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<em>In the Now</em> Episode #35

L/L Research Podcast In the Now

Podcast Transcript

Austin: Hi everyone, this is Austin welcoming you to the L/L Research Podcast, In the Now, Episode #36. L/L Research is a nonprofit organization dedicated to freely sharing spiritually-oriented information and fostering community, and towards this end has two websites: the archive website, LLResearch.org, and the community website, Bring4th.org. During each episode, those of us at L/L Research form a panel to consider questions from spiritual seekers. Our panel consists of Jim McCarty, husband to the late Carla Rueckert, scribe for the Ra contact and president of L/L Research, along with Gary Bean and myself, who are working hard to keep the mission of L/L Research alive and well; each of us a devoted seeker of and student of the Law of One. We intend this podcast to be a platform of discussion as we consider questions from spiritual seekers that often challenge us to articulate our own perspective. Our replies to these questions are not final or authoritative; instead, they are generally subjective interpretations stemming from our own studies and life experiences. We always ask each who listens to exercise their own discernment and listen for their own resonance in determining what is true for them. If you would like to submit a question for the show, please do so; our humble podcast relies on your questions. You can either send an email to contact@llresearch.org, or go to www.LLResearch.org/podcast for further instructions. Again, I'm Austin and we are embarking on a new episode of L/L Research's weekly podcast, In the Now. Gary and Jim, are you guys ready to do this?

Jim: Ready to embark.

Gary: Gary is.

Austin: All righty. Well, our first questions today come from one Jeremy via Bring4th, and his first question says:

How does the experience of intoxication from alcohol or drugs change our spiritual experience? Since we often make different decisions, think different thoughts, and act in different ways when chemicals affect different states of mind, how should we relate to it? Does it bring out who we really are, or is that not us? Who are we if things so mundane can alter ourselves with such consequence?

It’s a great question. Jim, do you want to start us off?

Jim: Well, I’ll give it a shot. I think under the influence of any type of alcohol or drug that we are basically still who we are; we don’t change that much, although our response to stimulus and catalyst around us could be changing quite a bit. It seems like what happens when we take some sort of a chemical or drug is that we’re looking for some sort of . . . I don’t know . . . a shortcut or enhancement to our experience, whether it’s a spiritual experience or just our daily round of activities. In my own experience, it seems like I was looking for something that might be more easily accessible, more obvious, more intense, more vivid, more revealing. I guess in my own experience I’ve been more impatient and not wanting to do the day-to-day work with my own juices, shall we say, my own consciousness, and to find that I had, indeed, the ability to do that if I was able to stick with it for a long enough time. I think that some of the— One of the drawbacks, anyway, [is] some of the chemicals (as Carla found out during the Ra contact, LSD for example) withdraws huge amounts of vital energy from the body after you come down from it. So even though it would have been helpful to use it during the contact (and I know trance channels who have used LSD in order to enhance their ability to channel) in Carla’s case, especially when she had such low vital energy, it was not a good idea because it really drains the vital . . . well, she had low physical energy . . . it really drains the physical energy. So I think that overall it’s probably not a great idea. It’s kind of like a shortcut. Ra mentioned the person who is on some sort of a mind-altering drug is like the hitchhiker along the road and they’re attempting to go in the same basic destination as the person who’s driving his or her own car is going. But they are subject to the vagaries of the road, and the person who is [using] the drug, who is attempting to get them there, may or may not be successful. The entities they run into may or may not be service-to-others entities. So it’s really kind of a crap shoot, and it took me a while in my own particular life to discover that I didn’t want to take those gambles anymore and that I wouldn’t recommend it to other people either. But I think each person has to figure that out for him or herself. What do you think, Gary?

