Happy Birthday LSD!

I had planned to post something different; however, when I looked for the book resource I needed, it wasn’t available for reading on Google Books. Normally I would be fine with that, it’s the publisher’s right to not allow information to be shared. With that said, this was a book written in 1938, by what f*%^king reason do you still allow that book to not be shared?

I brought the book on Amazon for $2.21 instead. Hope y’all are happy with your 2 dollars.

Moving on …

On November 16th, 1938, Dr. Albert Hofmann synthesized lysergic acid diethylamide or LSD, for the first time. Happy BIrthday LSD, you’ve captured and inspired many.

Want more hallucinogenic reading? Consider reading Psychedelics and Your Brain. [link]

Psychedelics and Your Brain

Can psychedelics make an academic comeback? Ever?

This spring, NPR ran a short 5-part-series on the brain science of spirituality. The series features short snippets about science’s latest discoveries and adventures into how the brain interprets spiritual events.

The series is based upon the work in the book Fingerprints of God. NPR religion correspondent, Barbara Bradley Hagerty, wrote the book and is also responsible for producing the series.

In the first part of the series, Haggert covers a peyote ceremony conducted at a Navajo reservation in Arizona and the recent psilocybin (the psychedelic ingredient in mushrooms) experiments that were conducted at John Hopkins University.

You can read the first part of the series — with links to the audio, here. Or you can go NPR’s interactive landing page for the series. The landing page features interactive maps of the brain and links to all stories in the series.

And for the Buddha-inclined

The hosts of Buddhist Geeks, a weekly podcast show about Buddhism, interview American Zen Master, Denis Kelly. Kelly is the abbot of Hollow Bones Zen School and a teacher at Shambhala Mountain Center in Colorado.

In the podcast, Kelly talks about the interesting path he took in Buddhism to get where he is now and how it was influenced by LSD. Kelly also talks about his new form of Koan practice that utilizes Neuro-Linguistic Programming (NLP) techniques. You can find that podcast here.

Oh but wait there’s more

The non-profit research and educational organization, MAPS (Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies), is working towards more research being done in the name of psychedelic medicine.

Currently the non-profit is sponsoring two clinical trials that are using MDMA – also known by the street name Ecstasy, to treat PTSD (Post -Traumatic Stress Disorder). PTSD is an anxiety disorder that is caused by psychological trauma. Wikipedia writes this about psychological trauma.

A traumatic event involves a single experience, or an enduring or repeating event or events, that completely overwhelm the individual’s ability to cope or integrate the ideas and emotions involved with that experience. The sense of being overwhelmed can be delayed by weeks, years, even decades, as the person struggles to cope with the immediate circumstances. Trauma can be caused by a wide variety of events, but there are a few common aspects. There is frequently a violation of the person’s familiar ideas about the world and of their human rights, putting the person in a state of extreme confusion and insecurity. This is also seen when people or institutions depended on for survival violate or betray or disillusion the person in some unforeseen way.

The disorder is commonly seen in survivors of physical, emotional, or sexual abuse and survivors of  dangerous life-threatening events such as physical assault, rape, and accidents. Most recently, an increasing amount of soldiers coming back from the Iraq War have been diagnosed with PTSD.

Because of their involvement in these trials, the non-profit has produced a therapist manual of standardized methods for treatment of PTSD with MDMA. Which you can view here.

MAPS has also produced a 20-minute educational video for helping others sort out psychedelic drug users having a difficult trip. You can watch that video here.

Video Lecture: Neuroscience of Buddhist

In this lecture, Daniel J. Siegel, author of The Developing Mind: How Relationships and the Brain Interact to Shape Who We Are and more recently, The Mindful Brain: Reflection and Attunement in the Cultivation of Well-Being, gives a lecture about the brain and how the brain responds to mindfulness meditation.

The talk is given at the Neurosciences and Spirituality Conference at the Claremont School of Theology in California. Siegel currently resides at the UCLA School of Medicine as the associate clinical professor of psychiatry and is the Co-Director of the Mindful Awareness Research Center.

