Transcript of Myron Stolaroff ’s presentation at the International Symposium “LSD – Problem Child and Wonder Drug”, held in Basel in January 2006 on the occasion of Dr. Albert Hofmann’s 100th birthday.
Consciousness is undoubtedly the most valuable attribute of all of humanities’ possessions. From the beginning of human presence, consciousness has continued to rise in depth, comprehension, intelligence, skills, and creativity. Looking at our world today, we cannot help but be enormously awed by the developments that have been made through the centuries. But for all of our growth in consciousness and incredible developments, humanity for the most part has a very long way to go to experience the higher levels of consciousness that await us. Let us briefly assess where humanity stands in their development, and then examine to the best of our ability what may be waiting for us with expanded consciousness.
First, in looking at what has been accomplished over the centuries, we cannot help but be awed at the astounding progress that has been made. A short list includes many who live in luxury in beautiful homes, plentiful food is available in a variety of forms, transportation abounds from bicycles to automobiles to airplanes, beautiful parks appear in a variety of cities, entertainment abounds, magnificent buildings house a variety of endeavors, education is available in a vast diversity of choices. On the other hand, there is great pain and suffering throughout the world. There are committed believers who feel that their God is the only one, which means that it’s perfectly all right to kill those who hold a different belief. Large numbers of humans live in poverty, and have no means of financial support. Many suffer from diseases and starvation. Education is beyond the reach of huge numbers of people. While there are organizations committed to help those in dire straits, there still remains large numbers of people beyond the reach of such helpers. These persons have very little access to greater understanding, development of wisdom, or reaching the bliss of realized beings. In fact, for the most part they probably do not even know that higher levels of consciousness exist.
Fortunately, there have been wise ones throughout the centuries who were moved to study life situations, and find ways to overcome suffering. The Buddha is an outstanding example. Quoting from my Tibetan Buddhist teacher, Alan Wallace, author of the book Bound less Heart, The Buddha found from his own experiences that “certain fundamental afflictions of the mind are the source of the distress we experience. . . The most fundamental of these afflictions is delusions (page 10) … And from this delusion, other twistings of the mind occur: selfish craving, hostility, aggression, and a myriad other derivative afflictions.” The Buddha and masters that followed after him found ways to train and develop the mind. Employing appropriate practices opened the door to the glorious potential of the spirit, revealing that love and compassion are the most appropriate answers.
Here is a list of guidelines: 1. Avoid killing. 2. Avoid sexual misconduct. 3. Avoid taking what is not given. 4. Avoid lying. 5. Avoid slander. Avoid abuse. 7. Avoid idle gossip. 8. Avoid malice. 9. Avoid avarice. 10. Avoid false views, or a mindset that denies fundamental truths.
Over many centuries Buddhists and other discoverers reached higher and higher levels of consciousness. While followers of these teachers grew and gained much reward, the number of followers are still a very low percentage of the total population of our planet. The discovery of who we are and what our potential can be was given an enormous boost when Dr. Albert Hofmann came forward with LSD. Within a few years, persons all over the world began to discover enormous openings of consciousness. Vast areas of discovery opened up: repressed material rose to the surface, in many cases revealing sources of discomfort that could now be released; inappropriate behavior was recognized; mates, family members, and friends were seen in a greatly enhanced light; heightened awareness opened the door to vast beauty and understanding; most important of all, for open seekers came the realization that one is truly One with the universe, immersed in pure bliss. Unfortunately, there were man youngsters who managed to possess LSD, and were anxious to explore
without intelligent guidance. While naturally peaceful, contented, open-minded youngsters found riches from their experiences, more disturbed persons encountered deeply repressed material that was very painful and difficult to resolve. This often led to minds getting twisted and in some cases created unbearable pain. Sometimes such persons ended up in severe depressions, and even in hospitals. Many physicians and their helpers did not have the knowledge to help such persons out of their dilemma. Parents were bewildered by the changes. In America, many uninformed physicians, who were unfortunately in the ma jority, and the punitive Federal Drug Enforcement Authority were happy to bitterly oppose such substances, resulting in the Unites States Government making all such substances illegal. No research with psychedelic substances has been approved for over thirty years. Finally, starting within the last three years, several research pro jects employing psilocybin and MDMA have been authorized by our Food and Drug Administration, with the possibility of research with LSD in the near future. Results are encouraging, and it is most likely only a matter of time before these valuable substances can be put into use.
