The genius of Tulku Urgyen was that he could point out the nature of mind with precision and matter-of-factness of teaching a person how to thread a needle and could get an ordinary meditator like me to recognize that consciousness is intrinsically free of self ... I came to Tulku Urgyen yearning for the experience of self-transcendence, and in a few minutes he showed me I had no self to transcend ... Tulku Urgyen simply handed me the ability to cut through the illusion of the self directly, even in ordinary states of consciousness. This instruction was, without question, the most important thing I have ever been explicitly taught by another human being. It has given me a way to escape the usual tides of psychological suffering - fear, anger, shame - in an instant. - Sam Harris
potential benefits of psychedelics
The conventional view serves to protect us from the painful job of thinking. J. K. Galbraith
It's important to keep an open mind, but not so open that your brains fall out. Traditional
In the column on the left are the titles of a series of blog posts that I've written about psychedelics (some still not fully finished). Click on the relevant title to link through to the post. At the time of writing this description (June 2019), I have over 240 research articles on psychedelics in my personal database, a high proportion of which have been published in the last couple of years. Many of the posts on the left are fairly 'academic' and contain a series of links through to this literature. Several of the posts however are much more personal, describing my own experiences with LSD (taken as a student) and psilocybin (taken more recently legally in the Netherlands). For a quick overview of the early 2019 research position for psychedelics click through to this 'easy read' article I wrote for the journal "Counselling in Scotland".
And writing again in early 2020, the number of posts in the left hand column has continued to grow. I'm now involved in helping to set up a support network for health professionals who are interested in the therapeutic potential of psychedelics and here is an initial draft of our first newsletter with links to several important recent research studies & other developments. And a few additional signposting suggestions to posts on this website - for general benefits of psychedelics, see "Recent psychedelic research: their use in the general population" and for cautions, see "Recent psychedelic research: what are the risks?". For extensive information about number/frequency of trips, dosage, tripsitters and more, see "Lessons from current personal experience - suggestions". For more on different doses and different environments, see "Again the pilgrimage - current experience, high dose", "Again the pilgrimage - current experience, low/moderate dose" and (including a discussion about playlists) "Again the pilgrimage - current experience, lessons". Then I revisit all of these questions more deeply in the sequence starting with "Psychedelics: a group retreat - lessons: ceremonies, duration & organisation".
I neither recommend nor discourage people from taking psychedelics. For anyone who is considering it, I would however strongly encourage a cautious & thoughtful weighing of the pros & cons. These are potentially powerful substances. I think they're much safer than the media & governments have portrayed, but anyone thinking of taking them is likely to be stupid if they haven't looked carefully before they leap - see, for example, both many of the posts on this website and too the UK Psychedelic Society's section on "Responsible use".