Is Getting High a Spiritual Process?
Can taking drugs become an aid to the spiritual path? What about plant-based substances like ayahuasca and marijuana? Are they fair game for the spiritual seeker?
In New York City, they say that seventy percent of the population drinks regularly, and another twenty percent binge drink. Though this is the state of the people who live in New York, everybody wants to go there.
Why an individual, or a society, or a nation seeks affluence is because, at the first stage, it means a choice of nourishment. At the second stage, affluence means a choice of lifestyle. In an affluent nation like the US, which has achieved an enormous choice of nourishment and lifestyle, seventy percent of the population is on prescription medication. Another thirty percent buys it off the backstreets, of course. America has a healthcare bill of over three trillion dollars for three hundred million people.
When there is such a choice of nourishment and lifestyle, health should be a natural outcome. If it is not happening that way, we need to look at this. Because this is not just about America; everybody will get there. America has become the aspiration, so everybody is rapidly working to get to that place and get sick!
For example in India, forty to fifty years ago, when people were looking to get their daughters married, they would say, “Oh, in that house they drink alcohol. We will not marry our girls into that family.” But today, if you do not serve drinks, nobody will come for your wedding! This is the change that has happened in fifty years all across the world.
A False Sense of Expansion
Essentially, we are reaching a place where to be healthful we need chemicals, to be peaceful we need chemicals, to be joyful we need chemicals, and to be ecstatic they have “Ecstasy!”
Do you believe you can heighten your life by lowering your faculties?
Why are people going towards using some kind of chemical to create an inner experience? Whether it is marijuana, ayahuasca, wine, whiskey, cocaine, LSD, or whatever, it breaks down resistance and makes you feel free for some time. Let us say somebody is doing meth; he is having such fantastic experiences that he cannot leave it. Because people are so constipated in their heads, it takes a chemical to loosen them up a little bit. What you need to understand is: it is coming at the cost of lowering your faculties. Do you believe you can heighten your life by lowering your faculties?
The chemical may give you a sense of expansion within yourself, but it is a false sense of expansion. If you are thinking in terms of, “Well, it gave me a possibility that I saw I can expand,” it may serve that purpose. But once you start doing it, you start lowering your faculties over a period of time. After some time only the drug will be left.
If something works, it should work every day. Do ayahuasca every day and see what happens. At that moment it might have broken down your limitations and your resistance, and you might have felt something, you may have accessed something. But will that make it happen for you all the time? No. Only if you pop a pill you feel like this; once it is not there, nothing. You will become a one-trick pony.
The problem is not just that a chemical damages the body and may kill you; the real problem is that it gives you a false sense of freedom—all it is giving you is compulsiveness, addiction.
If you just climbed a mountain peak and stood there, for one moment suddenly something fantastic may happen, but it will not last. Whether it is a mountain or medicine, it will not last. The question is not about how big your experience is; the question is the transformation it leaves. Please observe the people who have gone through such chemical use—are they really transformed? Does it enhance perception in such a way that you have access to all aspects of life? No. Generally, they only have a big experience to go on bragging about to everybody.
A Different Kind of Pleasantness
If there was no pleasantness in drug or drink, people would not have gone that way. But the pleasantness attached to it is such that in spite of the warning on the wrapper that “Cigarette smoking is injurious to health,” still people are smoking whatever the consequence may be.
If you become conscious of how the human system functions, naturally you will create the highest level of pleasantness for yourself. The question is only: have you explored this possibility?
This body is the most sophisticated and complex chemical factory on the planet. When somebody gives you such complex machinery, would you not manufacture what you want? Right now you are busy manufacturing unpleasantness because you do not know how to manage this human system. If you manage this well, you will produce that kind of pleasantness within you that you would not want to touch anything else. Because just being alive is such a fantastic thing. Unfortunately, we did not teach people any other way to know pleasantness, so they are taking to chemicals.
Forcefully trying to get people out of that pleasantness has not worked. You must offer them a pleasantness which is beyond that. Human consciousness is beyond all these things. The most empowered thing in the universe is consciousness. You are trying to believe that a leaf, a fruit, a chemical, or a drink could be better than that. If you could simply sit here and be absolutely blissed out, you would not smoke, drink or pop anything, because there is more chemistry within the system than you can get from any of these.
Saving the Future Generations
With this movement of trying to create an inner experience with external help—I think if we don’t do anything significant in the next fifteen to thirty years’ time, ninety percent of people will be on chemicals. If all of us go on chemicals to create experiences for ourselves, then the next generation that we produce will be less than us. This is a crime against humanity. The next generation should always be one step ahead of us.
Also, looking at the way the human mind is, if this chemical usage goes out of control, you should not be surprised at all if, in another sixty to seventy-five years’ time, a huge percentage of the population starts committing suicide.
Because a human being doesn’t need just pleasure; he needs a purpose.
One thing that happens to you with chemical usage is you have pleasure, but you lose a sense of purpose. When this happens, you will see the suicide rate in the world will increase enormously.
We should not let that happen. For this, the only solution is that we create a conscious human being. Raising human consciousness is most important.
|Sadhguru is a yogi, mystic, and visionary, and a prominent spiritual leader. An author, poet, and internationally renowned speaker, Sadhguru is the founder of Isha Foundation, a nonprofit organization dedicated to human wellbeing. (www.isha.sadhguru.org)
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