Transcript of interview with The Rev. Brian R. Rajcok for his doctoral dissertation in Counselor Education and Supervision with Spiritual and Pastoral Integration from the School of Education and Human Services of Neumann University: The Lived Experience of Professional Mental Health Clinicians with Spiritually Significant Psychedelic Experiences

Interview 7: Rick S

Brian (00:00:57): Hello, Rick.

Rick (00:00:58): Hi, Brian.

Brian (00:00:58): How are you?

Rick (00:01:04): Cold. I just took a walk outside.

Brian (00:01:04): Oh yeah. Is it snowing today where you are?

Rick (00:01:14): Yeah, it’s been snowing off and on since yesterday afternoon.

Brian (00:01:17): Oh, okay. Gotcha. Yeah. Yeah. We’ve had some very wintery weather here too, so.

Brian (00:01:30): Well, thank you so much for making the time to do this interview. It’s good to see you again. And we’ll get started, you know my background and all that, so I don’t really have to go over that end of things. So first thing first you read the informed consent and return that. So you know, that this is being recorded and that I will then use a transcriber to transcribe the interview and then I’ll use a pseudonym for all of the research participants. So everything is confidential and all of that. So any questions about any of that?

Rick (00:02:24): No. Sounds straightforward. Well, so how many have you done so far?

Brian (00:02:28):  I’ve done seven so far, so you’re my eighth. So it’s been, it’s been interesting. It’s been pretty cool. And I have another three tomorrow and another two the next day. So it’s been, been cool.

Rick (00:02:47): Busy.

Brian (00:02:47): Right.

Rick (00:02:47): So how many you need?

Brian (00:02:51): I need 15 to 20, so I think that I’ll have about 13 or 14. So and if I need more I’ll I definitely appreciate your offer to put that on your Facebook page and website. So you know I’ll definitely keep that in mind if I need more participants. So I appreciate that a lot.

Rick (00:03:19): Okay. Sure.

Brian (00:03:23): So to get us started, I have an introductory paragraph to read, and then I’ll ask my questions. Thank you for taking time today, to meet virtually with me, to discuss your experience with psychedelics. The lived experience of clinicians who have personally experienced psychedelics can be insightful for both the field of mental health, as well as the field of religious spiritual studies, theology and mysticism. This interview will consist of a series of open-ended questions about which I invite you to elaborate. We will continue the interview until you feel we have covered your experiences thoroughly and completely some of the experiences you discuss, may be very personal, and I hope you feel comfortable enough to be somewhat vulnerable in sharing your experiences, but please know that you are under no obligation to share anything with which you are uncomfortable. You have the right to stop, pause, or withdraw from the interview. At any time, you may also skip a question, request a break, or postpone the interview to another time if you feel the need to do so Now to begin there’s demographic information which deal with age subfield and preferred gender pronouns.

Rick (00:04:57): Well I’m 69. Subfield, I’m a psychiatrist. And he.

Brian (00:05:04): Okay, thanks. And the first question I have is what are your professional credentials and what kind of work are you currently involved with in the mental health field?

Rick (00:05:21): Well, I’ve got a bachelor’s and an MD and I did a fellowship and a post fellowship.

Rick (00:05:37): Right now I’m really not doing mental health work as such I’m consulting to nonprofits, to pharmaceutical companies. I mentor some students. I give a lot of interviews occasional lectures but I haven’t seen patients for almost 13 years.

Brian (00:06:02): Okay, thanks. Next question. Is, were you raised in a faith tradition, please? Describe your religious spiritual background?

Rick (00:06:16): Well, my parents were Jewish. I was raised conservative Jewish, had a bar mitzvah, went to Hebrew school, six hours a week from the ages of five to 13. My grandparents were what, I guess you would call modern Orthodox or Orthodox, you know, they weren’t ultra Orthodox. But they kept kosher. They went to, or at least my paternal grandfather went to synagogue regularly I stopped going after my bar mitzvah. It wasn’t that spiritual, it was more religious. We learned about Israel, the Jews, the holidays. I learned modern Hebrew. We did a little bit of Bible study, but not that much, just the Torah and only in English. We didn’t really learn about God, prayer, all that much. We did have a really good singing instructor and he was also the folk dance group instructor, so I guess my most spiritual experiences were in the dance troupe and singing together with the rest of the classmates.

Rick (00:07:41): One of my Hebrew school teachers liked to begin class with what she called meditation. I didn’t know what she was talking about, but she told all of us to close our eyes and be quiet for maybe, five minutes. And I would, you know, peek through, I would lift my eyes a little bit to see what she was doing and if she had a big smile on her face and it was just kind of sitting there beatifically, but it beats me what she was doing. And yeah, after I moved out of my house to go to college I kind of dropped religious involvement for a few years before I got into Buddhism, whatever but that’s, by the time I left home.

Brian (00:08:30): Okay, thanks.

Rick (00:08:32): Yeah. My parents went to synagogue for the high holidays. Yom Kippur, Rosh Hashanah. And we celebrated Hanukkah. My mom lit candles every Friday night made a special meal. But it was atypical for us to go to the synagogue Saturday mornings or Friday nights, unless it was that month in anticipation of my bar mitzvah.

Brian (00:09:07): All right. Thank you. Now in the proceeding years you mentioned Buddhism during your college years would you describe how that spirituality has influenced you?

Rick (00:09:32): Well, once I went to college, I started smoking pot and taking psychedelics and I was really impressed with those states of consciousness. I really thought they were incredibly interesting. Yeah, but at a certain point I just got burned out. I was just smoking too much pot and taking too much acid. And so I actually, that was one of the reasons that I, transferred from one school to the other as a junior. And in the new school I was going to a friend of mine had learned transcendental meditation. This was 1971 in Northern California. And so, he described it as a mildly altered state of consciousness. And I was all into altered states of consciousness, and I didn’t want to do any more drugs for awhile. So I learned transcendental meditation.

