The Psychedelic Podcast by Third Wave
Can Psychedelics Influence Physical Healing?
Richard Louis Miller
Richard Louis Miller joins us for a discussion on how psychedelics can influence healing. We discuss Richard’s own history with psychedelic substances, and the ways in which he believes psychedelics can help focus our attention and take responsibility for our own wellbeing. Richard shares with us his hopes for the future of the psychedelic movement.
- Richard describes his first encounters with LSD and MDMA, and the profound influence they had on his life.
- The mind is more responsible for our own healing than we give it credit for.
- Psychedelics can help us focus our attention and learn to understand healing as more than a random physical process.
00:24 Paul Austin: Hey Listeners and welcome back to The Third Wave Podcast. I am joining you from Chiang-Mai, Thailand, where I am spending at least the next week. I’m going up to Pai this weekend, a little slice of paradise in the northern Thai mountains. I actually spent a year living in Chang-Mai in late 2014 to early 2016. I may have spoken about it on the podcast in the past. It was actually where I built my first business and what ended up making Third Wave entirely possible. So, I hold a certain sort of affinity for Chiang-Mai and I thankfully am taking a break from the New York winter and chaos and stress and just really blessing out here. So, it’s been wonderful and I finally feel back to normal after a very crazy last six months, where I was on the edge of burnout.
01:12 PA: So, it’s good to be in Thailand. It’s good to be coming back to you with another podcast with Richard Louis Miller, who joins us for a discussion on how psychedelics can influence healing. We discuss Richard’s own history with psychedelic substances and the ways in which he believes psychedelics can help focus our attention and take responsibility for our own well-being. Now, this is a topic that we often talk about in our Microdosing Course, is that relationship between those who are really taking empowerment over their own health. And not just physical health, but mental, emotional, spiritual well-being and the relationship between those who are saying, “No. I am going to take ownership over what I’m doing and I’m going to really make the most of what I can do.” This is what Richard and I really dig into in this conversation.
01:57 PA: Richard also shared with us his hopes for the future of the psychedelic movement. Richard is the author of Psychedelic Medicine, a book in which he interviews a number of psychedelic luminaries and we briefly talk about that in the podcast as well. All in all, it was such a lovely conversation that I had with Richard. He had actually interviewed me for his radio program about a week prior to our interview, so we had had some previous rapport, and the conversation went really well.
02:27 PA: I do want to apologize, this episode as well as the next one that we publish will have some slight audio issues. It almost sounds like I’m talking on a telephone, so I need to figure out what’s going on with my microphone for that purpose. So, there might some issues on my end. But, Richard, who is talking most of the time, you’ll be able to hear him loud and clear. So, without further ado, I bring you Richard Louis Miller.
02:52 PA: Let’s talk a little bit about your own experiences in psychedelics. How did you first cross paths with psychedelic medicine?
03:02 Richard Louis Miller: I first crossed paths with psychedelic medicine back in the 1960s and I was teaching at the University of Michigan and at the time, Leary and Alpert had been fired from Harvard, and that was a big shock to some of us, because we were brought up to believe that you got your doctorate and got a job at a good university. I’m at the University of Michigan. I was tickled pink with the job and one of the things, as an aside, that I really liked about it was that we were on the trimester system, four months, four months, and four months. So, I worked for two four-month periods and then I was off for four months, which was really great to give me an opportunity to explore. And during that time when Leary and Alpert got fired, it was like, “Oh my gosh. There’s no job security in this. You can do honest research and get fired from a major institution. And maybe I better look into what these guys got fired for.”, because none of us really knew anything about Psilocybin Mushrooms or the like, LSD. We knew very little, except that people were taking it somewhat on the streets clandestinely.
04:14 RM: So, I read Leary and Alpert’s book, The Tibetan Book of the Dead, which I think your listeners would enjoy, and in it, one of the things they said was that if you take a certain number, I think was 400, of Morning Glory seeds and they even mentioned the kind of Morning Glory seeds. They were either heavenly blue or pearly gates that they said you could get it at any farm supply, garden supply store. And then they gave a protocol for taking them and for having a psychedelic experience. So, myself and a colleague, a dear friend, went right out and went to the farm supply and bought ourselves bags of heavenly blue and pearly gates, and set a time and we ingested 400 of these seeds, which by the way, it’s not so easy to swallow 400 little plant seeds. It’s a lot of seeds. And we had a major psychedelic experience, which changed the course of my life.
05:10 RM: It gave me a sense of connection. It gave me the realization that every human being on the planet is connected, that we’re really all part of one organism. That we are each ourselves an organism, just like we each have cells in our body. It gave me the realization that the earth is not a big ball of dirt flying through space, but in fact, is a living, breathing organism itself. And that every part of the earth that we relate to are not discreet, separate entities, the oceans, the mountains, the trees, the animals, the people, they’re not discreet, separate entities. We are all part of one entity. We are all part of this living, breathing organism. And when I had this emotional experience, what you call an experiential knowing, what Robert Heinlein in his book, Stranger in a Strange Land, called grokking. When I grokked the connection with everybody else and with the whole earth, well, my life changed. The way I related to other people changed. I would no longer want to harm another person or say something nasty, than I would want to take a hammer and hit my own toe.
