I was listening to some cross legged Russian windbag this morning pontificating on why micro-dosing psychedelics was bad news. It was not, he said, a short cut to god or anything else.
I should have realized the fellow was going to irritate me when he waited a full minute before answering the question posed by the serious young woman interviewing him. For dramatic effect and presumably to emphasize his great holiness, wisdom and gravitas he remained silent in the lotus position while we mere mortals waited for his pearls of wisdom.
What a tosser. He proceeded to um and ah about various eastern concepts using the usual mumbo jumbo phrases about “mantric, tantric, chakra” filled bollux before ticking us off roundly about short cuts to heaven.
I remember some years ago my wife and a sister having the hots for some old dear called Shine who wrote books on auric eggs or something. Anyway our Betty had supernatural powers or better and could see people’s auras. Or was it chakras? Or bottoms? I can’t recall.
And so it goes, as Billy Joel so charmingly put to music. Another day another guru.
Let me first tell you in no uncertain terms I am no Guru. I can not direct you to a stairway to heaven, nor have I traveled such route myself.
But what I might just be able to do is to save you a bit of time and money by warning you against windbag, guru nutters. And also save you a bit of heartache and disappointment.
I have been what I would call a “searcher” all my life. I have looked in every nook and cranny and under every blade of grass for the Stone. The Philosopher’s Stone. The answer to Life the Universe and Everything.
And I have read some shatteringly bad books and listened to some truly stupid people. It is not that I consider myself all wise: merely that I know humbug when I come across it.
Why are we mere mortals fooled by Gurus? Why do we listen to gurus? Seek them out, sit at their feet, worship them and suck up their bullshit?
It is because we live in a fearful and in some respects terrifying and “bad” world full of danger and that most awful of animals – our fellow man.
We crave gurus as we crave god: to answer our problems, to provide meaning to our life, to help us in our struggles. To answer our prayers, to save us from the hand of our enemies. To grant us eternal life and in the interim happiness and plenty on earth.
Please don’t get me wrong: I would like all those things. But I do not need the advice of windbag self appointed gurus to achieve them.
I have sought and in a sense I have found.
There have been tracts, texts and indeed people I have found helpful along the way but mostly I have had to beat my own path to the doors of perception. I have followed Dorothy and found the Wizard of Oz; the winds of Kansas did me a favor and showed me there is no external savior and that all our emperors have no clothes.
Lest that sounds bleak, it is not. I have found some help along the path. Cardinal Hume’s wonderful books for instance. The Abbot of Worth and his TV appearances. The simpler explanations of Eastern philosophy. The Rules of St Benedict. The Tao.
But in essence you will have to do all the work yourself. No one is going to save you, transform your life, rapture you. No seller of books or vitamins, no merchant of dreams will save your soul or give you the “12 Steps to Happiness and Fulfillment”.
If anyone promises so to do, run. And lock your wallet. Tighten your purse strings.
The answer lies within. You and you alone hold the key to your own happiness and peace. And if you are temperamentally a miserable sod as I am you may need a little chemical help along the way.
Which brings me right back to where I started and the Russian windbag grumbling about entheogens.
What I can tell you is that entheogens have helped me. Have I seen the face of god? Probably not but he feels somewhere quite close by, even if he is not quite what I thought he was.
What I can also tell you is I am moderately hopeful that judicial and cautious use of psilocybin may be on its way to curing a life long tendency to consider the glass half empty.
Perhaps the Russian windbag is right in his own case. An entheogen may not be for him. But make your own mind up. Tune out, turn off the windbags.