[Transcript] – Psychedelics, Finding God, Plant Medicine, Entheogens, Spiritual Awakening & Drugs Q&A With Ben Greenfield From Twitter Spaces.

Affiliate Disclosure


From podcast: https://bengreenfieldlife.com/podcast/twitterqa/

[00:00:00] Introduction

[00:01:09] Careers

[00:04:45] Podcast Sponsors

[00:07:32] About This Podcast

[00:09:43] Ben’s background with psychedelics

[00:17:49] If mushrooms are said to open your soul to something, can you say that mushrooms are demonic?

[00:23:15] What the Bible says about plant medicine

[00:35:34] What Ben thinks about the New Age model

[00:37:37] Are plant medicines and psychedelics evil?

[00:42:28] Podcast Sponsors

[00:46:29] cont. Are plant medicines and psychedelics evil?

[00:58:02] Why is it difficult to experience the mystical in our times?

[01:06:15] Experimenting too much with psychedelics and hoping to believe in God

[01:10:39] Drawing the line of treating an illness vs. potentially losing your soul

[01:19:00] Upcoming Events

[01:19:26] End of Podcast

Ben:  My name is Ben Greenfield. And, on this episode of the Ben Greenfield Life podcast.

I don't think that setting up a scenario in which we rely upon plant medicines as the only way to truly and fully experiencing God is a good idea. I think, it alienates a lot of people. And, especially for me as a Christian, it means that that free message of salvation like Jesus Christ as a deity, dying, being buried, and resurrected, and the simplicity of being able to have that as our out, have that as our salvation totally free without any means or requirement for anything else. All of a sudden, it almost flips a big middle finger at God because, “Hey, I guess we didn't need this salvation through Jesus Christ thing because we can come to know you through these plants, through these medicines.”

Faith, family, fitness, health, performance, nutrition, longevity, ancestral living, biohacking, and a whole lot more. Welcome to the show.

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Alright, so I used to think this stuff was like the Hawaiian form of smoking weed, kind of healthy, not that smoking weed is unhealthy. We're not even going to go there. Okay. So anyways, I used to go to the islands, I'd race the Ironman, I've been bow hunting down there and they drink this stuff at night that's super relaxing and that tastes great but it's also got these mood-boosting and cognitive enhancing and anxiety-relieving effects but without the drunkenness that you get from alcohol. So, it's like this calm but enhanced natural state of sobriety you get into when you use this compound. It's called Kava, K-A-V-A. It's like this nootropic drink for the islands in the South Pacific. They've been using it for thousands of years. If you get the good stuff, it's not bad for you, a lot of it is just laced with nasty compounds or it's hyper-concentrated. But, Kava, again, the good stuff, it's starting to become known as the sober psychedelic because it's got these gentle entheogenic or psychedelic effects, but it leaves your functionality totally unimpaired. It helps to induce the same creative and introspective thinking. People might be looking for microdosing of psychedelics. Improves your mental health, makes you more empathetic. What's not to love about Kava? But, most Kava products, they use these crazy contaminated toxic plant parts and nontraditional extraction processes that bastardize this stuff and make it not good for you either.

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So, today's episode is interesting. See, I got invited to be on a Twitter Spaces. It's like a Q&A. The topic of this one was psychedelics, finding God, plant medicines, entheogens, spiritual awakenings, drugs, just that whole shebang that has been a topic of late since I announced earlier this summer that I really thought plant medicines were a big problem. And then, after a lot of thinking and studying up on the topic, I decided to put up some big old warning signs against the use of mind-altering substances, especially considering their widespread abuse and potential for psychological harm. But, perhaps more concerning increased trend of people to put their faith for things like healing and trauma, and relationship work and self-discovery, and divination, and talking to God, and a spiritual awakening and anything of the like in drugs, instead of in God, which I think is dangerous if you got to go take mushrooms to be able to be spiritual or to find God. I didn't read that anywhere in the Bible. Personally, I realize not everybody listening to this podcast is a Christian, but it just seems kind of weird that if you're a special select person who's able to go out and in journey, bro, and find yourself, you're all of a sudden on a spiritual fast track that other people who might be less advantaged or might not have access to that stuff are just not going to be able to experience. And, I think there's obviously some psychological dangers as well, but I think the bigger issue is just where we're putting our faith.

And, I wrote a lot about this in the articles that I'll link to in the previous podcasts I'll link to. If you go to BenGreenfieldLife.com/TwitterPlants because it was on Twitter when we talked about plants, BenGreenfieldLife.com/TwitterPlants. You're going to learn a ton. We get into the New Age model, whether or not plant medicines and psychedelics are evil, why it's difficult to experience the mystical in our times. If mushrooms open your soul to something, could you say they're demonic? My own background of psychedelics, and a whole lot more. So, shownotes again are going to be at BenGreenfieldLife.com/TwitterPlants.

Male 1:  So, Ben, can you elaborate on what your beliefs are on psychedelics? Are they evil? And, how did you come to the conclusion where you are at the moment?

Ben:  Yeah, my background would be that I was a fricking pretty clean kid growing up like soup to nuts. I was homeschooled. I grew up in a pretty strict Protestant reformed Christian family. My idea of drugs is like taking an extra ibuprofen when you had a headache. And so, I knew a little bit about marijuana. I knew a little bit about alcohol, but really did not touch barely anything aside from some beer and wine until I was, gosh, 30, 31. I'm 40 now and began to as marijuana became increasingly legal, dabbled a little bit with the use of cannabis. And then, I had my first journey, I suppose you could say with ayahuasca and DMT, when I was 32. And, for the subsequent seven years, experimented with a wide variety of psychedelics, entheogens, and plant medicines from ayahuasca to DMT, to huachuma, to LSD and LSA, to psilocybin, to a whole bunch of random chemicals from Sigma-Aldrich and beyond that I would cycle not with and in my basement and experiment with to the incenses and oils used by the Levite priests to burn and apply those. Just basically use the wide variety of medicines for everything from personal development to relationship, not therapy, but I guess, relationship enhancement and sexual enhancement to dissolution of the ego, to simply journeying and calling upon God to see what his next steps or his voice was in my life, to enhancing prayer, meditation, worship, you name it.

So basically, that's my background in this stuff all the way up until about two months ago at which point I kind of swore off most of it or at least started to reinvent my thought patterns around all of it. But yeah, that's my background and it's always been incredibly transformative for me. I've never had any bad trips. I've never had any poor experience, it's always been light and love and purity, and some really, really fantastic personal and professional breakthroughs.

Male 1:  I messaged you earlier, we have similar facts; your race, a little bit Christian, but you didn't get most of it. And then, you venture into the New Age stuff. So, yeah, I've been through a similar experience. Eastern Way, can you share some background on yourself?

Eastern Way:  Yeah. So, I'd say I'm definitely the youngest of the group. I'm about to turn 20 in probably a week. I definitely don't have the background as Ben, but I do have a lot of experiences with psychedelics already; mostly cannabis and psychedelic mushrooms, and I have also experienced [00:13:20] _____ a few times. Yeah, so just I love like diving into the topics of what psychedelic can do for you and to your mind. And so, for the past maybe a year or year and a half, I've just been going down the rabbit hole and seeing the same people like Terence McKenna and Alan Watts of what they have to say about psychedelics. And, it's just really interesting, I've had plenty of transformative experiences with them. 

