Open Practice: On Terence McKenna and the Psychedelic Path to Gnosis

Terence McKenna and the Psychedelic Path to Gnosis

Terence McKenna and the Psychedelic Path to Gnosis

I’ve been familiar with Terence McKenna and the whole psychedelic movement ever since I started my research on altered states of consciousness and the so called “spiritual” path. In fact, one of the earliest sites on the Internet that I frequently visited before the explosion of the World Wide Web is But even though I was aware of the potential of psychedelics to *transform* consciousness, I never tried *any* mind-altering substance, not even pot.

Looking back I think I could’ve tried it but I’ve chosen not to. I’ve seen how *street* drugs ruined the lives of some of my childhood friends. My priorities at that time was to finish my college education and help out with my parents. So I promised myself to live a “clean” life without any vices — no drugs, alcohol, and smoking. I continue to stick to that conviction today. That’s why when it comes to psychedelics, I’m as pure as an 18-year old virgin.

Another reason that added to my conviction of not attempting to try psychedelics is that I believe that the altered states of consciousness disclosed through psychedelics can also be accessed through good ole hardcore meditation techniques. I’ve always believed that psychedelics are like crutches or training wheels along the path to Gnosis, albeit with the potential danger of frying one’s neurons, not to mention the risk of being incarcerated. So why risk it? If meditation works then it’s the more logical choice because it has less risk and it’s *legal*.

However, lately I’ve been digging deeper into McKenna’s body of work. And the more I listen to McKenna, the more I’m convinced that the psychedelic path discloses another *facet* of Gnosis which is not accessible (or not easily accessible) through meditation practice. As a diehard empiricist myself, I believe that the only way to find out is to suspend my conviction, try damn thing, and see for myself!

Having said that, I don’t plan on going in some dark alley to score a bong hit. I’m just merely opening up to the possibility of trying psychedelics provided that the conditions are *right*. For me the right conditions are: 1) it should be legal, i.e. as part of a scientific research; 2) should be administered by someone who knows the exact *dosage* and chemical composition and knows the psychedelic territory very well; 3) must be in a safe environment so even in the event of a “bad trip” I won’t end up running around naked and cannibalizing other people’s faces. Until these conditions are met, I will continue with my zero tolerance policy on psychedelics.

In the meantime, I’ll stick with my meditation and lucid dreaming practice and keep studying McKenna, so that if and when the conditions are right, I will at least have a healthier and more *integral* interpretation of whatever hyper-dimensional Gnosis that psychedelics will disclose to this curious bodymind.

P.S. For those who are on Facebook, this post was inspired by the EPIC Terence McKenna THREAD. Check out the thread for some great discussions and more uber-geeky McKenna videos.

Here’s a video of my favorite McKenna lecture.

And here’s a video of my favorite McKenna interview. Very uber-geeky! Love it.

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