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16
Just Shmooze / Re: Dimeththyltryptamine (DMT) & Halacha
« on: January 13, 2020, 01:13:16 AM »
Hello,

This is my first post to your great forum. I would like to weigh in regarding the discussion of DMT (and other psychedelics) and Judaism

My name is Rick Strassman, and I live in New Mexico. I'm a psychiatrist, having got my M.D. at Albert Einstein in the Bronx, and psychiatric training in California and New Mexico.

While at the University of New Mexico, I ran the first new human studies with psychedelic drugs in a generation, from 1990 to 1995. We focused on DMT. This was because DMT is made in human body and I thought it might be involved with naturally occurring nondrug, altered states of consciousness--including ones considered spiritual, religious, or mystical. I believed the pineal gland might be involved, and sketched out a relevant scenario. My first book, DMT: The Spirit Molecule came out in 2001 and describes that research.

I was raised Conservative, but took a long detour through Zen Buddhism, over 20 years, and that was the spiritual perspective I brought to bear in my studies. It turned out to not be an especially useful spiritual model, though.

I began studying Tanakh searching for a better understanding of my findings, and found that the DMT effect and the prophetic experience shared phenomenological features. What Rambam would perhaps describe as shared imaginative contents. However, the information or knowledge that people in my study received and communicated was not of a religious character.

I wrote a book about my analysis of the DMT state through the lens of Torah: DMT and the Soul of Prophecy. In it, I suggest that the imaginative contents of prophecy may be biologically mediated by elevated endogenous DMT, but the resemblance between prophetic experience is only superficial, not substantive.

On the other hand, carefully supervised sessions combining Torah study, etc. with a psychedelic drug--in order to increase one's imaginative strength--may turn out to have some benefit.

Hey Rick!
I have not read your book but I watched the documentary, loved it!!
I actually had some theories about the connection of the Pineal gland and DMT, and was nice to see it was mentioned in the documentary!
Great job, btw not that you implied this at all but just want to reiterate that Aryeh Kaplan writes clearly "While some writers have tried to demonstrate, that the prophets engaged in drug experiences, there is no objective evidence, either from the biblical text or from the classical literature, that such substances were involved"...
I look forward to reading your book "DMT and the soul of Prophecy"
Take care!

17
Just Shmooze / Re: Dimeththyltryptamine (DMT) & Halacha
« on: January 10, 2020, 11:29:00 AM »
as sure as I am that (these) tzadikim did reach הפשטת הגשמיות and transcended the limited perspective of גוף and גשמיות,
I am that much more certain that it was achieved solely by the power of focus and דביקות,

and that any 'sensation' that is achieved without that, by mere physical stimulants is not part of עבודת השם, nor an actual escape from anything phsyical.
it is another 'trip' or 'high' within the framework of גוף ונפש הבהמית albeit one that -in specific proper circumstances- can be conducive to inspiration.
if that is an experience that you're seekingbut let's not make this into a מראה הנבואה...

Very, very, well said.
But believe it or not I agree with all this, and that is precisely my point, that hafshatas hagashmiyus through the real way, is pretty much out of my league, previous generations were able to reach those heights and obviously that is the real thing. But experiencing the feeling of Hafshatas Hagashmius is something I envy to at least once, be able to feel, so yes absolutely you`re right this is totally within the framework of guf and nefesh habhamius, I know very well that I wont have achieved any lofty madreiga, but is that a reason not to at least get the inspiration of the sensation of Hafshatas hagashmius, it may be non deserved and forcefully obtained, is that a bad thing though? (so yes, I`ll have the "Nahama D`kisufa that comes along with it.)

And when you say "the power of focus and dveikus" that is exactly what I said , through "Advanced meditation" it`s the same thing, meditation is just blocking out all stimuli  and directing your focus on your thought. It`s Hisbonenus with the addition of hisbodedus of the other thoughts, thats all. So yes, previous Tzadikim were able to reach those levels during Tfillah, at will, unfortuantely I personally cant get anywhere near that, .
(The Chasam Sofer was known to touch the walls while he davened Shmona esrei, he said that sometimes he feels like he is ascending to much and has to touch the walls to bring himself back to reality..)

