November 19, 2022
[00:00:41] Podcast Sponsors
[00:05:29] Guest Intro
[00:08:21] How Paul initially became interested in plant medicines
[00:10:56] What dose of mushrooms did Paul typically take
[00:11:58] Paul's thoughts on microdosing
[00:18:19] What's the difference between a spiritual experience versus a psychedelic experience
[00:21:06] Ben's experience with spiritual journeying
[00:23:43] Paul's use of fasting to enhance the spiritual journey and his recommendation to be careful with the origins of some forms of meditation and breathwork
[00:26:53] Podcast Sponsors
[00:30:16] Paul's revelations through writing his book the Psychedelic Christian
[00:34:23] If people have had breakthroughs with plant medicines, such has healing childhood trauma, what is the problem behind using them?
[00:39:42] Two considerations that Ben hadn't considered when using plant medicine to become closer to God
[00:47:06] Medicinal use for healing from trauma
[00:54:35] Ben's tendency to not encourage couples to journey unless they are already spiritually on a good path as a Christian
[00:57:05] Paul's thoughts on the intersection of psychedelics and religion
[01:07:36] The dark spiritual energy of plant medicine that Ben hasn't experienced with synthetic alternatives, and why ben recommends choosing synthetics
[01:11:16] Closing the Podcast
[01:11:53] Elements of Vitality
[01:15:31] End of Podcast
Ben: My name is Ben Greenfield. And, on this episode of the Ben Greenfield Life podcast.
Paul: I would see things in the spirit realm that were very transcendent, and that affected my heart, affected my soul, and that showed me things of the afterlife and showed me things, the essence and the reality of things that I was wrestling with in that moment.
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Well, folks, my guest on today's show is two-Peter. That's even a word? He's a two-parter, two-Peter. He's a repeat guest. His name is Paul Risse. He's a really interesting guy. He actually wrote a book a while back that I read not too long ago, but it was a few months. It was called “The Psychedelic Christian.” That's right, “The Psychedelic Christian.” And, we actually did this whole episode on the intersection of plant medicines and Christianity, on microdosing, on accessing spiritual realms, on DMT, and a lot more because Paul has a unique perspective as a guy who's done a lot of psycho nodding, so to speak, but then is also a Christian and has developed some unique perspectives on this whole intersection of plant medicine and Christianity over the years.
He also, if you listen to our previous episode, which I'll link to in the shownotes, if you got a BenGreenfieldLife.com/ChristianPsychedelic2, that's BenGreenfieldLife.com/ChristianPsychedelic2, has engaged in a whole bunch of other interesting things. So, not only has he taken a crap ton of psychedelics from DMT to salvia to 2CB and 2CI and LCD and mushrooms, but he's also built and written a book about tiny homes. He has a book called “Kinda Tiny Home: An Unorthodox Approach To Building And Owning Your Own Tiny Home.” If that's something that you happen to be interested in, that is in no way relevant to what we'll discuss on today's show, but interesting nonetheless.
He lives in Texas. He's a home builder and works with a company called Hayhurst Brothers. He's married to Brittany Risse. They have a 23-year-old daughter and he's in the philosophy and travel and life. And, when he has nothing else to do coming on this show — oh, and by the way, just so you guys know, he's got a fitness background. He was a personal trainer formerly for clients on ABC's Extreme Makeover show. He's a personal trainer, chef, and life coach for Average Joe on the Raw, which is a documentary on Food Matters TV. He himself 100% raw vegan for a couple of years while at the same time he's living off the grid with no electricity for a year. Not raw vegan anymore, he says he now eats intuitively. We talked a little bit about this on our last podcast, and he's also led a ton of cleanses as the CEO of something called Cleanse America.
I think I covered it all, didn't I, Paul?
Paul: Yes, that's perfect.
Ben: Alright. Well, there's obviously tons of things we could talk about with your extensive history and everything from tiny homes to gut cleanses. But, I obviously want to talk today about the whole plant medicine piece because it's something that as you know, I wrote an article series about a few months ago, I've been getting lots of questions about it and I didn't want this whole podcast just turn into me and my own voice and not listen to the perspectives of other people and the interesting ideas that they might bring to the table.
So, before we jump into some of the things that I want to ask you specifically related to your own perspective on this, can you just rehash for people who didn't get a chance to listen to our former podcast, your interest in and use of plant medicines, like how you kind of got, I don't know, how you say drugified or whatever in the first place?
Paul: Oh, yeah. So, raised in a Christian household and I never drank alcohol and never took any drugs until I was 18 and left my parents' house, went to college, and have amazing Christian parents. My mother's past, but gave me a fantastic upbringing. Rebelled against God around the age of 12 out of fear, kind of harden my heart. I started looking for hypocrisy in the church and in the Bible. And, if you don't have a relationship with Jesus, that's pretty easy to find.
Ben: It's pretty easy to find if you do or you don't have a relationship with Jesus. Hypocrisy. Well, not just the church, but in every sector of life. Seems human beings have a bent towards saying one thing and doing another, right?
Paul: Yes. And, that's even a reflection of me sometimes. So, in college, I took mushrooms and I smoke weed, and drank. And, I didn't ever really like drinking, but I found out that I like to smoke weed and I like to take mushrooms. It was really interesting and fun to me, but it was more recreational at the beginning. And, I'd say around the age of 21, I went through a marriage of about 3.5 years. And, it ended in divorce and it ended in a tremendous amount of pain and left me dealing with some very deep spiritual issues that I did not have a foundation for understanding or did I have the spiritual wisdom or maturity to know how to deal with any of it.
And so, I found that I started taking mushrooms and becoming more intentional in that journey. And so, yeah, I'd say over the course of a decade, close to a thousand times. I just kind of know how many times I did them over the course, like four or five years, five days a week. And so, just kind of doing the math. But yeah, so that's a very, very short version of there's all kinds of stories mixed into that decade with relationships.
Ben: Yeah, sure. And, we talked about some of those other stories in our other podcast for sure. I just want to give people a basic overview.
And, by the way, when you say you did mushrooms a thousand times, I'm assuming you're not talking microdosing with mushrooms, you're tripping out, journeying. How hefty of a dose are we talking?
Paul: I would say not very often where I was doing heroic doses, but definitely to the point of hallucinating. Sometimes whenever I'd go to work, I was a waiter at the time, also petty cabbing and Austin, Texas pulling people around on bikes and making jewelry, and so I took mushrooms a lot while I did all of those things. And sometimes, I would take other drugs to balance out the slippery part and make me sharper. But yeah, most of the time I'd say some of it was microdosing, but I wasn't super attracted to microdosing. And, back then, all this language didn't even exist. I don't think microdosing was even an expression. Whenever I engage these things back then, they were fringe, but I usually ate them with the intent to hallucinate.
What do you think about microdosing now because, I mean, this might just get us straight into a little bit more of a broad range of discussion on all of this? But, I wrote in the article series that I recently did on plant medicines that I think that there is perhaps a time and a place for some of these things that God planted on the planet. And, one of them could be to increase sensory perception and to take what is indeed a sub-perceptual dose of a substance to just be able to think a little bit more creatively or focus or something like that with no hallucinating or drooling out the mouth or doing ecstatic dance whatsoever. What are your thoughts on taking sub-perceptual doses of some of these plant medicine compounds?
