Psilocybin Research and Spirituality: One Year Later

A year ago I wrote about the findings in the Johns Hopkins psilocybin study:

“a third of the participants in the study described the psilocybin experience as the single most significant experience of their lives and about three-quarters ranked it in the top 5″.

Pretty remarkable stuff.  Even more remarkable is that a year later, the experience has “stuck:”

“Even at the 14-month follow-up, 58 percent of 36 volunteers rated the experience on the psilocybin session as among the five most personally meaningful experiences of their lives and 67 percent rated it among the five most spiritually significant experiences of their lives..”

And I’m again pleased to see the mainstream press giving it fair, non-hysterical coverage here and here.  [Thanks, Chris.]

Bird Songs and Red Mangoes

Today was one of those days that reminds me why I love living – and as a bonus, doing it here. The sun was shining and it was well above 80. The birds were singing away and frantically going about their springtime business. I have some (sparrows, I think) nesting on the north side of the house. I hear so many different birdsongs day and night that I’ve started checking to try to identify them.

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Daniel Pinchbeck and the Mayans

Years ago, I read Pinchbeck’s Breaking Open the Head, and found it to be a good and interesting book, even if somewhat inconclusive.

Somehow I missed Rolling Stone‘s profile of him over a year ago. It’s a really interesting story – his influences and where they took him. I saw Pinchbeck on the Colbert Report a few months ago talking about his new book, 2012: The Return of Quetzalcoatl and I was quite confused.

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Boston to LA via the Slovak Republic

Dear Everyone,

I’m a year late at a true update. So, as 2007 comes to a close, it’s high time for a general update on my new scene – especially since I’ve not sent out holiday cards. Some of you have been following along here (thanks!), but most of you haven’t had the time, so here’s an abbreviation.

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Tom Robbins On Psychedelics

“My life doesn’t revolve nor has it ever revolved, around psychedelics. They enhanced my life — psychedelics can enhance the life of any intelligent, courageous person, and they might even represent our last great hope for planetary survival — but they didn’t replace my life or become its central focus. Second, it shouldn’t be implied that the acid elves sell talent by the pound — or the microgram. The psychedelic drug doesn’t exist that can make a creative genius out of a hack or turn a neurotic weenie into a happy fully-conscious human being. You have to bring something to the table, and be willing to risk your belief systems. Some people want to go to heaven without dying.”

God, Intellect and Universal Truth

For someone who doesn’t believe in God, I think about God a lot.

Exploring Texas, where megachurches are more common than oil wells (and probably more profitable), lately it’s made my mind itch a little more than usual. I was raised a Pentecostal Christian, and these places remind me of the intellectual darkness I experienced inside the stifling walls of organized religion.

Sagittarius Star Cloud by J P Stanley
        Sagittarius Star Cloud by J P Stanley

That a hundred million of my fellow Americans believe these buildings are their best gateway to the Ultimate is heartbreaking indeed.
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Psychedelic Research Reveals More Truth

I’ve long advocated for the rational exploration of the psychological and spiritual benefits of psychedelics. I believe, as do many, that they have therapeutic potential unlike anything found in pharmacology today. Luckily, the medical research is catching up with us.

The medical journal Psychopharmacology has just published the results of a study at Johns Hopkins that explored the impact of psilocybin on a group of healthy, normal middle-aged adults, and there seems to be little room for interpretation. I am ecstatic that rational scientific inquiry is backing up what many have known for eons – that these are powerful chemicals that offer access to the subconscious and the Divine.
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Our Drug Policy Insanity

I’ve never been exposed to a solid intellectual argument for prevailing US drug policy that, if followed to its logical conclusion, wouldn’t turn sweet cream butter into a Schedule A substance.

Something’s wrong when advertisements that warn of the “dangers” of marijuana are immediately followed by ads glorifying alcohol – a dangerous drug which is involved in nearly half of the nation’s accidental deaths. Or when we miss the haunting surreality of a talk show segment that explores the “dangers of ecstasy” then tells us how a troubled teen found help with Prozac.
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Why Looks Matter And Why That’s OK

The unspoken truth about the media buzz surrounding Jessica Simpson’s visit to Congress is something very primal that most people aren’t comfortable talking about in pleasant company. Ron Reagan said it quite brilliantly tonight on Chris Matthews’ show when he observed that “meeting Jessica Simpson is the closest most of these guys will ever come to an erotic experience.” Well put (not that she’s my type.) But why do so few dare say that out loud?

As with many things from food to drugs, Americans – most especially the so-called “intelligentsia” – have a rather schizophrenic attitude about beauty and sexual attraction. Most will uncomfortably admit, if hard pressed, that beauty really matters; but we seem to want to pretend it doesn’t, as if it’s somehow less worthy of our attention and admiration than intelligence or charisma.
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