line was that he went totally out of his mind, in a really crazy bad way, for three days, and ended up having to be traquilized and placed in physical restraints to prevent him from hurting himself - in a psychiatric hospital. I was one of the people that tried to keep him safe before making the call to have him hospitalized.

Fortunately, he eventually made a full recovery, but it tooks weeks, maybe months (I can't recall as this was around 25 years ago) before his mental faculties returned to normal. I won't say that he was brain damaged stupid pre-recovery. Rather, that he had difficulty focussing on work and normal interactions and would drift off into a strange space in almost schizophrenic fashion.

When we told the source what had happened, he instantly looked into the issue. It had all been an innocent mistake resulting from some misunderstanding on his end.

I have heard, anecdotally, of people buying what they thought were psilocybe mushrooms when the material was actually ordinary mushrooms soaked in PCP or some other nasty screw up your head substance.

I have also heard of people thinking that they had picked psilocybe mushrooms, but due to lack of expertise, had picked a similar looking poisonous mushroom. You really do not want to die from mushroom poisoning. It is a horrible way to go. If you manage to live you could be on dialysis and need a new kidney and/or have severe liver damage requiring transplant.

Most LSD purchased on the street (at rave events, concerts, etc) really is pure LSD. However, the dosage is usually very small; barely above threshold. Therefore it is necessary to ingest 3 to 5 "tabs" to have a full fledged cosmic experience. Once in a while a "tab" of LSD is up to 1960s dose levels; meaning one tab is enough. But you don't know this. Say you took 4 of these tabs. Wow! Look out!

I don't mean to insult you, but a loose analogy to your desire to take DMT would be as follows: You hear professional Indy Car drivers describing the thrill of racing at 200 miles an hour. Sounds like fun to you. So you fill your old Nissan full of jet fuel and take off down the local hiway with the pedal to the metal.

Don't do it.

Go to the Montoe Institute.

I should add, and I've said this here before, that, IMO, there is no magic pill or magic technique or special philosophy that will transform you quickly into a spiritually realized person.

IMO, spiritual realization isn't even necessarily a goal. It's the journey that counts.

All of my real spiritual growth has been built on a foundation of hard work in all areas of life, rational thinking combined with sober meditation, dedication and sacrifice to family and friends, soberly experiencing and then working through hardships, you know, all that old fashioned square stuff.

To the extent that I have been slack in the above, my spiritual development has suffered.

Then there is another ingredient, that takes us beyond the typical 'square', and that is facing, accepting and integrating the truth, one's own personal truth, no matter how unsettling or how outside the norm it may be and, if the truth you see is discordant with love, soberly working to change yourself, though that work may be hard and make take a lifetime.

Passenger, here's a post I wrote on the intellectual side of that topic:

For a more personal answer, see this Q&A I did with Mike Tymn:

"I don't want to inadvertently encourage drug experimentation."

I'm gonna speak for the other side of this issue, Passenger. If it feels really, really, important to you--do it.

But--and this is a big but--find a mentor. We see drugs as lethal because we see them used outside the social context in which mankind has benefitted from these substances, and held them sacred, for thousands of years.

I've done some reading about this group, for example, and have been impressed:

Ayahuasca is one form of DMT that can be ingested orally.

Does going to South America feel out of the question? Well, if I really wanted to do something, I wouldn't let that stand in my way. When I was 25, I left my home, my friends, and my livelihood in New York City to go Los Angeles to be in Primal Therapy.

Now primal is NOT a drug-oriented therapy, but I mention it for several reasons:

• I was willing to uproot myself because I had come to believe that in Los Angeles were the people who could best assist me at that point in my life.

• I couldn't stop thinking and dreaming about this therapy and what it would do for my life. And, 40 years later, I can tell you that in one sense, my hopes were well-founded. And, in other, completely wrong.

But I made the commitment, acted on it with all my heart, and 40 years later, I know I made exactly the right choice.

