Psychic healing, shamanism and other spiritual practices part 2

 

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Point 4 : Electronic repetitive music and shamanism.

Younger, I spent a few years travelling all around Europe, mainly by hitch-hiking. I was visiting communities, ashrams, cities, doing mainly farm works. Hitch-hiking is interesting : you can travel for a moderate price, you save fuel and you meet sometimes very interesting persons. You just have to know the basic rules to defend yourself, but generally speaking it is quite safe (some organizations propose now to make contacts through internet between available cars and hitch-hikers. It is maybe safer and more convenient).

One day, I was in an underground electronic party in London suburbs. Hot, rhythmic, tribal. One of the girl was totally absorbed in her movements, with closed eyes, a very beautiful dancer. On her T.shirt was written : “The answer is on the dance floor”.

A few years later, one of my best techno party experience was in the early hours of a minimal techno party in a small forest near Firenze (Italy). The wild Indians tribe. Sun was rising, illuminating the green shades of the forest leaves. The most beautiful, original and atmospheric techno music that I had ever heard was flowing smoothly. Deep feeling of love and unity between the last dancers throwing their final drops of energy in a frenzy of jerky dance movements. A beautiful experience.

I personally never use strong psychedelic drugs (ecstasy, LSD, amphetamines, cocaine…) during electronic music parties. I think that the bass pulsations and other electronic repetitive effects are enough to create conditions for positive inner experiences. For example drum practices in shamanic traditions were not at all necessarily linked with the use of psychedelic substances, because psychedelic substances were maybe difficult to find in some areas or at some time. Therefore during certain healing or social rituals, shamans had to rely on drums only (or other means, like fasting, concentration exercises… what is called tapas in the yoga tradition), without the use of psychedelic substances.

So, even if the volume of the sounds during electronic parties is sometimes excessive, it is possible without any doubt (see for example the Sufi dervish who turn and turn until states of mystical extasis or enstasis happen) to reach spiritual states, trances, through drums, rhythmic sounds and dance without the use of psychedelic substances.

“Trances” can be divided into two main categories : extasis and enstasis. Enstasis are inner spiritual experiences that happen usually when the eyes are closed. Dhyana and samadhi experiences in yoga are typical examples of enstasis.

Extasis are a little more difficult to describe but always imply a notion of exteriority (at the opposite of the interiority of the enstasis). Out of Body experiences (OBE) are examples of extasis. Kundalini experiences can also be. Strong experiences obtained with psychedelic substances are mostly extasis (but can sometimes be enstasis experiences also, for example inner geometrical and colourful visualizations during psychedelic mushroom experiences).

Astral experiences are special types of experiences that begin with interiority (enstasis) but reach physical or subtle levels of exteriority (inner extasis). Example : while lying on a bed with closed eyes and a clear awareness, you can, with special techniques, mentally go out of the body and move with an “astral” body around the place where you stay. On special occasions these “astral” bodies can fly in other physical or spiritual dimensions, gather knowledge or realize spiritual actions (good or bad).

These kind of experiences are difficult to reach (and can even be dangerous according to the limitations of each individual). Nevertheless different techniques can be used. For example, while the eyes are closed, you can mentally visualize a tiny shining star in front of the closed eyes. When the image is stabilised, pray for this star to guide and protect in the best way possible your astral travel. Then concentrate on this star until it moves, follow it and see where you arrive.

Another interesting technique, maybe softer and simpler, is this one : close the eyes and begin to visualize in front of you a Buddha sitting on a beautiful and bright lotus. This can be whatever Buddha : the historical Buddha, a medicine Buddha or other spiritual Buddha. Try to visualize him with the greatest details and clarity, consciously and peacefully, relaxed. It may take a little time to reach this state of clarity and relaxation in the practice but once you get it, begin to practice devotion to the Buddha you visualize : give offerings, make pujas, ceremonies, rituals in order to please the Buddha and appease his mind. This will slowly purify your mind and strengthen your energetic body.

When you reach a fluent state in these visualizations and the devotion linked to them, when you feel sufficiently purified to begin the astral process, begin to retract from the visualization and identify yourself with a peaceful and clear state of mind, the kind of states that you would consider close to a Buddhist meditative state of mind.

