Mushrooms and Mysteries

Chat about a topic supported by books, TED Talks, podcasts, personal experience, philosophies of mankind mingled with humor (shout out to IOT), and maybe we’ll even do a google hangout or conference call once a month.
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Hagoth
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Mushrooms and Mysteries

Post by Hagoth » Sat May 28, 2022 3:54 pm

Last year 100,000 Americans died from fentanyl and opioid overdoses.

At least that many more were relieved of treatment-resistant depression symptoms, or experienced life-changing spiritual enlightenment by simply eating a mushroom. Yet the "Magic Mushroom" sits alongside fentanyl and heroine on the US government's list of schedule 1 drugs.

No one has ever overdosed on psilocybin. No one has ever been addicted to psilocybin. The FDA had declared psilocybin a breakthrough therapy. Governor Cox just signed a bill to investigate the use of psilocybin as a mental health treatment option in Utah.

What's wrong with this picture?

Numerous studies have revealed that psychedelic "drugs" create exactly the same brain activity patterns as other methods of inducing spiritual/mystical experiences, such as meditation, singing hymns, hearing and bearing testimonies, meditative prayer and fasting, shamanic breathing, speaking in tongues, chanting etc. In 2019 a study finally demonstrated that DMT (the most potent psychedelic) is produced endogenously in the human brain in quantities that rival neurotransmitters like dopamine and serotonin, which suggests that our brains have evolved, for some reason, with a system that naturally incorporates psychedelic molecules into our brain function. It also means that every man, woman, and child in America is breaking the law by illegally possessing and transporting a Schedule 1 drug at all times.

I belong to a church that uses psilocybin-bearing cubensis mushrooms as a sacrament. I have a "testimony" that psychedelics can be a significant kick starter for genuine spiritual experience, and I am convinced, from my research, that religion without psychedelics is a relatively new invention that came about as the result of large, hierarchical religious institutions controlling the rights of individuals to have their own revelatory experiences.

I know I've talked about this stuff before, but since Stuck brought this up on another thread recently, I thought I should start a new thread to address the topic directly.

I am happy to answer any questions.
“The easy confidence with which I know another man's religion is folly teaches me to suspect that my own is also.” -Mark Twain

Jesus: "The Kingdom of God is within you." The Buddha: "Be your own light."

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Red Ryder
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Re: Mushrooms and Mysteries

Post by Red Ryder » Sun May 29, 2022 2:39 am

Any recommendations for a first time experience?

I’ve read through a lot of Reddit posts about first time experience. Like having the right mental attitude, a trusted person to help guide, and the right surroundings to avoid a bad trip?
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Cnsl1
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Re: Mushrooms and Mysteries

Post by Cnsl1 » Sun May 29, 2022 7:32 am

Isn't psilocybin currently illegal ?

Can you answer: Where do you get it and how do you take it?

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Hagoth
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Re: Mushrooms and Mysteries

Post by Hagoth » Sun May 29, 2022 7:52 am

Red Ryder wrote:
Sun May 29, 2022 2:39 am
Any recommendations for a first time experience?

I’ve read through a lot of Reddit posts about first time experience. Like having the right mental attitude, a trusted person to help guide, and the right surroundings to avoid a bad trip?
There are two basic approaches. I can't tell you which is best. One is to start small, with a sub-psychedelic dose (1 or 2 grams) and ease your way into it. The other is to take a large psychedelic dose (3-5 grams) and have the full experience from the beginning. I did the 2nd option.

Yes, apart from dose, set and setting are the important variables. If you enter the experience with a proper mindset in an environment where you feel safe you shouldn't have to worry about a "bad trip." Don't do it at a concert or because you feel pressured into it. You might have a challenging experience, but that can be turned around into a very positive experience quite easily. I personally don't know anyone who has had a "bad trip" of the sort that they didn't feel like it was a valuable, insightful growth experience.

If you don't have an experienced guide, you should probably do it with a friend, either together or with the friend holding space for you. I can give you sitter guidelines. More and more people are becoming certified psychedelic therapists, so you might want to seek out one of those.

This is where an organization like The Divine Assembly can be very helpful. I had considered psychedelics a very personal experience and I had no interest in doing it around other people, but I attended a Divine Assembly ceremony, mostly to observe from an anthropologist's point of view. I ended up joining in and had one of the best experiences of my life. I felt like I was witnessing the genesis of something important and historical. It turns out that community and psychedelics integrate beautifully, which might help explain why ancient religions almost universally depended on psychoactive substances for some aspect of worship (the part the school courses leave out!).
“The easy confidence with which I know another man's religion is folly teaches me to suspect that my own is also.” -Mark Twain

Jesus: "The Kingdom of God is within you." The Buddha: "Be your own light."