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Just Shmooze / Re: Dimeththyltryptamine (DMT) & Halacha
« on: January 09, 2020, 04:01:36 PM »
@Philosophypsychologypsych

And if you do, since this is DDF, please post a TR!

It will be interesting to see how your description of it will evolve after the experience, considering how much was written until now.

If and when I do, I give you my word I`ll share my "Trip" report.
It wouldnt be in the USA I wouldnt do it illegally and not looking to join the Ayahuasca approved temples in the US lol, so would have to be when I traveled to one of the many countries that it is legal and have DMT clinics..

19
Just Shmooze / Re: Dimeththyltryptamine (DMT) & Halacha
« on: January 08, 2020, 04:43:05 PM »
I don't want to get bogged down in the labels - spiritual, psychological, transcendent, etc. Whether or not pursuing the experience DMT or whatever provides is a contradiction to Torah hashkafa, I don't know for sure. But I would say that viewing the experience of true avodas Hashem as somehow lacking something (something worth pursuing),that another experience (like DMT) provides seems like a contradiction to Torah hashkafa.
But the real truth is that you are right though, in reality, there is no spiritual level that exists somewhere else that cant be attained through  tfillah or avodas hashem.
So if you read Rabbi  Aryeh kaplan you will see that all the tzadikim of previous generations, and even the big chasidishe rabbis of the last generation DID INDEED engage themselves in very advanced forms of meditation where one can obviously attain these ecstatic states of consciousness as well.
The RAM"A Mipano one of the most famous kabbalist actually passed away from a deep meditation when his shames forgot to wake him up from his trance.
These things may seem very foreign, but it is a FACT that this was very much a central facet in yiddishkeit as any reader of R` Kaplans books would come to agree with very quickly.

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Just Shmooze / Re: Dimeththyltryptamine (DMT) & Halacha
« on: January 08, 2020, 04:34:52 PM »
I don't want to get bogged down in the labels - spiritual, psychological, transcendent, etc. Whether or not pursuing the experience DMT or whatever provides is a contradiction to Torah hashkafa, I don't know for sure. But I would say that viewing the experience of true avodas Hashem as somehow lacking something (something worth pursuing),that another experience (like DMT) provides seems like a contradiction to Torah hashkafa.

You`re missing the point, I was not suggesting one over the other, absolutely Avodas hashem is important and is not getting dropped, just saying that having a DMT experience one time can give someone something that otherwise cannot be attained through tfillah, never suggested one being a substitute for the other.

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Just Shmooze / Re: Dimeththyltryptamine (DMT) & Halacha
« on: January 08, 2020, 03:07:19 PM »
I concur, it may lead you towards a spirtual journey that may lead you astray from your current journey.
I strongly disagree. Psychedelics (used in therapeutic settings) have been proven to be the most effective cessation method for narcotics and other addictions.

Dr. James Fadiman discusses this in his book 'The Explorers Guide to Psychedelics, and Dr. Richard Luis Miller covers this in his book; Psychedelic Medicine.

I wrote a thread that is slightly on topic here: https://okclarity.com/forums/topic/are-doctors-responsible-for-substance-abuse-addiction/

Isn`t that a similar argument as saying one should not learn philosophical seforim like Chovos Halvavos Shaar Yichud Hamaaseh, or Moreh Nevuchim, etc since we dont know where his journey or conclusions will end?
In which usually the answer is, that if you`re grounded in your hashkafahs and are coming with an open yet closed-minded view that you aren't making conclusions based off your understanding itself, and that just because you dont understand a given answer that does not give you the right to make your own conclusions etc, which is why it is accepted to learn philosophy seforim, I would think that argument would apply to this situation as well, dont you think?

