...just wanted to share an interesting book I flipped through the other day. I actually got through a few chapters, but had to put it down due to time restraints. I couldn't buy it because of the cost.
It was DMT: The Spirit Molecule by Rick Strassman M.D. Check it out at:
Not that I have a personal interest in psychedelic drug use, but I did like the metaphysical flavor of the reading material.
The first few chapters will familiarize the reader with the history of discovery, research, development, and consumption, as well as the chemical structure, scientific classification, and legal recognition of various families of powerful psychedelic compounds.
The book then goes on to describe Dr. Strassman's medical study on the most interesting chemical member (being the most powerful and spiritual) of the tryptamine family: Dimethyltryptamine, abbreviated DMT.
To cut to the chase, the chapter that I found most intriguing was of course the one on the actual live tests. Subjects were given appropriate dosages within a comfortable and safe, private setting, and then asked to describe the effect that DMT had on their conscious state. Almost all recollected details differed slightly, but were unanimous in that the "trip" was Earth shatteringly, unequivocally, ground shakingly revolutionary ... mind, spirit, and body.
The main reason I was interested in the effects that DMT had on the brain was because of an earlier program on Discovery Channel (or maybe it was TLC). It was a documentary on NDE (near death experience) where both scientists and religionists studied and debated NDE from their opposite stand points. I could recall hearing about DMT on that show (they also talked about LSD, Ketamine, Shrooms, etc.), and why NDE (from the scientists stand point) could simply be an altered mind state in response to dying, similar to the altered mind state induced by powerful psychedelic drugs.
The tunnel of light, seeing God, dead relatives, or maybe even a dark tunnel from which emanates shrieks and screams ... many of these "afterlife trips" have been described by drug users who thought they died while they were heavily under the influence of LSD.
So what of the afterlife? What of the near death experience? Is it real? or is it about as real as the funny little blue elves that taunted and mesmerized Jimmy Hendrix or Jerry Garcia?
Well of all the psychedelic compounds, none are as naturally occurring as DMT. It is found in almost every plant, every animal, and even in the human brain. And it just so happens that just as adrenaline is released during flight-or-fight situations, or dopamine during sex ... DMT is released during deep sleep (hmmmm, my dreams always did seem sort of "trippy") and in heavy amounts right around the time the body throws in the towel and says, "I quit!"
Tribal shamanic priests regularly navigate the "spirit world" while under the influence of enthogens (pscilocybin cubensis ("magic" mushrooms), ayuhusca (active compound - 5 MeO DMT), peyote cactus... to name a few). They claim to perform out of body feats, contact long deceased ancestors, and talk face to face with the gods.
No matter what religion you are, it is a bit curious that enthogenic substances would be "placed" here on Earth by whatever God or Gods in the plants that grow among us. And it is even more curious that these plants should serve as some sort of "gateway" or bridge for consciousness to the "spirit world". Just as the Earth gave birth to life of myriad forms, and nourishes daily all life here today, it has also provided some way for a conscious mind to get in touch with "higher spiritual planes" or "universal realms". Whatever the reason for the existence of DMT, it seems that this chemical is as integral a part of the human brain as any of the other 'chemical messengers' carried and exchanged by neural passage ways.
Fear, love, hope, anger ... modern brain research suggests that these are simply the presence or absence of certain chemicals in our brain. Retinal rods & cones, smell sensitive nerves, taste buds ... these are just the sensory organs which give us our perception. Neurons, chemical hormone messengers, electronic impulses exchanged between adjacent synapses ... this is consciousness in a nutshell.
Tinker with the chemicals, electrical wiring, brain machinery, and you get altered states of consciousness. Whose to say any one state of being, or consciousness, is any more real than the other? Perhaps the "spirit world" is all in the mind, just as the rest of life is. The mind creates your reality just as sure as it puts together the electronic impulses sent up from the optic nerve. Since the brain is your ultimate source of all there is to know and perceive, and DMT occurs naturally within the brain, then this psychedelic compound is just another facet of what we call "consciousness" or "being alive", and it just so happens that it is reserved for those moments of deep slumber (and full-on, big-time right before death). In the case of the afterlife, it's all in the mind ... just like everything else.
Just as an interesting aside, the research subjects would almost always describe a terrifying "awakening" (as if, they return back from whence they came, remember Neo's red pill?) and are overtaken by a deeply disturbing realization that "this is how it always was and this is how its going to be ... forever". Time dilation effects are extreme! What is a few seconds for us may seem like hours, months, even years to them. They feel as if they've "passed on" to "eternity". They usually describe interaction with gentle beings who somehow know and understand their fear and confusion, and try to console and comfort the best they can. These beings are always described as super-intelligent, knowing all the secrets of the cosmos, and being able to read the mind of the person (this is no surprise, after all it was this person's own mind that created all this in the first place). Many subjects described intense geometric kaleidescope of fractals from which emerged billions of dancing creatures, rejoicing at the subjects' "return home". They'll describe somehow being able to distinguish each and every one of the billions of them. Also described is the overwhelming feeling of the torrential onslaught of information, reality being exposed piece by piece over what seems like aeons of collaboration with "God". Colors are sharp and vivid, sounds are out-of-this-world, and the senses of their "old life" no longer make any sense. Most of the beings in the trip will explain how "this is how its been all along, you were just asleep." Impossible 4 or even 5-D objects are not unusual, even commonplace.
There's a bunch of other weird stuff but this post is getting too long. The link at the bottom describes a few trip experiences. Some of the stuff was said to have to be experienced directly, just as with the Buddhist's moment of enlightenment (becoming one with the universe and "realizing reality" in a flash of inspiration), they can't possibly be described by human language. (Describe the color blue to a blind man ... you can't.)
Enjoy ; )