Saturday, April 13, 2013

Reality Sandwich: Frankly Speaking

A recent email went out from Frank Burney to the core group living at Home Farm with this simple statement and link:

Excellent article with thoughtful comments.

It IS a good article and I applaud Frank for appearing open to discussion. He included this writer also, but so far Frank has never responded to any of my private emails to him when I ask him to discuss an issue with me. Therefore I suspect Frank is mostly soapboxing trying to curry favor with the Overlords at Home Farm, where he hopes to live out his days.

We all know the issue of whether “psychedelics” have any useful place in personal development and “spirituality” is an issue that divides some students. The author of this article was evicted and then later banned from the SNO property for suggesting we allow open discussion on this topic. The Board maintains the pretense that this is “criminal” and might threaten their non-profit status. They refuse to even discuss it.

If Frank were truly trolling the internet synthesizing the vast spectrum of data and opinion (which is also a form of valid data) on psychedelics, so that he could offer an informed overview to the Home Farm crowd, I would expect he would also relate the many expert opinions of credentialed researchers who find great value in these “drugs.”

(I put the word “drugs” in quotes because this author was evicted, according to the official letter from the SNO Board “solely because he advocated the use of “illegal drugs.” I find it ironical that a so-called “school” whose main intellectual discipline is the study of General Semantics, chose a phrase “illegal drugs” that is purposely vague. It suggests to those who might not know me that I advocate heroin, cocaine, PCP, etc., trying to tar me with implied negative associations; whereas I emphatically “advocate” research into mind expanding “drugs” that fall into the class we call psychedelic; plus empathogens or entactogens such as MDMA which were found so helpful by the psychiatric community before being banned and scheduled willy-nilly by the DEA. And I also enthusiastically will share my own personal research which does add more gravitas than cut-and-pasting from the net.)

Frankly, I find it uncompassionate to NOT share information that would help someone's suffering, whatever my PC neighbors might think. MDMA pilot studies indicate that, "74% of patients with PTSD who were unresponsive to other treatments sustained symptom resolution for an average of 3.5 years." Likewise the DVD Can Cannabis Cure Cancer showed successful studies that it does and can, I have seen it first hand. Susan was so aghast at finding the DVD in her mailbox she pushed it out onto the counter, probably like it was a live grenade.  So when you or a friend gets cancer, before you rush off to get poisoned with chemo or burned with radiation, do some research!)

But back to Frank. So he culled the internet until he found someone who would seem authoritative (having been a user) but who now performs an autopsy on the mindset of those who like to use psychedelics. And in the end he concludes that the world revealed by psychedelics is just another “music” we can choose from. It’s all relative. This reminds me of the sagacity of Brian Morrison who opined “opinions are like assholes, everyone has one.”

Since Frank is only preaching to the choir, those who ban even talk on psychedelics, I conclude his purpose was dismissive. But if on the other hand it’s all relative styles of “music” then why isn’t Frank moving for a lift of the ban on my “heresy?” In fact the SNO Board was recently presented a motion by a voting Board member to reconsider my case, showing that these discussions are being carried out by legitimate institutions, conferences being held, and this proves no threat to the non-profit institutions, which contradicts the paranoid position taken by SNO Board.

Be that as it may, while the rest of us have moved into the 21st century, SNO remains mired around 1968 in race psyche reactivity to psychedelics. Susan Wetmore was busted years ago for growing marijuana and put on probation; Pat Murray is a convicted drug felon. Still, in a "school" that preaches getting over your negative reactions, you'd hope they wouldn't keep acting out their personal dramas? Some years ago Marj said with relief that they'd finally gotten rid of the "dopers" at Home Farm! What irony, everyone on the inside knows Doper Dan, Susan's boyfriend; and Pat tried to score some skunk not too long ago from his Colorado connection, but didn't want Jane to know. Meanwhile there actually is one person there legally entitled to use cannabis for pain relief; but Susan rained down a torrent of abuse upon her and threatened to call the Sheriff. Hypocrisy mixed with no compassion. Susan is a real piece of work. Only second to Jane. The Toxic Twins.

But I digress. I was asked to comment on this article in Reality Sandwich. So here goes.

Stan Grof, MD and psychiatrist, probably the researcher with the most experience in use of psychedelics in therapeutic practice (thousands of cases) characterizes them as “non-specific amplifiers.” That is, they deactivate the filtering programs in the nervous system that narrow our perceptions into what is called “problem-solving” mode. Normal daytime waking consciousness. (For more info see the David Nichols talk . Psychedelics move one into what we might call a waking dream state.