Rick (00:10:30): It was pretty mild. And it certainly wasn’t anything to write home about, but still it was a slightly altered state. You know, part of being a member or joining TM was to take a weekly class that they taught on the Bhagavad Gita and Hinduism, listen to lectures by Maharishi, and boy, I didn’t find that interesting at all. It seemed really kind of garish and simple minded. And in the meantime, Stanford became one of the very few undergraduate campuses back then that was teaching classes on Buddhism. So there was a freshly minted PhD who was teaching a class on Indian Buddhism, you know, like the original Buddhism. And I just loved it.

Rick (00:11:32): It was like a fish to water. It kind of captured in a highly developed manner the feelings and insights that I just glimpsed in the psychedelic state, it seemed to have developed entire worldview based on a different view of reality, which I had gotten a glimpse of on psychedelics. So I took that course went away to medical school, got depressed, dropped out, ended up at a Zen monastery toward the end of my leave of absence and just loved Zen Buddhism. Oh, I had actually started off at another Zen temple doing a week long retreat. It was a Rinzai temple which is very rigorous. And I didn’t like the Zen master there, he seemed like a pervert and he actually turned out to be a pervert. But yeah, and it was just too hard.

Rick (00:12:37): We woke up at three, we went to bed at 10. It was just crazy. Yeah. And, you know, as a medical student, you’re already working pretty hard. I didn’t want to work that hard. So I stayed with friends for awhile, got odd jobs while I was away from school and ended up at this Zen monastery. And I was still quite depressed actually. And was thinking about becoming a monk because that was pretty much the only thing that I thought I was good for. And then one day my depression just lifted. And I decided to return to medical school, and I returned with a Zen practice. I had learned a Zen practice and I continued it and developed it when I was back at school, stayed in contact with the monks, those kinds of things.

Rick (00:13:43): Yeah. After I dropped out of school, I was just doing odd jobs and went to the monastery for a weekend. And I loved the monks. I loved the countryside. I loved the ceremonies I loved the meditation, smelled good. The food was good, everything was great, but especially the monks, I just loved the monks. They were so warm and so friendly. And they seemed very cool. And whenever I, I asked a few of them that weekend, if psychedelics had been influential in them becoming monks and everyone pointed to their LSD experiences as introducing the concept of bodhicitta, the first flash of enlightenment, that you can look at thr world in a different way. So that confirmed intellectually, academically that there was a relationship between psychedelics and Buddhism.

Rick (00:14:53): So after that weekend retreat, I went I worked hard, saved up some money and then entered a training term in the fall. I was there about six weeks, my depression cleared. And I went back to school. Yeah. And started a small meditation group that met at lunchtime at school, hosted some monks for short retreats. Found another Zen center in Manhattan. I was going to school in the Bronx. And sat with them every few weeks. That was one of the first Shambala centers in Greenwich village. And I went down there once or twice. It didn’t really click. So yeah, and I returned to California to train in psychiatry because of the monastery. I wanted to return to being close by. I grew up in Shasta, Mount Shasta, California.

Rick (00:16:10): And I took my residency in Sacramento, you know, maybe four hours from Mount Shasta. Yeah. So I started an affiliated meditation group which I think still exists, but it’s a few hours from Sacramento now up in the foothills. I got married at the temple in 1990, like 26 years later or something like that. Or 16 years later. Yeah, when I moved to Albuquerque there were a couple of retired monks that live nearby and we meditated with them every weekend. Yeah. We parted ways actually in 1996 and it was around the issue of relating Buddhism with the psychedelic experience. You know, during all those years of my visiting there were quite interested in the relationship between Buddhism and psychedelics. But that was a, you know, it was a personal interest, they weren’t in publicizing their interest. It was okay for one-on-one spiritual counseling. But once I actually started doing research in psychedelic studies and then actually began writing about being Buddhism and psychedelics, it was just a little too much and they couldn’t really tolerate it. It was just a little too high profile. Yeah so you know we kind of fought for a few months and then I just gave up, they gave up. So that was I think 22 years after I had started studying and practicing with them. I still meditate, although I stopped for a couple of years because it was a really bad experience how things ended, but yeah, I still meditate.

Brian (00:18:26): Right. Yeah. I remember reading about that in your book about the sorta issue that they had with the DMT research. So my next question. Next question I have, which you’ve already sort of covered a bit, but prior to using psychedelics, how would you describe your understanding of God/the divine?

Rick (00:19:03): My understanding, well, I never really thought about it.

Brian (00:19:10): Okay. That’s fair. My next question gets into describe your first psychedelic experience.

Rick (00:19:28): Yeah. You know, let’s go back to the last question, You know, you go to Hebrew school, you’re Jewish, so you talk about God, but it was kind of primitive. It was God saved the Jews over the course of history, the Romans, the Greeks, the Persians, the Babylonians, the Assyrians, the crusades, the inquisition, the pogroms, and most recently the Nazis and, you know, the foundation of the state of Israel was a miracle. It was God’s hand in history if it weren’t for God and his love for the Jews, Israel never would have been founded. They never would have survived all of those persecutions over the millennia. But that was more of God’s involvement in history, working through miracles. So that was my understanding of God at the time, that he favored the Jews and there is evidence for that in looking at history.

Rick (00:20:51): Okay. So your next question, my first psychedelic experience. It was actually smoking hash that was my first psychedelic experience. When I was a kid, I never smoked cigarettes, never smoked pot, never drank beer. And I went to college and one day my senior advisor came over and he said, I understand you’ve never gotten stoned, I’ve got some hash, let’s get you high. So we smoked some hash and there were a number of things that happened. One is that I started seeing sound. I had a pretty good stereo system at the time and the speakers were emitting purple clouds. It was a Santana album. So I was pretty blown away by that.