Paul: Man, that's probably one of the deeper things I wrestle with. And, intellectually and biblically, I would say that to be biblically honest and to be intellectually honest, I don't see any reason in doing small amount of mushrooms to the point we're not hallucinating. And so, my issue is is that I'm feeling this tug in my spirit even in saying that because of the perception and the programming that is happening around mushrooms.
And so, if somebody were to take my words and be like, “Yeah, there's a guy who did them a bunch of times.” And, he said, “It's cool to do small amounts,” but then they do a small amount and they're opening themselves up because they're using me as an example. And then, all of a sudden, they listen to a podcast, it's like, “Well, if you're doing a small amount, you should try this.” And then, all of a sudden, they are psychonaut and opening up their spirit to realms they're not familiar with or prepared for, and it could be very detrimental to their spirit and their soul.
And so, that has been coming up in me. And, I think it's just the timing of reality right now, and just because this information is everywhere and it's so popular that it's almost hard to have an innocent relationship with this substance right now.
Ben: Yeah. So, it's kind of like the slippery slope fallacy. It's like, well, if you try a little bit, you might wind up trying a little bit more almost like a gateway drug argument.
Paul: Well, perhaps, but I would say less of a gateway drug and more of if someone has inclination towards spiritual growth outside of God and just personal development, if they achieve a small amount of growth through taking a microdose, the logical next step is to take a little bit more. And so, I would say that I believe God created the mushroom. I believe he created receptors in our body to process it. I believe that it can have value for people who have PTSD, anxiety, depression. We've seen the studies on that now, but what I don't have comfort is if there's a million people that do that, what percentage of that number then engages in them to a higher degree towards detrimental to them?
And so, that's kind of the wrestling match I have with it, honestly and I would say it's probably spiritually safer not to engage with them. But biblically, I think the guidelines are to your helmet of salvation to have that strong, to be sober-minded, and to be of a sound mind, and to not be a stumbling block. And, I don't think that microdosing falls into any of those categories as far as going against what the Bible teaches.
Ben: Yeah. Well, I mean to give you my take on it, I'm perfectly okay with microdosing with whatever, LSD or huachuma or psilocybin or even alcohol, for example, I say a microdose with because I have a small amount in the evenings with dinner nearly every night. Even though I know alcohol is a lot different because it's very difficult to drink too much alcohol and enter into some strange spiritual world where you wind up putting yourself at risk of getting possessed or exposed to dark entities or that type of thing. I think there is a region that the Bible differentiates between alcohol and pharmakia or many of these other drugs. I think that is the reason because these other drugs can be used for divination with the gods or experiencing other spiritual realms in a far more intense manner than one would be able to do by say drinking a whole bottle of wine.
But, that being said, I also acknowledge the fact that if I am taking small sub-perceptual doses of something that if taken in large amounts could allow any human being to cross into kind of like Chronicles of Narnia wardrobe, this spiritual realm that's maybe not just all sunshine and rainbows and unicorns, but in fact involve some dark entities and demons and the type of things that might result in schizophrenia and bipolar and really change a human being temporarily if not permanently. I'm very careful and much more careful now than I used to be with where these type of things are kept around the house. And, whether they're treated casually versus given a little bit more intention with their use and how high up on a shelf or in a refrigerator they are when it comes to their ability to be grabbed by a small child. And so, I think that you just have to proceed with a great deal more respect and caution than I think a lot of people do, and as you alluded to earlier, assure yourself and others around you that you have the self-control not to, on the weekend just because you happen to have 10 grams of mushrooms around that were supposed to last you for three months, take half or all of it and just see what happens. That's where the risks are.
And, speaking of taking, whatever, 10 grams of mushrooms, like you mentioned, you did this a lot for visions and you did this a lot for tripping and for revelations. But, how is that any different than, let's say, what someone might experience if they were in an ecstatic worship session at church or say in their home doing devotions and prayer and suddenly being, as they say, swept up in the Holy Spirit and starting to see visions and tingling in the fingertips and all these things that can be had in the absence of plant medicine? How do you differentiate the two?
What's the difference between a personal vision or revelation that someone attribute to the Holy Spirit versus a psychedelic experience?
Paul: Yeah, it's a great question. And, in the same line, what's the difference in a dream or if I go ride my bike 100 miles and I hallucinate through exertion at the end or sex, hallucinating or breathing. So, it's interesting how the mind works. But, specifically towards an experience with the Holy Spirit, I've had visions from God that I truly believe and have felt in my heart and have led to repentance and have led to me being on my face crying out to God and wanting to do nothing more than worship Jesus and read the Bible.
Ben: What's that look like? For people who haven't experienced that before, what really, really does it look like? Where are you and what happens and what do you see?
Paul: Well, I'll just refer to the book, but there was a three-month period, and I've experienced the Holy Spirit in a number of ways and the timeline for it is it's not up to me, it's up to God. And, if I never have another experience with the Holy Spirit, then I will be okay until the day I die. But, for these three months, there was a tangible essence.
So, imagine if you're blind and you feel the wind, but nobody sees it, that's kind of what it felt like, is like a spiritual, tangible presence of the Holy Spirit. And, there would be times as well, whenever I would just beyond my face crying and a vision very similar to taking psychedelics or more honestly like DMT, just a little bit clearer and more vivid would come from the Holy Spirit. And, I would see things in the spirit realm that were very transcendent and that affected my heart, affected my soul, and that showed me things of the afterlife and showed me things, the essence and the reality of things that I was wrestling with in that moment. And, sometimes there was a visionary state that's achieved from that. And then, sometimes it is a physical feeling in your body. And then, sometimes it's just in the mind's eye. And, I find that even in taking mushrooms, it could be similar like sometimes I would get a body high, and literally, I could walk a mile in a handstand or I could run faster than I've ever run in my life or be more connected to my body. So, I think that they can mirror that.
Ben: Stronger or weaker than tripping with the drug?
Paul: Clearer is how I would describe it. Less muddled, less fuzz, less —
Ben: I agree. I obviously am asking this question as somebody who has experience this same sensation myself. I think stronger and weaker probably aren't the right words. It's kind of like apples and oranges. It's like having a journey, but being fully lucid, fully in control, being able to remember everything, write everything down and come out the other side and not feel like you've exhausted your serotonin levels or something like that. And, it is, I wouldn't say, controllable because you're experiencing whatever God wants you to experience and seeing whatever God wants you to see, but it's certainly something that is more accessible on a regular basis, and like you mentioned results in a lot more clarity.
Now, that being said, and this is where I've caught some flack, and I don't know what you think about this, Paul, but there are certain things you can do to enhance the potential that your worship time or your devotion time or your spiritual time with God is going to result in something that might be a little bit more powerful or a little bit more, I'm hesitant to throw this around but plant medicine journeying-esque. Not that that's what we should be going for, but these are comparisons that we're attempting to draw to explain going to people who, let's say, maybe have tripped on mushrooms but haven't had an intense experience with God.
And, that would be things like breath work, burning of incense or other essential oils, really, really good music, a place that's more sacred than sometimes just, I don't know, laying in bed in the morning with your Bible open, and sometimes even an ecstatic situation in which you're surrounded by a whole bunch of other people and some really big instruments in a worship session in a church getting blasted by the music with your hands up in the air with 100 other voices singing along with you. There are certain things that I think enhance a spiritual experience that I don't think we can say are wrong because we rely upon them as a crutch to be able to experience God more deeply. That's just how God built us to respond to sound and light and air and smells and the presence of other people and electromagnetic signals. I actually don't think there's anything wrong with using whether it's ancient wisdom or modern science to enhance and deepen a spiritual experience.
