Sacraments

The most controversial aspect of the practice of Embodiment Training is our position that healing plants may be used to advantage in homeopathic doses as a sacrament to promote the deeply body oriented practices of dance, yoga, gazing, and Hollow Bamboo Dharma.  While the use of these plants is not at all necessary to explore these practices, does not work well for all people, and remains largely illegal, we need nevertheless to speak our truth and begin to heal the extraordinary shame that the prohibition of these sacramental substances (from within both legal and “transcendent” spiritual circles) has placed on the experience of our bodies, on the experience of ecstasy, and on our intrinsic connection to the god and goddess realm of nature.  Used judiciously and consciously, these plants can generate a profound healing effect, but like all true sacramental substances, they work best within the context of the practices for which they are a catalytic helper.

The great Hindu god Shiva, who brought the body-oriented practices of dance and yoga to the planet, is said to have used plant sacraments extensively.  Legends tell us that, when he would ingest the sacrament, his body would begin to make spontaneous movements, and out of these movements dance and yoga were born.  In the context of Buddhist practice sacraments of any kind are viewed as a violation of foundational ethical principles.  In the context of Shiva practice, they may be viewed as an integral component to the practices. 


The large majority of people who have participated in the Embodiment practices do not use sacraments for dance, yoga, gazing, or meditation.  A smaller minority do.  Possible benefits will be in helping to feel the body more palpably and directly.  The major caveat is that, unless you’re especially vigilant in maintaining strong mindfulness within the context of deep surrender, you can all too easily become further lost in your thoughts.  To understand more clearly why sacraments are not appropriate for traditional Buddhist practices but why they can work in the context of Shiva practices, please read my Cannabis in Spiritual Practice:  The Ecstasy of Shiva, The Calm of Buddha (Inner Traditions, 2018).


The work of Embodiment Training seeks to instill personal responsibility in its practitioners.  We all have to make personal choices in our lives and find out what works for us and what doesn’t.

 
out beyond the ideas
of right doing and wrong doing
there lies a field.
I’ll meet you there
         Jalaladdin Rumi