Daniel Pinchbeck hosts a new show highlighting the cutting edge of the consciousness movement.
Guests include the likes of visionary artist Alex Grey, science and economics author Howard Bloom, and modern Jewish Buddhism expert Jay Michaelson, to name a few.
Conversations ensue about psychedelic influence on modern religion, creative subcultures infiltrating media, and alternative economics.
Artist Alex Grey talked about the return of what he calls Sacramental Religion, religion that dispenses divine experience through sacraments—namely, sacred psychedelic substances.
He says history’s greatest religions engaged in initiatory rites and most used psychedelics of some sort. Semitics ingested Syrian Rue, Egyptians evoked the eternal with Blue Lotus Flower, the Vedic Hindus sipped Soma.
Grey calls the return of sacramental religion the real “Second Coming”. He points to the sprouting of Ayahuasca churches whose psychedelic use is legally protected under American religious freedom laws. One such organization, the Santo Daime church, mixes psychedelics, native Brazilian beliefs, and Catholicism.
Grey says a vein runs through all visionary religion. Creativity. He even goes so far as to say art is the religion of the future, the exchange of cultural knowledge and media fostering communication and spiritual innovation.
What happens when a traditional religion like Islam meets psychedelics?
Michael Muhammed Knight, author of Tripping with Allah, answers the question. He details a lurid psychedelic visitation with the naked Fatimah, daughter of Muhammed. Knight sought the feminine within what is generally a male-dominant religion and got what he wished for when he took Ayuasca. Fatimah’s apparition told Knight, “The Koran is for the boys,” and insisted that her body was the door to the mosque. He proceeded to enter.
Knight describes walking into a traditional mosque the day after the experience, doing the all the usual things, but with a new expanded understanding of his religion. Author Jay Michaelson emphasizes that more people are meditating today in America than in any other time or place in history.
1 million new people try meditation each year. Michaelson is enthusiastic about the implications. He says healthcare will be hugely affected, the results “econometric” as healthcare costs decrease by billions.
Michaelson who has studied Jewish mysticism, history, and Buddhism looks at the practice of meditation as technology. But he admits such technology can be used for good or for bad, using the example of the meditating warrior whose extreme skills of focus are used to kill. He also points out that Goldman Sachs hires Meditation Consultants, potentially using the eastern philosophy of non-attachment to engage in immoral activity while maintaining a calm state of mind.
Michaelson defines a new generation of meditators who tend to hold down regular jobs, have a sense of social responsibility and lack the self-centered spirituality of their predecessors. Narcissistic spiritual practice is a Baby Boomer thing, he says.
Unfortunately, we had to roll out before Howard Bloom spoke; he was the PR guy for Michael Jackson and Prince back in the day.
Now Bloom writes prolific books that explore the bridge between science, the human spirit, and economics like The Genius of the Beast and his latest work, The God Problem. Can’t wait to see that episode.
The series still airs on Gaia TV with guests like Russel Brand.