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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.

ISBN: None

Description: Hardcover, 176 pages.

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 136)

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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