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Hagoth
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Re: Mushrooms and Mysteries

Post by Hagoth » Sun May 29, 2022 8:13 am

Cnsl1 wrote:
Sun May 29, 2022 7:32 am
Isn't psilocybin currently illegal ?

Can you answer: Where do you get it and how do you take it?
Psilocybin is listed as a Schedule 1 "drug" in the US.
Steve Urquhart, founder of The Divine Assembly, has built a legal platform which claims religious exemption under the Religious Freedom and Restoration Act, which is what protects peyote and ayahuasca churches. He has cleverly taken advantage of The Brethrens' use of Utah law to carve out a wide religious freedom space in Utah. Although there are no specific exemptions for psilocybin, the safe and sincere use of psilocybin by members of a church like TDA should be strongly defensible if it came down to it. Steve actually informs the police what he is doing and invites them to larger events to make sure everything is being done properly. Two of the three ceremonies I have attended were held in outdoor public places.

The safest way to get psilocybin is to grow it yourself. The spores can be purchased legally in most states. PM me for details.

The mushrooms should be dried and carefully measured. You can just chomp them down like popcorn, but I think the best way to do it is with a process called lemon tek. The mushrooms are ground into powder and soaked in lemon juice, then strained. The lemon juice converts the precursor psilocybin into the active form psilocin, which is normally done by your stomach acid. It gets into your system faster and is much easier than eating the mushrooms, which have a strong flavor that many people find unpleasant. It also removes the fibrous chitin that is hard to digest and can make some people nauseous.
“The easy confidence with which I know another man's religion is folly teaches me to suspect that my own is also.” -Mark Twain

Jesus: "The Kingdom of God is within you." The Buddha: "Be your own light."

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Hagoth
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Re: Mushrooms and Mysteries

Post by Hagoth » Sun May 29, 2022 8:38 am

Psilocybin is the safest of the substances listed in the Other category. In other words, far safer than caffeine.
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“The easy confidence with which I know another man's religion is folly teaches me to suspect that my own is also.” -Mark Twain

Jesus: "The Kingdom of God is within you." The Buddha: "Be your own light."

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Hagoth
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Re: Mushrooms and Mysteries

Post by Hagoth » Sun May 29, 2022 12:24 pm

At the risk of beating a dead horse...
Image

...you kinda have to ask yourself why psychedelics are so feared and controlled, compared to alcohol and tobacco, which can be purchased in any Quickie Mart.
“The easy confidence with which I know another man's religion is folly teaches me to suspect that my own is also.” -Mark Twain

Jesus: "The Kingdom of God is within you." The Buddha: "Be your own light."

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alas
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Re: Mushrooms and Mysteries

Post by alas » Sun May 29, 2022 2:00 pm

Hagoth wrote:
Sun May 29, 2022 12:24 pm
At the risk of beating a dead horse...
Image

...you kinda have to ask yourself why psychedelics are so feared and controlled, compared to alcohol and tobacco, which can be purchased in any Quickie Mart.
Duh, because more people make money off of tobacco and alcohol. Psychedelics that you can grow yourself have no lobby and no money to bride…I mean donate to campaigns of the congressmen. Follow the money. The tobacco industry is a main briber of congress and the gun lobby and NRA are why we have school shootings. Because they donate huge amounts to all Republicans and most democrats. Always follow the money. Who profits from this problem?

Follow the profit, follow the profit,
Follow the profit, it’ll show corruption.
Follow the profit, follow the profit
….

I don’t feel like writing that last line, so you get to do it. Maybe I just don’t know what rhymes with corruption, well, NRA must rhyme with corruption. Trump rhymes with corruption.

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Hagoth
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Re: Mushrooms and Mysteries

Post by Hagoth » Sun May 29, 2022 2:47 pm

alas wrote:
Sun May 29, 2022 2:00 pm

Duh, because more people make money off of tobacco and alcohol. Psychedelics that you can grow yourself have no lobby and no money to bride…I mean donate to campaigns of the congressmen. Follow the money. The tobacco industry is a main briber of congress and the gun lobby and NRA are why we have school shootings. Because they donate huge amounts to all Republicans and most democrats. Always follow the money. Who profits from this problem?
What they all need is a good dose of Schedule 1 psychedelics to give them some perspective! Assuming they are capable of a conducive mindset.
“The easy confidence with which I know another man's religion is folly teaches me to suspect that my own is also.” -Mark Twain

Jesus: "The Kingdom of God is within you." The Buddha: "Be your own light."