I have had a few bad trips as well and I have seen people with really bad trips. And, that kind of changed my viewpoint a little bit on it because I used to overweigh the benefit and underweigh the danger of them. After a few experiences and what I've seen, that kind of shifted a little bit for me. But, I guess we can get more into how you have shifted a little bit later. But, I guess that's just my quick background on the matter.

Male 1:  Alright. Thank you, man. That sounds very interesting for later because it's different from my experience as well. Arnold, can you share something about yourself?

Arnold:  So, I started smoking cannabis when I was 13, nearly 14. That's not mature. Part of the story was actually watching Bill Hicks, his “Revelations” stand-up show when I was 13. And, he talks about psychedelics and whatnot. And, that kind of got me intrigued in that whole world. Then, I was probably 18 when I got into MDMA and LSD. And then, from there, I tried ketamine and then various other drugs as well. When I turned about 30, I did an ayahuasca ceremony. And, that was incredibly transformative to me. I was in a really bad place at the time living in London, really depressed, and just not feeling good about life in general. And, that first ceremony, in particular, was really transformative for me incredibly. So, I've always been interested in Eastern spirituality. And, I've done some meditation sort of having traveled through Southeast Asia, Nepal, and whatnot. So, I've done a bit of meditation. But, when I came back from the ceremony, they kicked me off with a serious meditation practice and going on silent retreats and stuff like that.

I then did a couple of ceremonies over the following years in the UK, and then didn't attend any ceremonies for a while for various reasons. Probably since then since moving to Australia, like seven and a half years ago, I did attend a few ceremonies when I first moved over here. And then, probably over the last sort of year, 18 months, I've attended about six or seven. So, over the years, like 14 years, I've attended maybe 20 ceremonies, so not huge, but it's a significant amount still. It's probably in the last 18 months or so that attending the ceremonies has been particularly beneficial apart from the first time. Besides that, over the last six or seven months, I've been occasionally microdosing with psilocybin, which again, I find incredibly helpful for creativity and just shifting mood blockages. But again, that's very, very occasional use really. Oftentimes, that's just as a creative boost mainly.

So, yeah, that's my general background with it. I'm very interested in what you guys are saying about Ben's article and listen to his podcast episode and what's relevant about it. So, it's definitely be thinking about it a lot the last couple of days. I'm generally in favor of restricted or limited use of plant medicines. But, yeah, we can get into all of that. So, that's where I'm at.

Male 1:  Alright, cool. Well, I'll share something about my background on psychedelics. I grew up in a fairly atheistic agnostic family. I was baptized as a Catholic, but never had any of the things for the church in my life. So, that was a quick slippery slope I guess you could say into atheism. I became a hardcore atheist.

And, after that, I was finding something more meaningful in life, something that had to be something more. So, I had two friends from my high school that were into the LSD and LSA and magic mushrooms. So, they invited me to do some shrooms like a small microdose. And, I said, “Well, why not?” I joined them in, I was 22. So, I'm now 28. So, it was six years ago. And it made me realize there was something more than just the material world. I think that it opens, they say, the third eye. It open up your soul to something more, but I realized now I think it can be dangerous to open these kinds of portals with magic mushrooms. And, I did them I think five times with the magic mushrooms. And, the last time I puked, it was actually really disgusting. I'll still trip out on it after I puke them out. So, I think you could say that it was a bad trip because it makes you completely docile if you're tripping out. And, I just didn't like that feeling of not having control over your own conscious. It's like you're getting raped by demons from a spiritual realm. It's not a pleasant experience at all.

So, shortly after that, I had a relationship of two years but with my girlfriends and I broke up after I found out about Jesus Christ and the Bible and our 2,000 years of tradition and culture in the European Western Hemisphere that we had this culture. And, I believe now that is the true way of becoming a spiritual person instead of just these external pieces of spiritual reality is like a shortcut to spirituality, and that's why I don't like it anymore because it takes no efforts to become spiritual. That just sounds demonic to me.

So, what are your guys' thoughts on that?

Ben:  Yeah. I mean, something you said there, I think, is really important, and is maybe a really good way to contextualize this because it is possible to experience God through plant medicines in a very, very profound and what is often interpreted as meaningful way. Meaning that I don't think anyone would deny that, for example, an atheist on a heroic dose of psilocybin, gosh, sometimes even synthetic like ketamine, for example, or LSD, or huachuma, or ayahuasca might emerge from that experience with a complete inability to deny the existence of God. And, often that person who might have been atheist or not religious or not spiritual winds up being transformed in a pretty remarkable way. And so, I think that's one of the uphill battles we fight in terms of the emerging popularity, and often the misuse and abuse of plant medicines and entheogens is this idea that, gosh, there's just so many good things that have happened to people. And, yeah, there are bad trips and elements of psychosis, et cetera, and schizophrenia, and violence that we could perhaps get into later, even sexual abuse. But, for the most part, the tricky part is saying, “Gosh, if that's what happens in a good scenario, in the proper set and setting with the use of plant medicine, gosh, that's amazing.”

And, I think that's the first issue that is actually a little bit scary or at least disadvantageous is this idea that one can pop pills, or get an intramuscular injection, or sip or brew, and experience God in really, really arguably even more transformative and impactful and meaningful and throw away the one might experience when say fully sober on their knees in prayer or in a church worshipping, or sitting cross-legged meditating, or even through something like breathwork. And, when you have an experience that's that meaningful, it can become relied upon as a crutch for the spiritual experience and begin to be viewed as the only path to enlightenment. And, that's the issue is that when you look at conversations between Aldous Huxley and Timothy Leary, it's this idea that, gosh, these things are only available to a select few for enhancing their spiritual experience and for becoming closer to God or experiences in God's love and light. And, we should figure out a way to make these accessible and available to the entire population so that they too can come to know God in the same way that we have.

And, the problem is that you then set up a scenario, in my opinion, that dictates that the only real way to experience God is through drugs, is through plant medicines. And, like all the billions and billions of people who might not ever be able to afford it or have the proper container for it, they're just kind of screwed, they're never going to be able to be on the same path to spiritual enlightenment. And, I don't think that setting up a scenario in which we rely upon plant medicines as the only way to truly and fully experiencing God is a good idea. I think it alienates a lot of people. And, especially for me as a Christian, it means that that free message of salvation like Jesus Christ as a deity, dying, being buried and resurrected, and the simplicity of being able to have that as our out, have that as our salvation totally free without any means or requirement for anything else. All of a sudden, it almost flips a big middle finger at God because, “Hey, I guess we didn't need this salvation through Jesus Christ thing because we can come to know you through these plants, through these medicines.”

And so, I think that's the problem is that rather than experiencing the suffering, and the pain, and the hard work, and the chopping wood, and carrying water in the blood, sweat and tears of the spiritual disciplines of fasting and prayer, and worship, and dietas, and meditation, and perseverance, and endurance in a sober and awake and alert state, we instead have this option take the easy route. And, life isn't just about the easy route and spirituality isn't just about experiencing God, it's about knowing God. And, knowing God includes putting into practice all of the laws of God, loving others, loving yourself, loving God, not stealing or lying or coveting or murdering, et cetera. And, when we instead say that we're just going to experience God and then the goodness of ourselves, the goodness of us as a human race is going to accomplish what God desires, well, we see what happens in socialism and communism and Nazi Germany and beyond when we assume that people are good and they're going to make the right decisions. And so, I think that that's one of the first issues.

