What causes bad trips?

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Hedge90
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Re: What causes bad trips?

Post by Hedge90 »

Thank you Adur. I appreciate your warnings, and I'd like to add I'd never abuse psychedelics; both times I tried them were at moments when I felt like I've reached a dead end in life and wanted to get a new perspective. And the after-effects of the 2nd trip taught me not to even think of using psychedelics lightly, in a recreational manner. In particular, I had one flashback 2 weeks later that I was completely unprepared for, and it was the most dreadful experience of my life, I literally felt like the universe may collapse in on itself at any moment and everything I ever knew could dissolve in an instant. So yeah, you don't need to tell me twice to be careful.
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Cleric K
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Re: What causes bad trips?

Post by Cleric K »

Hedge90 wrote: Sun Sep 12, 2021 9:37 am I'll finish that book then. I admit I put it away after the preparatory section because I thought I shouldn't read on until I start to see the changes Steiner described. So if I read it I'll get a sense of what "becoming a worker for the Divine Kingdom" means?
Well, the book contains as very condensed extract much of the important things. It really depends on how deeply one works with it, if he's to grasp the big picture from the extract itself. But certainly, especially the last chapter about the "The Greater Guardian of the Threshold", really charts the overall mood.
Hedge90 wrote: Sun Sep 12, 2021 9:37 am About my motives, I'd say it's one part curiosity, and the other part is my ever-present feeling of wanting to be a part of something bigger and more noble than my mundane reality is. I must sound like a broken record, but music is one thing that at times let my peek into a state of being that is something higher than our egoic chase for self-gratification. There were some experiences in my life - some induced by a profound appreciation for a piece of music, and some by very deep interprersonal moments - where I felt an "elevatedness" inside me, a sense of taking part in something that I can't understand or describe, but that is infinitely more significant and beautiful than my everyday worries, anxieties and desires are. In those moments I just felt deeply grateful to be a part of existence and all my troubles just seemed insignificant, or laughable, even, because I knew they were nothing compared to the wonder that is unfolding around me.
I shared that because I have a sense that these were moments where I got an uninitiated glimpse into this "Divine Plan", even though I couldn't conceptualise it as such. Am I going in the right direction with this, or is this completely far-off?
If you can really hold on to this feeling about "something bigger and more noble" it can become your sure compass on your path. Such a fragile feeling is really a seed. It must be cherished, cared after, nourished. It then begins to grow, strengthen, take shape and turn into the High Ideal, which I often mention.

I'm not in position to give advices for esoteric development. One must first achieve mastery over himself, before having clear enough sight, such that can take into account every soul's specific karmic circumstances, and according to that to give the most appropriate advice. I can only share some much lower level details for which I can confidently say that they have pretty much universal application. In this sense I would say - spend more time reading first, without being too much in a haste of going higher. This reading shouldn't at all aim to load you with dogmatic information. Actually, one of the most important things when reading about facts derived from higher consciousness, is to observe how we react to them.

Usually people read something, for example about the Spiritual World, the previous eons of the evolution of the Solar System, and think to themselves "What a bucket of nonsense! This can be nothing but imagination run completely bananas!" In reality, we're not at all expected to believe blindly any of this. The most valuable thing we can do is to simply reflect on our reaction. We can say "Alright, as I've read these lines, my whole being exclaimed 'nonsense!'. But this is a kind of reaction. It's not some deeply thought out conclusion, it's just my BS detector instinctively engaging. But what is this detector made of? Hasn't my whole psyche been heavily shaped since my birth, by all the things that I have heard, seen, come in contact with, liked or disliked? My current feeling for reality is an accumulation, a patchwork of such experiences. This accumulation is a prism that refracts the light of perceptions in completely unique way. One in about 8 billion unique ways (world population)! What are the chances that exactly my quite specific life path has accumulated precisely these gems, which as arranged by my pretty chaotic destiny, in the prism of my soul, refract the light of perception perfectly? Could there be aberrations, double, triple reflections, attenuations? Can I really be certain that just because the light rays of these words entering my prism, refracting and reflecting until they fill me with red BS light, this should mean that the light is in its pristine form or could possibly been tainted by my patchwork prism, which I've never really taken care to consciously polish and attune? I'm not going to believe these ideas but I'm going to trace how they work upon my soul. For example, let's say that given idea is really true. Putting aside the immediate emotional BS response, I can consider it more closely. What does it mean to me if it is true? How would that affect me? Would it make the overall picture more clear and coherent or the opposite? Is there something in me which rebels against the idea because I've invested certain things in my life which would only make sense if such ideas are false? Of whose interest are these things?"

