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Psilocybin: Therapy & Spirituality

Updated: Nov 29, 2023


magic mushrooms growing in a tub.

It's Ancient


Psilocybin has been used for centuries in various spiritual and religious practices. Its ability to alter consciousness and promote feelings of transcendence, connection, and understanding has made it a powerful aid throughout history. [1] There are 9000 year old cave depictions of magic mushroom eating shamans. [3]


Modern Science Agrees


While many have been aware of psilocybin's ability to open one up to a greater depth of spirituality, it's more recent scientific research on psilocybin that has begun to shed light on the mechanisms by which psilocybin produces its spiritual effects. Studies have shown that psilocybin can lead to changes in the activity and connectivity of brain regions associated with self-referential thinking and the sense of self. This can result in a "dissolution" of the ego, or the sense of self, and a feeling of unity and interconnectedness with the world around us.


Psilocybin has also been found to increase activity in the default mode network (DMN), a network of brain regions that is active when the mind is at rest and not focused on the external world. The DMN is associated with self-referential thinking, the sense of self, and the creation of a narrative of the self. The increase in activity in the DMN that is caused by psilocybin can lead to a feeling of transcendence, in which the individual experiences a sense of oneness and interconnectedness with the world. [2]


dried magic mushrooms on a gray background

In addition to its effects on the brain, psilocybin has been found to have a profound impact on emotions and emotions regulation. Studies have shown that psilocybin can lead to increased feelings of empathy and compassion, as well as a greater ability to process and come to terms with difficult emotions. This can be particularly beneficial for individuals seeking help with depression, anxiety, and PTSD.


It's objective, but it's subjective, too


It's important to note that the effects of psilocybin on spiritual experiences are highly personal and can vary greatly from person to person. Some individuals may have profound and life-changing experiences, while others may have more subtle or nuanced experiences. Regardless of the specifics, however, the common thread among all psilocybin experiences is a feeling of transcendence and connection to something greater than the self. It's up to each of us to decide how we view this spirituality, either as a real phenomenon that has meaning beyond this life or a more mechanistic view.


Conclusion


While the science behind psilocybin and its effect as a spiritual aid is still in its early stages, preliminary studies have shown that it has the potential to promote feelings of transcendence. Psilocybin and other psychedelics have a deep place in human history throughout cultures in every corner of the earth. Their use in healing, spirituality and attaining knowledge goes to the core of humanity itself. As always, it's important to approach their use with caution and respect.


May the psilly be with you,


The Golden Teacher


colorful graphic of a DNA strand

References

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