What do you think about that?
Paul: For me personally, fasting is a tremendous way to enhance it.
Ben: Oh, yeah, you're right, I forgot about that.
Paul: Yeah, fasting to me has been the number one way. I hadn't fasted in a while, and a couple weeks ago, there was some pretty deep spiritual stuff I was wrestling with and praying through for some people I love and God just called me to fast, and just did nothing but liquids for three days. And, by day two, man, I just felt God was just carrying me on a cloud through the day and just speaking to my heart and showing me how to pray, showing me what to pray for, and just an extreme lightness of being in almost an emanating joy where I just wanted to just be crying but not from sadness just from presence.
Paul: And so, I find that fasting for me is a good way of doing that. Breathing. God says, “Be still and know that I'm God.” There's a certain way you can breathe that leads to a stillness in your mind. And, God breathed into us the breath of life. Now, if there's an exact science behind the rhythm of it or anything like that, that's up to each individual, I believe, and you have to be careful with the origins of breathing because some of them have origins that are not based spiritually in God. So, just be aware of that.
Ben: Wait, what do you mean by that?
Paul: Like tantric breathing, like transcendental meditation. There's different forms of meditation or breathing that have a spiritual root that is outside of God. And, if you were practicing those things, you have the ability to channel the spirit that is at the root of that belief system. And so, I think as long as you're aware that you're not doing that specifically and that you are trying to connect to God and to know how him intimately and to show your love for God by worshiping Him and connecting to Him, then yeah, that's fantastic.
Ben: Yeah. Because I was going to say that's the yoga argument. It's like, yeah, you could be a Christian and go do yoga and do it for the stretching and ignore all of the spiritual components that might actually fly in the face of something like Judeo-Christian belief that might be coming from more Eastern or Buddhist orientations and you'd still be able to benefit from the yoga and the stretching and the down dog pose or whatever because it's good for your hamstrings or your shoulder complex.
Similarly, I think you could do even something like, let's say, tantric breathing, inhale deeply and slowly then exhale out and empty your lungs. And, a lot of times you're doing that in an audible way. And, sometimes you're even doing it with your partner during sex to enhance the sexual experience. Well, I think there's nothing wrong with that, but I think once you start to acknowledge and try to tap into Shiva and Shakti energy and begin to call upon Shiva or acknowledge the god Shakti or things like that, then I think you run the risk. So, I don't think it's the breathing practice itself in terms of the mechanics of the breathing as much as the intention and the acknowledgment of what's going on during it.
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Alright, what's the problem with wine today? Wine is highly processed just like our food. I like wine just the same as you probably do. I drink a glass of wine almost every evening. But, here's the problem. Three giant wine companies sell over 50% of the wine in the U.S. Over 76 additives are currently legally approved for use in winemaking. We're talking dyes, thickeners, and GMO yeast. The top 20 wines sold in the U.S. contain very high levels of sugar and alcohol.
And so, basically, we're drinking poison a lot of times. That's why you wake up and have a headache and you feel blah. I can drink, I don't do it, but I can drink two or three glasses of the type of wine that I actually drink. It's organic and biodynamic. It's sugar-free. It's low alcohol. It's lab tested for purity. It's grown on small family farms. It's keto-approved. It's paleo-approved. It's got free shipping right to my door. It's called Dry Farm Wines. It's the best natural wine out there.
They've got access to 55,000 acres of organic vineyards. Alright. So, a lot of these come from Europe where there's healthy soil and dynamic biodiversity using natural wine farming. They work with 600 small family farmers sourcing from over 600 these small family growers all who make their wine by hand using things like regenerative farming, avoiding machinery. Dry Farm Wines even helps to teach them a lot of the tactics that make for better wine. They save a billion gallons of water with this wine because you don't have to pour a bunch of water on wine. That makes it sweet and juicy. And, we want our wine to be antioxidant, rich, and tannic. And, that's the way these Dry Farm Wines are.
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Paul: One of the points I wanted to touch on if we can go backwards just really quick on the similarities between the Holy Spirit experience and psychedelics is that in writing the book, so I wrote it when I was 45 years old and —
Ben: You mean “The Psychedelic Christian“?
Paul: Right, “The Psychedelic Christian,” and I literally had never shared with the public anything in the book and it had been years since I had a psychedelic experience in years since I had the experiences that I wrote about in the book from the Holy Spirit.
And, if I'm perfectly honest, my memory faded around what those visions meant in both realms and the meaning of the visions faded and the importance and relevance of the visions faded. And, through all of that, God showed me that his word, the Bible, is something that will never fade. And so, if God forbid I get dementia when I'm older and I don't remember a single vision I had from a mushroom trip or a experience with the Holy Spirit, God's word will never change and it will be there for me even if I have dementia.
And so, that is what I've had to learn and is one of the biggest mistakes I made as an early Christian was because I had such a profound experience with the Holy Spirit when I gave my life to Jesus and immediately started doing spiritual warfare and seeing the power of Jesus's name over the demonic and over the spirit realm and the hierarchy of spirit that I didn't read the Bible. And, I actually had trained myself to not like reading the Bible. And, God had to convict me over time because he had to show me how to read the Bible and that's through prayer and that you're asking the Holy Spirit to reveal the words and that they would come alive in my heart and affect my heart and soul in the way I think and the way I act and everything, planting seeds in my heart.
And so, it took me a couple of years of making some pretty bad mistakes and just during that time even saying the Holy Spirit told me this when it was really my own desire and I was manipulating what I believed to be true in order to fit with my desires. And, I believe that the Bible exists and the needs to hold hands with the relationship of the Holy Spirit because that Holy Spirit will never reveal something to you that isn't backed up by the Bible. Someone says, well, the Holy Spirit told me to leave my wife, it's like, “Aah.” It might feel like that.
Paul: But, let's get into the Bible and see if the Bible verifies that.
Ben: Right. There has to be some blending of absolute truth and what might be revealed to you via what you might perceive as a spiritual experience or a plant medicine Journey. Although, playing devil's advocate, when it comes to the clarity of something a journey, I think that that can be mitigated. I think many people do this by using things like digital voice recorders and going back and playing them and transcribing them and getting everything written down and just the way that some of these medicines trigger the 5-HTA receptors and some of the other mechanisms in the body dictate that there's impaired motor function and impaired memory and things like that during. I don't think that necessarily discounts the powerfulness or the meaning of something like a plant medicine journey.
I don't think that the presence or absence of clarity or the ability to be able to remember, make something right or wrong necessarily because those are issues that can be skirted. I think the deeper issue, at least for me, is venturing into some dangerous spiritual realms in which your soul is at risk combined with the fact that it appears from the Bible at least from everything that I've studied of late that were actually warned pretty heavily against divining with the gods using drugs, which is basically the reason that lots and lots of people are using plant medicines now.
Paul: Yeah, that's good. Yeah, I hadn't considered using the technology you're describing. And, back then, I think I may have just journaled some of it and kept the notes, but that's a good point.
Ben: Yeah, yeah.
