Wednesday, 26 July 2017

Drugs and Spirituality

Some people described as religious leaders who include Catholic, Orthodox and Presbyterian priests, Rabbis and a Zen Buddhist recently took part in an experiment in which they were given powerful doses of psilocybin, a psychedelic drug, to see how they would react and if they would report any mystical experiences. See here. This prompts me to revisit some comments I made elsewhere on the subject of drugs and spirituality because I am firmly of the belief that the two don't mix and those who try to mix them on the basis that drugs can offer an experience roughly simulating the mystical are making a mistake. I apologise if these remarks seem a bit piecemeal. I originally made them in another context and have only edited them slightly for this post.

To begin with, why should one even consider associating consciousness altering drugs and the spiritual path? After all, the real aim of the spiritual path is not to achieve a higher state of consciousness (if it were, why be born?) but to acquire virtue using that word to encompass all that is involved in the idea of the good, the beautiful and the true*. You might say that experiencing these states could reorient a person to the spiritual but even if that were true (and I don't dismiss the idea) then once is enough. You don’t need to keep going back even in the context of ritual or so called worship. The point is that it is an artificial means to try to take the kingdom of heaven by storm and therefore a fundamentally irreligious thing to do. It is putting your will above God’s. If he wants you to experience transcendent states he is perfectly capable of giving them to you. However he knows the strong likelihood that a person gets attached to these states and loses the reason for being on the spiritual path in the first place which is to get closer to God through the heart not by means of drugs. The latter will make the former more difficult not less so.

I took LSD a few times in my youth and I also took morning glory seeds which have a similar effect to LSD but are a natural substance. I know how powerful the psychedelic experience is. But what does it really teach you? That higher states exist and that some of them might be something like those you have experienced? To put it bluntly, so what? That's not going to change you fundamentally, not as you are in your character though it may change the way you think. It's a mechanical technique and mechanical techniques don't work in the spiritual world. The best they can do is offer a parody of spirituality. Advocates claim it reveals a world of oneness and love but I'm afraid, even in the best case scenario, all that will happen as a result of that is that you will start behaving in a way you think corresponds to that. That is to say, your behaviour will be considered rather than spontaneous and coming from an inner realisation. There will be a gap between you as you are and your behaviour caused by what you think. You'll be a fake.

You see, drugs operate in the world of experience but spirituality, true spirituality, the spirituality of the saints, is a matter of innocence meaning precisely that it is a natural not artificial expression of what you are inside.

Even setting all this aside, the fact is that taking drugs can open a person up to the influence of dark forces even if done in a supposed religious context. Your (to use a New Agey kind of term) energy fields are open and anything can get in. Drugs can introduce you to the inner side of creation (this is the world of the shaman and quite distinct from the higher spiritual world), and there are many different kinds of inhabitants there. However it is not the realm of the true saints and sages who are humanity's teachers. This is not accessed through drugs.

The fact that no proper spiritual teacher or prophet or guru has ever advocated drug taking in any context should be enough to make one aware that it is not the route to go down. Indeed, my own teachers told me that my use of them had damaged my brain to a degree, and I was by no means a heavy user.

It could be said that one's motivation determines the legitimacy of taking drugs. For instance, what if one is truly seeking divine reality and not just doing it for kicks? I'm afraid that alters very little. Good intentions certainly mitigate a wrong action but a wrong action is still a wrong action, and the point about trying to bend God's will to your own still stands as does the one about prioritising experience over being.  I don't think drugs of any kind have ever made anyone a better person, usually the reverse.

The truth is that the attempt to break into the next world by any artificial means, whether through drugs, chemical or natural, or even fasting, dancing, drumming etc is not the way forward. It belongs to our evolutionary pre-rational past and comes from a time when connection to perceived oneness was being lost and people sought to recapture it. So it’s essentially degenerate behaviour.  It is not a spiritual practice because when you come right down to it it is self-seeking. It is valuing God's gifts above God himself. In our present state of being meditation and prayer are the way forward. Can you imagine any of the saints doing this? Can you imagine Jesus or the Buddha recommending it?

You might think these strictures apply only within the context of theistic religion and are not relevant in terms of an approach that seeks higher levels of consciousness without bringing God into the matter. Setting aside for the moment whether that is an incorrect approach or not (it is!), I would still say that drugs actually reduce one's ability to access these states naturally and, even more important, to respond to them from the standpoint, moral and spiritual, of their own level. By which I mean that if you trespass where you have not earned the right to be you will not be able to understand where you are. Only when you have earned the right of entry by the inner quality of your own being can you respond to these levels properly and in terms of what they really are. Spiritually speaking, you cannot separate knowing and being, and if you try to circumvent that rule you risk inner disconnection. 

The point about higher states of consciousness is not that we should experience them but that we should be like them. This won't happen through drugs but through repentance, self-purification and dedication to the light, principally the light of Christ. Ultimately it's a question of 'thy will be done'. Trying to storm the kingdom of heaven by means of drugs is doing 'my will'.

