Drugs & Kundalini

“Our meditations are nothing but drugs — perfect drugs, without any chemicals in them. A man who can meditate will not be able to enjoy the drug, any drug. Because, his meditation gives him so much peace and the drug will disturb it.”
People explore drugs for the same reasons they explore Kundalini and other spiritual pursuits. And I use Kundalini as a stand in for all types of awakening experiences. So why do we take drugs? Why do we search for the spiritual path? Why do we believe drugs can be a shortcut to enlightenment? 

Simply put, to reach for something out of reach. Call it higher consciousness. Self-realization. Whatever. Some impulse keeps driving us to know more about what lies beyond the boundaries of our perceivable material world. Intuitively, we know we cannot accomplish this without stopping the mind. And that’s why we turn to drugs — because they stop the mind. They put the day on hold. Our frustrations, our disappointments, our shames, our guilts, our regrets stopped by a puff of smoke, by swallowing a tablet, by sniffing a line.

Turmeric & Death from JJ Semple on Vimeo.

Drugs provide us with a blank canvas. But what about our urges? They let our curiosity run wild. Most of the time we don’t know where our curiosity will lead us; we just go forward, confident there is something out there and we will find it. So what’s the difference between drugs and Kundalini? Do they somehow lead to the same place?

“Many people start their journey towards God, truth, samadhi, because they have had a certain glimpse somewhere. Maybe through drugs, maybe through sexual orgasm, maybe through music, or sometimes accidentally. Sometimes a person falls from a train, is hit on the head and he has a glimpse. I'm not saying make a method of that! But I know this has happened. A certain centre in the head is hit by accident and the person has a glimpse, an explosion of light. Never again will he be the same; now he will start searching for it. This is possible. The probable is no longer probable, it has become possible. Now he has some inkling, some contact. He cannot rest now.”

That’s a big picture description of my explorations. In the 60s and 70s when I was young, I experimented. I didn’t know Spiritual from Wonder Bread. I sat in church, listening to the minister drone on, eager for the sermons and the strictures and the admonishments to end. Yet, I dug the Bible on an allegorical level. I could identify with Jesus and the challenges in his life. But there was nothing to shake me or open me up. And I needed something — a means of turning my mind off, a platform for my curiosity, a way to harness my energies:
“We spend a lot of time learning the poses and practicing them. It gets so it doesn’t feel right unless we start the day with Yoga. At no time, however, do Margo and I discuss its spiritual aspects. The pure physicality preoccupies us. Years before the appearance of the Yoga mat, Margo sews together some padded quilting to cushion our bodies against the hardwood floors. We lie on our ‘mats,’ watching and learning from each other, until our movements are synchronized. Sometimes, Yoga practice leads to sex. It seems like a natural extension. Frequently, I am stoned during practice. To me, there is no separation. If I think about the spiritual aspect of my life, it is from the Timothy Leary point of view. According to him, the sacred mushrooms, Yoga, mescaline, pot, Buddhism and LSD share a spiritual connection. I accept the notion that certain drugs stimulate clarity; it happened to me. Once with the cat, once in the GWU Hospital, once on acid in the mountains of West Virginia, lying under a tree with Margo, Roper and friends. Looking up at leaves swaying in the breeze, the flora and fauna come alive. I find myself observing the cellular structure of nature. Or so it seems. I don’t realize until much later that I am not even scratching the surface. At the time, however, it’s all very meaningful. In my wayward fashion, I’m looking for empirical knowledge. And to be honest, drugs are an instrument…”
Deciphering the Golden Flower One Secret at a Time — JJ Semple
Drugs were the instrument; they opened me up. I was able to say to myself, there is something out there (or inside me). And I proceeded to explore. Not having an addictive personality, I accepted the insights my drug experiences and moved on. Not as in, “Wow, drugs are bad for me. Better find something else.” I didn’t approach it that way. I didn’t condemn drugs and step away from them. I got to a point in my practice where they became superfluous. It came about organically, in the natural order of things.

As I got deeper into Yoga and meditation, before long drugs faded away of their own accord. Here were activities, unlike religion, that actually gave something back, something I could feel in my body. It was a beginning, yet I knew this practice could take me farther than any religion. That's when I found out that "the something out there" was actually inside me and I could actuate it through meditation.

I had given up on orthodox religion; I had exhausted it. Why? I didn’t feel comfortable with the one-way, take-it-on-faith approach. I wanted to play an active role in my spiritual development. If there was something out there, I knew I could find it on my own. Orthodox religion doesn’t allow that. They want you to take everything on faith. They are the go-betweens. You on one side; God on the other. The Church in the middle.

That wasn’t me. And by the look of things nowadays it doesn’t suit a majority of people. People want to take responsibility for their own development — up to a point. Remember Jonestown. Keep it in the back of your mind. Every time someone offers you the Keys to the Kingdom think about Jonestown. And remember how you got into this work. Remember that it’s up to you — not some surrogate — to see it through.

All the time knowing there’s something out there, be skeptical, be suspicious. You will get to the point where drugs don’t matter. And that’s important because addiction is always a danger when you play with drugs. In spite of all the claims and counter claims about gateway drugs, if there’s such a thing as, or not, I know from personal experience that one tends to sample. What follows next is purely a function of psychological makeup. If you have an addictive personality, if shutting off the mind at all costs is of paramount importance, you go deeper into sampling. You get hooked. 

You don’t need drugs, in fact, once you get into meditation, you unleash the true energies in the body, and they are more powerful than any drug, including prescription medicines. All drugs, whether prescribed or surreptitiously consumed, are addictive. They are a crutch to fall back on, and, in the act of falling back, these chemical elements act on the natural processes of the brain, inhibiting the production of endorphins and other useful, beneficial neurotransmitters and hormones.
“The really religious person is one who has become aware of the futility of desiring, of the impossibility of having anything here in this world or thereafter in the other world. You can only possess yourself. You can only be the master of your own being. If you are not trying for that... It is hard work, there is no shortcut to it; notwithstanding what Timothy Leary says, there is no shortcut to it. Acid, drugs, are not going to help you there. That is very cheap, it is very cunning. It is a chemical deception. You want to get into the world of your innermost being without any effort. It is a dishonesty. Without earning it you want to possess it.”
I know there are people that meditate and still use drugs. I can’t imagine what this does because I can’t imagine it for myself. I also realize there are those who don’t accept meditation is more powerful. They don’t accept it because they haven’t experienced it. Meditation eliminated my interest in and use of drugs.



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  2. Mekah,

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