Religion and Psychoactive Sacraments:
An Entheogen Chrestomathy
Thomas B. Roberts, Ph.D. and Paula Jo Hruby, Ed.D.
Author Index | Title Index
The Mystic Mind.
Walker, Kenneth. (1965).
New York: Emerson Books.
Contents: Preface, 11
chapters, bibliography, index.
Excerpt(s): With the
help of mescalin, Huxley was able to look
at the world as the Buddhist tries to look at it when he practices
the mental discipline which is known to him as Satipattanna.
This method is described by the Buddhists as looking at things
with `bare' attention, and the words `bare attention' mean looking
at things directly without any comment from the overactive
discursive mind within us. The temporary silencing of the loquacious
commentator within us enables us to look at the outer world again
much as we looked at it when we were children. For a short time
we see it lit up and glowing with gay colours, as Huxley saw the
three roses. We see a burnished and splendid world, such as Adam
must have seen on the morning of his own creation. (pages 131-132)
[Richard Ward] came to the conclusion
that the chief difference between an artificially induced state
and one which occurs spontaneously is that the former contains
none of that Divine element which Otto calls
the `Numinous'. There was no feeling in the drug-produced state
of his being in the presence of something of a Divine nature or
at any rate a nature much higher than his own. Ward agrees with
Aldous Huxley that artificially produced mystical experiences
have a sensual rather than a religious flavour about them. They
never have the lasting effect on those who have experienced them
that genuine mystical changes have. Ward is of the opinion that
the difference between the two is so marked that it would be quite
impossible for anyone to mistake one for the other. Nevertheless,
there exists a certain relationship between the two, and there
can be no doubt that the preliminary change experienced by many
mystics, such as the division into an `observer' and a person
observed is greatly facilitated by the use of such drugs as lysergic
acid. We need feel no surprise therefore that in Ancient Greece
`initiates' to the Mystery Religions were given a `sacred drink'
as a preliminary to their taking part in the ceremonies. (page
Many years ago I enquired of Ouspensky
whether it would be a good thing for me to follow his example
and to experiment with hashish, with a view to observing the alteration
it brought about in my consciousness. His reply was brief and
to the point: `Only if you have any doubts about the existence
of higher levels of consciousness. A drug permits of our looking,
as it were, over the garden wall and discovering what lies out
there in the psychological landscape beyond it. If you are already
convinced of the existence of higher levels of consciousness then
there is no point in making experiments with drugs to prove it.'
I was convinced, even then, of their existence and have found
it quite unnecessary to take pills for the purpose of proving
it. (pages 137-138)
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