Such is the actual process that should really be triggered in us if we really want to approach reality comprehensively and not simply stamp it with whatever emotional reaction we get from our unconscious patchwork soul prism. When things are approached in this way, we no longer simply have a framed picture that we choose to believe or not believe but we deepen our self-knowledge, we begin working on our prism and understand how and why we react to this or that in one or another way. The more we thus deepen our spiritual life, the more we can discover certain truths within ourselves. Higher cognition is only continuation of this process where our prism becomes more and more attuned to Cosmic geometry.
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Adur Alkain
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Re: What causes bad trips?

Post by Adur Alkain »

Cleric K wrote: Sat Sep 11, 2021 5:46 pm
Adur Alkain wrote: Thu Sep 09, 2021 10:16 am Hi Hedge,

I didn't see this thread until today.

I've had many psychedelic experiences, spanning three decades of my life, involving mainly psilocybin mushrooms, and I have some ideas about what bad trips actually mean. These are original ideas, based on my own experiences and the experiences of people I know, not on anything I've read (but I've read a lot about psychedelics).

I've come up with a sort of "model of the psychedelic path", which I can summarize like this:

...
That's a great description, Adur! I'm glad to see someone who could really make something out of these experiences.
Adur Alkain wrote: Sat Sep 11, 2021 8:23 am Something I didn't mention in my previous post, but I think is quite obvious, is that one has to go through all the doors in every trip. That's why I prefer to talk of "ego dissolution" instead of "ego death": because the ego doesn't actually die. When you come down from the trip, the ego comes back, and often with a vengeance!
The above is actually something very important and one of the major reasons why psychedelics in themselves can never be considered a healthy spiritual path. This may take a while to explain.

I can speak from personal experience here because my own path was also triggered by substances (albeit as mild as cannabis, which some don't even consider psychedelic). Once I embarked on the actual path of Initiatic science it took me quite some years to undo the false habits that I've had unknowingly accumulated. And even to this day I can't say that everything is completely rectified. The bolded part above actually encodes much in itself. The main trouble with altered states of consciousness which are produced by external means is that our "I" is forced into different conditions that we are obliged to deal with. In the process of dealing with them we explore different degrees of freedom of our spiritual activity that we probably didn't know about previously.

...

So let's look again at the third gate. This has been spoken about in different contexts many times here. First, to put things in even better perspective, let's be clear that every one of us goes through these gates each night when we go to sleep (or at least the first two, depending on how deep our sleep is).

We cross the first gate in the process of drifting off to sleep. Waking thinking dissolves and usually this is the moment we lose consciousness. Crossing the second gate happens soon after that, which is no other but the loosening of the astral (soul) body and the "I" from the physical and etheric (life) body which stay much more tightly coupled. If the "I" is to gain consciousness in this state, it results in what we simply call dreaming. Crossing the second gate with the help of psychedelics is the alert experience of loosening the astral body - the same thing that happens every night - but without interruption of consciousness. Or so it is at least for those who have instinctively developed some means to retain consciousness after the second gate - as Adur has. There are many other people who after the first gate (where the intellect collapses but there's still very vivid imagery) lose consciousness after the astral body is loosened. Or at most they do remember that something did happen but simply can't make anything of it. This actually leads us to another golden rule - we can remember in our ordinary intellectual state only that which was grasped in concepts in the higher worlds. This from another angle shows why we need our Earthly shells to be at hand all the time - unless we translate the higher experiences down the gradient into concepts within these shells, we simply won't remember anything useful from the whole experience.