Rick (00:21:51): I wasn’t expecting to see clouds coming out of my speakers. I also understood or experienced music in a completely different way. It’s a little hard to explain, might get a little abstract but I perceived music as occurring in time and space in a way that had never been obvious to me before. And I felt peaceful and relaxed and calm and happy in a way that I had never felt before in my whole life. Some friends came over about halfway through the evening and my best friend and I were sitting on the floor on a carpet and the carpet took off. We the floor dissolved, it disappeared, and we were flying over the town on this magic carpet. And there was a shared hallucination that we were both saying, Oh, do you see that? And he’d say, yeah. And he would say, Oh, do you see that stuff down at the beach down there? And I’d say, yeah, the umbrellas and the flip-flops and we controlled the height and the speed of the magic carpet. It was completely, it was a completely weird shared hallucination. So it was pretty striking. And I thought to myself a half hour ago, I wasn’t experiencing these things at all. And now I am, and it was because I smoked this little bit of brown, gummy hash. So I got hooked. It was like, well, psychopharmacology, like I didn’t understand, I had never heard the term psychopharmacology, but I started college as a chemistry major. I’ve always liked chemistry, so I was just hooked by that question: how in the world can ingesting a chemical like that shift my consciousness so radically? So, yeah, that was my first psychedelic experience.

Rick (00:24:12): A few weeks later I took some psilocybin, which practically speaking was my first classical psychedelic experience. And it was funny, I just laughed and laughed and laughed and laughed all night. It was at a girls’ dormitory and there were some rich girls, you know trust fund girls. And there was fried chicken for dinner and for whatever reason, I mean, I almost peed my pants, I was laughing so hard at fried chicken and people eating fried chicken. But it wasn’t quite as striking as that first, you know, smoked hash experience.

Brian (00:25:07): Awesome. Thanks. Now next, I’d like to invite you to talk about any and all of your psychedelic experiences. Specifically the next question is, tell me about your first spiritually slash religiously significant psychedelic experience, but I’d also be interested in hearing any and all spiritually significant ones.

Rick (00:25:42): Yeah, well, you know, I would say that most of my psychedelic experiences weren’t that spiritual, you know, there are more, you know, psychological hedonistic, sensory hedonic, like aesthetic you know appreciating sensations, perceptions, pleasure. You know, one, I guess spiritual experience took place in the Heela, which is a wilderness area South of here. And I ate, or I ingested all of the powder left at the bottom of a Ziploc that had been carrying a bunch of mushrooms. So I just want a gulp, gulp, gulp, and ate all this powder. And I understood the meaning of a Zen scripture in a way that had been alluding me for years and years. When did I have that experience is before I got married. So maybe 87, 86. And I’d been studying Zen for already about 12 years.

Rick (00:26:53): Yeah. You know, so there is a scripture that has a verse in it that says even the slightest Twitch will surely break the rhythm. And I found myself immersed in the white light. I was the one with the white light. That was my first and only real white light experience. I just lost felt, boundaries. I was in the white light and the white light was in me. I was the white light, one of those things. And whenever I stepped back at all, like, you know, thought about it or tried doing anything or paid attention to anything around me, I understood even the slightest Twitch will surely break the rhythm because it pulled me out of that white light. So that was, I suppose, a spiritual experience. I understand Zen scripture in a way that I hadn’t before.

Rick (00:27:46): But spiritual experiences. Yeah. I wouldn’t say they were spiritual. My first big, well my first and only big DMT experience, it wasn’t really spiritual. I mean, I encountered these beings and they spoke to me and influenced me, impacted me, but it wasn’t really spiritual. They were curious, they asked a question, they exerted a certain influencer power in their communication with me. But it wasn’t really what I’d call spiritual. It was intense, but it didn’t really address issues of life and death, the nature of God, karma, those kinds of things. Yeah. So, probably that trip down at the Heela was the most, I guess obviously frankly spiritual.

Brian (00:28:52): Okay. Thank you. How about psychedelic experiences that were personally meaningful or significant profound in any way?

Rick (00:29:12): Personally profound?

Rick (00:29:18): Well when I was in college, especially those first couple of years, they were profound in as much as they demonstrated to me a whole different way of interacting with the world and myself experiencing things, music, nature other people. I had a breakdown. I had a really paranoid trip. I, that was personally meaningful.

Rick (00:29:44): I came down to my first college from where I transferred from, and I was kind of in conflict with one of the guys in the group. And a couple of the other guys were acting really strange and I didn’t understand what they were doing. And I got really paranoid, really, really, really paranoid. Like I was convinced I was crazy, had been crazy my entire life and that it was only now coming to a head and I was bound to a mental hospital for the rest of my life. And I would be completely helpless, you know, lying in a pile of shit, being attended to by nurses. I wouldn’t be able to speak, I wouldn’t be able to move. It would just be complete, passive, isolated hell, so that was a wake up call. And I didn’t take any more psychedelics for a few years.

Rick (00:30:45): That was personally meaningful. I met a woman during those early years of tripping with whom I had a long relationship that began on LSD. You know, she was living with some guy, we took acid and I moved in with her. She moved out of that guy’s house or home. And it was going to, because of this super connection on acid. I was what, 21, she was 22 or something. So that was a meaningful experience. It was a bit, it was a bit, you know, pseudo because we didn’t really have much in common other than that intense connection, which we tried to milk for all it was worth over the next two or three years, but it was kind of a futile. You know, we never returned to that level of like psychic intimacy.

Rick (00:31:44): Then I stopped tripping for a few years, then resumed in my thirties. And I had some powerful experiences. I was taking experimental psychedelics with a bunch of other therapists. We had friends that were academic chemists and they conjured up new brews and sent them to us. I had one big trip of a past life of some sort in a ghetto in the Ukraine and the early, or it must’ve occurred in the late 18 hundreds, which then kind of transmitted into, as a scene of being a prisoner in a concentration camp and being killed. And then being reborn currently, presently, my current life. Which was pretty intense.

