Saturday, 9 August 2008

Mind-altering drugs, brain damage, meditation and therapy

I came across the video I posted on Tuesday while I actually planned to post the one below. The short excerpt from a talk by Eckhart Tolle (the full talk is here - or well, it was; unfortunately it isn't anymore) seems to me both a good introduction to clarify some unfortunately very common misunderstandings in regard to psychiatric drugs and meditation and its potential to lead to enlightenment - as well as in regard to therapy and its potential to lead to full recovery - and at the same time it sums up the answer to the question whether or not it is possible to recover from emotional distress using drugs, psychiatric prescription drugs, or any other mind-altering drugs.

The concise answer, given in the Eckhart Tolle talk, is no, it is not possible to recover from emotional distress while under the influence of mind-altering drugs. Simply because these drugs prevent the individual, who is under their influence, from getting in touch with his/her true self, from becoming aware and conscious. All mind-altering drugs "work" by enhancing unconsciousness. They stand like an impenetrable wall between the individual and his/her true self.

Although any spiritual teacher knows this just as well as Loren Mosher, for instance, knew it, most mental health professionals, psychiatrists, psychologists or other, seem never to have heard about it. How else would it be possible, that, no matter what kind of emotional distress, the combination of psychotropic drugs and therapy, the combination of two treatment measures, whose aims are diametrically opposed to each other, is promoted as the best treatment option by the system? But, well, in contrast to spiritual teachings, that not only acknowledge the possibility of full recovery, or enlightenment, with a spiritual term, but aim at exactly this full recovery or enlightenment with everything they teach, the mental health system often still denies full recovery to be possible at all.

The consequence of this denial of the possibility to achieve a higher level of awareness, consciousness, which in its turn is a consequence of psychiatry's concept of chronic, biological brain diseases, is that the mental health system aims at the very opposite of what a spiritual teacher would aim at, thus trying to reduce the individual in crisis' increased and increasing (or awakening) awareness, consciousness by all means. Not only "back to normal", but, even more sadly, most often to a level far below "normal", and just as often permanently, through "maintenance medication" with highly toxic chemicals, that not only reduce the brain's capacity while the individual is taking the drugs, but that also cause brain damage, thus reducing the brain's capacity permanently and to an increasing extent the longer the drugs are taken.

So, if you are awakening, if you are going through a crisis that is, beware of mind-altering substances, especially of dirty drugs such as all psychiatric drugs, whose brain damaging potential is somewhat greater than that of pure, natural substances (such as the "leaf").

Here is the video by Jane, who gives an answer more detailed and outspokenly related to emotional distress (so-called "mental illness") than Eckhart Tolle does:

"Meditation, spirituality and drug effects"

Related posts at Jane's blog:

"Drugs and meditation"

"Meditation videos, you asked, I delivered"

"Geodon lies"

Related video by Jane:

"Antipsychotics cause brain damage"


Eliezer Sobel said...

As a long-time, on-again/off-again user of antidepressants, and marijuana, and a veteran meditator, I have bounced between wanting to believe I can transcend psychiatric labels and regain my natural state without drugs, and running back to the meds in a panic as I start to tumble. I had a conversation with my psychiatrist on Friday, to discuss my feeling that the Celexa I'm on isn't working and it's time for a change.

During the course of our 45 minute conversation, we discussed a slew of options, from increasing the Celexa, switching to Paxil, introducing Wellbutrin and/or Lamictal, using Adderal and Xanax, to getting off all the drugs completely.

This last idea felt the most hopeful to me, and he said "that sounds reasonable." So I said, "But you also said switching to Paxil and introducing Wellbutrin sounded reasonable." He said, "They are both reasonable approaches." Basically, he went on to talk about the complete mystery of how the brain works, how nobody's ever really seen a neurotransmitter, and adding more drugs was as reasonable an approach as getting off all drugs!

So here I am again, a walking chemistry experiment. This is an excerpt from my book:

"But given the foods we eat, the exercise we do or don't do, the high voltage power lines we live under, the radiation from our microwaves and cell phones, the impact of sugar, caffeine, alcohol, preservatives and processed foods, the pesticides in our water, airborne pollutants, the information and visual imagery attacking our senses through TV, radio, billboards, the Internet, e-mail, telephones and other media, the daily news of approaching apocalypse (if global warming, terrorism or bird flu doesn’t get us first)'s amazing anyone manages to be a relatively normal, somewhat balanced human being. We're all a walking science experiment about to blow, as far as I can tell. Picture a lab with test tubes and bunsen burners and vials of exotic chemicals, everything bubbling and smoking and steaming: that's us. It reduces one to the two p’s--Paxil and Prayer:
Dear God:
P.S. Please monitor my serotonin levels.

Eliezer Sobel, author of
THe 99th Monkey: A Spiritual Journalist's Misadventures with Gurus, Messiahs, Sex, Psychedelics, and Other Consciousness-Raising Experiments
(Prologue available online: htp:// )

Marian said...

Thanks for your comment, Eliezer!

I really enjoyed the intro to your book. Great sense of humor :) Will have to read the whole story.

I think, the big mistake most of us make is that we look for "salvation" everywhere else but inside ourselves.

Your psychiatrist sounds like one of the more reasonable (sic) among them. At least he admits, that they don't really know a scrap about anything when it comes to the brain (not to mention the soul...).

Wish you all the best, hopefully off meds!