In moments of weakness, many of us have sneaked a peak at the self-help section in the bookshop. But, while these books might make you feel warm and fuzzy, they are unlikely to challenge any aspect of your being, other than your wallet. On the other extreme, psychotropic substances including peyote, LSD and ayahuasca have been used for spiritual purposes for most of human history. The idea is that these substances can provide a short cut to self-knowledge by breaking down the barriers that protect our false, ego-centred, sense of self. Unfortunately, they can also provide a short cut to psychosis, and the alleged benefits have never been objectively measured anyway.
Founder member of the band Pink Floyd
Part 3 of a 7-part series on Self-Awareness