An Ayahuasca Voyage, September 2023, by Simon D


Simon D writes:

For my readers, may I request that you suspend any rational thought or judgements concerning the writing below and allow a sense of enquiry and mystery to my exploration of this voyage of Ayahuasca.

In late July my old friend Tim mentioned that he’d heard about an Ayahuasca retreat in Portugal and I too signed up as soon as I could.

Ayahuasca a is a plant medicine used in the Amazon for a long while, and there is some medical evidence, although patchy, as to the transformative ability of the drug to help addicts, those with mental health issues deal with past traumas etc. It is in layman’s terms highly psychoactive and appears to bring out deeply held unconscious blocks or limiting ideas and beliefs in those who take it. In the UK it is illegal as many of these substances are, due in part to the legacy of LSD use in the 1960s. However, the use of plant medicines in tribal cultures is ancient and is part of many rituals for young men and their entry into adulthood and beyond.

I was always fascinated by drugs of this kind and although I had given up illegal drugs many years ago I was fascinated by the potential of these medicines to aid me in my own personal journey to increased mental health.

Having been a part of the so-called self-development or spiritual movement for many years I wanted specifically to have answers to a greater sense of purpose and meaning to my life as well as to see if by taking it I could resolve deep-seated issues of frustration. I’d always had problems with women who were angry, was fearful of conflict and was aware that my desire for control and safety limited me. I also wanted to find out if there was anything beyond my thinking rational mind. I was also wishing to recognise and embrace more fully the dark void which is so often characterised as fearful and death- like.

The retreat in Portugal was arranged by a group of people who had used these plant medicines for some years, they were experienced in guiding participants, ensuring their physical and mental well-being.

The 4-day retreat started with a breath workshop to provide participants a set time for sharing any anxieties and to make conscious their intentions for the upcoming voyage. Conscious Breathing is a useful tool to provide people with a simple way to relax during the voyage and to keep grounded as the effects of the drug take place.

There’s also a ceremonial or ritualistic side to the taking of the plant medicine, the wearing of white clothes, and a calm setting in a large circular building with glass windows, a mattress to lie on and trees and nature all around. I wore a blindfold and throughout the voyage music was played; both calming and highly charged with feeling.

The medicine is taken in a small glass and the taste is a little bitter but not unpleasant. We held the glass to our lips, to our heart and when ready sipped or drank it whole.

The voyage can last for 5-10 hours, and a second dose is available to those who wish to take it after an hour or so. I did so on both occasions.

I’d prepared myself as much as I could by relaxing and telling myself that whatever was to happen to me over the next few hours was welcome and I particularly reminded myself to let go and allow myself to lose control.

After what appeared only a very few minutes, I had a simple insight about my twin brother and was surprised at the power of it. He was born deaf and I had always felt a pressure to look after him. The pressure was a largely imposed upon me, one from my earliest childhood and I’d never truly considered it before in such detail. The effects of the imposed idea was to make me feel that I should always be the person to look after others and act as mediator or helper and put my own interests in second place. The insight contained no real words but was a simple sign to let go of that imposed idea, to free myself from the unconscious burden it has placed on me.

I’d also initially begun to see flashing colours in my peripheral Vision which appeared like an invitation to follow the lights, and I found myself saying that I didn’t want the lights or colours to be some form of beguiling but to reach much deeper into the voyage and seek the answers I’d asked for.

Over the next few hours however,- the power of the drug to provide images and the most dramatic psychedelic expressions was very much part of the journey. Much of what happens is completely out of conscious control and is very much part of the letting go. Today I can’t remember much of this, but the overall picture has been very transformative.

To explain what I saw in words is challenging as the images came and went very fast. I was aware of a profound lesson. This was, that in order to keep up with the images and feelings I had to stop trying to work them out, to let go of any past association. As soon as the rational mind attempted to pin down any idea, the image has moved on, so only by allowing or surrendering to each feeling could I see it or them for what they were. This itself was a deepening discovery for my daily life- to as far as possible to think less and stay in the moment.

As the drug took hold I had a large number of expanding visions – The feeling was that I saw the beginning of galaxies, and their disappearance in a mini-second. I saw life being born out of a vast never-ending swamp, being born without any conscious awareness of itself. So, life itself was being born with no idea of what it was, and was, not unlike a newborn baby , as mystified and horrified, even fearful of its own naked existence. Whereas we might believe in a creator or an omnipresent God, what I saw was that Life really did come out of nowhere, as mysterious and irrational as that might appear. Another feature of these images was a recognition that death never happens. Or that you never see or experience death. Rebirth is an instantaneous phenomenon.

