Sunday, 30 September 2007

The place of drugs in mystical/spiritual experiences

After I posted my post yesterday I felt unnerved and uncertain. It is at times like that when I miss a teacher or someone who is more advanced than me on the spiritual path to guide and support. I am aware that I am walking this path very much alone. I just do and write what feels right and then watch events that happen in my life carefully as my guide for whether or not I am in danger of going off-course. The contact from my ex-boyfriend acted as the catalyst for me to speak in my last post about my one and only experience with an LSD type drug. The irony is that I had vowed I would never take drugs to have mystical/spiritual experiences. The history of drug taking and spiritual experiences is not new. Aldous Hoxley made drugs an important factor in producing the altered states of consciousness that are required for mystical/spiritual experiences in his famous book 'Doors of perception'. Drugs provide evidence that there is more available than what we currently have access to. Once the familiar is seen in a different way there is a shift from a fixed way of thinking and perceiving the world. What opens up is unbelievably magical and wonderful.

Regarding Huxley I have just done a search on Google and amazingly I have had another example of someone in this field who had an eye problem. What is it that I keep being reminded of the possible/probably/non-existent links between the eye and the brain in spiritual/mystical experiences. I quote 'When Huxley was 16 and a student at the prestigious school Eton, an eye illness made him nearly blind. He recovered enough vision to go on to Oxford University and graduate with honors, but not enough to fight in World War I. I also wrote in yesterday's post about the directness of my ex-boyfriend. This has continued during all the years I have known him. It is like there are no shades of grey for him in either his personal or professional life. When we spoke recently he told me that he had discovered a long standing eye problem which he had never noticed. He has only just been diagnosed with tunnel vision which is in medical terms, the loss of peripheral vision with retention of central vision, resulting in a constricted circular tunnel-like field of vison. When he told me I was simply amazed and wondered if the unusual directness which is such a part of him is partly as a result of not having any peripheral vision so that his brain is unable to consider alternatives. Is this why we have kept in touch all these years to add evidence to what is only at the moment an idea albeit coming from me. I know all of this is me hypothesising without any scientific evidence but it all seems too much of a co-incidence recently. The links between the eye and the brain and corresponding experiences and behaviour which seem to be coming my way so frequently at the moment.

Last night I reverted back to a destructive pattern which I thought I had overcome. I had a tin of biscuits here in the flat. I only meant to have one but ended up eating the whole tin! It was quite funny actually because while I was eating I was saying 'now you're not going to make this significant'' and then I would reach for another. Feeling sick I dragged myself off to bed. Normally the next morning the memory of the binge would be the first thing I would think of and I would be barely able to get out of bed because of how bad I would feel. Not this morning. Yes, I remembered what I had done but thought 'OK there was a breakdown there, but I haven't made it significant so there's no reason to feel bad and I didn't. I brought into life my possibility of fun and freedom and it was great. I think I needed to know that I could have a breakdown and not allow it to ruin either myself or my day. But I am not naive. I know that destructive habits don't disappear over night. In the future I am likely to have many more breakdowns around food and my own relationship to it but having come through this first breakdown and be smiling is such a great achievement for me.

The impact that this way of being around food has had on me has been long-term and immense. Because I turn to food when I'm lonely or depressed going home to visit my family in Ireland was always something I dreaded. My eating behaviour was always worse when I went home. At one point it got so bad that my mum used to hide all the sweet things we had. I would go out at night to the pub and when I returned raid the kitchen eating everything and anything. The next day was excruciatingly embarassing when I would cover up my lack of self-control with excuses. How could I explain what this force was that took hold of me and that was so much bigger than me. To my family it looked like greed, only I knew that it wasn't

It has had an impact on me spiritually because I havce felt unworthy of the great gifts of grace which I have been given. I used to think 'spiritual people are sorted, they don't have the lack of self-control that I have' and as a result I hid my spirituality. I used to think 'spiritual people don't do things like this, it's my ego and not my spirit that is running the show'. So it was with huge relief that I read the book by Christina Grof and Stanislav Grof called 'The stormy search for the self'. How I came upon this book was quite amazing. I had tried to get it from amazon but without success. I ran an event for the parents and carers of children and young people with special needs. There was a book fair there at the time. I was browsing among the books and couldn't believe it when I saw THAT book sitting there waiting for me to claim it. It was priced at £1!

I brought it home and felt great relief when I came across the chapter entitled 'addictions and spiritual emergency' It turns out that addictions and spirituality are linked. I used to view my lapses as occasions for my ego to be diminished strange as that might seem. A reminder of the weak person I was and not to get puffed up with the spiritual understandings and intuitions that I had. I now see this differently . It's not to teach me anything. Rather it is for me to learn not to make it significant.

On the spiritual path it is important to be flexible and to be willing to consider different things. As I write this blog I see how my thinking has transformed and that is OK. For me to be rigid in my view is to be stuck. Fluidity and humility is necessary for this path. The only important thing for me is to be true to myself and honest in what I write.

I went down to the garage this morning for my paper. To my delight there was only one of the paper I get on a Sunday left. Rightly or wrongly I made this significant. Only one left...for me. It is hard to describe the feelings of reassurance and comfort I had picking up that paper and bringing it inside the shop to pay. It is little things like this strange as they may seem to the reader that prove to me that what I am writing and disclosing if scary to me, is exactly what I should be doing. How would I have reacted if my paper wasn't there and all the other paper's were- I don't know. I know that I would think more carefully about what to put in this blog. The surrender I have to the universe in the way that I have it may be hard for people to understand. I can't explain how or why I have the confidence in the universe that I have. I don't even know if by the universe I mean God or the Divine. I prefer to think it as a universal force that is either close to me or part of me. My inner voice has just said the latter but then again that could be my ego! I just have to Trust and write from within that position of Trust which is what I do.

My friend from Thailand is coming over later which will be good. Now I'm going to watch the Rugby. Ireland is playing here's hoping for a good result. I may write some more later on. Although there is nothing left that seems important to write today.

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