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Hagoth
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Re: Mushrooms and Mysteries

Post by Hagoth » Mon May 30, 2022 4:22 pm

One of the most fascinating aspects of psychedelics for me is the recent neurological data that shows, via brain scans, that the psychedelic experience is neurologically identical to any other form of mystical experience (e.g. those achieved by meditation, shamanic breathing, ecstatic dancing, chanting, etc.) William James said, after experimenting with nitrous oxide to induce a mystical state, "It is that our normal waking consciousness, rational consciousness as we call it, is but one special type of consciousness, whilst all about it, parted from it by the filmiest of screens, there lie potential forms of consciousness entirely different."

Look at this diagram of a normally functioning brain and a brain on psilocybin:
Image

Your Default Mode Network mostly just follows the same railroad tracks between adjacent brain centers. Psychedelics erase those tracks and let all parts of your brain talk to each other. It's no wonder people think they are experiencing God/gods/entities/aliens/other dimensions. What you discover is that you have access to endless vistas and realms of experience that you could never have imagined. There is so much more going on between our ears than you normally have access to. Sometimes it's scary, but at other times it is beyond the most powerfully spiritual experience you can imagine. It certainly makes the warm tingles you used to get from singing Praise to the Man look like a dud.
“The easy confidence with which I know another man's religion is folly teaches me to suspect that my own is also.” -Mark Twain

Jesus: "The Kingdom of God is within you." The Buddha: "Be your own light."

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stealthbishop
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Re: Mushrooms and Mysteries

Post by stealthbishop » Wed Jun 01, 2022 8:02 am

I'm very much interested in this topic. I'm glad you posted it.
"Take second best
Put me to the test
Things on your chest
You need to confess"

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Hagoth
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Re: Mushrooms and Mysteries

Post by Hagoth » Wed Jun 01, 2022 2:14 pm

stealthbishop wrote:
Wed Jun 01, 2022 8:02 am
I'm very much interested in this topic. I'm glad you posted it.
Glad to help in any way I can.
“The easy confidence with which I know another man's religion is folly teaches me to suspect that my own is also.” -Mark Twain

Jesus: "The Kingdom of God is within you." The Buddha: "Be your own light."

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alas
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Re: Mushrooms and Mysteries

Post by alas » Fri Jun 03, 2022 9:41 am

Hagoth wrote:
Wed Jun 01, 2022 2:14 pm
stealthbishop wrote:
Wed Jun 01, 2022 8:02 am
I'm very much interested in this topic. I'm glad you posted it.
Glad to help in any way I can.
I am interested too, not that I want to experiment, but professionally I worked with lots of PTSD, and it is difficult to treat. Now the profession is experimenting with drugs and this is after finding that some techniques like NLP would kind of snap the brain into thinking straight. I used NLP on clients who would allow it, and I have no idea why it works. But hey, if drugs could do it even quicker, then I am all for it. I can’t imagine why they would work, but if they can help, then the doctors should be allowed to experiment with it and find out the best ways.

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Re: Mushrooms and Mysteries

Post by dogbite » Sat Jun 04, 2022 11:59 am

Hagoth wrote:
Sat May 28, 2022 3:54 pm

I belong to a church that uses psilocybin-bearing cubensis mushrooms as a sacrament. I have a "testimony" that psychedelics can be a significant kick starter for genuine spiritual experience...
How is it more genuine than any other spiritual experience? Seems a loaded word choice.

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stealthbishop
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Re: Mushrooms and Mysteries

Post by stealthbishop » Mon Jun 06, 2022 8:40 am

Does it or could it help with trauma and/or rumination of painful memories?
"Take second best
Put me to the test
Things on your chest
You need to confess"

-Depeche Mode

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Hagoth
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Re: Mushrooms and Mysteries

Post by Hagoth » Mon Jun 06, 2022 3:55 pm

dogbite wrote:
Sat Jun 04, 2022 11:59 am
Hagoth wrote:
Sat May 28, 2022 3:54 pm

I belong to a church that uses psilocybin-bearing cubensis mushrooms as a sacrament. I have a "testimony" that psychedelics can be a significant kick starter for genuine spiritual experience...
How is it more genuine than any other spiritual experience? Seems a loaded word choice.
I guess I don't know which words you're talking about, dogbite. I don't believe I made that claim. I was responding to the lazy learner's accusation that it can't lead to real spirituality because "it's just a drug." Mohammed can go to the mountain or he can sit in a church pew waiting for someone to load the mountain on a dump truck and bring it to him. I see spirituality as something like a sky that is raining soup. If you're hungry enough you will hold out a bowl. There are all kinds of bowls. This is a really good one for many people.
“The easy confidence with which I know another man's religion is folly teaches me to suspect that my own is also.” -Mark Twain

Jesus: "The Kingdom of God is within you." The Buddha: "Be your own light."