Rick (00:32:41): For about a year, I had the same trip over and over again in that group. And in that research group. I was dating women with other boyfriends. It was just this weird habit I had picked up. I was only dating women that had boyfriends and they would be torn and I’d be all torn. And it was just a mess. And every compound I took was the exact same trip. I would just empathize with them and I wasn’t empathizing at all with me. And you know, one day I was with one of these women, just the two of us. And Oh, actually, there were two experiences like that, both around MDMA, one of them was my first MDMA experience with some friends in Santa Fe.

Rick (00:33:36): And I came down and drove to Albuquerque and was dating one of these girls with a boyfriend. And I went over to her place and I was so bored. I was just so bored, she just seems so boring. And the whole dynamic just seemed incredibly banal, however you pronounce it. Yeah. So after about a half hour, I just got up and said see you later. And that was that, I was out of that sick relationship and then maybe a year later I’m still kind of, burning through that dynamic and took some MDMA with another one of these women that had a boyfriend.

Rick (00:34:36): And we took more and more and more MDMA, it was actually kind of reckless. And we were quiet for about an hour or two, and then we both kind of came to, and I asked her how she was doing. And she said, Oh, Oh, I’m going to give him another chance. I saw him being saved by the Virgin Mary. I know he’s different now I’m going to go back with him and see how it goes. So I said to myself, well, that didn’t quite work out the way that I wanted to. So the next morning I called around to find my own therapist and, luckily found a Freudian analyst that I began seeing that week and worked with for the next four years three, four or five times a week. So that was a meaningful experience. I mean, it was just a complete MDMA bummer, but it pushed me away from any more MDMA experiences or any or any illusions that MDMA was anything in and of itself, valuable or useful, or, conducive to healthy relationships.

Brian (00:36:05): Hmm, thanks. Are there other psychedelic experiences where you saw any religious or spiritual themes, symbols or insights during the experience?

Rick (00:36:28): Oh yeah. Well, there is one: during a trip through Western Europe that I took during my sabbatical, I was in Switzerland with my wife and we went to an LSD group, a psychotherapy group where people were well, you know, as it turns out only, you know, my wife and I took LSD, everybody else was either on Adam [MDMA] or something else, but we were kind of under the impression it was an LSD psychotherapy group. And it was in the attic of a Swiss house in the summer. Must’ve been 100 outside, must’ve been 115 in the attic. And it was a bunch of Swiss Germans, just having cathartic reactions. One guy was flopping around in the middle of the group, urinating on himself. People were, were sobbing and crying. The psychiatrist that was in charge of their group was sleeping with someone, she was a co-therapist and his wife was in the group and her mother was in the group. It was just hell. And there was a lawnmower going on outside for hours, hour after hour after hour. This Swiss hell hole. All these repressed Germanic, Swiss types, just completely losing it. And there’s this lawnmower. And it was 110 degrees in this attic. And I was on acid. My wife was on acid. We’d look at each other, but we were trapped. You know, so at a certain point I just close my eyes and there’s Jesus. Jesus just appeared. And he more or less said to me, I’m here to help you. So I laid on his lap. I laid my head on his lap and he stroked my hair. And he said, there, there I’m here. I love you. Be calm, be happy. I love you. Take care. Yeah so that was a trip. I don’t think I could have gotten through that experience without that Jesus’ visitation. God, like, you know the God of the Hebrews, Y H V H I don’t think I’ve really ever bumped into anything I would say approximated that.

Brian (00:39:09): Hmm.

Rick (00:39:09): I have taken ayahuasca plenty of times and I’ve experienced the spirits in ayahuasca the intelligence of ayahuasca. That spirit being feminine botanical as opposed to animal, very healing, there’s a real relationship, but it’s kind of a strange one because it’s a relationship between a plant and an animal. I guess that would be called spiritual, but not in my usual sense of understanding spiritual. It was stuff that is usually unseen, I guess that could be one of the definitions of spiritual. So there was that.

Brian (00:40:06): Hmm. Fascinating. Thank you. In your ayahuasca experiences would you describe some of the imagery or visions or anything that you had during those experiences?

Rick (00:40:34): Yeah. You know, DMT-like. I think if you drink ayahuasca, it’s a pretty much a full on DMT experience. So there are visions, kaleidoscopic rapidly morphing, buzzing, intentionally saturated, colored kinds of objects. Space travel going through deep space, seeing people in your life. I remember one experience, I was a member of one of the ayahuasca churches for awhile. And I remember one evening it was a pretty strong brew. And it was as if I was on a bridge, like narrow bridge in the middle of the sea, and there were waves just crashing over this narrow bridge. And that was intense. I never fell off, but I really had to kind of keep my bearings.

Rick (00:42:07): Let’s see. Visions. Yeah. I would say that a lot of my experiences were emotional and healing. Like, just letting the loving, healing influence of ayahuasca pour over me, rush through me you know, to experience love in a different way, to experience a love that I didn’t really need to defend myself against or to interact with or to coax. It was just there available for me, to the extent that I could let it in. Visions, I wouldn’t say visions have played a predominant part of my ayahuasca experiences. More psychological and emotional, physical too throwing up, you know, working on healing.

Brian (00:43:10): Thank you. The next, well, I’m just curious in that Swiss LSD therapy group, where you saw the vision of Jesus how have you interpreted that experience thinking back on it in terms of the reality of that encounter?