The vastness of the universe and its life and death put into perspective my own wants, needs, desires and issues. A sense that nothing matters arose in me. All the problems of this earth, the pollution, human anxieties seemed as irrelevant as they could ever be. All my worrying had been for nothing. In the same way that we might tread on bacteria or an almost invisible insect and not feel guilty or upset that we might have killed it, so this experience transformed my view of what’s important. Everything is reborn, so stop the worry.

I asked the Mother plant (a term that is used by participants to provide some mental image of what is happening under the influence of the drug) about all my intentions and if she might help me answer my questions and the reply I received was that she had no interest in my worldly personal matters and that I should sort them out on my return. The message that I took away was that these questions would themselves wither away as the solutions to my life’s worries was already being presented to me. These solutions are the ones I’ve outlined above, that I should relax, ride the wave of existence without thinking so much, that my fears were petty and largely self-indulgent. Nothing mattered in the way that I had always previously thought it did.

I don’t mean that my conclusions are selfish, or that I should never act to help others, or to be honest to the worldly matters of this earth, but that they should always be taken in context to the fact the Life always goes on, that our worries and anxieties are often means by which we deflect from a deeper realisation. We are here to live, to love, to enjoy our fleeting existence. In addition, making conscious what we feel and think is an important part of becoming more attuned to Life itself. In our daily life we so often feel disconnected and separate from our fellow humans and from the life outside of us. The voyage shows another way of perceiving this reality.

Another aspect of the journey inside my mind was the gratefulness I felt about Women. As I took off my blindfoldI’d see some women participants lying on their mattress with a deep sense of awe. Some were lying in a deep repose, quiet, at peace, whilst the many female guides were sitting next to participants, holding their hands or quietly talking to them. While I mentioned earlier, I have feared angry women, the healing, loving qualities of the guides as well as my inherent love for women was being reaffirmed during the voyage.

In addition, I too had been helped to the toilet on two or three occasions, and had on one occasion shat in my own pants quite involuntarily. The guides had taken me on the walk to the toilets, waited whilst I had cleaned myself up , patiently displaying so many of the traits that I love about women. They showed no displeasure at my inconvenience but reassured me that this was a common experience. I was amazed by the way that as we had been pretty much fasting for the two or three  days leading up to the voyage, my bowels were largely emptied of food, yet I needed to shit. We laughed at how I was getting rid of my shit, releasing old shit in both a metaphorical and real sense. Later I discovered that many of the voyagers had been to the toilet many more times than I had. Shit and old emotions were being gotten rid of. A male guide had also helped in my trips to the toilet and I was humbled how my requests for help were provided to me. Once again I was experiencing letting go and finding out that in this experience that help was at hand. I realised how seldom I ask for help, too proud, too afraid to recognise that help is available in challenging times.

By the end of the first voyage and two strong doses of the ayahuasca I was exhilarated and also exhausted and wondered if I even wanted to do a second day at all.

However, next day I did exactly that, I took my first dose with a far more open mind to the nature of the plant medicine but fully aware that each voyage is utterly different. This time I also had questions for the plant medicine itself. This is a plant grown in the Amazon that had been found by the native people and then mixed with another plant to create the concoction we had drunk. How had they discovered it? Why was it there at all? What is its purpose? I’d already discovered how it had brought me to uncover parts of my unconscious thinking and patterns, but the plant remains a deep mystery.

During the first voyage, although taken over with images and feelings almost completely, this time I wanted to retain some greater objectivity and discover the nature of the plant rather than be totally consumed by its presence. During the previous voyage I’d also faced some darker, more animalistic feelings, I’d felt myself turn into unknowable or indescribable creatures, part snake, part cat, part boar, I’d made strange noises and during this second voyage these images returned. I was very rarely in fear but aware these represented universal symbols as well as appearing quite real to me.

In the second voyage I wanted to remain more fully conscious , watchful even. I still gave myself to the experience but wanted to try to learn more about the plant energy itself

What I discovered was that she – I call her she because everything about her just felt female – had all the attributes of fear, power, anger, manipulation, greed, Love, that any human male or female has. In addition, the plant needs me to exist; without me, she’s just a plant in a jungle, unused, without life. I give her life, just as I give life to everything with my consciousness. So she is either ‘me’ expressing ‘me’, ie just facets of my characteristics, or, in some mysterious way she’s independent of me, with her own needs and desires. This became more evident as the voyage continued, she and I fought each other for my body, she felt like she was trying to invade in such a way as to preclude me, wanting her own existence and I gave it to her willingly but also with some form of agreement that she’d give it back, which she appeared at times almost unwilling to do.