In normal life it almost never happens that we enter the dream state directly from the waking. There's always loss of consciousness when we drift off and only at some other point consciousness lightens up again as dreaming. Returning to the sensory shells from dreaming can be experienced more often. Being awakened by someone/something while dreaming can give us some experience of this process but usually it happens too rapidly to notice anything interesting. We can have more substantial experiences if we are lucid dreaming and consciously awake in the body. Then we experience much more clearly the crossing of the second gate in reverse - the reconnection with the bodily senses.

Of course, just like psychedelics, dream states are not of great value for spiritual investigation because we're also not free in them. The only proper way to walk the gate gradient is by gradually and safely develop our whole being. It is not just a mind trick. We need to work with our feelings and will too. Unless we develop a High Ideal and set out to purify our life of feelings, there are certain living processes in the astral body which we we'll always feel repelled to meet consciously, thus the crossing of the second gate could never happen - subconsciously we don't want it to happen because we'll have to become aware of deeply disturbing truths.

We reach the third gate. In normal life this is the point of entering deep dreamless sleep. The astral body becomes even more expanded into the spheres and the etheric body (which while dreaming reflects the dream imagery) can't really reflect anything that an uninitiated "I" could consciously experience. We simply don't have the concepts and the finer spiritual organization to grasp the happenings at that stage.

Adur describes that as we experience the crossing of the third gate (which is like entering deep dreamless sleep from the psychedelic state) everything dissipates into nothingness, we ultimately lose consciousness. Upon returning we know for certain that we spent time in that state. That is - the only thing that this void state has in common with the states of consciousness that we know from our waking and dreaming life, is the experience of duration.

This is as far as we can go when relying on training based on the popular Eastern methods. As this has been discussed previously - it is possible to have consciousness beyond the third gate. This must sound outrageous for those who have experienced the dissolution in the void. They would say "How can this be possible? Everything dissolves! How can still be experiences when everything returns to the absolute nothingness?"

Let's use the following metaphor. Our experiences, perceptions, thoughts are 'things'. Let's imagine them as some number, magnitude of things. As we approach the third gate these 'things' begin to dissipate - their magnitude decreases. Ultimately, in the absolute nothingness the magnitude becomes zero. Everything is gone. But there's actually a way to continue even further. We go beyond zero and now the magnitude becomes - negative! Yes, as we cross the third gate, properly prepared for that, after we pass the nothingness we encounter a World which is 'made of' less than nothingness - it is not simply the absence of thingness (which is nothingness), it is negative thingness. This is what in esoteric traditions is called the Spiritual World proper or Devachan (World of archetypal beings).

When we cross the first gate we live in Imaginative consciousness and weave within the processes of the etheric body. In various traditions this is know as the Elemental World. After the astral body is loosened at the second gate it can be said that we enter the Astral (Soul) World. At this stage we still use the etheric body to reflect to us the images (Imaginations) but now they are much less related to things having to do with our corporeal life (which includes the mineral and life body). In the astral body we can relate with beings and processes that have much more existential character - our relations with other souls, souls of the departed, the web of destiny (Karma) and even some of the higher beings. Yet all these astral experiences are still reflected in the ether. This is something of tremendous importance and source of great illusions unless one is prepared. All Imaginations relate to their actual spiritual causes as wax relates to the seal. They are kind of negative impression of processes that we experience in the soul. For example, if we see in this state a beast hurling at us, we must be fully aware that this is not an actual creature but the way our etheric body is able to reflect, for example, a passion that lives in our astral body.

As we cross the third gate all Imaginative reflections cease. Then we enter Inspirative cognition. Actually this is also how we train for the attainment of Inspirative consciousness. When we train for Imaginative consciousness, we concentrate on image, a thought. I've given various examples. When we are sufficiently advanced, our inner discernment becomes so refined that we can clearly distinguish the experience of the actual meaning of the image from the etheric reflection (color, sound, etc.). We begin to train for Inspirative consciousness when we fully consciously eradicate the Imaginative element and live only in the ideal element - the meaning. Even in the early stages of this training we already begin to glimpse how we can live in a World of meaning, even though all perceptual content is completely gone. This ideal element is what constitutes the negative thingness.

