News for the ‘Consciousness’ Category

Occupy Love: Because We Are the 100%


“A profound shift is taking place all over the world. Humanity is  waking up to the fact  that the current system that dominates the planet is failing to provide us with health, happiness or meaning.  The dominant paradigm is based on separation, as exemplified by the financial system, and the corporate emphasis of profits before people.” – Occupy Love

Taking a moment to present to you the trailer for a very important documentary currently raising funds for completion. “Occupy Love” is a film looking at the bigger picture of the Occupy movement that made headlines last fall, arguing that the revolution is not only worldwide – the revolution is love.

The Indigogo campaign has raised almost $40,000 of its $50,000 goal, with 6 days left. So if the following video speaks to your heart, as it did to mine, you know what to do.

More from Occupy Love:

“Our headlong rush towards infinite growth is destroying our communities, our ecology, and threatening our very existence.  The climate crisis is hitting us with droughts, extreme weather, floods, sea level rise and more, yet corporate lobbyists block any attempts at mitigation.  Unemployment is at an all time high, and the gap between the wealthiest 1% and the remaining 99% is growing alarmingly.  

People are losing their homes, and the quality of life for the many is plummeting, while the few are raking in absurd profits.  Wall Street is making dangerous bets, greed is running rampant, and entire economies are collapsing.  Governments have been bought by the corporations, and many of us had lost hope.  Until now.



This crisis has become the catalyst for a profound transformation:  millions of people are deciding that enough is enough –  the time has come to create a new world, a world that works for all life.  We have experienced an extraordinary year of change, from the Arab Spring, to the European Summer, and now, erupting into North America: the Occupy Movement.  



This is a revolution rooted in compassion,  direct democracy, and shared power, as opposed to the “power over” model of the corporate world view.  The new story is one of Inter-dependence.  Love is the movement.  As the Occupy cry goes: “We are unstoppable. Another world is possible!”

To learn more and contribute to this campaign please visit Indiegogo.

~ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ~

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21st Century Religious Persecution:
Police Raid Tantric Sex Temple in Arizona

‘Sacred sexuality’ isn’t a phrase you hear everyday. Indeed, our porn culture is so dominant that it hardly seems possible to conceive of sex in a spiritual light. One could say this is the result of being brought up in society whose most prominent religions treat sex as dirty and shameful unless for the sole purpose of procreation.

However, the separation of sex from the sacred is a relatively recent (and mostly Western) social norm. A brief study of ancient goddess-worshipping cultures such as Sumer, Babylon, Crete, and Canaan makes it astonishingly clear that in those times, sexuality was at the heart of spirituality and religion. Some archaeologists prefer to use the term ‘fertility cults’ rather then giving these traditions recognition as legitimate religions, yet another reflection of Western bias. These ‘fertility cults’ were widespread across the Near and Middle East for thousands of years in goddess (or should that be Goddess?) worshipping cultures that celebrated and honored the creation of life – namely, sex.

Originating in India, Tantra is another ancient belief system that celebrates sexuality and connects the carnal to the ethereal. These ancient Indian books (over two thousand years old) teach that sexual energy can be harnessed to achieve union with the divine. These traditions show a very ancient connection between sex and religion, sometimes pre-dating the rise of Judaism or Christianity.

Freedom of religion is one of the most frequently cited aspects of the 1st Amendment of the American Constitution. The signing of the Bill of Rights was a landmark in history for the rights of the individual to his or her own spiritual practices, free from prosecution. Those very rights came in question last week when the police raided the Phoenix Goddess Temple in Arizona, leading to the arrests of more than 18 people affiliated with the temple on charges of prostitution. They are still hunting the other 19. Among those arrested was the temple’s Founder and Temple Mother, Tracy Elise.

There have been no shortage of news reports on the raid. Not one has left open the possibility that the interdominational temple’s neo-tantra practices were in earnest; sexual ceremonies and tantric teachings as part of their religious belief system. The idea of sacred sexuality has no place in our society. Instead there are endless puns, jokes and quotation marks around every spiritual term used to describe their sacred sexuality.

Putting aside for the moment the actual temple in question, where in our society do we have room for this ancient tradition? And how could genuine believers in sacred sexuality practice their beliefs without the donations that all religious organizations rely upon to survive being conflated with illegal prostitution?

Nevertheless, the temple remains accused of being a front for a whorehouse.