06:26 RM: Because we’re all connected. And I had a realization at the time that if everyone would have the same kinda realization, the way we all treat one another could change dramatically. In fact, it would change dramatically. And I thought, These guys are really on to something that’s Leary and Alpert. And it’s revolutionary. And I had this great hope that there would be a spreading of the word and there’s great science behind it, and this might be a medicine that came upon us, that was gonna bring the world together. Well, instead what happened as you know is that the government in its way, made legislated LSD almost out of existence, made it illegal, and then people who wanted to experiment with this medicine became criminals and outlaws, which is very bad thing for a society, to have millions of people doing something, that makes them identify as outlaws, because they’re doing something that they know is not a bad thing. The same thing happened during prohibition of alcohol in this country, we had millions of people drinking alcohol and buying alcohol which was illegal, so that was an illegal activity and they all knew it.
07:40 RM: And of course what happens when you make something illegal? Is you immediately create a criminal underground, ’cause whatever it is, you make illegal, people are gonna want. We made a alcohol illegal, we created the mafia, and they became the biggest business in the country with untold wealth. Well, we created Cannabis illegal and LSD illegal, we created the narcotraficante and now we have cartels that are taking over whole countries witness Mexico and witness Columbia.
08:06 RM: So, okay, there I was, I had this great hope, and this stuff becomes illegal and I’m sort of sniffing around for what else is available and I come upon MDMA and known on the street nowadays as ecstasy, but I say that with a warning because what’s on the street isn’t necessarily MDMA even though it’s called ecstasy. And that’s one of my big gripes, one of my other big gripes of the many I have with the government is that by making these substances illegal, that means the stuff that people buy on the street, can be have anything in it, not necessarily the stuff they think they’re buying which also leaves them open to danger and health hazards.
08:46 RM: But anyway, I did research and I found a therapist and MDMA was legal, and I was able to engage in MDMA therapy on myself and it was nothing short of phenomenal and I’d already had plenty of verbal therapy in my life, but the advances I made with MDMA were indeed phenomenal. And the next thing I knew I was meeting with high ranking members of the church, and we were at Bishops and cardinals, and we were talking about giving MDMA to seminarian students. In order to hasten their theogonistic experience in order to hasten their connecting with, for them, god, while for some of us is the great forces in the Universe. But again, a sense of connection with all living things and these religious leaders really believed because they had taken it themselves, they really believed that we were on to something, and then of course while it was legal, we started doing MDMA with couples and the effect again, was phenomenal because of the heart opening effect that real MDMA has, the lowering of defenses, people would talk to each other. They’d ask a question, a couple would ask a question and where is typically the answer might have been, “Why are you asking me that?” Instead, they might get answer like, “Well that’s interesting, let me hear more about that question. I’d like to be able to answer it.”
10:19 RM: In other words, from defensiveness to inquiry, From negativity to the presumption of innocence, and the presumption of innocence in our interpersonal relationships is so important and the expression of negativity towards our friends and associates and loved ones is such a powerful negative influence. And so we were very excited about this next medicine. It’s gonna be so great, it’s gonna help so many people, and then the government makes MDMA illegal in 1985.
10:51 PA: Let’s stop there and kind of backtrack a little bit because this is, I think you’re the first person I’ve interviewed who lives using psychedelics in a responsible structured way in the ’60s, when they were still legal. So I’d like to hear from your perspective, what was that like, to not only go through the ban of LSD and Psilocybin at the federal level in the late 60s, but then also going through the ban of MDMA in the mid-80s. What did you think? How did you feel during the first and the second time that happened?
11:24 RM: Well, first of all, as soon as I took those Morning glory Seeds, I couldn’t wait to do it again and I couldn’t wait to get some real LSD somewhere. And I was very lucky because I had a friend who was connected in Europe and he connected with Sandos who were the origin of the pharmaceutical company in Switzerland, which that’s where Albert Hoffman worked, when he developed LSD. So I was able to get real laboratory-grade LSD, and then combining my readings of Leary and Alpert, and others, Gordon Wasson, some of the early ethnobotanist, and then I got together with colleagues. We were all clinical psychologists and psychologists, and we developed a protocol, how can we best use this extremely powerful medicine that you take in minute amounts, micrograms, tiny, tiny amount that has this huge effect on brain chemistry and how do we then study the brain, how are we gonna… This was before MRI and so, we wanted to know what effect is this having on our brain chemistry and how can we use it to enhance our consciousness and we already knew most of us had similar experiences that I did, in terms of this powerful and theogonistic experience, and we wanted more of it.
12:43 RM: And as healthcare providers, we wanted to learn how to use it with others, and so we developed protocols for taking it. Never once did I ever think in those days in the heyday of the 60s never once did I consider taking LSD and going out on the street, for example, or going to a rock concert even to this day it’s hard for me [chuckle] to fathom somebody taking this powerful stuff and going out in public or let alone going to a place where there is loud music, though I know people do it, I don’t frown upon it. I am not a moralizer. If they can do it, and they can do it safely, that’s their trip, but it is not mine. My trip was following the protocol that we developed, which was the early days of set and setting, we developed beautiful places, whether they were out in nature, out on a beach or if it was gonna be in an urban environment, we made sure it was extremely quiet.
