Cognitive Dissonance

denial

”In light of the evidence available to us today through various spheres of investigation, philosophical materialism can justifiably be looked upon as an unconscious ego defense mechanism (a shield against cognitive dissonance), a sort of superstition designed to preserve the individual’s limited conception of self at the expense of a vast array of fascinating and factual information. Denial is a nice place to visit but I wouldn’t want to live there.” – Brendan D Murphy

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The Dalai Lama and Buddhist Science

Flickr-buddha-Akuppa

Gene Hart 

Why does consciousness seem to complicate reality? – A question that arose in my mind upon hearing that His Holiness the Dalai Lama was coming to England to spread his teachings of non-violence. The Dalai Lama, spiritual leader of Tibetan Buddhists, was visiting Manchester to share his wisdom and knowledge, something which he has dedicated his life to doing around the world. Despite leading a life of peace, he has had his share of drama, being in exile since 1959, due to the Chinese government taking over Tibet. Since losing their country, Tibetans have stayed loyal to the Dalai Lama, claiming that they feel alone without him – a bond between a leader and his people we rarely see today. Both have been pleading honorably for Tibet’s independence. Furthermore, the Dalai Lama has been trying to establish a democratic system of governance, speaking with countless world leaders. Parallel to this His Holiness works for the promotion of moral values, harmony and respect for religions throughout the world; not preaching on Buddhism, but teaching how to promote inner happiness and Buddhist science, to which many people take an interest. I had the pleasure of participating in several talks by His Holiness over a period of four days.

I joined a news conference on the morning of his arrival. It’s not every day you see a Buddhist monk being exposed to apprehensive press taking 100 pictures a second. However, like a true Zen master, he seemed barely distracted. I thought how, if every person in the room was of a calmer nature, this would have given him a warmer welcome to a more enlightened country, but then this country thrives off media consumerism.

Immediately, he expressed the purpose of his visit: to spread his message of non-violence, the value of dialogue, universal responsibility and expressing his views on modern education:

“We should implement the teachings of compassion, tolerance and forgiveness by teaching scientific moral education not based on religious beliefs. This has the potential to bring harmony to the basis of human life on all levels. Furthermore, I will be talking about the nature of reality; such as what is really happening in any situation at a fundamental level.”

Why does consciousness seem to complicate reality? – A question that arose in my mind upon hearing that His Holiness the Dalai Lama was coming to England to spread his teachings of non-violence. The Dalai Lama, spiritual leader of Tibetan Buddhists, was visiting Manchester to share his wisdom and knowledge, something which he has dedicated his life to doing around the world. Despite leading a life of peace, he has had his share of drama, being in exile since 1959, due to the Chinese government taking over Tibet. Since losing their country, Tibetans have stayed loyal to the Dalai Lama, claiming that they feel alone without him – a bond between a leader and his people we rarely see today. Both have been pleading honorably for Tibet’s independence. Furthermore, the Dalai Lama has been trying to establish a democratic system of governance, speaking with countless world leaders. Parallel to this His Holiness works for the promotion of moral values, harmony and respect for religions throughout the world; not preaching on Buddhism, but teaching how to promote inner happiness and Buddhist science, to which many people take an interest. I had the pleasure of participating in several talks by His Holiness over a period of four days.

I joined a news conference on the morning of his arrival. It’s not every day you see a Buddhist monk being exposed to apprehensive press taking 100 pictures a second. However, like a true Zen master, he seemed barely distracted. I thought how, if every person in the room was of a calmer nature, this would have given him a warmer welcome to a more enlightened country, but then this country thrives off media consumerism.

Immediately, he expressed the purpose of his visit: to spread his message of non-violence, the value of dialogue, universal responsibility and expressing his views on modern education:

“We should implement the teachings of compassion, tolerance and forgiveness by teaching scientific moral education not based on religious beliefs. This has the potential to bring harmony to the basis of human life on all levels. Furthermore, I will be talking about the nature of reality; such as what is really happening in any situation at a fundamental level.”

Everyone laughed when he used an example of the press, saying that they may all seem pleasant, but at a more fundamental reality, they could just be looking for gain and money.

“I am not here to popularize the Buddhist religion but to respect all religions. The 20th century was one of violence; the 21st century should be one of dialogue. Why do we not see the world as one entity rather than separate places of people… wouldn’t this diminish the violence?”

