Can psychoactive drugs and entheogens such as Ayahuasca be of use for spiritual awakening?

Questioner: Hi Tom: is “dealing with” a negative emotion the same as “letting go?”

Tom: It means to resolve the emotional issue, if there is one, at the root so that it does not resurface needlessly and cause suffering

Questioner: do you recommend taking Ayahuasca with a shaman to see where these suppressions may lie?

Tom: No, there are more reliable and less potentially adverse ways as far as I can tell.

Questioner: Is Atma Vichara (Self-Enquiry) the answer or just part of that discovery of suppressions?

Tom: Atma Vichara is the answer, but it must be correctly understood

Questioner: That makes sense to me. Thank you! I will continue my practice with fervor

Questioner 2: Tom, whats your experience with plant medicine and entheogens? If its none, then unfortunately there is nothing you can bring to the table regarding such.

Tom: I am open to psychoactive drugs playing a role in the awakening process for some people (they clearly have played a role for many people), but I am nowhere near convinced enough of their need in the awakening process to actually RECOMMEND them, which was the specific question that was put to me.

As far as I can see, there are many other simpler, cheaper, safer, more reliable and more natural methods available that may not be so dramatic in their effects – often the results are more subtle – but have more lasting effects in the long term and are more reliable in transmitting a realisation that actually ends suffering. Of course this may not be true for everyone.

And this is just my personal experience of these substances in the seekers I meet. I fully admit this view may be based on lack of knowledge and expertise on my part and also the selection bias from the group of people that come to my meetings (as these people are presumably resonating with what I share).

I have seen a few negative health effects of such drugs too, so they are not without some physical and mental health risk, and I have seen that they can also foster attachment to and seeking of experiences such as ‘spiritual highs’ and while this can lead to openings, it often also reinforces and perpetuates of a sense of egoic self. Of course, this is not always the case.

At the end of the day, we each have our own unique path, and my hope is to be able to encourage, support and guide those who come my way whether or not they chose to take psychoactive drugs. If asked, I never recommend these drugs for the above reasons, but luckily people are free to chose for themselves, relatively speaking.

Thank you for your comment and contribution to this discussion! Namaste!

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