Madison Margolin discusses mysticism, psychedelics, and religion in this segment of the Ram Dass Fellowship on the BHNN Guest Podcast.
For those of you who do not know Madison Margolin, she is the host of the Set and Setting podcast on Be Here Now Network. She grew up in the Maharaj-ji Satsang and her father was a close friend of Ram Dass. Her father also legally represented Timothy Leary and campaigned to legalize cannabis. Madison is the founder of DoubleBlind, a publication highlighting stories about psychedelics, spirituality, environmentalism, and more. Learn more at: madisonmargolin.com
Jackie Dobrinska is a beloved holistic health educator, wise woman pracitioner, yoga therapist, minister and author. Jackie has mentored with some of the world’s preeminent teachers, scholars and visionaries in mind-body health, weaving together wisdom traditions from around the world. She teaches regionally at universities, hospitals, studios, businesses, and national conferences and festival, passing on the tools that empower individuals in their own health and transformation. In addition to her her wellness programs in wellness, yoga, herbs, healthy eating and women’s health, she is the founding director of the Greater Asheville Yoga Association and core staff for SE Wise Women. Learn more at: A Simple Vibrant Life
Get connected with the Ram Dass Fellowship community! Find local groups and check out the different and virtual fellowship groups available: ramdass.org/fellowship
What is a Psychedelic Experience?
After a meditative introduction by Jackie Dobrinska, Madison Margolin dives in to talk about her background with Ram Dass. Since her family was close friends with Ram Dass, she frequently spent time in his presence. She shares a memory about how he helped her ego shatter in her angsty teenage years. After fighting with her mom, Ram Dass helped Madison realize the silliness of her ego by playfully flashing her the middle finger she had just given her mother. Madison describes this moment as psychedelic and defines what psychedelic means to her. It is not an experience that always comes from a substance.
“For me it’s not really just trippy visuals or intense out of body experiences, though of course it can be, but really I’m talking more about the results of having had a psychedelic experience. And that’s sort of this dampening of the ego in favor of a reconnection and strengthened connection with or of the soul.” –Madison Margolin
To hear more about ego check out Ep. 112 of Here and Now: The Notion of Ego with Chögyam Trungpa Rinpoche
Religion and Psychedelics (18:43)
Madison describes a study where priests and rabbis were given psilocybin to understand the mystical nature of psychedelics. Scientists have described a mystical experience as having a feeling of unity, pure awareness, and fusion of your personal self with a larger whole. In simple terms, the lines between you and the other disappear. Other signifiers of a mystical experience are timelessness, inability to describe things accurately with words, a sense of sacredness, and exaltation. Over half of the participants in this study rated it as one of the top 5 most meaningful spiritual experiences in their lives. Not only this, but it also benefited their life and overall happiness even after 14 months. If you are not a proponent of psychedelics, fear not. It is not all about getting high and using psychedelics. We can access this activation of our consciousness via dance, meditation, yoga, and other healing practices.
Madison recommends we read Good Chemistry: The Science of Connection, from Soul to Psychedelics to learn more about this subject
Honoring the Divine (35:45)
Psychedelics can help us to honor the divine. When we connect with our truest selves via psychedelics, we can connect with the oneness of the world. Then, we are motivated to do Seva (service) because we have a deep sense of unity and empathy. We need both psychedelics and religion to be able to have an action item of service. If we just do psychedelics to have a fun, trippy experience, it feels too playful and too empty. We need the incorporation of a religious or mystical lens to then put what our consciousness learns into service. Our whole existence can be a psychedelic experience if we put our connection to ourselves and the world into action.
“What is the point of psychedelics, of tripping, if not to live a psychedelic life that kind of integrates the ethics, the values of psychedelics themselves? A life that enables you to become more you, to act that out in the world, to be your fullest self.” – Madison Margolin
Tune into Ep. 69 of the BHNN Guest Podcast w/ Spring Washam to learn more about Seva: Compassionate Service in the World
Set and Setting (52:10)
Jackie Dobrinska opens up a conversation with Madison via questions from viewers. One viewer asks what each psychedelic is currently being studied for. Madison discusses psilocybin for depression and MDMA for PTSD in veterans. She then weaves in the importance of set and setting for anyone considering experimentation with psychedelics. In these studies, there is often a medical professional or guide present. While this is not always necessary, it can be helpful for a beginner. One’s mental state and environment are big factors in a trip. It is a good idea to be in a setting that is conducive to comfort, healing, and growth.