Are Spirits Real?

Sooner or later, everyone working with ayahuasca has to come to terms with this issue. Who, or what, are those beings we’re seeing in ceremony? What do ayahuasqueros mean when they talk about spirits; the spirit of ayahuasca, for example, or los genios of the plants? What does Santo Daime mean when it speaks of [...]

Transformational work with psychedelics requires an open, warm, non-judgmental attitude towards your own experience, however painful or bizarre it might seem. Compassion meditation is a direct route to cultivating this kind of awareness. Meditation practice is not just from the head—it also comes from the heart, most immediately, in the practices of loving-kindness and compassion. [...]

Tonglen and the Evening News

The tidal waves rolled out from the epicenter at 500 miles an hour, the speed of a jetliner, taking up to ten hours to reach foreign shores. It took a few more days for the searing images to reach the television screen and the newspapers. Then the wave hit my heart, full bore. And rocked [...]

Ayahuasca & Meditation

I believe the single most important integration practice is some form of regular meditation. Working with ayahuasca can rattle the cage of who we think we are, dismantling our tidy self-definitions. While ultimately this leads to expansion and growth, the process can be disconcerting, generating feelings of fear, anxiety, and confusion. This is where meditation [...]

Medicine For These Times

Ayahuasca is spreading around the globe with astonishing rapidity. Increasing numbers of people are turning to it as a treatment of last resort, seeking a remedy for depression, anxiety, and trauma. Even more are searching for a spiritual catalyst, an emotional reboot from the meaninglessness that marks these alienated times. Sometimes, they find it. Ayahuasca [...]

Wisdom & Compassion, Part I

Buddhist Psychotherapy as Skillful Means This is Part I of an article I wrote in 2004 on integrating depth psychology with Buddhist meditation. A .pdf of the entire piece is available here William James, the American writer and psychologist, predicted a century ago that Buddhism would deeply influence Western psychology. Far ahead of his time [...]

Wisdom & Compassion, Part II

Buddhist Psychotherapy as Skillful Means Part II of an article I wrote in 2004 on integrating depth psychology with Buddhist meditation. A .pdf of the entire piece is available here. The simplest proposition is also the most radical: that our basic nature is open space infused with pure awareness. Beyond all our constructs and beneath [...]