Now, in terms of the difference between a personal vision or revelation being a different from a psychedelic experience, I think the main thing we've established here is that having a deeply spiritual experience is not necessarily wrong. It's not considered to be drunk or being in an irresponsible state to use things like breathwork, fasting, worship, music, smells, and things of the like to enter into a deeply spiritual experience and to be able to divine with God so to speak in that state. And, the difference is that one is achieved via popping pills and drugs or injections or whatnot and the other is achieved being on one's knees in the living room or in the bedroom in the basement or in the backyard in prayer.
And, I think that the means or the avenue via which one reaches that spiritual experience is the main differentiating characteristic because the method of using drugs to reach that experience is rife with all sorts of other issues both physical but more concerningly spiritual when it comes to exposure to entities that creep in when you're venturing into those realms with your neurotransmitters ripped wide open in the type of state that they're in.
And so, that leads me to the next thing I want to ask you. People have these breakthroughs when they take psychedelics. And, in many cases, they're good, they are able to tackle childhood trauma or leave old beliefs about themselves behind or fix relationships because all of a sudden they're thinking in a new way after having taken psychedelics or entheogens and had a breakthrough. In other words, the fruits are good, the fruits are good. If the fruits are good, then what would you say is the problem?
Paul: That's a good question. And, as a reflection of my own journey, there's two types of fruit. One is the fruit from the world and the other one is fruit from God. And, from a personal growth path to enlightenment to world view where you're transcending insecurities, fears, and moving up on the awareness ladder. Yeah.
I'll give a very real example and that's after my divorce whenever I said everything was my ex-wife's fault and had a lot of anger, a lot of pain, a lot of everything, and I took mushrooms one time. And, in that experience, the mushrooms just showed me what I had inside my heart, what I had in my mind, what my habits were, what my manipulation was, how I was wrong. And, it broke me whenever I realized that I couldn't blame her for everything. And, that's a powerful thing, most people will live their entire lives holding on to a narrative that is not very healthy for them or their growth or healing or anything.
And so, I would say that that was a good experience for me to see that in myself. But, the bad part about it was that all of a sudden, I felt a hidden pride that I was more aware than people around me that I had experienced something that nobody else really does. And so, I had this internal pride start to creep in because I started to become more advanced than other people.
And so, if the end result of you overcoming fear and insecurity is that you are in control of your life and you have no need for God and no reliance on God, then the enemy is perfectly content with you trading fear and insecurity for pride. The enemy would love it if you just thought you could do everything on your own and be in charge. And, if it can give you a breakthrough — and so, that to me is the fruit of the world would seem like it's saying, yes, having an experience that is good but the fruit from God, God is saying, “Come to me with all your fears, your insecurities, your doubts, trust in me.” And so, that is, I believe, the difference between those.
Ben: Okay. So, I guess what I'm getting at here is that you'll often hear people say, well, everything worked out in the end and I said this for years, Paul, that the fruits are good and my wife and I were actually developing a much, much better relationship through our use of journeying combined with relationship, drug use, meaning MDMA and other compounds while undergoing therapy. And also, I experienced a lot of business breakthroughs and personal breakthroughs and what I would consider to be or describe as spiritual growth via my own use of plant medicines. And, this is something I write about in the article that even though I was convinced at the time because the fruits were good, everything was alright.
I guess I didn't take into consideration two things. And, this is what I'm getting at. One, I was playing with fire because every time that I would use those drugs, I was entering into a spiritual realm where, yeah, I got lucky and this didn't happen probably because I was a Christian and was protected by God. And, I think I had a higher power watching my back, but I could have at some point if I kept doing that type of thing on a quarterly or a couple times a year type of basis encountered some type of entity at some point in some type of realm that could have possessed me or negatively influenced me in some manner. That's the first problem.
And, the second problem is for every nine of me who have a great experience, there's going to be one person who has a really, really bad experience; either sexual abuse from some type of a shaman who wants to take advantage of them or encountering some type of entity maybe that I didn't encounter but that somebody else would or having a so-called bad trip and getting really messed up. I can't say that I have ever had the doubt at the back of my mind that if I told someone to pray in the morning and read their Bible and sing a song and burn some incense and do some breath work that there is a little bit of a potential that I could really eff them up. But, with plant medicine, there is, it's pretty strong potential for something like that. That's why I think the fruits are good, bro, type of argument breaks down.
Paul: Yeah. And, the people that have in a very real way whenever I was engaged in those realities as a part of communities of people and there are some pretty crazy things that happened. And, I saw friends that I truly love that I don't talk to anymore because they got taken over by very powerful spirits that taught them how to manipulate it. And, some of my friends end up going in insane asylums, some were just shattered and broken. And so, those are the stories that don't get told.
Paul: And, those are the stories that get swept under the rug. And then, the person with the biggest following who has the biggest breakthrough and they see through their story and then they change their entire lives and it's wonderful. I believe that can be part of that experience. And, even in the many times that I did it, I would say that from the world's perspective, most of them were good. I think there were two trips that I had where this person I was around I saw the vampiric nature of our relationship and it just scared me. I just wanted to get as far away from him as possible.
And then, the other time was whenever I gave my life to Christ and while I was doing all these psychedelics and living off grid and we do cleansing, not eating for 30 days at a time just on liquids and super calorie deficient, but a different period, but I was lucid dreaming as well and I could lucid dream nine out of ten times and pretty much on command, do whatever I wanted in my dreams, and as if it was reality.
And, I was taken over in my dreams by these three dark entities that were like black holes. And, they were taunting me because I thought I was powerful and they're like, “Hey, you think you're powerful, why don't you come play with us?” They're literally in my dreams. They're just taunting me and I was like, “Alright, I'm going to go and fly over here in my dreams.” So, I would fly, and then they would just be there. And, they were so dark and so evil feeling like what was coming off of them in my dreams that I literally couldn't sleep, and then I started to lose control of my thoughts for the first time in my life. And, I mean, I could take a party of eight and just remember their order while tripping and talk to them as if nothing. I could control my thoughts pretty well and how I acted but in that place.
And, that is the thing is at a certain point, I believe you continue the journey, you're going to interface with the spiritual nature to such a degree where you either have to give your life to Jesus or you go crazy. And, I've met a bunch of people who have done a bunch of psychedelics at an early age, and then they usually have that one experience, they're like, “Oop, I'm good. I kind of went crazy for a week and I'm good now and I don't ever need to do ayahuasca again.” And so, it's interesting. I think the longer you continue, I think it's an unsustainable reality you're subjecting yourself to.
Ben: Yeah. That kind of happened to me when I started to write about this stuff and talk about it. I had a lot of people who are angry about me attacking their precious grandmother ayahuasca or grandfather ibogaine or the psilocybin that they'd found so much relief through. And, I've had at least a dozen people reach out who said that and then came back to me in the past eight months were like, “Dude, I had no clue what you were talking about. I should have listened. Here's what happened. I had such, such a trail. I'm now in detox or I hurt this person or I got a divorce and I should have listened because it finally happened what you were warning me about. And now, I don't know how to get rid of this really strange dark feeling inside of me and these nightmares and waking up with heaviness on my chest.” And so, it is interesting because it's like they say, it's all fun and games until somebody puts out an eye. And, it's kind of what happens. And, you can go listen.
The New York Magazine launched its first-ever investigative series podcast called “Cover Story.” I'll link to it in the shownotes if you go to BenGreenfieldLife.com/ChristianPsychedelic2. And, in that podcast, they get into a lot of the dark side, not just damage to the Amazon via environmental ayahuasca tourism, but also sexual abuse by shamans, people developing schizophrenia and bipolar. All this stuff that gets swept under the rug when there are discussions, I don't know, with Joe Rogan and Michael Pollan or Aubrey Marcus and Aaron Rodgers. All these people you hear talking about a lot of this stuff these days, I just wish people would talk more about some of the stuff that's starting to happen with mass acceptance and use of psychedelics.