• It was an inner journey. Which, for me, and like the psychedelic experience, are the journeys most worth taking.

And finally, another interesting point:

• I made the decision to go under the influence of a (mild) psychoactive substance. After years of hesitating and thinking about going to L.A., that altered state gave me the clarity and the courage to take one of the boldest and best steps I've ever taken.

That last paragraph is a little hard to understand. This is clearer:

• I made the final decision to go to Los Angeles, while I was under the influence of a (mild) psychoactive substance. After years of hesitating and thinking about it, that altered state gave me the clarity and the courage to take one of the boldest and best steps I've ever taken.

Bruce, I agree with you and your suggestion to passenger ***IF*** passenger were to do all of the things you include; basically making that commitment and investment.

I left home and everything and everyone I knew (against their protests and arguments not to go) when I was 18 to pursue my interests.

I worry because I don't see a lot of young people these days being willing to make commitments and investments to obtain what they seek; way too much instant gratification and entitlement.

Otherwise I am totally with Michael on this. I am, for several reasons, 100% opposed to irresponsible uniformed use such as that posted on erowid.


One question no one has asked yet is, "Why do you want to take DMT?"

My guess: You want to experience something out of the ordinary. I.e., "cool stuff."

If you do meditation and stick to it, you *will* experience cool stuff.

I think the same can be said about talking to spirit guides.

BTW, I recommend more for reading about the BAD trips. They are quite interesting. And they're what convinced me never to try drugs.

Also, a lot of people who post here agree that the brain is a like a tuning mechanism, or like a radio receiver, for the spirit. A good receiver doesn't just let in any frequency; rather, it just lets in what is needed at the moment. What hallucinogens do is mess with the receiver so that it lets in all kinds of stuff that normally is kept out.

If you look at people with mental illness, it's pretty clear they have "receiver issues": they are getting information they don't want. That's essentially what a bad trip is. A *lot* of the bad trips described on Erowid involve people thinking they had gone permanently insane.

I'm not trying to be a scold or prude about drugs. I'm just trying to provide a little background about how these things might work. Personally, I am risk averse when it comes to things like this and would not want to risk the downside.

"Why do you want to take DMT?"

Yes, Matt, that is the question, isn't it.

If I was passenger, I would ask you, right back, why you want to lucid dream.

I can only be a hypocrite for so long.

Here's the bottom line concerning psychedelics; They are going to work right here and right now and you're not going to be able to ignore where they send you and they can send you very very far. Right now. That is an advantage they have over all other techniques.

If you put 300 micrograms of LSD under your tongue or consume four grams or more (dried) of a potent psilocybe mushroom you ARE going to experience a journey through, and probably beyond, time and space. No two ways about it. And it's going to last all night long. It's not meditation where you might just yawn and then go have ham sandwich or dreaming techniques where you can just wake up and read a book if things get a little too weird.

But that advantage is also the disadvantage if things go wrong.

Proper set, setting, drug/dosage and a good guide/mentor help ensure a positive experience. More important is that something inside you - I call it "soul" (more as in the music than in the generic thing that departs at death) - that gives you the strength to ride the wave and to direct the filtering system if things are coming through that are undesired. Important components of "soul" include, but are not limited to, inner strength/ belief in one's self, sense of humor (esp. the ability to laugh at one's self), knowing one's self in some fundemental positive way and the ability to love. Some people don't have "soul". They shouldn't take psychedelics. Most of those have no desire to any how. Sometimes they do take them because they want to get F'ed up and, to them, it's just another drug to do that with. Then they have a bad time of it and don't do it again.

I have never personally had, nor known anyone who had, a "flashback" from LSD or Psilocybin use. Flashback is urban myth, IMO. I have known people who wished they would have a flashback :-)

Once the drug's effect has worn off, as it inevitibly will, it is out of the system. The drugs are not toxic. They do not cause brain damage or chromosone damage (more urban myth around all of that). If one is having a hard time of it and one has a good guide, one should be able to come out of it just fine psychologically. As Bruce has noted, sometimes a bad trip is actually a blessing in disguise. For the true seeker, the "badness" can contain much insight concerning what needs to be worked on.