“They were committing crimes under the guise of religious freedom,” Phoenix police spokesman Steve Martos said. “It’s a sad situation when people are trying to hide behind religion and church to commit a crime.”

So let’s take a look at Tracey Elise, the founder of the temple in question. Here we see her being interviewed earlier this year about the Phoenix Goddess Temple. Does this look like a madam covering up her illegal activity? (Excerpt from full interview here.)

No indeed she is adamant, evangelical even, in defense of practicing what she says is perhaps the world’s oldest religion: worship of the Goddess, the female aspect of the divine.

As taken from the Phoenix Goddess Temple website:

“Our temple is an open source for all who wish to better know the Great Mother and her unique gifts for healing body, mind and soul. We seek to help women, men and couples discover their own divine connection between soul, light body and sacred vessel. We offer group classes and one-on-one teachings and training, play shops and internships, all designed to bring HER wisdom back in this modern era. Our teachings are body centric, emanating from the resonating vessel, which is your own Sacred Self. We see the beauty of every person’s story in every age, body shape, color and gender. Our healing practices make use of the gifts of the Goddess, tools for transformation that have been with humanity since the very beginning.”

But mainstream media would have you think differently. ABC news reports:

Police obtained a search warrant after initiating several undercover deals and determining that the Temple Goddess employees had been trained to use evasive vocabulary. “For example, ‘johns’ were not ‘johns.’ They were called ‘seekers.’ Sexual intercourse was called ‘sacred union,’” Martos said.

So what would have convinced police that these were sacred unions being sought out by seekers, rather than whores being sought by johns? The fact that other activities held at the Phoenix Goddess Temple include yoga classes, study groups, and High Holy Day celebrations? Or the fact that there are people who have testified to receiving healing sessions at the temple regardless of the fact that they couldn’t afford the suggested donation?

Testament to the actual goings on at Phoenix Goddess Temple can be found in the occasional comment left on news reports by those who have experienced temple life first-hand (buried in a sea of abuse left by those who haven’t.) One attendee of the church comments:

“The “donations” are actually donations, left in a basket at the end of a session, not counted and verified, and not required. The Temple also holds many educational events, (also on a donation basis), seminars and trainings, religious services, as well as social events. The vast majority of these stress communication, connection, outward focus, and clarity of intention; rarely do any of these events involve nudity or sex.”

Another says:

“I know Tracy, and many of the goddesses, and have attended several rituals at the temple, as well as having attended the Daka – Dakini Conference in Sedona 2 years ago. The event was attended by Practitioners from around the globe, and I have had the opportunity to experience these people, meet them where they live, on their terms, in a non-judgemental environment of acceptance…I know from firsthand experience what Tracy and the goddesses’ intentions were, and it is simply this: to spread love and connection to others, to make the world a more whole and peaceful place. To them, it IS a legitimate religion. Upon opening in their present location, they extended an invitation to the mayor of Phoenix, as well as the city council. They gave many TV, radio, and print interviews, operating in a signed, clean, well-lit building on a major thoroughfare about 3 miles from city hall. They are most certainly not “disguised”, and if anything, their downfall is rooted in being TOO visible. I call upon those of you with courage and love for freedom and people to be of support to these women, who practiced and operated in love and good faith. I, for one, am chilled to the bone at the sight of masked, bodyarmored, helmeted, police militias armed with assault weapons and battering rams storming into a church filled with women in chiffon, armed with nothing more than candles and incense. How long will it be before those heavily armed government agents come for you and yours, because your beliefs fall outside of the traditional judeo-christian ethic?”

This case is a landmark in history for the sacred sexuality community in the United States. But it seems to be going unnoticed. In the meantime, Tracy Elise and many others face criminal charges for practicing their religious beliefs. Tracy Elise’s bail has been set at an unprecedented one million dollars.

God Bless America.

~ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ~

Would you like to help Tracy Elise and the others arrested at Phoenix Goddess Temple? Sign this petition to Arizona Governor Jan Brewer:

A Modern Day Witch Hunt : We Implore You to FREE the Members of the Phoenix Goddess Temple

Click here for the official site to make offerings of love and support to help save The Phoenix Goddess Temple. All proceeds raised go directly towards the legal defense of members of the Temple members who have been wrongly accused. Help in the protection of all civil liberties, including the 1st Amendment: the freedom of speech, the right to peaceably assemble & the right to practice religion without persecution. 