Of course, I may have just been resisting the plant; that might be a credible claim, that I was afraid to give myself to the experience or to fully let go. However ridiculous it may appear, I felt that this struggle, again played out, was also a dance of sorts. Each of must allow the differing characteristics of our bodymind some right to exist. If we shun our violence, if we fear our jealousy, so it becomes the better of us, so to allow these differing energies allows us to recognise ourselves in all our glory.

So, what I have gained from this experience?

In giving myself to this experience, in letting go and allowing myself to feel out of control, I am discovering how more relaxed I feel. Letting go of the shit, letting go of fear, today I swam in the sea and felt no fear, I feel more sensitive and awake to each moment and less tied up with thoughts of the past or future. As much as you believe you can think yourself out of a fear of death, there is no substitute for watching and observing the death of a universe or a galaxy. As to the fear of angry women, I’m now confident about what I love in women and therefore I’m able to see angry woman for what she is; in pain, resistant to being loved, afraid of her own vulnerability.

Moreover, what I discovered in talking to other participants was that they too, to whatever degree, also went on a journey into their own unconscious. In particular, many faced childhood traumas, where they faced again the wrath, the anger, the lack of true loving from their own childhoods. Some screamed, cried and felt emotions they had buried deep in long lost memories. One memorable example was shared afterwards when a now 43 year-old man faced his father. A father who had time and again expressed his anger at his own son’s failings. A father who had bullied his son into submission and fear. In the voyage he faced his father, again in great fear, and slowly the image changed for him. His father wasn’t just angry and disappointed in his son, but was angry and disappointed in his own life, and was himself a victim of his own father’s displeasure. A new realisation of this kind provided a deep healing and new understanding for this 43-year-old man.

Such is the power of the voyage with Ayahuasca.

One final point is to explore any need to take the plant again. I had been previously a little judgemental about the many participants in this group who had experienced the Ayahuasca voyage time and again. It initially seemed to me that if people were repeatedly experiencing the drug it implied no real progress had been made. However, I do recognise that for some the traumas of the past are deeper than mine and the voyage is an expansive journey into those traumas. I feel, for now, no need to repeat the experience, now is the time for living the lessons in life rather than the search for further voyages.




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74 Responses to An Ayahuasca Voyage, September 2023, by Simon D

  1. “Beware of unearned wisdom.”

    ~ Carl Jung.

  2. I don’t know.

    What Carl said was a cautionary warning for you to reflect on.

    • Lokesh says:

      The phrase “beware of unearned wisdom” is attributed to Carl Jung and is often associated with the use of psychedelics. Jung’s warning refers to the idea that profound insights or experiences that are gained without the requisite personal development can be destabilizing or otherwise harmful.

      The thing is, Jung did not know much at all about psychedelics on an experiential level and, after studying what Simond has written, I do not detect anything that could be deemed destabilizing or otherwise harmful in his experience. In fact, quite the opposite.

      Reading Simond’s highly personal article, I do not see anything that has to do with unearned wisdom and he does not come across like someone who thinks he is wise. His writing is entirely human and he shares a human experience that he had to work through to reach clarity on various levels.

      I have read many articles over the years on SN and I find Simond’s current article to be one of the best in terms of intimacy and willingness to share. He is sharing something of an existential nature. If you have no experience of such things it will be difficult to understand in places, because you yourself have not experienced it. Therefore, for Anubodh to say ‘What Carl said was a cautionary warning for you to reflect on” is more relevant to himself than to Simond. ‘Reflection’ is the key word here and I do not believe that Anubodh sincerely reflected before posting his comment, otherwise he would not have done so.

  3. simond says:

    Thank you, Lokesh, for your generous reply. Yes, it appears Anubodh is likely cautious himself regarding Ayahuasca, and therefore projects his caution on to me.

    I wonder too if he read the article at all, as I don’t see an unearned wisdom in my experience. I’ve very much explored the experience personally and intimately. I didn’t use any quotations or references but laid out my own understanding in the best way I can. Perhaps not quoting Osho upset his sensibilities. Who knows? He hasn’t taken the time to bring his own reflections to the table, he just uses Carl Jung to make a vague and fairly unsophisticated point.

    The lack of response to my article appears to reflect a lack of interest from readers, or perhaps there just isn’t anyone reading it at all.

    • satchit says:

      Don’t worry, Simon, your article is read and certainly it is interesting.

      But in my opinion it is difficult to talk about drug experiences because they are full of subjectivity.

      For example, someone may experience reincarnation, sombody else not at all.