Afterwards, questions were asked by the press. To my curiosity, the questions all came off the topic of what he was talking about. All the questions were about economic problems and the conflict between him and China. Although these may be concerning issues in mainstream modern news, I felt that they could have found the answers they were looking for through the objective attitude that the Dalai Lama was displaying. Nevertheless, every answer was expressed in a highly detached manner:

“Despite being in a world of tough economic times each must lead a life of compassion.”

Afterwards, he came down to have a handshake with the press. As he approached me, he gave me a two-handed handshake and looking at my dreadlocks, he asked what kind of hairstyle I had. Everyone laughed. Noticing my appearance he asked where I originated from; I replied that my mum came from the Philippines. He remained silent for a moment looking into my eyes. I felt a tranquil presence come over me, and then he proceeded. The intellect and true power of this man was apparent. I was very excited for the next three days of his upcoming teachings to the masses.

The first event was free to ages 15-25. It filled over 10’000 seats in Manchester’s MEN Arena. The Dalai Lama was presented to the stage by actor and comedian Russell Brand; the Dalai Lama entered with a happy, humorous nature and received a lively loving audience. He was impressed with the amount of people who turned up. During his talk, he touched on many subjects including: the reason behind why our species is lacking from compassion and happiness, “Most unhappiness comes from the sense of self-importance and self-centeredness;” how to use dialogue rather than violence; and the relationship between thinking and emotions. Moreover, he expressed how we can perceive ourselves and everyone else on different levels of identity and significance. Using himself as an example, he said that on one level, he was a cellular human. However, on the subsequent level, he is a man, then on the next level, he is a Buddhist Monk, and finally, comically expressing – he is the Dalai Lama. In the laughter of the audience, I felt anyone who was expecting a boring preaching session was in-fact delighted to find such an amusing and honest man. He spoke about things which we could all relate to as human beings.

“For us to live harmoniously we must live and conceptualize compassionately with the ‘human level’ of experience. In this way, we cultivate an authentic realistic way of being, expanding consciousness to finer levels of experience, moving us away from a level of consciousness that emotionally attaches itself to identities, for instance, thinking of ourselves as being greater or inferior to others, which can limit deeper levels of relationship.”

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He emphasized the importance of cultivating an ‘analytical mind-set’ to develop our sense of skepticism about all things and to think reasonably, scientifically and morally. He went on to say there are two types of meditation. Firstly, stabilizing meditation – which focuses on nothingness, awareness and healing. This allows you to become devoid of mind, which is known as ‘clear light’ or ‘luminosity’ in Buddhism. This purity of mind is Nirvana and gives way to expanse of mind and consciousness. The other type of meditation is analytical meditation – which he explained is the key to understanding, and we do it as part of our nature such as when we are studying or contemplating life. This certainly shed some light for me on distinguishing the types of awareness in everyday life.

“However, it is easy to misinterpret reality. The analytical mind can come to a distorted way of knowing. At the root of all distorted perception is ignorance. An example of this would be of people who perceive impermanent things to be permanent, i.e. material objects. In doing so, we can become attached to things whether it be material or thought forms.”

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An interesting fact which struck me: a scientist, with whom the Dalai Lama spoke, said that there are an estimated six billion different perceptions about the world, all defying each other. So how can we know which ones are factual? He said to cultivate what he calls the ‘ultimate perception of reality’, we must question and contradict every view we have with defying ones to come to a more realistic, natural way of knowing.

Another event with the Dalai Lama was named ‘Being western – being Buddhist’ and included a panel of 5 western Buddhist practitioners. This was a Q&A event about any aspect of Buddhism. The panel was surprised to find such a large audience. They only expected a few hundred people to turn up but over 4,000 participated. It is obvious that Buddhist interest is flourishing at an accelerating rate in the western world. One of the answers which caught my attention was from a man who told a story that he once took a group of Monks through a prison where he worked. As they walked through, the prisoners hurled abuse at them, and the man said to the Monks that this must be the worst place to practice Buddhism. In fact, they replied saying it is a perfect place to practice, adding that the best place to practice is in a place of suffering, and the prison was abundant in suffering. A significant message I thought. We conceptualize spirituality as different from everything else. It seems that we are unable to learn vital information from all things. As long as humanity continues to identify all experience as separate, we ignore the fact that all experience can be our spiritual teacher, not just school, books or going to see the Dalai Lama. The Dalai Lama had also expressed this when he said:

“We should pay particular compassion to people that we wouldn’t usually take a liking to, i.e. criminals, people who get shunned in community. As well as this we should see close relations (who give us pain and suffering) as spiritual teachers in order to analyze experiences. For example, during an argument, check to see if there is any intelligent thinking going on rather than just defensive emotion.”

