I would like to bring this subject for a discussion on this forum and see what your take on it is. What do you think are common misconceptions about the use of them, their impact on our development and our attitude.

The use of drugs takes its place as a companion of alcohol when the spiritual development of man is considered. Exploring the widespread use of drugs in society today, we find that the need for their use revolves around three factors: 1) the relief of pain; 2) boredom; and 3) the hope of experiencing spiritual revelation.

For too many of today's youth it is a time of trial and error, a period of blind growth. Drugs offer a way out, but as time will reveal, it will be the wrong way. Being hallucinatory, they do not bring about the desired results; instead, they put the aspirant in danger of being controlled by undesirable spirits, of undermining the physical body, and of exposing himself to extremely harmful effects on his spiritual bodies. Any damage to these vehicles may require many lifetimes to restore them to the adaptability they originally had. This means a decided setback in evolution. A person, therefore, who made much progress in former embodiments could lose the value of previous hard work by seriously affecting the present life instruments.

What do you think the effects of alcohol, drugs and tobacco use in our present life will result in our future incarnations?

Please don't be shy, speak up.

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I have to disagree with the general line of reasoning here. Addiction is certainly to be avoided, but to classify all drugs together and say "avoid them" smacks of fundamentalism. Anyone who's read Terrance McKenna, Timothy Leary, Ken Kesey, or Aldous Huxley must surely realize that drugs are a complex issue and each drug can be used or misused, therefore, each should be viewed individually.

Alcohol is certainly, overall, the source of a lot of misery in our society. I live in Athens, GA, which is one of the biggest alcohol consumption-per-capita towns in the world. It is the center of social life, unfortunately. I've seen its detrimental effects up close and found myself struggling against them, myself, on numerous occasions, though I don't think I've ever been addicted. I think the problems are well covered, particularly in Besant's speech. However, the Bible mentions alcohol in a positive context on several occasions, and even suggests that a little wine is appropriate for the aging. Then, of course, there's Jesus' first miracle and the transubstantiation. Rumi's poems are filled with images of drunkenness and Cao Xue-qin was known for imbibing (not to mention countless Western poets and novelists.) My feeling is that alcohol is best reserved for special occasions. Probably a glass of wine with a meal or a couple of beers after work are reasonable, so long as it doesn't become a necessity. The Christians have failed, in my opinion, to understand Jesus' proclamation to do these things "in remembrance." The warmth of a moderate amount of wine and the companionship of loved ones is something to be cherished, not abused.

Tobacco is in many ways the worst, though, I admit to sometimes partaking in it, as well. My problem with it is the pollution aspect. When Blavatsky and Olcott settled down to a smoke after hard work on Isis, it was a way to relax and socialize. But today, at least in places where smoking is mostly tolerated, you'll find that there is no public area not littered with butts. And the smoke is carcinogenic--it definitely damages one's aura, as well as physical health, particularly if it becomes something one does many times a day. It imposes on those around one, and affects one's clothing and general atmosphere. It's also a terrible waste of one's financial resources. I do believe that an evening smoke, whether pipe, cigar, or cigarette can be uplifting, but tobacco, overall, is difficult to control, the way it's presently packaged.

This brings us to the subject of cocaine and opium. These things obviously have their uses, but the way they've been concentrated in today's society has created quite a menace. I've tried both. never crack, or heroin, but I've snorted lines of both pure and horribly cut cocaine, I've smoked opium and tried several derivatives. These drugs are a waste--they should be used medically, only. IDK what chewing coca leaves is like, but I suppose it's a reasonably safe way to stay alert. I enjoyed opium; it tastes great, but it doesn't lead to much--overall, it's rare enough to not be a serious problem, but things like Lortabs, Percosets, and Oxycontin are just bad news. I've enjoyed tranquilizers, but I also think they're bad news. They seem great at first, but eventually, even if used as directed, will affect your moods and demeanor in a negative way. It's happened to me and I've seen it happen to others. Even worse, I think, are SSRI's. The theosophical implications of those drugs frighten me more than any others, I think. It's a method of control and an instrument of materialism.

Once we get into marijuana and psychedelics, I feel as if we're dealing with a completely different subject, and we have to be EXTREMELY careful about how we view these things. The possibilities of mis-use are great, but to dismiss them outright seems a terrible waste. It is important, even if we believe that they must ultimately be abandoned, that we recognize the meaning of their existence and why we have receptors in our brains to respond to them.

Personally, I believe that marijuana has gotten a bad rap. A lot of people waste their time when under its influence--it can produce a profound lethargy. But its ability to awaken creative potential can scarcely be denied, not to mention its ability to suggest basic theosophical truths. Perhaps it's a bit much to suggest this, but in my experience in this particular culture, the people that DON'T use marijuana tend to be much more likely to be caught up in things that really don't matter. In fact, the first thing that comes over me when imbibing after a long abstinence, is how much I've let things that absolutely DO NOT MATTER affect me.

Mushrooms, and some of the other more powerful natural psychedelics, need to be deeply respected. A psychedelic voyage should not be attempted as some kind of frivolous attempt to get "high." Those in the know can feel the vibrations that a drug gives off before even imbibing. I don't see how anyone that's really experienced a true visionary experience can fail to see the connection between these kinds of plants and man's spiritual evolution--to me, they are clearly linked. The author of Revelations and Ezekial had clearly discovered some psychedelic substances. (Modern translation suggests that Ezekial consumed manure; it's well known that psylocibin mushrooms grow in manure. And what are these "tiny scrolls" that the John of Revelations keeps consuming before prophesying?) And of course, the Brahmins had their Soma--whatever that may've consisted of.
But what of these modern discoveries such as DXM and LSD? Having done more than my share of both, and having found myself unable to quit the former, I am deeply conflicted about these things. The things that I've witnessed under both (separately and together) are not experiences I would willingly trade for...well, for practically anything. Likewise, along with marijuana, I find that most of my favorite albums were recorded under the influence of these or other drugs. And their effect is undeniable. I don't believe, for example, that the Beatles could've recorded Revolver and Sgt. Pepper without having experienced the effects of LSD. Likewise, a MAJOR change in the general outlook of the West was effected by the introduction of this chemical to popular conciousness. And part of this change included the acceptance of the Tibetan Book of the Dead as part of the psychedelic canon, a new look at different Eastern religions, in general, and yes--a new generation of people curious about Blavatsky and occultism. A careful reading of Albert Hoffman is in order, for one, before any serious judgments can be made. My biggest problem--even moreso with these types of drugs--is how they've fallen into the realm of frivolity. So much can be done with these drugs to discover occult truths.

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