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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


Open Mind, Discriminating Mind: Reflections on Human Possibilities.

Tart, Charles T. (1989).
San Francisco: Harper & Row.


ISBN: 0-06-250855-5 hardcover
0-06-250894-6 paperback
Description: First edition, xx + 391 pages.


Contents: Introduction, prologue, 29 chapters divided into 6 parts: 1. Dreams, 2. Psychic Phenomena, 3. Psychological Growth, 4. Spiritual Growth, 5. Meditation, 6. Death, epilogue, acknowledgments, notes, index.



Excerpt(s): This book looks at waking and dreams, living in clarity and living in illusion, firewalking, delusions about the psychic, mystical experiences, psychic healing, dream yoga, defenses against reality, bodily intelligence, prayer, altered states of consciousness, and many other "strange" ad yet familiar experiences. When you disagree and react strongly I encourage you to open your mind to understanding why you disagree. You may still disagree with me but you will have learned more about yourself. When you agree completely I encourage you to open and examine your mind even more strongly. The beliefs we do not examine can be far more dangerous to us than the ones we reject. (Introduction, page xv)



J.T.: [Judy Tart] Do you see any use for psychedelics or any other type of drugs on the spiritual path? Or, conversely, do you find that the effects that they have actually hold you back from where you want to go?

S.Y.: [Shinzen Young] Answering this question is a good way for me to lose friends! But I do have some ideas on the subject. I abused mind-altering substances for over a decade, so I do speak from some experience. In point of fact, I probably never would have gotten involved in meditation if I hadn't smoked marijuana. It got me interested in the possibilities of other states of consciousness.

I used to do a lot of meditation while I was stoned on marijuana and other substances. What I found was that, yes, I could learn things. But the price was that I developed a compulsion around the use of the substances. Any compulsiveness is antithetical to the ultimate goals of spiritual practice. That truth is particularly emphasized in the Buddhist tradition, but is also acknowledged in other traditions.

... When I would meditate using substances the meditation would get real interesting. I'd have a lot of energy to do it. I could look at very fine, microscopic levels of consciousness, pick up stuff that was harder to pick up on when I wasn't stoned. By and large most drugs tend to magnify consciousness, at least most of the ones I would likely use-marijuana or psychedelics.

But anything that I saw when I was stoned I could see at other times, only maybe I'd have to wait six months or a few years for my awareness to be that way in an unstoned state. And maybe I'd have to work harder to raise the motivation to practice, because there wasn't that immediate sort of interest that the drugs generate. So drugs would give a boost to the practice. But there was an unacknowledged drivenness around their use and the name of the game in mediation is to reduce drivenness. (Chapter 26, Meditation and Psychology: A Dialogue, pages 306-307)



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