13:41 RM: We never, ever followed any kind of protocol where a person could take a large dose of LSD and be subject to traffic noise for example or industrial noise jack hammers, saws, rotors all kinds of stuff, loud buzzing. We considered that it was just out of the question because what we learned very early on and practiced religiously, which is that if you are gonna indulge and take these psychedelic medicines you want it as clear and clean a field as possible. And that meant silence. We even considered taking it in what’s called an anechoic chamber, that’s a room that’s built with… Out of cement, and there is no sound in it anechoic without sound, there is no sound in it whatsoever. Some of us took it at times in what were called at the time, Samadhi tanks these were tanks full, of water that was body temperature and salt that you floated in so that you would have no external influence, no external stimulation and you could spend the entire LSD experience inside.
14:47 PA: Did you do that?
14:49 RM: Oh, definitely, I did that I definitely…
14:51 PA: What was that like?
14:52 RM: It was fantastic, and I did it. Most of the time we would use eye shades we would wear a bandana or special shades over our eyes, we’d be laying down comfortably in a couch or on big pillows, one or two colleagues would sit with us the entire time, just be there. In case we made absolutely certain that the person who was under the influence let’s say, myself was not disturbed in any way there was no such a thing as a telephone call a buzzer at the door. People coming in zero totally protected environment. So I could spend the entire eight hours with my eyes mostly closed observing what’s going on inside of myself and taking myself… Learning how to take myself to places inside of myself, how to internally explore the inner workings of my mind attempting to get into my own chemistry, if you will, attempting to look with the television set of the eye at the actual structure of the inside of my brain.
16:00 RM: These were things we were attempting to do in those early days of experimentation, but also at times looking at my interpersonal processes, how did I relate to other human beings? What were my tones of voice? It was in those days, under the influence of LSD that I trained myself to understand what other people were saying by the tones of voice and their body language, without listening to the words. The words in a communication are the lyrics. The tone of voice and the body language is the music. And of course we all listen to the words we are trained to listen to the words, but at another level we are all listening to the tones of voice and to the body language, but we are not necessarily primarily focusing on the tone of voice as the primary means of communication. And what I was trying to do and continue to try to do to this very day, is get behind the word to the time when we were human beings who grunted but we grunted in such a way that people in the next cave, or the next hill eventually could understand us.
17:13 RM: It was only after time that a group of people got together and all agreed that when we make a certain grunt and we say, pen then it means… Well, they didn’t have pens so I shouldn’t use that word stick. So a bunch of guys or girls get together and they all make a grunt stick and then after that they do it enough times and they know that when somebody makes a grunt that sounds like stick, they mean this thing that’s connected, it’s a piece of wood on the ground, that’s how language develop. What I try to do in the LSD experience was get behind the spoken words and get more primitive so that I could understand what people were saying to me by their tones, and their body language. This is one example of what I did, I hope I didn’t get too carried away on it.
17:56 PA: No, I like that because I kinda wanna go into that a little bit more because I interviewed another person earlier today for the podcast Bernardo Castro, who is a philosopher and said the same exact thing after his psychedelic experiences before them, he only used to pay attention to what people said the words that came out of their mouth but after he did psychedelics he started to actually pay attention to what people meant. Because obviously, the language that we use, language is a metaphor to describe feelings and intentions in a more articulate way. So I’d be curious as to just your thoughts, why is it that you think these non-dual experiences, whether in a float tank, or meditation yoga, psychedelics or particularly when we combine them, why do you think those enable the ability to be more in touch with the intuitive primitive, feeling side of our psyche or of our being.
19:00 RM: Because they’re more fundamental, and what I have spent a lot of time doing and I did while taking psychedelic medicine was trying to get back to fundamentals, the fundamentals of the human condition, the fundamentals that we all share, the way in which we are connected, the way in which… The fundamentals which allow us to cooperate, and also to look at times for where we went astray. How did we get from cooperating and the hunting of animals or cooperating and making little fires when we finally figured out how to do that. How did we get from cooperation to antagonism, to territoriality and eventually to predatory capitalism. How did we get to Darwinian predatory capitalism, where we live and created a world in which people are valued by the amount of assets that they accumulate rather than who they are as a person? How did we get there and what does that say about us, and is there a way to change that? Are we stuck with predatory Darwinian capitalism, the king of the hill, for the rest of time, or are we gonna get to a place where there’s equal respect and dignity for every animal on the Earth regardless of whether they’ve accumulated a lot or a little? How do we get to the point of the realization that just the fact that we’re lucky enough to get born gives us equal status as a sovereign person connected to every other person.