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Just Shmooze / Re: Dimeththyltryptamine (DMT) & Halacha
« on: January 08, 2020, 02:38:10 PM »
Maybe it's just me, but saying that Torah and tefilah, even at their highest levels of intensity, could be considered 'mundane' in comparison to literally anything else doesn't sound very grounded in Judaism. For something to be divine and truly spiritual I would think means that it makes you close to Hashem. The Torah tells us how to get close to Hashem - Torah, tefilah, chessed, etc.
Good point, "Mundane" was clearly a poor choice of words, let me clarify!
I can assure you, I dont have any lack of chashivus whatsoever towards torah and tfillah, what I meant was, that regardless of your level of kavanah, at the end of the day, it`s not a spiritually transcending experience, in the sense, that any person from any religion can believe in something and pray to it intensely, would you say that a Muslim studying the Quran diligently, and after a long 3 our sader britzifus, feels good about what he just did, and perhaps was mechadesh a chidush and feels all enlightened, would you categorize that as a spiritual feeling he had as well?
It`s very hard to categorize a feeling of dveikus in davening as an actual spiritual feeling instead of a psychological one, that since we believe in hashem and yiddishkeit, and that our ultimate tachlis and goal is to advance in torah and tfilah, hence, when we actually do that and have a good sader or good tfillah naturally you have this feeling of true happiness since that is ultimately your ideal goal.
What i`m referring to is an experience that transcends reality, either through Meditation or DMT, or someone who has a near death experience etc, these are experiences that are`nt ruled by the law of physics and are`nt psychological or emotional feelings, scientifically there really is no explanation to these things, that is an experience that to me is fascinating and would love to know what it is like...BUT im speaking of a 1 time experience, whether it is by partaking in a controlled clinical test trial or while travelling ina foreign country etc, but let`s leave the getting involved in drugs and addiction stuff out of this, ofcourse if one feels their was that concern, then that`s a whole other conversation.
I`m merely questioning whether doing or wanting to have such an experience, is in any way a contradiction with our hashkafah (mainstream in the box maybe not) or perhaps not?

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Just Shmooze / Re: Dimeththyltryptamine (DMT) & Halacha
« on: January 08, 2020, 09:57:54 AM »
I spent some time in the Amazon Jungle last year and was seriously considering writing a TR but I feel a big part of the audience here is not 'conscious' enough to hear me out.

As a side note, I met a (semi famous) Native Indian Chief who told me that he led a peyote ceremony for a 'group of rabbis' from LA...

Seems like the audience is perhaps a bit more "conscious" then you think and are genuinely interested in hearing more!
How many comments will it take for you to reconsider?!

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Just Shmooze / Re: Dimeththyltryptamine (DMT) & Halacha
« on: January 08, 2020, 09:54:47 AM »
I 'know someone' who has tried large doses of LSD, Mushrooms, Ahuywasca, MDMA and other psychedelics, psychotropics, nootropics as well as alternative healing methods... 'he' has had out of body experiences, transcended levels and had life changing revelations....all in search for a closer relationship with hashem and stronger emunah...while I admit that it has made 'him' a better person in general, I cannot say that it made 'him' a better Jew.

My advice, if it ain't broke, don't fix it. If you are a true believer and are constantly working on reaching higher levels and improving yourself, you have no need to search for alternative methods. Everything you need is in torah/kabbalah. Want something divine? be experiential on shabbos. Read R' Chaim Miller's translation of Kegavna (Raza D'Shabbos). Learn some Tanya, Likutei Moharan, the Bahir, Zohar, etc.