Gary: This is one reply [I] was really looking forward to hearing you and Austin tackle, as well, because it is [a] question that has long been on my own mind and is so multifaceted and situation-dependent and subjective that I don’t know how much can be said in general to be true. To attempt a reply, I would examine this primarily through the lens of clarity vs. confusion, and then secondarily through the lens of side- or aftereffects. On the clarity vs. confusion question, which does the intoxicant, so-called, help to foster? Drugs can and do create confusion. Some substances confuse the body, interrupting and upsetting its chemical equilibrium and homeostatic functioning. Some substances confuse the mind through similar effects on the physical brain, but also by altering perception. And some substances create confusion due simply to the reason for their use: many people turn to substances to hide from the self, to run away or avoid some aspect of life that they don’t wish to face, or which makes them uncomfortable. In either event, seeing clearly, understanding clearly, and experiencing more clearly can become problematic and more, rather than less, confused—sometimes even to the point of not being able to decipher reality and know what is true for oneself. And I have had moments like that.

Contrarily, some substances may open windows of clarity—whether in body, or mind, or both and perhaps even in spirit—whereby one gets a clearer glimpse of a particular dynamic, or another person, or yourself and even in some cases, the divine Itself. Sometimes that clarity leads to an epiphany or realization that has the potential to be transformative and enduring in the life patterns. And also, substances can help you, as odd as it may sound, to connect in the heart with somebody. I have had some of the most bonding experiences of my life due to some substance, whether it be alcohol or something else, because those inhibitions come down. Those barriers come down and you feel a smoother flow of energy moving through you. Is that artificial? I don’t think so. Maybe in some cases it is; maybe in some cases it’s more authentic. The danger, however, of gaining clarity through chemical substances is that it may raise an entity’s level of consciousness to a new level of understanding which they are not prepared to receive, which they have not, shall I say, organically grown into. Thus, when the effect of the drug has worn off, the self may become imbalanced. However, I believe that there is a proper use for certain chemicals—especially the psychoactive or entheogenic compounds—such that learning which takes place under their influence can be safely and successfully integrated into the self afterwards. That proper use, though, involves careful set and setting, and it includes [the] right mindset, intention, environment, preparation, and if possible, a trained guide. Still got some more to mine out of this one.

On the side- or aftereffects lens . . . or through that lens there are, of course, the well-known and sometimes little understood risks of substances, including: harm to one’s health, making an unskilled decision of consequence while under the influence, subsequent chemical or emotional imbalances, and of course, something everybody’s familiar with, addiction or dependency and all its accompanying challenges. Even experiences with intoxicants that produce clarity can leave one burnt out (as Jim was referencing or alluding to) or in a chemical deficit, or in the need to get ones bearings afterwards. Jim talked about Ra’s discussion of LSD. So the side effects must always be considered when evaluating the role of intoxicants, so-called, upon the mind, body and spirit complex. And I’ve got a whole separate answer to the question, “Who are we if things so mundane can alter ourselves with such consequence?” But I’ll take a break and turn it back to you, Austin, lest I lull the readers into sleep.

Austin: I really appreciated both of your answers. And you touched on an aspect that I didn’t necessarily prepare for in my answer, and that is the greater effect on the path of spiritual evolution and positives and negatives. But the first question that Jeremy posed in this is how should we relate to it, and I think that how we relate to these things is a really broad question because there is a range of experience that comes with intoxicating chemicals. Some people might have extremely positive experiences in their lives and be changed permanently for the better. This is probably more typical, as Gary was saying, of a ritualistic experience done with intention through the psychedelics or entheogens. Some people might become addicted and their lives are permanently changed for the worse—maybe for the rest of their lives, sometimes, and maybe shorten their life significantly. This is probably more typical of things like opiates and alcohol and so-called party drugs. Others may just amuse themselves for [a] little while and continue on as normal. So I imagine that how we relate to drugs in that sense is largely determined by the type of experience we’re having or witnessing. But to simplify it, I thought about this a bit more removed from the vast life experiences. There are these various substances out there in our reality that, if we ingest them, our consciousness is completely altered.

And what do we make of that very concept? Ra said something once in an unrelated discussion that stuck with me, and I think that it might be applicable here. That was in 30.4; Don was asking about what sort of loss there is in the mind complex when our chemical bodies perish, and Ra says:

In your terms there is a great loss of mind complex due to the fact that much of the activity of a mental nature of which you are aware during the experience of this space/time continuum is as much of a surface illusion as is the chemical body complex.

