Exploring the Self Scientifically – Magic Mushrooms or Meditation – Gary Weber

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This is a clip from Gary Weber talk at Science and Nonduality Conference 2012 for more talks visit: http://fora.tv/conference/science_and_nonduality_sand_conference_2012

Exploring the Self Scientifically – Magic Mushrooms or Meditation – The Same Route, The Same Result

Magic mushrooms, with psilocybin as their active ingredient, have been used at least since 10,000 BCE for purposes ranging from shamanic healing to spiritual awakening through mystical experiences. Meditation has similarly been used for millenia for various purposes, including spiritual awakening in many traditions, often accompanied with mystical experiences. Only recently has the cognitive neuroscience been developed to determine how each of these powerful approaches operates in/on the brain.

Just released work on psilocybin in one of the most prestigious journals done at some of the world’s top universities is the first known scientific investigation to reveal the operations of the centers and networks in the brain involved in generating the effects of psilocybin. The latest fMRI technology and arterial spin labeling perfusion have been coupled to determine what the cerebral blood flow in individual brain centers is and how those centers are activated and coupled with other centers as the psilocybin levels are increased.

Comparing this work with the latest work coupling cognitive neuroscience and meditation, the astonishing finding is that the same centers involved in generating the transcendent and mystical effects in meditation are the same ones that are manipulated by psilocybin.

Not only that, but recent studies on the mystical experiences of persistently non-dual meditators as measured by the Hood Mystical Scale show that some of these meditators score at the highest possible score; a group of them has the highest average on this scale. Surprisingly, the group that had the average mystical score closest to the persistent non-dual meditators was the psychedelics.

The amazing conclusion is that both non-dual meditation and magic mushrooms produce very similar or the same mystical experiences by the same cognitive neuroscientific route.

Comments

kwixotic says:

Is there any evidence that self inquiry can lead to a reduced size of the amygdala. I ask because research done at Stanford by the noted neurobiologist Sapolsky has shown that stressed out pregnant mothers secrete a hormone which can result in an enlarged amygdala and later, chronic anxiety in their offspring. So if regions of the brain are activated through self inquiry
their influence might be enough to offset the influence of this enlarged amygdala, right?(I wouldn't include magic mushrooms as having that same effect).

Ky Le says:

Hi Gary, is there anyway I can privately chat with you about meditation/stillness , I already practice meditation, just want to ask you a few more specific questions regarding it

valar says:

If I take small doses of psilocybin, all of my buried anxiety surfaces, and then I can process it. If I continue down this path it will be very helpful in purification. But my nervous system is too delicate for even moderate doses as of yet. At 1 mg, I suffered a panic attack and had to take Valium to calm down. But at 0.3-0.5 mg I was able to process the anxiety in a controlled fashion.

Ruben Evensen says:

"The amazing conclusion is that both non-dual meditation and magic mushrooms produce very similar or the same mystical experiences by the same cognitive neuroscientific route."

This is obviously false. There are many hallucinations, both visual and auditory while taking mushrooms among other drugs. It's true that they provoke the part of the brain responsible for creating the sense of self, but it affects other areas aswell.

If you want the non-dual experience without much of the bullshit that people get caught up in while on drugs, 5-MEO-DMT is supposedly the best drug in existence.

Catherine Suraya Prem says:

I have no blah,blah Gary or very little. Also memories changed in the way of no emotional charge what so ever, and the experience of time has also changed. Now predominates over any past/ future orientation, which is minimal.

carpo719 says:

As many of the other comments have mentioned , Psilocybin may very well be a valid vehicle for attaining the state of awareness. The question is not whether mushrooms can help us attain it permanently, but rather whether nature wants us to attend permanently at all. The still state of mind is a preferred one, although without the chaotic state of mind is still mind would not exist. The idea is not to eliminate thought but rather to control the thoughts that you do have, and allow them to flow when needed. This is not duality, but rather experiencing ups and downs which are what give our lives the contrast needed to really have an experience. If everyone were the same, and everyone had a still mind, we can imagine it may be a great world…….. in fact, it is pushing more towards the cookie-cutter lifestyle that our society is already imposing upon us. We are seeing that we should be in some meditative state for our lives, but the experience of life itself requires a chaotic mind.

assbitchfucky says:

It's hard actually wanting to take the time to listen to you when you haven't even done mushrooms.

EineFaserImGewebeDesLebens says:

Hi Gary,
i have one question, what do you say about for example Eckhart Tolle? I mean because he never practiced any meditation and became awaken. How do you explane this?

wakko9warner says:

Mushrooms helped me learn how to overcome my autism and become a better human.

Gary Weber says:

Actually, i have not seen anyone get to the permanent state of no "blah, blah" w/psychedelics alone, whether it was cannabis or any of the serotonergic psycheledics – LSD, ayahuasca, mushrooms/psilocybin, mescaline, etc.  i know one folk who has done > 2000 trips on LSD w/high dose levels w/o meditation, and he hasn't made it.  Some exposure to psychedelics may support awakening, perhaps b/c the states experienced are very similar and when then are encountered in meditation they are familiar, but it doesn't get you all the way; we're not sure why yet. There is much work @ Johns Hopkins now on mushrooms +/- meditation that may give us some insights.  FYI, i remain a virgin on psychedelics, so they aren't necessary.  stillness

elvergon Ht says:

mushrooms will do the job … true cleaningness… for example people with real pain . and meditation is just a daily dose such like weed .. enlightment in a few words

PuppetMaster says:

I've known this for a while.

The Psychonaut says:

what we knew all along

Shannon Stair Beamon says:

I am interested to know if you spoke with Jack Herer about your research and his?

Tom Vermeersch says:

Gary, are mushrooms able to create a permanent state (like you experience) where the bla bla bla never comes back?

Guido Biancari says:

Awesome! nice info

NG Providence says:

Great info. Thoroughly enjoyed it. Thx.

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