You can also visit End The Witch Hunt to file a complaint with the ACLU so they know there is support for this cause.

If you would like to volunteer, contribute or make an offering of support of any kind, please email GoddessBless@GoddessBless.org. 

~ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ~

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From the K-Hole to K-Cramps and K-Hell:
The Hidden Dangers of Ketamine

Yet another drug headline with ketamine in the news lately, after a recent study in Bristol (Mason, et al, 2010) found that some users are suffering long-term bladder damage – a few even needing their bladders replaced at the tender age of twenty.

A Class C drug in the UK (or Schedule III in the US), ketamine is not generally seen to be one of the more harmful illegal drugs. The evidence to date seemed to show ketamine to be a relatively safe drug when coming from pure, pharmaceutical grade vials. Originating as a liquid, ketamine is usually ‘cooked’ into a crystalline powder which can be snorted like cocaine, although heavier users prefer to use the liquid form for intramuscular injections, as would be given in a medical setting.

Ketamine is widely stereotyped as a ‘horse tranquilizer’. Actually ketamine is an anesthetic that has been used in both human and veterinary medicine since the 1960s (although less so in humans today due to some patients’ negative reactions to hallucinations or ‘emergence reactions’ as the medical community calls them).

In much smaller (recreational) doses, ketamine can have paradoxical stimulatory and dissociative effects. Some users take small ‘bumps’ up the nose when out clubbing – others take a larger dose to find themselves in the famed ‘k-hole’, a dissociated state where one can have out-of-body and near-death experiences, or seemingly travel to other mystical and magical places.

While ketamine is generally associated with the dance and rave scene, at these higher doses ketamine is safest taken at home, in a familiar environment to offset the possible dangers of being in a dissociative state in public surroundings. Many taking ketamine fall into the ‘psychonaut‘ category, like this user in a UK study on ketamine use (Muetzelfeldt, et al, 2008), who stated that ketamine allowed “new ways of thinking and an understanding of the mind/body question which 3 years of a philosophy degree could not reach.”

There is some interesting potential for ketamine use in exploring consciousness and success has been documented using ketamine to treat alcoholism and depression. What doesn’t seem to be properly investigated is the extent to which ketamine is harmful to the body, and in what quantities it becomes so.

The most obvious danger of ketamine is of injuring oneself while in the dissociative state. This has been the downfall of several respected members of the psychonaut community such as D M Turner:

“On New Years Eve, 1996, the noted author and lay-psychedelic researcher known only by the pseudonym D.M. Turner drew a hot bath, injected himself with an unknown amount of ketamine, and settled in for the last trip of his life. When his body was found weeks later, the cause of death was determined to be natural causes. It is assumed that Mr. Turner lost consciouness at some point during the evening, slid under the water, and quietly drowned.”

Another tragic loss to the community was Marcia Moore, the heiress to the Sheraton Hotel fortune, a yoga teacher and world famous writer on astrology and ‘hypersentience’:

“Marcia Moore named what she perceived to be the ‘highest’ level of her experiences ‘the cosmic matrix’ or ‘cosmatrix’, the source from which everything was said to be derived. She noted that ketamine produced a ‘higher, clearer and more real trip’ than LSD, although some people just felt ‘disconcertingly whacked out’, and that ketamine produced fragmentation into subpersonalities, including her role as ‘priestess of the Goddess Ketamine’. ‘The Priestess’, aged 50, disappeared on a freezing winter’s night in January, 1979. Her bleached skeleton was found two years later. She had gone at night into a nearby forest, and frozen to death after injecting herself with all the ketamine she could find.”

Aside from the danger of unsupervised pyschonautic exploration, the overall health risks of ketamine cannot yet be quantified. The Bristol study was not large enough to extrapolate the correlation between ketamine use and bladder destruction for light recreational users, with some in the study reporting incredibly heavy use of more than two grams a day (and others refusing to report the extent of their use altogether). Indeed perhaps another unexplored aspect of ketamine use is its potential for addiction; while not physically addictive, there seems to be a high potential for compulsive use to become a serious issue (even for its most thoughtful and educated users, as seen with D M Turner, Marcia Moore, and John Lilly).

