18 QUESTION: What is the state of ecstasy?
ANSWER: In the state of ecstasy a person experiences divine forces, divine beings, or even God. That cannot happen very easily. But when people seriously work on the mystic path, the time comes when this must happen too.
QUESTION: Can it be induced by drugs?
ANSWER: Not in that way; that is false ecstasy. You have certain little and insignificant ecstasies in your world. You may call it an ecstatic experience when you eat a good meal, for that matter, or when you drink a good wine, or when you enjoy anything. It is only a question of degree. Ecstasy in that sense can never be induced by artificial means.
Only a person who has experienced it can confirm the vast and tremendous difference between the ecstasy of experiencing God and anything else on Earth or in heaven. This ecstasy has nothing to do with imagination or the subconscious, neither can it be reproduced by artificial means. That would be completely senseless, illogical, and against any law in the universe. You can only have very poor substitutes, very poor ones.
Only through personal endeavor, development, purification can real ecstasy happen. When your higher self becomes free of the layers of your lower self, it shines through to such a strong degree that it can mate with divine forces; it is thus prepared in quality for the influx of divine currents. Then the real ecstasy can happen, not otherwise.
QA114 QUESTION: In connection with the recognition of the barriers mentioned in Lecture 114 [Lecture #114 Struggle: Healthy or Unhealthy], which prevent the feelings, emotions, from coming to the surface, apparently it is sometimes extremely difficult to open these barriers, to let some of these feelings come up. The resistance sometimes is tremendous. People have often complained of what you might call cast-iron resistance. In this connection, I would like to ask you about some experiments that were done with a chemical called Lysergic Acid, LSD, which apparently enables people, at least those who possess some degree of self-knowledge, to visualize, or to feel some of these resistances in themselves. What do you think of these experiments?
ANSWER: Well, I once was asked that in a private session, but since it was a private session, I will repeat what I said, here in public. In itself it can be a good thing. But it depends very much how it is used. If it is not used with a proper assistance and guidance of people who have a great deal of experience in it, it can have a damaging effect.
But if it is used with such experience, for many people – not for all, but for many people – it may have a very beneficial effect of breaking down the barriers. I say “not for all,” because there are some cases where the abrupt lowering of barriers and defenses is so unbearable that a crisis may come about. And in such a temperament or case, it could still be used if such a person would be hospitalized let us say, for a while, under constant supervision.
I do not mean necessarily hospitalized in the usual sense of the hospital, but would reside permanently for that time in a place where there is constant supervision. Other people might not have that, and it will take humanity a while until enough experience is gained to distinguish which is which case, to make the proper arrangements, and to train sufficient people who have the experience for it.
I want to add on something more – apropos of lowering the resistance – and this may be useful for all my friends. This, perhaps not in as dramatic and sudden a way, can also be done by cultivating it in a more aware and systematic procedure.
For instance, before you go to sleep every day, maybe take a few minutes on your resistance. Observe in your daily review, how you attempted to quickly and glibly go over something that has disturbed you; how you attempted to, when you have a dream, forget about it; how you react at certain occasions; how you block at certain occasions.
Observe your resistance every day, and meditate every day on wanting to remove it, wanting to face the truth no matter what. Cultivate the thought that the truth in you cannot possibly harm you, meditating on the idea that your emotions believe this is so, but these emotions are erroneous.
In other words, devote a few minutes every day to your resistance. Train yourself to remove it, observing yourself where it exists. Observe your wrong conclusions, as far as resistance is concerned, in believing that a truth will harm you. Even if you do not think this thought, your reaction is accordingly; catch this reaction, and think the right thought without repressing the erroneous emotion.
If this would be done every day for a few minutes, and all the resistances noted, all of you could advance even faster than the fastest ones of you.
QA128 QUESTION: What is the interrelationship between the mind and the brain? Specifically, how is it possible that mental illness can be treated with drugs? I remember once you said that, for instance, schizophrenia is a result of lack of love. Now, if this is so, then how is it possible that this can be influenced by chemical methods?
ANSWER: There are two questions which I will answer. First, I will answer the last question. Love is the key to life and to all Creation. Where love does not exist, disharmony comes into existence. Any kind of disharmony, whether it is strife, struggle, conflict, material needs, physical illness, or mental illness, in the last analysis, every kind of difficulty or suffering or pain is a result of a misunderstanding, misconceptions.
All misconceptions somehow, when you analyze them closely, violate love – in ignorance, but nevertheless, this is so. It would be the same with any other kind of illness. Any kind of illness is a result of misconceptions. Misconceptions are the result of not understanding the love of the universe and therefore of not being able to live the law of love in a healthy, realistic sense. Does that answer the one question?
