Mara/The Magic Mushroom


The mushroom is a symbol of the false promise that drugs and alcohol offered in the first days of my use. The lie was that they were the path to freedom, to liberation. In psychedelic experience, there seemed the possibility of spiritual transformation, union with a higher power, but the effect was fleeting and the negative side effects enduring. 

The self is a filter (complex cognitive structure) surrounding an imagined inner core. This primordial inner core is delicate and in need of protection from the world. This is the prime directive of the filter. This filter repels that which it deems to be a danger to this inner self and absorbs that which it deems to reinforce the protective filter. It ignores anything it deems to be neutral. The filter constricts around this imagined inner self, using energy to accomplish it ends. It has to be in a constant state of vigilant, tension to do its job.

As it repels and attracts it creates a complex self-adapting system based on rules or beliefs that it devises to make decisions about what can be let in and what must be kept out. This system may not operate so much as a central intelligence as it does a set of individual rules or beliefs that act like gatekeepers, evaluating incoming material according to each individual rule’s design. The impression is that all the rules or beliefs are operating in consort guided by a master intelligence when in fact each rule is doing it's own job without regard to other rules or beliefs in the system. All rules are sub rules of the master rule that the imagined inner self is fragile and needs protection. 

Use of a mood altering substances, relaxes this barrier system, disinhibiting it and consequently reducing the tension and energy consumption that the system requires to keep itself operational. The reduction of tension is sensed as euphoria. There is openness as constriction is reduced that is very pleasurable. This creates an artificial sense of transcendence because the experience simulates the dropping of the barrier and the making of unbound contact with the world of the real. Some types of meditation result in relaxation of the barrier as well. It is possible with insight meditation to dismantle the barrier, rule upon rule, until contact with the reality occurs. This contact has no inner and outer, no duality. There is no fragile, primordial inner self to protect like a bubble filed with air. The self is a construct of the barrier. When the barrier delusion is over come, there is clarity, unity, harmony, and integration.

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