If you go
What: Psychedelic Shine: Extended-State DMT with Dr. Andrew Gallimore and
When: 2 to 9:30 p.m. Sunday
Where: Shine Restaurant and Gathering Place, 2027 13th St., Boulder
Cost: $20 to $55 (various packages)
More info: medicinalmindfulness.org/psychedelic-shine
The world may owe psychedelics a little credit.
George Harrison, citing LSD as a necessary experimentation for the Beatles in the '60s, told Rolling Stone, "It was like gaining hundreds of years of experience in 12 hours."
Francis Crick, the co-discoverer of the DNA molecule structure, was allegedly on LSD when he lightbulbed the idea of the helix structure.
And Steve Jobs kept it no secret that he experimented with LSD in college. Apple's late-cofounder told his biographer, Walter Isaacson, that "taking LSD was a profound experience, one of the most important things in my life."
Coming to Boulder from Japan on Sunday, neurobiologist Dr. Andrew Gallimore will discuss how the psychedelic drug, DMT, can be used as a tool for exploring alien worlds.
DMT (N,N-Dimethyltryptamine, for the science types) is a molecule naturally produced in various plants, animals and humans. The well-known version of DMT, ayahuasca, is a tropical Amazonian vine, known for its hallucinogenic properties and is often made into a tea, which is experiencing a boom in the United States with ceremonies from Brooklyn to Silicon Valley. (Marc Maron recently said on a "WTF" podcast that DMT is so trendy right now. His guest Susan Sarandon agreed, explaining her trip on ayahuasca.)
Medicinal Mindfulness, a consciousness company in Boulder, is hosting the Psychedelic Shine event that also features live music and breathwork exercises (to help achieve deep healing from anxiety or trauma) from 2 to 9 p.m. Sunday at Shine Restaurant and Gathering Place, 2027 13th St., Boulder.
But back to that mind-altering mecca.
"I see DMT as a tool for accessing alternate realities and establishing stable communication with intelligent beings not of this world, not even of this universe," Gallimore said via email from a conference in Belgium. "The verification that such intelligences exist and that we could communicate with them would, in my opinion, the most profound discovery in the history of mankind."
Dr. Andrew Gallimore explains the brain on DMT
The world you experience, whether during normal waking life, dreaming or at the peak of a DMT trip, is built from information generated by the brain. This world is a model and should not be taken as the definitive absolute reality. The brain has evolved to build a world for you to live in, a world that is a useful model, but "truth" has nothing to do with it. It is a mistake to assume that the normal waking world is the "real thing" and any alternative worlds are mere hallucinations or false perceptions. The waking consensus world is a functional model, a simulacrum in which to survive and reproduce.
When you drift into the dream world at night, your brain builds your world in almost exactly the same way as it does during waking. The only difference is that, during waking, the information used to build the world is modulated by a relatively small amount of information from the senses.
The world is merely constrained by sensory information, but not built from it your world is always built from information generated by your brain. When a psychedelic drug, such as LSD, enters the brain, it interacts with specific receptor proteins in the cortex. This changes the patterns of information generated by the brain and, since your world is built from this information, your world changes. The world shifts from being stable and predicable, to unstable, unpredictable and novel. However, DMT has a much more profound effect on the brain and seems to activate a complete reality switch the information generated by the brain no longer manifests as the world we are familiar with, but an entirely new world of astonishing complexity and strangeness: a hyperdimensional alien reality replete with hyperintelligent entities.
Why DMT, the most common natural hallucinogen in the world, has this special ability to flick the reality switch in this way is open to speculation. I speculate in one of my papers that DMT might have been implanted as a message about the nature of our reality by an advanced intelligence a message that can only be decoded once humans reach a degree of cognitive sophistication to identify and isolate DMT from the plants in which it occurs. But this is highly speculative and not necessarily something I believe.