20:39 RM: These are the kind of questions that I like to go into sometimes or I did when I took LSD and also I had a very strong feeling pull in going back, what felt to me subjectively, like going back in time inside of myself. Now so I’m inside of myself. I’m wearing dark shades. I’m laying there, hour after hour. Many sessions. Many, hundreds of sessions at times I did this, and I’m looking and I’m searching and at times I’m purposely attempting to go back in time, and what I believe is the realization I had is that every one of us has within us all the information that is necessary for existence on the planet. That the history of the planet is in each side of us and inside of each of us in our DNA. Now I’m not talking about inventions and that kind of history. I’m talking about the history of the connectedness of human beings. The history of how we really are one animal and we are all connected. That we’re all the cells of one body, just like our foot is and our arm and so on is what we call part of our body as it is.
21:51 RM: What I didn’t know to do at the time, but others came along and did with LSD, such as Carl Sagan, Steve Jobs, Watson and Crick with the DNA molecule. What they did with the LSD was very different. They went inside to problem solve within a particular area of science. That opens up another whole venue. I was looking more for wisdom. They’re looking for some kind of problem solving in science. Equally valuable but, and a very interesting thing to do. More recently where my thinking is going is I’m gonna back up now. When you get a cut on the back of your hand you take it for granted that that cut is gonna heal. Let’s say you got a three inch cut right on the back of your hand, and you look down, you see it, you sliced it open. You walked by something, it was sticking out and opened up your skin. You’re bleeding. You wrap it up. You assume, we all assume that thing is gonna heal, correct? Do you agree with me?
22:56 PA: I would agree with you. Yeah, absolutely.
22:58 RM: You get cut, you assume, we assume it’s gonna heal. What we don’t do, now correct me if you think differently on this, but I think what we don’t do is believe that we have voluntary control over the healing of that wound. I think almost all of us, if not all of us believe that that wound is gonna heal what you might say automatically or naturally. Do you agree with that?
23:24 PA: I would agree with that, but within… I wanna let you finish your point, because I would have some nuance to add to that in terms of the pace at which it heals.
23:30 RM: Okay.
23:33 PA: Which I think gets into the point that you’re making as well.
23:35 RM: Okay, so whether it’s a cut on the hand or a common cold or a disease, when we get them, for the most part, we believe we’re gonna heal. Some of the disease are so serious we may not think we’re gonna heal. We may think we’re gonna die, but I’m gonna stick with the cut on the hand. Even though I believe that it appears to be healing automatically, I also believe that I am in control of that healing because if I’m not in control of that healing who is? Certainly not you or somebody outside of myself. My neighbor and my wife, my child, they’re not in charge of making the back of my hand heel. It’s gotta be me. To say that it happens automatically, in a way, is an abdication of personal responsibility. It’s a way of saying I’m not responsible for that healing. Something else does, but how can it be something else if it’s all inside of me? I’ve got to be responsible.
24:29 RM: Well, where I’m going with that, and the connection to these psychedelic medicines is I believe that psychedelic medicine, and particularly LSD, offers us the key to unlocking a method of focusing the mind in such a way as to take volitional control of all bodily healing, so that not only will we learn through the use of these psychedelic medicines how to look down, and in your words, speed up the process of that healing on the back of my hand. Maybe it would ordinarily take five days. Focus my mind and maybe I’ll do it in two or three days, but greater than that I will be able to use these psychedelic medicines as facilitators of focusing my mind in such a way as to go inside and do internal repairs on such serious things as kidney disease, liver disease, lung disease, heart disease, because the body wants to heal. The healing on the back of the hand or colds or various things that we know how to heal, we call it automatic. It’s a funny word. It happens automatically, but it wants to heal. The body wants to live and survive, and heal, and so if I can then.
25:49 RM: Learn the key of how to enhance that healing, take control of that healing. That’s a whole new area of medicine that we have not even scratched the surface of yet. And that’s the thing that really excites me the most nowadays about psychedelic medicine, what I just talked about.
26:08 PA: Yeah. And that brings up so many points, a few of which I wanna dig into. Really, what we’re starting to talk about is that relationship between mind and body. And the… From a Cartesian model where mind and body are distinct, separate, different. We built our whole current medical system on that assumption, meaning that the way that we think.
26:31 RM: Yeah. You’re right, Paul. Descartes really… Cogito, ergo sum, and he sent us on a dualistic direction for hundreds of years.
26:42 PA: And so that, for me, is representative. Now, we’re going through this shift where we have certain public figures like Bruce Lipton who wrote The Biology of Belief, where he showed in scientific research that your intention to heal can actually facilitate changes at the quantum level. And so this, for me, talks about… That is point number one, that we are understanding more and more about the power of intention in the healing process. Another point within this model is a lot of our current psychiatric models are built on a purely biochemical model, meaning antidepressants, for example, it’s understood that depression is related to maybe a shortage of serotonin, that if we prescribe an SSRI, that fixing that chemical imbalance will then address the depression. However, we’ve now shown with recent research that actually, antidepressants are no more effective than placebo. So I think what that says about what you’re getting into is that the way that we perceive ourselves, the way that we perceive our body, the way that we love ourselves even has a measurable impact on our ability to heal, and on the self-care process.
27:56 RM: I totally agree with you. And what I’m talking about with the use of the psychedelic medicines is going beyond intention to actually taking control, focusing, and manifesting.
