“Psychedelics are not a substitute for faith. They are a door to authentic faith, born of encountering directly the sacred dimension of everyday experience. This is not the only gate to that discovery, but it is the most ancient and universal, and potentially the most accessible to the majority of the human race.” — Rick Doblin
What is authenticity? It means original and genuine. It is not a copy. It is fresh. A faith that is original and genuine is one that does not follow but creates a path. In fact, all the great sages tell us to find our own way. They turn away from the trap of religion. You cannot find authenticity by memorizing philosophies, doctrine, and dogma. You can’t pretend your way to authenticity.
What is Authentic Faith?
Authenticity is something you can spot. Someone who walks their own spiritual path doesn’t fit the cultural norm. If someone is walking their own walk, they don’t follow the crowd. They are often freethinkers. They reject the programming of the commercialized cultural narrative.
They forge their own path. It is what Joseph Campbell calls the Hero’s Journey. It requires courage to create your own authentic walk. We share the same inner desire to explore the unknown. This is the catalyst. To create your own path, you use tools to expand awareness and explore higher states of consciousness.
What is authentic faith? It is an authentic and original way of walking your own path and seeking your own personal truths. It is taking the responsibility to direct your own exploration of your consciousness. It is a path that values tools and processes not beliefs and religions.
You may walk your path alone, but you will find others who will walk with you. You will share your knowledge and gain knowledge from others.
Pathways to Authentic Faith
Spirituality in the form of consciousness research pre-dates organized religion. In fact, this is also the root of today’s modern medicines. Before organized religion came to power there were thousands of people around the world focusing on consciousness research. These are the real explorers. They show us the various pathways by developing tools for us to create our own way.
Psychotropic are one way. They come from cultures and traditions that have a long history of perfecting their use. Typically, these are the last tool in a series of other preparatory practices. We don’t advocate the use of psychedelics. It’s a tool for the experienced spiritual exploration traveler. These tools are not everyone. If you have a desire to use this advanced method, we recommend that they meet two conditions.
First, you need to have a solid history of spiritual exploration without psychedelics. We don’t recommend them if you have a history of mental illness. Always take them with proper supervision.
Joseph Campbell, a well-respected spiritual teacher, and spiritual explorer said words to the effect that the Shaman swims in the same water that the psychotic drowns in. This is because psychedelics are like diving into the deep end of the pool. You want to learn how to swim and float before doing this. They are tools for pathways to authentic faith and spiritual experience.
The second condition is that the person and/or place administering them is qualified and competent. They need a verifiable track record of success administering these substances. They must have a way to verify the origin and preparation of the plants that you will be ingesting. They should monitor you throughout the process. Otherwise, taking any psychedelic compound or substance is risky and potentially injurious rather than helpful. Do your research.
Several factors can affect the potency and effectiveness of these compounds. Quality control is hard. That’s because the same plant can contain different levels of active ingredients. Preparing plants requires experience and expertise.
There are other pathways to authentic faith. As Mr. Doblin points out, ingesting psychotropic elements isn’t the only gateway. Another method is the Shamanic Journey. Although some indigenous cultures use psychotropic elements to assist people with this type of journey, it is unnecessary. One can use the sound of drums to achieve the Shamanic State of Consciousness.
The fifth state of non-ordinary consciousness is what Michael Harner calls the Shamanic State of Consciousness (SSC). Michael Harner is a anthropologist, writer, and Shaman. In this state, the brainwaves are also in the theta-wave area. Besides being self-aware, you project yourself into a “visionary state” of consciousness. You are both the director and participant within a landscape of non-ordinary reality.
This state is probably the most ancient form of spiritual practice known as the Shamanic Journey. This spiritual technology has similarities across many cultures around the globe and also more than likely the source of modern religion. This process is rebranded. Some call it guided meditation and creative visualization. The Shamanic State of Consciousness is significant for several characteristics. The person in SSC controls when, where, and how long they travel. By setting the goal of their journey they provide a level of freedom and control.
What about Religion?
When you hear the word “faith” you probably think of religion. But religion and authenticity don’t always go hand-in-hand. Not all religions provide pathways to authentic faith. For example, Taoism and many forms of Paganism have the fewest constraints over freethinking. With these systems, you are free to explore and develop your path. With these, you develop your own path.
In contrast, the Abrahamic religions of Semitic origin, Judaism, Christianity, and Islam have the greatest number of boundaries. These Western organized religions are the rebranding of Egyptian, Babylonian, Persian and Assyrian mystery religions. Many people don’t regard the belief in these mythologies as an authentic faith. They contain contradictory doctrines and justification for religious bias discrimination and violence. Moreover, they are absent any real transformative techniques, processes or methods.
The main concern of Western theology is to create a cost-effective income generation pipeline. They simply rebranded what was already in place. The strategy of combining several mythologies into one provides cultural reach and control with the greatest return on investment. No need to keep an army in place. Religion is self-policing using peer pressure to maintain the cash flow. Here the focus was on selling the afterlife. A commodity with no unsatisfied customers. This provided massive streams of wealth making organized religion war-proof. It’s an intentional misrepresentation of mythology as fact.
What is authentic to you? It is not following organized religion. The pathways to authentic faith exist beyond religion. This is a revelation people have known since before the creation of Western theology. Today, more and more people realize this for themselves.
Interested in spiritual exploration? Check out the blended learning process at the core of our teaching process. It reflects what Joseph Campbell called the Hero’s Journey. Our learning options include both face-to-face and virtual learning sessions. Please consider donating and supporting our mission. This helps others learn the knowledge for developing their own path.
Joseph Campbell & Joseph Campbell’s Book The Hero’s Journey, Wikipedia
Michael Harner, Wikipedia
Abrahamic Religions, Wikipedia