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man's search for meaning, II
December 8, 1999
6:28 pm
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Eve.
Jung maintained that we have a ‘personal’ unconscious that is in some continuum with the much deeper ‘collective’ unconscious. How did Jung figure this out? Well I guess from his observations of people in insane asylums, in primitive tribes, everyday patients, art work, dreams etc. Jung even worked with Wolfgang Pauli, the great physicist, in trying to establish a link between the unconscious and the physical world as we perceive it. Pauli bowed to the pressure from his colleagues and broke away from the project. However on his death bed, Pauli said that the only person that he wanted with him was Jung. Sadly, Jung was not there.

I once asked a uni doctor of psychology if she thought that Jung would have considered that the collective unconscious was in a continuum with that of a Greater Awareness called God. She said ‘no’ and to my disappointment didn’t elaborate. Yet many people seem to believe that God is ‘within’, and ‘God is listening in my heart. He and I are one.’ as the words of that Christian hymn goes.

I suspect that the value in life for a human is about experiencing; experiencing feelings, thoughts, imagination, perceptions whilst awake and in dreams and other altered states of consciousness. The ultimate value and meaning in experiencing is, I suspect, in God knowing what it is to be human in an illusory yet eternal space time continuum.

December 8, 1999
6:29 pm
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Cici.

You said "Isn't it human nature to normalize and categorize?" Yes, It is how we organise our memory banks to facilitate recall. I think that the idea of God did indeed come from a desire to explain the origins of the universe. We can’t handle the unknown to well. However inadequate they might ultimately be, we like ‘pat’ answers to what causes what. We model such a God in a Patriachal form because of our Judeo-Christian concept of God being all powerful, all knowing yet very conditionally loving. These are masculine archetypes of the human father. We seem to see God being a dabbler, unpredictable, punitive, yet as a father who can be manipulated by a pleading, begging, cajoling child. We, in the west, seem to think that we have to buy God’s love by behaving in a certain way and conforming to a ‘God’ given code. It seems to be a very naive belief to me; yet this is how many people seem to conceptualise God.

You said, " As for uniqueness...well, chaos theory describes the golden ratio, which when graphed makes a spiral pattern. This spiral pattern is consistent throughout nature, in smoke, in the patterns of the waves, in the way cream swirls in your coffee, in fingerprints. So although each is unique, each is connected with what I have deemed to be the face of God."
Perhaps this connection about which you speak is the same mathematical idea that predicts the existence of the ‘strings’ that the physicists seek; the same as the Pauli-Jung connection between the psyche and the physical world. Perhaps, within the infinite spectrum of the Greater Awareness, the connection of which you speak, is part of a continuum of which our individual awareness’ are but a small yet infinitely valuable part.

You said, "Westerners seek to see their own individuality. It takes an Eastern, zen mind to see connectedness. That's why so many great mathematicians have a zen kind of philosophy. They are absent-minded, preoccupied with their work, at one with God..." Very interesting. Are you into Zen yourself?

December 8, 1999
7:55 pm
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Tez,

When I first started to read your post I thought you missed my Freudian joke, but by the end I saw you too have a wry sense of humor. That's a good thing.

As for the detective story idea-well, since I write and know many writers, often something we write that we are not passionate about brings us great success. I just saw a flow which reminded me of certain Mickey Spillane novels. Just your timing, I guess.

An EQ test...I wonder how well I would do on that? Will have to check it out. Unfortunatly, and one of the reasons I can't chat too much now, I'm off to work on a 40 page final exam that is due on Monday. And that is 40 pages I must write in response to 11 questions. Ugh! Why do I want to do this? Has a human brain ever actually ever exploded???

December 9, 1999
11:28 am
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Cici
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Tez,

I have dabbled in zen philosophy. My mother is Buddhist, I grew up with a statue of Buddha on the fireplace, not understanding who or what he was. As a teenager, I read "Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenence," was a vegetarian, sudied the warrior class in Japan and the Budo code.

