In life, some stars need to align before we can be happy. One of these is our physical health. We are given a body, and provided that body functions normally, we will have the potential to be happy. Some people like to take drugs to externally alter the chemical balance in their bodies in pursuit of a fleeting satisfaction. My question is, how much do these drugs affect the potential for sustained inner peace? It seems like almost all recreational drugs, when taken to excess, negatively impact on a persons mindfulness. Even when taken in moderation, with the exception of a few, they have a lasting negative effect. They drain your serotonin, slow down your brain and create physical addictions. I have come to realize that no matter how fun drugs are at the time, they rarely give a lasting positive effect in the long term. In moderation, some psychedelics can give you insights into inner peace and enlightenment, but after the high has worn off and your insights have faded, you will be back where you started. The problem is that drugs do not promote lasting inner change, they simply take away the problem for a while.
I don’t think drugs are entirely without their uses. Drugs, more specifically psychedelics (just like many other things in life) can help to push you in the right direction. When taken at the right time they can even be an invaluable wakeup call to the death of the ego, and to the possibility of happiness beyond your current frame of mind. However they must be dropped before you can reach enlightenment, because they are just another form of attachment. Even if you are relying on them to kill your own attachment, you are still attached to them.
To summarize, here are two spiritual teachers’ opinions on drugs:
Ram Dass: I found that if I kept taking LSD every month, I’d plateau, I’d get the same experience over and over again, and I’d get bored with it all. But if I wait a few years, I’m
in a different place and the experience has something new to tell me. The amount that’s new it’s telling me now is pretty minuscule; I think if I never took a strong psychedelic again, it would be OK. I will still do it, all things being equal, but I don’t feel like I’m learning something that new anymore.
Osho: Drugs are as old as humanity itself, and they certainly fulfill something of immense value. I am against drugs, but my being against drugs is for the same reason as for thousands of years people have been addicted to the drugs.
The drugs are capable to give you a hallucinatory experience beyond the mundane world. That is the experience that is being searched through meditation. Meditation brings you to the real experience, and drug gives you just a hallucination, a dream-like experience but very similar. To meditate is difficult. The drug is cheap. The attraction for drugs is spiritual.