Rick (00:43:46): Well, I mean, it was a vision and well it’s interesting a number of years before that my sister was quite depressed. She had given birth to her first child who has very premature, had to stay in the hospital a couple of months. And her husband was kind of out of the picture was being kind of a jerk. And she was lying on the couch, like one of those days and Jesus appeared to her and said, I’m Jesus and I love you. And I’m here to help. I never spoke with her all that much about experience, but it did cause her to become Christian you know, to convert, at least in her heart, she no longer really identified with being Jewish or the Jewish God never kind of was the same to her again. So Jesus was the object of worship. For me, it was just Jesus was there at the right time, the right place and just kind of, you know, saved my ass. And you know, I was in Europe, Western Europe, very Christian, Christian or Catholic or Protestant that there’s all these churches. I love churches. I love church music. I love vespers. I love stained glass. I like religious art. So I was kind of saturated with that kind of imagery. I think we were about halfway through the two months trip. Yeah. And every one of the cities that we went to, I liked going to the churches and I liked the pictures of Jesus, the emotionality. So yeah it was just perfect. And I suppose that was part and parcel of my empathizing or understanding why people love Jesus so much. I can see the appeal of Jesus. That was already building and it became more crystallized with that experience. And it continued to pace for the rest of our trip through Europe, so it was like a set of circumstances that became confluent, manifesting in the figure of Jesus who tended me. I never considered becoming a Christian. I mean, I was still pretty hardcore Zen Buddhist at the time, but I certainly understood the appeal of Jesus at a very personal experiential level.

Brian (00:46:38): Great. Thank you. Next question, have you ever had an experience with psychedelics, which might be considered paranormal, however, that means to you?

Rick (00:47:02): Well, I guess remembering things that were long buried, that is kind of para paranormal. I remembered nearly suffocating from an allergic reaction to a chocolate cookie when I was a toddler. And afterwards I asked my mom if that actually occurred, and it had, and I just had no recollection of it previously. I had that experience of being in the Ukraine in the ghetto, but there wasn’t any way to confirm that. And being in the camp and you’re piled up in a bunch of bodies at the bottom of the pile. So I couldn’t confirm that either.

Brian (00:47:58): Do you think that those were two separate, like lifetimes or were they the same?

Rick (00:48:07): Yeah. Well, I perceived them as two separate lifetimes. The first one would have occurred around 1890, 1885, 1895, the mid 1880s to the late 1890s, sometime around then. And I was a six year old boy in that vision. And then in the camp must’ve been somewhere in the early forties, I would have been 40 ish, but I didn’t connect them as being the same individual. It was the same consciousness, but not necessarily the same person. One was a past life and the other experience was another past life, I suppose they may have been the same individual, but I didn’t consider that. Yeah, you know, I’ve never foretold the future in a trip, never located a lost object, never experienced telepathy. I suppose that flying carpet ride that first hash experience may have been a paranormal. It was an out of body experience. So those are the only ones that come to mind.

Brian (00:49:35): Great. Thank you. Next question. Is, have you ever had an experience while using psychedelics, which may be considered psychologically healing?

Rick (00:49:52): Psychologically healing maybe, maybe not. Well the real healing that occurred in an altered state was that experienced at the Zen temple when I was so depressed, like for maybe seven, eight months. And I was walking back to the tool shed after a work session you know, carrying some tools on my shoulders and my depression just lifted over the space of about 15 to 30 seconds. So that was a healing experience; it wasn’t on drugs. A healing experience on psychedelics. I’m not really sure you know, those MDMA experiences, especially that first one, where it was after I came down, when I went over to that girl’s house and just found myself completely uninterested in her, I guess that would be a form of healing, but it wasn’t a result of the drug, it was more the result of the way I felt afterwards. I suppose I was still under the influence to some extent.

Rick (00:51:21): Um ayahuasca healing, not really. Well I‘ve had a lot of psychotherapy, like a lot, like an unbelievable amount of psychotherapy, so I would say the healing that’s occurred has occurred within the context of a therapeutic relationship. And those never took place under psychedelics. I’ve had some insights or some interesting insights into myself on psychedelics, but they never really stuck. They would just be an insight. And then I go back to my normal way of being so like I was describing that overdose on MDMA with that other girl it just didn’t stick. I wasn’t really that enduring and it stimulated me beginning analysis which was a lot more beneficial than all of the previous psychedelics I had done personally.

Brian (00:52:27): Great. Thank you. Is there any other psychedelic experience perhaps DMT experiences that you would like to relate?

Rick (00:52:48): You know, I’ve only smoked, you may laugh at this, but I’ve only looked DMT, that one big trip in 1986, which is one that kind of changed my life. And then five methoxy DMT where I decided to buy a Scout, like a four wheel drive. I couldn’t decide, smoked some five methoxy DMT, and decided to buy the Scout something like a Jeep. I had another DMT experience that was kind of mild, but it was interesting. I smoked it. I was with some friends who were kind of chatty, so it was hard to let go, you know, but to the extent that I could I felt as if there were these, these things, these beings in the DMT world that were quite happy to see me, and they basically said we’re here anytime you need us, we’re available, we’re here anytime that you need us to just call upon us whenever you want to. But that was more of an intimation rather than a full on DMT flash, but it was unmistakable, you know, the message was clear.

Rick (00:54:04): I had a five methoxy DMT experience, which was my first encounter with beings. Actually, you wouldn’t expect it, usually five methoxy is the white light, but I had a very disturbing trip on five methoxy. Like these little dwarves you’ve seen the Walt Disney film, Snow White and the Seven Dwarves, and the dwarves are small and monkish kind of cloaked with long sleeves folded up on each other. So there were millions of them, or at least, thousands of them in a spiral staircase, like a huge catwalk that I was in the middle of, and there was this giant catwalk, like imagine that you’re in the leaning tower of Pisa and there’s a spiral catwalk that’s on the inside. And I was kind of in the middle. And it was very sinister. They all knew I was there and they all were kind of looking at me sidelong, and they’re very busy and they’re doing something that was evil or it could be evil. And I just couldn’t decide whether to join in with them because they were so intriguing or to avoid them because they were seemingly kind of evil and dark. And I just couldn’t decide. And a friend was sitting for me and I looked around and said, what should I do? Should I choose the good, or should I choose the evil? And she said something like both. And that completely messed me up because I wasn’t going to choose both. I mean, I didn’t want to choose evil and, you know, good and evil are not relative, especially in you’re if you’re in the midst of them.