I like the idea of the greater consciousness and loss of the idea of one, the ego. I realized that it is ego that gets in the way of everything. Relationships, learning...everything! One day maybe I'll be able to be centered and calm...hopefully

December 9, 1999
4:03 pm
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Cici.
The problem with the word 'ego'is that it kas different meaning for different people. I think my understanding is coincident with yours. The ego of the 'I' for me means a sense of separation from the universe and all in it.

You said, "I realized that it is ego that gets in the way of everything. Relationships, learning...everything!" I agree.

I suspect that we had to have an ego to experience the gamut of human emotions etc. It seems to develop during the individuation stage of childhood. We then seem to strive for the rest of our lives to maintain some precarious balance between differentiation and integration with our fellow humans and the cosmos.

Albeit a very temporary experience, I still think that the sexual orgasm with a 'special' partner is as close as I have come to the collapsing of my ego boundaries. Although more protracted but not as intense, first 'love' is another ego collapsing occurrence. At special times, meditation for me has come in as a close third.

What is it that makes some sexual partners 'special'. Looks seem not to be the primary factor. What is it about some partners that give us that special connectedness to the cosmos that heightens the intensity of the orgasm? Is it a replication of the very early infant experiences before individuation? Do these 'special' sexual partners project a psychic image that mirrors that projected by our mothers at that infant stage? Does this account for infatuation behaviour and codependency? Wouldn't it be great to find a way to link with the Cosmos in meditation in a way that extends that orgasmic experience indefinitely. Maybe that 'way' is severing the links to our sense organs; maybe in death this occurs. Is this why some kinky people try to 'flatline'?

If death is so good why do people want rebirth? The Tibetan buddhists suggest that it is the desire to experience sex that pulls us back to this earthly existence. If they are right then the Bardo cannot be too good a place to be. What do you think?

December 9, 1999
4:16 pm
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Kitten.
The Freudian joke that I deliberately chose to overlook was about men comparing penis sizes. Is that right? Many times I have been accused of riding my 1100 cc phallic symbol as compensation for my penis size. I usually say "Yes! I need a big machine to carry a big tool." 🙂 Well... I am also a good liar too.

Why did I not respond? I guess I have copped that one soooo... many times that I usually just let it go over my head.

Oh. And yes, I did have to compensate with some humour, at my own expense, that was very good for my soul; self-imposed ego deflation, eh! It felt like s & m, I imagine; it hurt but it felt good. 🙂

By the way, all the best with your exams.

December 10, 1999
12:04 am
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Tez,

Thank you for the best wishes, they will help.

I must admit, I was being a bit childish with my comments, but sometimes I need to be silly. View it as a tiny bit of Reality therapy. Humor can be the best medicine. No, seriously, at this particular moment in my life I have my nose buried in soooo many psychology books that I have the need to attempt some humor, even if it falls flat. Too many times, in the last week, I have felt like I'm one of the pages in the DSM-IV, or all of the pages!!! So, my wee bit of girlish humor is only my attempt to remind myself that, after all, I am human....

And in case you're interested, I didn't view your comment as s&m, just thought it a quick comeback! I promise, the rational kitten will soon reappear, after exams and after my BF takes me out for a few pints. Well deserved pints they will be, too!

December 10, 1999
11:06 am
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Orgasm. That breathless, infantile drive we have to struggle closer to someone else. I know what you mean about the special partner. In turn, sometimes having sex with someone can make you feel more alone than ever, as if they're just masturbating with you.

I actually think that is a good explanation for codependency and infatuation. It is completely understandable to me that people try so hard to subordinate themselves to someone else because that person doesn't make them feel whole, as people often explain. That person makes them lose themselves for one instant.

I have begun to think that perhaps it is the drive we have to balance ego preservation with interconnecteness that might hold us back as humans in the schema of the superconscious. Ego preservation, "embarrassment," drives us as humans to do so many stupid things!

For example...a young man in my web publishing class at the university is under litigation for solicitation of prostitution. He is a member of a fraternity that was kicked off campus for its underage drinking violations of the Greek council. He gave in to his brother's cajoling to solicit sex from a stripper they had hired for a party (who was later raped), even though he felt it wasn't right, because he didn't want to look like a "pussy." Yet another example of the stupid things people do because they want to be accepted.