To call something an illusion is not really a significant thing for Ra. They kind of refer to everything as an illusion. They classify almost everything we experience as an illusion, but in this passage they relate our experience of our mental processes to an illusion similar to that of our chemical body complex. And through that, I think it’s inescapable that, despite the fact, we all probably believe that our consciousness persists beyond our physical bodies right now. But much of our current experience of that consciousness is seated firmly within our physical bodies, including our brain configuration and however that brain configuration might be altered by chemical substances—whether we like it or not, our physical brains dictate a lot about our current experience. So that makes part of Jeremy’s question a bit difficult to answer. Does it bring out who we really are, or is that not us? Is most of our mental activity that Ra refers to as an illusion that fades upon the cessation of the physical body, is that who we really are, and if it’s not, what are we if it’s not our mental processes? I think the passage is relevant because it’s our mental processes that I believe most mind-altering substances effect. So, are these increasing the illusory aspect, or decreasing them, or simply shifting them? I would contest that if a shift in consciousness relies upon a chemical reaction within the brain, then it is as illusory as the brain itself. That’s a pretty broad statement and I’m sure the situation is probably more complex than that, but I think it’s generally true. I was hoping that one of you two would bring up the story about Ram Dass. Wasn’t it him who went to India and gave a bunch of LSD to a yogi?

Gary: I will run downstairs, show you my paper, and show you that it was upcoming in my reply. But, yeah, you’re right; it was him.

Austin: Well, the short version is that he basically gave a whole bunch of LSD to a yogi who seemed completely unaltered by it. So that, I think, speaks to the illusory aspect [which] is, if that yogi was able to penetrate the illusion and remain in the state of witnessing the illusion, rather than being affected by the illusion, then the LSD is as much of an illusion as the normal mental processes that the yogi had already transcended. But I don’t think Ra ever uses this term “illusion” in a derogatory sense. It’s the illusion which allows us to have any experience at all; or in other words, it allows the Creator to experience Itself. And some illusions may be more beneficial than others in terms of our polarization and realization of the Creator. And some illusions may hamper that process. So, just like the illusion of this life and density, sometimes the illusion of our mental processes affected by chemicals might become overwhelming and take over. And that’s when the chemical substances start having a negative effect, and instead of us having an experience of intoxication, the intoxication sort of has us instead, such as an angry drunk person on a rampage. For some, the illusion is experienced . . . I lost my place there; let me start over with that sentence. And for some, whatever illusion is experienced under intoxication may be nearly impossible to overcome.

But to get to Jeremy’s last question, “Who are we?,” I’d say, in part at least, we are that which has a choice. We can choose to intoxicate ourselves or not. We can choose to utilize our experience of intoxication, or simply drift upon it in order to get a break from the stress of life. We can seek out new experiences and stretch our concept of reality through substances, or we can choose that we only want to find those things through meditation. I think that this density boils down to an understanding and a realizing of our ability to make that choice and how central it is to who we are, especially within this particular density. So with illusions that we experience, such as drugs, it’s the choice in how we interpret them and respond to them and approach them that is the signifier that points to who we truly are. So, I’ll pass it back to you, Gary; see what you have to say on that one.

Gary: I think what you said about, “Are we the self-experiencing” (and I’m probably going to do a horrible job paraphrasing) but are we the self-experiencing or having this experience and riding the waves that this intoxicant creates; or, is the intoxicant controlling us or in the driver’s seat—that’s the basic gist of it. I think however you actually said it, and I’m saying it now, would be one of the best ways to boil it down and simplify it. But as often happens with us three, there’s a great deal of overlap between my reply and yours. But hopefully mine’s unique enough to still be worth repeating, but if you the listener were fully satisfied, then skip ahead to the next question. This exact question has passed through the corridors of my own mind on multiple occasions as well. How could a simple change in chemical makeup so affect consciousness? And what does that imply about who we really are, if chemicals can so seemingly change us? And the Ra quote that Austin quoted about the fate for much of the mental activity upon the cessation of the physical complex also helped inform my reply. So to continue, it would seem that one can become a completely different person by a simple and small adjustment of brain or body chemistry. For instance, through MDMA, even the “grinchiest” Grinch could become a hug monster who loves everyone with whom he comes into contact. Or through alcohol or other chemical transmission, even the kindliest of persons could become an anger maniac or raving lunatic. While consciousness is ultimately primary, we are a more or less synthesized and indivisible unity of mind, body, and spirit. To these three components, Ra adds the word “complex.” I think that drugs help to demonstrate how complex and interdependent is the interrelationship between mind and body, especially. Take for instance the effect on one’s attitude that forcing the facial muscles to smile can have. This points to the fact that it is not a one-way flow from mind to body, but a reciprocal two-way, whereby inputs given to the body can and do have an effect upon the mind and who knows what effect upon the spirit complex.