28:10 PA: Where they basically act as an amplifier. The Medicines Act as an amplifier to accelerate that healing process.
28:19 RM: The Medicines Act as an amplifier, but also as a focuser because I think that in order to do this kind of self-healing work, the mind is gonna have to be extremely focused, disciplined and focused to be able… Like a laser beam of mind energy, to go into certain areas and do the work that needs to be done with conscious awareness of the laser. So it will be similar to how medical doctors in operating rooms are working now with lasers that are mechanical and robotics that are mechanical. And they’re going in, for example, to the prostate with a laser beam. And they can very carefully hit a cancer spot in the prostate without taking out the entire prostate, which is complicated and cause a lot of side effects which are negative to male plumbing. I’m talking about doing the exact same thing with the mind as the laser beam and with the psychedelic medicines being the enhancers and the focusers that allow us to do it.
29:29 PA: Yeah, and that’s fantastic. And I think that leads me to the second point that I wanted to make, just to contextualize again what you’re saying. You mentioned how you use psychedelics to get back to this primitive kind of wisdom of sorts. And I often talk about the future that we’re going into is marrying primitive wisdom with modern technology. And what I mean by that is we’re taking a lot of these evolutionary processes that we’ve lived on for tens of thousands, if not hundreds of thousands of years that have helped us to evolve and survive in tribalistic societies. And now it’s human, since we’ve been placed in agricultural and now industrial societies, were recognizing that we’ve given up a lot of our autonomy. We’ve given up a lot of our self-reliance, a lot of our power to external structures.
30:22 PA: And for me personally, a lot of my early psychedelic experiences were incredibly informative in taking ownership over my own health and over my own well-being ’cause I woke up to the fact that it was in my control, and that my ability to take care of myself was not dictated by the amount of money that I could pay to an external authority. And so that gets, I think, into another one of your points, which is when we look at, for example, the cut that you’re talking about, healing that cut. I know that if I have a better sense of what my body needs from a nutrition perspective, from a fitness perspective, from a sleeping perspective, the more that I “optimize” my own health, the quicker that cut will heal anyway because on a reductionist level, my immune system is much healthier. And so I think that also is what got me thinking about our ability to take ownership and control over our own experience. Psychedelics oftentimes facilitate that awakening process.
31:26 RM: What I really like about what you’re saying is that there are things with regard to the exercise, the nutrition, the sleep, the specifics that you’re talking about and taking over control, what I really love about that you’re saying that is those are things that can be done right away, whereas what I’m talking about, psychedelic medicine unleashing and giving us the key to being able to focus the mind, that’s in the future. So it’s nice to have something as you’re pointing out, that we can do right away, but it’s also nice to have something that we can look forward to that will do the job even better.
32:02 PA: Now, I’d love to hear about that hypothesis or that statement that you’re making. How does that align with some of what we’re discovering right now with current psychedelic research, in terms of its ability to heal PTSD, depression, addiction, some of these sorts of things. What do you see as being the relationship between those two areas?
32:25 RM: Well, what’s happening right now is that we’re using familiar protocols so that when Michael Mithoefer is using Dr. Michael Mithoefer and his wife Annie when they’re doing work with PTSD and MDMA. They’re using a combination of the medicine along with human interaction and human facilitation which is often referred to as psychotherapy, this sort of old-fashioned word that we haven’t figured out a better word for yet. And I say that pointedly because psychotherapy is a tough word for the public. Just the word psycho, to begin with, sounds crazy and it sounds like a movie or something. I look forward to the day when we have better words than that. The other problem I have with it, even though I am a clinical psychologist and therefore a professional “psychotherapist”, is that it pathologizes behavior and we need a way out of pathologizing our behavior.
33:27 RM: Pathologizing and classifying people and categorizing them isolates them, alienates them, separates them, the worst thing in the world in our culture. Well maybe not the worst, but one of the worst things in our culture would be to get a diagnosis that you put on your forehead, when they used to put an A on a woman’s forehead with a branding iron, if she was an adulterer. So for the rest of her life she walked around with this scar on her forehead, classifying her as an adulterer. Well, the modern day equivalent of that would be something like schizophrenia. Oh my gosh, you put a label on a person with of schizophrenia, 20, 18-year-old person, they’re gonna walk around for the rest of their life with this label of schizophrenia.
34:14 RM: That means that they’re gonna be acting like a schizophrenic, they’re gonna think of themselves as schizophrenic, they’re gonna read up if they read on schizophrenia to see what schizophrenics act like. And they can almost lose their entire identity to their diagnosis, whether it’s that or manic depressive, these words are terrifying to people and they’re misguided. I understand that they would use them. We needed them professionally, perhaps to talk to each other in professional groups, but we’ve gotta look at the fact that we’re doing… The treatment is causing as much damage as the illness. So I’m very concerned about that, about these words. But getting back to your question, when these folks are doing the work, they’re doing a mixture of personal connection. The therapist and the person taking the medicine is an essential part of that package. The other part of the package of course is the medicine itself.