I think in zen philosophy the idea is to be as you are bound by your own code, which should line up with the code of the superconscious (unless you have antisocial personality disorder, like Charles Manson!).

But I do find some flaws in the zen acceptance of all. Sure, Chinese Communism has introduced violence and pain to Tibet. They quietly hope that the Chinese will eventually achieve enlightenment. And yet...

I suppose if death is so good, people want rebirth because they do crave the snesual stimulation that the human body can achieve. We're greedy bastards.

December 10, 1999
7:17 pm
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Kitten.

Good for you. I drank my share of 'pints' in the first 30 years of my life. I have not had a drink in 27 years. It is poison for me. I do not begrudge others their 'share' though. In moderation, I think it actually helps.

I have a good sense of humour; though from my serious postings you wouldn't suspect it.

About the DSM-IV, I often think that classifying the symptoms of psychiatric disorders and naming them lulls health professionals into the erroneous belief that they have some sort of real knowledge of the human conditions that they encounter. I remember Ram Dass, aka Dr Richard Alpert, saying, upon visiting an assylum, that his 'insane' brother was just in a different 'reality' not a less 'valid' one than his own.

It also reminds me of the electrical theory of the 1800's. Much of their theorizing, naming etc now seems so naive. Yet, we do the same thing today. In a century or two hence, I suspect that we will look equally as ludicrous.

Is it all about control?

December 10, 1999
7:28 pm
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Cici.

We seem to think along the same lines. As I read your posting, I kept saying yes, yes yes. You must really be sick! 🙂

About being "greedy". What is it for which we all are hunger? A constant heightened orgasm? Absolute security? Bliss? Is it a feeling at all? Or is it an inner craving for connectedness; for reunification of the myriad of fragmented conscious and unconscious awareness's that goes well beyond description by the use of words? A spiritual yearning of some kind, perhaps?

December 11, 1999
7:59 pm
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Cici
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Tez...

I remember when I was doing drugs a lot. When we ate ecstasy, the whole thing was about instant gratification. It was the essence of Epicurian excess! Shivering, teeth chattering, whenyou talked to people you felt such a beautiful, intimate connection with them. As if you truly communicated...

Whenever someone touched you, you would feel such ecstasy (thus the name). Such intense pleasure, at just watching lights flicker above you, or the sensation of smoke being inhaled into your lungs. It was beautiful...

We used to do "whippits," inhale nitrous oxide (a mild aneasthetic). Bakers have whipped cream machines that you crack nitrous cartriges into..we bought them at head shops. Anyways, we would inhale up to 100 cartriges each, going back to buy more cases of 24 cartridges from amused shop owners who endured our sweaty faces and beaming smiles.

My point is...I have felt that hunger. For more stimulation, get higher, get more drugs. It is a sad desperation, a need to forget about your absolute solitude. But within that ugliness was a beauty...each moment of quiet mindlessness brought me closer to loss of ego. It was in one of those instances that I looked into a cloud of swirling cigarette smoke and saw the face of God. It echoed in the trees, the clouds, the swirl of fabric, stains, grass. I stumbled upone that beautiful revelation

Epircurius was right. The path to enlightenment is through excess, in some instances, for some people.

December 12, 1999
5:33 pm
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Cici.

Wow!! This is real Aldous Huxley 'Doors of Perception', mesculine, peyote, Carlos Castaneda, stuff, eh.

You said, "the whole thing was about instant gratification" Was it about the removal of all bodily needs by instant and complete disconnection of your awareness from the sense organs and your body's emotional arousal systems? Did you experience any yearnings whatever? Did you see the meaning of life in these altered states of consciousness?

I have an addictive personality and as such am too fearful of the consequences of addiction to have a go at drugs. Alcohol was my drug of addiction many years ago. Luckily for me, the drugs of which you speak, were unavailable. Otherwise, I am sure I would not be here now.

