Okay, I’m not sure what this means, but it was a weird experience for me. Netflix has a documentary on LSD. They get a wide of range of people talking about it, even Timothy Leary’s son. It’s really good. Anyway. Sting comes on. I used to listen to The Police, while on acid. He tells this story of flying to some Central American rain forest and doing Ayahuasca. There was some kind of Shaman, and some blindfolded hiking and it got weirder than that.
That’s not the weird part for me though. I’m thinking, I came very close to doing what Sting did. I had the Shaman on the phone, I had the means, I could have just planned it and did it. But I didn’t. When I was younger, I had the desire, but not the means. It’s not about health, I’m still capable. It’s more like, now that I did all the things that allow me to make that choice, it seems like a dumb choice.
If that Shaman has something to show me, or some insight into the human psyche, he could let the world know that. And essentially, that has been done. I know it’s the experience, but I can describe experiences, I can tell you what I learned from something, and I can learn from other people’s experiences. I do it all the time. The idea that you must go out in the desert and have a cactus wave around and talk to you, to gain insight, seems completely false to me now.
It gets lost when the PR teams and travel agents take over, especially when western dollars are concerned in play. As for the original practice, that was an indigenous thing, developed over generations and specific to that place and that life and time.
This brings us right back to the biological truism,
that we can’t understand an organism, or creature, (or complex system), without understanding the environment it exists within.
The other day I spoke of Sacred Spaces, such as down the San Juan or Green Rivers, up into side canyons, no one else but your self, or more usual a few pals, and the landscape creates, an aura that alters the perceptive empathic person, into states of mind impossible to simulate else where.
Heck the difference between me in this suburbia South Carolina digs and me in my sweet cabin with forty acres around us, and more expansive rural land beyond that. Or me inside that room in the middle of night, compared to anywhere else. …
Reminds me of something I saw online a few months ago about an old European guy who was writing about how great Afghanistan was in the 60s-70s because many young Europeans like himself could travel there fairly easily and get good drugs. He framed the experience as kind of a mystical journey that allowed him to see lifestyles and people very different from what he knew, and this helped him grow as a person or whatever, but really it was about the drugs.
I think it’s the same thing with Sting going to the jungle for “enlightenment”. Of course you can discover things about yourself and the world, etc on these types of adventures, but they would not have been interested if there weren’t any drugs. That said, we can’t really blame people for this thinking because drugs do change perception.
Both of you got on important points. For Sting, he was rather flippant, dismissing anything sacred, and just joking about high. I don’t think anyone can just fly to a jungle and meet a guy and get any understanding of what the experience it’s supposed to be about. It takes relational development, mentoring, just being together.
I’m actually okay with some kinds of performance of religion, but call it what it is.
I think part of it is in how the subject approaches it. As noted elsewhere “just about the drugs” / Just for fun etc.
If you use it (LSD, mushrooms, pot, alcohol, etc…) as a tool rather than a toy, it could be beneficial in some ways.
Some people do stupid things they wouldn’t do otherwise after a few drinks, so of course it alters their thinking. Same with LSD, pot, shrooms, booze … a gardening tool can be a deadly weapon.
Personally, I feel I gained from certain experiences. Was I looking? Not always. But it’s certainly not something you can explain over the phone. or in writing, or any way.
And experiences are extremely personal. It will be different for everyone.
Even if you are on a rollercoaster right next to someone. You both “experience” the ride differently.
To some it may be horrifying, to others it will be extasy.
This is probably the weakest part of my rant. One of the comments in the documentary was that Hollywood has never been able to depict what it’s like to be tripping. It’s probably impossible. People who try to convey their insights don’t sound like they know what they are talking about. Often, they admit it wasn’t really an insight, it just seemed like one.
I guess I’m leaning toward it being used as a drug in therapy, with a trained person there with you. There might be a Shaman somewhere who can actually do a decent job of that. If I had that phone call to do over again, and maybe someday I will, I’ll ask for references. Just hearing their reaction to the question would be worth it.
I’ve heard things about hallucinogens being used to treat mental illness, and there has been some progress with it, but it stops there. Drugs being used as a tool to “find yourself” or whatever is something we have file away under “bad ideas”.
I finally finished the documentary. It showed several cities that have legalized mushrooms and some talk about LSD in therapy. The one doctor they interviewed had an idea of retreat centers you could go to.
Anyway, it’s a better world than the one I grew up in, where there was fear and misinformation surrounding it.