35:15 RM: And it’s that whole picture, that whole package that actually gets the work done. It’s not as if you can take somebody with PTSD and put them on a beach and give them some MDMA and they’re gonna get cured of the PTSD. There has to be a treatment protocol, a way of using it. Just like you can take LSD and you can go inside like I did for eight hours or you can take it and go to a rock concert, like people do. Two different experiences. And just because you’ve taken the same medicine doesn’t mean you’re gonna get the same effect in terms of reconstruction of your internal self.
35:53 PA: Which comes back to [unclear speech] studying which you mentioned earlier, the importance of contextualizing the psychedelic experience within a structured framework ideally directed a positive tangible outcome. At least that for me is a lot of what my psychedelic experiences have been about. It’s been the experiences themselves of course are really interesting and fascinating, and beautiful, and the feelings that come up in the sense of interconnectedness well under the influence of a psychedelic is profound and beautiful. But for me, I’m more focused on how does my waking every day state change as a result of the way that I direct my energy during these high-dose or even microdose psychedelic experiences.
36:41 RM: Well, you know you’re saying that reminds me of a question that I’ve been wanting to ask you because I’ve been listening to you, and one of the things… And correct me if I’m off here, but one of the things I believe you brought to us courageously, if I may add, is that you microdosed twice a week, every week for seven months. And what I’d like to know is after doing it for that period of time, when you then stopped doing it, to what extent did your immersion in that medicine over the seven months stay with you after you were no longer taking the medicine?
37:18 PA: That’s a great question. I think if I could answer in percentages, meaning that at the end of the seven months, let’s say I was at a 100%, I would say probably it depended a lot on what else I was doing. So meaning that after I stopped microdosing for seven months, I continued to meditate for at least 15 minutes every day, even when I was done microdosing. And so a lot of them then, these states of mind that I was cultivating during the microdosing experience, which led to more openness, which led to more empathy, which led to a greater sense of self-awareness and self-reflection, I didn’t think those were completely dependent on the drug themselves. I knew that the drug was just initiating the state of mind that could also be induced through alternative methods like float tanks or meditation.
38:13 PA: So after I stopped microdosing, I did my best to continue other non-dual habits, cultivating non-dual awareness, so that a lot of those lessons that I learned remain cemented in. However, I will say that it wasn’t a 100% carry-over, meaning within the normal add and flow, ups and downs of life there were some days or weeks or months where things were a little more difficult, and there were some days or weeks or months where things were a little bit easier. But overall the improvement, pre-microdosing compared to post-microdosing, just in terms of my diet, in terms of how consistent I was with exercising, in terms of… For me, my relationships with other people had improved and remained at that higher level, even when I stopped consistently microdosing.
39:10 RM: Yes. Your case is a very important one, Paul, because one of the issues with psychedelic medicines that we’ve had right from the beginning is what we refer to as “bringing it back across,” and what we mean by that is bringing what we’ve learned while we’re under the influence of the medicine back across into daily life. So that if I give a couple MDMA and they talk non-defensively, and they work on skills during the session while they’ve taken the MDMA of speaking non-defensively, then what we wanted to see is to what extent are they able to continue to talk that way after the next day and the day thereafter and the week thereafter, or how many times do they need to practice the skills that the medicine facilitates in order to then be able to do it every day in daily life.
40:05 RM: And that’s why I asked you about your experience, because it’s very important to know how much do we have. We have certain ways of being that we want to achieve with regard to our health, be it emotional, be it physical, be it communication. How often need we take the medicine and practice these skills while we’re under the influence of the medicine in order to then be that way?
40:30 RM: And one of the things that I think you might find interesting, if you’re not already aware of it, is Countess Amanda Feilding in London, who brought us the brain images of, MRI images of the brain on LSD and the brain without LSD, which are readily available to your listeners in the New York Times. She published the images. Amanda took LSD a minimum of a 100 micrograms every day for 90 days. And that was an amazing experiment in terms of what is there to learn. And you are courageous enough to talk to us about having done microdosing twice a week following the Fadiman Protocol, I assume, one day on, two days off, over a seven-month period. And this is such important information, why I keep referring to you as courageous, and I feel that way about Amanda, because with science being suppressed by the government, all we have left are people like yourselves and Amanda and myself who have had a lot of experience, who are willing to talk about it publicly.
41:36 RM: We have that and then the few courageous scientists who persevered to get licenses from the government and have done real research. And that’s why I wrote my book, Psychedelic Medicine, because I’ve got most of the most prominent researchers in the country all in one place, but they’re very few.
41:54 PA: And it’s still so limited in terms of the research that we can do because there is absolutely no funding from…
42:02 RM: That’s right.
42:02 PA: The FDA or the government because, obviously, psychedelic medicines, but even larger that cultivating non-dual states of awareness, when you facilitate that deep sense of self-awareness and self-reflection, when you’re able to take ownership and autonomy over your own individual existence, then you basically detach from this capitalistic, highly pharmaceutical, nation-state economy that is dependent, GDP is dependent on the exploitation of the individual’s health, whether that’s mental, physical, or emotional. And I think when we can start to take that into our own hands then, from my perspective, this grassroots movement, whether it’s in psychedelic medicine or with the Burning Man ethos or with the rise in mindfulness meditation, grass root movements like this I think ultimately will be responsible for the overturning of a lot of these poisonous systems that have really prevented us from evolving as a species.