Rick (00:56:21): So that kind of shook me up. I was actually kind of in a bad way for a few days. I couldn’t call them because they weren’t that useful. There was nobody else I could talk with at the time. And I guess salvinorin, I overdosed once on salvinorin it was just after it had been discovered that you could inhale it or smoke it. And I took five times the normal dose and it was apocalyptic. It was the end of the world. It wasn’t just me, the end of the world for me, me smoking, it had precipitated the end of the world. And it was my fault cause I had overdosed on salvinorin. Yeah so that was kind of weird. Yeah. Good thing. I was married at the time. My wife was super supportive and pulled me out, but that experience showed me that you just don’t want to mess around with psychedelics and it was in a way, the beginning of the end of my research because it was just too much just like, okay, okay. You know, let me get out before I really mess things up. So yeah, that was a significant trip. But other than that they’ve been fun experiences or psychologically meaningful, socially meaningful too like the UDV church that I belonged to, that ayahuasca church. It was great comradery, you could share experiences and support each other and talk about them. You know, mushrooms, hiking on mushrooms is great. Sitting around with a friend or two on mushrooms is great. But you know, to blow the carburetors out I think I’m a little old for that. And kind of been there and don’t really need to, at this point, there are other things that occupy me.

Brian (00:58:37): Thank you. The next section deals with life changes. Are there any persisting effects, positive or negative from your using psychedelics, life changes as a result of using psychedelics?

Rick (00:58:57): Well, the first example that comes to mind is I was in college. I was a sophomore and I had taken some acid up in the mountains in the snow. It was really fun. And you came down to school you know, changed, showered, walked over to the cafeteria and they were serving steak and I was still tripping pretty hard. And the steak was pulsating, bump, bump, bump, bump, you know, like a heart. It was still alive, you know, in a puddle of juice. And I stabbed it with a fork. I stabbed it with a fork and it almost seemed as if it pulled back, like I stabbed this living thing. I was staring at the steak. I think the steak was staring back at me and I said, forget it. I’m never eating meat again. So I became a vegetarian, I stuck with being a vegetarian for maybe two or three years. I was just so shocked by that steak on acid that I became a vegetarian for a few years. You know, so that was life changing. And I met my future girlfriend on acid, that was a significant experience. We went to a classical music concert and we fell in love. It was the beginning of a three-year relationship, one of my most enduring and important relationships, so that would be life changing or, life impacting anyway. And yeah, it changed my life. I did certain things that I wouldn’t have done otherwise. Life-Changing I suppose, the first glimpse of enlightenment that I got on LSD when I was younger.

Rick (01:01:06): Even though I didn’t realize it at the time opened a window to my future involvement with Buddhism. But I wouldn’t say that the experiences themselves at that moment or in those particular instances were life-changing, but the downstream effect was life-changing I wouldn’t have become a Buddhist if it weren’t for those experiences. Yeah. And the first time I smoked hash, I was just so struck by how remarkable a change smoking a substance could occasion could cause. That steered me towards the field of view psychopharmacology.

Brian (01:02:03): Even kind of directed academic interests and career interests in a way then?

Rick (01:02:20): Yeah. Yeah. Quite, quite. And the first time I smoked DMT I was really just floored. Well, I was winding down one research area at the time that I smoked DMT and I was kind of unsure where to take my research interests at that point, and after smoking DMT, it was clear that I was going to study DMT. And so that determined my life course in a fairly significant way,

Brian (01:02:58): At what point was your first DMT use in, in terms of age and the chronology of everything we’ve been talking about?

Rick (01:03:11): It was 87, maybe 86, 87. So I would have been a 34 35, something like that.

Brian (01:03:19): Okay, thanks.

Brian (01:03:24): Next question deals with your clinical practice and your identity as a mental health professional. Are there any changes in your clinical practice as a result of psychedelics? Has your professional identity been shaped by your experience with psychedelics?

Rick (01:03:47): Yeah. Well, I would say that that has occurred in two ways. One is because of my experiences with psychedelics both good and bad and neutral, I can empathize with altered states of consciousness and lots of schizophrenics, depressives, bipolars. They have acute episodes of altered consciousness that are manic, they’re depressed, they’re psychotic. So I’ve occupied some hairy spaces in my own drug experiences. And I can empathize when, people talk about this or that I could nod and say, at least to myself, yeah, I’ve been there. I can relate, I understand what you’re talking about. So I think it was quite helpful in establishing empathy with very disturbed patients. I’ve always enjoyed working with very disturbed patients.

Rick (01:05:01): And I think it is because of my comfort with disturbing states of mind, you know, my familiarity with them. After I stopped my studies, my DMT work, and returned to the clinical world. You know, the striking thing about DMT is that within a couple of heartbeats, you’re transported to a completely different world. It’s completely, freestanding has no relationship to this world whatsoever. It’s like a different universe. It’s like a different, like a parallel level of reality. So I actually would use that when I would be working with schizophrenic patients, with psychotic patients. Up until that point when I would be prescribing anti-psychotic medications to a psychotic patients, I would talk about dopamine receptors and hallucinations and dopamine blockade and those kinds of things.

Rick (01:06:18): And sometimes that worked, sometimes it didn’t. But after I finished my study I had another set of tools in my toolbox in as much as I could say to somebody that was kind of sitting on the fence about taking anti-psychotics because they wanted to know how they worked or what they would do. I could say, well, what they do is they is they thicken the boundary between the worlds, you know, they make less porous the boundaries or the boundary between the worlds. You know, because oftentimes schizophrenics when they’re hearing voices, they are real voices. They hear them and it’s oftentimes the same person who’s speaking to them, oftentimes saying the same things and they’re very hard to ignore.

Rick (01:07:26): And they can be comforting. Yeah, usually they’re disturbing, but oftentimes they’re comforting, these are a lonely people and if they’ve got a hallucinated voice accompanying them, they’re not quite so lonely. It gets kind of tricky when the voices are telling them bad things. But still, to the extent that they wanted the voices to go away or the visions to go away, usually the voices, I could present the effects of medications as firming up the boundaries, rather than, you know, dopamine receptor blockade, and that actually helped a number of my patients approach being on medication in a more positive way. And I would not have been able to have come up with that concept, if I weren’t for my work with DMT.