And then, probably to me, one of the more concerning issues regarding back to the fruits thing is that, yeah, maybe the fruits are good and they're amazing. And, let's say nothing bad ever happens, do you really want to give the impression to billions of people who can't afford this stuff or don't have access to mushrooms or whatever? I know some people say they can be grown in mass for cheap, but right now it's not the case. Do you really want to give people the impression that the only way, the only path to spiritual enlightenment is via this secret hidden knowledge and access to these special mind-tweaking chemicals that if you don't have them, you're never going to be on the same spiritual path as the people who do have access to them? Because in my opinion, that's a pretty crappy way to be able to spread love and light across the world is to have it tied to a drug experience, the love and light that I believe in and that I spread as a Christian is that it's free. Yeah, having a Bible helps even though God can reveal himself to you in other ways, but for the most part, it's free and you don't have to keep coming back to it over and over again and getting tripped out to take things to the next level.
Paul: That's so true.
Ben: What about medicinal use in the proper set and setting for some of this stuff? Let's say deep-seated trauma. Let's say like a Christian, they've been going to a pastor and they've been seeking God's help and they've been doing all the things. And, they may need some kind of an intense state shift and a disconnection from the frontal cortex, and a little bit of an altered state of consciousness to be able to tap into memories that they can't get at. So, they got to hammer into that section of the brain with ketamine or something like that with a doctor standing by or somebody who maybe hasn't really been able to connect to their partner for years and knows that if they were to take oxytocin and MDMA and sit with them in bed for six hours staring at them deep in the face and this long discussion they've always wanted to have that it could indeed help and they're not like going to the Peru and getting possessed by demons in the Amazon or something like that, but it's more of a medical set and setting with a specific use and intention. What are your thoughts on that?
And again, when I say specific use of intention, specifically not to divine with God or enter into a spiritual realm as much as to have a deeper connection with a partner or to tap into a part of the brain that they just can't tap into in a state that their neurotransmitters are currently in.
Paul: Yeah, I think to use God's creation medicinally and with wisdom and with prayer as a personal conviction, biblically I believe that you were supposed to pray about that and bring it before God. And, if you have that relationship, then God will convict you one way or the other. And, I do believe that any part of God's creation has medicinal value and can be used wisely. And, that would just be up to each couple or individual in that situation.
I'll give you a quick story. This goes to the core of it for me. So, I have a friend and his wife, at the age of 12, had cancer in her brain and they were able to drill into first goal and they were able to take some of the cancer out. And then, they did a chemo drip on the rest of it and it eliminated the cancer but it permanently affected her brain to where she experienced depression. And so, she was a woman of faith and she prayed for years. I mean, I prayed for her multiple times that God would take away the depression. And, I believe that sometimes depression is a spiritual state, and sometimes it is a chemical imbalance of the brain. And, I prayed that God would heal her brain. And, if it was spiritual, that God would have more power in Jesus' name, whatever spirit it is be gone.
And, they came to me and they said, “Paul, would you suggest that we do mushrooms because she's taken literally every super smart woman taking every kind of drug that the doctors have prescribed to her. And, some of them help for a week, week and a half, and all of a sudden, she's getting suicidal or getting hallucinating or almost bipolar tendencies.” And, it's like, “Well, is it better that we're giving that as a Christian?” We're okay if they go to the doctor and they have a synthetic form of a drug and it creates as a side effect of hallucination or suicidal thoughts, but we're not okay, can't have peace with subjecting ourselves to God's creation to see if it can heal in a much more natural way.
And, I look to the past and the future, and I think in the future as Christians, what we'll do is we'll say, yeah, there's this weird time where there's this programming where everything was illegal and the government made God's creation illegal. And perhaps, I was wise on some ways, and then perhaps in other ways, we're limiting the potential of healing in our world. And, I'm not saying that that drug should be used to go and have a full-on heroic journey, but I'm saying if there's medicinal value to it, why should we not consider it?
And so, I think that's really the heart of the issue for me is conviction before God and having wisdom and consulting people who have actually gone through the process and who understand it as well.
Ben: Yeah. I think my take on this is that in the right set and setting, if you're aware of some of these risks and they can be mitigated that there is a time and place because let's face it. If we were to say, while there's risk of this potentially causing harm, then you'd have to rule out penicillin and amoxicillin and things that can impact the biome which can have a direct effect, I mean the biome can have an effect on not just the gut but also the way that the mind goes in depression and anxiety and dreams and lucid visions. There's all sorts of slippery slopes.
I think that, for me, the big picture here is A, who's facilitating, and has that person been vetted and especially, are they some shaman who's in it for commercial interests or sexual interest or something like that? Or, is this a physician who's standing by who has a very clean protocol in mind to be able to help you out with something specifically that this drug is actually indicated for? And, that could include a relationship or a trauma or an end-of-life therapy or a cancer management type of issue. So, I think that's one thing is who's overseeing and in what set and setting.
I think that the other thing to think about is what you've done before that point because I think a lot of people who, let's say that someone has convinced you that in order to fix your relationship with your spouse, you need to take MDMA and sit with them for hours staring at them deep in the eye having a long discussion. Well, I guess my question for you would be firsthand, have you tried that without MDMA? Have you gone a bunch of long walks together and just sat and talked together and prayed together? And, this is the same thing with spiritual journeying. People who are like, “I think I just need to journey, bro. I think that's going to be the solution to this deep-seated trauma inside me.” I say, “Well, did you go out in the forest and fast for three days, some water, and a Bible, and take that time that you'd normally devote to your plant medicine journey and your dieta and your post-journey journaling and everything and just go off in a fully sober state and try that first?”
It's kind of like testosterone therapy with dudes who are just, “Yeah, I have poor libido and I'm not gaining muscle the way that I want to and my performance has decreased and I'm not doing so well sexually and I think I need to get on testosterone right away.” Well, I say, “Are you sleeping? Are you destressing? And, are you covering the bases like vitamin D and magnesium and boron and zinc and avoiding chronic cardio and lifting heavy stuff with your legs and paying attention to all this low-hanging fruit and this natural fruit first or you just go into the big guns first because you're either lazy or misinformed or want an easy way out?” So, I think that in addition to the set and setting and the person who's overseeing it, you also have to make sure that you've exhausted all the other options first.
And then, I think the last thing that should be acknowledged here is that let's say somebody has done all that and maybe a couple comes to me and they're like, “Ben, can you hook me up with the person who you used for MDMA therapy because we either have some relationship issues we want to sort or we're doing great, we just want to do this together to deepen our relationship?” Then, I would also heavily consider where that person is spiritually because I wouldn't actually send a couple who, and I realized this might sound it's stereotyping or being mean or kind of like that, “Oh, if you don't believe in Jesus, you're going to hell” type of argument, but if somebody is not in a good place spiritually and specifically, if somebody isn't a Christian and they're a friend of mine who comes to me wants to do that, I know that by me green lighting it and connecting with my source, then they're going to be going into a spiritual space where there's stuff that could happen that goes beyond what they might experience with their partner. And, they might not be able to handle that and they might not have protection in that space. And then, I think that, again, it's playing with fire but in a little bit more serious way when you're entering into that space without that type of protection, without the protection of God on board.