After a few minutes being immersed into this peaceful state of mind, detached from external sensations or inner worries (state called pratyahara, withdrawal of the senses, in the yoga tradition), imagine yourself being surrounded by a powerful white circular aura. Feel this aura, strong and luminous. Then expand the aura to the size of the room where you stay, then the house, then the garden, the town, the region, the continent and finally the Earth itself (this aura being still in a circular form).

The practice should be highly visual : you should like identify yourself with the aura and see all these spaces and landscapes expand as if they were real, until your aura reaches the size of the Earth and that your consciousness is watching from a distance planet Earth, floating in the black subtle astral space where your consciousness now resides.

Remain in this state of visualization of planet Earth from a distance while you stay in this black, light, worry-less astral space. Identify yourself with this astral body. You should nevertheless remain highly conscious during the process (avoid torpor feelings or sensations) and be careful not to be physically disturbed in your meditation posture, whatever it may be, during the practice of this exercise, since the consciousness is completely shifted to another plane of consciousness (the astral one).

Take time to slowly build and strengthen these experiences, while always staying physically and mentally comfortable. Once you are satisfied by this concentration (dharana) on planet Earth and by your inner astral identification, you can then begin to expand your awareness to the surroundings of this astral world that you reached by practice.

From this point, after having prayed for the welfare of planet Earth, its ecosystems and humanity, you can begin to travel in the astral worlds.

 

Point  5 : Herbs and other psycho-active substances.

Many dry or fresh plants can have psycho-active or psychedelic effects (even green tea) and are used and studied since long time.

In Patanjali’s Yoga Sutra (IV,1) we find : “The accomplishments of the adept can be achieved by birth (janma), herbs (ausadhi), the recitation of revealed incantation (mantra) and penance (austerities, tapa)” (translation : Shyam Ranganathan).

I don’t think that this sentence means that we should use destructive drugs and substances to reach spiritual states, because the physical and mental health of the practitioner is important in yoga, but to recognize that herbs can, if correctly used, lead to spiritual states close to the ones obtained by spiritual means.

We will therefore try to discuss some of these psycho-active substances:

Cannabis is considered to be the softer one. It is not very addictive, gives mild psychedelic effects, can ease tensions, restore appetite… Nevertheless cannabis mixed with tobacco (like it is done in Europe) can be very addictive and create damages for the lungs. Smoking cannabis alone, especially frequently and at high doses can be dangerous also because cannabis contains a lot of tars (hence the necessity, if smoking, to smoke small quantities of very good quality cannabis, and not big quantity of low quality cannabis). The best way is maybe to ingest it after having transferred the active molecules to butter molecules through a cooking process (“Marrakesh cannabis butter”). Cookies or sweets with cannabis butter are already given to some patients for therapeutic use in some hospitals in some countries (Switzerland for example).

Nevertheless remember that strong doses of cannabis can produce powerful mental and physical experiences, so don’t begin with strong doses and try to do this with people who know this substance and can help you if there is any problem in the beginning.

You should also remember that repeated consumption of cannabis during long periods can create psychotic phenomena, de-socialization, splits within the personality or with the environment… (this kind of problems happen according to each individual specific condition). So be careful, use cannabis with moderation and respect. 

This kind of substance should not be used before  16 years old (and ideally before 18 years old) to let the nervous system freely develop itself. Early excessive consumption can have a negative effect on young psyche and comportment.  

Cocaine is often adulterated and if used in excess can lead to nasal and cerebral damages. It seems to greatly destroy some pleasure centers in the brain. Life without cocaine seems dull for a person used to it.

Cocaine production is also ecologically damaging. A lot of harmful chemicals are involved. The process begins, for example, by soaking coca leaves in a petrol bath during more than 24 hours. We should develop studies to extract the medicinal substances of coca leaves used since long time by South American people, with more natural, chemical safe and ecologically friendly ways for the body. 

Why not invent a paste to chew that would be more concentrated than the leaves and that would give the usual effects of coca chemicals : clarity, strength, luminosity, stamina… but in a softer way for the body and the brain of the users (a little bit like opium compared to heroin) ?

LSD and psychedelic mushrooms are very strong substances that should be approached with great care, especially by spiritual seekers, since they can disrupt subtle brain and energetic connections. Always try this kind of substances in quiet conditions, with persons more experienced, who can guide you through the many spiritual experiences and astral travels that you may encounter.