As we cross the third gate, the threshold of the Spiritual World, we begin to become aware that everything is filled with Thoughts. Not our personal thoughts but entities of pure meaning which weave, interact and in fact constitute the true fabric of reality. Everything that we experience in the Imaginative realm are only reflections of the higher worlds, within our own soul and bodily sheaths. When this states decoheres even further as we cross the first gate in reverse, everything becomes even further fragmented - Imaginations break down into sensory perceptions and rigid (mineral-like) thoughts about them.

...
Hi Cleric,

I find, as always, much of what you say here extremely interesting. But I don't think you have an understanding of the psychedelic experience. To do that, you really have to do psychedelics. Thinking about the psychedelic experience, based on reports by other people, is simply not the same as actually having the experience.

Cannabis is very different to "true psychedelics" or "entheogens" like psilocybin or LSD. To begin with, it's highly addictive (not physically addictive, like coffee or tobacco, but psychologically), which tells a lot about the very limited and dubious "liberating" effect canabis use might have. In general, habitual cannabis use may provide some relief for psychological stress and anxiety, and may stimulate some forms of creativity, but it also promotes manichaeistic thinking and paranoia. I think there is a connection between cannabis use and the spread of conspiracy theories, for example. Anyway, I'm just saying that you can't get an insight into psychedelics like psilocybin mushrooms just from trying out cannabis.

I agree with you in saying that psychedelics in themselves cannot be considered a spiritual path. Psychedelics won't lead us anywhere if we don't have some spiritual guidance coming from another source. The ultimate source is within, of course. But at the beggining of the path, most of us need a spiritual teaching or teacher to give us guidance. With that guidance, psychedelics can be a tremendous help.

This has been practiced for millennia among Shamanic cultures. And today we can see a growing interest in the West in the use of ayahuasca within a spiritual setting, for example. But the spiritual framework or teaching surrounding the actual experience is crucial. The chemical substance by itself won't provide any sort of spiritual liberation.

That said, no all spiritual paths are compatible with the use of psychedelics. Spiritual science probably isn't, from what you say. That's fine. Psychedelics certainly aren't for everybody. And no spiritual path is for everybody either.

The problem we keep encountering in these conversations is that some of you believe there is only one "true path" to spiritual knowledge and freedom. All other paths are necessarily distorted or incomplete. In my view, all paths are incomplete.

You say that "it is possible to have consciousness beyond the third gate". That may be true (I hope you are talking from your own experience, not from something you've read). But if it is, then what you call "the third gate" is not what I'm calling "the Third Door". We are talking about different things.

For me it's obvious that you are not talking about the psychedelic experience. You are talking about something else. You mention astral bodies and things like that, and it all sounds very interesting, and I'm sure you can experience those things, but it has nothing to do with the total dissolution of reality and of consciousness itself that you can experience in deep psychedelic states.

What I call "passing through the Third Door" is what in many spiritual teachings is called Cessation. Beyond Cessation there is nothing. Absolute Nothingness. No consciousness, no being, nothing at all. In the Diamond Approach this is referred to as the Absolute. It is the deepest dimension of reality. Most spiritual teachings know this Nothingness. Some teachings view it as not very important, as only a transitional state. Others (like many Buddhist schools) see it as the most fundamental ground of reality and the end of the path. In the Diamond Approach the Absolute or Pure Nothingness is not the end of the path (there is no end of the path for the DA), but it's a fundamental and important dimension of our true nature.

I don't know if Spiritual Science views this Nothingness as a transition into some deeper level of reality, or if they simply deny that such thing (the total absence of consciousness or awareness) can exist. In any case, this would clearly show that Spiritual Science is incomplete. (Like I said, in the view of the DA all spiritual teachings and paths are incomplete.)

It's interesting to see how many people in this forum have a lot of resistance against this notion of Nothingness or Cessation. For me this is a clear symptom of the very deep attachment to consciousness that we all have (I guess this attachment is especially strong among idealists, who generally view consciousness as the fundamental reality). Like I said, it took me years of perseverance and courage to actually be able to go through that Third Door and witness my consciousness dissolving into Nothingness without dissociating from the experience.

