Thursday, October 13, 2011

Quote of the Day

I like this observation by William James: “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. We may go throughout life without suspecting their existence, but apply the requisite stimulus, and at a touch they are there in all their completeness.” Of course, James had the advantage of using nitrous oxide to help him shift consciousness. Back in the day of the science of pharmacology, it was classic for researchers to self ingest and to write about it. - Dr. Stephen Ross, MD

It's an interesting read about end of life care and psychedelics.

The discussion has become of interest lately due to Steve Jobs' crediting much of his work to the influence of "magic mushrooms". I've never taken a psychedelic before, but from what I've read, the person's frame of mind and the conditions around them when they take the drug has a big influence on a positive outcome. That's one reason why I probably won't try it. I would have a great deal of fear and apprehension about it, and so it would become a self-fulfilling prophecy.

It's certainly not because I have some inane moral complaint about it. But nitrous oxide.. I knew it well.

For the last fifteen years, this woman had lived a very spiritual life. We made the interpretation for her that “You have been a good person for fifteen years, and you can forgive yourself.” We also said, “Think of your Buddhist God, and forgive yourself. You can let go of your guilt.” A remarkable thing happened. At the end of the session, she said, “I feel light. I don’t know what’s going on, but something has passed from me. I feel so much better.” The next day we asked her how she was doing, and she reported feeling great. When asked about her cancer, she said, “I don’t connect with it anymore.” Two weeks later, two months later, six months later, every single day for her is like Groundhog Day: How are you doing? I feel great. She went back to gardening. She went back to listening to music. She reconnected with meaningful aspects of her life. I thought this woman must have been planted in our study and that this could not be a true phenomenon. Although I found it hard to believe at first, I’ve seen it again and again since.

I need to do some research. If I can assuage the fear that might start me off in a bad state, it might be do-able.

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