As far as the filter system gone awry and negative signals or influences entering, that can and does happen to all of us all of the time any how. One thing that becomes apparent under psychedelics is just how much *IS* getting through the filtration system in our daily lives, even if subconsciously, and how it is effecting us, spiritually, psychologically and with regards to physical health. That is why so many people who have responsibly used psychedelics opt to eat healthy foods, get closer to nature and further from consumer culture madness and are more concerned with how what they do and say impacts others and vice versa. They tend to develop a holistic view of health.

Also, as the recent John Hopkins study (as well as others) reveals, psychedelic users tend to become more spiritually aware and changes, for the better, in time and energy spent devoted to spiritual thoughts and activities persist long after the last drug experience. They are *happier* than pre-experience.

Again, the sensitivities provided by the drugs cannot easily be ignored. Much less readily ignored, IMO, than meditation and dreaming techniques, which can take years to develop, if at all.

Of course, what I am talking about is a far cry from taking drugs to see a bunch of radical stuff, dude.

Back to the brain as filter system argument against drugs.......some truth to it, absolutely. That said, with the power of *you* that problem can be ameliorated, perhaps eliminated. You just have to be someone with enough personal power/soul.

But what if you don't have this quality, this soul or personal power?

I've already stated that I believe the filtration system is pretty lousy at keeping out bad vibes on a daily (subconscious) basis. Not even so good at it on a conscious basis. My opinion seems to be backed up by all cultures throughout the ages which have contained various ritualized ceremonies for purging intaken bad vibes.

Furthermore, I submit that dreaming techniques and meditation suffer from the same issue as drugs.

Any time you alter your focus of attention, moving it off the concensus meat and potatos physical world, you are opened up to all kinds of influences. It is mere predjudice to say that drugs will render one vunerable to undesirable influences whereas dreaming/meditation will not. There is a large body of evidence suggesting psychological breakdowns resulting from intensive meditation practice. It doesn't happen often, but it does. The risk is there.

Any prayer that you believe protects you from bad influences in daily life, while dreaming or while channeling spirits, would offer the same protection while "tripping". Why wouldn't it?

And if you don't feel there is a danger of bad influences in these non-drug techniques, why the prayer for potection, light and all of that? I think you know better.

I believe in hard work first and foremost. Secondly, I believe in hard work with no short cuts. Once some basic development is in place i don't see psychedelic use as a shortcut if done right. I think some people have a Calvinist objection to drugs that clouds their thinking.

Mostly though I think McKenna had it right when he said that people on the spiritual scene don't like psychedelics because they sense that 1. they are for real and 2. that they are going to work and work in a big way that can't be avoided or mitigated.

These two points should serve as a word of caution for anyone with a casual interest as much as they should serve as a potential for anyone with a serious desire to explore.

No one--thanks for speaking in such a balanced way about psychedelics. And thanks for reminding me about Terence McKenna. You got me looking at my heavily annotated copy of Archaic Revival, that I read in the mid-90's.

"If you do meditation and stick to it, you *will* experience cool stuff."

Matt, I've gotta be honest. It bothers me when people such as yourself, who are fortunate to be able to have the sorts of experiences you do, make the assumption that meditation is the ideal substitute for psychedelics. Michael seems to be suggesting that too.

For some people, it may be. But for others, it's certainly not.

I've been meditating daily for twenty years. It's a core aspect of my life. And the kinds of experiences I've had with psychedelics are in a completely different category than the experiences I've had meditating.

Since I talk so much on this subject, it might be worth mentioning that I haven't taken any drugs in years, and have only had about a dozen or so journeys in my life. Put them all together, and they constitute a near-death experience of sorts, that, I think it's fair to say, has been my salvation.

Meditation serves me daily, and I'm grateful for it. But it's apples and oranges.