However, I am fascinated by your very genuine spiritual experiences. I think that the 'ideal' is to achieve same without drugs. I suspect that meditation within sensory deprivation environments is one relatively safe way.

I am fascinated by the possibility of meditating with the aid of two mirrors in a dark room. I have never done this but I read that the pseudo infinite number of reflections give a glimpse of eternity.

Another technique that I have never tried yet believe holds possibilities is meditation naked in a dark, sound proofed, floatation tank using saline water at body temperature. Add the mirrors and whammo!

I suspect that drugs and flat lining achieve all this by doing the same thing; by disconnecting our awareness from our body's sensory inputs. However both are bloody dangerous and are not worth the risk.

Perhaps we are not meant to experience these things on this earthly plane. Perhaps the various illusions of vulnerability and the clinging to our security blankets give the experiences that are best undergone here.

If 'God'- whatever He/She/It/That is - didn't intend that we have both pain and suffering, we would all have been parented perfectly and there would be paradise on earth. In addition, the need for predation would not exist in any form whatever. Indeed needs would not exist, period. Brain food eh!

December 12, 1999
5:55 pm
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Hi Tez,
what about meditation while driving. It is of course not deep trance (not on a bike, but also not in a car for a lenghty period of time). But I just like to drive in "autopilot" (the visual input stays on, and some semi-automatic awareness, able to call me back on duty) and take my mind for a stroll. It sometimes is just relaxing, and sometimes it is more. One time I ended up 150 kilometers in the wrong direction, before I noticed that the mountains were not where I was wanting to go - so what? I think this could be part of the road movie facination. Eve

December 12, 1999
8:10 pm
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Cici
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Tez,

Definately Huxley's Doors of Preception! I read the book at the height of my excess because it was an anthem for intellectual drug users who used their experiences to further their understanding of the world, both internal and external. The problem with hurrying something that should take time to acquire is that it will drive you quietly, miserably insane...too see so much so fast. Only now, after some months of distance, can I analyze the spirituality of my experiences. I, too, have an extremely addictive personality. But like a lot of the young people my age, I sought to stimulate my senses to the point of senslessness because I didn't care if I went over the edge.

In a way, when I was on multiple drugs I attained a path to enlightenment. Like those in Plato's allegory for the cave, the light was too bright for me to make much sense of it all. Cut off from all normal methods of perception, my brain began to show me a reality I never knew existed. It is inexplicable. Moments where I have sat outside in the early morning as the sun rose, listening to the birds and feeling it was the most perfect, most beautiful sound I had ever heard.

I suppose what happened was sensory overload. I would spend hours in an extreme state of awareness, blasting my eardrums with primal beats, dancing in tribal intensity, in a silence that seemed to fill my eyes and ears.

The sensory deprevation tank you described probably could achieve the same affect without the pain that I inflicted on myself. I suppose I felt until I could feel no more, whereas what you describe seems like a purposeful removal of oneself from normal areas of preception...

December 13, 1999
4:16 pm
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Cici.

In the depths of your psyche, what were you seeking? Escape from your 'self'? Or a path to the 'Self'? Both? What was your primary purpose? To be 'cool'; to 'fit in'; to be accepted, wanted and loved? Or to just have 'fun'? Or, do you think that there is an inate spiritual hunger to integrate and connect with the ultimate Awareness.

December 13, 1999
4:28 pm
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Eve.
Yes. I have even meditated in class while teaching 30 students. The Raj Yogis told us in India to always take our consciousness to the position of the observer in order to observe our thoughts and actions whilst (Man, man, abhav) remembering the One alone. It certainly can be done with much practice. We used to set our alarms on our watches to go off every hour. This was called 'traffic control'; to control our thoughts and to bring our attention back to remembrance in constant meditation. I think they called it Jeevan Mukti, (liberation in life).

How easy it is to drift away from these disciplines.

December 13, 1999
4:29 pm
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Eve.
Yes. I have even meditated in class while teaching 30 students. The Raj Yogis told us in India to always take our consciousness to the position of the observer in order to observe our thoughts and actions whilst (Man, man, abhav) remembering the One alone. It certainly can be done with much practice. We used to set our alarms on our watches to go off every hour. This was called 'traffic control'; to control our thoughts and to bring our attention back to remembrance in constant meditation. I think they called it Jeevan Mukti, (liberation in life).

