Resurrection of the Higher Self
[ Erowid Note: This document provides an interesting look into a group advocating the intentional, spiritual, and transformative use of cannabis. The views expressed in this interview share many similiarities with some other cannabis-positive writings and metaphysical viewpoints, but which are not well represented in the Erowid archives, despite their prevalence. ]
Document History & PrefaceIn July of 1989, a controversial article crossed the managing editor's desk of Magical Blend, an equally controversial magazine. This article was never actually published in the quarterly publication, because it was rejected, due to conflicts of its content with "modern cultural limits". The editors felt that the public was not yet ready to "entertain such ideas" even though its creation was originally sanctioned by the managing staff of The Magical Blend. Entitled, The Higher Self, the article appeared about a year later in a lesser known newsletter, The Free Thinker, known for its evaluation of topics which for the most part, go unaddressed in our society.
In a memo directed to the author of The Higher Self, Magical Blends' managing editor wrote:
"Although The Higher Self reflects a professionally conducted interview on the subject of marijuana use and the expansion of consciousness, other factors need to be considered in the question of its publication. It is essential to keep in mind the modern cultural limits, that restrain the full address of certain subject matters. For one, our firms' legal position on this matter must be maintained on stable ground, especially in view of 'the drug war' as mentioned in your article. Secondly, although our readership is known for a certain flexibility of mind, the senior staff agrees with me in that the public is not yet ready to entertain such ideas in this context. I therefore must ask you to go beyond the usual revision protocol, and abandon this project altogether, regardless of your good work in its creation."The document you see before you is the retrieved, unedited version of The Higher Self, which has been preserved upon the request of many interested persons. The identity of its author and the person interviewed will not be mentioned, in order to protect their wish for privacy in this matter.
THE HIGHER SELFDuring the summer of 1989, I was invited to attend a public gathering in Berkeley California, "of persons dedicated to free thought and the uninhibited expansion of consciousness." According to the elaborate written invitation, the purpose of this meeting was to "brainstorm the ways and means to sustain a fundamental shift of social consciousness, away from cultural materialism, and toward spiritual unfoldment." Upon arrival I was informed that although everyone was very pleased to see a representative from Magical Blend attending the meeting, it had since been decided that the group discussion should be closed to the public. It seemed for a moment that the trip to Berkeley had been wasted effort, but to my surprise a well-dressed gentleman in a sport jacket, of broad features and a bushy black mustache, approached me to apologize for my inconvenience.
I assured him that such disappointments were common in my line of work, and that all fault was mine for not confirming the meeting by phone. "I appreciate the show of support and interest of your magazine that your presence implies", he said, "and I don't want to see you end up empty-handed after your journey." "Although I regret we cannot include you in our conference due to the wish for anonymity of many of its speakers, I can offer you a personal interview along similar lines." Though a one on one meeting is not what I had in mind, I thought it pointless to refuse such an offer.
Blake, (a pseudonym) introduced himself as an organizing member of a little known meditation group known as The World Mind Society, which was but one of the participating members of the conference. "We at WMS", he said, "believe in the higher potentials of human consciousness, and its power to transform the self and the world. Our approach is to make the best use of the tools that are already available to the human being for the purpose of self-empowerment. Among these are the human body and mind, individual meditation, the sacramental use of marijuana and the use of group meditation, or in other words, group mind force."
MB (Magical Blend reporter): "Let me see if I understood what you said correctly. You mentioned the use of meditation in both a personal and group context for the purpose of self-empowerment. But could you explain more clearly how this relates to using marijuana as a sacrament?"
Blake: "What I meant was, that marijuana can be a powerful tool for self improvement if used with the proper focus."
MB: "What do you mean it can be a powerful tool?"
Blake: "This plant has the potential for use as a psychoactive booster of consciousness. It is a kind of 'psychic vitamin' that can expand ones' abilities mentally, psychically and spiritually."
MB: "In certain Native cultures substances such as peyote and psychoactive mushrooms are used for self exploration. Is this what you mean?"
Blake: "Self exploration is actually only a part of this. In native cultures, psychoactive substances are also used to gain what are considered spiritual powers, psychic enhancements, altered and deepened perceptions of truth, greater inner strength, energy, mental alertness and flexibility. Perhaps even more importantly, these substances are used to gain spiritual realization and refinement. They are even used as an aid to unify ones self with Nature and God."
MB: "And you include marijuana as one of the substances which can accomplish these things?"