      • Lokesh says:

        Grasshopper, all human experience is subjective. Following your line of misconceived logic would mean that you would find it difficult to talk about any human experience because they are all subjective. A bit of a conversation-stopper!

        For example, one person gets in a taxi and enjoys the ride. Another passenger feels paranoid because they imagine the taxi driver is falling asleep. All experiences are subjective in nature. How could they not be?

  4. Nityaprem says:

    Very personal and also beautiful, simond. Yours is the first account I have heard of where anyone has chosen to struggle with Mother Ayahuasca, usually people on the second night have a more significant and insightful trip, from what I’ve heard. But I enjoy reading the stories, and am glad you got something out of it.

    • simond says:

      Thank you, Nityaprem.

      I wouldn’t necessarily say I chose to struggle, more that I chose to explore and reflect deeply on the experience rather than just go with it. There’s a difference. But thank you, I’d say it was a very valuable transformative voyage for me

      • Nityaprem says:

        When you reflect on it, does the way that second session developed not mean that you’re still choosing to keep control? It seems to me that that is the key point for you…I find it intriguing that in the first session you decided to surrender and open up, and then some thought or impulse made you decide to do something different the second time?

        What you often hear about Ayahuasca is that surrender is non-negotiable if you want to follow the way of the plant medicine. It seems to me that to do otherwise is to follow the way of the will.

        • simond says:

          It’s a great question, I’m not fully certain of a complete answer.

          You’re not alone in suggesting that I was choosing to be in more control in the second session, and like others I see your suggestion as meaning that “control” is a ‘bad’ thing, which may not be your intention.

          I’m not so certain it’s a bad thing. Rather I do something that others don’t always do, is that I question my own experience and I allow some form of witness to any experience rather than submit without some form of distancing.

          Indeed, throughout the whole experience I seem to remember ‘waking up’ to my witness, monitor or whatever it is. The waking up from the intensity of the experience happened regularly, and this allows some distance from the intensity and the forgetfulness that comes from total surrender to the drug.

          I don’t see allowing the full experience and combining this with some form of witnessing as being in control. But if anyone can show me that I’m wrong, I’d happily change my mind.

          Surrendering to the drug, at least for me, doesn’t mean that I should let whatever witness that lives in me to get lost. It was as I said in the article, a dance of sorts, whereby I allowed myself to lose control in one moment and in others witnessed how powerful the effects of the drug are. I didn’t feel afraid to let go further. At least as far as I’m aware…

          I appreciate that the experience of Ayahausca is very unique and in many ways it appears to open up the unconscious to provide participants with whatever they need. For many this is clearing of past traumas, which I have largely already done before taking the medicine. For others it seems to provide a deeper self-knowledge into more speculative areas, like death, rebirth, etc.

          I’m certainly grateful for the experience and am sure that as time goes on there may be further insights to follow. It’s been helpful to explore with friends and the people around me. So thank you too for providing a question that I can at least attempt to answer.

          • Nityaprem says:

            I’ll admit to being a bit of an aficionado of Ayahuasca stories, I’ve read and watched videos of several dozen at least; it’s fascinating what the plant medicine can bring up.

            I too have done a fair amount of trauma work on myself, most recently through Gabor Maté’s excellent book ‘The Myth of Normal: Trauma, Illness and Healing in a Toxic Society’ which I can thoroughly recommend.

            Control is the expression of being a ‘me’, a separate person. My current spiritual movement is taking me towards letting all that separateness go. Too much control interferes with the dance of Being, it’s just a trouble, unless you’re doing the robot dance that is.


            I’d like to experience Ayahuasca sometime, although I am not quite sure when I’ll manage it.

            • simond says:

              What the blazes does this statement mean?
              “Too much control interferes with the dance of Being.”
              What the hell is “the dance of Being”?
              New age gooblegook?
              Not unlike “I’d like to experience Ayahuasca sometime, although I am not quite sure when I’ll manage it.”

              The latter informs me that you live for the future and you’ll never get it done.
              Precision in writing as much as possible reflects clearer thinking and understanding.
              HM REPORT TO NP: “Try harder to make yourself understood.”

            • Lokesh says:

              NP says, “I’ll admit to being a bit of an aficionado of Ayahuasca stories, I’ve read and watched videos of several dozen at least; it’s fascinating what the plant medicine can bring up.”
              Statements like that strike me the same as hearing about someone watching porn videos, while never having had sex. There is something voyeuristic about it. Of course, this might be NP’s way of approaching the subject and somehow familiarizing himself with the territory from a distance before entering it. Not unwise. Fools rush in…

              If a psychedelic drug experience does not have something about it that can’t be put into words, then you didn’t really have a real psychedelic experience.