So obviously, I won't go on as long as I could because I just published a whole article about this from the front page of my website right now and I also just published a podcast. I think the article is better because I go into more detail than I do in the podcast. And, I think you're better able to click on resources, and articles, and references, and books, and things like that to take a deeper dive. It's just at BenGreenfieldLife.com, somewhere you can find. It's probably still right on the front page.

But anyways, when a few months ago, I really decided to take a deeper dive, especially as a man of faith, as a Christian into what the Bible, which I would consider to be the absolute source of truth says about the matter of plant medicines. The Bible brings up this concept of pharmakia and specifically in the context of the Bible, that means using drugs to commune with God, big G God or little g god. Now, it'd be divination, astral projection, witchcraft, sorcery, attempting to become possessed by a spirit, attempts to possess someone else with a spirit, curses, hexes. And, that would even include white magic. A lot of what I just listed my phone in the category of black magic, but I would also include white magic, like divining with God to know where to hunt, or what God threw you in life might be, or the next decision God might want you to make or calling upon God when deep in plant medicines and saying, “God, what would you have for me to see? What would you have for me to bring back to the people?” That's all actually forbidden in the Bible. And so, then I sit back, I say, “Well, why the heck would God say that?” Because you could read whatever, the Book of Leviticus. It says, “Don't eat pork.” I mean, why would God say not to eat pork and shellfish? Well, if you look at that contextually, it's because those were dirty animals back in the day, they concentrate a lot of toxins in their fat tissue or in their other tissues. And, when you consume them, you're more likely to get sick. So, it was a good idea. And now, since then, things have changed a little bit and we have cleaner farming practices and cleaner water practices for harvesting shellfish and like, “I'm not a no pork, no shellfish guy.” I think there are certain elements of that old law that have since passed away.

But then, pharmakia appears in both the New Testament, the new law and the old law, the New Covenant and the Old Covenant. So, you can't just say, “Well, it was the old thing that was bound by God.” And so, when you look at scripture, and it says these things like, “Why does it say that?” Well, then, if you step back and you look at it, plant medicines in particular altered state of consciousness, entheogens, psychedelics, hallucinogens have all for the eons of time, for thousands of years of history, then the spirit world's preferred method of communing with humans. Occasionally, you see God talking to prophets in the Bible through wind and earthquake and fire or Moses with the burning bush or just speaking people through dreams and visions, et cetera. But, for the most part, especially from a pagan standpoint, the gods talk to people through plants. And, yeah, plants have two types of intelligence. There's plant intelligence that's like the mycorrhizal network that connects all the plants. And, that's how they communicate to each other and spread nutrients and bacteria. And, of course, plants also release neurotransmitters and neurochemicals such as when a giraffe is chewing on the leaf of a tree in the savanna, that leaf will produce a neurochemical that then travels to the other trees and causes the leaves to close with them to upregulate to productions of bitters and antioxidants that would cause the giraffe to become more nauseous upon consumption of that leaf.

And, plants are pretty cool. They have this whole intelligent network built into them. But then, there's a second plant intelligence, and that is the fact that spirits and gods of the world like to communicate to people through the use of plants. I think anybody who has studied shamanism or many elements of plant medicine are journeying themselves while there still are some people out there who believe it's just neurochemicals and neurotransmitters in our brain and a soup of serotonin flooding the synaptic cleft or dopaminergic transmission being upregulated or whatever. I think people have really had a meaningful journey, know in their hearts that's not the case and have seen an experience entities and spirits and visions that dictate that there is a spiritual world out there. It's very real. It surrounds us. And, one of the prime methods which it communicates with us is through plants.

And so, then stepping back and looking at that, I think, “Okay, well, why the heck would God kind of frown upon that? Why would I, as a Christian, be advised by God not to use plant medicines to divine with the gods?” Well, it's because, yeah, you could talk to big G God, but you're entering into a spiritual dimension in which you're susceptible to being influenced by a wide variety of demons and angels and spirits and entities. And, considering that, like your soul, your spirit is the one everlasting, eternal part of you that forms your entire consciousness and will go on to live for eternity, you're kind of playing with fire when it comes to putting your soul on the line, entering into that environment in which you could be possessed, in which you could be influenced by demons masquerading as angels of light, or even Lucifer who is technically the light bearer. A lot of the bright lights and the light entities that people see, I'm convinced, or even God and angels, they're actually Luciferian entities.

And, I think here's the biggest problem with it is that these entities are able to not only possess you, which occasionally happens like psychosis, schizophrenia, violence, sexual issues, like I've seen guys coming out of ayahuasca and cutting off their dicks, just all sorts of crazy stuff. Those are pretty few years' cases. Let's face it. We don't want to say, “Well, psychosis is a good reason not to use plant medicine because that could occur with a lot of different things.” However, the problem is that when you're entering into a spiritual dimension and being possessed by these entities. Typically, the takeaway message, and this is a confusing part for a lot of people is like, “Holy cow, love is all you need.” We are love. I am love. You are love. Sometimes I am God, you are God. We are good. We can change this world. We can do this people. Kumbaya. Let's gather around the campfire and change the world because you've been in our mushroom trip and all the world needs is love. All we need to do is love each other. We're good people, and we could change the world together. Let's do this. Well, that's the very, very, very best argument against Christianity, and what God knows to be right. And, that is the assumption that we don't need God. If we're good, we don't need God. And, if we don't need God, then the devil and demons and all these things that can operate through plant medicines have kind of won because humans are inherently good and all we need to do is love each other, which works out for a little while.

But again, when you look at it from a socialistic communistic standpoint, we have to have some element of absolute morality, we have to have some element of absolute truth, we have to know that let's say like killing a person is wrong. It's not like, “Don't kill people because people don't like that or because you don't like it,” it's like, “No, don't kill people because it's wrong.” Or, don't steal your next-door neighbor's lawn mower and take it for your own. Not because he would like you to not do that and you would like to not do that, but because it's actually legitimately wrong. And, the fact is that if there weren't those absolute moralities built into nature and built into law and built in our country's law, but into God's law, the world goes to hell in a handbasket pretty quick when we all of a sudden assume we don't need God, all we need is love, and we're all good people inside. And so, that's one of the problems with the seemingly noble and laudable end result of plant medicine is this technically can kind of create not only an apathetic society that's easily susceptible to influence from the government authority, et cetera, but also society that believes it's good and that we don't need God.

Long story short is, I think, when it comes to plant medicines, if we're using them, and we're using to divine with the gods, and we're using them to talk to God or little g god, big G God, whatever, I'm using them for divination, source craft, or sorcery, witchcraft, astral projection, anything of the like that would traditionally be considered the use of them in a pharmakia-like sense, I think we're playing with fire. Do I think that those specific plants or their synthetic variants exist for a reason? Absolutely. I would say that there are some use cases for couples therapy using MDMA where you're not journeying with an eye mask and music and divining with the gods or entering into a spiritual world, you're sitting facing your partner eyes wide open talking to each other.

Another example would be trauma therapy. Sometimes it does take some of these compounds to shift the brain into a state where it can relive generational trauma and where some of that can be processed. I think that there are use cases for that and use cases for addiction in a medically controlled set and setting. Not with some shaman down the Amazon who could technically possess you, own you, even cast the type of spell or curse upon you that would make you just keep coming on back for more to pay that shaman money, which honestly happens, money or sex. So, I'm not talking about trauma and addiction therapy in that sense, I'm talking about medical such as in a medically-controlled set and setting in the ketamine clinic. I think there's use case for that. 