Reading through frequent ketamine users’ discussions and reports online, aside from the common bladder complaints, there is recurring talk of what have been mysteriously termed ‘k-cramps’ – a kind of severe gastric pain. As the 2008 UK study cited above states:

“The classification of ketamine-associated ulcerative cystitis has recently been established, however the etiology and treatments of ‘K-cramps’ are still unknown. Nevertheless, it seems to be a prevalent symptom which may represent a broader public health concern if the use of ketamine continues to increase.”

Unaddressed by the medical community at large, here’s one user’s description of his ‘k-cramps’:

“Ketamine causes ulcers in high habitual dosing. There is little information on this on the internet but if you search just hard enough you will hear rumors of it. Well why isn’t this a known fact? Well one would have to take ketamine daily or semi daily at least to get this nasty side effect.

I was unfortunate enough to have this happen on 3 separate occasions. The first time on a cruise ship, resulting in collapsing on the deck screaming for my life, which resulted in a diagnosis of ‘gastritis’ and a double shot of morphine. The second time at home which kept me pent in bed in the fetal position a few days. The third time in the snow in the midst of a rock scramble/ice climb, which made for a difficult, cold, and dire crawl two miles to safety.

From communication with 3 other habitual ketamine abusers this phenomena was familiar with all 3 and equally as gruesome. For the record all 3 consumed a minimum of 3-5 grams a week often more.

Now the physiology of it seems to be a disruption in the pH of the gall bladder causing an ungodly acid reflux. (literally feels like the acids going to eat clear through to your skin)

The way to end the agony is stop using ketamine till it subsides. It can take up to 3 days for it to go away with abstinence. Pink Bismuth (pepto bismol) was found to alleviate some of the pain, as did pain killers. Thought I would share as it took me nearly a year to figure it out, and found next to no information on the net about it.”

This is but one of dozens of reports of excruciating pain by ketamine users, accounts that can be found by googling ‘k-cramps’ and ‘ketamine’.

Once thought to be a ‘safe’ drug in terms of abuse due to the absence of physical dependence, ketamine is now known to be associated with bladder dysfunction when abused, but its effects on the gall bladder, liver and gastrointestinal system have been largely ignored.

The only two studies relevant to this phenomena I’ve been able to locate originate from Hong Kong, where ketamine has long been the party drug of choice. Those more medically inclined may find the following two studies of interest, certainly a place to start for UK and US investigation into this phenomena:

“Dilated common bile ducts mimicking choledochal cysts in ketamine abusers”
(Wong, et al., 2009)
“Upper gastrointestinal problems in inhalational ketamine abusers”
(Poon, et al., 2010)

As a general explanation for these mysterious pains, one American periodical notes:

“In addition to urological problems, ketamine abusers may develop hepato-biliary toxicity manifested as recurrent epigastric pain, abnormal liver function, and biliary tree dilatation. The proposed mechanism for ketamine-induced cystitis is direct toxicity of ketamine metabolites on urinary tract mucosa. Because ketamine is metabolized in the liver and excreted in bile, mucosal toxicity has also been postulated as the cause of dilated bile ducts.”

The Daily Transmission does not believe any drugs should be illegal, but if one is to have a classification of drugs surely it should be based on relative harm. The UK has LSD and MDMA in Class A, cannabis in Class B, and ketamine in Class C. The US has cannabis, LSD, and MDMA as Schedule I, and ketamine as Schedule III.

David Nutt, the UK government’s former chief drugs advisor, was proposing reclassification of drugs such as MDMA, cannabis, and ketamine based on scientific evidence. Then he was sacked for being out of line with government policy. Which leaves us with politicians upholding the status quo at the expense of the health of the people.

I can’t see what kind of logic these categorizations are meant to be based on, but it would seem its time for a serious rethink (and some proper research) before more and more people find their way from the ‘K-hole’ to ‘K-Hell’.

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Sources:

‘Ketamine-associated lower urinary tract destruction: a new radiological challenge’
(Mason, et al, 2010)

‘Journey through the K-hole: Phenomenological aspects of ketamine use’
(Muetzelfeldt, et al, 2008)

For one of the more complete accounts of ketamine use and its effects, see Karl Jansen’s “Ketamine: Dreams and Realities”

~ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ~

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Posted: March 4th, 2011
Categories: Consciousness, Drugs, Politics
Tags: , , ,
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Is This The Dawn Of A New Psychedelic Revolution?