How easy it is to drift away from these disciplines.

December 14, 1999
10:52 am
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At first, when you take drugs, you are just curious. I remember when I first took ecstasy, I came home early from my work at a bar. My roommate walked in and asked if I wanted to go out. I said I needed energy, I was tired. She waved a little peach pill under my nose that smelled bitter and acrid. I knew what it was and I just popped it into my mouth, not knowing what was going to happen, waiting to experience.

After that I kept taking more and different drugs because I craved the experiences that they led to. Spiritual integration, communion, love. I think I was seeking to experience the greater consciousness. You lose the self-consciousness that we all carry with us normally when you are under the influence. It makes the ability to meditate so easy! I meditated once outside while rolling (after eating ecstasy). It took no time, I could snap my fingers and my mind was empty, only to be filled with the sounds as I kept my eyes open, slowly expanding my consciousness.

I wanted to eliminate self and become united with a greater consciousness I felt around me, pulsing with positive energy. i really didn't and don't care about being "cool" or fitting in. I was there to feel.

December 14, 1999
8:13 pm
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Cici.

You said, "I was there to feel." Very interesting........

After having taken prescribed psychiatric drugs some years ago, I hated the 'feeling' or should I say the 'awareness' of not 'feeling' anything. This led me to contemplate the intrinsic value of experiencing. It seems that both cognitively and emotionally experiences both have great intrinsic value for us. We seem to want to experience more fully, more uninhibited by our pre-programming. As well we fear the opposite; non-existence and the absence of experiencing that this entails.

Andrew Cohen put it this way:
"Allowing oneself to embrace a life without compromise and free from pretence is utterly liberating in its depth and singularity. Like none other, it enables the individual to give their full and undivided attention to the destruction of all that is false, wrong and untrue. The individual who has taken the bold step of leaving the world and all the compromise that it represents behind in order to completely and irrevocably destroy the very seeds of that compromise in themselves, when successful, often becomes the enemy of the source of that compromise.

The source of that compromise is, in the collective/individual mind, a fundamental and deeply existential fear of dissolution, non-existence and insignificance. It represents an absolute and final loss of freedom for the false and limited notion of self. This fear, which usually remains unconscious and unquestioned, causes the individual to blindly adhere to fixed notions about the nature of reality, including shallow and destructive notions of a personal self that almost always serve to create a world where profound evolution becomes impossible and the law of the spirit is one of stagnation."

Sorry Andrew for quoting you without permission.

Do you think Cohen is right?

Is the very reason for our collective existence to experience for its own sake, no other? Are we just experiential focal points for a Greater Awareness in the act of knowing what it is like to be human?

Is Joseph Krishnamurti right in saying that the 'self' is an illusion?

Was this what you were implying when you referred to the 'face of God'? Were you partially experiencing your/our true Self?

December 15, 1999
10:48 am
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I think Cohen was right, in a sense. One can see the meaning of life in life itself. The act of experiencing does hold intrinsic value, in that the experience itself is like a pearl ona string,a treaasure in and of itself but also a work of art when taken in the context of living.

MDMA (ecstasty) was originally developed in Europe during WWII. Some say it was a truth serum. I don't know why it was developed exactly, but I do know that it was a pharmaceutical that was used for repressed or severely depressed patients in the therapeutic setting. it was also used for married couples experiencing marital difficulties because not only does the drug make you feel sensations in a heightened sense, you also talk A LOT, a mile a minute, and other people taking the drug actually understand you!

After the 1960s and 70s, people began using the drug recreationally. As with the "killer weed" and cocaine, after abuse it was immediately outlawed in the US. It is still legal in Holland and Switzerland (then again, what isn't legal there?!).

The point of this brief historical blerb is to reveal the nature of my drug of choice, MDMA. This is why I took it..."Allowing oneself to embrace a life without compromise and free from pretence is utterly liberating in its depth and singularity." MDMA was pharmaceutically designed to give people the easy pathway to an experience that is utterly sensual and intellectual, free of "pretense."

