Carlos Castaneda, another cult leader (see also narcotics)

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Carlos Castaneda, another cult leader (see also narcotics)

Post by joel » 12 Apr 2007

Many of my high-school and college contemporaries read Carlos Castaneda's books. They were a kind of primer in mysticism for many. I never got past his first book, which never somehow clicked for me. Although that did not matter: the BK teachings accomplished for me what Castaneda couldn't.

Well it turns out that Castaneda built a cult out of his writings--writings presented as non-fiction that turned out to be entirely fiction. The story from this Salon article has many commonalities with my experience of initiation among the BKs.

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Post by mr green » 12 Apr 2007

I read all his books except the later 3. Very stimulating stuff, but I never felt it to be anything other than fiction ... but I know some people who took it very seriously ... probably still do.

His work was researched quite well and does have some accurate references to Native American shamanism. But, yes, I could imagine you could screw your life up quite nicely with this path.

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Post by in the night » 16 Jun 2007

... Fiction indeed.

But I have experimented with some powerful plants that can take the mind into this realm of consciousness. Once, under the influence of "Ayahuasca" (the most primitive and powerful of the lot), I felt that the "shaman" was under control of some presence in the gathering. Having had enough of this experiences during my BK era, I never went into ayahuasca "trance" again.

Day dreaming?? :shock:

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Post by fluffy bunny » 17 Jun 2007

in the night wrote:Once, under the influence of "ayehuasca" (the most primitive and powerful of the lot), I felt that the "shaman" was under control of some presence in the gathering. Having had enough of this experiences during my BK era, I never went into ayehuasca "trance" again.
I am very interested in your Ayahuasca experience whether you wish to discuss it on forum or off forum via personal message. I, personally, have no doubt the shaman was under some influence whether plant, elemental or some high spirit.

I know it has been used in the treatement of various illnesses. Although I remain very critical of synthetic, recreational drug taking, and find even real coffee too strong a stimulant to function properly under (!), I am genuinely interested to hear individual's experiences in this area with more genuinely ritual or "sacred" plants.

Ayahuasca is kind of new on the scene (for the Western world) and is perhaps on another level from the usual mushrooms. It appears that many people have taken it for prolonged periods and not suffered even the paranoia or psychosis that marajuana often induces. It seems to be even more spiritualistic than Ibogane.

There is one argument that says that a large proportion of religion, religious language, religious imagery and spiritualistic thinking has entered humankind via the use of psychoactive substances. I do believe they act as devices to open our minds to different realms, albeit not necessarily higher ones.

I was always a little disappointed to read that the ayehuasca shamens also used tobacco in their rituals and the spirit of tobacco is not a particularly high or nice one and this to some extend marked the experience down for me in theory. Whether I would try it myself just to see what was going on ... may be ... in a way I would never dream of getting drunk or high again.

It does seem to be a purgative experience but it is hard to get over the "gee-whiz" reports to a more objective view, and especially interesting to read of an ex-BK one. Thanks in advance.

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Post by in the night » 17 Jun 2007

Hello ex-I,

I believe Castaneda mainly experimented with "Peyote" (a powerful substance mainly found in Mexico and as far as I know is extracted from some sort of cactus plant). This substance was used by the North American ancient population in their rituals and healing experiences and was mainly controled by the "shaman" or religious leader of the tribe. I have no experience with it.

If we head south into the heart of the Amazones (Brazil), we will find that the history of "Ayahuasca" is as old as thousands of years. It seems to have been recently re-discovered by westerners who during the last century were already cutting up the forest there. This pioneers established a group or "sect" called "Santo Daime" which has spread all over Brazil and the West and has recently preassured the Brazilian goverment into legalizing the substance for religious and therapeutic motives only. Their motives are religious and as far as I know, they believe in a higher God.

In the Western world there are some well known psychiatrists who are "underground" experimenting with the substance for the recovery of many mental disorders such as addictions/schisophrenia/ect., and have documented very good results. In their inner circles, they themselves act as "shamans" and have a high respect for the way the ancients use to deal with the substance.

Ayahuasca is prepared in the Amazones by mixing a special root (don't remember the name) and some sort of leaf. The shamans believe that the root symbolizes the body and the the leaf, the soul or spirit.

All I can say, is that it is a very powerful way into your inner subconciouss and places a very visual picture of what is really happening inside. It is not addictive and is never used in a ludic or playful manner. Nevertheless, in my opinion, it opens up doors which "sometimes" one may not be prepared to deal with. I guess, in the case of severe mental illness, these doors must be openned for the sake of survival.