My first trip, by the way, happened when I was about 22, and had not the VAGUEST notion of what I was getting myself into. How could I have? I hadn't even smoked grass at that point, and had only been drunk once!

The setting was not at all supportive, and I would not recommend that approach to anyone.

The second journey took place in the company of about a dozen people, under the watchful eye of an experienced shaman-like figure, with his several assistants providing loving attention to anyone in need. He had met with me in private, weeks earlier, so we could get a feel for each other.

That time around I was truly ready, I had chosen the ideal setting, and it was one of the best and most important days of my life.

no one, Bruce,

Great posts from both of you. I actually don't disagree with anything you're saying. We seem to agree that:

1. Psychedelics will show you other worlds, etc. They're the real deal.

2. They will give you some type of experience right now.

3. They will give you different types of experiences than meditation, lucid dreaming, etc.

4. Caution is in order in taking psychedelics. Having the right substance in the right place with the right people is crucial.

5. Meditation, lucid dreaming, and other practices also have their dangers.

My cautions have mostly been about #4 above. You two have been privileged to do the drugs under extremely good circumstances. I'm worried about a newbie who does not. Would I try them under really good circumstances? Maybe. I'd have to think about it. I, personally, am very sensitive to chemicals in general, and I have loose filters to begin with. That's one of the reasons why I'm able to have "cool" experiences without a lot of effort (actually, having controlled and good experiences *has* taken a lot of effort) and the main reason I'm psychic. The flip side of that is that my mind is constantly running, and I've had to fight the bad stuff too (my OCD as a kid was no fun, I'll tell ya). So my drug of choice tends to be alcohol, since it helps me filter down and relax (and concentrate, even, depending).

So that's another thing to consider: your own mental type and whether a drug is right for you.

Also, for the record, I have never done anything to promote lucid dreaming. I just have them sometimes. But even if you don't lucid dream, you can still have mighty trips from regular ol' dreams. I also am not a big meditator--I need to do it more. For me, that is not what I used to have "cool experiences"; it's more about spiritual hygiene and discipline, although I almost always have strong memory flashbacks when I do. My methods for having "cool experiences" have mainly been dreams and introspection. Some things, like the recent alien communications, have come to me when I was wide awake and not even trying to do anything.

The question about taking psychedelics reminds me of a hypothetical question someone posted on the skeptiko forum about if it were possible to induce an NDE without physically harming someone, would anyone want to try it and would it be a good thing to attempt?

As an NDEr, I value my NDEs. I wouldn't go back and changed what happened to me even though, unlike the hypothetical NDE posed in the question, I was physically harmed. But I couldn't in all good conscious tell someone to go out and have an NDE, even if there were a safe reliable way of doing so. There are really big consequences to such an experience, both good and bad ones. And there is no way to adequately warn someone or let them know what they are getting into until they are there.


I saw you had posted your experience, but I didn't see the URL. Where should I go to see that?



Sorry Matt, if you click on my name it should take you to my blog.


That is awesome! I'd like to read about the adult NDE too. Coming soon?

"There are really big consequences to such an experience, both good and bad ones."

Yes Sandy. I agree. The left handed/counter clockwise path is never easy because it is not the way that most everyone else goes. One can be a sheep or one can be a falcon. Maybe there is no choice. Maybe one should be exactly what one is. A sheep that tries to fly will fail and get hurt and die. Ditto a falcon that tries to eat grass on the ground and be a sheep.

It's just life and only life.

Matt, thanks for clarifying your views on psychedelics. It does sound like we're in agreement!

"But I couldn't in all good conscience, tell someone to go out and have an NDE, even if there were a safe reliable way of doing so."

Sandy, I feel exactly the same way about psychedelics. While I speak passionately about their role in my own life (and, to some extent, what I'm hearing about what they've done for others), I have no way at all of knowing whether they'd be useful for any specific individual.

And the same goes for therapy or any other major life choice.

Matt, the adult NDE account is now posted.

