Magic Mushrooms at the Intersection of Science and Spirituality
Science and spirituality have long been considered worlds apart. Science, as we know it, attempts to study and understand what our physical eyes can see or what our modern-day gadgets can detect. It attempts to understand the mechanics behind why things work the way they do, and how they all relate. If our logical mind understands it, it must be true. If it fits within our ‘box’, it becomes a part of our reality and is considered ‘fact’.
Spirituality, on the other hand, is all about the unseen. It requires a certain faith and ‘knowing’, which requires mastering of one’s intuitive abilities. It requires an understanding that there is more to our world than meets the eye and that there are constantly otherworldly forces at play. It attempts to understand how our consciousness plays a role in all of this, and following this path is like having one foot in this world and the other foot in another world. We eventually learn how to bridge the two worlds together and understand how they affect and interact.
Certain naturally-occurring substances are believed to help bridge these two worlds together, and this belief goes back thousands of years, in civilizations all over the world. There are many psychedelics that can bring on one of these mystical experiences, however we will be discussing magic mushrooms in this article.
Why Magic Mushrooms?
The substance found in magic mushrooms- psilocybin- has long been used to induce psychedelic experiences by ancient civilizations, shamans, medicine people, and now medical practitioners, as well as common, everyday people. These psychedelic experiences have mostly been described as mystical, spiritual, healing, euphoric, and magical. Psilocybin has been and continues to be studied by scientists all over the world. The results continue to astound us, so much so that now many countries around the world are implementing psilocybin therapy as part of a medical treatment regimen for those that need it.
Spirituality’s Therapeutic Properties
The study of mysticism in psychedelics dates back to the early days of psychedelic research in the 1960s at Harvard, where a Ph.D. student named Walter Pahnke administered psilocybin to several seminary students in an effort to examine how the drug-facilitated a religious experience under the supervision of Timothy Leary and Richard Alpert (later known as Ram Dass).
Even earlier, Abraham Maslow, the famed psychologist, proposed a relationship between psychological health and the peak experiences created by religious practice.
Dr. Charles L. Raison, Director of Research on Spiritual Health at Emory University in Atlanta, is quoted as describing spirituality as “a universal human hunger to find purpose, to find meaning, to find a way that things interconnect in the world around us that makes us feel that our lives are something worth living.” There is and always has been this innate yearning inside of us to connect with the world and understand deeper things. With all the chaos of everyday life and the stresses and pressures stemming from the responsibilities and debts we have, it’s challenging to find time to connect with the world around us and go within. Psychedelics like magic mushrooms act as a tool to take us there quickly and effortlessly.
According to Dr. Albert Garcia-Romeu, an assistant professor at Johns Hopkins University and a member of the university’s Center for Psychedelic and Consciousness Research, the mystical effects produced by psychedelics have been universally linked to advantages in a variety of different populations, including those with depression, cancer patients, and people with various substance use disorders, such as alcoholism and tobacco addiction.
How Could Scientists Even Measure a Mystical Experience?
The nature of the psychedelic experience itself is fundamentally unknown and mysterious, and some researchers believe that the “mystical” or “spiritual” component that psychedelic “trips” elicit could be the key to understanding their therapeutic potential. For many researchers, the mystery behind the mystical aspect of psychedelics is the most intriguing, and most spend the majority of their time studying it.
Methods for deciphering the mystical elements of a patient’s experience have been established by researchers who are researching the impact of psychedelic chemicals on the human psyche. The “Mystical Experience Questionnaire,” a tool created in an effort to comprehend the complex feelings brought on by psychedelics and other spirituality-inducing substances, is one instrument that is frequently utilized in this research.
The Awe Experience Scale is another. The word “awe,” which is defined as “the awareness of vastness and the urge to integrate this enormity into existing mental models,” is frequently used to characterize one of the fundamental elements of the mystical experience.
Nicola Tesla said, “The day science begins to study non-physical phenomena, it will make more progress in one decade than in all the previous centuries of its existence.” Put simply, spirituality is just science we don’t yet understand. As scientists continue to study non-physical phenomena using more advanced technology, more will be understood about ourselves, the universe, and how we are connected.
Psychedelics like magic mushrooms have existed for such a long time that we don’t even know when the first one came into existence. They are as much a part of our planet as we are to them, and many ancient cultures believed (and continue to believe) that Mother Earth provides for us with all we need. Plants, herbs, and fungi like magic mushrooms were believed to be Mother Earth’s way of providing us with medicine and a means to connect with the other realms of existence. As we move along in our evolution and bridge the gap between our physical world and the unseen world around us, our knowledge deepens as we discover how interconnected we are to each other and everything around us.
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