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Post by fluffy bunny » 17 Jun 2007

in the night wrote:Ayahuasca is prepared in the Amazones by mixing a special root (don´t remember the name) and some sort of leaf. The shamans believe that the root symbolizes the body and the the leaf, the soul or spirit. All I can say, is that it is a very powerful way into your inner subconciouss and places a very visual picture of what is really happening inside.
Yes, I know the history, theory and practise, and Santo Daime's fight. But I was interested in your personal experience if you wish to discuss it and relate it to Gyani experiences. Santo Daime market themselves as a Christian Church but this may only be to avoid persecution from the predominant Catholic Church.

BKs or the BKWSU still flit around my sub-consciousness even after many years ... I was wondering or interested to read if your "BK addiction" or issues arose, changed, effected or was effected by it.

May be we can market it (freely) as a cure for being a BK!?! ;-)

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Post by mr green » 17 Jun 2007

Some people believe all intelligent thought came about from primitive man accidently eating mind expanding substances !!!

I know you disapprove of recreational drug use ex-l, but this doesn't mean that even those substances are used by some in positive ways. Marijuana, as I am sure you are aware, has been used in all shamanistic traditions I am aware of world over. But it requires a great deal of discipline and respect to not be just a deluded stoner :lol:.

I have experimented with LSD, psilocybin (most magic mushrooms) and marijuana and found all have a lot to offer in mind expansion/shrinkage ...

Responsible use only, most people who suffer ill effects from these things abuse themselves with them ... almost constant use. I mean, if you never experience 'normal' consciousness you are bound to lose he plot eventually.

If you afford the proper respect to your mind and body you will be fine (most of the time) :lol:.

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Post by fluffy bunny » 17 Jun 2007

mr green wrote:Some people believe all intelligent thought came about from primitive man accidently eating mind expanding substances !!! I know you disapprove of recreational drug use ex-l, but this doesn't mean that even those substances are used by some in positive ways.
I know the theory ... Terence McKenna, is not it? It could be true ... it could be equivalent to the "we all came from monkeys having babies with space aliens" theory. But then that could ALSO could be equally true ... So, genuinely, I have no idea. I have no idea at all now.

Actually, my position on drugs (and most things) is that anyone is allowed to do anything as long as it does not hurt others AND they are willing to pay for and put right any damage they do to society. Part of getting older is realising that no one else listens to what one says and so there is little point in having a point of view.

My problem with the 60s idealism projected by the stoners ... is the widespread and extreme criminal activity it creates without paying for. They want to waste themselves THEN have society pay for it. I guess I take a sort of Adam Smith approach to the entire industry.

But, on the other hand, the mental illnesses of straight society are FAR more damaging and create FAR greater crimes that stoners could ever imagine out of their worst acid trip. Alcohol is a terrible example of this and I think it should be up there with Class A barbiturates. Many prescribed drugs, e.g. tranquillisers ... "mother's little helpers" etc are just as bad and identical in nature. The big drugs companies are just another mafia-like cartel.

I am very conscious about the social/state control and conspiracy angles to permitted intoxicants. It is proven that the States internationally dabble in illegal drugs dealing (e.g. heroin, cocaine etc) and prefer alcohol and tobacco as their drugs of choice.

Ayahuasca, because it is so nauseous, is highly unlikely to ever become either recreational or commercialised as even marijuana has, but it does seem to have some similarity to the artificially produced DMT. I could see medicines being developed from it but reckon if they challenge sales of Prozac etc, they will probably be bought out and suppressed.

I just wonder WHAT the spiritual influences it has are and at what LEVEL they are. I am genuinely interested to know if it can help mental illness, or illness of the spirit. I am a great believer in herbal remedies, have experienced benefit from them and accept that their are mind-body-spirit-nature connections.

Although I would never smoke/take or encourage smoking/taking dope, I could conceivably be interested to experiment with a training in Ayahuascan Shamanism in the proper and legal setting. I would just like to know where I am likely to get to BEFORE I get there. The space-time these shamens are talking about appears to me to be entirely amiss or outside of the BK model ... your comments welcome.

My opinion of external stimulants is not "BK" ( I gave up everything including drink and coffee BEFORE I become a BK), nor inexperienced prudism, nor moral, nor legal, nor even health related. Personally, on the basis of a very limited experience, I just never found them to be that profound and, mostly, just to be boring, negative or irritating. Downers rather than uppers. I hated not being able to say, "OK, I get that. That is enough ... stop now I want to get off". And I still think that about coffee now ... so you know where I am coming now !!! :shock:

What proportion of BKs do you think are taking mind altering drugs, e.g. anti-depressives, SSRIs etc? Has there been any scientific research done to prove that BK Raja Yoga "CURES" mental illness etc

As an aside, did you read in the newspapers recently that the American Intelligence or Armed forces wanted to/or invested in creating drugs that turned enemy soldiers into horny homosexuals!!! Make you wonder ...