Blake: "Yes we do."
MB: "Don't you think that if marijuana had such potentials that people would have discovered them long ago? I mean, everyone 'gets high' at one time or another, but no one I know of gains any psychic powers or finds God through weed."
Blake: "In reference to the first part of your question, people did actually discover the spiritual potentials of marijuana long ago. References to this herb in the ancient Vedic texts of India, indicate that it was being used by Rishis and Yogis at that time to gain deepened perceptions. As for the fact that 'everyone gets high' as you said, yet few find God or greater personal power, this is just a result of cultural influences. Lets look at it this way. Compare marijuana to driving a car. As soon as you take a puff you're behind the drivers' seat. The engine's running and you can go anywhere you want. But just because you own a car though, does not guarantee that you will take it to useful, productive or enlightening places. You may just drive in circles, get in a wreck or simply drive it off a cliff. It all depends upon your intention when you're driving as to where you end up, and what you'll do when you get there. Marijuana is the same way. Although it contains great potentials for self-transformation and can take you to places you never dreamed of, its effect is still primarily limited to the mind that is driving it, so to speak."
MB: "So you're saying that the usual effect of just 'getting stoned' and oblivious to the world, is due more to user error than to the substance itself."
Blake: "That is exactly what I mean, and what a pity! Most people just get high within the usual party mode of stimulating amusements, simply because this is the only intention they hold when smoking it."
MB: "So what intention or focus should be used to get more out of pot?"
Blake: "Well first of all, the whole image of marijuana must be changed. It is usually viewed as a 'recreational drug' but this is a serious underestimation of its potential. Believing that marijuana is just a toy is like treating the space shuttle as just another Forth of July bottle rocket. By approaching marijuana with more respect, we are then in a position to gain more from it. This herb can teach us much more than most people imagine. In many shamanic traditions it is believed that peyote, psiloscybe mushrooms, ayahuasca and others, contain wisdom-increasing properties. It is believed that they hold sacred lessons, and an Earth intelligence that can be learned from. This is the whole meaning behind the word ‘entheogens'".
MB: "Do you also hold such a view, and would you place marijuana in this class of so called 'teacher plants'?"
Blake: "I don't want to stray too far into related subjects, by commenting in depth upon that. I will say that the World Mind Society, like a number of other persons and groups, agree that all living things including the Earth itself, has something to teach us. We humans though, are not known for our great listening skills. We're too busy gossiping and theorizing to listen attentively. Yes, all of these substances contain profound lesson-generating potentials, and marijuana is no exception. We can 'listen' to the high that it generates within the body, as well as its effects upon the mind. When taken seriously, what we 'hear' from the teacher plants can be quite profound, as well as practical on an everyday basis. But again, we must employ the right focus and intention to make full use of our experiences with the herb."
MB: "I've heard that the peyote ceremonies of the Native American Church include a great deal of preparation and spiritual focus, before, during and after ingestion. They say that such preparation allows a person to properly receive Peyote's lessons. It is also a Native teaching that peyote acts as a conduit to God and to the spirit of the Earth, allowing deep revelations to crystallize in the mind. Do you also recommend that such procedures be used for the intake of marijuana?"
Blake: "I would have to say that in most cases, no. The rush and scheduling of the Western lifestyle tend to rule out days of prayer, meditation, fasting, elaborate ceremonies or seclusion in the wilds. That's not to say though that simple rituals, which focus the mind firmly onto desired goals, could not provide great benefit. But regardless of any format used prior to smoking the miracle herb, one should definitely be clear about the effects they desire from its intake. These effects, which can also be personal goals, include an enhanced state of clarity, greater psychic perception and higher personal vibration for instance, and these aspects should be consistently focused upon with the mind, during a smoke session. The stronger the focus held while smoking marijuana, the more one will see results in the body and mind of the desired type. We also recommend the use of meditation in conjunction with the use of marijuana, as these two complement each others' effectiveness greatly."
MB: "I believe I understood what you said about using pot for achieving greater clarity. It is not an uncommon practice for many people to use it for inspiration, in the creation of music and other artforms, and I've even known a few who claimed it helped them get insights into problems, or to create innovative products. When you mentioned reaching a higher personal vibration from pot, I'm not clear on what you meant."