Last week the Multidisciplinary Association of Psychedelic Studies (MAPS) held its 2010 Conference in San Jose, California – and the press stood up and took notice. It only took 40 years, but the government has finally given a few researchers permission to study the potential therapeutic uses of psychedelic drugs. Based on the preliminary results, it looks like mainstream science, and the media, are finally ready to move past the stigma of 1960s drug taking.

Cue CNN:

And that’s not all:

Not to mention MSNBC, BBC, NPR, Nature News, New York Times, USA Today and many other media outlets.

One of the more interesting articles is Can the Peace Drug Help Clean Up The War Mess? from Scientific American, reporting on the use of MDMA to treat war veterans suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder:

Brain-imaging studies in healthy volunteers show that MDMA quiets the amygdala, an almond-shaped structure deep in the brain that some researchers call a “fear center” due to its central role in triggering strong negative emotions. MDMA also releases a flood of the brain messengers serotonin and dopamine while increasing blood levels of the hormones oxytocin and prolactin, which promote social bonding. This potent mix diminishes fear and defensiveness and boosts empathy and the desire to connect with others, says Holland, so “the therapy work goes faster and deeper.”

Also check out Are Medicinal ‘Magic Mushrooms’ the New Prozac? in The Week.

For anyone interested in the use of psychedelics pre-Timothy Leary, I highly recommend this National Film Board of Canada documentary:

This documentary offers a compassionate, open-minded look at LSD and how it fits into our world. Long before Timothy Leary urged ageneration to “tune in, turn on and drop out,” the drug was hailed as a way to treat forms of addiction and mental illness. At the same time, it was being touted as a powerful tool for mental exploration and self-understanding.

A long time coming, but I think we’re about to conquer the final frontier: the human mind.

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Transhumanism and the Future of the Human Race

David Bowie once said “I always had a repulsive need to be something more than human. I felt very puny as a human. I thought, ‘Fuck that. I want to be a superhuman.’”

Of course he’s not the only one. It’s an aspiration as timeless as the quest for the fountain of youth, or at least mere immortality.

In the meantime, we’ve seen Michael Jackson use technologies such as plastic surgery and skin-lightening drugs over the course of his career. He effectively blurred all identifiers of gender, race and age in one of the most dramatic transformations publicly witnessed. He left us at a turning point in the development of technologies for human enhancement. We are now learning to perform body modification at the most fundamental level.

The scientists currently grasping at the reigns of evolution are known as transhumanists. In 2008 the World Transhumanist Movement became Humanity+. (The term ‘transhumanism’ is now often symbolized by H+ or h+, as in ‘human enhancement’.)

Last weekend David Wood led the Humanity+ UK 2010 conference, and I felt privileged listening to ten equally brilliant speakers representing a full spectrum of the transhumanist agenda. With technology advancing at the rate that it is, Mr. Bowie’s ‘repulsive’ needs just may be met. New developments blur the lines between high-tech and sci-fi.

The convergence of current technologies such as nanotechnology, biotechnology, information technology and cognitive science (NBIC) and future technologies such as artificial intelligence, mind uploading, cryonics, and simulated reality, is truly inspirational. Overwhelming however are the numerous moral debates which dominate the transhumanism Wikipedia page. There are so many different ways humans may be enhanced, so many ways of defining enhancement, and of course, the existential risks we face if those enhancements go wrong.

I think we all have a vested interest in Aubrey de Grey’s idea that aging is simply a disease, and a curable one at that. His plan is to identify all the components that cause human tissue to age, and design remedies for each of them through his approach called SENS (Strategies for Engineered Negligible Senescence). Once we can extend human life spans by thirty years, we’re well on our way to immortality. Aubrey de Grey claims that the first human being to live a thousand years has probably already been born. From the way he talks, the biggest challenge in the race against mortality is funding! So I highly encourage those of you with means and an interest to donate to the SENS Foundation.

Another fascinating speaker was David Pearce, advocating the abolition of suffering throughout the living world. This mission can be accomplished through the use of drugs or ‘wire-heading‘ but perhaps more interestingly through genetic engineering as we come into a ‘reproductive revolution‘. He argues that as we develop these technologies, it is both our moral and hedonistic imperative to rid all sentient beings of pain. He has a fantastic array of resources for you to read through online. Within a few decades, we will see breakthroughs in in-vitro meat. It will be grown in a lab without any killing or cruelty, but tastier than any ‘real’ meat. A cruelty-free world without even having to revolutionize our diets by ‘breaking our addiction to meat’!