QUESTION: How do those children’s diseases that almost every child gets come in here?
ANSWER: But you know, my dear, a child brings its unresolved problems into this world. The problems do not accrue in this life. Besides, even if we do not speak of deep inner, unresolved psychic, psychological or spiritual problems, living creates certain pressures, creates difficulties.
If a personality wants to evade certain responsibilities, which even exist in childhood, or does not know how to cope with certain pressures, it may retreat into illness, which manifests, for instance, in being susceptible to an illness with a lowered resistance.
It may be so frightened by a certain situation or apprehensive of certain difficulties it feels it cannot master, that something in the physical resistance goes wrong and makes the organism open for germs or for accidents or for any kind of illness, even apart from an already-existing inner problem.
When existing inner problems add on to the pressures of everyday life, to the imperfection of the current situation, this is even aggravated. According to the personality type – the characteristics of the individual – illness may be more frequent. With others, other ways of quote “coping” may be chosen.
Now, as to the other question, the difference between the mind and the brain. The brain is the physical instrument through which part of the mind manifests. The mind is a much vaster organism. You know you have a conscious and an unconscious and a semiconscious mind, or a subconscious mind. There are many areas of the mind.
The mind is consciousness at work; it is the instrument of consciousness, including the thinking processes, the processes of reactions – even the processes of will are part of mind. Mind is something vaster and intangible from the point of view of the material world. You cannot see the mind or touch it, but you certainly can see and touch the brain through which part of the mind manifests and demonstrates.
Any kind of illness, mental or physical, can be helped by medication to establish a certain balance so that then negative manifestations are relieved. If in such a state the personality would really go to the root of the problem that creates the illness, and find the wrong conclusion that is behind the illness, then the illness could truly be cured or healed.
When this is not the case, only the manifestations or the symptoms can be momentarily relieved. Let us say an organ is sick. The sickness creates a certain pain. If you take a pain-removing drug, you have a certain relief. And in that relief, you may be capable of doing what is necessary to get to the root of that physical illness. While when you are writhing in pain, you are incapacitated, you cannot do anything. It is the same thing here.
Any kind of outer cure is only a removal of symptoms. It is up to the individual to go further, or to just remain with the relief the removal of symptoms brings.
QUESTION: Is it strictly up to the individual, in a situation when they seem to have gained maybe a tentative balance again? Is there anything that anyone else would dare do to try to help them?
ANSWER: When it comes to the real liberation and the attaining of selfhood, one cannot help. One can only help another person to prepare a climate conducive for this. But the step has to be undertaken by each individual – even the will has to come.
The further removed one is from the kernel of his own being, from selfhood, the harder it is to summon the necessary willpower. Because the more self-alienation exists, the less one is in possession of one’s self.
So it is often necessary – not because it is so ordained, but as a question of law that takes its cause and effect – to go through stages of self-removal and its consequent suffering until the will can be summoned to establish selfhood, to go into the direction that is necessary in order to do so. But in the final analysis, this has to come from the self. No one else can do it.
QUESTION: Could LSD open the psychic forces?
ANSWER: Well, there are many kinds of psychic forces, my dear. You all continuously use psychic forces in your everyday life. Do you particularly think of psychic phenomenon now?
QUESTION: That’s right. Open the psyche.
ANSWER: Well, it depends. It could, if it is done indiscriminately and unwisely, in a negative sense. And it can do that in a positive and desirable sense, if such measures are taken sparingly and under the very exceptional and right circumstances, and with proper guidance and supervision.
QA133 QUESTION: What can you say about the use of drugs to increase the awareness of a person, and therefore to help him see his problems and resolve them?
ANSWER: You see, it depends so very, very much on a number of circumstances. Number one, I would say it depends very much on the personality, the type of character structure and the problem involved. With some people with certain problems and certain characteristics or temperaments, occasionally such a measure may be of help; with other people it might not be of help at all; and with others it might even be harmful.
The second consideration is, under what circumstances is such a thing done and how is it then used. Very, very expert conditions, specific conditions, and people very much experienced in this particular area have to prevail. And the third consideration here is the attitude with which one approaches it.
Now, with many, many people, the attitude is the line of least resistance. Then it will not be of benefit or at least not of lasting benefit. Or people will experience something and then they will think, “Well, this is it,” and it will simmer away again.
For the principle is exactly the same as what you experience in this work and that is the following thing, my friend. The usual rhythm of growing – it applies whether there are drugs involved or no drugs involved – is that a recognition is made. With drugs it comes perhaps in a shock, quickly, through a very strong impact. Without drugs, it comes through certain work, preliminary work, that has to be gone through.