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Post by joel » 17 Jun 2007

ex-l wrote: I know the theory ... Terence McKenna, is not it? It could be true ... it could be equivalent to the "we all came from monkeys having babies with space aliens" theory. But then that could ALSO could be equally true ... So, genuinely, I have no idea. I have no idea at all now.

Actually, my position on drugs (and most things) is that anyone is allowed to do anything as long as it does not hurt others AND they are willing to pay for and put right any damage they do to society. Part of getting older is realising that no one else listens to what one says and so there is little point in having a point of view.
Legal drugs would destroy institutional medicine. People would have morphine in their first aid kits. If people could mellow when they had an illness they wouldn't be in a hurry to throw themselves into the back of a ambulance into a operating theater of the absurd where anything can and has happened.

It is out of fear, pain and desperation that people consent to surgeries or to ingesting risky, clinically unproven (or even disproven) drugs.

Legal drugs would give everyone access to the few highly effective ones, of known dose and medical purity. Few would be interested in the riskiest, most dangerous and profit-making pharmaceuticals, whose sometimes unpublicized side-effects create need for other medicines and procedures in snowballing fashion, frequently leading to death. The monopoly given to doctors has not been exclusively positive for medical practice. It has helped teach people that they are incapable of ministering sufficiently to a person's health, to accept harm from a cross-motivated "medical professional", sometimes even by decree of law.

In another thread Andres suggested a doctor could take better care of a person's health than a mother with emotional attachment.

It is an idealistic statement about doctors. In hospitals I've worked in, its the nurses who actually care for the patients, the doctors do not _do_ any day-to-day caring. They just look at lab tests and give orders, often wrong diagnoses, wrong medicines. I have figures that more die in medical and hospital originating conditions (iatrogenetic illness) than by heart attack, cancer, auto accident or shootings.

Family understand the need for touch, for good home-cooked food, for give and take. Different than submission to invasive traumatising procedures by the arrogant, unqualified, careless.

Lack of attachment, by itself, does not make doctors better carers for health. Of course most of us are not trained to set a broken bone. Many situations in which we might want conventional medical care.

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Post by fluffy bunny » 17 Jun 2007

joel wrote:Legal drugs would give everyone access to the few highly effective ones, of known dose and medical purity. Few would be interested in the riskiest, most dangerous and profit-making pharmaceuticals, whose sometimes unpublicized side-effects create need for other medicines and procedures in snowballing fashion, frequently leading to death.
And they would be cheaper ... just price in sufficient mark up to cover any residual cost to society and health care insurance, build "Fair Trade" marketing networks to developing nations where financial aid is required the most such as Africa, India, Afganisthan and Iraq etc. Sell them in very unsexy pharmacies with health care warning like cigarette have.

In one blow you would largely kill crime in the West and the Developing nations. The only problem would is ... where would the Olly Norths and the CIAs of this world raise funds for their black projects from!?!

I concur exactly (... and my hand goes up as someone on my way to being killed by doctors.)

Let us bear in mind, that on the back of India, the British largely built their Empire on the profits from drug dealing bringing even China to its knees.

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Post by in the night » 17 Jun 2007

Hi there folks,

It is a very important topic : "mind-altering-substances".

I, personaly, believe that all of them are "legal"; in the sense that they are ALL available to the public if you take the time to find them. So the difference lies in that they do not pay tax or have some sort of regulation under the law. In my point of view, one of the biggest hypocrisies of our times.

Anyways, following ex-l's interest in knowing more about ayahuasca, I can relate my experience here:

The nauseus part is the least important of the experience. It only happens sometimes and the feeling is not at-all painful or "nauseous". It actualy feels like a sweet purgatory sense of being cleaned-up from physical toxics and then, allowing this resistance to disappear, so going into a sort of relaxed "meditation".

This part, is a very visual experience in which I was personaly confronted with my shallow ego and false pretending habits, those that used to get me so much in trouble. I felt, as if I was watching myself as an actor just playing a role in a "stage" and, unfortunately, I did not like most of what I saw. I guess, I was becoming fully aware of my weakness, but in such a sweet stage of mind, that it allowed me to come to terms with myself (some tears but detached). That was my first experience and it lasted almost 7 hours.

After my first section, I was left with a very deep feeling of "sorrow", as if I had been stripped out of my costume. My second and final experienced happened a month after I worked out my first.

