religion Tag

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Psilocybin: Magic Mushrooms and Perspective

In the plant medicine world, there are currently a lot of studies and a lot of work happening– also politically to make it legal– about psilocybin. This chemical occurs in what we tend to call magic mushrooms

 

Magic Mushrooms and Religion?

People have been eating magic mushrooms maybe since before religion. Some people even theorize that religion comes out of psychedelic experiences that people had including experiences on mushrooms. Potentially, people ate mushrooms and had spiritual experiences which later were the foundation for religion. 

 

Which, for me, is quite credible because everything is built on people’s experiences, just what kind of experiences were they? Probably vast and varied. 

 

Deeper Spiritual and Reality Experiences

What kind of experiences are people having on magic mushrooms? How can they create something like religion as a possibility or theorize about such a thing? 

 

Well, I’d say people are probably having pretty deep spiritual experiences where they are getting access to parts of themself, reality, or maybe other people’s psyches that they normally don’t have access to. That creates a somewhat reverential stance. 

 

What’s interesting about psilocybin, ayahuasca, or any of these more traditional plant medicines, is that the experience is organized enough that it produces some of what you see in the shamanic cultures. These rituals, ways of being, and sacred parts of a tribal community using psilocybin and psychedelics as possibly a fundamental experience that creates religion. It means that those experiences are organized enough that they produce something like a religion. 

 

Tapping into Transcendence

I don’t just mean people are worshipping “the mushroom”. I mean that they tap into something like the transcendent moral good. 

 

Wow. Could you imagine that you could be walking through the forest, you see this ugly, slimy mushroom, fungus, you eat it and suddenly you have an understanding of the moral good in a way that you didn’t before? 

 

That’s very weird. That’s very strange. How does that occur nowadays? 

 

Psilocybin and Revelations in Our Lives

I don’t think it’s uncommon that somebody might eat psilocybin mushrooms and realize that they’ve been a total schmuck in their relationship for a very long time. They’ve been a total asshole and they’ve been unaware of it. 

 

Why would it be that you would eat a fungus growing out of the ground and then that fungus, when you ingest it, looks at you and tells you, you know, you’ve been a real asshole…and you go, “You know what? It’s the truth.” 

 

I hadn’t really seen it that way for the last 10 years. That’s kind of unbelievable. You have these really mysterious and powerful living plants that when you ingest them give you access to things you just don’t have access to in your everyday life most of the time.

 

I think of the potential in the future of addiction and mental health recovery, because plant medicine gives you access definitely to parts of yourself–possibly to parts of the universe–that we don’t know about. 

 

There’s so much potential and so much power in learning how to navigate those spaces, but then it’s only going to work out if we do it with proper set and setting…And if we’re patient about it. If we have a reverential attitude towards something that may be sacred.

 

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Why “God” Is Such an Important Word

Probably the simplest, most difficult, complicated, controversial, and important concept in spirituality–and I’d probably say reality–is God. 

 

Sometimes it doesn’t feel right to even talk about God. Who are we to talk about God? Who am I to talk about God? 

 

If I’m being more honest and vulnerable–I guess in a moment like you ask God to talk through you–we could see that the reality of God is the most important phenomenon, the most important expression for humanity and for our survival.

Revelations about God

In Judaism, there’s a story about a man named Abraham who had a revelation that there was a Creator of the Universe. This Creator cared about the universe and particularly cared about every individual human. 

 

Imagine being Abraham, having that Revelation and that Truth. Imagine having the experience of God at a time where people didn’t think about God in that way. 

 

People thought about local gods; the god of the wind, the god of this, and the god of that…not about the Creator of the Universe–one that cared about people. 

 

Imagine you had kids, brothers, sisters, friends, and you knew this was truer than anything you ever knew. Imagine how important it would be for you to want to transmit that to your kids, family, and community–you just got to share there’s a God. 

Origins of Religion

When we think about it that way, to me, it becomes very obvious how religion started. 

 

How do I encode this and make sure my kids know and their kids know? 

 

I’m gonna write a song or story about it. Let me write a prayer or make sure I write it down. I’ll create a dance. I got to make sure that we all know that we’re here for a reason and that we’re cared about. It’s also our job to care about each other.

 

Martin Buber is a famous philosopher and Jewish thinker who passed away a long time ago. In his book, Eclipse of God, he talks about the importance of not abandoning the word “God”. 

 

He didn’t talk about whether God exists or not because he’s probably too smart to talk about whether God exists–unlike me. 

 

But he says, we must not abandon the word because you can’t find a word like it. He says, in the inner treasure chamber of the smartest philosophers with the most crystalline, pure, pristine, diamond, shining ideas, you will never find a word like God. 

 

It’s a word that’s been consecrated on many tongues for all time. A word that represents people dying and people living and people’s worst moments and people’s best moments that’s been in the mouths of men since the beginning of the beginning. 

 

He said, “Where can you find a word like that?” I think he’s smart, he doesn’t talk about God, he talks about the word because the word points at reality.

The Shared Soul We Call “God”

It’s like a soul. Some people don’t think they have a soul. That’s weird to me. Really, you don’t think you have a soul? 

 

Because I can feel your soul…because it’s you. You don’t think the world has a soul? What about the cosmos? What about the universe? Just us that has a soul? 

 

You can’t see the soul in your pet dog? The pet dog has a soul and you have a soul, but the world doesn’t have a soul

 

We all don’t have a shared soul that we call God? A source that cares, that’s deep, that’s transformative, loves, knows that order will conquer chaos, love will conquer evil, and that this whole drama that we all live in is actually about something? 

 

You don’t think so? 

 

That’s HaShem which in Hebrew translates, Ha just means The, and Shem means Name. There is no name, it’s just The Name.

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