*Note:  It could be argued that's just the Christian aim but I think it is the universal aim as in what God wants for us. However even from a Buddhist perspective of enlightenment the goal is to go beyond the idea of 'states' altogether so anything tending to affirm that idea could only increase attachment and cravings. Hence for the Buddhist the use of drugs would simply be seen as perpetuating illusion.

Saturday, 22 July 2017

Thursday, 20 July 2017

Remember the Creator blog

I've started a new blog called Remember the Creator which can be found here. It is somewhat similar to this blog in that it is about spiritual matters but is more focussed on the idea of God, his nature and reality or as much of them as I can comprehend in my mind and imagination. 

I've done this because I think that acknowledging the fact of God is the single most important thing in the world today. He is the subject of all subjects and the fact behind all facts but we have lost sight of this fundamental and essential truth. Consequently we are drifting towards destruction. These are days of material prosperity for most people in the Western world (though how long that will last is anyone's guess), but we are also the most spiritually impoverished people there has ever been.

Our existence is a gift from God. Not to recognise this gift is a great sin. We need to put that right and turn our faces towards the source of our being which is God, the Most High.

Sunday, 16 July 2017

The Overturning of the Natural Order

Is the West, and by extension the whole world, under spiritual assault?

A polemical piece on this subject on Albion Awakening.

Friday, 14 July 2017

The Incoherence of Modernity

Today's world does not believe in any underlying structure to reality and thinks it can make what it calls reality according to how it (currently and for the time being) thinks it ought to be. But in that case if you believe in what is acceptable according to modern lights and I am a racist, sexist, anti-Semitic, homophobe, how can you say that I am wrong? How can one set of morals be any better than the other? Why should one have morals at all other than for purely utilitarian reasons? According to what yardstick are you saying you are right and I am wrong?  Any yardstick by which sets of morals are judged must be something that stands above and beyond them. Otherwise everything is equally valid or equally invalid, and even if you say that that is good which offers the greatest happiness and the least suffering to society as a whole I could say, why?  Why should that even matter? It might be good in a purely functional sense but that doesn't make it objectively better and, even if it did, by whose criteria, yours or mine?

If there is no underlying structure to reality then there is no truth. Nothing is better or worse. Nothing is right or wrong. Everything is what you want it to be. Life is basically a horror film in which we cover up the yawning abyss of nothingness by self-deception and self-distraction. The most reasonable attitude is that of the criminal who just seeks to exploit as many people as possible for his own benefit, up to and including murder, rape and anything else he feels like doing. This is the only logical conclusion, not that logic means anything either. The world is a nightmare from which we can never wake up. The blackness of unconsciousness is the only release. This is the absurdity of the modern world.

Luckily it is a completely false view of the world. There is an underlying truth, there is a reality to reality. But then that means we have to conform ourselves to it. We cannot just behave in a way that might seem to benefit us or be pleasing to us or even be regarded as fair according to the standards of the world. There is right and wrong, truth and falsehood, good and bad and we must seek the one and avoid the other. Of course, we always know this on some level and even in our deluded state we try to fabricate something along those lines even though, if we really examined our thoughts about this, we would find they just didn't add up and were completely contradictory.  We don't believe in an absolute but try to 'absolutise' the relative. 

Life only makes sense if there is a spiritual reality behind it. Without that it is completely meaningless. Once you see this things start falling into place but it also puts you in a difficult position with regard to the world for you now judge by a different set of rules and right and wrong are not what they were, indeed are sometimes almost the opposite of what they were for they are based on something beyond the outward appearance of things. They are based on an unchanging spiritual reality not fashionable ideology and that puts everything in an entirely different perspective. It is only spirituality that can give coherence to the world. It is the only foundation on which any moral system can stand.

Tuesday, 11 July 2017

The Intolerance of the Politically Correct

It's been said a hundred times but the politically correct really are unable to extend the same tolerance they demand from others to those who have breached their standards. They position themselves as guardians of morality but are really only concerned with the letter of the law. Its spirit passes them right by. Is this because that fundamentally they are self righteous Pharisees whose real pleasure is in signposting their virtue by condemning others? Quite obviously, yes it is.

A foolish politician has used a phrase which should have been allowed to fade into obscurity long ago. But when she was growing up it was not uncommon as I can attest, being of a similar age to her. These things might slip out in an unguarded moment but generally they don't signify much more than a person's age and background. When will we realise that whether a person appears racist or sexist or anti-racist or anti-sexist is largely immaterial? These are intellectual positions or habits, cultural or generational. What really matters is the state of a person's heart and how much true loving kindness they possess. I know people who tick all the politically correct boxes but whose hearts are dead. I have known others who would have said worse things than this politician did but who had true love for all, regardless of race or whatever. 

Think twice before you cast stones. Don't judge by appearances. Judge by the heart.