Drugs and Altered States of Consciousness.
“Castaneda stated that he would always question the validity of his experiences under the influence of the psychotropic drugs, and that he regarded the final stage of consciousness expansion – the pure wondering perception of viewing the world without interpretation – as not possible with the drugs”
Interview with Sam Keen
All work in Radiant Images Workshops is undertaken drug-free and without hypnosis or similar methods.
People who elect to use drugs and alcohol recreationally, while at courses or on workshops, are wished well and encouraged to find other paths to follow.
We use and teach techniques that will anyway get you ‘higher’ than external substances can get you, in a direct manner. These profound and bodily manifest openings of expanded consciousness need to be prepared for and experienced authentically from within.
Many people who use alcohol or chemicals in their regular or daily lives already feel ‘alien’ or ‘out of it’ to some degree, and are usually looking for genuine heightened awareness. Some may have even initially experienced some of those spiritual dimensions. In a sense, they have already been called onto a path of seeking greater meaning in their lives and their journey has already begun. But that is just the beginning. The easily-accessed ‘sober’ experiences in the Kadeisha and Shamam foundation workshops, for example, are what happens after one becomes willing to empower ones own life through living consciously.
Aside from a proportionate and humorous enjoyment of substances socially, there are a considerable number of men and women for whom the use of drugs and alcohol is more than an occasional pleasantness. The interpretation of words such as ‘use’, ‘misuse’, ‘abuse’, ‘functional addiction’, ‘need’, and many more, can be. debated. At some level, most people know in their own hearts if and when ordinary enjoyment turns into something that deserves attention.
Those who use chemicals, food, sex or whatever as a ‘fix’ to feeling good, or to feel numb, and are interested in addressing these issues, should work initially under the guidance of a therapist or teacher until they have reached a level of stability where they can really benefit from the journey into living consciously that follows.
We cannot guarantee the ‘mental’ and emotional coherence of people who use drugs at the same time as entering into altered consciousness in our workshops. These different streams of energy can easily lead to psychic instability.
In addition, the opening up at the lower levels of consciousness, that alcohol and drugs access, will attract lower level psychic entities, or potentially activate psychological complexes and neuroses, or stimulate the irruption of archetypal images, or which ever language one chooses to use to describe the experiences of accelerated disintergration.
This is a drain on the energies of the other people in the group and the time and energy of the facilitators. These substitutes for the desire for higher awareness are acknowledged as valid steps along a path of awareness, but a place needs to be found beyond the attraction to the “quick abandonment” and there is no place for them in group work.
The above does not apply to antidepressants. While these will somewhat inhibit your ability to fully access altered consciousness and we will encourage you to eventually stop taking such medication, this will be done gradually and together with your prescribing physician, if that is required.
The earlier explorations in the workshops is about finding and dealing with whatever gave rise to needing such drugs in the first place. For example, it is clear from the writings of Jung, Hillman and others, that depression is not something that needs to be suppressed or ‘made better’. Rather, these conditions, and many more besides, need to be lived through, by fully accessing, and experiencing somatically and psychologically, the emotions and conditions that give rise to ‘condition’.
Many men and women have begun their work in Imaginal Psychology using antidepressants. Almost all stop taking them entirely and are thrilled by reclaiming their own sense of clarity and a reawakened passion and emotional aliveness.
If you are currently in therapy or on psychiatric medication, you or your therapist might want to check whether this type of work is suitable for you. People who have never done any personal growth work or been in any kind of therapy before, or have never examined or addressed their abuse or anger or similar issues, or those who need a great deal of personal attention, are welcome to work with a trained Archetypal therapist, or their own therapists, to achieve an initial level of personality stability, integration and well-being before doing our workshops.