The core of Vitvan’s work is what we at ISNO call Level II, the First Crossing (undertaken after one has absorbed Level I, the mental model level, the roadmap, the outline). He describes this succinctly (novel for him; it has to be said that his excessive verbiage is the main roadblock to understanding him, which is a shame since he is so deep), and I paraphrase, “bringing the entire content of the subconscious up into conscious awareness.” He follows this by saying that very few can do it because their egos will resist so vehemently facing the “jackasses and peacocks” (such gentle language for the monsters one may encounter) in their subconscious or psyche. (Let’s also point out that we can find “angels” and wonders to delight, so for the adventurous who are called, it’s worth taking the Journey.)

This is the problem in a nutshell. The ego will not willingly give up its stratagems for making self right and others wrong. It has to be forcibly unhorsed for a period of time, pushed out of the way with its normal ongoing rationalizing and excuse making, in order for something deeper in us to be exposed, which we call the Witness state. An observer who can be likened to a “hypervisor” who looks at the code of the personality without giving value or identifying, or at least, only provisionally, while it is astounded by all the schemings and undisclosed motivations.

Once again, Vitvan says this is the essence: to find out what motivates us. Until we do, we are personality robots running on instinct and conditioning.

There are classic methods of bringing about this “unhorsing.” They boil down to short-circuiting the labeling, mentalizing process, or what is called “stopping the mind.” Again, this leads to “conscious abstracting,” another way Vitvan described the goal of Level II, using the language he learned from Korzybski. An excellent study is Michael Winkelman’s Shamanism: The Neural Ecology of Consciousness and Healing. These methods found in cultures around the world are:

Methods gradual to tire and bore the mental monkey mind process until it nods off:
  1. Chanting (falls under #3 below)
  2. Visual driving (contemplation of images like staring at flickering candles, or staring into mandalas and imagery until active imagination is turned on)
  3. Audio driving (repetitive drumming, usually at harmonics of 4-8 cycles per second to entrain the hemispheres into alpha, theta, or delta states)
  4. Body movements triggering older pre-verbal deep brain circuitry (hatha yoga, breath work, Sufi dancing, walking on all fours, tree climbing)

More radical methods:
  1. Fasting so body goes into emergency survival mode, deep circuits come online
  2. Danger: initiation thru pain, or Vision Quest in the wilderness, where fear of death pushes consciousness into peak awareness
  3. Use of psychoactive plants and substantives that shift us out of problem-solving beta state mode, into active imagination, a waking dream.
Then there are natural born ones with a "shamanic" nervous system. They can enter altered states much more easily, guys like Vitvan. It takes them a long time to figure out why others can't do it too. Techniques that work for them just won't cause others to "tip over" or "kindle" into this heightened perception.

(Can you believe that SNO repeatedly was afraid to let me give a lecture on this subject which I would have entitled "Your shamanic nervous system?" Pretty scary huh? Vitvan is either rolling over in his grave or "up there" rolling over laughing and holding his sides...!)

No matter how one gets there, what happens is that the veil or censorship normally thrown up by the ego is removed or radically reduced. This makes accessible the contents of the unconscious. One can see the machinery below the surface. How odd to know (gnosis) that there is “someone” or some Observer who is still there.

Of all the available methods, the use of psychoactives is the most reliable, and that is why when they are available most all cultures will use them. However this only works when society allows for such initiatory experiences, as in the ancient Mysteries. When the State becomes all powerful as it is today, controlling the minds of the worker bees in the hive is all important, because as CIA and military studies showed (alas for their attempts to weaponize psychedelics) people begin to question authority as they see through the conditioning laid on them. The constant triggering to make us consume, or fear, doesn’t work any longer.

And this is the state we are in today, the underlying reason these substances are banned and shunned. Religions with their gate-keeper priests will lose control. Even little religions like the Cult of Vitvan at SNO (who really don’t get Vitvan at all) survive because they have somehow conned students into accepting that these “leaders” represent the Founder’s teaching. Alas Vitvan did not foresee that a small cabal would keep on re-electing themselves for decades. Otherwise the Bylaws would have been written to put term limits on, or made allowance for more people to vote as members.[Do any of you who think you are a "member" know that you are NOT, unless you are on the Board? True, according to the self-serving definition they have adopted!]

The other methods ONLY work when you do them long and hard enough, until the monkey mind really shuts down. I don’t mean gets lulled into a vaguely hypnogogic state fluttering on the edge of alpha. When it happens you KNOW it. Perception broadens, mind is quiet and still, colors are bright, detail is intense. You are in the NOW. You are in an ALTERED state. You are HIGH.

You have to get out of waking problem-solving state, you have to ALTER it, to begin to get what this is about. Sitting here reading this in normal beta waking state will not bear fruit. “Which of you by taking thought can add one cubit unto his stature?”  "Let that Mind be in you which was in Jesus Christ our Lord." That’s Mind with a capital “M,” that which is there all the time and to be revealed when little “m” mind shuts down.

