“By patterning those signals, you’re authoring the song; the soul surfing that you’re actually doing. The people that engage in these mystical states are known as psychonauts; they’re literally soul surfers..” Jason Silva, renowned public speaker and host of Brain Games, rambles on.
To the casual reader, these words might seem like the musings of a spaced-out junkie; and in some ways they are, but they are hardly nonsensical or illogical.
What Jason talks about in this video has been under the microscope since the ‘60s, and the subject has since enjoyed a renaissance of sorts in recent times with the organization called MAPS, which deals with developing “medical, legal, and cultural contexts for people to benefit from the careful uses of psychedelics and marijuana.”
Yes, drugs. Psychedelic drugs to be precise.
But this is not about just getting high. This is not about sitting around, talking about the intricacies of world politics and the woeful state of current affairs. This is not about seeing colors, flying elephants and talking dogs.
This is about going to the next level..
On Programming Psychedelic Experiences
Ingesting psychedelic drugs like LSD and Psilocybin can lead to experiences beyond your scope of imagination, beyond anything you could ever conjure up in your dreams, further than you thought your consciousness could ever go.
But what really is a psychedelic experience?
“A psychedelic experience is a period of intensely heightened reactivity to sensory stimuli from within and without,” – Timothy Leary
“A psychedelic experience is a period of intensely heightened reactivity to sensory stimuli from within and without,” says Timothy Leary, the infamous psychologist who pioneered the use of psychedelics in psychotherapy.
In simpler words, the place you are in – both physically and emotionally, the people you are with, your relationships with those people, and the attitude of the person giving you the drug – everybody and everything around you and inside you influences your psychedelic “trip.”
And, there is a way you can tweak these influences, orchestrate your environments and systematize the internal and external stimuli to program your trip and produce religious, intellectual or therapeutic experiences.
Your psychedelic experience is a voyage.
And the program is your guide. Your itinerary. Your voyage chart.
In this kind of psychedelic session, nothing is left to chance. Every excruciating detail is mapped out, every point is arranged in perfect sequence to take you on a journey that transcends the limits of your consciousness without inducing paranoia.
There are no bad trips.
Set and Setting
Your emotional and mental state before and during the voyage deeply affects the direction it’ll take, dominating your subsequent experience. This is the “set.” The “setting” refers to the external conditions of your experience.
Why does this matter?
You don’t just pop the drug and be done with it.
The key to a liberating and educational psychedelic experience is the time just before ingestion. You don’t go in unprepared.
Distance yourself from any and all commitments, worries and distractions. Do something that relaxes you, and puts you in a state of serene preparedness for the impending journey.
It’s important to be in a higher state of mind before you really and truly “take-off.”
It’s also important to plan your setting beforehand; you don’t need the distraction of making decision during the trip.
That means picking sounds, music, recordings, images and videos – powerful audio-visual stimuli that control and maneuver the exploration of the depths of your consciousness, the introspection of your soul, the investigation into your mind.
That means having fellow voyagers on the same wavelength as you.
These input signals form patterns that inform and shape your psychedelic experiences – different notes of music that evoke joyous memories from your past, words and sounds that set the tone for the voyage, images that invoke fascinating visuals revelatory and enlightening in nature.
Programming your trip this way can lead to transformation -behavioral, intellectual, aesthetic, interpersonal or spiritual transformation.
A Little History…
An experiment called the Marsh Chapel Experiment conducted by Walter N. Pahnke in 1962 aimed to investigate whether Psilocybin could influence profound religious experiences in “religiously disposed” subjects.
A majority of the subjects reported experiencing them under the influence of the drug.
A follow-up study conducted 25 years later by Rick Doblin found all subjects reporting their experience as “one of the high points of their spiritual life.”
Another follow-up study conducted in 2002 by Roland Griffiths yielded similar results, with over half of the participants rating psilocybin session “among the top five most spiritually significant experiences of their lives.”
Looking back at previous research, and towards current research by organizations like MAPS, it is pretty clear that our negative attitude towards psychedelic drugs is somewhat unfounded.
There’s a case to be made for the usefulness of psychoactive drugs in therapeutic as well as spiritual transformation, and further research will only serve to prove the same.
In the words of Jason Silva – “Computers are drugs, but drugs are computers. This is why we should be open to this stuff, because it is absolutely fascinating.”
It definitely is.