I couldn't tell someone via the internet to use psychedelics. That would be incredibly irresponsible. I *could* feel positive about recommending, even assisting, someone I knew well personally and that I felt good about.

Sandy, why not, in all good conscience, tell someone to go out and have an NDE, if there were a safe reliable way of doing so?

Is this not the sort of thing that spiritual teachers, like say in Tibet, have been guiding their students towards for millenia?

I also feel that I am in agreement with Matt's most recnet comment re; psychedelics.

no one, I'm not a spiritual teacher, and I have no experience with such people to know if what they teach would be useful for me or anyone else. I don't see any point in forcing an NDE. They happen when they are supposed to.


Wow, that is really great!


Thanks, Matt.

There are 2 things I cannot get my head around; 1) If there is re-incarnation how does that explain the massive population growth seen on earth? Where have all the new souls come frome?; 2) What happens when a new soul dies say soon after birth or in their formative years? How could a soul with no prior experience exist in the afterlife without any of the experiential advantages of a more developed soul? If each incarnation is planned how does this possibly explain the purpose of a new soul daying within days of coming into existence?

Hey, Norm Thomas.

The issues you state that you are very interesting and I would like to try to answer them.

The first question, we must distinguish two possibilities: if there is reincarnation, then maybe we all go to reincarnate or only some people are reincarnated. Evidence of the type studied by Stevenson suggests that the second possibility occurs, so that population growth would not be an objection to reincarnation because only few people reincarnate. If we are on the first possibility, then there are several possibilities: people can reincarnate on other planets that are Earth or while people are reincarnated new souls come who have not had a past life. That is, population growth is only one objection to the reincarnation if we keep questionable metaphysical assumptions, such as the Earth is the only place to reincarnate, and so on.

And on the second question, I think the new souls who die early would be reincarnated quickly, because the evidence indicates that the early stages of the afterlife, the Tibetan bardo, are constructs made ​​from our previous experiences, and if someone has few experiences, the time in these stages must be quite short. And on the planning of each incarnation, I have not really clear if each incarnation is planned or just these things happen, but one could say that the new soul was not ready to incarnate at that moment, but this is certainly quite speculative.


I would add Jim Tucker's research. It shows that a person's "soul" can inhabit two bodies at one time.

For example, he has a story of a business man dying in a plane crash and reborn in a child. But the child was 2 years ago at the time of the accident.

The child later explained his past life wife, children, etc.

So maybe we are currently inhabiting 2 or more bodies at once

Hello Passenger.

Mmmm. What you affirm the situation becomes more complex, because someone may consider that the claim that the soul is indivisible is more plausible than the claim that someone's soul to inhabit two bodies at once, then rejecting that such cases are examples of reincarnation. Provided we have excluded the possibility that the child has obtained such data by ordinary means, we could say that this child somehow tuned with memories of the deceased, without being the deceased, as Art would say. But is the problem of why the child will tune into the memories of the deceased and not to any other, a problem that has no the reincarnation hypothesis. It is something that is not clear and is very complex.


it's here on Jim Tucker's website

Passenger, I already knew that page about cases of split reincarnations, but I do not find very convincing these cases. This is because the case of Penney Pierce only based on reports of a medium, not someone who starts to remember a previous life, so I do not know how to take this case. And in other cases we must suppose that the soul has to be involved in fetal development to accept the split incarnation, but this assumption may be false, and the soul could incarnate shortly before birth or shortly after birth. Of course here we have a problem about what we mean by soul: if you have a notion of the soul as a principle of life, then the soul must be involved in fetal development since the embryo is alive, but this notion is not necessary for the reincarnation, because for the reincarnation makes sense only need to conceive the soul as the vehicle of our memories and experiences that passes from one body to another, giving rise to the possibility of developing a body that is alive but without a vehicle of memories and experiences. But can the soul as a principle of life and as a vehicle for memories and experiences always go together and the split reincarnation can be, I do not know.

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