On a final philosophical note, Amon Twyman reminded us that we are naturally unaware of the limits of our perception, and that trans- or post-humans may sense things imperceivable to us now. I’ll leave you with Eliezer Yudkowsky’s Future Shock Levels (SL), an interesting way of categorizing just how familiar or far out different technological developments or concepts are:

• SL0:  The legendary average person is comfortable with modern technology – not so much the frontiers of modern technology, but the technology used in everyday life.  Most people, TV anchors, journalists, politicians.
• SL1:  Virtual reality, living to be a hundred, “The Road Ahead”, “To Renew America”, “Future Shock”, the frontiers of modern technology as seen by Wired magazine.  Scientists, novelty-seekers, early-adopters, programmers, technophiles.
• SL2:  Medical immortality, interplanetary exploration, major genetic engineering, and new (“alien”) cultures.  The average sci-fi fan.
• SL3:  Nanotechnology, human-equivalent AI, minor intelligence enhancement, total body revision, intergalactic exploration. Extropians and transhumanists.
• SL4:  The Singularity, Jupiter Brains, Powers, complete mental revision, ultraintelligence, posthumanity, Alpha-Point computing, Apotheosis, the total evaporation of “life as we know it.”  Singularitarians and not much else.

I say if you can speculate what SL5 is, you’re already post-human.

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In Search of Pandora: Escape… Then Meditate

Since the movie’s debut, there’s been a lot of publicity about Avatar viewers who experienced depression and suicidal thoughts after having to return from the movie’s magical world ‘Pandora’, back to our (comparatively) bleak one. Eliezer Sobel of the Huffington Post wrote this very interesting article about escaping into other worlds (whether by entering a 3D virtual reality like Avatar or having a good old-fashioned psychedelic experience).  He makes the inspirational point that:

“The alluring world of Pandora is not ‘out there.’ It surrounds us every moment, it is the very atmosphere in which we live and move and have our being. Hell and heaven are separated only by an infinitesimal turn of the mind and inner view.”

In a similar vein is Sue Blackmore’s refreshingly frank article “I Take Illegal Drugs for Inspiration”. She speaks about her experiences with different substances, and comes to the following conclusion:

“Are drugs the quick and dirty route to insight?  I wanted to try the slow route, too. So I have spent more than 20 years training in meditation – not joining any cult or religion but learning the discipline of steadily looking into my own mind.

Gradually,  the mind calms, space opens up, self and other become indistinguishable, and desires drop away. It’s an old metaphor, but people often liken the task to climbing a mountain. The drugs can take you up in a helicopter to see what’s there, but you can’t stay.

In the end, you have to climb the mountain yourself – the hard way. Even so, by giving you that first glimpse,  the drugs may provide the inspiration to keep climbing.”

As you leave a screening of ‘Avatar’ or the last traces of a chemically-induced buzz wear off, coming back down to social consensus “reality” is often depressing. You want to go back, to retain those feelings and thoughts during your day to day existence. You’ve been taken in for a sneak peak at something incredibly different.  Now you feel like you’re back where you started.  But you’re not really – the experience you had up there (or in the cinema!) can inspire and drive you to start climbing back the hard way.  I believe it’s possible to achieve all kinds of altered states without outside help or stimulation, but it takes a lot more patience, time, and effort.

So why bother? Because in the end most methods of ‘getting high’ still leave you with the inevitable process of coming down. Some descents are bumpier than others and it’s common to find yourself quickly seeking out another escape in order to avoid a crash landing. As Sobel put it:

“There is really not much use in continuously revisiting artificially induced states if it is at the expense of doing the actual work required to integrate the teachings from those selfsame states into one’s life in a meaningful and less transient manner. Philosopher and Zen practitioner Alan Watts compared it to a scientist in a lab who discovers something under the microscope; she doesn’t just keep on repeating the experiment and staring at the result; she takes new actions informed by her discovery. Or, switching metaphors, Watts also said, ‘When you get the message, hang up the phone.’”

In the 1960s, Dr. Richard Alpert (soon to become spiritual teacher Ram Dass) gave the Indian guru Maharaj-ji a massive dose of LSD, and was shocked to find it had no effect on his mind whatsoever.  Was he already living in – or beyond – the psychedelic state of consciousness?

