Letter to Psychology Today
Psychology Today, Letters to the Editor* One Park Avenue, New York, N Y. 10016
The distinctions of ordinary, waking reality on the one hand and dream reality on the other as a basis for understanding the serotonin phenomenon are inadequate.
It is a more appropriate model in this instance to hypothesize three* * categories of interrelated reality/mind experience:
1. Linear, when mind is focused on the future or an activity structured to be fulfilled at some future time. This is considered ordinary reality in Western culture, and a neurological system that is not modified by serotonin cannot function competently in this reality;
2. Cyclic, which is unstructured, here/now thought/activity. This is the reality of aborigines, preliterate peoples, psychotics, babies, yogis, shamans, and dreamers. (Hunter/gatherer culture and peasant agriculture do not follow a planned, linear structure but
•This letter was sent in response to an article by Barry L. Jacobs in the March 1976 issue of Psychology Today, Vol. 9, No. 10. pages 70-71
* "Actually, there are four; see page 47.
are adapted to cyclic values.) The mind thus occupied utilizes intellectual symbology differently—the "separate reality" of don Juan—than the linear-occupied mind, and, concurrently, there is a different biochemistry, one where the presence of serotonin is minimized;
3. Fantasy or day-dreaming, which uses the same symbol system as linear reality.
Cyclic reality is a supersensitive one, the mind being used to maximize sense perception. Obviously, this heightened sense perception is a hindrance to the linear application of the mind and body. Thus, the pineal gland regulates the reception—transmission of this data by producing serotonin. A linear symbol system with linear semantic values accompanies this process. Thus, when an individual of Western culture takes LSD and clears the serotonin from the neurological system, there is no symbol system to reflect the experience. It is, therefore, one of alienation, hallucination, or freakout.
Much of our LSD experimentation was with preliterate, rural people, some of whom are animists, in India and Indonesia. In terms of expectation, they were generally told they would experience reality as a baby if they ingested this medicine. Without exception, that was the experience that manifested. We have also shared LSD with the sadhus, yogis who identify with the archetype Shiva. None of these experienced any adverse effect, and all said it was the most meaningful meditation they had ever realized.
Other serotonin-related experimentation we have conducted consists of one subject ingesting LSD and then "extra-sensorily" stimulating the nerve centers in undrugged, sleeping subjects, adults and children, so that they made sounds, twitchcd, and in some instances sat up.
The implications of these findings are broad. The principal application presently being made is a residential program designed to insure that infants and children are given environmental and intellectual symbolic reflections of cyclic reality so that the pineal system will not be overstimulated in the production of serotonin as it is when the environment is only reflective of linear values.
Everything that one ingests, inhales, or injects creates a biochemical response within the organism, a response that may stimulate or reduce external activity, a response that may be benign, destructive, or revitalizing to one's balance of health.
Lysergic acid diethylamide 25, referred to as LSD, is called a drug. Actually, it is a molecular aggregate known as a chemical. The word "drug" is a term of general usage that has no precise meaning. The aggregate called ascorbic acid is different than that called Dilantan. Both are pills, both are used either to effect a desired change or to stabilize a present balance. One aggregate is labeled a vitamin, the other a drug, and it really doesn't matter which label goes on which aggregate; it's just for convenience.
That is one level of looking at the word "drug." The statement, "He is on (or off) drugs," brings out another level of usage. Here, the word carries a semantic load that says a drug is
(1) an illegally used substance that is
(2) used to escape, trip out, or trance out of reality, and that is
(3) habit forming, addictive,
(4) destructive to physical and mental health, and
(5) morally and ethically destructive, leading to
(6) crime and violence, and additionally
(7) the user (abuser) is a burden to society and has no redeeming value.
People of Shivalila have used the molecular aggregate called LSD * All were stimulated to usage by having heard claims that the drug was beneficial to physical and mental health (which implies that all were less than satisfied with their preuse physical or mental condition). Everyone of Shivalila has experienced a more vital condition of physical and mental health under the influence of the biochemical changes stimulated by the chemical LSD. Moreover, subsequent usage, combined with meditation on the Shivalila mandala with its focus on babies and nature, provided insight into
(1) the causes of mental or physical imbalance,
(2) how to sustain the LSD-stimulated vitality after the LSD experience, and
(3) most importantly, how to prevent the mental and physical imbalances in succeeding generations.