              Recently I did a psychedelic session with a middle-aged doctor who had no real experience with psychedelics. His first journey went well and he decided to come back a few days later to do it again.

              He took a heroic dose and left three-dimensional reality behind. The doctor was a charming and deep man who had seen more than his share of human suffering due to intimate contact with terminally ill patients. He was a first-class human being in my books, brave enough to take a jump into the great unknown.

              When he returned from his trip in hyperspace, he sat up and looked around, shaking his head in amazement. When I figured he could speak coherently again, I asked him how his trip went. He shook his head some more and laughed, saying, “There is no way on Earth that I could describe what I just went through.” We shared an understanding laugh.

              This reminds me of Lucknow and my time spent with Poonjaji. When I first arrived there and talked to friends, they spoke about people we knew in common who had come and went. It was often said, “they got it” or “they didn’t get it” in relation to the Poonjaji experience. At first, I thought this was pure holier-than-thou bullshit.

              A month in Lucknow passed and I realised there was something to ‘get’ and not everyone did. It was this kind of no-mind space, wherein you just sat there with nothing on your mind…the mind shut down, leaving one to simply be. The lights were all on and there was something there to witness it in a detached kind of way. Very blissful to experience, although it was more of an experiencing than an experience because there was no centralised ‘I’ to lay claim to the experience. It can be difficult to describe such things and one must not ask the mind to comprehend what it was not designed to grasp.

              The same goes for psychedelic experiences. One can never fully understand what happens to someone when it comes to describing what one undergoes when having a breakthrough psychedelic experience. Words always fall short, no matter how well-composed they are.

              If you really want to know about powerful entheogenic drug experiences, there is only one true way to go about it. Take them. Otherwise, you are just sitting on a fence mind-tripping, or, as in perhaps NP’s case, preparing for the jump.

              • Nityaprem says:

                Thanks, Lokesh. I am going to try it at some point, probably the legal variety that you can just buy in the shops here.

                The reading is preparation, as you guessed, although there is also some enjoyment in it. Bit of a contact high, maybe.

                But I have some medication issues to sort out first. And some logistics to arrange.

  5. simond says:

    “Why don’t you try some more drugs. MDMA, coke, smack…magic mushrooms?” asks Swamishanti (at the Caravanserai).

    The answer is that I’ve tried each of these drugs in the past to one degree or another. I’ve no real interest in repeating the past. They are drugs of entertainment, fine as they are, but I’m not really interested in being entertained. Although I’d stress, there is nowt wrong with entertainment, just I’m not interested in drugs that entertain me.

    • swamishanti says:

      Just a little joke from me, Simon d, not being serious, that’s why I replied to your comment on the caravanserai page – not the main page.

      • Nityaprem says:

        In South America they talk about Ayahuasca as a medicine for the spirit, and if you look at what it does when you approach it with the proper attitude it’s hard to argue with that.

        Drugs like MDMA and magic mushrooms (psilocybin) actually have therapeutic uses, they are being put through the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in the US now and are becoming legal to use under medical supervision.

        So you see the governments of the world are finally starting to come to their senses as far as some psychoactive substances are concerned. Although that’s unlikely to happen with coke or smack.

  6. satchit says:

    Simon said: “Everything is reborn, so stop the worry.”

    A dangerous truth. Reminds me of Krishna talking to Arjuna on the battlefield that the soul is eternal.

    • simond says:

      Dangerous to whom? You love to make these generalised statements implying you know what’s best for the rest of us.
      I’d call that arrogant nonsense. Speak from your own understanding and stop quoting others, imagining what others might say.

      This way real enquiry begins, real discovery takes place. Something new is born from real dialogue and investigation rather than your platitudes.

      Go on. give it a go, be real and honest, vulnerable to what you know and open to what is outside your experience.

      I happen to know that quotation about Arjuna and Krishna, it’s a beautiful, real exchange and a deepening understanding for any reader who explores its real meaning.

  7. satchit says:

    “You love to make these generalised statements implying you know what’s best for the rest of us.
    I’d call that arrogant nonsense. Speak from your own understanding and stop quoting others, imagining what others might say.”

    Seems you are a bit full of projections, Mr.Teacher.
    Reminds me of my old friend Lokesh.

    Did you check out the relation with your father too in your retreat? Could be wrong that only women are your problem.

  8. Nityaprem says:

    I enjoyed watching this today. Worth an hour if you like Ayahuasca stories:

    There seems to be a very unique energy that comes from these kind of stories, I felt rather connected to it. This morning it made clear to me that I should spend less time looking at non-duality, and instead try being just natural.