In addition to talking about the changes the brain goes through from engaging in intentional contemplative practices, Siegel also talks about the parts and areas of the brain and their functions using a unique “hand model.”  The talk about the brain specifically targets the pre-frontal middle cortex, which is responsible for 9 functions* of the mind/body.

1. Regulation of body.
2. Attuned communication.  Attachment, mutual attunement, merging.
3. Balance of emotions:  enough that life has meaning, but not too much that life becomes chaotic.
4. The capacity to extinguish fear.
5. The ability to pause before you act (“response flexibility”)
6. Autonoetic consciousness (“self-knowing awareness”).  Connects representation of past, present and future.
7. Empathy — be able to represent another’s internal world.
8. Capacity for morality — compassion, acting on highest principles and social good
9. Intuition — representation of representation of body, hence having access to wisdom of the body

*Notes from Mengstupiditis.com

Aside from a boring start, it’s a great lecture where you can learn about the physical structure of your brain and what external acts change the brain for better or worse. The doctor makes the point that the benefit of any contemplative practice is the intentional state of mind one creates in that state, becomes a mental trait of the person practicing.

Burning Man Sucks, Don’t Go — Redux

One of the highest viewed posts on this site is “Burning Man Sucks, Don’t Go.” It is quite the post to say the least, it is a direct reflection of my ’08 Burn time. It could even be considered to be a koan.

Is the “shit” that is happening a product of the writer — in essence is the writer the one projecting the shit or is it really true that some people are so stuck in their conditioning that they can’t see when their conditioning is making them a little crazy, psycho, selfish, and completely out of their fcking mind? Could it be both?

Sometimes there is no real/fixed answer to a koan. Sometimes the reason to ask this question is for the purpose of getting that person think about all the many ways that someone could arrive at their conclusion. Who’s truth/What truth, is being expressed now?  It could be the truth of all involved. And on the other hand who’s conditioning, what conditioning is being expressed now? Is there one right conditioning?

Something that has soothed me recently is this entry I randomly found on the Internets, it goes:

Often times, in life we are all contesting against ourselves – when we make choices and when choices break or make us. At such difficult times, there is nothing else that can ever make a person feel better within, than an honest-to-God sense of realization that ‘I did make a mistake’. And that ‘ I need to correct it now’.

Sometimes, mistakes cannot be corrected, yet still their impact can be acknowledged by the person who made the mistake/s and caused harm and hurt to another person.

Religion also encourages the ability to express sorry with an understanding that the wrong doing is realized as a wrong doing and the wrong doer is embarrassed for having done that.

Without philosophizing for the only-practical-minds, it still holds that the power of realization is healthy and beneficial, because its intent is to provide comfort to a disturbed mind; be it that of the one who is hurt due to a mistake of someone or of the one who caused the mistake. A greater gain is obtained when bad intentions are also acknowledged. Not everyone can live up to this ideal.

Only those people know its value, who mean to correct their flaws and are not terribly caught in their egos. There is a time limit for that realization to have its positive impact.

On earth, taking the ownership of one’s own mistakes and diligently making the effort to correct them with a clear heart and mind, is the best way one can gather the evidence to bring forth to Almighty, when the ultimate accountability will be carried out.

Now, I’m not about the Almighty (nor am I against it) but a couple of things ring true for me about this.

  1. Mistakes are unavoidable and when you make one, sometimes the best thing to be done is to realize that “a wrong doing is a wrong doing.”  (No circumstances allowed.)
  2. Realizing and admitting to your mistake is beneficial for you and the person who was hurt by the mistake.
  3. The amount of time in acknowledging the wrong doing/mistake counts.
  4. Apologizing is not about superiority or inferiority, it is about making things right. It’s about being better for yourself; it’s about caring that your behavior has caused someone great pain and taking a step to correct that. It’s an effort that doesn’t require ego.

And this is just one side of the story. I’ll write about another side of the story another time. Till then, enjoy life and do your best.

— xoxo, Eds

p.s. Hey, I just wrote more about how to apologize sincerely. Maybe you’d like to read it?

Update: The other side of the story