Maybe spiritual teachers sell their philosophies all wrong. In this day and age, who wants to go through all that work just to become ‘enlightened’? How about marketing the practice of meditation as a way to achieve powerful natural highs that are entirely under your control – with no hangover! (You won’t believe it’s still legal!)

In all seriousness, it does sound amazing: To depend on nothing and no one else to make you happy. The ability to create your own ecstasy and internal bliss – anytime, anyplace.

Wouldn’t it be funny if it turned out that spirituality was the ultimate high – the greatest escape of them all?

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Cutting Edge: Articles for a New Age

As we start to sink our teeth into 2010, here is the Daily Transmission’s pick of the most interesting reads from the past weeks:

First head over to Brainwaving, where you’ll find the brilliant David Nutt’s article on the comparative dangers of taking ecstasy and horse-back riding:

Is Equasy More Dangerous Than Ecstasy?

Reading the full version of his article alerted me to an astounding set of statistics:

“A telling review of 10-year media reporting of drug deaths in
Scotland illustrates the distorted media perspective very well
(Forsyth, 2001). During this decade, the likelihood of a newspa-
per reporting a death from paracetamol was in per 250 deaths,
for diazepam it was 1 in 50, whereas for amphetamine it was
1 in 3 and for ecstasy every associated death was reported.”

Talk about distorting perception of danger…

Also at Brainwaving is an excellent review of the movie Avatar by Dr. Ralph Metzner, for anyone who’s interested in looking deeper into this newest cultural phenomenon:

Avatar: A Mythic Masterpiece For Our Troubled Time

A reprint at Reality Sandwich alerted me to Michael Garfield’s September 2009 article in H+ magazine on The Psychedelic Transhumanists. A dense read, but rich and thought-provoking if you have the time to dig in.

While you’re there you might want to watch the video of a man playing the piano with only his brain. Completely surreal: By Thought Alone: Mind Over Keyboard.

Back in the here and now, Naomi Klein makes a compelling argument that ties in corporate branding, Barack Obama, and “No Logo” over at the Guardian: Naomi Klein on how corporate branding has taken over America

Finally, a bit of a trend alert in the Evening Standard: The New Psychedelia. A cleverly compiled overview of the coolest new psychedelia-influenced fashion, art, music, and film.

The 60s are in the air… let’s just hope this trend goes beyond swirly prints and trippy sci-fi.

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Salvia Divinorum and the Not-So-Sage American Legislature

Reason magazine has a fantastic article called The Salvia Ban Wagon about the ridiculous panic-driven rush to make salvia divinorum illegal in the US. Highly recommended reading.

Salvia divinorum (literally “diviner’s sage”) is a psychoactive herb traditionally used in divination and healing, which was legal in the US until recent media attention triggered dozens of states to implement bans on its sale and use.

One of the fundamental obstacles we face is a society that cannot come to terms with the idea that experiencing other states of consciousness through the use of substances is a time-honoured, ancient, and important component of human existence.

It’s ironic considering we all accept certain substances, such as alcohol, as serving a purpose socially. We know alcohol is a tool that can be used to have a good time or be abused to have a bad one. But we can’t seem to carry that logic through to other currently illegal drugs.

More than just having a good time, ‘hallucinogenic’ or ‘psychedelic’ drugs allow one to enter states of consciousness that are not unnatural, but rather inaccessible to most of us in our modern society. Spend some time in a sensory deprivation tank, meditate alone in a cave for a month, and you’ll probably have a trippy experience more intense than any schedule I or class A drug. Some plant-based drugs provide a shortcut to that experience.

It’s funny because in America we have drugstores on every corner. So in terms of these mind-expanding or consciousness-expanding drugs, it must be the mind-expansion, not the drugs, that we’re afraid of!

Salvia has a long history of medicinal and spiritual use by the Mazatec shamans and the banning of this drug based on fear drummed up by the media and a few immature You Tube videos is a terrible shame. Let’s not repeat the mistake we made in the 1960s and rush to ban a drug that’s hurting no one. Instead let’s see this as an opportunity to re-examine our drug policies and attitudes towards altered states of consciousness in a society that so desperately needs a good shaking up.