Now, when this recognition is made, if it is on a deep enough level, it is momentarily great relief. All the energies surge up. Hope blossoms where hopelessness existed; strength and energy vibrate where there was inactivity and stagnation; life looks different – the color of life is different; the smell of life is different.
But if the real working through is not maintained – work not in a hard chaffing way but, as I said, in changing the emphasis from what will be to what is now – then discouragement and disillusion sets in. For this recognition now does not remain final and forever.
In the next day something new – a new mood – has taken place, and if one wants to still apply yesterday’s recognition and liberation, it no longer works. Then one becomes discouraged, thinking, “Now I have reached the goal.”
It is the whole attitude of goal-reaching that is then so misleading, and that may be even more crass than a person’s achievement of momentary liberation through drugs. Then they think, “Well, this is it; now I have it.” But it dissolves again, and after a few months, one has remained behind where one should be, according to one’s full potential of growth.
Now, this may sound like, “What a hardship to constantly have to work!” But it isn’t work. What you are inadvertently doing, all of you, is much harder work than what I propose to do, for you say, “I should feel this way and I already ought to be there,” and you try to manipulate your feelings. And that is work!
While what I said is not work. It is just vigilance and awareness – the slight effort of trying to translate into words what one feels now. Then you’re always in the Now; then you are always in keeping with your potential of growth, your Pathwork.
Today it will be this, and tomorrow it will be something else, without chafing, without laboring. This is a very misleading thing. It stems from the whole basic attitude toward life in the feeling of what ought to be, “waiting until I got there or I’ve reached this or I will be there,” and therefore always overlooking what is, because one always thinks each state is final.
As one feels the negativity is final and therefore one is hopeless, so one feels, “One day I will have the positive state and then that will be final.” And one looks forward to that. That is just as erroneous, for if the positive state were final, life would indeed be very dull. It is no hardship to be in a dynamic continuous process of growth, and therefore in a continuous process of being in the Now.
Now, I seem to have deviated from the question, but it gets us right back to where we are. An immediate impact such as a drug can afford maybe temporarily and exceptionally be of benefit, but I would not prescribe it as a permanent or as an always advisable thing.
It may have its gravest effects for a number of personalities. And it is certainly then much more advisable to work it out like this, for it is always possible to do so.
QUESTION: An author wrote about his experiences during such a drug-induced trance, and he describes the beautiful things he sees and the power in his unconscious. I wonder if you can tell me, what are the nature of these things?
ANSWER: Well, you see, these are glimpses of life as it really is, for life is everything that you are and every conceivable concept in existence – that is life. That is Creation. Now, some people are perhaps so stable and so developed that such a glimpse will enrich them without making them feel that only through taking drugs can they get into such a state. Because if that is then the case, then one no longer glimpses reality; one glimpses one’s own fantasies.
If it is done in the proper spirit, one will not need to go on taking it, but rather this one experience will be an incentive to get one’s self, through one’s own development, into such a state.
Now, to specifically answer your question concerning what are these experiences, you see, one has to differentiate between the absolute reality which is the abundance of the universe, the absolute blissfulness of reality. This, of course, only people who have developed into such a state, who have already such a consciousness can, with or without drugs, glimpse such a state.
But even if they do not take drugs and therefore they do not see specific pictures, their concept and feeling of life will be, accordingly, in more or less the same way. While the people who are still deeply involved with their negativity might either glimpse, in a drug state, such negative out-picturings of their own psychic life or they may picture the illusions they take flight in, which might easily be confused with the real.
How to gauge whether it is the real or the illusion is a very simple process, my friend. If a person who is usually unhappy, confused, disturbed and anxious in his life takes a drug and then experiences such beautiful pictures, it is his flight into illusion that he experiences.
But if someone is usually a happy person who already is in a dynamic process of growth, then he will not experience something vitally different; it will merely have more form, more fullness, more color, more dimension, but it will not essentially be different in its nature.
QUESTION: What if they give LSD to the alcoholic with very good results?
ANSWER: It depends. As I said, it depends on the case. You cannot generalize it.
QUESTION: In other words, what this person sees – all those angels and things – are not reality?
ANSWER: They may or they may not be. As I just said, if the person is usually in a state of harmony, in a state of vibrant peace, of dynamic serenity, in a state of growing and positive expectancy toward life – without escaping from life in the least, but meeting life full face – then such an experience, if it is sought through drugs as an exception, might be merely an intensification of what he already feels anyway.
But if someone is usually depressed and unhappy, and then he suddenly sees angels and beautiful things, it may be his wish; it may be his escape, which does not mean it does not exist, but he is not in this state of consciousness yet. All he can have is his illusion, because he does not believe in the positive reality.
QUESTION: Could just drugs open the psychic centers?