  9. Nityaprem says:

    “The vastness of the universe and its life and death put into perspective my own wants, needs, desires and issues. A sense that nothing matters arose in me. All the problems of this earth, the pollution, human anxieties seemed as irrelevant as they could ever be. All my worrying had been for nothing.”

    “… that I should relax, ride the wave of existence without thinking so much, that my fears were petty and largely self-indulgent. Nothing mattered in the way that I had always previously thought it did.”

    These parts of your journey I connected with the most strongly, Simond. What comes to mind a few days later is that you have been shown that even the planetary perspective is but a speck in the vastness of the universe, and that Life carries on regardless. It’s in a way a freeing from environmentalist and climate change concerns.

    And that is a continuation of a theme of freeing from self-imposed burdens which was present at the very start of your vision. In a way it is a very beautiful theme, a point where the Being says to the mind, cease your worrying and your yappering.

    A good message for the rest of us. That’s what I like about Ayahuasca trip stories, many of them have a significant story to tell.

  10. Nityaprem says:

    My father is now talking about doing an ayahuasca journey… it will be interesting for him, he is talking mostly about physical problems but it seems likely to me that he will get something very different back.

  11. Lokesh says:

    I just reread Simond’s article and thought this would be a good opening chapter for THE BEST AND WORST OF SANNYAS NEWS VOLUME TWO. I must be out of my mind to contemplate such an undertaking, months of work, tweaking, typesetting etc.

    The good news is that I already have a cover.

    Any comments most welcome.

    • Nityaprem says:

      Interesting cover, Lokesh! I had fun picking out a few of the famous figures, everybody from Sheela to Papaji to Jiddu K. But I think you’re spot on, SimonD’s ayahuasca voyage account is totally worth a prominent spot.

      I was wondering about your opinions on this, most of the accounts I have read of ayahuasca are as a healer or teacher, is that unique to ayahuasca or do other psychedelics like psilocybin also have this property?

      • Lokesh says:

        Hi NP, I wrote you a long reply and my laptop acted up. So suffice to say that there are some good alternatives to ayahuasca that don’t involve throwing up or shitting in your pants.

        Look me up if you are ever down Ibiza way.

        • Nityaprem says:

          Thanks for the offer, Lokesh. I’ve never yet visited Ibiza but if I do I will definitely get in touch, it seems like a happening kind of place.

          I was watching ‘How to Change Your Mind’ on Netflix, a short docu series made after the book by Michael Pollan, and he talked about the discovery of LSD by Albert Hoffman, who was one of the old school of experimental chemists who would try a bit of everything they synthesised. Fascinating stories.

          He also did a whole episode on the Peyote cactus and how it was connected to the Native American Church. It seems psychedelics and religion have a long history in the Americas.

          In the Vedas there is also mention of soma and the process of enlightenment through “light-filled herbs”, but in India this practice seems to have died out, I think through over-use of the herbs. In a way the ability to synthesise these substances may prove to be a saving grace.

    • swamishanti says:

      We have noticed that since Parmatha died several comments on the site have been edited or deleted, including Parmartha`s own criticism of a large online anti-osho Catholic oddball writer who believes he is enlightened and uses links to the site.

      That may or may not have happened since you produced the first volume which I have not managed to check yet. The comments missing are always `positive` in regards to Osho at least or replies to large online critics of Osho who use links to the site.
      It isn’t clear how many of the original comments are missing. We have noticed hacking going on recently and almost all the comments in the old nitrous oxide topic except for yours, have been hidden.

      Making another book is a strange idea.

      • satyadeva says:

        Making another book is an excellent idea, especially if SN doesn’t last beyond next month, which is when our current web host arrangement is due to end.

        Yes, we’re at that time again, to be or not to be….

        • Lokesh says:

          I started on the first chapter and saw how much work would be involved, That is why I put the idea out.

          I learned a lot from making the first book and actually wanted to return to it and work some more on it but lost the file due to a broken hard drive.

          Unfortunately, if the site goes down so does a second book because it takes weeks to copy and paste articles and comments and weed out the dross etc.

          My crystal ball is a bit cloudy right now. If the site continues I will perhaps pursue the second book idea. There are plenty of articles to choose from and the idea of a new publication might ignite a little more enthusiasm from the few remaining SN regulars. Let’s see.

        • satchit says:

          “Yes, we’re at that time again, to be or not to be….”

          Is the end nigh?

          One thing is clear:

          SN belongs to the world of change.
          It does not belong to the eternal.
          In the world of change, what is born will die.

          Om Shanti

          • satyadeva says:

            You’re far too profound for this site, Satchit!