And so, I realized that for someone who's not a Christian, that just sounds silly. But, if you were going to come to me and ask me about my source for drugs or the right set and setting to do this and who I should connect you with, that would actually be one thing that I would say to you is, “Are you a Christian?” And, if the answer is no, I would say, “Well, we need to take care of some other things first. So, let's take care of that first.”
Paul: Yeah. That's interesting. I think we know when I first discovered you, it was actually interesting to me because you were pro in some ways that I didn't have freedom in. And, I saw you more of an experimenter with life in general. You didn't have a line or a category that you weren't willing to say, “Yeah, let's just try it and see what happens.” You're just getting feedback from the world and the substances in the world. And, it has been interesting to observe you start to get some parameters and some lines that you feel comfortable or not comfortable suggesting. And, I think that's wisdom.
Ben: Yeah, for sure. And obviously, a lot of things to think about. And, I would welcome people to jump into the discussion, too, over at BenGreenfieldLife.com/ChristianPsychedelic2 if you have your own take on a lot of this stuff.
I do have a couple other questions for you Paul if you have the time. And, the first thing that I'm curious about is regarding psychedelic communities turning into religions or being involved with religions. So, we're now seeing this stuff getting rolled out as a part of churches, and we're beginning to see it in itself beginning to function as a type of religion, we're even seeing the writings of a guy like Brian Muraresku and the book, “The Immortality Key,” indicating that this stuff has a role to play in the church and in Christianity. What are your thoughts on the intersection between psychedelics and religion in general?
Paul: Yeah, I think the psychedelic communities that I'm observing in America are turning into religions. And, whenever I engage with those substances before, I had some friends who did them with me or something and we would describe our experiences to each other. But, I don't think we ever use the word “ego death,” we never used the word “grandmother,” we never used “heroic dose,” maybe after discovering Terence McKenna back in the day, heroic dose, I believe he popularized that term.
But, I'm just seeing more and more now when people have these experiences that they actually have a language that allows them to categorize their experience. And, that is the beginnings of a religious system. And, to me, that is such an interesting observation to see in America because we're adopting these practices from some indigenous cultures that have specific language. And then, I've also, what I've been really, really curious about is there's a podcast called Blurry Creatures and they did one on what people see.
Ben: Oh, yeah. I just found that podcast Blurry Creatures. It's pretty cool.
Paul: Oh, that's awesome. I love it. But, what people see on DMT, and there is a repetition of the same types of beings and entities that are experienced with people who have no prior knowledge of those things. And, to me what that is doing is it's showing that there is a very clear spiritual route to subjecting yourselves to that specific if it's DMT or ayahuasca or whatever it is, there is a spirit behind it. And, because if it was just a random hallucination, you wouldn't have the same person or 100 people and nine of them describe a blue being coming to them and revealing things or a snake. It's like, no, they would just be talking about the most random things if it was pure hallucination.
And so, I believe there is a spirit that is behind these things and it's revealing itself through language. And, the more clear that it becomes, we're actually watching a new form of religion come into being in America. And, there is a spirit behind it that will be more clearly defined. And, we're actually literally watching it now. Everyone just nods their heads and shakes us. “I've been through the ego death. Yes, I transcended. Yes, my lineage needs healing. Yes, I am the observer.” There is duality. It's just this language just started to emerge and it's just so fascinating to me because in the Christian world, if you study theology, there's a specific language that starts to emerge around different doctrines. And, that's the exact same thing that's happening with psychedelics and people that are like, “Oh, it's all about freedom and lack of control and it has nothing to do with controlling religion, it's actually turning into a religion.” There's some irony there.
Ben: Yeah. I think, that the idea that entheogens were used in the early church doesn't necessarily mean that they were right. I mean, I think that's Paul wrote to the Corinthians warning against their use. So, I think he was actually referring to that amongst other things. I think that when we see a lot of this stuff as you were alluding to in the akashic record or in universal human consciousness and these same patterns and geometric shapes and entities emerge, I think that some of them are okay. I think that God created the universe mathematically and there are Fibonacci sequences and sacred geometrical sequences and things that were apparently based on some of my readings of the Bible in the Book of Enoch and other scriptures revealed to human beings by gods and by the Nephilim and By Angels, everything from metallurgy to plant medicines, to the secrets of music and sounds and frequencies and other things that humans discovered early on. I do think that a lot of that came to them spiritually.
I don't think that means that all of it is wrong and I also think that the fact that many people see the same shapes, the same structures, the same kaleidoscope geometry, type of figures in their heads is not just because that's the way that serotonin and dopamine and GABA, et cetera, are firing. And, those neurochemicals have specific signatures that people see in the same way universally. But, I think that we are designed, so to speak, to actually have a mathematical awareness of certain elements of our psyche that allow us to interact with this universe in the way that it's been designed in a very mathematical way. And, that's all the way down to our DNA, for example.
And so, yeah, that means that we have an eye for beauty, we have an eye for structure and certain things can be revealed to us via visions and dreams, et cetera, and some of that takes on the shape of certain geometries, et cetera. But then, when we start to see recurrences of the same entities and the same alien-like figures and a lot of the stuff that's talked about in that podcast that you mentioned called Blurry Creatures, I think that a lot of those are the type of entities that we're describing that when you're venturing into this psychedelic realm, you're putting yourself at risk of being influenced by.
And again, I would say that for me, I kind of sort of want to say, “Well, I'm okay, I'm a Christian, I can handle those things. I'm not going to be influenced by them or at least I know what to do when I encounter these creatures.” And, that's what I would have said up until a year and a half ago until I really familiarize myself with the fact that despite me wanting to journey and liking it and enjoying those plant medicine experiences and feeling as though I was safe in those realms, the Bible flat out says, as a Christian, that it's a sin for me to be divining with the gods using plant medicines. And so, I just can't anymore with right conscience do it.
Paul: Yeah. No, I completely agree with you. And, I think that is going to be the interesting part for me and this is something that I've had tension with. As an example, if you have somebody who goes let's say they're Vietnam veterans, they went to Vietnam, they experienced the horrific nature of it, they had killed people, they had to do things they never imagined, they saw things they never imagined. Let's say that they didn't know Christ before they went to Vietnam, and so they come home, they give their life to Jesus Christ, their lives are completely changed, their peace and joy, that person if they hear an explosion or if they hear a gunshot or if they hear a door open behind them, their relationship with Jesus Christ doesn't change their perception of that catalyst in their environment or that noise. They're going to still remember what it was like to be in Vietnam and react in a way that would be protective to them perhaps in a way that someone who hadn't been to Vietnam would not react to. And, I think the same thing can be applied to people who have engaged psychedelics who are now Christians is there is that awareness of those experiences and the insights don't leave you when you have Jesus, you just realize that you don't need them, they're almost partial truths and Jesus is the full truth.