ANSWER: Well, you see, this is the danger I speak about. If it is done with somebody whose characteristics or his temperament or his structure of being is not suited to such an experience, where it might be very damaging, it might really have such an upsetting effect on the psyche that grave damage can occur. It can open psychic centers; it can displace even more than is put into place. All that is possible, especially if it is sought without the proper and experienced supervision and with a wrong motivation.
So I would say even with a proper supervision, it should always be conducted in the following way, and one day, I am sure, that is possible. There are two factions existing now in psychological thinking on this work – you have the one faction that is very definitely opposed and the other who considers this almost like a panacea. Now, they are both extremes. If the golden mean is found, the approach will be that before it is decided whether or not to administer this kind of treatment, a specific investigation is conducted as to the motivations of the person – the unconscious motivation why he wants it, not the conscious ones.
Then when these unconscious motivations are out in the open, one can change them. Then such an experience might be quite beneficial. But when one is one hundred percent only for, one does not take into consideration that unconscious motivations may hinder the outcome. This is what I have to say.
QUESTION: Going back to the psychic centers, don’t they come in a certain specific order?
ANSWER: Yes, they come in a specific order according to the individual, for each individual has his own order and his own rhythm and his own timing. You can never generalize that for all people alike. And it is of great importance to approach this with a very discerning eye as to the psychological problems of that person. For if this is not painstakingly done, the opening of psychic centers, whether with or without drugs, is exceedingly dangerous.
It is according to one’s problems, to one’s idiosyncrasies, to one’s real and imagined wishes and fears, to one’s hidden negativities, to one’s defense mechanisms, to one’s whole imprint and impressions of life, consciously and unconsciously – all this has to be taken into consideration. Otherwise, at best, the opening of psychic centers would be unreliable and would turn out to be a charlatan way without any constructive results and would serve merely sensationalism.
Or it will be something great; it will obtain selfhood; it will no longer bring psychic phenomena which are utterly unimportant, which are at best a by-product, but it will then lead to the full selfhood of the real self with the spontaneity, with the abundance, with the realization that life is nothing to fear and only to enjoy.
I would say there should be, in the first place, no aim to awaken psychic centers. The aim should be the selfhood, this realization of one’s innermost self. If in this process, here or there, with certain individuals, an awakening of psychic centers occurs, it should be seen as a temporary manifestation that is bound to go away again. It should go away again when the real self is in full function. The psychic part is not a goal, should not be a goal, and is at best a temporary manifestation.
The awakening of psychic centers is not an aim, or should not be an aim, in itself. It should not be achieved as a goal, ever. If it happens by itself, do not make too much of it. Use it with a grain of salt. Realize that it is not an oracle that should or can be one hundred percent trusted – that in it are many psychological deviations, and therefore, it should be taken lightly, while when the real self comes into existence, it is an entirely different thing.
QUESTION: Certain cults have their aim to do that, for example, in certain bodily organs.
ANSWER: Yes. Right. Well, real understanding of yoga will tell you exactly the same thing. But in yoga also in this culture here there is a lot of abuse and a lot of misunderstanding and a lot of deviation, as you rightly say. Where here, as well as in the East, there are people, due to their own ignorance or problems, who attach a great importance to something that is not the aim in itself and never must be or never should be. This exists here too, and I cannot emphasize strongly enough to beware of that.
QA177 QUESTION: Certain people have claimed that, for a soul-searching person, drugs are a tremendous help. What can you say about this?
ANSWER: Oh, I have talked about that many times, and I’m, of course, completely and totally against it. I will repeat what I said many times, very briefly, so as not to spend too much time on this topic. If you want to know more, you can ask some of our friends here who are involved in this work, but it is an artificial process that is no shortcut to true spirituality.
It will, on the contrary, remove you further from your feelings and from your being. It is a completely illusory realization of the inner realities. But I will say, as I said before, that the drug experience has opened up for many people the fact that a spiritual reality exists and from that point of view – from the spiritual, from the evolutionary point of view – this was necessary for a materialistic age.
But, this does not mean that its practices should be encouraged. I will not be rigid or fanatical about it as a very few individuals, under guidance at specific times, may have once in a while a beneficial effect. But for most individuals, it is not to be recommended. They can find the true life, the true pleasure, the vibratory experience of their own innermost being by removing their blocks in their mind, in their emotions, and in their bodies.
This is hard work and you cannot make a shortcut. No shortcut exists. It’s got to be done. If these blocks exist and the drug experience is encouraged, it will have very devastating effects.
QUESTION: Speaking of shortcuts, is it idiotic to try to live each day as though it were the last day so that it was complete and that you really start the next day as a brand new person?
ANSWER: No, it is not idiotic, no. If that can be done, it is a very good thing.