            • satchit says:

              Too profound?

              I have heard already the opposite opinion here, old boy.

            • Nityaprem says:

              I think the site needs its profound fools and its bards, both.

              • Lokesh says:

                There is no ‘should’ about taking life non-seriously, otherwise, it means one is becoming serious about nonseriousness.
                Osho’s ideas around a nonserious attitude are inspirational, playful and I agree with them for the most part. The thing is, there are situations in life that have to be taken seriously or earnestly and you are fooling yourself if you think this is not the case.

                Being light-hearted about what one encounters in life is easy when everything is going well, but not so easy when the going gets scary as in being diagnosed with a horrible disease or the loss of someone you love. It is in such situations that the depth of one’s non-serious approach will be tested.

                We are killing the moment by controlling our experience by trying to be non-serious all the time. Doing this is setting ourselves up for failure, because sooner or later, we’re going to have an experience we can’t cope with, an experience with so much gravity it pulls us down into taking it seriously, because we have to: our house is going to burn down, someone we love is going to die, we’re going to find out we have cancer. If you don’t realize that it means you have not been there yet. Even Osho became serious on rare occasions.

                I find it healthy to be honest with oneself about such things, to admit you are human and not a sage viewing the maya from a transcendental perspective that you have not reached. Yes, ultimately it might all be a grande illusion, but right now you inhabit the human realm and all that comes with it. Embrace your humanity and do not pretend that you are beyond it all and it is all a leela, because you still have not attained those lofty perspectives and it is only fools who make out like they have, when they haven’t.

                • Nityaprem says:

                  I have mixed experiences with this. Once while my grandmother lay dying, in the spirit of non-seriousness I laughed loudly but got told off by other family members present for not being respectful to their seriousness.

                  Will you ever regret laughing? Will you ever feel pleased about not having laughed? I think a general attitude of non-seriousness is helpful in keeping looking at the bright side of life. People shouldn’t take death and money so seriously.

                • Lokesh says:

                  NP says, “People shouldn’t take death and money so seriously.”
                  It is easy to say that when you have money and you are not dying.

                  As for laughing when your granny lay dying, it might not have been a case of not being respectful to their seriousness but a lack of respect on your part in general. We only have your side of the story. I’ll bet not everyone thought it was a brilliant display of non-seriousness on your part. I can understand how it might have been for you but to others you probably appeared like an insensitive idiot.

                • Nityaprem says:

                  It’s best to do what comes up in you and not to worry too much what others think.

                • Lokesh says:

                  NP declares, “It’s best to do what comes up in you and not to worry too much what others think.”

                  So said the suicide bomber.

                • satchit says:

                  “I think a general attitude of non-seriousness is helpful in keeping looking at the bright side of life.”

                  An attitude is something that comes from the mind.
                  For example, you can have the attitude to be friendly to animals.
                  But what will you do if a pit bull attacks you?

                  The non-seriousness Osho speaks happens if there is distance from the mind.

                • Nityaprem says:

                  Lokesh said: “It is easy to say that when you have money and are not dying.”

                  I came across this…

                  “You can become very famous – it is very easy. You can have political power – it does not need much intelligence. You can earn money – you have only to be a little cunning and calculative. These are not great things.

                  The only heroic deed in life is to become realized. All else is very ordinary.”
                  (Osho, ‘Philosophia Perennis’)

                • Lokesh says:

                  Oh oh, it’s “Osho says” time.
                  “The only heroic deed in life is to become realized.”

                  Does this mean you are not heroic, because you have not become realized?

                • Nityaprem says:

                  Well, he was talking about Pythagoras, and the ancient Greeks had some funny ideas about heroism.

                  Personally I always saw myself as vaguely heroic, I used to play Dungeons and Dragons when younger and that was always a game about letting your inner hero come to the fore.

                  But in reality I was never particularly heroic, I just lived my life in a very ordinary way. Heroism is actually a bit of a disease, it means you’re caught up in an illusion.

                • satchit says:

                  “The only heroic deed in life is to become realized. All else is very ordinary.”
                  (Osho, ‘Philosophia Perennis’)

                  “Enlightenment is nothing special. It is the most ordinary, natural phenomenon.”

                • Lokesh says:

                  I see. Therefore neither of you are yet ordinary enough. Something to be worked on.

                • Nityaprem says:

                  So we need to become extraordinarily ordinary? Or something even less sensical.

                  I saw that South Africa won the Rugby World Cup; there is heroism in sport, but where is your chance to catch the eye as being just ordinary?

                  Everywhere I look, I see only extraordinary human beings…

                • satchit says:

                  “I see. Therefore neither of you are yet ordinary enough.”