Now back to Reality Sandwich. The author is absolutely right. He used psychedelics to probe his unconsciousness, which took him on many colorful and penetrating trips inward. The word “hallucinate” means to “wander in the mind,” and as Heraclitus posited, “you could not find the ends of the soul (psyche) though you traveled every way, so deep is its logos.” And so, IF the work of the First Crossing is to penetrate the depths of the psyche until you have become conscious of what motivates you, then “hallucination” in its correct understanding is the job awaiting you!

When you start approaching the finish line of Level II, then you enter Vitvan’s Level III, which we’ll come to shortly.

But let’s make it VERY CLEAR. Until you have done this work, do not be so dismissive because you MENTALLY have some vague inkling that all states are relative “music.” This notion allows you to enjoy your ego-state by dismissing anything that would threaten the stability of your imagined “spirituality,” your sweetness and light “decency,” “niceness,” “courtesy,” your lame ass babble about “non-violent communication.” Brian’s statement about assholes is as little authoritative as someone sitting in an easy chair watching videos about jungle exploring, thinking that they actually know from EXPERIENCE anything about jungle exploring. People who haven’t taken the Journey into the depths of the soul-psyche can wave their beads, candles, and prayer flags all they want:

They don’t know what they are jawboning about.

Hence we have Frank, Marj, Bill, Pat, Jane, Susan, Lynne, who sit on the sideline like Judges, having barely put their toe into the White Waters of the Tao. Oh, they will squawk, HOW can you judge us so? Then they calmly PC talk about “giving value” but that only means don’t look at their actions with a critical eye. They do their 9 AUMs, they “meditate” for 30 minutes of sleep, they nod off weekly to a tape in what they call a “class,” but afterwards discussion rapidly turns to sports scores and Valley gossip. They say that “Life is their teacher” but UNLESS Life really hammers you, or you intentionally expose yourself to some ego-stopping practice that has real guts, you are just fluttering around in your private dream.

Yes, we are all to some extent puttering around in our private dream, but when it keeps getting pushed to the surface of consciousness, something new CAN come in, or down, or online.


This brings us to what Vitvan calls “basic state.” Shamans will say that the "medicine" calls to some, and reveals its teaching. Others take it and only see a circus. One can only expand to the next level that naturally follows their current one. Hence talk about patience, not pushing the natural order. Marj misunderstands (or purposely pretends to) when she says Vitvan says, “there are no shortcuts” but if you go to the and search Vitvan for “shortcut,” you will find he too believed there were ways. Trouble is, he was not forthcoming. Or he was merely hopeful but didn’t really know. We can say however that while he didn’t understand that psychoactives had been used in the Mysteries he would praise, and while he was a natural born shaman and could drop into deep states without them, he also DID NOT forbid experimenting with them. That would have violated his basic Principles he laid down so many times.

Let’s go onto other comments by our Reality Sandwich author.

He says he is an astrologer. Well then, so am I. I studied it 40 years ago, lived with a professional astrologer who had graduated thru the common entry level of tropical, done sidereal, heliocentric, used trans-Uranian, Cosmobiology, and eventually returned to the Mother fountain of Vedic astrology. I have some conversancy with all these. Then I studied it as applied to alchemy, and read Jung’s take. Finally we find researchers like Stan Grof who discovered that, odd as it seemed to one who started out in mainstream materialism, that planetary aspects could dictate the themes of a person’s psychedelic trip.

Our Reality Sandwich author characterizes psychedelics as “Neptunian,” but this is narrow and amateurish. Yes, many people DO long to find something greater than this world of the “normals,” they ache for something missing. Vitvan says that many in his school are devas, and they come in remembering something of other worlds and levels, they just know intuitively that there is much more to Reality than the standard model. But it is also true that many a materialist who felt no such longing was surprised by the vaster world psychedelics opened to them. So we can’t dismiss their use as stemming ONLY from some urge to “run away” from every day reality.

Other archetypes equally well apply. When used for the First Crossing, then we find Saturn the Teacher, the bringer of hard truths to be looked at. Also the Judge who shows us our hidden motivations; the Initiator who opens new door. Or Uranus, break-through eruptions, strokes of creative genius. (see the studies done on creativity using psychedelics e.g., and Google for many more such). Or utterly astounding as in DMT studies as related by Dr. Rick Strassman, or McKenna’s description of entering the Elfish world. Or see The DMT Chronicles: Parmenides, Plato, and the Psychedelic to show you that serious work into the realm of Plato’s Ideas is not just an abstraction but a level of Reality to be experienced; and may well be how Plato got there, talking roundaboutly of things outside of class that he learned in the Mysteries...

