If you take a psychedelic when you’re in an ordinary state of consciousness, you will most likely have a classic psychedelic trip with all the frills and thrills, a crazy kaleidoscopic electric kool-aid acid mind bending trip to the moon. There will be tangerine trees and marmelade skies etc. etc.
This is not what Shamanic Christian Zen is about. We do use psychedelic plant medicines, but with an important difference: we don’t take them in an ordinary state of consciousness, we pre-alter our consciousness.
In the ordinary state of consciousness (OSC) the mind is functioning on the semantic, linguistic level. You think in terms of words and images, which frame reality in a particular way, according to your ego structure and personal history. Taking a psychedelic in this state is like “shaking the snow globe” or shaking a self-portrait made with powdered paints. Thoughts and images fly in all directions.
In Shamanic Christian Zen, the idea is to reach a deeper, more primordial state of consciousness below the semantic level. This pre-linguistic, pre-egoic, pre-conceptual state of basic “relevance realization” can only be reached by moving beyond the discriminating mind (manas) in deep meditation. It means fundamentally giving up the will to knowledge and accepting the essential mystery of existence.
To practice Shamanic Christian Zen, you must therefore become a mystic. You must learn how to disrupt your habitual mental framing and enter a radically altered state of consciousness (ASC) beyond thought. You must learn how to sink below the agitated waves of discriminatory thinking to the quiet depths of simple primordial awareness.
Then, when the psychedelic begins to take effect, you can fully “enter the dragon” coiled at the base of the “tree of life”. Learning how to ride the dragon and then how to be the dragon is what shamanic training is all about. First you become a mystic, then you become a dragon-shaman.
As I’ve discussed in some recent posts, from the altered states of the MYSTIC SHAMAN we move to the flow states of the WARRIOR MONK and then to the insight states of the PHILOSOPHER KING. But it is important to understand that it all proceeds from the primordial root at “the still point of the turning world”. This is the essence of Shamanic Christian Zen.