The term ‘psychedelic’ is derived from the Greek wordspsyche, “soul, mind” and delein, “to manifest”, hence “soul-manifesting”, the inference being that psychedelics can access the soul and develop unused potentials of the human mind. Scientifically speaking, the primary action of a psychedelic is via serotonin receptor agonism, leading to an altered state of consciousness. Although these drugs are mostly associated with recreation, parallelism can be drawn to spirituality as well; considerable research has been carried out to understand the sense of “oneness” LSD users have said they feel. This is where the chord of spirituality strikes: the drug helps blur the boundary of personal and that of others around. LSD causes reduced neural activity in the posterior cingulate cortex and the temporal cortex- the brain areas that help determine one’s sense of self- it is similar to the highest meditative self.
Michael Pollan, of Northeastern University, also found himself investigating spiritual health concerning psychedelics. Psychedelics open users to natural and supernatural visions and experiences that can help people who are dealing with addictions and terminal diseases. The influence of psychedelics can connect them to a larger world that transcends the five senses, enabling them to see their place in it. “The recall is remarkable. It’s really vivid,” Pollan says. “I used to think the opposite of spiritual was material. And I realised that’s not really right. The opposite of spiritual is egotistical. To the extent that you can diminish the role of the ego, you become a more spiritual person—more connected, less defended.”
Psychedelics are theorised to give to us the epiphanies trapped in the subconscious of our mind, awaiting the right trigger to reveal themselves to us with vividness and splendour. It helps us live the emotions we perhaps suppressed or projected/processed in not the most correct ways. Spirituality is an intangible concept that is open to interpretation to each unique mind- and psychedelics are fast emerging to be the highway to this attainment.