Living Now Magazine, September 2006
According to the United Nations (UNODC), in the last twelve months some 200 million people, age 15-64, used illicit drugs. The majority of these, well over 162 million, were probably using cannabis – the most popular drug on the planet. Cannabis use has been steadily increasing (ten percent since the late 1990s) and according to expert opinions is continuing to increase at a rate faster than that of other drugs. Cannabis is the drug most of us start with and often the drug most of us finish with. My drug journey began with a joint when I was 16 and then, after LSD, cocaine, speed, heroin, mushrooms, mescaline and everything in between, it ended with a joint when I was in my 30s. I still remember those two joints (despite all the drugs I took in between), how magical the first one was and how mechanical the last was. In retrospect, marijuana was the drug that allowed my childhood dreams to resurface and all my drug experiences after that were really an attempt to recapture the initial magic of marijuana. If the experience had stayed magical I would probably never have stopped using it.
By the time I was 20 I was smoking marijuana or hash daily. Now in my therapeutic practice, I regularly see school children who smoke dope daily. They tell me that they hardly know anyone who isn’t taking drugs. A recent American survey of senior school students revealed that eleven percent were using ecstasy (Holland J. Ecstasy: the complete guide. Park Street Press, 2001). Australia probably has similar statistics. It is obvious that drug use is dramatically increasing amongst young users and for most the journey begins with a joint. The young users I treat seem to use marijuana for a similar reason that I did, but they start at a much younger age. This is because the drugs are so widely available now but also because they are not prepared to give up their dreams as easily as past generations were. They tell me that they take drugs because they want something drugs bring. If asked to clarify this they find it hard to put into words but refer to fantasy computer games or the Harry Potter books or movies. The latter keeps cropping up in these conversations. For many young children the world of Harry Potter is real, they don’t know how exactly but deep down they sense it. When they grow older and parents, teachers, and other adults tell them that this is all just fantasy they turn to hydro dope, ecstasy or LSD and make it reality.
Not surprisingly these young clients don’t want to give up drugs and they are usually brought to see me by their parents. I recently treated a 16-year-old girl who smoked hydro dope every day after school. Her mother desperately wanted her to stop and had taken her to various mainstream health professionals who had all told her drugs were bad but then suggested antidepressants. The girl obviously thought I was going to deliver a similar lecture about giving up because the first thing she said was ‘I can’t give it up, I’ve just started’. I knew exactly what she meant. As a teenager I felt like an outsider and marijuana and hash opened the door to a colourful, warm, exciting new world where reality felt like a dream and dreams felt real. I was captivated and there was no way I was going to stop. In my therapeutic practice I never tell someone not to do drugs. People told me that for years when I was a heavy drug user and it was a total waste of time. I took more drugs to wipe out the memory of those experiences. In the cases of young drug users, I always start by explaining that what they are chasing with the drugs is what I have now achieved without the drugs. The focus is not on the drug but on working with recapturing what the drugs provide.
The 16-year-old girl was typical of many young drug users I see. She would spend hours each day playing computer games and smoking dope to try and recapture Harry Potter’s world. She hated school because it didn’t allow her to discover herself. This is a common complaint and I always point out to young users that only 5 percent of the universe is known and that school and everything these kids hate belongs in that 5 percent. What they are seeking with drugs, however, lies in the 95 percent of the unknown universe, the realm of the spirit. The future lies in interaction with that invisible world and these kids sense this. I always acknowledge their intent for wanting to explore this as being correct because there is much more to the world than what we see. As Rebecca Somerville points out (in an article in Australian Yoga Life), we are all multi-dimensional beings but we are preoccupied with the tangible physical world because we have very little experience of the non-physical levels of ourselves, except in dreams. When you take drugs though, you can consciously experience the non-physical aspects of yourself and this is one of the major attractions and definitely one of the things these young drug users resonate with.
I always ask my young clients what else they feel on drugs that makes it so good and ‘action’ is often the response. Every drug user can relate to the sense of inner action that drugs provide. This can’t be described, it can only be felt. This idea of inner action becomes my next focus point in the therapeutic process because this is what they chase. They all agree that drugs can only provide it temporarily but they want it permanently. This leads to my introduction to the ‘art of action’, of focussing on becoming ‘that which can only be felt’. Drugs show but they don’t create and after drugs you have to create what you were shown. This can’t be done by mental processes, it requires the organs. These are the gateway to the invisible worlds and the only way through is to work on the organs through diet, nutritional supplements and a practice like, kung-fu, yoga, akido or any similar arts. These arts work with the organs to produce altered states, feelings and sensations – just like drugs.
This is esoteric stuff but these kids grasp it instantly. There was a Iot of discussion about psychedelic drugs as an evolutionary tool in the 70s but this was peripheral thinking at the time. I now think drugs are an evolutionary tool in many ways. I think they have significantly changed the consciousness of the West but this change is manifesting in the young drug-users. They have inherited a morphogenetic field altered by our desire to expand consciousness through psychedelic and other drugs and create a New Age. When I deal with teenage drug users I am communicating with a consciousness which is years ahead of the teenage consciousness thirty or forty years ago. This next generation have moved beyond the stage of talking and theorizing about the New Age, they expect to live it but as there is no evidence of this new world they feel confused. For them drugs make sense of everything and I hear this all the time. Drugs allow them access to the world they expect to live in.
If someone is to blame for their drug use, for their reluctance to live in the ‘five-percent’ material world of mortgages, credit card debt and what is now popularly termed ‘affluenza’, it should be us. Instead of increasing penalties and criminalizing drug use, we have to ask what it is that drugs are providing and find some alternatives fast. The USA is constantly pushing for tougher drug laws and harsher penalties for drug users and Australia tends to follow their lead. But this is not a solution. “Just say no” isn’t going to cut it with this next generation either because they are saying yes in their thousands. It is obvious that we can’t work against drugs in this manner instead we have to provide other options to meet the needs of the new generation. We have to work with drugs. Ideally, programs should be introduced into schools about what drugs do and how they work from a body-mind-spirit perspective. This is the only approach that can satisfactorily describe drug experiences and the invisible worlds. This would then prepare the path for teaching alternative strategies to achieve the drug state. At least then maybe not so many children would go from Harry Potter to Pot and often on to heavier drugs. If the kids are kept in the dark or fed anti-drug propaganda many will experiment with drugs. This is dangerous. A big problem with young users is increasing symptoms of what Western medicine would term psychosis from hydro dope or other drugs. In the body-mind perspective these symptoms arise because the young users are so open to the altered states that they go right out there on drugs but are then not able to process what they see, feel and experience. This is due to the massive imbalances in the five-element cycle created by the hydro dope. This can’t be redressed mentally but requires body-mind techniques. In addition they are told they are wrong, bad etc. for what they have done. Consequently the drug experiences linger as unresolved memory in their body-mind. Drugs are energetic in nature (that inner sense of action is energy or Chi moving). As energy cannot be created or destroyed if it is not directed or processed it is stored and prone to generating uncontrollable or unforseen future actions. In my one-on-one sessions for young users I implement strategies to use this energy beneficially. I also use the principles of Traditional Chinese medicine and the martial arts to provide a sense of magic and a method to make it real. Because once the magic becomes graspable drugs naturally lose their power as real experiences always over-ride false experiences.