With humankind deeply in the throes of self-destruction—as well as destruction to our home planet (AKA Earth!) and to all of the other inhabitants on it—it's easy to see why so many of us become hopeless, afraid, apathetic, cynical, checked-out, and why we opt to numb ourselves with pharmaceutical drugs, personal vices, and distractions aplenty.
One need not look very far to see glaring evidence of the average person's preoccupation with their own selves, their own families, their own dramas, relationships, social media, celebrities, sports, politics, shopping, drugs, alcohol, intoxication, TV shows, movies, video games, school, work, fashion, the stock market... a dizzying blur of distractions from the contemplation of where we stand as a human species, in the grand cosmic interstellar scheme of things. Anyone reading this (myself included) is likely to have been caught up in one or more of these distractions at one time or another.
The value of taking a step back and looking at the condition we're in is easily realized when we consider that the deleterious, soul-crushing ways of life that most humans are unwittingly abiding by are a symptom of a much more serious affliction we suffer due to something deep within our psyches being broken. Our categorical neglect for addressing our psychic malady is what perpetuates our surface-level distress. However, what we often overlook is that not only are we complicit in our own enslavement and suffering, but we actually have a free-will choice in the matter. Please excuse the spoiler (haha), but this is the most empowering realization of all! We can choose whether to continue wandering blindly into our own collective demise or whether to take the "path less traveled" of going within, taking stock of the inside of our own minds, reconciling with the emotions and thinking patterns that guide our self-destructive behaviors, healing the traumas that led to these emotions and thinking patterns, and finally living in alignment with Natural Law so that we and all other beings on this planet can live in a state of harmony and freedom.
We know that temporary ego death and the subsequent taking of inventory of the contents of our minds can be brought about in a number of ways, including meditation, breathwork, and even some forms of yoga, but what on Earth could possibly provide expedited assistance in doing said work upon oneself? What agents are available to help us clear our fundamental worldview of the illusions that entrap us in an unfulfilling human existence? What kind of medicine is there for sickness of the soul? Hmmm? 😏 Yes, ladies and gentlemen, I'm talking about psychedelics—the pharmacological tools given to us by our very own mother Earth.
Ancient cultures from every corner of our planet have been using these unique plant medicines—entheogens, as they are called scientifically—and have developed sacred rituals to encase the use of them into "best practices" for their descendants to continue to gain the benefits of psychedelics. It was only in the 20th century that these substances became demonized and outlawed by governments, due to psychedelics' inherent ego-dissolving, authority-doubting, societal structure-questioning effects.
A popular example of that is: if humans take psychedelics and become aware that we're all one, then we wouldn't go fight in governments' wars (remember the Vietnam War protestors in the 1960s?), or even perceive governments as having any dominion over us, or perceive that any individual has dominion over any other individual, for that matter! Talk about the fabric of reality—held together by false beliefs—ripping at the seams!! It's easy to see how tugging at the thread that holds together the mental prison in which we all reside (or, as some refer to it, "The Matrix") quickly unravels the entire stitchwork of mental programming installed in us by the humans who believe they own the world. In other words, the insights gained from psychedelic experiences are an existential threat to fiat authority. It is precisely for this reason that psychedelics have been made illegal by nearly every government on our planet.
Thankfully, however, psychedelics have made their way through to the present—even in modern westernized culture—and the "tribal revival" is starting to swell. In the 1960s, a small group of Harvard researchers has dedicated itself to bringing these medicines back to the people and, for a time before the US government clamped down, was able to conduct experiments to gather a treasure trove of relevant data. Many publications about psychedelics—ranging from dry scientific to allegorical mystic and everything in between—have come out within the last century.
I personally have become very fascinated by the topic of psychedelics over my years of related research, and I feel that it is one of the most important things that humans of our time should learn about, considering the many individuals on the conveyor belt of our prescribed, conditioned lives who have reached their wit's end and are searching for what more there is to this miraculous existence. While some, in their desperation to escape their default reality, have haphazardly experimented with psychedelics without the in-depth knowledge required to gain profound benefit from their use (and in some cases, experienced ill effects, giving psychedelics a bad name), many others (such as myself) have committed themselves to the discipline of studying entheogens and the integration methods for assimilating the clarity experienced during a psychedelic trip back into "real life". We are, after all, spiritual beings temporarily having a human experience, and remembering that makes it much easier to honor the true self within, as well as that of others.
I've amassed quite a few books on psychedelic science, history, anthropology, and literature—including staples to any proper psychedelic library, such as works by Aldous Huxley, Timothy Leary, Albert Hofmann, Terence McKenna, Ralph Metzner—and there are many more still that are on my "to-read list". While reading and contemplating these works on one's own is a respectable endeavor, I believe that adding a communal dimension to the study of psychedelics is an essential "next step" to the evolution of mankind, if we indeed are to evolve out of the spiritual crisis we currently find ourselves in.
In an effort to grow the community of psychedelic seekers and students, I propose a "Psychedelic Book Club" in which participants read the same book for the same period of time and meet to discuss the passages, extrapolate meaning, bring up insights, share personal experiences, and enrich our learning together in a salon-style Meetup. The goal is to support each other in our personal development work, as we collectively put the pieces together of this reality through our existential self-realization and dissolution of the myths and mental programs that've entrapped us into the various forms of oppression we've subjected ourselves to. My personal mission on this planet is for humans to know the truth, cultivate love, and live in freedom! If I die in pursuit of that, I can die knowing that my life served a worthy purpose. (to be perfectly vulnerable and share a bit of myself there)
Whether you're newly curious about psychedelics and want to dive into the foundational works on the topic, or you've been studying psychedelics already and want to join in on a scholarly discussion with peers to enrich your knowledge and understanding, or you're a veteran psychonaut and just want to connect with others and make new friends interested in this subject, this is the place for all of us to come together and help take each other to the next level, wherever we currently are on our respective journeys.
I look forward to seeing who finds their way to this MeetUp group and shows up! :-)