I think that, in light of your question, Jeremy, what are commonly known as intoxicants (though that may not always be the best term) may also help to demonstrate perhaps the more illusory aspects of ourselves. And this is territory that Austin has treaded really exquisitely. If some aspect of our personality is so susceptible to modification, suppression, activation, or enhancement simply through ingestion of chemicals, perhaps that points their location as existing within the personality shell, and likely highlights that these are aspects which are not fully known, accepted, integrated, and balanced into a synthesized self—which is not to denigrate those aspects as superfluous, [but] only to say that the real self—the ultimate self—remains untouched by any change to chemical equilibrium. And here is where I was going to cite that same incident that Austin referenced, when Richard Alpert, the professor, became, or initiated, his transition into Ram Dass when he gave high dose LSD to an eastern yogi. And I had some final thoughts about the legality of drugs and Graham Hancock’s take on that, but this has been really long, so I will set down the mic and turn it back to the host.

Austin: Jim, you have any final thoughts on drugs?

Jim: Just a couple quick ones. Ra mentioned the Law of Responsibility. If we do achieve some sort of an understanding or clarity while we are taking mind-altering drugs, we have an enhanced responsibility to reflect that learning in our daily lives. So keep that in mind when you decide you’re going to be taking drugs. I remember back in 1972 when I was on an LSD trip. I was having a nice experience and feeling at one with the world around me and all of a sudden I heard this voice in my brain—I heard a voice—and it said, “You don’t have to be stoned to be here.” That’s it.

Gary: Where did . . . how did you respond to that?

Jim: “Oh, yeah? Well, okay. I’ll take your word for it.” What did I know? First voice I’d ever heard.

Gary: I mean, not necessarily immediately or in the moment, but like how did you integrate that? Did you take that as advice and . . .

Jim: It didn’t affect me for quite a while. I just thought it was interesting.

Gary: I think it’s sound advice. I think the Confederation, in general, emphasizes— I mean, it’s not a topic that’s been too explored to my awareness. But in general, I think they emphasize what might be called organic spiritual evolution.

Jim: Right, right, that we can handle that without blowing our circuits.

Gary: Yeah.

Jim: We can probably be fairly certain that our soul choices before the incarnation kept in mind what we were able to handle in easy and free-flowing fashion without having to add artificial stimulants to our system which might tend to blow circuits. I’ve had a couple of friends who had supposedly holes blown in their auras because of heavy-duty acid use, and that made them susceptible to various diseases.

Gary: At the same time, you have to wonder. People, especially indigenous peoples, have referred to substances like mushrooms or peyote or ayahuasca as sort of [a] gift from the gods and have even attributed a certain spiritual identify to those substances as being distinct entities in and of themselves who help them communicate with the other worlds. So in a ritualistic context, and [when] used for the right reasons—whether that is to have an experience of non-ordinary states of consciousness or to undergo a healing to access subconscious material that might otherwise remain out of reach of the conscious mind through normal means—I think that does have a place within a certain context . . . and intention, of course.

Jim: It certainly has for various cultures. I’m not sure how exactly the racial mind is different from one culture to another. It might be there is a significant difference that allows the use of the drugs. Or, like you say, it could just be a matter of intention and purity of desire for the person that’s experiencing it.

Gary: Yeah, maybe in addition to racial mind, environment plays a role because . . . take, for instance, our environment now: it’s so much presumably more intensified than it was in human history and [there is] so much more catalyst and so much more opportunity that any sort of substance has potentially— radically even—greater ramifications or effects. And also, due to and in proportion to the intensity, perhaps there’s even more organic opportunities for growth without that substance.