I think people who participated in these events who had a general problem with religions were surprised to find the Dalai Lama talking about the negative sides of religious beliefs such as God. He also expressed his attitude towards his religion, which I found very viable for all religious people:

“I am Buddhist, but there is no attachment to Buddhism, if there is attachment you become biased; you start to become suspicious about other faiths and start to close your mind to other possibilities. It’s very helpful to have the ability to appreciate other faiths as well as your own.”

After three days of the Dalai Lama connecting, laughing, philosophizing, articulating universal energy, he went on to his next destination in the UK to spread his light.

Why must the Dalai Lama travel across the world discussing our problems? Why does consciousness complicate reality? Are we fooling ourselves for a reason, a purpose? Do we really know deep within ourselves the ultimate truth? Where does common sense originate from? An ‘all-knowing source’? If it is, then we surely have all the answers we need within ourselves. However, it seems evident that the human race currently lives through a perception far-off the ‘cellular human level’ as we tend to seek spiritual understanding from sources we regard as ‘spiritual’. You could say the Dalai Lama was not teaching, but reminding people of what we already know. How have we lost this simple universal wisdom that he was expressing? Are our habitual ego-driven minds holding us back from seeing the truth?

Did you know that there is an inherent nervous system within the heart made up of 40000 neurons similar to brain neurons? Research shows it can learn, remember, feel and sense independently. Maybe in this ‘brain in the heart’ lies the simple universal truth of compassion that the Dalai Lama was expressing.

During the first event, a video of a Mayan woman was played to the audience before the Dalai Lama was presented to the stage. She spoke about her people who predicted an era of peace and harmony around the year 2012. The possibility struck me that the Dalai Lama also sensed this shift happening. Is he going around the world to accelerate the process of the evolution in consciousness? Only time will tell.

After the four days, I was left with a great sense of admiration for the Buddhist religion. Cultivating a fully awakened mind benefits all fellow sentient beings, and as long as every sentient being endures suffering, the practice of Buddhism will remain to dispel and endure the miseries of the world. However, I think that once humanity reaches a tipping point in the awakening of the human psyche, it will flourish in a sense of connectivity, expansion, abundance and purpose.

“Whatever seems impossible now may be a reality in 100 hundred years.”Nagarjuna

About the Author

Gene Hart is a dedicated yogi currently studying Philosophy at Manchester Metropolitan University, UK. He is most interested in the multidimensional nature of the universe. Through extensively practicing meditation and out of body exploration, he investigates the links and relationships between the non-physical and physical; dreams, thoughts, emotions, and the root, or essence, of all reality and existence in its entirety. You can reach him at genephart@gmail.com.

This article is offered under Creative Commons license. It’s okay to republish it anywhere as long as attribution bio is included and all links remain intact.

Deathbed Visions, DMT & Consciousness – Reflections on Life and the Beyond

eyegod
In recent years in the West there have been a number of studies in which people on their deathbeds are asked what it is they most regret about their lives. An Australian palliative nurse, Bronnie Ware, conducted one such study of patients in her care – she spent several years looking after a range of people in the final 12 weeks of their lives and kept a record of their dying epiphanies, publishing them in her book, The Top Five Regrets of the Dying. Ware spoke of their astounding lucidity and identified five common themes which recurred over and over. These were:

  • That they had lived their lives true to themselves.
  • That they hadn’t worked so hard.
  • That they had the courage to express their own feelings.
  • That they had stayed in touch with their friends.
  • That they had allowed themselves to be happier.

