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Psychedelics & Spiritual Practice

Sometimes with psychedelics, powerful experiences can come too quickly and you can get overwhelmed. If this happens, go back to your most grounded practice and to a place of nourishment and refuge. Take your time. Otherwise you will close down when you touch experiences that are too fearsome or difficult. With practice rp_zen-sand-300x300.jpgyou can learn to surrender and go through whatever difficulty arises, and it will release you to a larger, freer consciousness.So, yes, LSD, mushrooms, Ecstasy, or ayahuasca can bring healing and can grant us access to visionary and mystical realms, realms of tremendous, transcendent understanding. They can bring a perception of unity, the reality of our connection with everything. Any methods that open the heart in this way and show us that we are not separate, that touch the realms of universal loving, kindness, and compassion, can be valuable. But you need to be careful. For some people the judicious use of these substances can open the mind and reveal how consciousness creates the world, that physical reality is created out of consciousness and not the opposite. For other people these drugs are a danger, particularly if one has a history of substance abuse or a family history of drug or alcohol addiction.Hallucinogens are powerful medicine, enormously compelling for some people as an initial opening. At later stages you may be called to use them again wisely, but always with the constraints of virtue and care. They can be easily abused if one is not careful. And remember, there are a hundred other ways to open to these realms without hallucinogens: intensive prayer, movement and breath practices, shamanic drumming, initiation rituals, ecstatic and purifying dancing, vision quests, and intensive meditation retreats. Stanislav and Christina Grof and I offer annual retreats that feature the practice of Holotropic Breath-work, a powerful breathing practice done in groups that opens the inner realms, much like psychedelics. We combine this work with Buddhist meditation. Participants interested in these forms of inner exploration seem to appreciate this combination of practices.Sacred medicine is a part of spiritual paths on every continent. In spiritual communities, we need an honest exploration of this delicate and sometimes taboo topic. Let us approach the use of these drugs consciously. In my view, whatever leads to opening the heart and mind and letting go is beneficial.This excerpt is taken from the book, “Bringing Home the Dharma: Awakening Right Where You Are

The Mystery of Color and Sound

Opening to the World by Chogyam Trungpa