I think that there's use case for microdosing, creativity, productivity, focus. I don't really think that you enter anywhere near and through an altered state of consciousness of the level that you would subject yourself to spiritual entities if you're microdosing. So, I think that's okay. I think cannabis for pain or for sleep, that type of thing, I think there's an appropriate use case there as well. Sometimes you need to step back instead of saying all or nothing, black and white. Like, what's the thing we actually avoid? Well, my opinion I think we actually avoid is entheogenic, hallucinogenic, psychedelic substances that shift one into an altered state of consciousness, specifically for the purpose of finding yourself, dissolving your ego, divining with God, et cetera.

And then, the last thing, and then I'm going to shut up because I probably didn't cover everything but I covered a few things I wanted to touch on is this whole idea of end-of-life therapy, cancer therapy, near-death experience simulation, et cetera. And, I'm kind of on the fence about this one because this returns back to the life is meant to be both the pain and the pleasure, but the easy pill popping root and the suffering. And, I sometimes wonder if this whole end-of-life therapy thing is yet another attempt to be immortal, to not face the pain that comes with death. And, you got to wonder sometimes like, “Well, if you've experienced pain through death, will the bliss in the afterlife be all that better or the afterlife or whatever experiences we experienced on the other side be all the more meaningful because we didn't try to like make death easy by trying to simulate it over and over again so we never had to feel the pain.” And so, I sometimes wonder if some of this end-of-life therapy is potentially removing some of the benefits of what a true death experience for human is supposed to be like.

And, that's something I'm still just thinking about and rolling around in my head. I haven't really reached a conclusion to that. So, yeah, so long story short, is there some appropriate uses of these plant medicines both synthetic and natural? But, I think we're playing with fire, once we're laying flat on our back, slobbering with our tongue hanging out the core of our mouth, sometimes with a shaman standing over us, sometimes self-administered in a totally different spiritual dimension, totally open to entities, demons, angels, whatever it is that wants to talk to us, or possess us, or shift us or deceive us. And, even if everything goes perfectly right, if the end result is us coming out of that and saying, “Oh, hey, I'm a good person, all I got to do is love other people.” Well, I got news for you. Humans aren't inherently good. Love is not all the world needs. We actually need God and truth and absolute morality. And, if it's just about humans in our ability to be good. Again, history repeatedly shows that stuff goes south fast in a scenario like that.

So, I'll shut up now. Those are few of my thoughts, though.

Male 1: Alright. Thank you, man. I wrote down a lot of notes.

One thing that came up for me was what I seen in a lot of new-age people and even agnostic people. Even atheists, they say, “We are all one, dudes. I am you. You are me. And, we're this tree and we're the sky, we're gods. We're all just one.” What do you think about that?

Ben:  Well, yeah, it kind of returns to what I talked about earlier. And again, I don't want to hog the conversation, I would welcome anybody to jump in who wants to. But, I guess my quick thought on that is it's a little bit of a pantheistic philosophy, like I'm god, you're god, God is in the plan. God isn't everything. It can lead to a little bit of what I suppose for a Christian especially would be considered to be idolatry like worshipping things other than God, including ourselves, and negating the absolute greatest gift that humankind was ever given. Whether you believe it or not, I think that there can definitely be made a historical argument for the existence of and the death and even the deity based on a lot of the miraculous things that occurred during His time of Jesus Christ. And, that's either true or it isn't. The whole story of Jesus Christ and his deity and his burial, et cetera.

But, let's say it is true just for a moment. Let's step back and say that it is true. And, if you believe that story and you turn your heart over to Jesus Christ that you'll live forever, and all your saying, all your guilt, all your suffering, all your shame to be laid before the cross, then we say, “But there's this one other thing that could also fix the world, plant medicines because we're all gods and all we need is love, bro.” Then, it does create a scenario, very tricky scenario, where all of a sudden really like Jesus isn't necessary. And, I think for a lot of religious people, particularly people of not just Abrahamic religions but specifically Judeo Christians religions, that can be a pretty big pill to swallow, an unpleasant pill to swallow.

Male 3:  Yeah, absolutely.

Eastern Way, what are your thoughts on that, on the oneness thing?

Eastern Way:  Is definitely a unique feeling that you can really only feel when you're on a plant medicine. And, Ben did talk for a while, there's a lot to digest. I don't think anyone can deny that plant medicines are dangerous. They're definitely very powerful. I do agree that they take you to realms that we don't really understand. Psychedelics just really show you that. They show you how little you understand about life. But, I think problems arise with the misuse and abuse of them because, in my opinion, if a psychedelic trip does its job, you don't really want to do it again. You don't really get addicted to psychedelics. 

Cannabis is a whole other thing. I think you can get addicted to cannabis. I have certainly been addicted to cannabis. I know friends who are addicted, but I kind of put that in a separate category. But, if we're just talking pure psychedelics like LSD or mushrooms or MDMA, I think if it does its job, you don't really want to do it again. They really just throw you against the walls of your mind and it's like a journey into your unconscious. So, if they do really do their job, you don't want to repeat. It's very rare that you get hooked on mushrooms or LSD. So, it's really just people being stupid with psychedelics, playing with fire. These are not a party drug. You don't do them at festivals or near negative energy because you're definitely open and susceptible to spirits as Ben said. But, I think if you do your research and you're smart with it, and you just kind of know — well, no one really knows what they're doing, but you just aren't misusing it. You have to respect the medicine. Because at the end of the day, it's a medicine. You don't get hooked on a medicine. Medicine is supposed to do its job and then you leave it alone. It doesn't become a diet.

So, that's my two cents on using psychedelics for specific purposes. In terms of the oneness thing, it's like a transformation of consciousness. So, when you're tripping on shrooms, you just feel one with everything. But, is that the truth? Are you really one with everything? Who knows? Psychedelics just show you what you don't know. It's just a whole another realm that we don't understand. So, it's definitely playing with fire. They are dangerous, but does that make them inherently evil? I wouldn't say so because I would say saying that they're evil overweighs the risks and underweighs the benefits.

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Real quick, I was going to say I don't think they're evil. Yeah, I don't think plant medicines are evil. I think they're tools via which evil can interact with us. I don't think a magic mushroom, whatever, is inherently evil. It's probably got actually pretty high like energetic frequencies if you're to map it on David Hawkins' “Map of Consciousness,” or something like that. I think these things resonate at pretty high frequencies, which would be peace and love and joy, et cetera. But, where the last speaker is that currently is where I was at probably a year ago where I'm like, “Okay. Well, yeah, these things are powerful and they're being abused and we got to put them in the right set and setting and stop people who don't know what they're doing from using them and stop the sexual abuse that's occurring that was recently in the Big New Yorker magazine podcast series expose.” I don't know if anybody saw that, but you can go download all these podcasts and I'm sure you guys have heard of a lot of the abuse that happens in the sector. And, that's just one example, of course.