What emerged is a pattern of conformity – both to those around them and wider society – which ultimately prohibited them from leading a truly satisfactory life in which their own dreams and ambitions were fully realised. From the treadmill of everyday work to the way in which we adopt our persona to suit the demands and expectations of others, these regrets are as predictable as they are a sad reflection of the skewed priorities which tend to dominate Western culture. At the same time they reflect something of a pessimistic approach to viewing life and death, focusing on the absence of something positive instead of an appreciation for the goodness that actually existed.

By contrast, Japanese documentarian and film-maker Hirokazu Kore-eda approached the idea of reflecting on life from a different perspective, asking hundreds of subjects from all walks of life – many of whom were not facing imminent death – to choose one cherished moment from their past which defined their lives. The result is a whimsical celebration of life in all its beauty and diversity, which also demonstrates how much people tend to fictionalize their past, with rose-tinted nostalgia heavily influencing their reminiscences. Choosing a single most cherished moment also proves to be considerably more difficult to do than listing one’s regrets, suggesting that negativity has become engrained in mankind’s mindset, as if anxiety and lamentation has become a driving force behind the species.

Kore-eda compiled the interviews and conducted many more for his film After Life, which straddles both documentary and work of fiction, and the result is a film which suggests the immanence of the human experience, with many themes and concepts emerging that a variety of different cultures would doubtless share. So too with deathbed phenomena – the paranormal experiences and visions of those on the brink of death – there is a unity across cultures, and indeed throughout history. Frequently these visions of heavenly creatures and deceased relatives have been considered evidence for the presence of a spirit realm and even as proof of the after life, comforting visions of a place beyond the familiar temporal realm.

The following account from Chaz Ebert, the wife of the popular American film critic Roger Ebert, highlights the nature of deathbed visions in a contemporary context:

“The one thing people might be surprised about—Roger said that he didn’t know if he could believe in God. He had his doubts. But toward the end, something really interesting happened. That week before Roger passed away, I would see him and he would talk about having visited this other place. I thought he was hallucinating. I thought they were giving him too much medication. But the day before he passed away, he wrote me a note: “This is all an elaborate hoax.” I asked him, “What’s a hoax?” And he was talking about this world, this place. He said it was all an illusion. I thought he was just confused. But he was not confused. He wasn’t visiting heaven, not the way we think of heaven. He described it as a vastness that you can’t even imagine. It was a place where the past, present, and future were happening all at once.”

Not surprisingly, when mainstream science first came to examine such phenomena in the early 20th century, they were rationalised by the materialistic mindset as being nothing more than hallucinations – a rationalisation which continues to the present day. There is some merit to this interpretation, as anyone who has taken psychedelic drugs can attest to.

Hallucinogenic drugs such as psilocybin and DMT are capable of manifesting alien realms and entities which for the user feel every bit as real as experiences they might have in sobriety; with DMT, visions of otherworldly beings are incredibly common. Given that the neuronal function of the brain at the point of death is impaired, experiencing a stage of cerebral hypoxia, it is entirely plausible that these visions correspond to these changes in brain activity. This would certainly parallel the work of Rick Strassman and his studies into DMT and the near-death experience, in which he posits that the pineal gland releases huge doses of the chemical at the moment of death.

But new theories have emerged in recent years which may finally take us towards a true reconciliation of science and spirit, in which the deathbed visions of people and places are neither the imaginative products of an ingrained cultural and historical perception of an afterlife nor chemically-induced hallucinations, but real phenomena which actually exist.

Harvard neurosurgeon Dr. Eben Alexander, recently interviewed on Waking Times, conducted extensive research which challenged the orthodoxy of reductive materialism and offered a radical new interpretation of the way in which consciousness functions. Rather than being a product of the brain, Alexander posits that “consciousness is at the core of an unfolding reality” and that beyond this there is a conscious force which exists external to the physical body. Additional research in the field of consciousness by Stanford University Professor Emeritus William A. Tiller has indicated a powerful realm between particles which is heavily influenced by human consciousness. This latent energy, which interacts between the conventionally-measured molecular/atomic substance is apparently spurred into interaction by intentions projected from the mind.