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Hagoth
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Re: Mushrooms and Mysteries

Post by Hagoth » Mon Jun 06, 2022 4:08 pm

stealthbishop wrote:
Mon Jun 06, 2022 8:40 am
Does it or could it help with trauma and/or rumination of painful memories?
Yes, but there is more clinical work going on right now along those lines using MDMA. If you haven't read How to Change Your Mind by Michael Pollan I highly recommend it.

But let me give you one example. I know a guy who was a security guard at a local branch of Burning Man. One of his jobs was to keep people safe when they started the big fire. Unfortunately someone showed up who had decided to use that fire as a way to commit suicide. My acquaintance tried to intervene but couldn't get to him in time. He had to stand and watch him burn to death at close range. It was an extremely intense chemical fire (think rocket fuel) that made it impossible to get close enough to pull the guy out.

The security guard suffered massive PTSD as a result. His life was in a shambles for ten years after that. Finally he was directed to an experienced psilocybin therapist who administered 2 grams of mushrooms and sat with him for a few hours. He told me his trauma completely vanished during that session and he was able to get back on track and rebuild his life. The trauma has never returned.

That's the only first hand story I can share with you of such a significant change, but I know many other people who have been helped to lesser degrees, including myself.
“The easy confidence with which I know another man's religion is folly teaches me to suspect that my own is also.” -Mark Twain

Jesus: "The Kingdom of God is within you." The Buddha: "Be your own light."

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Hagoth
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Re: Mushrooms and Mysteries

Post by Hagoth » Tue Jun 07, 2022 9:43 am

dogbite wrote:
Sat Jun 04, 2022 11:59 am
Hagoth wrote:
Sat May 28, 2022 3:54 pm

I belong to a church that uses psilocybin-bearing cubensis mushrooms as a sacrament. I have a "testimony" that psychedelics can be a significant kick starter for genuine spiritual experience...
How is it more genuine than any other spiritual experience? Seems a loaded word choice.
Dogbite, please bear with me as I attempt to flesh this out a little bit more.

Imagine you had been meditating or doing some other practice for the past ten years trying to catch a glimpse of enlightenment. But you don't really know what you're looking for. You'll only know it when you see it and until you do, you have no way of knowing you're on the right track. Now imagine a Zen master came along with a magic rock and told you that anyone who holds the rock while meditating will feel enlightenment and will be able to use that experience as a guidepost toward their goal. He lets you hold the rock. You feel enlightenment for a moment. You learn what you can do within your meditation practice to increase or decrease the magnitude of the experience. Now you have a general direction in which to focus your practice. That's what I mean by kick start. There have been many religious practitioners, from both eastern and western traditions, who have reported exactly that experience with psychedelics.

Ancient and modern texts tell us that mystical experiences are startlingly consistent, once we strip away the specific religious trappings. Saint Augustine said it was “brighter than all light yet more inward than any secret recess,” and, “in a flash of mental energy we attained the eternal wisdom which abides beyond all things.” Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh described it as, “the tremendous ecstasy which the mind cannot even dream about.“ These sages seem to have caught a common glimpse of the same ultimate vision, a shared peek behind the curtain of waking reality into the realm of mystical ecstasy. The list of techniques for entering the mystical state is long and diverse. It includes contemplative prayer, meditation, fasting, isolation, chanting, ecstatic dancing, rhythmic motion or whirling, shamanic breathing, sacred diets, divine possession, sweat lodges, etc.
Although individual approaches to disengage from the daily experience of ego are highly individualized for each practitioner, the attempts to describe the indescribable realm into which they transcend tend to become uniform once that threshold has been crossed, regardless of how they are induced.

Perhaps more importantly, many neurological studies have now demonstrated, via brain scan technology, that the underlying brain state is the same, regardless of whether you get there by praying, meditating, rhythmic dancing, or eating a mushroom.

I can give you a list of resources if you're interested.
“The easy confidence with which I know another man's religion is folly teaches me to suspect that my own is also.” -Mark Twain

Jesus: "The Kingdom of God is within you." The Buddha: "Be your own light."

dogbite
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Re: Mushrooms and Mysteries

Post by dogbite » Thu Jun 09, 2022 11:12 am

I'm aware of those things.

To use the word genuine then is to cast all spiritual experiences in equality.