Very interesting, I either do, or have learned all the seforim you mentioned plus many others in that category, Leshem, Mishnas Chasidim, Shefa tal, Pardes Rimonim etc on a daily basis, and although, yes, you have a point, that you can experience joy in your shabbos or avodas hashem, I just think it`s inaccurate to label it as a transcending experience, (As in a near death or out of body etc where it`s clearly non physical) so although you may get to an elevated state of happiness, perhaps even ecstatic (Which I believe is not connected to spirituality per se in any way, since one can excite themselves about whatever it is he may choose, say Art, or Math etc, but just because you choose to excite yourself in regards to shabbos, that would not label your joy as a spiritual transcending phenomenon, IMHO) , but there is a whole other concept of experiencing the devine either through Advanced Meditation or with psychoactives, I dont mean to say I want to start doing drugs, I never have and never will (Be"h) I meant as a one time thing to try Ayahusca/DMT as a one time experience to see what a real spiritual experience feels like is just very appealing to me, and was curious if anyone had anything to share from either a personal experience or their thoughts about it...
Take care!

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Just Shmooze / Re: What Were Your Favorite DansDeals Of The Decade?
« on: January 01, 2020, 07:51:58 PM »
Last Years "New Years Eve" present from Cathay Pacific, 2 Trips in First Class  :) booked b4 Dan posted it but some ppl must have gotten it from here so that should count...

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Just Shmooze / Re: Dimeththyltryptamine (DMT) & Halacha
« on: December 31, 2019, 07:55:05 PM »
Did you read the book Meditation and the Bible?

If you do plan on any spiritual experience outside of Judaism, I would recommend seriously practicing meditation and visualization techniques described by Rabbi Aryeh Kaplan an others.

Only if you've been serious In a regiment in these (not just studying Kabbalah, but experiencing Jewish spirituality) and still want more would I recommend going to other places.

Specifically I would recommend (as an introduction) visions of a compassionate world by Menachem ekstien and then Visualization and imagery by Rabbi dov ber pinson.

Your debates about the concepts of Kabbalah is a different discussion to actually doing DMT. That's why I believe that it's important to have spiritual Jewish experiences first, putting aside a scholarly study in Kabbalah.

All in all, I'm still interested in what you would think if you do go ahead with it... It's just something that I wouldn't go for at this time.

U deff seem to have researched and studied meditation perhaps still practicing as well, I'd love to hear more honestly... :)

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Just Shmooze / Re: Dimeththyltryptamine (DMT) & Halacha
« on: December 31, 2019, 07:52:43 PM »
+1
There's a response from the Lubavitcher Rebbe regarding a similar question, not pro the concept of using external influences to further the study of Kaballa & chassidus. I can't find it right now, so I won't (mis)quote it.

I agree. And the original post about wanting to try DMT to have such an experience once, was a long time ago, now I was just discussing the study of kabbla but not that I believe the study of Kabbalah should be along with these foreign influences at all, I agree with what your saying 100% and the quote from the lubavitcher rabbi might have been mentioned quoted actually way back when this article was posted, a comment on the first page or two I believe.

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Just Shmooze / Re: Dimeththyltryptamine (DMT) & Halacha
« on: December 31, 2019, 07:32:32 PM »
Did you read the book Meditation and the Bible?

If you do plan on any spiritual experience outside of Judaism, I would recommend seriously practicing meditation and visualization techniques described by Rabbi Aryeh Kaplan an others.

Only if you've been serious In a regiment in these (not just studying Kabbalah, but experiencing Jewish spirituality) and still want more would I recommend going to other places.

Specifically I would recommend (as an introduction) visions of a compassionate world by Menachem ekstien and then Visualization and imagery by Rabbi dov ber pinson.

Your debates about the concepts of Kabbalah is a different discussion to actually doing DMT. That's why I believe that it's important to have spiritual Jewish experiences first, putting aside a scholarly study in Kabbalah.

All in all, I'm still interested in what you would think if you do go ahead with it... It's just something that I wouldn't go for at this time.

