Cleansing the Doors of Perception: The Religious Significance of Etheogenic Plants and Chemicals (Anglais) Broché – avril 2003
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One, due to Dr. Huston's reputation, many people who would not have considered psychedelics as a spiritual path will now have to take the spiritual use of these substances seriously.
Two for those of us who do use entheogens, Dr. Smith offers an interesting critique of the psychedelic movement of the 60s. He asks himself if the corrolary of "tune in" and "turn on" has to be "drop out".
He also underscores the importance of paying attention to "set" and "setting" (the attitude of the user and the physical environment in which the user takes the psychedelic). He rightly notes that a lot of people pay lip service to this idea without being rigorous in it's application. There seems to be a kind of libertarianism, even philistinism, in the contemporary psychedelic scene. We're going to explore alone without paying attention to the lessons from other cultures who have used these substances for thousands of years. Understandably we do so under the banner of authenticity, but I think we lose out. We should not ape or follow the lessons of those cultures dogmatically, but we should investigate them and heed what is good...especially about set and setting.
Third, he assigns psychedelics their proper place. They are tools. And like any tool, psychedelics work for some and not for others. Or they work for a time for us and then we need to leave them behind. Any way it goes, we are left with integrating the lessons learned from our psychedelic explorations into our everyday life.
This is a sober treatment of the role of psychedelics, not an absolute glorification. I love to dream and hypothesize along with Terence McKenna, but I also love the grounded nature of "Cleaning The Doors of Perception".
If you are interested in a serious discussion of psychedelics,please check out our webclub "Entheogens and Psychedelics" at [...]
I was especially fascinated by the chapter on Stanislav Grof. I learned more about pure psychotherapy from this book than any book I have read on the subject.
This book speaks about cultures within cultures such as The Native American Church. It illuminates the fact that there are societies who use natures chemistry to fight drug addiction. Near the end of the book you hear the testimonials from the patrons of the Native American Church, and it is most enlightening.
This book is about religion, philosophy, psychology, the science of mind, and the study of reality--all in one short and sweet text. I found it very eye-opening and inspiring.
The book is loaded (no pun intended) with information concerning the historical significance of entheogens dating from the birth of the world's earliest religions in the Far East. Also included are fascinating accounts of his own powerful experience during the Good Friday event at Boston University.
If you are interested in, or have ever experienced forms of perception OTHER than the "default" setting in your own consciousness, this is an excellent book. The author's conviction that entheogens make possible ecstatic, mystical states which take one into the heart of cosmic awareness is genuine...and tempting.
The word 'Entheogen' was coined to describe the 'God Disclosing' properties, that certain plants and chemicals have, on people who invite such substances into their body.
Mr. Smith points out that if one compares descriptions of authentic mystical experience with descriptions provided by individuals influenced by an entheogen, that it would be difficult to make any distinction between the two.
A mystic, however, might suggest that 'God Disclosing' experiences are one possible aspect of relationship between an individual and an advanced spiritual being. When such experiences are consensual, being sought by both parties in question, then inspired revelations may exist between the two.
With an Entheogen, on the other hand, desire for a peak experience is primarily with one party and an advanced spiritual being is not necessarily consulted. While the desire is for a kind of 'cleansing', due to chemical impurities within these substances, the possible lack of spiritual preparation, and unforeseen complications within the setting, a peak experience is not necessarily guaranteed. Indeed, as Mr. Smith describes in the book, a hellish experience is a very real possibility.
My personal feeling is that it is better to seek peak experiences through meditations on religion, music, video art, film, consensual sex, and recreations such as mountain climbing. When an advanced spiritual being feels the need to disclose the possibility of bliss in your life, you might then be ready to receive her.
A Special Thanks to Mr. Smith for helping to elevate the dialog on this topic. "Cleansing the Doors of Perception" remains a unique contribution to this field of study.