Altered States: Exploring Plant Medicine
Altered States of Consciouosness
I’ve noticed, along my recovery, health & wellness journey, a divisive topic; which is altered states of consciousness. What do I mean? Well, if you’re drunk, it’s an altered state of consciousness. If you’re high, it’s an altered state of consciousness. If you go into a deep deep meditation, chances are you’re altering your state of consciousness. If you’re doing breathwork, you can achieve an altered state of consciousness. There’s an argument about what tools, one should or could use to alter their consciousness. I alter my consciousness with caffeine, every single morning. I see people at meetings, drinking coffee, which is caffeine, smoking cigarettes which is nicotine, and eating donuts which is sugar. All are mood-altering substances. But, what I want to talk about is the great debate over exploring plant medicine.
Exploring Plant Medicine
When I refer to plant medicine, I am talking about things like ayahuasca, iboga, and San Pedro. But then there are also synthetic derivatives such as MDMA, ketamine, LSD, or psilocybin. The debate is around whether these are “okay” for a person in recovery to use. Or, even for anybody who’s seeking to either heal trauma or transcend their current level of consciousness. I shared with my sponsor recently that I’ve been investigating going on an ayahuasca journey. The price is $5000. My sponsor said, “I don’t think God intended for you to have to pay five grand to alter your consciousness.” To which I replied, “Well, I’m not sure. Every human culture has used plants to alter their consciousness, since the beginning of recorded history. And so I don’t think God put all these plants on the planet with the technology they have for us to access exponential levels of spiritual connection. I don’t think God put them on the planet for us NOT to engage with, given that every culture through human history every religion has used them as a part of a ceremony for ascending and transcending consciousness.”
To me, it just seems like it’s one of the most natural things humans do. We use plants to alter our consciousness. What’s the big deal about that? Where’s the fear? What’s the danger? Is there any? And I think it’s important that we have honest looks, outside of the world of law enforcement, for whether or not to utilize plants in our life to alter our consciousness. Because you could fill a room full of testimonials, touting the difference plants have made in helping people heal and transcend. I don’t think that it’s as simple as “plants are bad – don’t use plants” or “plants are good – everyone should use plants.”
I think if we’re grownups, we owe it to ourselves to have informed adult conversations about exploring plant medicine and how we alter our consciousness and give each other the freedom and the benefit of the doubt to choose our own autonomy and sovereignty when it comes to this very thing.
If you’re interested in exploring this topic further, I recommend checking out Michael Pollen’s “How to Change Your Mind: What the New Science of Psychedelics Teaches Us About Consciousness, Dying, Addiction, Depression, and Transcendence”. What are your thoughts on exploring plant medicine? How do you use plants to alter your consciousness? I’m curious so drop a comment below. I’d love to hear your perspective.