43:09 RM: I totally agree with you, Paul, I think you said it beautifully. The system that we have is simply antithetical to the health and welfare of the people, and it’s a fortunate thing that we’re seeing somewhat of a renaissance. That’s why your work with Third Wave is important, why books like Fadiman’s is important, if I may say so, why my book Psychedelic Medicine is important, because they’re part of what you’re referring to as Third Wave, which we’re hoping will allow psychedelic medicine, in your words, to be integrated into the society as a whole.
43:45 PA: And this is really important at a time and place where we’ve lost touch with our sense of interconnectedness, which you emphasized in the beginning was the biggest breakthrough in your early psychedelic experience.
44:00 RM: That’s correct, that’s correct.
44:10 PA: Okay, it’s Paul here with some quick announcements and pieces of news for you this week before we get back to the interview. And the first piece of news is, if you’re going to microdose or if you’re generally interested in intentional, specific, responsible, psychedelic use for a certain objective or outcome, consider joining our microdosing course and community. You can find that at thethirdwave.co/microdosing-course. That really is the best way to support what we’re doing here at Third Wave. That is the only thing that we have available. We also take donations, but we do not offer any sort of advertisements and we wanna keep it that way. So your support really means a lot in helping to continue to amplify our message about responsible, structured, intentional, psychedelic use, both in microdoses and in larger doses.
45:01 PA: So the news. A regional police force in the UK has announced plans to implement city center drug testing and supervised injection facilities to divert substance users from entering the criminal justice system. This piece was originally published from our friends at Volteface, and basically the West Midlands Police and Crime Commissioner, David Jamieson, published a report introducing concrete proposals to reduce crime and prevent harm relating to drugs by establishing this center. So this is really good news and continues to show the changing cultural norms around illicit drug use in our culture and society.
45:41 PA: The big news though, and I woke up this morning and saw this I think on my Facebook, is that MAPS just got another $1 million donation for their phase three trials. It comes from the Mercer Foundation. I’m just going to read the press release for MAPS, the first part of it, so that you can get a sense for who it will be used for. “Today, The Mercer Family Foundation, founded by the family of Robert Mercer, hedge fund executive and his daughter, Rebekah Mercer, announced it will make a $1 million contribution to the non-profit Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies. The purpose of the grant is to help complete funding for MAPS’ upcoming phase three clinical trials, of MDMA-assisted psychotherapy for the treatment of chronic severe posttraumatic stress disorder, PTSD. The grant is restricted to costs associated with study participants who are American military veterans.”
46:33 PA: So for those who don’t know, the Mercer family is quite conservative, right-wing. I believe they are also Trump supporters. So, when MAPS actually posted this on their Facebook, there were some interesting comments and I think this speaks to two things which I love about MAPS. Is one, they’re not ideological which many in the psychedelic space are. They know that they need to get their hands dirty and they know that they need to look at all available resources to really complete their funding goals and make this dream a reality, of integrating psychedelic medicine back into our mainstream culture. And two, they understand their demographic. And this was from my understanding of Rick Doblin strategy from the beginning was as part of the initiative. By focusing on healing PTSD, which so many veterans come back with, Rick knew that it would be an excellent way to melt cultural resistance from the right, because many American military veterans do come from more conservative backgrounds.
47:30 PA: Obviously, the Mercer family, comes from a more conservative background, and so it just makes sense that if they’re focusing on PTSD, that the Mercer Foundation would restrict their grant to city participants who are American military veterans and that MAPS would look at them as potential donors. So I love What MAPS is doing. I’m obviously a huge fan, we all are at Third Wave. And so, this is excellent news in MAPS taking one step closer to meeting their phase three fundraising goals. So with all that being. Said, let’s get you back to the episode with Richard Lewis Miller.
48:10 RM: Well, you also alluded to another issue, and it’s a big issue and it has to do with how we live in urban situations. The history of the world is a history of people moving from the country to cities. It’s just that clear. From rural people moving to cities all over the world. It’s been going on for thousands of years. And one of the reasons it goes on is because of droughts. When there’s a drought, then all little subsistence farmers over the hundreds of thousands of years were forced to go to the city for work, because they couldn’t run their farms anymore. And various changes in climate, as well as droughts, have done the same thing. And the cities offer a way to make a living in order to buy food. When we lived in a rural economy, everybody raised their own food. They had a few animals, people were poor, but they were rich in life. They didn’t think of themselves as poor. They had enough to eat. They raised their children and they had a rich life that way. Life wasn’t necessarily easy, but it wasn’t the squalor that the cities bring.