A number of prestigious scientists have long held to the theory of the multiverse, building upon the lack of predictability in quantum mechanics as the starting point for an ever-expanding array of parallel universes. Dr. Robert Lanza, in his book Biocentrism: How Life and Consciousness Are the Key to Understanding the Nature of the Universe, put forward the notion – long held in religious and spiritual beliefs – that consciousness continues on after the death of the physical form. With consciousness the driving force behind the existence of the universe, Lanza believes that consciousness never actually dies, and that we only perceive it as doing so because of the identity people have with their bodies. Beyond this, Lanza suggests that consciousness can travel between universes at will – just as our bodies are thought of as the product of stardust (and there is solid mainstream science supporting that idea) so too are our “souls” intrinsically linked to the proto-consciousness which forms the fabric of space and time.

A recent study from Boston University revealed that belief in immortality may be hard-wired into the human brain, and while this study focused primarily on highlighting the cognitive roots of religious belief, an interesting aspect of the findings points to these beliefs originating not in culture and upbringing, as was initially assumed, but as intuitive concepts – natural drives rather than nurtured opinions. But perhaps this implicit awareness is more than mere fantasy – if the theories of Alexander, Tiller, Lanza and an increasing number of experts in a variety of fields prove to be correct, it would mean that humanity would have to radically revise its views on death itself, and deathbed reflections on hopes and regrets could become almost redundant.

Rather than validating the claims of religious institutions throughout history, confirmation of consciousness as a phenomena which both shapes the universe around us and transcends the physical realm would forge a new era of metaphysical enquiry. Albert Einstein famously predicted that “the religion of the future will be a cosmic religion” – that future may already be with us.

About the Author

Andrew Dilks writes on culture and politics at orwellwasright.co.uk. He is the author of Goliath and Flow. His newest book Prehistoric Highs: Mind-Altering Plants and the Birth of Civilization will be available in 2014.

This article is offered under Creative Commons license. It’s okay to republish it anywhere as long as attribution bio is included and all links remain intact. 

Mushroom Clouds

Psychedelic-Vision

When the world arises in me,
It’s just an illusion:
Water shimmering in the sun,
A vein of silver in mother-of-pearl,
A serpent in a strand of rope.

From me the world streams out
And in me it dissolves,
As a bracelet melts into gold,
A pot crumbles into clay,
A wave subsides into water.

I am God sounds a bit arrogant doesn’t it? How about this, I am God and so are you. Better? Well, only if you really understand the allegory. God is a concept that stands for that which we can’t identify. That which gives us life and co-creates this experience. Him, Her, It, the Force, Consciousness and many others names can symbolically be given to what some call God. I think it’s fair to say most have given up the thought that God is an old white bearded man in the sky, hopefully. Not all, and maybe not most. I do not personally know most people. I’ve only met a tiny percent of the world’s population, so most is mostly a useless word. Useless words shouldn’t be used. Too late now, but I’ll make a mental note about that. (Which would be useless as I can’t remember anything for very long anymore). (I just used useless again, didn’t I? I’ll never learn).

This Consciousness is in everything, absolutely everything, and in fact is all there really is. The last psychedelic trip I took was very interesting. I could see, feel and literally Be everything I saw. A rock, the wall, food. Everything was consciousness and I was connected intimately with everything I saw. I literally became that thing. Alas, explaining a trip to someone who’s never tripped is like explaining color to someone born blind. It’s impossible. But many might say, “Yes, but you were in a drug induced hallucination.” But no, it was a spiritual experience. Watch the movie DMT, The Spirit Molecule. Read how the Shamans used mushrooms. Catch up on some Terrence McKenna lectures. Better yet, take a trip if you’re an adult. You’ll never be the same again. (Don’t just find some stuff and take it, do it right, read up on it and have an experienced guide with you if possible. LSD is actually not the best for this, but it’s the easiest to get and will work just fine. Disclaimer: I did not just endorse hallucinogenic drugs, that was just your interpretation and twisting of my words. (Shame on you, implying and what not). :P

Or just start meditating, that is the slow way, but it will get you there. You will understand that reality is mostly made up of beliefs. Belief that an object is solid is the biggest illusion. It’s a mostly empty spaced atoms vibrating at a speed that makes it impossible to pass your hand through it. But it is not solid. And all ‘matter,’ including us, is connected to the invisible force I prefer to call Consciousness. There is no time, that’s also an illusion, a tool that helps humans function, but it’s not real. It would seem that Consciousness is flickering off and on, pulsating eternally, folding and unfolding into Itself, allowing us to experience that which is Ourselves. We are like a computer and Consciousness is like the server. We are like a virtual reality game. Reality too is evolving, and we will always be a part of it. Death is an illusion that only exists in the minds of the living. There is no end to existence. Don’t you think it odd that you exist right now, in this time, but never did before and never will again? It just doesn’t work like that.