Heroin is the worst drug you can find. Like tobacco, never even think of trying things like this. Ecstasy is useless when you practice meditation and relaxation. Amphetamines are dangerous and were Hitler’s favourite drug (that can maybe explain a part of the madness generated during the second world war).

Personally, except cannabis, I tried ecstasy and psychedelic mushrooms a few times. Even the best quality ecstasy pills are useless and can be easily replaced during parties by mild doses of ingested cannabis. Psychedelic mushrooms trigger strong spiritual experiences (close to the LSD experience) but are dangerous, can create brain damages and psychological problems (psychosis mainly). A long and patient spiritual practice can give naturally experiences close to psychedelic mushroom experiences (for example kundalini experiences are close to psychedelic experiences). I personally never tried (and really don’t want to try this now, because meditation gives me sufficient spiritual experiences) LSD, cocaine, heroin, amphetamines, ketamine… or other “smart” drugs.

All in all the regular use of such external substances should be avoided by persons engaged in spiritual quests. If you nevertheless want to use such substances, respect them, do some rituals and prayers connected to their use, try to build a sacred relation between you and the substance (like in shamanism). A general advice (for natural or “smart” drugs) would be to try to stabilize by spiritual means the states that you try to reach with external substances, it is more stable.

 

Point 6 : Positive affirmations.

I learnt the technique of positive affirmations with some good Indian reiki teachers from Delhi : Mr and Mrs N.K and Savita Sharma (Reiki Healing Foundation). 

Positive affirmations are short sentences repeated frequently, mentally or loudly, in order to achieve certain personal goals. It is a very interesting method, close to the one invented by Coue, a French psychologist.

For maximum benefit, positive affirmations must be simple and short. They should be formulated in the present tense, not in the future, as if the situation expected was already there. Positive affirmations should be expressed in the most positive way possible. For example, rather than saying “I no longer oversleep in the morning”, say ” I now wake up on time and full of energy every morning”.

Here are some examples of positive affirmations for various goals proposed by Mr. and Mrs. Sharma : “Every day in every way I am getting better and better ” / “I am a radiant being, filled with light and love” / “I have everything I need to enjoy my here and now” / “Everything I need is already within me” / “I love and appreciate myself just as I am” / “I love to love and be loved” / “I am an open channel of creative energy” / “I always communicate clearly and effectively” / “The more I have, the more I have to give” / “My higher Self is guiding me in everything that I do” … 

Some more developed sentences can be used for specific conditions. Example :

Elimination of stress : ” I am relaxed and at ease. I am at peace with myself, the world and everyone around me. I am physically and emotionally relaxed and in complete balance and harmony. Ultimate relaxation is mine, I am relaxed, relaxed”.

Health and healing : “Day by day in every way I am becoming healthier and healthier. My immune system functions at optimum efficiency and keeps me healthy, I use the unlimited power of my mind to heal myself”. 

Pain removal : “Day by day my discomfort is decreasing. I am relaxed and feel good. I am mentally healing myself and being healed. With every breath in I am healed, and with every breath out the pain is released. I am feeling great.”

Female sexuality : ” My sexual desires are intense. I easily achieve an intense orgasm during sex. I enjoy sex and respond openly and joyously to my partner”.

Worry and fear : ” I am confident and secure. I am calm and optimistic. I feel powerful and I am in full control of myself. I am peaceful, balanced and harmonious. My mind is calm and thinks positive thoughts. I am in control of my life”.

Inner peace : ” I am at peace with myself and the world and everyone in it. I accept the things I cannot change in my life. My mind is like calm water and has all I need. I now feel peaceful, balanced and harmonious, full of tranquillity, love and joy”.

You can obviously adapt, transform or take only parts of these positive affirmations. You can also create totally new ones. Practice them while in a meditative state during  10 minutes more or less each day, or during the day when you have time to mentally repeat them, a little bit like a mantra. This technique can help to soothe and sublimate negative feelings or patterns.

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About buddhananda
independent spiritual researcher, I find inspiration mainly into the buddhist, hindu and new age fields. I try to find connections between religions, philosophy, economy and technology. My aim is to contribute to the emergence of a better world. I also practice reiki.

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