But once I did, I realized that this Nothingness, this Absolute Emptiness, is the true source and nature of everything. It is our true Home.
Physicalists hold two fundamental beliefs:

1. The essence of Nature is Mathematics.
2. Consciousness is a product of the human brain.

But the two contraries are true:

1. The essence of Nature is Consciousness.
2. Mathematics is a product of the human brain.
Ben Iscatus
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Re: What causes bad trips?

Post by Ben Iscatus »

Adur, although I find what you say fascinating and cannot dispute it, I would like you to explain how you think Consciousness arises from Absolute Emptiness. The reason I ask this is that it strikes me as an incorrect use of the term, since by normal definition and use of English, something cannot come from nothing. Can you not use the term "plenum" or a "void containing the superposition of all unrealised possibilities", or similar?
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Soul_of_Shu
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Re: What causes bad trips?

Post by Soul_of_Shu »

Ben Iscatus wrote: Mon Sep 13, 2021 10:57 am Adur, although I find what you say fascinating and cannot dispute it, I would like you to explain how you think Consciousness arises from Absolute Emptiness. The reason I ask this is that it strikes me as an incorrect use of the term, since by normal definition and use of English, something cannot come from nothing. Can you not use the term "plenum" or a "void containing the superposition of all unrealised possibilities", or similar?
And as per previous chats with Adur on this notion, I'm still awaiting the explanation for how a state utterly absent any awareness of it, can be a memory that one recalls? By definition there could be no recall of it. I'm fine with with no-thingness, but since awareness is not a 'thing', then what does the absence of thingness have to do with the absence of awareness?
Here out of instinct or grace we seek
soulmates in these galleries of hieroglyph and glass,
where mutual longings and sufferings of love
are laid bare in transfigured exhibition of our hearts,
we who crave deep secrets and mysteries,
as elusive as the avatars of our dreams.
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Soul_of_Shu
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Re: What causes bad trips?

Post by Soul_of_Shu »

Soul_of_Shu wrote: Mon Sep 13, 2021 11:47 am
Ben Iscatus wrote: Mon Sep 13, 2021 10:57 am Adur, although I find what you say fascinating and cannot dispute it, I would like you to explain how you think Consciousness arises from Absolute Emptiness. The reason I ask this is that it strikes me as an incorrect use of the term, since by normal definition and use of English, something cannot come from nothing. Can you not use the term "plenum" or a "void containing the superposition of all unrealised possibilities", or similar?
And as per previous chats with Adur on this notion, I'm still awaiting the explanation for how a state utterly absent any awareness of it, can be a memory that one recalls? By definition there could be no recall of it. I'm fine with with no-thingness, but since awareness is not a 'thing', then what does the absence of thingness have to do with the absence of awareness?
Here out of instinct or grace we seek
soulmates in these galleries of hieroglyph and glass,
where mutual longings and sufferings of love
are laid bare in transfigured exhibition of our hearts,
we who crave deep secrets and mysteries,
as elusive as the avatars of our dreams.
Hedge90
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Re: What causes bad trips?

Post by Hedge90 »

Soul_of_Shu wrote: Mon Sep 13, 2021 11:47 am
Ben Iscatus wrote: Mon Sep 13, 2021 10:57 am Adur, although I find what you say fascinating and cannot dispute it, I would like you to explain how you think Consciousness arises from Absolute Emptiness. The reason I ask this is that it strikes me as an incorrect use of the term, since by normal definition and use of English, something cannot come from nothing. Can you not use the term "plenum" or a "void containing the superposition of all unrealised possibilities", or similar?
And as per previous chats with Adur on this notion, I'm still awaiting the explanation for how a state utterly absent any awareness of it, can be a memory that one recalls? By definition there could be no recall of it. I'm fine with with no-thingness, but since awareness is not a 'thing', then what does the absence of thingness have to do with the absence of awareness?
He wrote that it was actually just a gap in his experience, though he had a sense of "duration" after he came to. But I admit I don't exactly understand how that differs from sleeping.
Hedge90
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Re: What causes bad trips?

Post by Hedge90 »

Adur, regarding the divide between the psychedelic experience and other spiritual paths, are you sure that they differ that much? I think this is a pretty difficult question to resolve because I assume there are very few people who have ventured far both on the psychedelic path and the path of meditative spiritual exercise, but only someone who is personally versed in both could really answer this question. My intuition is that psychedelics basically just do forecefully what the meditator does through slow training, i.e. while a psychedelic just tears the veil from over your mind's eye, meditative practice is a slow unbounding of the same veil.
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Soul_of_Shu
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Re: What causes bad trips?