And so, I used to think, “Well, let's just make sure it's all protected and in a medically appropriate set and setting.” But, that makes the assumption that, “Okay, as long as we control the container, everything's going to be okay.” And again, this gets kind of woo, but if you do believe in spiritual dimensions and entities, then believing you can somehow control them and have them at your beck and call, including God and be able to take these ancient entities, we're talking things like I read about in the Bible like Baal and Dagon and old school India; Krishna, Shiva. These are super powerful gods who have toyed with human beings since the dawn of time who existed before human beings. Do we really think that if we say, “Okay, well, if I take shrooms, whatever, in my basement with my friend who's a doctor versus down in the Amazon or at a party that I'm going to be okay.” And so, where I've changed my philosophies like, “Oh, wait, these things have the capability to put us into a very exposed state from a spiritual standpoint no matter where they're administered.” And, because of that, even in a properly controlled set and setting, a properly controlled container, I am still of the opinion that in that container you'd still want to play it safe and go with something that is not tainted with this dark energy or hasn't traditionally been used for things like witchcraft and sorcery, et cetera. And, when I say that, I'm talking about something like ketamine or MDMA, for example. And, I think that some of these synthetics carry with them a little less of these dark energies. But, yeah, I used to think, “I'll just keep it safe.” But, with some of these plant medicines that the little g gods have traditionally interact with people through, now I'm of the opinion that's why I recently wrote that new article, that's it's playing with fire especially when it comes to your eternal existence.

Arnold:  Would you mind if I jump in there, guys?

Male 1:  Go ahead.

Arnold:  Yeah. So, yeah, there's so many points to cover off there.

Look, I agree with particularly ayahuasca, which is where I've got more significant amount of experience with. You definitely are opening yourself up to spirits. There's no doubt in my mind that you are opening up to another dimension and entities which for me have always been incredibly welcoming and positive. So, there's definitely something there where you're opening yourself up very widely to a completely different dimension of being. And, whether that's in the Islamic concept of jinn and the disembodied spirits, and there's good and bad jinn. And, like I said, my experience has always been incredibly positive with this sometimes, occasionally, with this sort of entities that I've experienced. But, I do agree that you're definitely opening yourself up to something there. It's not just a brain chemistry experience, there's something far deeper going on.

Now, have I ever communed with God or anything while journeying? No, I don't think so. I've always actually been very disappointed because that's what I've been looking for in a way or part of it as well as the sort of personal development side of it and helping deal with depression and addiction and stuff, which has helped me incredibly. But, I would say it's a step away from big G God, for sure. It's more of a spirit realm. There's definitely a sense more recently when I've used the ayahuasca that you are communing with the spirit of ayahuasca itself as well, which is a very distinct one aside from the other spirit. So, if you've never experienced it, I'm sure it sounds really woo-woo, but it is definitely. There's no doubt in my mind after the journeys I've done that there's something going on there.

And, I think, like Ben said, the importance of the set and setting, none of this stuff is party drugs like I did it as a kid, LSD for example, and it'd be me and 50, 60 friends would go out into the woods and have a big fire and whatnot and just sort of spend hours and hours just laughing and talking shit. But, I think the real transformative stuff comes within the right set and setting, so you are as protected as you possibly can be. But, as you say, you are definitely incredibly vulnerable.

I think one of the things is that from a lot of people I've met, it can become a lifestyle where like the shaman bro article, which I've just retweeted that Ben put into his article really made me laugh because there's definitely people who do plant medicines and then that becomes their lifestyle and their whole reason for being that they're just experimenting constantly and constantly dosed up and microdosing, and they're living in that realm a lot of the time. And, there are people who do that certainly. And, the people who do that and then wonder why they're not changing as a person, it's because they're receiving all these messages and getting these insights about themselves, but just a few plainly refusing just to do the work. And, I just think that the medicine is magic. It's like a magic bullet. It's going to fix all my problems. I'll drink this stuff, I go on a journey, and then everything's going to be great. And, in my experience, that's just not the case. You have to do the work afterwards and it takes time to integrate.

I think one of the problems, I believe, is that there's a lack of leaving aside, you open yourself up to entities and stuff is that there's a lack of integration coaches or people aware that they need that it's more beneficial to when you go through an experience like this to actually have someone to coach you through the integration process afterwards because oftentimes in my experience, you do the plant medicines over a course of a weekend and then you go back home and you just left, go back to your normal life and you've seen all this stuff and it's brought all this personal shit up. And, you feel very aligned, it's like a factory reset, but then you're left to kind of go back to your normal life and kind of make sense of it yourself, which I think is problematic. And, I think that's probably what draws people back to doing the medicine repeatedly in close succession because of that. They haven't had time to integrate the insights and just move on and use the medicine in a very sort of more limited capacity.

And then, moving on quickly if you don't mind, just — yeah, because in terms of the dimension shift and stuff like this, like you say, you are opening yourself up. But, I mean, I would argue that things like alcohol is just as easily opening yourself in a different way. Because if you consider that the reality that we live in is back to spiritual warfare going on, then that transcends just the plant medicines and will appear and manifest itself in lots of different areas. So, you look at general degeneracy like pornography and alcohol abuse and general drug abuse, things like in Australia, there's a big problem with a drug called ice and all those other drugs as well. They are part of a bigger problem within society, which I would suggest is they're part of that sort of demonic attack as well.

Ben:  By the way, quick, quick thought on that. It is true like there's these trunks in the Bible where it says like, “Oh, these are the most evil of evil things.” And, yeah, murders in there and child sacrifice, but three that do appear are drunkenness, pharmakia, and porneia, pornography. But, it's interesting that the three aren't all lumped into the same category. They actually are differentiated. And, I think the reason for that is that although like alcohol and porn are two other things that have the potential to like kill your very soul, they're some of the more mortally damaging things that you can fall into. Anybody who's been addicted to those knows that. I still think that the reason that pharmakia is differentiated from alcohol and is differentiated from porn is that it actually of anything has the highest potential to cause you to be susceptible to dark energies and dark spirits and dark influences. And, I think that's why traditionally it versus alcohol or graphic imagery or breathwork or anything else has been used for possession, astral projection, witchcraft, sorcery, et cetera. So, I think there are some subtle nuances between pharmakia and then alcohol or porn.

Arnold:  Yeah, I can see that. But, I mean at the same time when you look at the impact the alcohol has on society and the damage it does in terms of people abusing it and causing fueling domestic violence and violence in general, you've only got to go to most city centers on a Friday or Saturday night to see the impact that alcohol has. And, they're sort of the direction that it sends people.

Ben:  Yeah, I agree. Alcohol is horrible. Or, again, I have a glass of wine every night. But yeah, alcohol abuse is horrible. The problem is, and here's what I think the reason we might be having this discussion anyways in the first place is there's not a whole lot of people bragging to their friends about how drunk they got on the weekend. Well, maybe in college, but there's not a whole lot of people bragging about their drinking habits and their addiction to alcohol. There's a whole lot of people talking about their plant medicine trips and their ayahuasca and discovering themselves in spiritual enlightenment. And so, I think the problem is that the plant medicine, especially compared to the alcohol, is considered noble and laudable and worthy and often safe with very little danger. And so, I think it has more potential for abuse and misuse because it's so lauded versus the vilification of alcohol in today's society. Having both have their downfalls, but I think the problem is plant medicines are the darling of society right now.

Arnold:  Yeah, yeah, I definitely take that point. I mean, it's definitely something that's become increasingly trendy over the years since I first did ayahuasca, attended the ceremony. So, yeah, you can definitely see that it seemed to be sort of the non-plus ultra in terms of spirituality and which I agree, I think, is wrong. I think it's a limited view on the potential that as you said, I think you said in your article that psychedelics are like a booby prize for the, what was it, the fall of the western Christendom. And, I think that's largely true. I think it's probably a reflection on society as a whole that people are looking for quick fixes and ways to be spiritual or to touch into spiritual realization, but without having to do the work to get there. The first time I did it, as I said, the ayahuasca was the one thing that got me deeply into meditation practice. And then, for maybe eight years after that up until we had kids, it changed. But, I was meditating for two hours a day.