Look at this. It looks like I'm advocating the drug! Granted, excessive use as I was prone to because of my addictive personality (MDMA has not proven ot be addicitive) leads to mood swings, depression, irritability. Occassional dabbling for those with stable brain chemistry has led to an opening up of emotional dams.

I have to admit that I am a completely different person now because of MDMA. I feel that I became more myself after my use. I began to understand myself and others and my connection to others more intimately...I used to be very shy, a shut-in, with virtually no social life. I was afraid to talk to anyone, outside of my immediate family (somewhat like Emily Dickinson). I suppose when I say I saw the face of God what I really saw was myself, and I saw myself in everyone around me, I saw my connection to nature, to th erest of the world. It opened up my heart.

December 15, 1999
4:06 pm
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Cici.
Wow!!!!! For once I don't know what to say.....

Maybe under some strict control there is a place for MDMA. If it could be used in the context of a spiritual belief such as is done by the Indians who use peyote, then maybe a lot of good could come from it. It has obviously served you very well. Will you use it again? Or has it done its job already?

I am staggered by your openness and the soundness of your beliefs about your experiences. Perhaps I am biased because I have come to the same beliefs as you via a different path; extensive meditation not drugs. Wow!!

Have you read anything of the experiences of Professor John Wren-Lewis?

It seems that after a near death experience (NDE) of which he remembered nothing, he awoke to find that he was able to live entirely in the instant. He still had all his long and short term memory functions; yet he now feels that the back of his head is opened up and connected in a continuum to the rest of the cosmos. He did nothing to earn what yogis and rishis spend many lifetimes trying to achieve.

December 15, 1999
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in the past it may have took many years for one to achieve such an enlightened state but not any more.
Many "everyday" people are achieving higher conciousness because of the energy change through out the collective conciousness and the thinning of the veil...

December 15, 1999
6:51 pm
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Just to add my two cents. One time, when I took acid, the thought came to me , "you can do anything you want to do" It was a moment of complete and clear understanding which I have not repeated since. I have no desire to repeat the drug now but still remember that feeling of utter clarity and still believe it to be true and an essential experience that I need for my life.

December 16, 1999
12:33 pm
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including jumping off a roof? People feel they can fly, just a little concerned about young people doing drugs thinking that it will "improve their soul and self esteem" it wont!!!!!!!!!!!!
It could rob you of your soul and your life, please understand this, I have a loved one who is dying from the affects of long term drug use.
There is not glory or romance in altering your brain chemistry and finding an artificial high on life. Find your own beauty with a clear head and a clean body. Blessings.

December 16, 1999
12:40 pm
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I haven't read anything by him, but I plan to look him up now!

I find, Tez, that with my addictive personality, it's good to just say no (ha ha ha). I can have one cigarette, every now and then. Being with someone who quit using has helped also. Actually, my boyfriend can do things in moderation. He is a very controlled person. He's the only person I know who can snort exactly one line of coke and stop himself. It's weird.

I also find that the less often I take the drug, the more effective it is as a mind-expandor. At the end, I waited two months to take my last doses. It was a better experience than I have known before.

MDMA is actually still used in a clinical setting in research done in Europe. I'm not sure excatly what they're researching, though.

As far as I know, MDMA has doneit's work for me. I opened up a lot more than I ever have. I became able to have sex without being drunk...that was a big move for me. I started dealing with my own issues, which I had ignored before. I realized life is about choices and tangents, the ebb and flow of understanding. I learned how to solve conflict without anger. There are still tears, there is still hurt and misunderstanding, but no more anger (especially since I stopped taking drugs). I learned how to talk things out immediately and frankly without shredding relaitonships.

I used to say everyone should take MDMA at least once. I take that back now, heart problems would be a bad combination with that drug. but I value every experience I had on the drug, good and bad, because it taught me how to live life and not just exist. I really am glad I took it, I just wish I hadn't gone overboard.

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