Science and physicists know the nature of reality isn’t grounded in their fundamental materialism that they seem to be stuck in. Until mainstream science takes the leap and admits publically that there is a Force that animates us things will not change, but evolution by nature betters itself, so the time will come when we realize the system of fiat money and dependence on material things hurts us. It might be 10 years or 100 years or a thousand years. The reason the flimsy paradigm of science isn’t changing quicker is because of the fucking 5oo year persecution of the church. That resulted in science setting itself up us only materialistic with spirituality strictly taboo. Religion and science were once one entity. In ancient Egypt, they KNEW there was no death. They KNEW intuitively, from direct experience, not belief, that death was an illusion. They didn’t even have a word for death. The Hindus call the ‘dead’ the disappeared. They are still here, but their body has disappeared. The Buddha said everything is an illusion, the Hindus called illusion Maya. Mysticism and science do belong together.

To get your knowledge of reality from a religious book issued by a government for the purpose of control is insane. Words written by other humans are not to be worshipped. The meaning of the words have been lost anyways. The ‘Jew Peter’ is mythically ‘Jupiter,’ (and mystically something else long forgotten, or driven underground or out of existence), but it’s a form of chasing your own shadow. I.E. The statue in Rome of Peter is an old statue of Zeus, or Jupiter, right in plain sight and we don’t/won’t see it. Belief over rides reality. (Kennedy’s head went backward and part of his brain landed on the trunk, yet they say he was shot from behind AND called it a MAGIC bullet, and people believed). We really need to stop and analyze our beliefs. We can learn that we assign a belief to everything. There is nothing in our reality but beliefs, illusions, and not knowing this is hurting us, not helping. We need both a  spirituality based on reality and a “material experience” to be fully Human. Our purpose is to evolve and become Love. To realize our full potential, or better said, Remember our full potential, as it seems we had it at one time and lost it. That paradigm will come, I predict, when science makes that long awaited announcement to the public about what it already suspects.  Many PhDs are speaking out even now (but mainstream ain’t having anything to do with it yet), and their theories are harshly ridiculed by their peers. Stubborn and stupid, indeed it is. Oh well, it’s all in cycles. A circular circus. Like the snake biting it’s own tail.

Exploring The Depths Of The Current Human Condition

Documentary Film: Crossroads: Labor Pains of a New Worldview is a documentary exploring the depths of the current human condition and the emergence of a worldview that is recreating our world from the inside out.

First Study in 40 Years Legitimizes LSD for Psychotherapeutic Use

escape-into-reality

The public image problem for psychedelic substances is finally correcting itself, due in large part to the willingness of some scientific communities to ignore taboos and press ahead with modern research into the efficacy of their use as therapeutic medicines. Cannabis is the front-runner in the campaign to end the war on consciousness and open the door for psychoactive substances as publicly available medicine. Psilocybin is now touted as a natural and potent remedy for chronic depression, and the healing benefits of the South American medicine Ayahuasca are widely discussed in the Western world, and is even showing promise as an anti-cancer agent.

Now, 40 years of prohibition against medical research into the psychological benefits of synthetic compound lysergic acid dyethlyamide (LSD) has finally come to an end with positive results. Peter Gasser, M.D., a private practice psychiatrist in Solothurn, Switzerland has recently published the significant findings of a recent study of the effects that LSD has on patients with certain anxiety disorders.

“A double-blind, randomized, active placebo-controlled pilot study was conducted to examine safety and efficacy of lysergic acid diethylamide (LSD)-assisted psychotherapy in 12 patients with anxiety associated with life- threatening diseases. Treatment included drug-free psychotherapy sessions supplemented by two LSD-assisted psychotherapy sessions 2 to 3 weeks apart.” [Source]

The study is considered to be a success because while showing no lasting adverse reactions to treatment with LSD, study participants showed significant and sustained long-term reductions in state anxiety over a 12-month period:

“These results indicate that when administered safely in a methodologically rigorous medically supervised psychotherapeutic setting, LSD can reduce anxiety, suggesting that larger controlled studies are warranted.”