What is it like to enter the dimensions of higher consciousness? Dr. Hofmann has presented a great deal of information from his own personal experiences in books he has written. In my own experience, I have been unusually blessed to have the privilege of entering dimensions never previously imagined. While I have not always been able to retain the full impact of these discoveries (if I did, I would be enlightened in the Buddhist sense!), the impact of these openings has exposed such grandeur and vastness that the only acceptable response is incredible gratitude. Being human, and still carrying burdens beyond my ability to resolve them, there still remains important work to be done. But just having experienced glimpses is enough to muster determination to press forward, for it is now clear that our Real Self, the true I that resides in the heart of each of us, is present and available, and is worth far more than anything one could possibly imagine. Entering this dimension is pure, indescribable bliss; we are One with the Universe, including all other beings and creatures, and it is crystal clear that Love is the only answer. It is really impossible to fully describe the remarkable essence of who we are. What I am presenting here are simply words, and we all know how easy it is to present words in all kinds of ways. But in each of us is the remarkable core that is One with All, and hopefully as these words are stated, something deep within yourself will recognize a new reality, a reality that is the most worthwhile thing we can possibly realize. Hopefully, just a taste of this can reveal what is possible and is ultimately Real, the only Reality that really matters. I do not mean that everyone can immediately enter into this state. I am simply saying that just knowing this is real, and that it’s value surpasses anything else we could possibly imagine, tells us that this is the most important endeavor we can undertake.
There are no doubt many who are not ready to accept such a conclusion. There are all kinds of people in the world, and many have already determined the ob jectives they prefer to pursue. Fine. Pursue your choices. But ultimately you will reach the point where you recognize that there is no other endeavor that can be as precious as unfolding your true inner Self, whether in this lifetime or future lifetimes. If the goal that I have just described is accurate and therefore desirable, how can it be obtained? There is no question that the appropriate use of LSD can open many important doors. Unfortunately, many nations have outlawed LSD and similar substances. I am ashamed to confess that the United States, supposedly the home of freedom, has been the ma jor factor in outlawing these precious materials. But there are places in the world where these restrictions do not exist. And hopefully, as current research produces favorable results, the day will come when appropriate applications will be permissible. In preparation for this time, let’s look at established procedures which can accomplish worthwhile results.
As mentioned before, there are open, caring persons who naturally respond to the remarkable openings that are presented. There have been some who have been so enormously grateful for what they have learned in a single session that they are content to never imbibe again. Those who have more difficult times can be greatly helped by experienced guides.
This is an area I am very familiar with, as it took me a number of years to clear up much of the garbage I was carrying. But the greater one is suffering, the more profound is the relief of getting free! Those who have the hardest time are those who have powerfully repressed material which the famous psychiatrist Carl Jung named the Shadow. Carl Jung is no doubt one of the bravest men who ever lived, intentionally plunging deeply into his unconscious to search out and resolve his inner conflicts. Shadow material can be very painful.
The greatest sources of pain come from mistreatment, particularly at a young age where comprehension has no yet developed. Fear, pain, neglect, accidents, forced restrictions, are all sources of such discomfort that our psyche buries these feelings deep into the unconscious. A good psychedelic experience can open us to these restricted levels, and permit discharging these uncomfortable feelings. In addition there can be feelings of joy as we contact our true center. There can also be an enormous release of energy and well-being, as it takes a lot of energy to hold down miserable unconscious feelings. My own experience is that as you clear up repressed material, which provides great relief, you then encounter deeper, more difficult layers. It can get so hurtful that many desire to go no further. On the other hand, complete freedom is won only by penetrating completely to the root of the discomfort. Fortunately, there are three powerful aids that can help gain resolution. The first is, as you sink deeper and deeper into your inner self, you are encountering your true being. The joy this provides makes it easier to confront the painful material.
Another help is suggested by Leo Zeff, one of the world’s outstanding psychedelic therapists, interviewed in my book The Secret Chief Revealed. Leo tells us that if we can stop resisting and let go to the flow, the discomfort lessens, making it easier to reach complete release. This can end up with profound peace and joy. A Third helper is achieved by accomplished meditators, who learn to withdraw into their true center, and from this viewpoint look out into the spaces where the painful material is present. In the comfort of the Inner Self, they can observe the uncomfortable material as being on the outside and consequently is not deeply felt. From this viewpoint, it is possible to identify the pain and find ways to resolve it.
Each encounter with LSD or other similar useful substances as created by Alexander Shulgin, should be carefully reviewed. It is extremely important that valuable discoveries which have been revealed are immediately put into effect. Those who have available access to LSD, for example, often neglect taking this step, as if one falls back, it is easy to repeat the experience. I personally fell into this trap myself. As I failed to put indicated action into practice, I could feel myself regressing, and would consequently imbibe again. After a while I felt this constant going up and down very trying. It then became crystal clear that I was not using these valuable substances properly. It is essential to put into action what one has learned. Otherwise our inner self can get discouraged, and depressioncan follow. An excellent way to insure that we take full advantage of what we learn is to develop a good meditation practice. Many people find it difficult to follow this approach, as they are busy persons working for a living, and in the beginning nothing rewarding seems to develop. Here is where intention comes into the picture. With dedicated intention, one sticks to the practice until results begin to occur. Having access to LSD at appropriate times can provide openings that considerably enhance the progress of mastering meditation. I think it is enormously worthwhile to find a good meditation teacher who is skilled enough to teach essential techniques and properly monitor your progress. Such a teacher will no doubt recommend important text books that will support you on your journey. Excellent advice can come from the books by the Dalai Lama, Thich Nhat Hanh, Pema Chodron, Eckhart Tolle, and my own teacher, Alan Wallace. It is often difficult to get started with meditation, but once you begin to make contact with your deep self, you begin to feel more peaceful and that something worthwhile is happening. Staying with it, one begins to find deeper relaxation, then more mental stability and finally clarity. As you increase your ability to hold your mind still, the door to the unconscious becomes more open, and repressed material can surface, providing wonderful release. You then generate more energy, as it takes energy to hold down repressions. If you earnestly pursue such a practice,you will find yourself developing calmness, which can progress to peace, then euphoria, and in due time, even ecstasy. And all of this can at appropriate times enhance psychedelic explorations, which can further deepen your meditation practice.
