I look at the Placebo effect
The placebo effect is one thing, and a powerful one I agree. Humankind is a suggestible species, and we can either suggest to ourselves or have others suggest to us. What we believe to be true is true, within limits to be defined experimentally and experientially. But we can only start to fly once we get rid of some of the extraneous unwanted nonsense in our lives. The emotional baggage that indoctrination by our culture and our personal health and experiences, often horrific, have instilled in our core being. Having been cheated and lied to so many times, who and what can we trust? It's natural, that is what our protective ego was all about, establishing our world view and immediate survival needs.
I was born to achieving parents, a mother who was an eye surgeon and a father with two degrees and a PhD. I have an elder sister, who is a medical doctor, an ordained Christian Minister and she recently got an arts degree too, so she pretty much has all bases covered. She's clever. But still not happy.
Me? I was a sickly asthmatic child, I never knew good health, I was the runt of the litter. Aged 15 I ended up in hospital with Brian Jones of the Rolling Stones. We both had the same terrible asthma. We had the same consultant too, Prof. Laurent. We played chess in the day room together, he was a thoughtful quiet man. I left hospital and within six months poor Brian was dead. He died of the same inhaler drug I was on called a Medihaler Iso Forte, made by Riker (you bastards). It nearly killed me too. In fact in a later book, called The Silent Epidemic, it was revealed that Medihalers were killing a good few thousand UK people a year, especially those under 20 years old. I went to the Stones' Hyde Park concert for Brian, watched the butterflies being released and mourned for a personal friend.
What did the authorities eventually do? they made Medihalers a class A drug overnight and I was not to have it ever again. I was left to cope without it, on my own, cold turkey, sad and alone, for many months. Abusive parents made it no better. I had no faith or belief left in any mainstream medical treatment, yet I still clung onto any faint hope medicine could give me for many many years after. A vain hope as it transpires. No placebo could placate me, and mostly the drugs they gave me were downright harmful, just like the Medihalers. Religious comfort just seemed like so much sentimentality for me and still does.
I did, however, have some compensatory experiences of my own, because I really needed to know. I once experienced reeling back along my own life into infancy until I hit a cold hard void. Nothing, nada, empty. Cold. Alone. Not dead, I was in full possession of memories and thoughts. What I experienced after that was my own birth. Light streamed into my eyes for the first time, a silver explosion of a brilliance so bright I cannot describe it, but as quickly as it came it went black again, blam, cut off. Pandemonium. I then started to see the nurses in the room. I heard and saw crazy panic in the room, nurses screaming. What I experienced was that my rather large overweight mother had rolled over on top of me in her own drugged stupor, her leg crushing my ribs into my lung, hence the rather abrupt end to my sense of wonderment and awe at being alive and ongoing breathing issues.
Happily I can relate that I did not ever have to experience that episode again and managed to die and be reborn in a somewhat more normal fashion on other occasions, with the clear light filling my world and soul. It is this that it seems is the goal of every mystic that ever lived. Everything is one, all opposites unite, everything simply just is. 'If your eye is single, your whole body will be full of light', as a certain Palestinian is reputed to have said. How true. Pleasure and pain are one. The light is intense. You see cause and effect as happening in a blinding instant. Ask yourself a question in this state and you see the answer. I seemed to ask myself what life was all about and all I could come up with was that chaos and order were again two sides of the same coin. So what was actually happening? Yes, it was that hoary old chestnut love, it seemed to be that life simply seems to long for itself and wants to exist, somehow. Love is the binding force of the universe and is ultimately the only thing that makes any sense. For to deny this is to deny the purpose of life itself. If all there is is cold chaos and accident without love, then it did not seem to me to that this sparkling experience was likely to ever occur again for anyone, yet throughout history there it is and always has been. It seems to me to unfold according to a plan.
So there you stay in your world of beautiful undifferentiated oneness, in a state of grace or bliss or whatever until you start to ask yourself who you are and start to have a sense of self again. You settle back into the present and you come back to land in the here and now.
So what do you do? Do you say you've seen God? Have been at one with the universe? You are actually God in the form of man? Start a new religion? Add to all the fossilised circuses called religions already littering the planet? No, fortunately the majority of people all over the world in every age who get this message, and it is the same everywhere, simply get on with their lives, speak their truth gently when and where they see it is appropriate within their local communities. They work with nature, help the sick and the old, help the children and admire beauty and truth. Simple, nice honest people, I meet them everywhere.
What is different today from any other period in history we know of is the rate of change. There has never been a time where there has been such an explosion of rapid change - in communication, technology, knowledge of all kind. The rules change on a daily basis and it is hard for anyone anywhere to maintain a sane, balanced, lifestyle. Your parents' aspirations are unworkable. Yet I see in the young the same spirit that will carry them through with new ideals and ideas into the future, full of optimism.
Life is so precious. Don't waste it.