Now, some of the biggest realizations and shifts I've had are actually through meditation alone with no substance, just sitting on a cushion in my living room meditating and doing that practice. So, I do believe that spiritual practice and the contemplative prayer or whatever form of meditation, you have to do the work outside the ceremony. And, I do agree that there's a limited use of plant medicines because I think they can help people shift from states or deal with past, former. But, to then keep going back and back and back just as a lifestyle thing, I don't see that as being incredibly beneficial, I think it's more moving from there to installing a more rigorous spiritual practice in your life. 

And, I think as a side comment, I would say that or as a separate thread, I'd say that the spiritual aspect of Christianity, let's say, got downplayed significantly. So, you've got people like Father Thomas Keating, and Thomas Merton, and what's his name, Thomas Meyn, and various others within the sort of mystic tradition, Richard Rohr who have started to promote the more spiritual aspects of the balance of the spiritual deeper aspects of Christianity. And, I think that's sorely lacking generally because when I've been to church within my local area, I've been to a few different churches, they're very functional places that people go in and go out, and the ritual aspects has been taken away.

Now, another trad Catholic church, and obviously still the Orthodox Church with its theosis, et cetera, and it's more mystical theology, and I just wonder if that's a — and, of which had Bishop Barron talks about this that the church led itself down by allowing the focus on rationality and trying to adapt itself to modern society when it wasn't setting the bar high enough for people to reach towards and have a deeper emphasis on the mystical and the communion with God directly outside of any substances, which I do believe is possible. And, as I say, the most transformative experiences I've had have actually been meditating.

Ben:  You're totally right. And, this leads into some I kind of wanted to say just because I can't stick around for too much longer, but I think you laid things out perfectly for just the last thing I want to bring to the table here. But, I want to address one quick thing here. And, you're correct, like post-reformational logical, rational, theological, liturgical religion, particularly in branches of Christianity, outside of Catholicism and Orthodoxy, have dictated that it's very difficult to experience a mystical knowing and experiencing of God, similar to what the desert fathers and mothers, many of whom you just named, would have experienced. And, there are certainly many of them who have detailed in their writings the visions and the prophecies and the deep experiences with God. And, these occurred in the absence of plant medicine, by the way, that it's largely absent from our current experience that I think that is because we've lost some of that sacramentalism. We've lost some of these spiritual disciplines that are a key part of Christianity; prayer, fasting, silent, solitude, meditation, chanting, humming, incense, all these things that are now considered to be a little bit woo. You don't walk in your average church where there's a PowerPoint projector and people playing electric guitars and have those people leaving and sitting on their butts on meditation cushions in the morning for 20 minutes, like burning incense and praying and experiencing God in a deeper way. I agree, church has been kind of bastardized in that sense.

And, I think that if we were return to a more holy, reverent, nearly mystical experience from a religious standpoint in Christianity, we would actually probably see a lot of people who would normally turn to plant medicine, turn to that instead because it doesn't carry with it a lot of the risks and the cons of plant medicine, which leads to the last thing I wanted to say because it's like, “What do I tell my kids because they've seen me grow tremendously via my use of plant medicines over the past decade?” Not only me, but me and my relationship to my wife. Well, here's what I would have to say to them, and here's what I would have to say to others. I've been there. I've been deep into journeying states and deep into plant medicines. And, yeah, it has changed me. It has been a path that drew me into a deeper understanding of the spiritual disciplines and a deeper yearning and thirst for God and knowledge of God. But, I was playing with fire like it isn't the only path.

As a matter of fact, there's a better path. And, that better path is these old spiritual disciplines that the Christian desert fathers and mothers use without drugs, prayer, and fasting, and meditation, and silence, and solitude, and scripture study, and singing, and all of these things that allow God to reveal himself to you without demons being on board, too. And so, I would say, “Yeah, flight medicines can be fantastic, but there's such a dark energy and there's so much room for deceit. And, there's such a better, better, better way that I wish, wish, wish, oh I wish I'd known about before I got into plant medicine what it really meant to truly experience the mystical experience of God in a fully sober state on your knees in prayer.” If I would have known that, I never, ever, ever would have gone into that realm, especially knowing what I know now and the dangers of it. But, I didn't know. However, I can't tell my kids, “Hey, look kids, you know what, my sons, my twin 14-year-old sons, all you need is just your faith and understanding that God will reveal himself to you and understanding that he's real, and you can taste and touch it and feel them and you don't need drugs to do so.”

And so, yeah, I guess I'll shut my yapper. And, if I do drop off, I'm sorry I have some other things going on today, but that's my thoughts and I guess the last important things I'd want to say.

Eastern Way:  Yeah, I did just want to jump in real quick. I wanted to backtrack a little bit to what Arnold said when he was talking about his ayahuasca trips. Now, I personally don't have any experiences with like DMT or ayahuasca or anything of that sort, although it is on the bucket list. Maybe in the future, who knows? But, one important point I think he noted was not taking the insights that you get from the medicine and applying it to daily life. I think that's definitely a problem most people face when they try and toy with the with the plant medicine. They'll get like a download of information. Maybe they're something like a toxic behavior that they're doing that they weren't aware of. It's brought to the light. But, they don't change it, they just say, “I was tripping, I'm just going to go back to how I was living. I don't want to change anything.”

And, for me personally, when I was on my heroic dose of mushrooms, the mushrooms told me just kind of stay sober, I guess. I didn't really have a problem with alcohol or weed or anything, but I didn't want to be in an altered state of consciousness after that like it was enough. They just told me to put your head down, focus on your work, focus on your writing and just keep building without the distraction. And so, that's what I did. I took the insight that it gave me and I brought it to my daily life. And, that's where I think the real benefits come.

Now, the problems lie when you take a drug like that. Let's say you do mushrooms, you see everything that you're doing wrong, you have a bad trip. You can't just write it off as a bad trip and you just say, “Okay, I'm not going to change anything, I just had a bad trip.” Like, “We'll move on. Maybe next time.” So, I think that's definitely important.

Now, in terms of what you guys are saying with the church and Christianity and mystical experiences, I don't really have a lot to say about that because I personally am not a Christian, so I'm not too informed on the Christian Church and all that. But, what I will say is that people are just looking for a way to communicate with God. And so, when they don't have anything to believe in, they turn towards other practices. Like an atheist will take mushrooms and he'll become a full-blown believer. And, I think that's pretty amazing personally. But, when people are just knocking faith, they'll look for anything. So, they'll look for anything to look for to follow. And so, I think without religion, society can get very dangerous as we see. But, that's my two cents on it. I just wanted to touch on grabbing the insights and applying them to daily life.

Male:  Yeah, thank you. I want to point out that you don't have to do something bad in order to receive something good, and that's experimenting too much your psychedelics and hoping you can believe in God. I mean, some people turned out to believe in Jesus Christ, but how many people are those? I mean, I think it's a tiny percentage that believes in Jesus Christ at the end of their psychedelic journey. So, I don't think it's necessary to experiment with such a dangerous drug, and especially the synthetic kinds like LSD and LSA.

