Council on Spiritual Practices About CSP | Site Map | ©
Search CSP:   

Religion and Psychoactive Sacraments:
An Entheogen Chrestomathy

Thomas B. Roberts, Ph.D. and Paula Jo Hruby, Ed.D.
Author Index | Title Index

Mysticism: Its Meaning and Message.

Harkness, Georgia. (1973).
Nashville, TN: Abington Press.

ISBN: 0-687-27667-5

Description: Hardcover, 192 pages.

Contents: Acknowledgments, preface, 8 chapters divided into 2 parts, chapter notes, index.

Excerpt(s): But what of the religious angle? Does it justify the risk? Is the euphoria, if it ensues, a true form of mystical experience? My answer is No. I shall attempt to say why.

In the first place, such a drug-induced "trip," even with a religious aura, endangers the body and mind, which ought to be dedicated to the service of God with all one's powers. There is a vital place for suffering in the Christian outlook, even upon occasion for "giving one's body to be burned," but not for burning one's body with chemicals in the hope of inducing an ecstatic sensation.

In the second place, it is selfish. Granted that the mystics of the classical tradition often sought inner peace rather than large scale changes in society, they virtually always sought to relieve the suffering of others in their immediate situation. The quest for the beatific vision at the cost of much "self-naughting" has had a very different motivation from the drug-induced type. True mysticism centers in God, not in a pleasurable feeling-tone.

A further difference lies in the after-effects. Drugs leave a hangover not unlike that resulting from alcohol, which is itself a drug with similar disturbing effects on the brain. The practice of the presence of God leaves one better prepared for the service of God with a new sense of divinely given strength and energy.

The experience itself differs at a crucial point. The classical mystical rapture, though transient, shines with a steady glow of illumination while it lasts. The rapid fluctuation of hallucinatory sensations, even when said to be beautiful, and "jewel-like," is something quite different. (pages 163-164)

Compilation copyright © 1995 – 2001 CSP

[Error Creating Counter File -- Click for more info]