Austin: This is a complex issue. There are a lot of angles on this. I think it is worth mentioning the positive effects, especially since they are being studied more and more now, of certain types of mind-altering drugs, and healing (like Gary was talking about)—being able to explore subconscious issues in a very direct sense within an environment with a healer present. And people who have done that have their lives changed completely for the better sometimes, and to the point where they are just completely open to new experiences of love that they just could not access before. But at the same time, the Confederation has multiple times emphasized the so-called staying power of coming to realizations that might be accessed through drugs in an organic sense. And Jim referenced the hitchhiker quote that I think is worth reading, as Ra said it at this point. In part, Ra says:

To the disciplined entity all things are open and free. The disciple which opens the universes opens also the gateways of evolution. The difference is that of choosing either to hitchhike to a place where beauty may be seen or to walk, step by step, independent and free in this independence to praise the strength to walk and the opportunity for the awareness of beauty.

The hitchhiker, instead, is distracted by conversation and the vagaries of the road and, dependent upon the whims of others, is concerned to make the appointment in time. The hitchhiker sees the same beauty but has not prepared itself for the establishment, in the roots of [the] mind, of the experience.

And that’s in 52.2 if you want to look that up.

Gary: I have another thought to offer. What you were describing regarding healing brought to mind an aspect and a word that we haven’t yet used or invoked in this conversation, and that’s “programming.” And Ra mentioned, if I’m not mistaken, that LSD can cause programming . . . or re-programming, rather. And that word really opens the door to understanding how [substances], especially the psycho-active entheogenic class of substances, can affect the self because they open the door potentially to a re-programming. Take, for instance, soldiers who have PTSD and who can’t get beyond those barriers, or maybe there are methods, but they are having a difficult time doing so, and something like MDMA or mushrooms can finally get them past that barrier and open themselves up to (as you were saying, Austin) a new way of thinking—a new mode of experiencing. But (and this is such an important caveat) there must be . . . so far as I’m aware . . . must be work to integrate that experience afterwards. This was emphasized when, for our honeymoon, my wife and I went to Peru to participate in an ayahuasca ceremony [where] four of them, in a very . . . in an eight-day intensive ritualistic, ceremonial context administered by Peruvian shamans and people with a long history of training and careful use in this. And so after each— The day following each session, we went through some ritualistic cleansing with water that was administered in a ritualistic fashion and that had some sort of flower in it, too, and it had created some sort of metaphysical properties. But afterward, we gathered as a group to discuss our experiences, to share. We went around the circle and it helped to ground and seat and integrate the experience. And the shaman leading the ceremonies stressed that what you’re doing here with ayahuasca is just cracking open the door. The real work for you is going to happen when you return home and continue a trajectory that you’re beginning now, and work to integrate your insights or your questions or fears that may have arisen, and attempt to live by these new realizations that you’ve had here. So I think that is a good model for how to cause, or open the door to, re-programming that then can subsequently be integrated into the self without blowing the circuits or without disarranging the personality.

Austin: Awesome point. Well, I didn’t think that this question was going to take up the whole show, but it looks like it might have. Any final thoughts from either of you on that topic?

Jim: I think I’m done.

Gary: Not I.

Jim: Simultaneous.

Austin: Any last words for our listeners, Jim?

Jim: Yeah, we want to thank everybody for sending in questions and listening to us, for keeping an open mind and an open heart, and we want you to know that we love you a whole lot. We feel your love coming back to us and it makes us high.

Austin: This is our drug. You've been listening to L/L Research's weekly podcast, In the Now. If you've enjoyed the show, please visit our websites: LLResearch.org and Bring4th.org. Thanks so much for listening, and a special thank you to those of you who submitted questions. If you'd like to send us a question for the next show, please read our instructions on our page at www.LLResearch.org/podcast. New episodes are published to the archive website every other Wednesday afternoon. Have a wonderful week and we will talk with you then.

Thanks to Mary A. for transcribing this episode, and Nancye G. for editing!

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