In this case, I was determined to input or use my meditation or "Raja Yoga" skills into the hallucination. It was a perfect scenario: a gorgeous villa with a powerful shaman and lots of beautiful people to share with.

It also lasted the usual 7 / 8 hours and, this time, I was not driven into my visual unconciousness and I managed to stay focused and in full awareness. I felt that we (all participants) were being "used" by a spirit which the shaman was under the control off. Due to the nature of the gathering, I cannot say that this presence was negative, but I'll leave it here.

Occult practices can only help those who are not ancient. Sorry, but I feel that despite the false ego-trip that some BKs have about being the seed souls of the world, there is some truth about the different nature of those who are looking for love, peace, happiness, purity and power. And of those who are ready to accept greed, ego ... and you name it.

Thanks for allowing me to share this "uncommon experience"

Love

in the night

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Eli Lilly

Post by fluffy bunny » 17 Jun 2007

in the night wrote:I, personaly, believe that all of them are "legal"; in the sense that they are ALL available to the public if you take the time to find them. So the difference lies in that they do not pay tax or have some sort of regulation under the law. In my point of view, one of the biggest hypocrisies of our times.
An old acquaintance once said to me that there are only two types of drug dealers;
  • "... those with forklift trucks and those without forklift trucks."
He was talking equally about Eli Lilly as the Colombian cartels! It is worth remembering that until 1916, one could buy at Harrods a kit labelled, "A Welcome Present for Friends at the Front" which contained cocaine, morphine, syringes and spare needles. Cocaine was widely used in tonics, toothache cures and patent medicines; in coca cigarettes "guaranteed to lift depression" and in chocolate cocaine tablets. One fast-selling product, Ryno's HayFever and Catarrh Remedy ("for when the nose is stuffed up, red and sore") consisted of 99.9 per cent pure cocaine. Prospective buyers were advised - in the words of pharmaceutical firm Parke-Davis - that cocaine "could make the coward brave, the silent eloquent, and render the sufferer insensitive to pain". How civilised! (I have never tried it nor Champagne ... which ought to be remembered was invented by monks to also lift the spirits).
Occult practices can only help those who are not ancient.
Woah ... down the rabbit hole we go again ... one little throw-away line and an entire universe opens us! Care to share your musings?

Do you think that the spirits involved in this type of shamanism are in some way bound to the BK theory of the Drama Wheel, the 5,000 years, the 4 Ages and so on? Is this universal to all shamanistic spirits? Do you think they are human or nature spirits and "inferior" to the "deity souls" theory? Yup, please keep digging back into your memory/experience.

I would be equally open to any BK/PBK coing up with a develop Murli point of view. Obviously I know the basis position of the BKWSU etc but I am interested to see and know the comparison between the spirits and experiences behind the BKWSU from other points of view. Who or what do you make of Shiva/Bap-Dada now? Did the experience in any way change your relationship with your BK self and past?

This is why I do not have any straight, moralistic objection to drugs. For me it is more about the level of consciousness and spiritual influences involved. I honestly believe dopes, from alcohol and tobacco upwards, open you up to spookery of one sort or another and the risk of damage to your brainbox is too great to risk to outweigh the entertainment benefits.

I have worked closely with individuals that were involved in related industries who had clearly damaged themselves beyond repair. It was not pretty. All the same, I am sympathetic to the 'right to self-treatment' argument Joel progresses and the honest ones that realised what they were doing WAS destructive but that it was the only way out of a worst hell for them. In theory.

Now for the deep stuff ... someone should investigage the chemical effects of BK style Raja Yoga to discover whether it is a "empathogen", such as MDMA/Ecstasy which trigger the release of more serotonin or a "dopaminergic" drugs such as cocaine or amphetamines which have the reverse effect. Simplistically, how it can promote both empathy, trust, compassionate and sociability in BKs during its early stage of addiction where the self is lost (empathogenic) but yet also become a selfish, destructive drug like the latter, as we have seen recently with Di's experience.

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Post by in the night » 18 Jun 2007

ex-l wrote:For me it is more about the level of consciousness and spiritual influences involved. I honestly believe dopes, from alcohol and tobacco upwards, open you up to spookery of one sort or another and the risk of damage to your brainbox is too great to risk to outweigh the entertainment benefits.
I guess that your concerns go beyond my expertise.

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Post by fluffy bunny » 18 Jun 2007

in the night wrote:I guess that your concerns go beyond my expertise.
Quite the opposite. I only have the theory, you have the experience and practise.

What were your feeling, intuitions about this influence that you mention? Was it positive and benign? Was it human etc? You have not gone back or carried on ... so how has it changed your BK perspective?

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