As you/we now reject the validity of some to all of the spiritual experiences we had in mormonism. So they are not all genuine in the same sense after all.

So to say psilocybin is a genuine spiritual experience while rejecting some to all of your mormon spiritual experiences makes me wonder what you meant by genuine.

I don't think you've addressed that. It may be me forcing Freudian meaning on your usage, but I don't think so currently.

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Hagoth
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Re: Mushrooms and Mysteries

Post by Hagoth » Fri Jun 10, 2022 4:27 am

dogbite wrote:
Thu Jun 09, 2022 11:12 am
I'm aware of those things.

To use the word genuine then is to cast all spiritual experiences in equality.

As you/we now reject the validity of some to all of the spiritual experiences we had in mormonism. So they are not all genuine in the same sense after all.

So to say psilocybin is a genuine spiritual experience while rejecting some to all of your mormon spiritual experiences makes me wonder what you meant by genuine.

I don't think you've addressed that. It may be me forcing Freudian meaning on your usage, but I don't think so currently.
OK, I think I understand the disconnect now. Thank you so much for helping me see what I was overlooking!

You and I seem to be using the word "genuine" to mean two entirely different things. I think you are using it within a more typically Mormon context, as in associated with the literalness of truth claims. I am using it in a more, I dunno, anthropological or neurological context.

We have all had spiritual experiences in the LDS church. We were taught that if you feel the spirit while hearing about, or praying about, singing about, or watching a film strip about X, then you must conclude that X is literal truth. If you have a spiritual experience while watching a sunset it's because God is telling you that he made that sunset so you will have more faith in him and his One and Only True Church. Etc. Etc. Etc.

I have used the example of a member of my High Priest group who bitterly criticized someone for claiming they had a spiritual experience just being out in nature. High Priest Guy insisted that you cannot have a genuine spiritual experience outside of a church setting, because the purpose of spiritual experience is to testify of the truthfulness of the church. If Nature Guy claims he had a genuine spiritual experience while sitting on a rock looking at the stars without acknowledging Joseph Smith or Russell Nelson or even Elohim, in High Priest Guy's worldview, that must mean Nature Guy is claiming that sitting on a rock looking at the stars is The One and Only True Church, and we can't have that. So Nature Guy's spiritual experience must be a lie, a case of mistaken identity, or a demonic deception that he mistook for a genuine spiritual experience. It cannot possibly be genuine by High Priest Guy's standards.

I had a conversation with my bishop once about spiritual experiences. I asked him if he believed people in other religions have spiritual experiences. He conceded that appears to be the case, but they obviously either aren't genuine, or they are some lesser form of spirituality designed to nudge the recipient toward the One and Only True Church, because you cannot possibly have a genuine spiritual experience in context of a false religion.

When I talk about spirituality I'm talking purely about the experience, not the context. For me, a genuine spiritual experience is one that is transcendent and can stand on its own without the need any context at all. Our pattern-seeking nature makes us want to assign context, and we can even use context as a tool for generating spiritual experiences, but THAT is the part that is not genuine, in my opinion.

"Spirituality" can be snapshotted in a brain scan image as a blood flow pattern. Is it that all it is, or is that pattern a reaction to something else? Who knows?

Somehow this experience makes us feel connected to nature, or that we are catching a glimpse of something bigger than ourselves. For whatever reason it feels like an outpouring of love and it is nourishing and enriching. It gives us a broader perspective than the box we normally live in. It makes us more empathetic. It is a real thing, and it does not belong to a religion; it belongs to anyone in possession of a human brain.

I think the purest form of spirituality is to be able to just accept that gift as your nature-given right, regardless of whether you achieve it spontaneously, or from meditation, hymn singing, psilocybin, or listening a Mark Knopfler guitar solo. And I believe it has absolutely nothing to do with ancient books, or institutions, or ideologies, even though it can also be found within those contexts.

If we want to talk about context within the church, if I am to be honest with myself, I was doing everything in my power to try to convince myself that tiny little molehills of spirituality that trickled down to me were actually mountains of faith, and in retrospect I now understand that I had very few tools with which to do that. Psilocybin is one of the things that has helped me break through some barriers to make this spiritual experience thing, whatever it is, a much more real and significant part of my life than it actually was within the church context. I'm not trying to talk you or anyone else into doing the same, I just want to dispel misinformation and unnecessary prejudice.

Does that help at all?
“The easy confidence with which I know another man's religion is folly teaches me to suspect that my own is also.” -Mark Twain

Jesus: "The Kingdom of God is within you." The Buddha: "Be your own light."

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