In Search of Spirituality
Most lead lives at worst so painful, at best so monotonous, poor and limited, that the urge to escape, the longing to transcend themselves, if only for a few moments, is and has always been one of the principle appetites of the soul.
― Aldous Huxley, The Doors of Perception
For many people, their lives are defined by a driving force that puts them on a path of seeking a spiritual experience. A vast number find their connection through religious affiliation, while others seek what we call a spiritual path.
The religious path generally places a god, goddess, historical figure, or archetype as the leader to be worshiped; with ministers, priests, and priestesses who teach morals, reward and punish, and hold the position of conduit between the divine and the mundane. Religion is institutionalized, with a hierarchy of power and a set of rules or doctrines to be believed and adhered to.
The spiritual path attracts people who are seeking a personal experience and a more direct connection with something greater than self. While there may be guidelines or morals suggested, it is an individual choice.
In the description of the fascinating book, The God Gene, it's written:
Dr. Dean Hamer reveals that this inclination toward religious faith is no accident; it is in good measure due to our genes. In fact, he argues, spiritual belief may offer an evolutionary advantage by providing humans with a sense of purpose and the courage and will to overcome hardship and loss. And, as a growing body of evidence suggests, belief also increases our chances of reproductive survival by helping to reduce stress, prevent disease, and extend life.
Hamer shows that new discoveries in behavioral genetics and neurobiology indicate that humans inherit a set of predispositions that make their brains ready and eager to embrace a higher power. By analyzing the genetic makeup of over a thousand people of different ages and backgrounds, and comparing their DNA samples against a scale that measures spirituality, Hamer actually identified a specific "God gene" that appears to influence spirituality.
American philosopher-psychologist William James called the cosmic spiritual connection ‘mystical experiences.’ While these experiences could be fleeting and spontaneous, when they did occur, there was a sense of knowledge deeper and more significant than normally experienced by the rational intellect.
American psychologist Abraham Maslow named them ‘peak experiences.’ In his Hierarchy of Needs, he linked them to the inception of the self-actualizing aspect of personality.
The Swiss psychiatrist Carl Jung called spiritual experiences an integral part of the process of individuation, which he said also described a point in a person's life when he or she moves away from egotism and toward autonomous selfhood.
This search for spiritual connection was the driving supposition of the psychedelic exploration of people such as Timothy Leary and Ram Das (both of whom I had the pleasure of meeting). These pursuits have continued through the decades with the use of psilocybin, ayahuasca, LSD, DMT, ecstasy, and more.
My personal perspective is that the application of proper techniques within the hypnotic trance state can be as powerful as any psychedelic substance, while being more focused, more controllable, and safer (physically and legally).
Furthermore, the use of the chemicals lowers your auric field strength and can create susceptibility to unwanted malicious or feeding spiritual beings.
While doing the actual work to achieve spiritual connection and peak experiences is, perhaps, the harder road initially; it is a more optimal road in the long run.