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Step XIV of My Spiritual Journey: In Which I Talk Drugs

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I know I'm a day late on this, but hey - my posts go up on Wednesdays.

But first, before I begin, let me state for the record, for posterity, for my mom, and for all future employers, that I do not do drugs. Nor did I do drugs for any part of Step XIV in My Spiritual Journey. In fact, as you'll see once we get a little further along, I actually dislike drugs, especially in regards to spirituality.

So, yesterday there was a bit of a to-do, if you will, about a researcher who claims Moses was high on psychedelic drugs. I'm going to go ahead and leave that alone, as I have no idea what happened however many bajillion years ago, nor do I have any business pretending I do.

Regardless of whatever drugs Moses did or did not do, I firmly believe that there is a strong connection between spirituality and drugs. And the more I think about this, the more I realize that the relationship between spirituality and drugs is something that really annoys me about spirituality in general.

I guess I'm picturing those shaggy-haired, stoner hippies playing the bongos at some full-moon tropical isle beach party. (Well, that or Matthew McConaughey, naked, and in his own home, but that's neither here nor there.) And while I know that the stoner, bongo playing, hippie is a ridiculously stereotypical example, I, for one, believe that stereotypes exist for a reason. (Case in point: Matthew McConaughey.)

Anyway, back to my actual point. When I think of religion, I think of straitlaced, commandment-abiding, God-fearing citizens. Or, less stereotypically, I think of someone who obeys the rules / was the goody-goody always raising their hand in high-school. (No, wait. That was no less stereotypical, and well, that was me. Minus the religion part.) Whatever, the point I'm trying to make is that when I think of religion, whatever religion, I think of a specific set of beliefs and rules. And when I think of spirituality, I think of a sort of do-it-yourself holiness. And I think that sometimes this DIY spirituality leads people to search, well, externally (read: chemically) for some sort of guidance.

Look, I get it. I've asked for a guru, but I think that sometimes people confuse spiritual awakenings with psychedelic trips. For example, and to highlight the specific psychotropic drug mentioned by said researcher, Libet Johnson, heir to the ridiculously large Johnson & Johnson fortune, discusses her love for the Amazonian tree-vine drug ayahuasca in this week's New York Magazine. According to Wikipedia, "ayahuasca is used largely as a religious sacrament," and those who use it in a "non-traditional context...often align themselves with shamanism." Now, can't you just picture Matthew McConaughey jaunting off to the Amazon for his spiritual awakening? (Sorry. I'll leave him alone now.)

Honestly, there's just too much ground to cover on this topic, like peyote, which is legal to use for ritual purposes within the Native American Church, or that Simpsons episode where Homer goes to the chili cook-off and eats some crazy habanero pepper, which causes him to hallucinate and set off on a spiritual journey guided by a coyote voiced by Johnny Cash.

At the end of the day, I suppose spiritual drug-use, besides being illegal (except for peyote, dammit), is one of those "to each their own" things. Which is fine by me, but I guess my point is that how can any hallucinated journey that existed solely as a result of ingesting a psychotropic and/or psychedelic drug be considered spiritual? (I would define that as chemical. I'm just sayin'.)

The bottom line? When you find yourself in spiritual alignment with Matthew McConaughey and/or The Simpsons (see: Bonus Clip at bottom) starts making fun of you, you've got to admit that you're not only a stereotype, you're also a little absurd.

Happy Trails!

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