Peter, an Austrian subject in this study remarked, “My LSD experience brought back some lost emotions and ability to trust, lots of psychological insights, and a timeless moment when the universe didn’t seem like a trap, but like a revelation of utter beauty.” This statement is characteristic of many people’s experience with LSD, both clinical and recreational, and brings further testimony to the case for legitimizing these medicines for public use.

The Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies (MAPS) has for years been the forerunner in the advocacy of legalization of research into the medical benefits of psychoactive substances. In a recently released MAPS press-alert the organization notes that, “there is considerable previous human experience using LSD in the context of psychotherapy. From the 1950s through the early 1970s, psychiatrists, therapists, and researchers administered LSD to thousands of people as a treatment for alcoholism, as well as for anxiety and depression in people with advanced stage cancer.”

Originally formulated by the renowned Swiss chemist Albert Hoffman, LSD produces an effect that can amplify consciousness and bring about positive lasting changes in perception and one’s feeling of ‘connectedness’ to the universe and the web of life that supports human beings:

“LSD in oral doses of more than 100 Kg produces vivid psychosensory changes, including increased sensory perception, illusionary changes of perceived objects, synesthesia, and enhanced mental imagery. Affectivity is intensified. Thoughts are accelerated, with their scope usually broadened including new associations and modified interpretation and meanings of relationships and ob- jects. Hypermnesia and enhanced memory processes typically occur. Ego identification is usually weakened. The general state of con- sciousness can be compared to a daydream, but with pronounced affectivity and enhanced production of inner stimuli (Grof, 1975; Hintzen and Passie, 2010).” [Source]

Research into the psychotherapeutic benefits of LSD began in the 1950′s but was brought to an abrupt halt in 1966 when LSD was made illegal by the Unites States government, ostensibly due to overuse of LSD as a recreational substance by America’s youth. The Executive Director of MAPS, Rick Doblin, Ph.D. states that, “this study is historic and marks a rebirth of investigation into LSD-assisted psychotherapy. The positive results and evidence of safety clearly show why additional, larger studies are needed.”

In a world dominated by scientific materialism and marked by a war on consciousness the criminalizes the free exploration of one’s own mind and body, legitimate and positive scientific research is the key that can unlock long-held cultural taboos and misunderstandings about the nature of psychoactive substances.

About the Author

Buck Rogers is the earth bound incarnation of that familiar part of our timeless cosmic selves, the rebel within. He is a surfer of ideals and meditates often on the promise of happiness in a world battered by the angry seas of human thoughtlessness. He is a staff writer for WakingTimes.com.

Sources:
– http://www.maps.org/research/lsd/Gasser-2014-JMND-4March14.pdf
– http://www.maps.org/media/view/press_release_lsd_study_breaks_40_years_of_research_taboo/

Disclaimer: This article is not intended to provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Views expressed here do not necessarily reflect those of WakingTimes or its staff.

This article is offered under Creative Commons license. It’s okay to republish it anywhere as long as attribution bio is included and all links remain intact.

A Mask of God

Flickr-mask-epSos_de_

Most of us think we are individual human beings living in a world that is outside of us, along with billions of other individuals. While from the perspective of consensus reality it certainly does appear that way, it just may be that you are alone in a world of your own making. We live in an extremely materialistic culture, and even those that consider themselves spiritual or religious are not immune to this conditioning. The materialistic worldview focuses on the outer world and the objects of the five senses. When it comes to the subject of perception or the perceiver, we bring our materialism inside and see more objects of perception (thoughts, beliefs, feelings, personality), that is if we don’t explain it all away with physiology. What modern psychology fails to do, and what most forms of spirituality fall short of, is getting to the root of the perceiver itself. Physical science looks at external objects, and psychology looks at internal objects. The common factor between the two is that they are both objects of perception, but who or what is at the root of perception?