Blake: "Basically, when we say ‘getting high', we mean getting into high feelings, and this is the same as saying 'getting into a higher personal vibration'. Science has shown through EKG readings and a number of other electromagnetic measurement devices, that the body emits energy at varying frequencies. These frequencies, especially in the case of brain waves, change as our state of consciousness changes. Studies have shown that positive feelings create a characteristically different set of emitted brain wave frequencies than those of a depressed nature. The high frequencies or feelings created through the intake of marijuana are likewise very different from most peoples' everyday state of consciousness. When used properly, marijuana can thus raise our vibrational rate of being, or in other words our state of consciousness. It can even do this on a semi-permanent or permanent basis."
MB: "Ok, and what about 'greater psychic perception?'"
Blake: "Unknown to most people who smoke marijuana, is the fact that it expands psychic abilities as it expands the users' consciousness. In fact, the increase of personal clarity and, [higher] vibration are also the potential results of the expansion of consciousness, brought about by the miracle herb. The same is also potentially true of peyote, ayahusca, LSD and mushrooms."
MB: "What you said reminds me a lot of a line from the movie Dune... something about ‘the spice expands consciousness'. It sounds like that."
Blake: "Well yes, I think Dune offered many good ideas with a factual basis. I would say that the potential effects of marijuana are on par with those of the Spice Melange presented in Dune. A great movie."
MB: "And people don't usually recognize this fact, because they're using the wrong intention?"
Blake: "That's right. When they smoke their intention is usually focused just on feeling a little better, or upon using the smoke as an avenue for interaction with others. So instead of realizing they have just undergone an important and powerful shift of consciousness, they waste a glorious opportunity. They fritter away a wonderful means to gain greater inner strength by focusing upon trivial things."
MB: "I'm not sure most people would agree that a focus on sensations or interaction with others is trivial."
Blake: "Compared to what could be accomplished with marijuana, these focuses are indeed trivial. I think a good analogy for using this herb as a joy ride, is the burning of stacks of $100 bills for amusement. It is such an incredible waste of potential. The full knowledge of that potential would truly amaze the average person."
MB: "And the organization of which you are a part, advocates specific techniques to take advantage of that potential?"
Blake: "Yes, the World Mind Society teaches people, among other things, to view the herb as a sacred advisor of sorts and to listen to what it has to teach. When we combine its use with meditation this practice produces even greater results."
MB: "Greater results meaning a greater expansion of consciousness?"
Blake: "Yes, more so than the average person would experience by far, through the holding of a progressive inner focus."
MB: "That's interesting. So lets discuss what kinds of focus are used in your meditations that produce such results."
Blake: "All right, as I said earlier, the type of results gained by smoking marijuana are primarily dependent upon the intention or focus one uses. This should always be kept in mind. Spiritual intentions produce spiritual results, whereas unfocused or chaotic intentions produce comparatively little. So before we even raise a pipe to smoke, the clear intention is kept in mind as to exactly what effects are desired, beyond the usual 'getting stoned' mode. What I am about to describe is a simple procedure and example, of what one can repeatedly experience in the use of marijuana. Try this initial experiment;
- Step 1 - Hold the intention of 'exploring the high' in the mind before a smoke session. By 'exploring' we mean observing it in detail, while at the same time focusing on getting higher and higher.
- Step 2 - Take a puff of smoke and hold it in the lungs in a calm, relaxed manner.
- Step 3 - While holding this breath, notice the onset of 'the high' as it enters the lungs and spreads throughout the body. Be particularly observant of the high feelings in the area of the heart.
- Step 4 - Exhale while remaining focused on your observation of the high state now present in the body/mind. Let thoughts continue to slip away to the point that only awareness of the high remains. Know that you can be a state of mind rather than a string of thoughts.
- Step 5 - Know that the high is a sacred thing. It is an opportunity for unlimited personal gain, and to view it as such opens the door to this potential. Remain focused on the high itself and when thoughts intrude, return to that focus. As the mind remains focused on only the high, the high is then amplified even more.
- Step 6 - The high is at this point, even higher than it was originally. In other words, the pitch of feeling and level of energy associated with it are increasing to greater and greater levels. This occurs because anything the mind focuses upon it increases. Don't get overwhelmed by this. Stay relaxed, and see just how far you can 'explore the high'. As the high increases stay focused upon it, and this will increase it even more, especially with a second and third puff. It will be felt bodywide, but take particular notice of the feelings in the heart, the head and base of the spine. Stay with this focus for at least 20 minutes...
MB: "What exactly does this procedure accomplish?"