Post by Soul_of_Shu »

Hedge90 wrote: Mon Sep 13, 2021 12:27 pmHe wrote that it was actually just a gap in his experience ...
Nonetheless, that is recall of a 'gap' in one's experience. That gap being no-thingness, or the absence of things
to be aware of. As Spira has put it, there is no absence of awareness, only the awareness of absence—which would also be the absence of any experience of time passing—which means that one can't, by way of recall, now be aware of a gap that no-one could have been aware of, if there was no awareness to be aware, period.

A video has been shared here previously of Spira and Almaas discussing this premise, in which I feel they did seem to reconcile their takes on it, at least to my satisfaction.
Here out of instinct or grace we seek
soulmates in these galleries of hieroglyph and glass,
where mutual longings and sufferings of love
are laid bare in transfigured exhibition of our hearts,
we who crave deep secrets and mysteries,
as elusive as the avatars of our dreams.
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Cleric K
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Re: What causes bad trips?

Post by Cleric K »

Adur Alkain wrote: Mon Sep 13, 2021 10:43 am Hi Cleric,

I find, as always, much of what you say here extremely interesting. But I don't think you have an understanding of the psychedelic experience. To do that, you really have to do psychedelics. Thinking about the psychedelic experience, based on reports by other people, is simply not the same as actually having the experience.

Cannabis is very different to "true psychedelics" or "entheogens" like psilocybin or LSD. To begin with, it's highly addictive (not physically addictive, like coffee or tobacco, but psychologically), which tells a lot about the very limited and dubious "liberating" effect canabis use might have. In general, habitual cannabis use may provide some relief for psychological stress and anxiety, and may stimulate some forms of creativity, but it also promotes manichaeistic thinking and paranoia. I think there is a connection between cannabis use and the spread of conspiracy theories, for example. Anyway, I'm just saying that you can't get an insight into psychedelics like psilocybin mushrooms just from trying out cannabis.

I agree with you in saying that psychedelics in themselves cannot be considered a spiritual path. Psychedelics won't lead us anywhere if we don't have some spiritual guidance coming from another source. The ultimate source is within, of course. But at the beggining of the path, most of us need a spiritual teaching or teacher to give us guidance. With that guidance, psychedelics can be a tremendous help.

This has been practiced for millennia among Shamanic cultures. And today we can see a growing interest in the West in the use of ayahuasca within a spiritual setting, for example. But the spiritual framework or teaching surrounding the actual experience is crucial. The chemical substance by itself won't provide any sort of spiritual liberation.

That said, no all spiritual paths are compatible with the use of psychedelics. Spiritual science probably isn't, from what you say. That's fine. Psychedelics certainly aren't for everybody. And no spiritual path is for everybody either.

The problem we keep encountering in these conversations is that some of you believe there is only one "true path" to spiritual knowledge and freedom. All other paths are necessarily distorted or incomplete. In my view, all paths are incomplete.

You say that "it is possible to have consciousness beyond the third gate". That may be true (I hope you are talking from your own experience, not from something you've read). But if it is, then what you call "the third gate" is not what I'm calling "the Third Door". We are talking about different things.

For me it's obvious that you are not talking about the psychedelic experience. You are talking about something else. You mention astral bodies and things like that, and it all sounds very interesting, and I'm sure you can experience those things, but it has nothing to do with the total dissolution of reality and of consciousness itself that you can experience in deep psychedelic states.

What I call "passing through the Third Door" is what in many spiritual teachings is called Cessation. Beyond Cessation there is nothing. Absolute Nothingness. No consciousness, no being, nothing at all. In the Diamond Approach this is referred to as the Absolute. It is the deepest dimension of reality. Most spiritual teachings know this Nothingness. Some teachings view it as not very important, as only a transitional state. Others (like many Buddhist schools) see it as the most fundamental ground of reality and the end of the path. In the Diamond Approach the Absolute or Pure Nothingness is not the end of the path (there is no end of the path for the DA), but it's a fundamental and important dimension of our true nature.

