Altering your consciousness is a natural instinct. People do it, and always have. So have monkeys, and otters, and bugs and…well, pretty much everything. Interrupting old thought patterns is essential to all life, and perhaps the worst fate any organism can suffer is staying in one place mentally for an entire lifetime. The only way to create change in the world is to create a change in your own thinking, even if other organisms think personal exploration should be forbidden.
Psychedelic enthusiasts often claim pretty much every good thing came from mind-altering substances. In some cases, they even theorize that one likely led to another. Mead might have been discovered when folks were looking for ways to preserve mushrooms containing psilocybin, which may or may not have been a pleasant surprise in the moment. It would be pretty hilarious if it were true, since alcohol ruins and ends a lot of lives while natural psychedelics have still killed a total of zero people.
I guess gateway drugs are real after all.
Almost every part of the world has something growing in it that changes the way people think when they eat it or drink it or smoke it. These natural alternatives to sobriety often play a major role in the lives of indigenous cultures native to the area. They are almost always called on to help youths transition to adulthood, and we already know those rites of passage are important; but they also assist people in dealing with grief and trauma related to life experience.
That might not be a big deal if you’re a native, and know what to expect from the cradle to the grave; people are going to die, food is going to be scarce sometimes, and the tribe expects you to pull your own weight if you can. As long as civilization doesn’t encroach on your way of life, most of the stress indigenous people experience is the same stuff their ancestors went through.
Get too many people together, though; and you always seem to get wars. The images both the invaders and invaded witness in situations like that get burned into their minds in a very telling way. Once you’ve gone off to war, or had one sweep through your town, you never quite see life the same way as you did before. Many people have widely varied experiences when their lives are touched by war, but almost all of them have trauma that stays with them long after the killing stops.
Physical fighting isn’t the only type of war, either. Children raised in abusive households have many of the same psychological markers as veterans, and they may grow up thinking there isn’t any other way. At least in a war, you can remember what it was like before; you can look forward to the days after, as well. For a child raised in trauma, the war goes with them everywhere; unless they do something to shake up their thinking, they’ll fight that internal battle to their dying day.
A possible answer to both of these situations might be drugs, and not the weird stuff cooked up in labs that come with a long list of possibly fatal side effects. Natural medicines have existed a lot longer than modern pills, and it’s pretty easy to predict that they’ll be around long after those magic bullets are gone. The people making these time release toxins are spending a lot of money every year keeping mother nature’s medicines from the American public, but they’re fighting a losing battle when it comes to results.
Post traumatic stress disorder is a concern for anyone living a less than ideal life, and nothing doctors prescribe seems to work. The limited tests being allowed on natural solutions like ibogaine, psilocybin and dimethlytryptamine are showing lasting benefits after a single use; and dramatic results are being reported after multiple sessions. Severe depression and anxiety disappear forever in many of these cases, with no ill side effects and no need to interact any further with the substance.
People may have come up with the concept of war, but nature came up with a way to heal the hearts of those who survive. Rather than make it easy to get for everyone and free for actual veterans, like you’d think it would be, the government makes these natural substances illegal and allows drug companies to profit off the pain of their wounded. I mean that in every sense possible, of course. Physical trauma leaves visible scars, but emotional wounds are often just as debilitating; and drug companies spend ridiculous amounts of money making or keeping natural pain relievers illegal. Cannabis is still federally forbidden, even if the states think the fed is being silly about that; and drugs like kratom are attacked as soon as they come into the nation’s consciousness.
Let’s not forget: it is completely natural to alter your consciousness, even if you don’t have healing to do. No one can claim perfection, and sometimes the limiting doorways within us have to be twisted in their frames a little so we can squeeze through to the other side. Reaching a new level of self-acceptance may not count as a healing, but anyone who has experienced it might strongly disagree. Besides…if nature thinks that kind of experience should be available to us, why would anyone have any interest in denying it to anyone else?
Primates with no access to naturally altered states have been seen hitting themselves in the head with rocks, just to get some kind of different view on things; and people have been known to go to far more dangerous extremes. Tribal cultures with a lack of hallucinogenics in their environment don’t forego drastic paradigm shifts just because nature doesn’t provide a gentle version; they go through violent rituals or ordeal poisoning instead, and receive their higher visions through a haze of pain.
Some people abstain from natural and unnatural drugs, and prefer a path of prayer or meditation. Both traditions might well have started during a strong psychedelic trip, as many spiritual practices have histories that are undeniably intertwined with drug use; and there’s no denying the fact that any quiet time alone will be enhanced by following those ancient traditions. You can still get a pretty good high from a decent prayer or meditation session on it’s own, though. It’s almost as though nature designed us to be introspective, and grow into better people. All these systems are already in place; all we have to do is use them.
This brings us right back to the question of why we aren’t allowed access to many of these natural medicines, and how we managed to accept a bunch of potentially lethal substitutes that clearly don’t work as well as nature’s cures. Anyone who talks too much about the lengths government and corporations have gone to in an attempt to keep us from successfully self-medicating runs the risk of sounding like a conspiracy theorist, and I’m well aware of that.
Despite that, I think this needs to be examined a little more closely. Psychedelics in particular have had a lot to do with getting humanity from one place to another, on more occasions than can be counted; yet this country has treated them like a plague that needs to be eradicated for a number of decades. While other nations allow safe access and responsible use, the United States continues to ostracize and even imprison individuals interested in expanding their paradigm using harmless natural methods.
There’s got to be a reason for it, right? Psychedelics must be a major threat of some kind, if they have been treated that way for so long. Maybe they’re a threat to the way things are, or the stories we’ve been told. In fact, maybe these mind-altering substances endanger all the social norms people have spent all this time coming to agree on. I don’t know, but one thing is for certain…
Psychedelics are a major threat!
We’ll talk about that more next week, in a post by that title. I hope you enjoyed this one, and that you come back for that one! Also, before you go…there is one more thing you ought to know. I have compiled the first collection of these posts into a book, which you can order from my website by clicking the image below. The book includes previously unpublished portions, if you have been keeping up; and it will be all new stuff if you’ve only recently started reading the blog. Either way, it is a great read; and an awesome way to show your appreciation for what I’m doing here. On top of all that…it has this great cover, and makes for a splendid conversation starter if you leave it on your coffee table.
Thanks for reading!
All the best,