Brian (01:08:30): Thank you. Next question. Is, are there any changes in your religious spiritual worldview as a result of using psychedelics?

Rick (01:08:55): Well, I suppose my experiences on psychedelics when I was younger, like I’ve described before gave me a glimpse of the enlightened worldview, you know, Bodhicitta the first flash of enlightenment. Then with DMT, both my own experiences and administering it, I became convinced of the reality of a spiritual–or not necessarily spiritual–I suppose you could call it spiritual, but more generically, a usually invisible universe, which is accessible within a few heartbeats. It exists, whether it exists in our minds or out there in outer space or some combination thereof, it does exist. It’s real. It’s, reproducible replicable, it’s got the same features every time other people describe it in the same way. So whether or not it’s objectively real or subjectively real, it doesn’t really matter.

Rick (01:10:09): It does exist though. You can’t deny it, it’s just like dreams are real. They’re not, you know, maybe objectively real, but they’re subjectively real. You know, love is real, fear is real, internal experience is real. And the DMT experience is real, it’s a real experience and it’s a strikingly different reality or experience than everyday reality or even other altered states. So as a result of my studies, which came about because of my own experiences on DMT I began looking for spiritual models that take into account the strong feeling of reality, which is associated with those experiences and a model that could contain the content, the visual, interactive, relational quality of the DMT experience. How do you relate to it? How do you understand it? How do you approach it? How do you make the most of the information contained in it? And that ultimately led me to studying the Hebrew Bible and the prophetic experience and it led me just studying the Bible, the Hebrew Bible, which has been my main focus for the last 25 years or so.

Brian (01:11:49): Hmm. Wonderful. Would you like to say anything more about how your experience with psychedelics relates to your study of Hebrew Bible?

Rick (01:12:05): Well yeah, it’s always good to build models. I like building models. I like understanding things in a larger context. Because once you build models, you can then extrapolate, you can say, if this model is true, then you would expect X, Y, and Z as opposed to Oh, wow that was interesting I’ll just file that experience away. If you have a good model, you can apply it to different areas personally, socially, clinically. So because of the nature of the DMT experience it’s being full of content and a specific kind of content, there is an intelligence there, there are beings there, you interact with them you, communicate with them. So that is one quality of the DMT state. The other is the overwhelming feeling of reality that accompanies it. It’s a real experience, more real than real as what most people describe it as. So when I was looking for a model that could take into account those two features I gravitated towards the Hebrew Bible and the notion of the prophetic state, which phenomenologically is quite similar to the DMT experience. It’s more real than real, it’s inhabited with things that you interact with and receive information from. So once I kind of twigged to the prophetic state as described in the text, I wanted to learn: what is a prophetic text trying to communicate? What is the prophetic state good for? What’s the information content of the prophetic experience? Well, it’s about God, and it’s about the golden rule, so that’s basically the content of the Hebrew Bible, the nature of God and God’s interaction with existence and the golden rule, which regulates or stipulates or creates a context for us, for us interacting with the outside world. So it’s kind of a bottomless pit in a way, a fertile vein of information, inspiration, ideas. So I started reading the Bible in 1996. I read the Torah 25 times over the last 25 years. I’ve written a book on prophetic experience and compared it to the DMT state. I really had to understand or learn about God which is difficult. You know, what is God especially if you’re a secular humanist, lapsed Jew who has taken a lot of psychedelics and spend 23 years meditating with the Zen community. So it was back to the drawing on board, but I was determined, I was equipped, there’s a lot of good interpreters of the text that you can turn to, to start to understand what’s the nature of God? How do you relate to God? How does God relate to you? What’s the laws of cause and effect? How do you understand them in a biblical sense? So, ultimately the whole stream, the whole scenario kind of led me to become an amateur Bible scholar and to talk up the Hebrew Bible as a model for the contemporary psychedelic drug experience.

Rick (01:16:29): The reigning models are either biological ones, like this is your brain on drugs and these are the brain imaging things that occur, and the default mode network let some more things in. And there’s the shamanic one, which is kind of black magic and dark. And there’s the Buddhist, new age, Vedanta, mystical experience one where everything is one, everything is relative, life or consciousness survives after death, all that stuff, you know, so it’s all kind of non-Jewish. And you look at the Hebrew Bible and it’s the basis of Western civilization for the last year, 2000 years, 2,500 years. So to ignore a text that has that much influence I think is a mistake. And at least to not ignore allows another platform to understand spiritual experiences. And to the extent that one spiritual experiences resembles those of the psychedelic effect, then you have got a model or some guideposts to help you with in understanding what has taken place in your psychedelic experiences. How to integrate them, how to apply them, how to communicate them in a way that isn’t available in the shamanic model or the brain model, or the Vedanta, new age model, you know, the union stuff. Yeah. It’s the more traditional, therefore it’s more fraught with post-traumatic stress, but I think that shouldn’t discourage people from at least checking it out.

Brian (01:18:23): Thanks. Next question. Is, are there any changes in your religious spiritual tolerance as a result of psychedelics?

Rick (01:18:42): Religious tolerance. Well, from the outset I’ll tell you I’m not a very tolerant person. I’m impatient I’m judgmental. And you know that’s just how I am, I keep it to myself. But still that’s the default. If I hear crazy shit, I say to myself, that’s crazy shit. You know, I will keep it to myself, but I still think it. So I wouldn’t say that I’ve become more tolerant. I’m still intolerant. I’m still pretty judgmental. And yeah, I would say, I suppose when I was younger, I maybe was more tolerant or more open-minded about different points of view, but I think I was kind of going along with the flow, rather than a really being a structural change.

Brian (01:19:47): Okay. Thanks. Next question relates to religious spiritual

Rick (01:19:52): Well, you know

Brian (01:19:52): Yeah?