I don't know if Spiritual Science views this Nothingness as a transition into some deeper level of reality, or if they simply deny that such thing (the total absence of consciousness or awareness) can exist. In any case, this would clearly show that Spiritual Science is incomplete. (Like I said, in the view of the DA all spiritual teachings and paths are incomplete.)

It's interesting to see how many people in this forum have a lot of resistance against this notion of Nothingness or Cessation. For me this is a clear symptom of the very deep attachment to consciousness that we all have (I guess this attachment is especially strong among idealists, who generally view consciousness as the fundamental reality). Like I said, it took me years of perseverance and courage to actually be able to go through that Third Door and witness my consciousness dissolving into Nothingness without dissociating from the experience.

But once I did, I realized that this Nothingness, this Absolute Emptiness, is the true source and nature of everything. It is our true Home.
Adur,

my interests were truly sparked by cannabis but I have experiences with psilocybin too. I grew both cannabis and mushrooms back then.

Gradually I began to feel certain inner division. It's more than clear that any substance is a physical substance and as such affects primarily the physical body. Everything else is a spiritual reaction to this. So there were two beings in me - one was perfectly aware that my spiritual core is the actual Cosmic essence of reality and the bodily sheaths are only like filtering and mirroring systems that reduce the infinite potential into limited time-flow perspective which experiences itself in relation to all the other potential. The other being was eager to have 'experiences' and would agitate the bodily sheaths through a substance in order that something higher may refract through. The only reasonable thing to do was to continue on the slow but certain path where the bodily sheaths themselves are transformed through my own spiritual activity.

Since the time I began writing in this forum I had to address more and more topics dealing with psychedelics. Through the years my previous psychedelic experiences had become completely transparent from the perspective of higher cognition. Yet I was owing it to the scientific side of me to verify this, even though I already knew what the result would be. So I grew mushrooms again and did experiments (the most recent only few weeks ago). Everything was confirmed. So a bit of warning for those who embark on the path of higher cognition: If you enjoy going on rollercoaster rides, this no longer happens. These rides happen only because the sensory self is ejected into completely unknown territory and is being tossed around. Through spiritual development this same territory is gradually traversed through the unsuspected forces concealed behind our thinking activity. In meditation we can freely move along the gradient of the gates. Five grams dried don't really do anything except pushing us much more towards the astral body, so we are functional in the astral body and operate in the physical, although there's much more time-distance between them. It is as if we have to stretch across time-thickness from the Imaginative consciousness towards the physical body.

These are things that we naturally do in higher development but the process is entirely under our control. It's like breathing, we can breath in and out of the sensory organs. The important thing is that in an instant we can attach firmly to the senses and intellectual thinking and be fully 'normal' in our daily life. This is practically one of the more important differences with psychedelics. With the latter we are not free. We're being pushed towards the Imaginative realm and we can't reach for the sensory organs as tightly as we could otherwise. This is the reason for the time-distance mentioned. We can use our intellect, we can use our body but from a greater distance, so to speak. We can achieve that distance through transfiguring our spiritual activity too, but we also have the ability to squash the distance on demand.

Btw I fully agree with your characterization of cannabis. It really has a much more somatic feel, which causes what I call disproportionate thoughts. It's very common that some idea fills our consciousness accompanied with strong eureka emotion as if we have found the solution to all riddles in the universe - only to find out later how trivial or simply wrong that idea really was. I can confirm that these effects are still somewhat present even when we have gone through higher development. From that point of view cannabis has more intoxicating effect. In contrast, with psilocybin we are completely sober (except for the time-distance between our Imaginative standpoint and the physical organs, which makes it more challenging to operate physically as if nothing is happening).

I say the above things not to give the impression that higher development makes us immune to substances. Not at all. We're fully dependent on our physical and etheric body for our conscious experience on Earth and substances most certainly affect these processes. For example, it's not possible to undo the CNS depressive effects of alcohol. We can still be quite in control but nevertheless our consciousness dims down more and more and ultimately simply blacks out. For this reason alcohol is very detrimental for spiritual development. It practically ruins everything that we are slowly building. What we build with one hand we demolish with the other.