I have it's sitting on the table near my bed, I've read every one of his books more then just once, and don't get me wrong I'm not looking for other spiritualities whatsoever, I'm fully grounded in my yiddishkeit completely, spiritually and philosophically, I'm not actively persuing anything outside yiddishkeit, just meditation which obviously we are both aware is a very Jewish concept as portrayed so clearly by Aryeh Kaplan.
BUT I would be lying if I told you at the end of the day the idea to ACTUALLY have a transcdental experience not a acid trip but a ligit out of body experience the likes of which ppl who almost die attest too (which can be induced at DMT clinic) is still something that excites and boggles my mind to no end, and although it's not practical I keep thinking to myself that one day when I pass through a country that happens to have such clinics, I aught to try for myself just once!
Maybe you've reached the advanced levels of meditation and can reach a transcdental state on your own, if, so lucky you!
But I have not mastered that yet, and until then, this idea of having a real life truly non-physical and unexplainable purely spiritual experience is something I envy!
Something about going through life the way it is, even the best parts of it, even an elated feeling of an intense Torah study session, or a real prayer done with full devotion, to me is still all considered mundane in comparison.
What should I do, It's just some sort of yearning feeling for something Devine and truly spiritual, not so easy to put into words I guess...
But no worries I'm not straying and going outside the religion I am totally grounded in my Judaism.

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Just Shmooze / Re: Dimeththyltryptamine (DMT) & Halacha
« on: December 31, 2019, 11:11:45 AM »
I think you have a fundamental misunderstanding of what kabala actually is, what the point of it is, and who is actually "supposed to learn it."

Well I`m more then happy to debate it with you, although my views are in line with all the mainsteam shitos (rather then say for example, the abraham abulafian views) as I have spent a significant amount of time studying it, and I doubt you can say the same, but dont believe you know what my views are in the first place, so lets hear what my never stated views are, in regards to what kabala is, and what the point of it is, then lets see why its wrong and then please enlighten us with the/your truth?

BTW in case your intrested to hear in just a few words what the point of kabala is, the answer is the same as the other parts of torah in the sense that you can be like chasidim who would channel the kabbalah directly into how it relates to their avodas hashem, theres the ramchal that its a way of understanding hashems hanhagah of the briyah, you can use it to understand the real meaning of tfillah as im sure you know the entire davening and pesukei dzimrah was composed based on kabbalistic ideas, (Pesukei dzimra is all just about cutting out the klipos to pave a path for your actual tfilah to ascend undeterred etc..) their is no one point to any other part of torah either. Hafuch va Vhafuch va Dkulah Buh! right??

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Just Shmooze / Re: Dimeththyltryptamine (DMT) & Halacha
« on: December 31, 2019, 10:54:48 AM »
I just jumped into this conversation now, but I definitely think you're making some good points. The taboo is definitely misunderstood, and study of kaballah is largely ignored by most Jews.

If you're writing this, you probably read it already, but if you haven't, definitely read aryeh kaplan's Jewish Meditation, and then Meditation and the Bible. (I personally haven't read the third one, but you can give it a try if you're committed to this.) It's a shame he's not around anymore, but there are definitely contemporaries who can help you with Kabbalah. I read one of Rabbi Dov Ber Pinson's books and it was amazing (even though I'm not chabad).

(As for trying DMT, I definitely wouldn't look at it as a religious experience, but certainly a discovery experience, possibly spiritual.
It definitely sounds exciting, perhaps scary, and definitely crazy. Seems like most of the people here are staunchly against it, but I'm sure that we're all curious to hear your experiences if you do try it. That'll make for some TR.)

I have bought every one of Aryeh Kaplans stuff, including the practical guide to jewish meditation, and Meditation and kabbalah, and inner Space, he was truly a genius with a remarkable talent.
BTW, most people dont know but Aryeh kaplan wrote only 1 short safer/kuntrus in HEBREW on Kabbalah/machshavah on primarily tzimtzum and and the Yediah/Bechirah paradox every other one of his 50+ books are english, this hasnt been in print or in circulation for over 20 years, have never seen the actual safer anywhere, but I obtained a pdf file and went through it, it`s called Moreh Ohr, if anyones intrested lmk I can share the file.

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