The more we progress, the more we learn to open up and resolve inappropriate material. In general, most of us don’t care for pain. but I have learned that pain is an excellent teacher. I’ll admit that this requires real intention. But one learns that the relief, freedom, and greater awareness makes one grateful for mustering the will which brings such great relief. So I consider it very worth while to learn to sit with one’s pain and stay with it until the source rises to consciousness, which is a great revelation. Then it can be dealt with. This technique is well described in Chapter Six in Echart Talle’s book The Power of Now. One morning a couple of years ago I was sitting on the sofa, letting my mind rest in it’s natural state, when I become aware of a great discomfort in my abdomen. In the past I would have tried to draw away from this feeling. But now knew to put my intention directly on it, and hold my full attention there. All of a sudden a sequence of events began to flow through me. The result was a much greater understanding of how things work. As the discomfort rose, I became agitated, and began to look for the source of the misery. Then it struck me right between the eyes! My very clever ego began searching and searching to find the cause of the difficulty. But as soon as I did this, it became crystal clear. The pain is the result of separating – from a person, from an animal, from a place. Suddenly I recognized my ego was deliberately searching to find the cause of the discomfort. It seemed imperative to find someone or something on which to place the blame. Then with an enormous impact, I realized that this created further separation, which produced even more pain! So the very clever ego searches even further, which creates more separation and more pain! It became quite clear how much pain and suffering is being created around the world, particularly for those persons who feel their own God is the only true God and it is perfectly all right to kill those who support different religions. How is this for separation! Will there ever be any end to their agony, as they keep creating more and more the very cause of their own pain? For the truth is, we are all One, so when we separate ourselves we break our connection, and breaking this connection results in pain, even if we are unwilling to acknowledge it.
Recently I was blessed to experience a further element to help open the doors of realization. My very good friend, Sasha Shulgin, in years past observed me struggle through some of the uncomfortable situations I often found myself in. He would ask me, “Are you above the line or below the line?” Often I was too uncomfortable to reply to him. I finally discovered that being above the line was a great deal more satisfying then being below the line. More important, I began to understand ways to stay there! I have spent quite a bit of time in meditation simply being still and observing. This is often quite satisfying, but in some ways it seemed there were things I was missing. Heavy feelings would return, the wonderful states of clarity would fade away, there seemed no way to maintain this “above the line” space. Then it came to me that I was not producing enough intention. It was important to focus more clearly, carefully avoiding grasping, but somehow applying purpose without straining. Then the higher levels of consciousness began to appear. Sitting on the deck of my house, looking up at the high mountains of the Sierra Nevada, and looking above the mountaintops to the crystal clear blue of the sky, I was filled with the awe and beauty of that very alive heaven. It becomes more clear all the time that there is no end to consciousness. It will expand and expand and expand, leading us to new heights, new realizations, new incredible bliss. It is patiently waiting, waiting for us to apply the necessary intention.
Since 1965 I learned that psychedelic substances were the most powerful learning tools available to mankind. Complex, powerful, they are easily misused and abused. Yet for the sincere seeker, armed with honesty, courage, and an unquenchable thirst for Self discovery, I know of no other means that can so readily provide self-understanding, and the ultimate nature of Reality. Nor that can so readily reveal the source of most of the difficulties of the human race, and the most appropriate path to their resolution. Following are some of the points that I consider to be my most valuable learning experiences:
1. Many aspects of life expand as our consciousness expands. This includes improvement in communication and relationships, developing skills, sensory enhancement, free flow of thought, appreciation of nature, and growth in inner strength and well-being.
2. The Source of Life is utterly Real; those who have the strength and courage to explore this dimension will find an incomprehensible beauty almost beyond the strength of humans to gaze upon.
3. The universe is created in inconceivable love – a vast, endless, timeless love that is in the heart of every living creature, that awaits within each of us to be discovered by those who earnestly seek it.
4. We are truly all ONE; our brother’s welfare is our welfare, his/her pain is our pain, and there is no private salvation. The Buddhists are right: there is no way to advance spiritually without committing oneself to the happiness and welfare of all living beings.
5. INTENTIONALITY is the bottom line. We act, create, accomplish, and love in accordance with the depth of our intention.
6. The most glorious experience can fade away unless we take full responsibility for bringing it into realization in our lives.
7. Gratitude and appreciation are the stair steps to Heaven.
More on the Symposium “LSD – Problem Child and Wonder Drug” at: www.lsd.info