The ancient path of self discovery, taken by the seers and sages of old, was very much concerned with this question. They realized that for every object or every phenomenon there is a witness. That is, for us to be able to know something such as a person, object or thought, something must be there to observe it. No matter how you break down the world or the mind, there is always an subtle observer which is aware of it. This implies a subject/object relationship (duality) and some kind of separation between the observer and that which is observed. The ancient seers wanted to know what human beings really were at the core. Were we just a body or a mind, or was there some essence or spirit which made us sentient beings. They found that they were able to observe the aspects of the body and mind and noticed that these things could be broken down into smaller and more subtle parts. There was an instability to these parts because they could either continue to be broken down or they were not always present, all of it was subject to change. However, the unstable elements of the body and mind seemed to appear before a silent awareness that remained stable at all times even if it was not always paid attention to.

When these seers decided to turn their well-honed powers of observation back on their source, the inner witness, they made a remarkable discovery. They found nothing. Except it was not the usual nothing. The word nothing is used simply because no one was able to find or even make up a word that captured what was found at the root of perception. Many words have cropped up to try to describe this inner nothingness such as emptiness, Brahman, God, spirit, consciousness, the absolute, etc. If the inner observer was traced all the way to its root, it would always fall away into nothing. In that nothingness however there was profound peace and joy beyond description. They additionally found that nothing seemed to exist without being witnessed, as if the act of being witnessed by this consciousness was a necessary factor in the existence of everything we know including ourselves. So they considered consciousness the source or root of all existence.

Most people don’t realize this because they don’t turn their attention around and find its source. Generally, our attention is directly outwardly at objects so the external material world is what we take to be the only reality. But that’s just a function of what we pay attention to. The ancient sages realized with their discovery that this usual way of seeing reality was mistaken and actually the cause of unending misery. They saw that consciousness was the real source of everything that we experience and consciousness is what we are when reduced down to the root.

Out of infinite consciousness the first observable phenomenon that can be discerned is ‘I’. The root thought, I. In its pure form, it is the sense of individual presence, what we feel when we direct our attention inwardly and quiet the mind. From this root thought all the other elements of the mind arise. All the thoughts, feelings, habit patterns, beliefs, images and projections that make up a human mind. These develop as the I, as an individual entity which begins to interact and have experiences. The more complex mental patterns of the mind are further projected outward to make up the seeming external world. In this way, what we experience is the projection of a mental pattern powered by the consciousness (light) that shines through it. This is very much like a hologram as was briefly mentioned in the last post. The implication is that the external world is really not external at all. Even when we experience other people we are seeing our own mental projection of them overlaid onto another individual expression of consciousness.

For me the process of self inquiry validated this in my experience because in looking closely and honestly at my mind I could see the mental patterns behind many of the experiences and situations of my life. Western Occultism deals with this quite intimately in showing students how to identify and change the mental patterns that are creating the difficulty in their lives. If you have a long term pattern/belief that you are poor and lacking in what you need consciousness amplifies this and projects it out as your experience. You will see a world of scarcity where you are continually unable to get what you need. The unfortunate part being you will think it’s the world rather than your mental pattern of poverty, so you will be trapped in it and suffer accordingly. If we learn to look inward and identify the patterns behind our troubles, the possibility of conscious change arises. Dissolving those patterns and replacing them with ones that reflect what we want alters our entire experience of life. By giving attention to the new patterns, consciousness shines through them and we experience the result. Attention is the means by which consciousness is directed.

If you want to explore a very precise way of working with these patterns, dissolving those that don’t serve you and effectively creating ones that do, I highly recommend the lessons of the BOTA. As powerful as that understanding can be, personally I find the key discovery of the ancient sages of the root of the inner observer to be the most significant and profound. No matter how much we learn to reprogram our mental patterns and create better and better versions of our world, it’s all ultimately of little value unless we know who and what we really are. Like the lucid dreamer when you see the world as a dream and wake up in that dream, you can play and create a much more enjoyable dream. However, it’s still just a dream. The reality behind the dream is the ultimate jewel. For this we must go all the way to the center of our heart and wake up from the dream altogether into our true Self. As long as we take ourselves to be a separate entity, we can never reach true fulfillment because something is always missing no matter how good it gets. That something is the truth of who we are.

How beautifully ironic the cosmic joke that what could be considered the greatest achievement or discovery that a human being can ever make is to realize that there really never was a person, just a mask of God…..

About the Author

Colin Bondi is the author of the website, AwakenInTheNow, where this article was originally featured. Please visit his excellent site.

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