According to data from the National Institute of Mental Health, the prevalence of anxiety disorders in the U.S. may be as high as 40 million, or about 18 percent of the population over the age of 18, making it the most common mental illness in the nation.1,2
The conventional approach to anxiety and depression treatment typically involves antidepressants and other psychiatric drugs. Unfortunately, studies have repeatedly demonstrated antidepressants are no more effective than placebo. In the long term, they also produce changes in the brain that may actually worsen your condition.
Psychedelics, such as psilocybin, also known as magic mushrooms, clearly have a mind-altering effect, but it’s quite different from conventional psychiatric drugs. While the scientific evidence is still slim (since their illegal status makes them difficult to study), two of the most recent studies on magic mushrooms found they had truly profound benefits for cancer patients struggling with anxiety and depression.
Psychotropic Drugs — Gateway to Happiness Through Enhanced Understanding of Reality?
The featured film (see below), “The Reality of Truth,”3 explores how psychotropic drugs can enhance your understanding of reality, thereby freeing you up to be happy, regardless of outward circumstances. Deepak Chopra opens up the conversation noting that the human brain has specific receptors for psychoactive substances such as psilocybin, and the fact that we have them is a clear indication that we are part of their nature, and these plants are part of ours.
In other words, psychotropic plants appear to have a role to play in the human experience. But what is that role? Psychotropic plants are well-known for their ability to induce dramatically altered states of consciousness. Many of these altered states correlate to religious or spiritual experiences, and such experiences, Chopra says, is part of being a whole human being.
A common experience (although, by far, not the only possibility) is the experience of being “at one” with God or “the source of all creation” — a feeling of no longer being separate from anyone or anything, not just in our immediate surroundings but indeed the entire universe. As Chopra says, psychotropic drugs “help people break out of the hallucination of separation.”
Many believe psychotropic plants have a rightful place in human life, as they can act as a key, if you will, to expanded levels of consciousness and a personal experience of the divine. By making them illegal, we’re effectively been barred from using natural substances to explore the spiritual dimensions of our being that can be tremendously healing and beneficial.
Psychedelics are Illegal in the US
For clarity’s sake, let me state for the record that I am not advocating the use of illegal substances. Doing so may land you in prison, regardless of how pure your intentions. Psychotropic plants may be “all natural,” but they are also extremely potent mind-altering compounds that should not be experimented with willy nilly.
Psilocybin, for example, is a Schedule 1 substance under the Controlled Substances Act.4,5 The mushrooms are typically ingested in their fresh or dried form, or can be made into tea. However, large doses have been known to induce panic and/or psychosis, which is why careless experimentation is strongly discouraged (in addition to their use being deemed “illegal”).
My intention for posting this video is for educational purposes only, to allow you to explore some different points of view. It is not an invitation or a recommendation to partake in illegal substances, for any reason. At present, the only legal way I know of to use psychedelics in the U.S. is to be part of a registered study. Other countries have different laws pertaining to psychedelics and their use.
The video starts out by exploring historical references to psychedelics and meditation, giving examples of celebrities who have embraced meditation as a way to improve their mental health, creativity and happiness. As noted in the video, most of us search for happiness outside ourselves. More often than not, it’s a fruitless search. At the end of the day, we realize that new car, the new romantic partner, the money in the bank, all failed to produce a lasting effect.
The idea that true, lasting happiness can only be found inside yourself is an ancient one. You’d be hard-pressed to find a single philosopher throughout history who thought otherwise. But how do you get “inside?” Meditation is one of the oldest, most tried-and-true ways of reaching your own core. Changing our own state of mind is also thought to be the best, if not only, way to achieve lasting societal change.
The way to reduce war in the world is for each individual to be an agent of peace by being more peaceful. You can’t fake inner peace. You have to work at it. Similarly, the way to reduce environmental destruction is for each and every individual to act in less destructive ways; to become more environmentally conscious and make different choices in our day-to-day lives.
Transcendental Meditation 101
Transcendental Meditation (TM) is one of the most popular forms of meditation, practiced by millions of people around the world. You choose a mantra that has meaning for you, sit quietly with your eyes closed, and repeat your mantra for a period of about 20 minutes, once or twice a day.
The idea is to reach a place of “restful” or “concentrated” alertness, which enables you to let negative thoughts and distractions pass by you without upsetting your calm and balance. Ultimately, TM is said to open you to universal consciousness, a transcendental state where all apparent divisions disappear, and you recognize yourself as being a part of everything.