49:28 RM: But yet, because of this, if you will, force of nature, the cities are getting larger and larger and if you look around the world, you’ll see immediately what I’m talking about. How many cities there are now with more than 10 million people, how in this country, for example, the said subsistence farmers are just about disappearing. And those subsistence farmers in the words of Thomas Jefferson were the strength of the country, because they were independent people and they worked for themselves. And when you took all those people all over the world and moved them into cities, working for somebody else, they lost their independence. They’re now dependent on someone else for a job, they can be fired, they can be ruined, they can be out on the street. The number of people we having out on the street in this country right now is beyond your wildest imagination. It’s hard to even believe the numbers of middle class people who have run into some trouble, they don’t have any cushion, lose their home and they’re out on the street with their whole family. And I’ve run into plenty of them personally, and I’ve interviewed them.
50:32 RM: And so Paul, that’s something else that we need to do something about. And it has to do with how to create community amongst urban dwellers. I grew up in an apartment building in Manhattan for part of my life when I was a kid. People didn’t even talk to each other on the elevator. Every day, I’d go up and down the elevator to go to school and go out and play. People didn’t talk to each other on the elevators. I think that’s true all over. And I think it’s very common for people to live in an apartment building and never have all the people on their floor into their apartment just to hang out together. And that’s not healthy. That’s a very unhealthy situation when you have people living on the same floor of an apartment building and they haven’t all been in each other’s homes, to just sit around and chat.
51:19 RM: And one of the things that Dan Buettner is bringing us about the Blue Zones, the five areas of the world where people live 10 years longer than all the rest of us. And not only do they live longer, but they live robustly. Their farmers are farming at 103. Their surgeons are doing surgery at 97. One of the things that he brings to us when he’s trying to bring us, “What do these five areas share in common?” And one of the things they share in common is they hang out with each other. They hang out. They make abundant amount of time to just sit around and talk. Socialize and he shows pictures of people who have been the same friends for 95 years. Imagine that, sitting around with a group of buddies, or girls and boys, and you know each other for 95 years, and you’ve been supporting each other for that long. We gotta do something about apartment city-dwelling to make that happen again.
52:13 PA: And I see that. I’m so glad that you brought that up because that is getting into the sense of interconnecting this. The sense of community, the necessity to build new infrastructure that creates a system for us to socialize more with one another, I think what I’ve even noticed in living in New York now for the past five months is a rise of interest in collective living. Where you have adults who are now moving into larger spaces where there might be 10 to 15 people who buy out an apartment, and they’re all friends, and they live there together. And I know I’ve talked to people in real estate and there’s a growing interest in building more and more of these spaces.
52:54 PA: So I think there are… We are seeing a lot of movements towards a reconnection towards the other or for too long, the self has been so isolated. I think if I’m optimistic and that we’re starting to build new infrastructure, to help us heal from the wound of late stage capitalism and the isolation that I come from.
53:19 RM: Isolation and alienation, and let me just throw in a quick commercial. If you’re listening to this and you living in an apartment, walk around to some of the other apartments on your floor and knock on the door and just introduce yourself and say “Hi, my name’s Fred I live in F down there and I just wanted to say hello to you”. Just like that, see if you can get something going right on your floor.
53:39 PA: Yeah, that sense of building community when it is really, really important. So I think that’s a great point to bring up.
53:45 RM: And there’s power in it, the power of connectedness.
53:49 PA: So Richard, I’d love to wrap up here, we’re about reaching the hour mark, so I would just love for our listeners, if you could just tell them a little bit about where they can find you? A little bit about your work within the psychedelic space, and then we can wrap up from there.
54:05 RM: Okay, I hang out very often in Northern California at a place called Wilbur Hot Springs. W-I-L-B-U-R, Wilbur Hot Springs, it’s a natural hot springs it’s in a nature preserve, it’s 22 miles from the nearest town. It is out in nature, the water is some of the most medicinal water on the planet and it’s a great place to hang out. My radio program is called Mind, Body, Health, and Politics. You can just Google Mind, Body, Health, and Politics and you’ll find it and there’s the programs are archived. And the book that Paul has been talking to me about today is called “Psychedelic Medicine”. I think the easiest way to get it is just to go to Amazon and boom, you push a button and they’ll send it to you Psychedelic Medicine. And thank you so much for having me today, it’s fun talking to you Paul, I enjoyed our talk when you appeared on my radio program. Paul was on Mind, Body, Health, and Politics. You can hear the interview if you’ll go to that website and listen to it and I very much enjoyed talking with you today. And let’s stay connected, forever.
55:06 PA: Yeah, this is great Richard, thank you so much for having me on your show. Like you said, Mind, Body, Health, and Politics, and I would highly encourage all of our listeners to check out your book because it’s an excellent curation and selection of interviews with all of many of the top scientists and leaders within the psychedelic space. Rick Doblin, Jim Fadiman, Dave Nichols, Roland Griffiths, Julie Holland. So it was an excellent read and I just wanna express my appreciation for all the work that you’ve done Richard. You’ve been in it for the long haul. And this book, I think, is a great little touch to just get the word out about the role of psychedelic medicine in 2018 and beyond.
55:47 RM: Thanks Paul.
This Week in Psychedelics
A regional police force in the UK has announced plans to implement city-center drug testing and supervised injection facilities.
The Mercer Family Foundation have donated $1million to MAPS to help fund MDMA therapy for combat veterans suffering from PTSD.
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