In fact, this Procrustean attempt to fit the “non-specific amplification” of consciousness into the mold of Neptune makes me rather depict this author as Neptunian himself. He ends up saying it’s all true but just an imagined sense of heightened value. Then he asserts many psychedelic users have a Messianic sense of mission. Well, so do proselytizing Christians, Jews who hold to being “chosen” over others, Muslims on jihad, capitalists or socialists saving the world, ... boy, you name it. Take for instance this comment on Korzybski himself:

“Alfred Korzybski (1879-1950), the founder of general semantics, maintained that the structural assumptions implicit in language are of necessity reflected in behavior. . . . Korzybski believed that if, through general semantics, people generally could be trained in the orientations of science in the handling of all their problems (instead of just some of them), many social and personal problems now deemed to be insoluble would prove to be soluble. There is a messianic flavor to Korzybski's writings--a fact which led to the dismissal of his views in some academic circles."
(S.I. Hayakawa, The Use and Misuse of Language. Harper & Row, 1962)

So now, is Science and Sanity just another asshole's opinion, another “music?” Well, then, why study Vitvan? It’s all relative, right?

One of the great benefits of altering consciousness is that it reminds Mr. Ego-dog that many versions of Reality are out there. It is common for trippers to come to the understanding that everyone is “on a trip,” devising their own version of reality thru the lens of the private world.  I believe that one of the “major intentions” Vitvan had in his day was to get it through people’s head’s that we are all manufacturing “reality” and to stop assuming there is consensus.

Vitvan’s endless descriptions of how abstracting works did not really alter people’s consciousness. “You cannot solve a problem from the same consciousness that created it. You must learn to see the world anew.” -- Albert Einstein. See, Vitvan didn’t have tools that really worked. (What heresy I utter!)  He himself was so frustrated and said, "Well, maybe if I keep describing it, it will sink in." But it doesn’t.

These Old Cycle Aristotelians who sit on the SNO Board just don’t get it that the Hierarchy got tired of sending in messengers whose descriptions didn’t get the job done, and the New Cycle Hierarchy that came in in the 1960’s said, "Shit, let’s go back to the psychedelic methodologies of using Soma medicines like we did in the grand old days of the Vedas, when many people were Seers. So there will be some casualties. There is far more collateral damage to souls living out lives of quiet desperation in our brain-deadening materialistic culture. Can’t make any omelet without breaking some eggs..."

The first wave of the New Cycle was the Visionary medicines; the second wave was the Heart-opening MDMA. The third is happening now, full spectrum Soma, entrainment through the 8hz cycle unification with the Plenum, the Rock of Ages.

I said I would touch on what we at ISNO call Level III of Vitvan’s three-fold goals for SNO. Level III is what begins to come in as one is making good progress in their First Crossing: the Truth of Teleology.

What this means to me, from what my own Self shows me, is that we are at Root, the Alpha and Omega who creates our own Reality. That “The I AM, which is my true Self” is who we are in non-locality, that “we” have agreed to and scripted out this life we are currently living. The World is a stage and we are all actors, making our entrances and exits. Nice concept, but have you REALLY SEEN IT? Frank? Marj?

But here am I, preaching to the choir, hoping that my descriptions will “convert” those who have never had real communion with the Living Sacraments. It won’t. Only experience will.

“Are You Experienced?
Ah! Have you ever been experienced?
Well, I have.”
   -- Jimi Hendrix

Tough luck for those who don’t like the way the I AM expresses Itself through this one. It’s the way my part was written!

1 comment:

  1. From a reader's email:

    What if Vitvan was so far ahead of the rest of us that he saw his job more like that of an encyclopedia writer, he had to describe (the Old Cycle version) of the Path, from A to Z, and leave it as summation, as his graduation essay. He knew that once he got some kid out of the nest the kid would have to go through all the stages, but at least he would have a decent map.

    Of course the terrain would change. We don’t travel down the Erie Canal anymore; we hop an airplane.

    Trouble is, some people think that because they have the encyclopedia, they already “know” what the Journey is, and consequently only go on it in their minds. Now THAT is metafizzling, imagining that your recitation of mile markers along the way is the same as suddenly finding yourself in strange territory and having to navigate. It’s almost ironic that when people type Home Farm Rd into their GPS navigator, it takes them the wrong way! Their sign at the entrance couldn’t be more perfect: nothing down this road! Turn around quick!

    Vitvan warns people off of falling into the trap of psychic experiences...but of course he allowed himself to go through all of those. Maybe it’s more like a parent warning kids about "drugs;" you don’t want to over encourage them because they could get lost in it. So you say NO, knowing they will do it anyway, but maybe some of your warnings will stick, and they’ll make it through okay. Trust ONLY your own experience, but keep your fingers crossed they make it through adolescent hubris and survive.

    So we’re out on our own. The roads are now different, we have other opportunities, yet an elder from an older age can still give us good advice universal to a new age.