And, that to me is interesting to observe especially if you were to go to a random church where you don't know anyone and you just observe the audience and there will be a guy there who you can tell just treats his wife like crap and doesn't love his kids and he is closed off to everyone and he's just not aware at all. And, there's a part of me that says, “Why doesn't the Holy Spirit just break that man? If he says he knows Jesus, why is the Holy Spirit not revealing himself to that man and showing him how to love his family and his kids?” Because I know if that guy went into the woods and took some mushrooms that he — wife loves me and I treat her like crap. My kids, all they do is want my attention. All I do is ignore them. Oh, my eating, I'm about to have a heart attack. My body is telling me these things. It's an interesting thing to have subjected yourself to those experiences before and then to bring that into the Christian faith and to almost pray and wonder like, “Holy Spirit, please do in these people and in me and in everybody what the world can do through as psychedelic.” And, I believe the Holy Spirit can and I believe that that is God's choice and His sovereignty and His timeline on how that happens. And, me wanting to subject the person to that for their personal growth is selfish and it's me pretending I know better than God. But, that is a tension that I have having lived those experiences and observing Christianity as a whole.
Do you have any thoughts like that that you ever have?
Ben: Yeah. I think I tend to agree with it. I think that your book, “The Psychedelic Christian,” it really outlines that whole journey and thought process really well. But yeah, I mean, I agree with it. I think that there is a certain use case, a certain set and setting, and a certain intention behind some of these compounds beyond microdosing in which they might be acceptable. I think that the idea of using them to divine with the gods or to enhance a religious or spiritual experiences flat out banned not in the book any longer. And then, when it comes to relationships, end-of-life therapy, trauma, et cetera, that there are some very serious things that need to be taken into account who is facilitating what's the set and setting and what is the spiritual status of the person or people engaging with these.
And then, the very last thing I'd threw in there is I think that there's a lot of unpredictability and a lot of, I guess, tradition behind the use of plants like ayahuasca or psilocybin or huachuma or whatnot. That kind of carry with them this dark spiritual energy that is a little bit unpredictable and unwieldy that I have never experienced with synthetic alternatives to those compounds.
And so, I think that the last criteria that I would throw in there would be even if you fit into all those categories well like it's the right set and setting and you've got the right facilitator and the intention is not to divine with gods or anything like that and you're in the right place spiritually that you should choose synthetics instead of plants. I just feel this is based on personal experience that you have a lot better control and there's a lot more predictability based around the synthetic compounds. I think that the fact that the Creator made human beings with the ability to be able to create, and we can create some safe and effective and clean alternatives to the unpredictable ones that we find out in the natural plant kingdom, dictates that those would be a lot smarter to use if you do have a legitimate medical use and need for some of these compounds.
Paul: Interesting. Yeah, I would disagree, but not enough for it to be an issue. I think just because mostly all I ever did was eat. I'll say 98% of the things I partook in were mushrooms. And, salvia is way more intense than the trip. Acid is a little more electric and sharper. TCBs, a rainbow and a symphony having a baby in reality in front of you. Yeah, it's an interesting exploration of thought for sure. Yeah, it's interesting that you may have subjected yourself to more synthetics than I did.
Ben: Yeah, yeah. There's a definite difference, a definite difference. And, I think that the fact that little g god and big G God divine with people via nature skirting that issue of some of the unpredictability of some of the plant compounds is a little bit safer way to go, again, if there's a safe and legitimate and right reason to use them in the first place. So, yeah.
So, it's so interesting to navigate a lot of this. And, I think, again, back to the big picture issue is frankly at the end of the day, I think a lot fewer people than are currently using these type of compounds should be using them or a lot fewer people need to be using these compounds based on the impression that I get of the people who are using them as a shortcut or as an excuse and they're not aware of some of the dangers.
And so, I think your book gives really good perspective to this as well. I realize that people have probably heard me do eight podcasts on this now, so I hope you're not sick of me talking about this stuff, I just think that occasionally revisiting this and having a nice discussion with another person who's well-versed with all this can be useful for bringing other topics to the table. And again, this is an ongoing discussion. So, if you want to join the discussion, you go to BenGreenfieldLife.com/ChristianPsychedelic2. It's BenGreenfieldLife.com/ChristianPsychedelic2. And, you can pop in with your own comments and questions and feedback, and more.
So, that all being said, Paul, I think we're getting a little bit short on time, but I'm super grateful that you were able to join me and chat about this a little bit more.
Paul: Yeah, enjoyed the conversation, Ben. I appreciate your stance right now and what you're offering to the world. And, I'll just pray that God will continue to bless your life. And, yeah, enjoy this conversation.
Ben: Thanks man. Thanks. God bless you, bro. And, let's keep in touch.
And folks, you can get the book, “The Christian Psychedelic,” I'll put a link to it in the shownotes at BenGreenfieldLife.com/ChristianPsychedelic2. And, until next time. I'm Ben Greenfield along with Paul Risse signing out from BenGreenfieldLife.com. Have an amazing week.
Alright, this is cool, but you want to pay attention because it's coming up right around the corner on Friday, December 2nd. You're going to get a chance to join me and some really powerful healing physicians down in Sarasota, Florida. This is a live event. It goes from 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. I'll be there, my friend, and a brilliant former podcast guest, The Doctor Strange of Medicine, Dr. John Lieurance is going to be there, HBOT USA, Dr. Jason and Melissa Sonners are going to be there with their Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy, Brian Richards of SaunaSpace, Harry Paul, one of John's friends who I recently met who's also an amazing healer for an event that's super unique. It's all based around the elements: earth, fire, air, and water, with a ton of treatments and technologies and modalities, and very unique biohacks that you're going to get exposed to during the entire event.
Basically, what I mean by that is when it comes to air, you're going to learn about hyperbaric oxygen, and ozone, and air filtration, everything you need to know to upgrade your air. When it comes to earth, pulsed electromagnetic field therapy, earthing, grounding, a host of other ways that you can use the power of the planet to enhance your health, your sleep, your recovery, your muscle gain, your fat loss, a lot more water. You'll learn about proper water filtration, how to upgrade your water, hydrogenated water, structured water, basically soup to nuts, everything you need to know about water and how to apply it in your home and your office and your life. And then, finally fire, is a fun one. Lots of cryotherapy, a little bit of ice too, breathwork, inner fire practices, a ton of stuff when it comes to introducing the element of fire into your life.
So, this event is super unique. John and I have been working on it behind the scenes and it has come together amazingly. There's even a VIP experience. If you sign up for the VIP experience, you could come two days early or stay a few days after the event, and basically, you will get all the medical protocols customized by Dr. John and his staff if you claim one of those 10 VIP spots. That'll include IV methylene blue, laser treatments, John's really unique bliss release, which is basically an endonasal adjustment, which is essentially a chiropractic adjustment through your nose for your entire skull, which if you've had TBI or concussion or allergies or things like that in the past, it totally reboots that entire system. There's going to also be ozone treatments, Myers' IV cocktails, exosome treatments, IV laser, access to a CVAC machine. And, John's entire facility is going to be at your beck and call if you got one of the VIP tickets.
And then, we're also probably going to have a little bit of a party later on in the evening after this event. The whole thing is going to be a pinch-me-I'm-dreaming full-on cutting-edge of biohacking experience. And, I'm just now letting the world know about it so spots are going to fill up pretty fast. Space is limited, but if you want to get in now, here's how. You go to BenGreenfieldLife.com/Elements-Event. That's BenGreenfieldLife.com/Elements-Event. It's in Sarasota, Florida. Again, it's all-day Friday, December 2nd. I would come in early and stay after. If you just want to try out all the crazy modalities there. I don't know how fast those VIP tickets are going to sell out, but either way, this thing is going to be absolutely amazing. I just can't wait, like I'm pinching myself, can't wait to be on the plane to head down there and do this. So, check it out, BenGreenfieldLife/Elements-Event. And, I'll see you there, I hope.