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Posted: November 20th, 2009
Categories: Consciousness, Drugs, Politics
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Defend Our Right to Explore the Unlimited Potential of the Human Mind

A shout out today to the Center for Cognitive Liberty & Ethics (CCLE), I found the following posted on their website particularly inspiring:

The CCLE’s focus is on protecting the unlimited potential of the human mind, and we maintain that criminal drug prohibition infringes on the inalienable right to freedom of thought. We maintain that the war on drugs is not a war on pills, powders, and plants, anymore than the earlier governmental efforts to ban books or to censor publications was a war on paper and ink. These are wars against thinking certain ways, and for this reason we maintain that criminal drug prohibition is unconstitutional cognitive censorship, and inconsistent with the basic values and freedoms upon with the United States was founded. So long as a person does not endanger others, the CCLE maintains that the government lacks the constitutional authority to punish the person simply for self-determining his or her own cognitive processes.

The CCLE strives to protect the fundamental right to freedom of thought — a right that Supreme Court Justice Benjamin Cardozo has called “the matrix, the indispensable condition for nearly every other form of freedom.” Because our enumerated rights date back to a time in which the drafters could not have conceived of modern methods of mental enhancement, or mental surveillance and control, the CCLE is committed to gaining legal recognition of cognitive liberty and to expanding legal protection for our rights of mind.

Sounds about right!

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Posted: November 14th, 2009
Categories: Consciousness, Drugs
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Quantum Physics: A Point Where Science and Spirituality Can Finally Meet?

Following up on “Reality As You Know It Does Not Exist”, it’s time to look at the world through a new lens.  It seems to me that our great instruments, which we had built to confirm our concept of the world as a machine built out of predictable and understandable parts, have now shown us that the universe is an ethereal, drifting mirage!  Nothing is really solid, just slow moving energy.  The universe is a seething field of potential.

What is even more astonishing is the realisation that this potential only becomes a ‘reality’ when it is observed by a conscious mind.  Quantum physicists found that “the state of all possibilities of any quantum particle collapsed into a set entity as soon as it was observed or a measurement taken.”

When you put this together with the idea that everything (including us) in the universe is part of a dynamic web of interconnected and inseparable energy patterns, that the universe is only a series of relationships, you can see how it makes sense to say that we are all one.

So then the spiritual idea of God ‘creating the world’ would be equivalent to the scientific idea of our individual and collective consciousness actively shaping the world we live in, as it is doing this very moment. Prayer, meditation, and belief are ways of focusing consciousness, and work because we are all part of ‘God’ (rather than praying to some exterior force).

This unity (God, Brahman, Tao, Spirit, Energy, Light, Vibration) is central to all major religions, thus their common moral foundation of “Do unto others as to thyself” – because the other is no different from the self.

Food for thought, eh?

For More:

Space and Motion

Into The Quantum Realm

Star Stuffs

Quantum Life Changes

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Mankind Is No Island: A Film To Remind Us That We Are One

Winner of the 2008 New York short film festival Tropfest, The Daily Transmission is delighted to share with you this inspirational little movie.  Produced on a budget of $57 and shot entirely on a mobile phone, Mankind is No Island is an inspirational reminder to all of us that we are one.

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Posted: November 7th, 2009
Categories: Consciousness, Inspiration
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Bill Hicks: The Outlaw Comic Who Tried To Save The World

Sometimes comedy can be a catalyst for change.  Never a stranger to controversy, Bill Hicks knew how to use the truth to provoke.  He had his finger on the pulse of everything that was wrong in our society.  His routines could be uncomfortable at times, but always worth it in the end.

I consider Bill Hicks to be one of the best comedians of our era.  Ironically I came three thousand miles to discover him here in London, as he is under-appreciated in his (and my) native America.  He has been described as a philosopher, social satirist and even preacher, but he was ultimately a comic who believed that he could save his audience by confronting them with the truth.  Bill Hicks might have died in 1994, but his spirit lives on stronger than ever.  American: The Bill Hicks Story is coming out in 2010.

Until then I leave you with this:

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Posted: November 5th, 2009
Categories: Consciousness, Drugs
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News Flash: Reality As You Know It Does Not Exist

The broth has been simmering for quite a while now, but I think we’re finally ready to taste it.

All signs point in one direction. The very system we built to understand solid reality has pulled the carpet out from underneath our feet. Quantum physics now shows the universe to be a seething field of energy and potential.

The most important aspect of this realization is that the state of all possibilities of any quantum particle collapses into a single set entity only when it is observed or measured. Hence, there is no one “reality” without an observer. No objective reality, only subjective reality. We create our own universe.

I’m no quantum physicist but the implications are mind-blowing.

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