Resemblances of Modern Psychedelic Research With Buddhist and Goetic Work

Fasincating read, this! Sunday New York Times “Talk” columnist interview Roland Griffiths, one of the pioneers of medical use of psychedelics. The medicinal applications include treating depression in general, with a focus on treating depression in patients with terminal diagnoses. Roland has now been diagnosed with terminal colon cancer. One of striking features of the interview is how some of the processes and insights he utilizes in his medical practice, and now in dealing with his own situation map very closely on Buddhist principles — and indeed he has a meditation practice —  which in turn were a big influence on the Prophet of the Lovely Star, not to mention modern Goetic practice. An excerpt reads:

‘I thought, Well, this would be an interesting stress test. So I did a session with a psychedelic and went into that explicitly asking a couple of questions. First, asking myself, “Is there something I am not dealing with?” The answer came back: “No, the joy you’re experiencing is great. This is how it should be.” Then I asked a question directly of the cancer. I’m hesitant to talk about it because it’s reifying the cancer as “other,” and I don’t hold that the cancer is some “other” with which I can have a dialogue. But as a metaphor, it’s an interesting way to probe that question. So I asked the cancer: “What are you doing here? What can you tell me about what’s going on?” I got nothing back. Then I wanted to humanize it, and I said: “I really respect you. I talk about you as a blessing. I have had this astonishing sense of well-being and gratitude, despite everything that’s happening, and so I want to thank you. This process, is it going to kill me?” The answer was, “Yes, you will die, but everything is absolutely perfect; there’s meaning and purpose to this that goes beyond your understanding, but how you’re managing that is exactly how you should manage it.” So then I said: “OK, there’s purpose and meaning. I’m not ungrateful for the opportunity, but how about giving me more time?” [Laughs.] I got no response to that. But that’s OK.’

Frater Lux Ad Mundi

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