Blake: "It provides an entrance point into a whole new world, as a conscious experience of 'working with the high', or in other words, altered states of consciousness. It gives a taste of what can be accomplished with the right focus and encourages the practice of meditation. Such exercises also motivate people to experiment further, by trying out different intentions in the use of the smoke. This is just one way of doing what we call 'traveling the high'."
MB: "What are some results people can expect in using this technique?"
Blake: "Actually there are a great many. If I were to give a brief list I would include:
- Getting much higher than usual on less herb.
- The high tends to be much longer lasting.
- Inner awareness is increased, and so is a sense of accomplishment and personal discipline.
- Spiritual revelations often occur. Such states as ‘Christ consciousness', or simply an increase in love and good will can be felt within.
- An introduction to the practice of meditation, using the smoke as a center of focus is gained.
MB: "So by saying 'traveling the high' you mean working with it as a tool for greater things?"
Blake: "Yes, and in this case to 'work with the high' means to focus upon the consciousness expanding effects of the smoke. In this way we gain familiarity with its properties. This is an initiation into the practice of using the smoke to go where we want it to go, rather than just seeking idle amusement. Not unlike driving a car to a given destination, we can focus upon the high itself, and direct it to take us to places we never dreamed of. Just as effective driving requires a certain inner discipline and consistent focus, the journey of marijuana is greatly enhanced by careful inner direction also."
MB: "As you pointed out, most people consider pot as just 'recreational drug', so how do you motivate them to take a different view and practice? Or to put it another way, what will get people beyond the ‘party mode'?"
Blake: "Actually marijuana does most of that work for us. It is such an excellent tool that even with a minimum of knowledge, the novice smoker can begin an exciting spiritual journey."
MB: "But aren't the effects of weed only temporary, as in once the high has worn off the journey is over?"
Blake: "Absolutely not. It is a fact that when we enter any new state of mind, that state makes a lasting impression upon the cells of the body, and upon our state of consciousness. When we enter that state repeatedly the impression made becomes cumulative, especially when we intend this to be so. Even more profoundly, when we consciously intend to increase a certain state of consciousness, we experience even greater long term effects."
MB: "Are you saying then, that you hold the intention of not only increasing the high, but to maintain it indefinitely?"
Blake: "That's very perceptive of you, yes. We have learned that permanent personal gains can be acquired in the use of marijuana, simply by holding the proper intention."
MB: "And what intention is that?"
Blake: "The intention of spiritual growth."
MB: "How would you define the term, ‘spiritual growth'?"
Blake: "Spiritual growth can be defined as the process of gaining greater personal clarity, vibration or love, and of becoming more like the Christ or the Buddha. It is our view that becoming a Christ or Buddha is a process of gaining higher and higher levels of consciousness. Marijuana can give us a boost into greater realms, and once we're there, we can call these levels 'home' if we wish."
MB: "Wow, that's really an intense set of goals. But I wonder how the average person in a material world will react to such views. How can they understand the importance of such goals?"
Blake: "To understand that, it helps to understand the value of love. Everyone knows that love has implicit value, and this is self-explanatory. We have all at one time or another experienced its benefits. Love clears away obstacles, heals, inspires and purifies the mind body and spirit. It sets the stage for greater personal understanding, and even cosmic insights into God and the universe. I also think it safe to say, everyone knows that the stronger the love is, the more beneficial are its effects. Well, the same is true of the high. The high of marijuana also heals, removes barriers, provides insights and purifies the body, mind and spirit. Both love and the high are states of consciousness, ones which share many common features."
MB: "I'm entertaining what you're saying for the sake of conversation, and because there is a certain logic in it. But I really can't understand that if what you say is true, then why haven't more people realized these things in their own experiences? Why don't they use marijuana to gain these 'unlimited benefits'?"
Blake: "This is an important question and I'm glad you keep returning to it. Actually many people do have important spiritual and psychic experiences when smoking marijuana, but they generally keep these events to themselves for fear of being ostracized by others. But for the most part, people don't use marijuana to great benefit, primarily because there is no place for such activity in the culture in which we live, at least not at an open, public level. Western culture is a materialistic paradigm, which means it values only those aspects of existence that can be bought and sold. Our society has a fascination with the worship of things, of material objects. These it has come to value more than the environment, more than health and happiness, more then nature, intelligence, wisdom or even each other. So it is not terribly surprising that as a culture, we also do not value states of consciousness or their importance. It's crucial to remember that there was a time in human history, when we realized that our state of consciousness is responsible for every single thing we do, and also the manner in which we do it."
