Dear Readers I shall be adding a new category in my blog – ‘Attempts at Cannabis Cultivation’. Under this category I will be documenting my experiments in Cannabis cultivation under minimum resources and non-existent infra-structure.
I have been taking low doses of Cannabis (dried flower buds) orally and intermittently to heal my phlegm. It has been quite effective. It does not give me a strong ‘high’ but lulls me to a kind of ‘uncaring’ state of mind which makes me calm and a bit sleepy. It also stimulates my appetite and makes my taste buds more sensitive. The daily chores and routine seems to have been drained of their relevance…..
Meanwhile I came across the ‘trip report’ of William James, an American philosopher and psychologists. He gained popularity after publishing his book, ‘Varieties of Religious Experiences’. He inhaled Nitrous Oxide to get into an altered state of consciousness. When the drug wore off, James found that his mystical insights had disappeared. What remained were incomprehensible words–“tattered fragments” that seemed like “meaningless drivel.” Being a philosophical visionary rather than a garden-variety recreational drug user, however, James was not inclined to let his sober consciousness have the final say. On the contrary, he took his experiences with nitrous oxide as evidence that human life was more richly varied than he had previously (and soberly) imagined. “Some years ago,” he wrote in Varieties ,
I myself made some observations on . . . nitrous oxide intoxication, and reported them in print. One conclusion was forced upon my mind at that time, and my impression of its truth has ever since remained unshaken. It is that our normal waking consciousness, rational consciousness as we call it, is but one special type of consciousness, whilst all about it, parted from it by the filmiest of screens, there lie potential forms of consciousness entirely different.
For James, these alternate forms of consciousness were accessible only by way of artificial intoxicants. Others, he hypothesized, were able to reach them without the aid of drugs: in his view the great religious mystics, and certain mystical philosophers including Hegel, were “unusually susceptible” to these extraordinary forms of consciousness.
He believed that religious experiences are psychologically real–powerful and palpable events that can have important long-term consequences whether the beliefs to which they give rise are true or not . Drugs helped James to understand what religious belief was like from the inside. When he took nitrous oxide, he was for all intents and purposes a religious mystic. (“Thought deeper than speech!” he wrote while on the drug. “Oh my God, oh God, oh God!”) Nitrous oxide was the passport that allowed James to see religion from the believer’s perspective, traveling between the worlds of science and faith.
I think that a lot of us can identify with this experience and know exactly what he is talking about !!
Regarding the death of the body and cessation of consciousness, Jung said the following:
Consciousness moves within narrow confines, within the brief
span of time between its beginning and its end, and shortened
by about a third by periods of sleep. The life of the body lasts
somewhat longer; it always begins earlier and, very often, it
ceases later than consciousness. Beginning and end are unavoidable
aspects of all processes. Yet on closer examination it is
extremely difficult to see where one process ends and another
begins, since events and processes, beginnings and endings,
merge into each other and form, strictly speaking, an indivisible
continuum. We divide the processes from one another for the
sake of discrimination and understanding, knowing full well that
at bottom every division is arbitrary and conventional. This procedure
in no way infringes the continuum of the world process,
for “beginning” and “end” are primarily necessities of conscious
cognition. We may establish with reasonable certainty that an
individual consciousness as it relates to ourselves has come to an
end. But whether this means that the continuity of the psychic
process is also interrupted remains doubtful, since the psyche’s
attachment to the brain can be affirmed with far less certitude
today than it could fifty years ago. Psychology must first digest
certain parapsychological facts, which it has hardly begun to do
Konjaku monogatarishu vol. 5 pp. 96-97: (from James H. Sanford, Japan’s “Laughing Mushrooms”)
Long, long ago, some woodcutters from Kyoto went into the Kitayama mountains and lost their way. Not knowing which way to go, four or five of them were lamenting their condition when they heard a group of people coming from the depths of the mountains. The woodcutters were wondering suspiciously what sort of people it might be when four or five Buddhist nuns came out dancing and singing. Seeing them, the woodcutters became fearful, thinking things like, “Dancing, singing nuns are certainly not human beings but must be goblins or demons.” And when the nuns saw the men and started straight toward them, the woodcutters became very frightened and wondered, “How is it that nuns come thus out of the very depths of the mountains dancing and singing?”
The nuns then said, “Our appearance dancing and singing has no doubt frightened you. But we are simply nuns who live nearby. We came to pick flowers as offerings to Buddha, but after we had all entered the hills together we lost our way and couldn’t remember how to get out. Then we came upon some mushrooms, and although we wondered whether we might not be poisoned if we ate them, we were hungry and decided it was better to pick them than to starve to death. But after we had picked and roasted them we found they were quite delicious, and thinking, “Aren’t they fine!” we ate them. But then as we finished the mushrooms we found we couldn’t keep from dancing. Even as we were thinking, “How strange!” strangely enough we…” The woodcutters were no end surprised at this unusual story.
Now the woodcutters were very hungry so they thought, “Better than dying let’s ask for some too.” And they ate some of the numerous mushrooms that the nuns had picked, whereupon they also were compelled to dance. In that condition the nuns and the woodcutters laughed and danced round and round together. After a while the intoxication seemed to wear off and somehow they all found their separate ways home. After this the mushrooms came to be called maitake, dancing mushrooms.
When we think about it this is a striking story. For even though we still have this kind of mushroom, people who eat them do not dance. Thus this exceedingly strange story has been handed down.
People who eat this mushroom get drunk. They may become extremely excited and dance and sing or see various hallucinations.
Needham Science and Civilization in China:
Thus all in all there is much reason for thinking that the ancient Taoists experimented systematically with hallucinogenic smokes, using techniques which arose directly out of liturgical observance. … At all events the incense-burner remained the centre of changes and transformations associated with worship, sacrifice, ascending perfume of sweet savour, fire, combustion, disintegration, transformation, vision, communication with spiritual beings, and assurances of immortality. Wai tan and nei tan met around the incense-burner. Might one not indeed think of it as their point of origin?[
Wu tsa tsu (Five-fold Miscellany) 1619:
There is also the ‘laughing fungus’: those who eat it laugh uncontrollably.
Pi-shu lu-hua by compiler Yeh Ment-te (1077-1148):
The valleys of Wen-tai about Mount Ssu-ming produce many mushrooms. However they are not all alike and some of those that are eaten prove to be poisonous. It is said that there was a Buddhist priest who taught [that when people ate such mushrooms if they would] dig up some dirt and mix it with cold water until it became muddy and then, after waiting a bit, drink the mixture, they would be restored to perfect health. I have seen this recipe myself. In the pharmacopeia of the hermit T’ao it is noted that this is called an “earth infusion” and that it will cure the effects of the maple-tree mushroom, which when eaten causes one to laugh uncontrollably and which is therefore known as the laughing fungus.