More than ever these days, people like you and me need a fresh entertaining, well-informed, and often outside-the-box approach to discovering the health, and happiness, and hope that we all crave. So, I hope I've been able to do that for you on this episode today. And, if you liked it or if you love what I'm up to, then please leave me a review on your preferred podcast listening channel wherever that might be and just find the Ben Greenfield Life episode. Say something nice. Thanks so much. It means a lot.
Plant medicine, psychedelics, Christianity, spirituality.
For the past year, I've been engrossed in how those topics fit together, if and how I want to incorporate those practices and concepts into my life, and what I want to share with you if you're also looking to sort through things yourself.
What has been particularly helpful in this process of thought and study is talking to (and reading books written by) other people who are also on this reflective journey. Paul Risse is one of those people. Paul first joined me on the podcast “The Christian Psychedelic: Should Christians Use Plant Medicines, Is Microdosing (Or Tripping) A Sin, Accessing Spiritual Realms, DMT & Much More With Paul Risse & Ben Greenfield.” Today, Paul is back.
A former personal trainer for clients on ABC's Extreme Makeover TV show in L.A., Paul was the Personal Trainer, Chef, and Life Coach for “Average Joe on the Raw” (documentary available on Food Matters TV). After eating 100% raw vegan for a couple of years, and living off-grid without electricity for a year, Paul says he now eats intuitively.
Paul is also the CEO of Cleanse America, where he has led 10,000 people through a cleansing process over two years, writing numerous eBooks, producing videos, and orchestrating each of these cleanses. He built his own house without experience going into the process, and he wrote a book about the journey called “Kinda Tiny Home, An Unorthodox Approach to Building and Owning Your Own Home.”
Perhaps most relevant to today's show, Paul took psychedelics around 1,000 times over a decade, including DMT, Salvia, 2CB, 2CI, and LSD, though 99% of what he engaged in was mushrooms. Paul recently released a book called “The Psychedelic Christian,” which is part art, free verse, poetry, Bible verses, spirit realm exploration, testimony, and Holy Spirit encounters.
Paul is currently a percentage owner with the Hayhurst Brothers, where he is involved in design, building, marketing, and sales. Hayhurst Brothers are designers and homebuilders based out of Bridgeport, TX, and have been featured on the DIY network and HGTV. Paul describes his wife, Brittany Risse as “a beautiful and brilliant woman,” and they have an “amazing” 23-year-old daughter named Kalee Risse. Paul loves Jesus, philosophy, meaningful conversations, travel, and life in general – and most importantly, he feels God calling him to share his testimony with the world.
During our discussion, you'll discover:
-How Paul initially became interested in plant medicines…8:28
- The Christian Psychedelic: Should Christians Use Plant Medicines, Is Microdosing (Or Tripping) A Sin, Accessing Spiritual Realms, DMT & Much More With Paul Risse & Ben Greenfield.
- Had a healthy Christian upbringing
- Started off using plant medicines recreationally
- Began taking mushrooms and becoming more intentional in a healing journey
-What dose of mushrooms did Paul typically take…10:56
- Microdosing wasn't really “a thing” when Paul started taking mushrooms
- Usually taken with the intention of hallucinating
-Paul’s thoughts on microdosing…11:57
- Podcasts on plant medicines:
- Concerns around unintentionally encouraging others to use plant medicine and the potential dangers
- Believes there can be great benefits in recovering from trauma, PTSD, anxiety, and depression
- Worries about overuse
-The difference between spiritual and psychedelic experiences…18:17
- The Psychedelic Christian by Paul Risse
- What Paul would see in the spirit realm and how they impacted him, physically and spiritually
- Spiritual experiences have been much clearer than psychedelic experiences
-Ben's experience with spiritual journeying…21:06
- Fully lucid, fully in control
- Ben’s use of breathwork, incense, essential oils, and music to enhance the experience
-Paul's use of fasting to enhance the spiritual journey and his recommendation to be careful with the origins of some forms of meditation and breathwork…24:48
- Tantric breathing and transcendental meditation have spiritual roots outside of God
- Breathe to connect with God
-Paul's revelations through writing his book The Psychedelic Christian…30:31
- How the words of God came alive in Paul’s heart and soul
-If people have breakthroughs with plant medicines, such as healing childhood trauma, what is the problem with using them?…35:50
- Paul experienced a hidden pride because he was becoming more advanced in his journey
- “The Enemy” is content with you trading your fear for pride
-Two considerations that Ben hadn’t considered when using plant medicine to become closer to God…39:42
- He was playing with fire every time he was using drugs to enter into a spiritual realm and could have encountered an evil entity
- For every 9 people with a good experience, 1 person could have a bad one
- There’s strong potential for something to go wrong
- This is where the “fruits are good” argument breaks down for Ben
- The Cover Story podcast gets into the dark side of the Ayahuasca industry…
-Medicinal use for healing from trauma…47:06
- Before using, bring your questions before God
- God’s creation should be used wisely
- Paul's story about a friend's wife who had cancer when she was twelve and who became depressive after chemo
- Who is facilitating/overseeing the journey
-Ben's tendency to not encourage couples to journey unless they are already spiritually on a good path as a Christian…55:02
- Playing with fire without the protection of God onboard
-Paul’s thoughts on the intersection of psychedelics and religion…57:45
- The Immortality Key by Brian Muraresku
- Blurry Creatures podcast
- A new form of religion is coming into being in America
-The dark spiritual energy of plant medicine that Ben hasn’t experienced with synthetic alternatives, and why Ben recommends choosing synthetics…1:07:40
- Paul's experience (or lack of) with synthetics
- The difference between plant medicines and synthetics
-And much more…
- Elements Of Vitality with Dr. John Lieurance, Ben Greenfield & Friends: December 2, 2022, 8:00 AM – 5:00 PM EST.
Dr. John Lieurance & Ben Greenfield offer a rare experience to explore the elements of Earth, Fire, Air, and Water with unique treatments, technologies, modalities, and biohacks to represent the healing powers of each element individually. Learn more here.
- Keep up on Ben's LIVE appearances by following bengreenfieldfitness.com/calendar!
Resources mentioned in this episode:
– Paul Risse:
- The Psychedelic Christian
- Kinda Tiny Home, An Unorthodox Approach to Building and Owning Your Own Home
- Cleanse America
- Hayhurst Brothers
- The Christian Psychedelic: Should Christians Use Plant Medicines, Is Microdosing (Or Tripping) A Sin, Accessing Spiritual Realms, DMT & Much More With Paul Risse & Ben Greenfield.
– Podcasts And Articles:
- The Big Problem With “Plant Medicines”: Part 2
- The Big Problem With “Plant Medicines”: Part 1
- How To Blast You (And Your Child’s!) Physical, Mental, & Spiritual Resilience Through The Roof With Breathwork.
– Other Resources:
- Essential Oil Wizardry
- The Immortality Key by Brian Muraresku
- The Cover Story Podcast
- Blurry Creatures Podcast
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Elements of Vitality Event: Join me in Sarasota, Florida, with Dr. John Lieurance on Friday, Dec 2nd from 8:00 am-5:00 pm for a rare experience exploring the elements of Earth, Fire, Air, and Water with unique treatments, technologies, modalities, and biohacks to represent the healing powers of each element individually. Claim your spot today at bengreenfieldlife.com/elements-event.