In this sense, what I say about psilocybin is not meant as if one can have 50 grams dry without passing out but only that the opening up towards the astral body is nothing that we don't already have direct experience of in much more harmonious, higher resolution and self-conscious way.

And of course the fact remains that this psychedelic opening towards the astral doesn't at all give us the concepts and finer discrimination that can only be attained through patient and rigorous study and training. Without this we look at a flattened Imagination of our supersensible nature and simply can't discern anything. The reason is that this discernment happens through cognition and doesn't arrive ready-made through visions. I repeat it again because it is so important - the greatest illusion we can succumb into is that psychedelics give us some objective higher perspective. Some imagine that they give the same experience as higher development but in an alternative way. This is simply false. Being pushed in the astral body through psychedelics is like a blind man going outside and only feeling the tingling warmth of the Sun. Psychedelics don't give us neither the structure of the eye, nor the cognition to know what we are seeing in the light. So it really makes no sense for someone to say "I got so and so grams dry and completely dissolved into the primordial potential, yet I didn't see neither the soul organs (chakras) nor different bodies, nor celestial beings."

Now I don't want to repeat everything I said in the long post. I think everything needed is already there. Just to affirm - yes, the dissolution at the third gate is not at all the end. In fact Ben has a very good point in his post above.

Think of it that way: we can cross the third gate in two different ways. One is when we cross it by keeping our gaze downwards. This results in the experience of the void. The ground beneath our feet dissolves, our soul mirror dissolves, there's nothing left to reflect our consciousness - it all becomes nothingness. We enter deep dreamless sleep from within the psychedelic state. It's like crossing the event horizon of a black hole.

The other way is by keeping our gaze upwards. I already explained that this is not simply geometric 'up' but a very specific soul disposition, where we open up for something much more greater and powerful than us, by virtue of which our ordinary consciousness exists. Here Ben's image is much more appropriate. In this way it's like we are crossing the event horizon of a White hole.

Now here our views with Ben will probably diverge again, because this Spiritual World of potential is not simply a unstructured soup of unrealized potential from which the ego draws its experiences, but actual fractal-like hierarchy of Cosmic Thoughts of spiritual beings, which act like morphogenetic fields (to use some fancy terms) for all that we observe as World Content - the kingdoms of Nature, the planetary spheres, our own being, our bodies, our ideas, opinions, desires and so on.

This is the main point of difference between mystic traditions and Gnostic esoterism. In mysticism the World ends together with personal consciousness - irrelevant if we imagine the zero-point as black or white singularity. When the "I" finds its higher nature within the Spiritual World, we can live in full consciousness among spiritual beings and behold how our Earthly self comes together. And this is not to simply confront both in a mindless versus battle. Everything becomes completely clear when we realize that mystic traditions were completely in their right place in the times before the Christ event. After that something completely new has inflown into the Earthly evolution and it is thanks to it that Gnosticism became at all possible as actual cognitive "I"-experience within the Macrocosm.

We should really take a moment and appreciate this difference. The first thing is relatively easy to understand and imagine because we all know our ego consciousness. All that is needed is to imagine how it coalesces from or dissolves back to the Cosmic background - again - irrelevant if from the black nothingness or white plenum potential. Higher consciousness leads us on the other side of the Earthly self, so to speak. There we witness how spiritual beings shape the Cosmic structure, within which intellectual consciousness is embedded. This is very important distinction. In mysticism the question for the structure of the World is either not addressed at all or is viewed as consensual creation among multitude of personal consciousnesses - much in the spirit of Adur's essays. In both cases it's assumed that everything of significance is in the 'space' between the singularity from which personal consciousness emerges and the perceptual phenomena.

Through the methods of higher development we can gain consciousness beyond the singularity of personal consciousness. In this sense, the spectrum between the pole of personal singularity and perceptible phenomena is a kind of octave embedded into higher order spectrum. This has always been known in Gnostic schools as Microcosm and Macrocosm. The singularity of personal consciousness is not the ultimate source of the World but a pole of an octave within a higher order spectrum where there's another Macrocosmic Solar singularity (which in its turn is within even higher order octave).
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