Gallimore, based in Japan at the Okinawa Institute of Science and Technology, explained that the world we experience whether it's waking life, dreaming or at the peak of a DMT trip is built from information generated by the brain. In short, some psychedelics, such as LSD, interact with receptor proteins in the cortex, changing the patterns of information generated by the brain, he said. DMT, on the other hand, has a much more profound effect on the brain.
"(It) seems to activate a complete reality switch," said Gallimore. "The information generated by the brain no longer manifests as the world we are familiar with, but an entirely new world of astonishing complexity and strangeness: a hyperdimensional alien reality replete with hyperintelligent entities."
Is it a big drug party at Shine on Sunday, then?
No. There will be no consumption of any drugs, Medicinal Mindfulness Executive Director Daniel McQueen said. This is the 10th Psychedelic Shine (the February event at the Boulder Theater gathered 500), and this particular one is "going to be a wild one," said McQueen, a spirituality and life coach.
"It's the most controversial topic we've explored so far and we expect to fill the place," said McQueen. Medicinal Mindfulness will be filming a documentary for Gaia TV, a streaming service based out of Louisville with programing that focuses on mind, body and spirit.
McQueen called the event part "grassroots consciousness experience," and will be speaking about his research proposal. With a master's degree in transpersonal counseling psychology from Naropa, he said in his practice he works with cannabis as a tool to initiate healing transformations.
"I haven't experienced anything more effective in healing," he said. "We work with medicines in an intentional way by going into unconscious behavior to help with revealing, healing and inspiring the person."
McQueen said he has also studied the effects of MDMA (ecstasy, molly) on post-traumatic stress disorder patients in approved research settings.
"Psychedelics allow us to look at something deep within, whether it's a problem or struggle or a pattern we are unconscious about that's not healthy," he said. "A combination of the medicine and solid psychotherapy allows the person to review traumatic material without being re-traumatized by the events."
McQueen explained that psychedelics, which are reported to increase empathy and euphoria in users, can help the patient look at their problems in a compassionate and non-judgemental way.
"Once you come out of the experience after the healing, many patients find it difficult to revert back to living the way they did before because the conscious mind knows it wasn't having a positive impact," he said. "We call it integrating the lessons and understandings of how to move forward with life."
McQueen said, like any therapy, the journey is an ongoing one. He said the practice helped him to heal from his own past trauma and to step into the person he truly is now. Along the way, he said he has seen many other transformations.
If DMT is so extraordinary and a naturally-occurring, nonetheless, psychedelic substance, how can the world play without legal access since it's classified as a Schedule I drug?
"We're seeing a renaissance of psychedelic research since the several decade-long hiatus because of prohibition," said Gallimore. "Now we're seeing an increasing number of research programmes (sic) looking at the mechanisms of psychedelic drug action in the brain, as well as exploring therapeutic uses. However, I don't see any time in the near future when DMT will be freely available for the purpose of communicating with extradimensional intelligences. That's just too far out. But one day perhaps."
Gallimore wouldn't divulge his DMT channel of choice, but said he has been to extra-dimensional realities "a number of times."
Is it like spaceships and purple beings with buggy eyes?
"For me the place is always similar, one of extreme complexity and with a technological ambience, as if this place has been there for countless trillions of years before our universe popped into existence," Gallimore said. "The power and intelligence of the beings that reside therein is overwhelming, the point we might expect an intelligence to reach after trillions of years of evolution."
McQueen and Gallimore said they encounter skeptics many of whom have never taken DMT before.
"To gain a deep understanding of what we do, someone should try it to experience it in context, read about it and learn about the clinical support for what we do," said McQueen.
"It's just a hallucination" is the usual response. Many think it's a recreational substance only for use at parties or raves.
But there's a simple answer for the skeptics.
"I always say the only true convincer is a small glass pipe and somewhere comfortable to lie down for 20 minutes," said Gallimore.
Have a nice trip.
Christy Fantz: 303-473-1107, firstname.lastname@example.org or twitter.com/fantzypants
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