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Month: October 2021

Microdosing and Mindfulness

MICRODOSING AND MINDFULNESS  

         A few years ago (at least five years), a retired doctor who was very depressed, took a dose of LSD and went from severe depression to optimism.  The report made the New York Times and within a few years Stanford, Harvard, Yale, and a slew of other Universities started doing research on the effects of LSD.

         Spoiler Alert – I took LSD in 1969 and had a profound spiritual awakening.  The physical world seemed to dissolve around me as everything became translucent and vibratory.  I became a speck of light at the center of the universe, time stopped, and I was the universe.  That was the peak of the experience that went on for a few hours.  It started with each of my identifiable selves snapping away from me – husband, father, worker, friend; all my selves gone, I was no longer me, I was a part of a bigger whole.

         The whole experience left me yearning for a repeat performance, but this was not to be the case.  Every attempt to duplicate the original experience was a minor, less challenging experience.  It wasn’t until almost ten years later that I had a similar experience.  I was at my first Vipassana Retreat.  A ten-day nonsectarian affair with hard core Buddhist meditation, concentrating on the breath and body sensations. Up at 4AM, no talking, no food after noon and ten solid hours of intense meditation “on the cushion”.  On the first day of the retreat, as I sat on my cushion and focused on my breath, I suddenly felt my body dissolving.  I opened my eyes and looked at my hand and I had the same physical experience that I had with the LSD ten years earlier.

         Ram Dass, in his now famous BE HERE NOW, talked about the effects of LSD and how his Guru ate large quantities of the drug to no effect.  He was enlightened, the LSD was simulating an enlightened state and he didn’t need it to get there, he was already there.  

         Michael Pollen’s recent book “HOW TO CHANGE YOUR MIND, What the New Science of Psychedelics Teaches Us About Consciousness, Dying, Addiction, Depression and Transcendence”, may be just what we need to get us out of this slide toward authoritarian fascism. 

         The world seems to be upside down.   We’re living in an Alice in Wonderland horror movie.  “Our society is really totally nuts”, says Dr. Anthony Fauci, not exactly someone who exaggerates.  A relative of mine recently said to me the Fauci was the worst person on the planet and should be shot.  Another familiar encounter regularly posts absurd pro-Trump lies and if someone counters with facts, they are brow beaten down with insults and lies or rejected from the group. The majority of the Republican Party seems to be on this same page.  In unison, they are dismantling the democratic systems we have in place.  They are threatening pole workers, election volunteers, elected officials and creating havoc at school meetings.  The “Stop the Steal” bandwagon, created by the man who built an empire on lies, continues with absolutely no verifiable evidence that Election fraud took place.

         All this is very disheartening.  It’s not exactly that we have the best democracy.  In fact, if you were to ask me about the state of the democracy before Trump, I’d say it was shaky at best.  With Citizens United, the final nail was driven into the coffin.  Money rules, period.  We have elections where the power of advertising is more relevant than any actual policy position.  Lobbyists rule the corridors of Congress.

         Civil servants like police and fireman are subject to drug testing on a regular basis.  Marijuana stays in your body and is easily detectable.  LSD on the other hand does not.  I’ve come to know of civil servants who “party” regularly with their spouses and co-workers.  The spouses are smoking weed and the co-workers are microdosing.  A recent conversation with a pro-Trumper was a real eye opener.  Their experience led to a slightly more tolerant view of the “other” – blacks, gays and anti-Trumpers.  I was shocked.  If this trend continues there may still be hope for the planet.

         I was doing a local cable access show after 911 and would interview people working on World Peace.   A rather Santa Claus-y looking gentleman showed up in town one week and he fit the bill for a person working on World Peace.  His thing was LSD.  He was like the Johnny Appleseed of Acid.  His plan was to distribute large quantities of LSD in Israel, in order to settle their conflicts.  I don’t think he was very successful, in fact not at all.  The idea seemed interesting, but he seemed absurd.  He was on to something, but sometime too much of a good thing isn’t so good.  With microdosing you don’t wind up in a catatonic state at peace with the universe or unable to even cross the street.  The effects are mild, subtle and profound.  We may be on to something.

         The safer and more lasting method, is to do a ten-day retreat, learn mindfulness meditation and have a daily practice.  There seems to be quite a bit of steam for this to happen.  Mindfulness has entered corporate America and the military services, and barely a week goes by where it’s not mentioned in the newspapers or on television or a newsstand special.

         Microdosing, with a well-researched book by Michael Pollen, is entering the mainstream.  Nichole Kidman’s “Nine Perfect Strangers” on HULU introduced microdosing in an exotic but positive way.We could sure use some “Heavenly Powder” to accelerate an evolution, because we’re going to destroy ourselves if we don’t evolve.  Even evolution is entering mainstream conversation as Tristan Harris, the monk of high tech, makes the rounds on the talk shows, talking sense.        

 LSD is what fueled the spiritual revolution of the sixties and microdosing can fuel the spiritual revolution of the twenties.  I don’t think massive numbers of people are suddenly going to become monks, but massive numbers of people could entertain a little dose now and then.  You can Turn On and Stay Tuned without Dropping Out.