Ben:  Yeah. And, by the way, speaking of atheism, yeah, there's atheists, like I mentioned earlier, who do take a heroic dose or who do have a plant medicine experience and wind up knowing God as you just astutely noted not knowing Jesus per se but knowing God. And, I guess where my mind goes is a question, would I rather have an atheist who doesn't believe in God? Or, would I rather have an atheist who believes in God, believes God is at his disposal, his beck and call, believes that he can be God, and believes that he is inherently good? And, I think that the latter person could actually go on and do a great more damage to the world than the former person because of some of the things I was talking about earlier. The potential for the complete disillusion of moral absolution as an atheist develops spiritual enlightenment, but instead of awakening a really good empathetic person, you can potentially awaken a Hitler.

And so, that's my concern, I guess, just an afterthought.

Arnold:  If I can just jump in there as well. As I'm listening to this, it's like yeah, the jinni is at the bottle now. It's possible to do various different ceremonies all over the place. So, I mean, this is out and as you said, it's part of becoming increasingly part of popular culture really. Certainly over the last 10, 14 years or so, I've definitely seen a big shift and hear about more celebrities talking about ayahuasca experience and stuff.

So, I guess the question leads on to then is like, well, what do you actually about that, Ben? Because if you tell people obviously evil, so the demonic spirits, if they've not done it, they don't really get that. You can't have almost have to do it to go, yeah, okay, I can see how I'm communing with another realm, a different sense of reality. And, as we said, I certainly believe that making integration coaching more available for people, which is something I've never had. You have to figure it all out yourself. And, I think if you've got someone who's going to help coach you through the integration process, I think that would certainly help a lot of people who've gone through that experience can then make sense of it and put action to the insights they've had about themselves and about their lives that they need to address because we're not going to stop people doing it now, it's going to have to be how do you create the conditions that people become aware of alternative options and also willing to do the hard yards. Like for me, from a meditation practice, it took me years of dedicated practice before I experienced anything.

Well, I had one very, very profound experience which lasted for two days which totally shifted my perspective and produced the belief in God which I didn't have before. And, that was just through meditation. But, to say to people, “Okay, don't do plant medicines, but I want you to meditate every day, twice a day for the next couple of years, and then you will be able to connect and have this transformative experience.” It's quite a hard sell. So, I don't know what the answer is. I think integration coaching is a big one to help people make sense of their experience. And, they don't feel like they need to keep going back. Do you know what I mean? Like the jinni is at the bottle. And then, just to say, well, if you believe in Christ or God and salvation, you'll be saved. But, people do have some incredible testimonies of their transformation both through grace. But, there's a lot of people who don't have that experience. They might be alcoholics or might be drug addicts or depressed, and they haven't had that transformative experience.

Ben:  Yeah, I get what you're saying. My seer is like, “Okay, so if these things are lumped into the categories of things that are scarring to the soul or you could potentially lose your salvation through them or turn your soul over to the devil for them,” I'm talking about porn and murder and the so-called pharmakia, then we're talking about something different than somebody who has celiac disease being told, “Dude, gluten is going to F you up.” And, that person can leave and go the rest of their life and not eat gluten and just kind of trust that, “Okay, well, they said gluten's going to F me up, so I'm not going to try it.” And then, maybe somebody tells them, “You know what, this pizza place is the best on the planet. You got to add this to your bucket list and do it before you die.” And, that person with celiac disease then goes and has the pizza, and they've got whatever explosive diarrhea the next day, and they're painting the back of the toilet seat. And, life kind of sucks for a few days and they're like, “Huh, okay, I went and experienced it, turns out that person was right. It's not so great.” And so, they learn, they move on. But, the thing is gluten isn't a battle for your soul and digestive distress isn't a battle for your soul.

And so, if one of my friends comes to me, me being a married Christian man and says, “Dude, sex at the Bunny Ranch down at Reno is amazing. You can pay three girls to bang you all at once. And, you get a 12-hour experience for 3,000. This is amazing, dude.” And, for me as a married man, I could be like, “Oh, well, I guess I'll just go kind of do it and figure out whether it's for me.” It's like, “No, that's where I draw the line.” That's like, “Oh, wait, I could lose my soul doing that. That's a mortal sin for me as a married man to go down and do that.” And then, we look at plant medicine, it's like, “Oh, this is amazing. It's the way of knowing God.” But then, I flip open to the Bible and it says, “This is how your soul gets dammed to hell.” For me as a Christian, I'm like, “Gee, I don't know. Even if it is that great, is it necessary? Is there another way? And, am I just basically out of curiosity's sake playing around with something eternal and the fate of my very soul could be in the balance?” And so, that's where I think there's some subtle nuances. Obviously, somebody's not a Christian, a lot of my words aren't even going to resonate, but for somebody who's a Christian, they might.

Arnold:  Yeah. I mean, that's the difference, isn't it? Because if you're talking to Christians, you're talking on the same playing field. But, obviously, a lot of people wouldn't even identify as Christian or I've got no interest in Christianity like we say because the various denominations of the church have completely sold out and are more interested in social justice or the environment or the latest fad thing that they want to jump on the back of just to try and appeal to more people, which seems to do the opposite and just pushes more people away. So, there's obviously a message there for Christians for them to contemplate, certainly. And then, I think there's a different thread there of how do you then take that message out to people who are —

Ben:  That is the tricky part. And, I guess for that, you can't say don't do it because the Bible says it's wrong because if you don't believe that the Bible is the absolute truth, that really just falls on deaf ears. But, what you can say is, “Okay, if you really are doing this, you really believe it works, then you do believe in the spiritual world.” Now, if you're one of those very few people, and there's very few of them, who believes it's just neurochemicals and neurotransmitters, and therefore if there is real existence of a very real spiritual world and some of it's good and some of it's evil, then I would say proceed with great caution because you're opening yourself up to both the good and the evil. And, if I were you, I wouldn't do it. And, that's all I can say is you're messing around with something that's possibly more powerful than you think. Please, please, please, please, please be careful. And, if you'd like, come find me and I'll tell you where you can get the same stuff without doing it. That's pretty much as far as I can go, right?

Arnold:  Yeah, it's like getting the message out there. And, I think as we touched on previously, I mentioned things like contemplative prayer and the everyday mysticism, taking that message out there that there's meditation, there is benefits to ritual. People like Jordan Peterson and Jonathan Peugeot, they do a great job in raising people's interest. I wasn't interested in the Bible then I heard Jordan Peterson maybe five years ago and then it opened up my mind because I was of the view, and a lot of people I know growing up were like, “Yeah, the Bible is stupid. Who gives a shit about the Bible? There's nothing in it. It's an old book. Who cares? Let's move on.” And then, people like Jonathan Peugeot and Peterson have completely opened my eyes up to reading it. So then, maybe there's something there about bringing the contemplative tradition and raising people's awareness that they don't even know that that's there and they think that they have to live in the monastery or become a monk for them to be able to live a life of meaning or communion with God. 

Ben:  Right, yeah. Yeah. And, for some people, I mean, that might even be just a secular like Joe Dispenza meditation retreat or something where they can be like, “Oh, wait, there's a way to an altered state of consciousness that doesn't require this, right?”

Arnold:  Yeah, exactly. And, I still think there's that room for people who are struggling with addiction or trauma and those kind of things like. As we said, it's going to be very carefully handled. I mean, all of this is a general commentary on society as a whole, really. I mean, we're talking about the kind of society that's producing all that mental illness and all those societal problems.