                  Certainly Lokesh is the most ordinary of all of us.

                  Fact is that there are two kinds of “ordinary”:

                  One is meant comparatively, the other is just ordinary.

    • satchit says:

      I miss E.T. on the cover.

      Yes, life is full of uncertainty.
      Will life go on or will death be coming?

      There are even people who say that there is no death.

      At the end of the day one does not know if it is fake news, just to calm the soul.

  12. Nityaprem says:

    Satyadeva said, “You can buy a “legal variety” of Ayahuasca in shops in the UK?!!”

    I did a little research, and as recently as 2016 you could buy the Mexican herb Salvia Divinorum legally in the UK, from which you could brew a psychedelic tea. But then Theresa May signed the Psychoactive Substances Act 2016, and a lot of loopholes were closed.

    Personally I think it’s ridiculous to outlaw plants, these are occurring naturally in the wild, how can you make that illegal? There is an organisation called ‘Decriminalise Nature’ which specifically aims to get entheogenic plants decriminalised in different states in the US and in the UK. For these kinds of “teacher plants” that makes a lot of sense to me.

  13. Nityaprem says:

    It puts me in mind of this quote from the incomparable Terence McKenna:

    “Psychedelics are illegal not because a loving government is concerned that you may jump out of a third storey window. Psychedelics are illegal because they dissolve opinion structures and culturally laid down models of behaviour and information processing. They open you up to the possibility that everything you know is wrong.”

  14. Nityaprem says:

    It seems to me that psychedelics often change what people consider important: look at the ‘flower power’ movement when lots of people took LSD and ended up going to India or taking a huge road trip or indulging in free love.

    In a way this is very disruptive to society, cogs in the machine withdrawing themselves and not chasing a job and a large house with a large mortgage anymore. Instead of society’s materialistic or economic goals other things become important, the spiritual or the artistic or the otherworldly.

    That has to a certain extent been true of other drugs as well, they take people out of the economic game. But they stimulate the inner freedom. Think, for example, of Samuel Taylor Coleridge, the English poet who was by the way also deeply into opium. Many of his peers were privileged and had money, and so they could afford a habit.

    In the Netflix series ‘How to Change Your Mind’ the presenter and author Michael Pollan talks about how various psychedelic substances have religious and medicinal properties. Psychedelics are powerful in treating addictions, and so are unlike other drugs. In a way they seem to be an agent of freedom, from society’s demands and from the habits of mind.

  15. Lokesh says:

    It’s a sign of the deteriorating SN times that commentators want to discuss different levels of ordinariness.

    I just received an email from an illustrious ex-long-time SN commentator who also noted that the subject matter and comments are at a particularly lack-lustre point. And I quote, “I think SN needs some sharp chilli stuff, something like…
    ‘To love one does not need marriage, but to love and meditate you need a certificate of Name Change.
    Spiritual Scam of 20th Century.’

    You can win a big cash prize if you guess correctly who said that. Here is a clue. He wears an orange turban.

    SD is once more looking for donations to keep the good ship SN afloat. You can also win a cash prize by guessing correctly why SD believes SN is a worthwhile endeavour.

    • satchit says:

      “It’s a sign of the deteriorating SN times that commentators want to discuss different levels of ordinariness.”

      So you feel better, Lokesh, if SN will be finished?

      Tell me, then I don’t need to think about donating!

    • Nityaprem says:

      Lokesh said, “To love one does not need marriage, but to love and meditate you need a certificate of Name Change.
      Spiritual Scam of 20th Century.”

      So do you think controversy will draw viewers and commentators to SN, Lokesh? Talking about spiritual scams will not make people happier or more enlightened.

      Maybe we need some articles like the one about the Chilean candle maker on OshoNews, something creative and crafty. I really enjoyed that series of articles.

      NP, Lokesh was reporting what someone else, Shantam Prem, an Indian thoroughly disillusioned with Sannyas, had recently sent him. If you haven’t come across him SP was an extremely prolific contributor here, certainly a ‘character’, although I’m pretty sure that describing him as “illustrious” was in a spirit of friendly irony.

  16. Nityaprem says:

    So how do we see psychedelics in the context of spirituality? Osho was negative about it, but for many people in South America the Ayahuasca tea is central to their religion, and there have been scholars who have said that all religion came about because of man’s early encounters with psychedelics.

    Certainly, as SimonD demonstrated, you can either surrender or you can try to guide the experience. The shamans all say surrender, and that would be my inclination as well. After all, asking the plant spirit for aid and then arguing with it seems rather churlish.

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