Saturday, April 22, 2023

No Worries Old Friends!

    Serious, skillful, regular meditation practice gradually & progressively ensures awakening - an endless process which is usually very different from what we had initially hoped for, yet is what we needed. "But meditation is not for everybody."
    Many older folks are rigidly stuck in a closed loop of negative thought patterns. Most of them have no interest in meditation or any other deeply meaningful spiritual practice, but might be open to one or two sessions of psychedelic-assisted psychotherapy.

    "I think the Greeks had a more subtle understanding of drugs: we tend to either celebrate them or condemn them. They called them ‘pharmakon,’ and a ‘pharmakon’ could be either a blessing or a curse, a poison or a medicine. Whether it’s one or the other doesn’t depend on the drug so much as the context in which it’s used and the reasons for which it’s used. The drugs aren’t inherently good or evil; it’s very contextual. And that’s a subtle idea. It's about set & setting. Set & setting definitely affects all drugs.

    Psychedelics offer people benefits, particularly as we age. We become more deeply mired in the grooves of habit, the older we get. We have developed a set of very sophisticated algorithms to get us through the day, get us through arguments with our partners, get us through how we do our work — it all becomes kind of habitual, and very efficient for that reason But there’s a trade-off — habit dulls us to reality. Habit helps you get stuff done, but habit cuts you off from experience, fresh experience, from seeing things with fresh eyes. ... maybe psychedelics are wasted on the young. I know lots of young people who’ve had very powerful and valuable experiences. But I think they have a unique benefit to people as we get older and as we’re thinking about death, as we’re thinking about these spiritual questions, but also as we’re set in our ways and as a result, losing contact with experience. On psychedelics, there’s a kind of cleaning the doors of perception that’s going on.
    There’s a wonderful metaphor that a Dutch neuroscientist working in London gave me. He said, ‘Think of the mind as a snow-covered hill and your thoughts as sleds going down that hill. Over time, the more runs of the sled, the deeper the grooves, and it becomes very hard to go down the hill without getting drawn into the grooves. They become attractors. Think of psychedelic experience as a fresh snowfall that fills all the grooves and allows you once again to go down the hill, along another route, any route you want.’ I thought that was a beautiful metaphor."
Michael Pollan and Katherine May - The Future of Hope 4 - On Being with Krista Tippett :  EXCELLENT Interview

    “It’s important to note that the kinds of problems psychedelics seem to be effective with, have a lot in common. They’re all at the end of the spectrum where people’s thinking becomes too rigid, too trapped in deep grooves of habit, whether mental habit or behavioral habit, people in these loops they can’t break out of.
    And what the psychedelics seem to do is give a real jolt to the system that gives people the kind of perspective on their lives that can actually break the mental habit
    And it needs to be accompanied by lots of therapeutic intervention … these are guided ... People are very carefully prepared in advance, told what to expect, how to deal with difficulties if they come up because frightening things can happen, especially if you’re facing your mortality. And then during the experience, the guides are with you the whole time. … the idea is to basically give you a sense of safety. So you can surrender to what can be a very disturbing set of mental events. And then after the session, you come back, usually the next day … and you have an integration session where you tell the therapist what you saw, what happened, what you’re puzzled by, and with the therapists, you try to come to some interpretation of what’s happened and figure out how you can take the lessons, the insights, and apply them to the conduct of your life." 
Michael Pollan & Chris Bache EXCELLENT interview :


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