MB: "The so called 'primitive' cultures of the world still retain this type of knowledge."
Blake: "Yes, and their spirituality is based upon nature and natural forces rather than material ideals."
MB: "I think it is the largely unspoken consensus today, that the world took a wrong turn somewhere long ago."
Blake: "Several wrong turns, I think. It is reasonable to say that the current abuse of marijuana and other substances, is a symptom of the problems of modern society. Basically, people don't use marijuana for progressive purposes, because there is simply no precedent for such uses in Western culture. But I think those of us who understand this herb as a gift of the Earth that it is, must recreate that precedent. We must all use it once again as the tool for the expansion of consciousness that it is intended to be."
MB: "We do after all, live in an age where any use of marijuana is assumed to be abuse. I'm sure the so-called 'drug war' has a lot to do with the public phobia about pot. I've always thought it was ridiculous to lump marijuana with other substances such as crack cocaine under the same 'drug' heading."
Blake: "You're right, it is ridiculous. Marijuana is not a drug in the usual sense, because it is not a laboratory-refined substance. It is an herb, meaning it's a plant with medicinal or food related properties. Books such as The Emperor Wears No Clothes are an excellent resource for understanding the real motives behind the drug war."
MB: "Yes, and once you've read such books, you understand that the illegalization of marijuana has been motivated by the desires of special interest corporations to make money."
Blake: "Or to be more exact, not to lose money if marijuana were made legal."
MB: "Pot would easily become a significant competitor for profits in a number of industries, from prescription drugs, to paper and clothing fibers, to alternative fuels and foods. Plus, anyone can grow marijuana on their own, and therefore it can never be controlled by the pharmaceuticals like pills can."
Blake: "Yes, but most of all I think it safe to say that the government and corporate world, has a vested interest in maintaining the public consciousness within predictable limits. They fear the possible impact of marijuana's use on the mind. When it is properly used it expands consciousness. In other words it accelerates personal enlightenment."
MB: "And enlightened people aren't interested in $500 suits or five million dollar houses. They know that there is more to life than this, yes?"
Blake: "Absolutely! That's very well said. Can you imagine what would happen to the whole song and dance we call 'consumerism' if people actually started to value their state of mind, more than their appearance or reputation? Our whole culture might suddenly find itself asking 'why', and of course we all know the question 'why' is bad for business."
MB: "Ok, so like many people today, we know there is something seriously wrong with the system as it currently stands. But is marijuana capable of changing all that?" I mean, is it really able to sustain a social shift even if it is, as you say, 'used correctly?"
Blake: "There is no question in my mind that marijuana has that potential, especially when its use is combined with the practice of meditation. Marijuana is a sacrament or spiritual tool that can transform any individual. Anything that can help an individual can also strengthen groups and even whole societies. World Mind Society practices have proven this, and we've obtained some particularly excellent results in group smoke sessions and meditations. The trick is in the 'used correctly' part of this equation."
MB: "You said this was a matter of 'focusing on the high'."
Blake: "Right, but this is only the beginning. In more advanced practices, we focus on the amplification of love and clarity through the use of the smoke. We encourage a very disciplined, knowledgeable, inner focus that is essentially no different than any other practice of meditation. The individual is taught to use marijuana with a keen, alert mind, with love and spiritual intention, while working for greater and greater personal enlightenment. Marijuana is a multi-purpose tool and a great one at that. But it should be remembered that in order to transform ourselves with it, it is we who must do the work."
MB: "As in ‘a tool is only as good as its user'."
Blake: "This is true. And we can look to the native peoples of the world, to shamanic practices and the like, in their use of such substances for a better orientation in their successful employment."
MB: "You mean through ritual and ceremony?"
Blake: "No. I mean through the appropriate respect of their potentials, and a disciplined inner focus. In fact, I think that any so called 'recreational' use of a sacred substance such as marijuana, is a waste of its higher potentials. Our need is to approach marijuana as a sacrament or sacred vehicle."
MB: "Few people realize that there is even anything to learn, let alone something to be learned from."
Blake: "Unfortunately that is true. Even so, the best use of marijuana can be had with an attitude resembling a humble student seeking out a wise teacher. Then the stage for personal growth is set."
Inquiries regarding this article may be directed to: Matthew Webb firstname.lastname@example.org
The World Mind Society http://www.eoni.com/~visionquest