Ben:  Hey, I got to actually pop off. This has been such, such a thought-provoking discussion. I love to learn from folks like you guys and your experiences. So, I personally got to drop off. But, thank you guys so much for putting up with me, me hogging the mic for the last little bit.

Arnold:  Nah, cool, man. Thank you so much for joining us, Ben.

Male 1:  Thank you for joining, bro.

Ben:  Yeah, for sure. Thanks, you guys. Alright, God bless. Later.

So, there's two events coming up. You can go to both of them. I'm going to go to both of them. Obviously, I'm going to fly to Texas, then fly over to Lexington. The Texas event called RUNGA is October 13th through the 15th. The Wild Health one is October 22nd. Go to both. I am obviously.

You can also check BenGreenfieldLife.com/Calendar for all of the events that I'll be teaching at this year. So, I hope to see you there.

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



Earlier this summer, as you probably heard if you've been following me, I declared that plant medicines were a “big problem”…

…and that after a great deal of study, contemplation, and prayer, I decided to put up some big ol' warning signs against the use of mind-altering substances, especially considering their widespread abuse and potential for psychological harm, but perhaps of more concern, the increasing trend to put one's faith for healing, trauma, relationship work, self-discovery, divination, spiritual awakening, and anything of the like in drugs instead of in God. 

I also feel that it's my God-given responsibility to educate you on why I made this choice in the hope that you can make an informed decision for yourself. For (many) more details about this topic, you can read the two-part article series that I published in June and listen to my more recent podcast with Josh Trent:

Social media is another important pathway for me to offer thoughts and prompt discussion on this popular topic. My Instagram post announcing my decision in June earned more than 2,500 likes and a wide range of responses in the form of comments, which I appreciate because I put my views out there honestly, and I want you to also, even if your own views don't line up with what I'm saying.

I don't hold back on my Twitter feed either, which has more than 88,000 followers. Last year, Twitter launched Twitter Spaces, an online forum for live audio conversations. Spaces are another great way for me to have open and unfiltered discussions about different topics that are on my mind, and I often host podcasts there.

This latest Twitter Space audio—graciously hosted by @AncestralVril and joined by @CenterHps and @ReclaimMindgoes even deeper into how I got to where I am today with my stance on plant medicine, which, for all its nuance, really comes down to a single belief: you just don't need drugs to talk to God or hear His voice or seek His direction. This was a Q&A that was open to many voices, so you'll hear many opinions other than mine, and I think you'll find the wide range of views quite beneficial for better understanding this topic.

During our discussion, you'll discover:

-Ben’s background with psychedelics…07:32

  • Ben grew up clean, homeschooled, in a strict, Protestant reform Christian family
  • Drugs meant taking ibuprofen
  • Knew a little bit about marijuana and alcohol
  • Occasional beer and wine
  • Dabbled with cannabis at age 30 or 31
  • First experience with ayahuasca and DMT at age 32
  • For the next 7 years, he experimented with psychedelics, entheogens, and plant medicines
    • Ayahuasca
    • DMT
    • Huachuma
    • LSD/LSA
    • Psilocybin
    • Incense and oils used by the Levite priests
  • Ben experimented for personal development, relationship, and sexual enhancement; for dissolution of the ego, and journey and call upon God
  • The experiences were very transformative, but Ben never experienced “bad trips”
  • It's always been light and love and purity, and fantastic personal and professional breakthroughs.

-If mushrooms are said to open your soul to something, can you say that mushrooms are demonic?…17:44 

  • You can experience God through plant medicines in a profound and meaningful way
  • People who may be atheists or not spiritual who try psychedelics end up being transformed in a remarkable way
  • Due to their emerging popularity, there’s a misuse and abuse of plant medicines and entheogens
  • A plant medicine experience that is spiritually impactful and transformative can be relied upon as a crutch and can be viewed as the only path to enlightenment
  • Aldous Huxley and Timothy Leary
    • The idea that these experiences are available to a select few to enhance their spiritual experience
  • Need to make accessible and available to the entire population
  • The downside is when we rely on plant medicine as the only real way to experience God
  • People can then say that the free message of salvation through Jesus Christ is not needed; plant medicines can do that

-What the Bible says about plant medicine…23:20

-What Ben thinks about the New Age model…35:22

  • Pantheistic philosophy – I'm God, You're God, God is in the plan. God is in everything
  • This belief, for a Christian, leads to idolatry or worship of things other than God, including ourselves

-Are plant medicines and psychedelics evil?…37:30

  • Plant medicines are not evil; they are tools via which evil can interact with people
  • The Map of Consciousness Explained by David Hawkins
  • New York Magazine Cover Story: Power Trip
  • If you believe in the spiritual dimension and spiritual entities, believing that you can somehow control them is a big risk
  • Discusses three evils in the Bible:
    • Drunkenness
    • Pharmakia
    • Porneia
  • Pharmakia has the highest potential to cause susceptibility to dark energies, entities, and influences
  • People do not brag about how drunk they get as often as people brag about their plant medicine experience; both have their downfalls but plant medicine right now is like the darling of society

-Why is it difficult to experience the mystical in our times?…58:02 

  • Branches of Christianity outside of Catholicism and Orthodoxy have dictated that it is very difficult to experience mystical knowledge of God
  • In the past, men had writings, visions, and prophecies and developed deep experiences with God in the absence of plant medicine
  • We have lost key parts of Christianity like sacramentalism and spiritual disciplines like prayer, fasting, solitude, meditation, chanting, and humming
  • If religions could only go back to holy, reverent, and solemn practices, then people would experience God more and would not have to resort to plant medicines
  • Ben would say to his kids and wife that experiencing God through plant medicines is like playing with fire, and it is not the only path
  • There are other ways:
    • Prayer
    • Fasting
    • Meditation
    • Silence and solitude
    • Scripture study
    • Singing
  • Plant medicines can be fantastic, but there is such dark energy and so much room for deceit
  • Ben now wishes he had known what it meant to truly experience the mystical experience of God in a fully sober state, on his knees, in prayer, before resorting to plant medicine
  • What Ben would say to his kids: All you need is your faith and understanding that God will reveal himself to you, and you don't need drugs to do so

-Experimenting too much with psychedelics and hoping to believe in God…1:06:04

  • Many atheists have come to know God through plant medicine
  • Atheists who believe God is at their beck and call can do more damage to the world than an atheist who does not believe in God

-Drawing the line of treating an illness vs. potentially losing your soul…1:10:32

-And much more…

Upcoming Events:

  • Runga: October 13th-15th, 2022 (Austin, TX). This is the one event every year that I never miss. Join myself and my family to tap into your full potential over three days of fully immersive programming and therapies. Gourmet organic chef-prepared meals, live podcast recordings, and personalized health consulting make this a once-in-a-lifetime experience. There are only fifty spots available, so claim yours today here.
  • Wild Health Awake + Aware Principles: October 22nd, 2022 (Lexington, KY). Join me for a one-day intensive experience where I will guide you through a series of interactive lectures that explore purpose, meaning, and spiritual health. VIP guests will also join me on an immersive walk through nature and intimate dinner. Learn more here.
  • Keep up on Ben's LIVE appearances by following bengreenfieldfitness.com/calendar!

Resources mentioned in this episode:

– Podcasts:

– Other Resources:

Episode sponsors:

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