Obviously the semantically loaded term "drug" does not accurately categorize the use of the chemical LSD by people of Shivalila. Given its effect, were this chemical administered by a priest it would be called a sacrament, by a doctor, a medicine. However, along with lawyers, priests and doctors are unnecessary in a culture governed by the Covenants of Shivalila and sustained by meditation on the Shivalila mandala.
Principal objections to the use of LSD to obtain the insights many have experienced fall into these generalizations:
1. It is too trippy and people need grounding (attributed to Trungpa Rinpoche by A. Ginsberg).
An image is a "trip" for which one has developed attachment. Given the Shivalila focus during the experience, LSD destroys the images without which one is again grounded. LSD can catalyze the revelation that all of life is a trip (maya). Is this not at One with the mahayana?
'The same arguments used for LSD can also be used for psilocybin, cannabis, peyote, ?nd mescaline. These substances have all been used by people of Shivalila in the same manner as LSD The effects have been somewhat varied, with LSD being the strongest and having the broadest effect.
2. LSD is false samadhi (attributed to Meher Baba).
True and false are dualistic concepts that are only relevant to one who is possessed by an image. "False samadhi" is a head trip. The manipulation of EEG-monitoring devices by someone under the influence of LSD is not true or false; it just IS. Whatever one experiences is one's reality, no true or false about it.
3. The experience and insights derived from use of LSD, even if beneficial, should be obtained by oneself without the use of any external substance
Everyone uses external substances to derive benefits—food, universities, mantras, bibles, and LSD—so what? "Oneself" is an egoistic illusion to begin with. "External substances" are the environment and the environment is oneself.
4. LSD is manmade and unnatural.
So are a thousand other minutia one ingests, inhales, touches, and hears all day. Why such a big deal over LSD? It's another weak semantic trap. What is relevant is the effect of the molecular aggregate—benign, destructive, or revitalizing—not whether it is chemical or organic. (This is the objection that has been offered by Ina May Gaskin's Farm, a place where it is said you can hear a tractor twenty-four hours a day.)
5. It's illegal, and therefore stimulates paranoia (R. Alpert/Ram Dass).
Laws protect attachments. Guilty people are paranoid and to accept guilt as a behavior motivation is unacceptable to people of Shivalila. In any event, use of psychedelic substances by people of Shivalila at the Shivalila ashram has been assumed to be legal in California according to the precedent whereby the members of the Native American Church are permitted legal possession and use of peyote (People vs. Woody).
6. It depletes serotonin (attributed to Yogi Bhajan's Healthy, Happy, Holy Organization).
See Appendix A.
7. Moses, the Buddah, Jesus, and the Prophet Muhammed didn't use LSD or cannabis.
Who knows what they used? Their biochemistries most certainly were different when they were experiencing their Big Realizations than at other times, and they had to do something to make that difference. Moreover, neither the Buddah, Jesus, nor the Prophet Muhammed had to go through the barriers to The Big Realization that face those in the twentieth-century, Western culture, so they didn't need the remedy produced by that twentieth-century culture.
8. The medical profession's objections are primarily based on psychiatric values. Since psychiatry poses an ego reality as the only sane reality, the model of the mind and of consciousness used by psychiatry is inadequate (to say nothing of the minds of the practitioners). Thus, the diagnostic and therapeutic practices are also inadequate, making their objections unfounded.
The objective effects of LSD-stimulated, mandala-structured, group meditation by the people of Shivalila are (1) the Shivalila community, (2) The Book of The Mother, and (3) the health and vitality of the people of Shivalila relative to people of any other Western group or community.
These effects combine to create a culture that manifests the highest of human aspirations, those which were inherent in The Creative Urge itself, which initiated existence itself. The Shivalila culture is the fulfillment of every religion and the manifestation of all the Ways of Unification, and LSD has been the catalyst.
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