Rick (01:19:55): I think one of the dangers of psychedelics, especially if they’re taken in a new age, Vedanta, Jungian (or union?), mystical experience context is you can pretend to be more tolerant. You can imagine that you’re more tolerant. You can convince yourself that you’re more tolerant, but you’re not, you’re not at all. You’re just more fake tolerant. You can mouth the mouthings, but when push comes to shove I don’t think it’s necessarily the case that the drugs make you more tolerant. If you want to become more tolerant, the drugs can help you become more tolerant, but if you’re not a tolerant person, you know, tolerance, isn’t that important to you? The drugs themselves will not make you more tolerant. You have to already be interested in becoming that way in the first place. So in my case, it didn’t really have much of an enduring effect in that manner.

Brian (01:21:02): Great. Thank you. Yeah, that’s a very good point. The next question deals with religious spiritual commitment. So are there any changes in your religious, spiritual commitment as a result of psychedelics that could be commitment, devotion practices, that sort of thing. And I know you’ve already alluded to a lot of this, but anything you would add?

Rick (01:21:34): Well the commitment or the deeper involvement with the tradition hasn’t come about through psychedelics, it’s come about through study through hardship. In 2014 I was quite sick. I had a couple of very serious illnesses. And I recovered by myself. I was alone. And that strengthened my relationship with God, my understanding of God, my dedication to God, my love of God, my conviction of the existence of God and his mercy. But those weren’t the result of psychedelic experiences, those were just the results of living my life.

Brian (01:22:22): Okay, thanks. And maybe this relates to psychedelics or not, but how would you describe your understanding of God/the divine now?

Rick (01:22:44): Understanding. Well, I mean, I’ve got a packed kind of answer. My understanding of God is that God is the creator and sustainer of cause and effect both in the natural world and the moral and ethical world. So that’s my understanding of God, my intellectual understanding. And I attained that understanding through study, not through tripping. But I learned about cause and effect from Buddhism. I learned about Buddhism because of my interest in altered states that was triggered by using psychedelics, so ultimately you can trace it back to psychedelics, but the proximal understanding wasn’t from psychedelics.

Brian (01:23:39): Okay, great. Thank you. And the last part of this section is, are there any changes in your religious, spiritual, multicultural counselor competence as a result of using psychedelics? So in terms of clinical practice, in being accepting or able to counsel people who are of a different religious spiritual background,

Rick (01:24:20): Well, I suppose, when you are tripping and you see other people who may not be like you, you can relate to them in a way that you might not have been able to relate to them before you can empathize with their feelings. So in a way, I suppose you would become more accepting or at least you would become less walled off to the humanity of people who aren’t exactly like you. The thing that comes to mind, this might seem a little weird, but to the extent that psychedelics can help you deal with fear I think they can be useful in that way in a multi cultural kind of atmosphere. And what I was thinking about was I was in the mountains with a friend one day, we were on acid and I was always afraid of bugs, especially beetles and bees. And we were sitting in a meadow and there’s this big bug, this big beetle. And I was afraid of it. And my friend picked it up and he said, don’t be afraid of it. And he’s petting the beetle. And I was just aghast. And he said, you try, you pet the beetle. So I petted, the beetle. And I never really was afraid of insects again. I mean, my fear of insects, big bugs just went away. So when you’re talking about multiculturalism and have psychedelics opened your heart, you know, to the black man or the yellow man or the brown man I suppose indirectly through the effect of psychedelics on fear that may have an impact along those lines.

Brian (01:26:33): Great. Thank you. The final section of questions deals with psychedelic use in the world. Do you believe psychedelic experiences would be beneficial for certain clients? If so, which clients do you feel would benefit?

Rick (01:26:55): Yeah, I do think they could be useful and they’ve been proven useful in the right set of circumstances. Yeah. So there’s all kinds of clinical conditions that if given in the right environment can be ameliorated: depression, OCD, drug abuse, end of life despair, eating disorders, you name it pretty much. So if somebody is interested in taking psychedelics for mental health issues, I think they ought to be able to, but they ought to be prepared, screened, monitored, carefully, supervised carefully, follow up integration ought to be emphasized. So I think like any other potentially useful treatment they ought to be made available. There’s data indicating helpfulness and creativity, meditation, spiritual practice, so in the right set of circumstances psychedelics can be helpful in that regard.

Rick (01:28:16): It’s an important thing to keep in mind though that the psychedelics themselves are not inherently spiritual or psychotherapeutic. It’s the way in which they’re given, the preparation of the person and the person and the environment in which those experiences take place. You know, so Charles Manson gave LSD to his followers and they turned out to be serial killers, but it wasn’t because of the LSD. It was because they were latent serial killers. And the LSD given around in that environment cemented their desire to be serial killers. So it isn’t as if the drugs possess any inherent good or bad effects, but if you want to use them for good effects and you stack the deck to cause good effects, they’re quite powerful in both good and bad ways. I mean, if you stack the deck to have a terrible outcome, chances are you will. You know Neo Nazis take LSD, the hell’s angels were the biggest purveyors of LSD in the Bay Area, back in the sixties. So just taking LSD does not make you a healthy, happy, contributing member of society; you need to prepare and steer things in the direction that you wish you had. Both for good and for bad.

Brian (01:29:47): Thank you. Do you believe psychedelic experiences would be beneficial for other mental health clinicians or graduate students in training to become mental health professionals?

Rick (01:30:07): Well it’s the same kind of answer, just depends. Back in the day in the sixties, late fifties, they were giving psychiatric residents LSD in order to induce a temporary psychotic experience, kind of along the lines that we were talking about earlier: if you’ve been temporarily psychotic, quote unquote, would that make you a more a more understanding, more empathic therapist? And those studies never really got off the ground, but I think they’re very interesting studies. So I think if you are a subscriber to that idea and you want to experience being crazy, for example, if you think that psychedelics alter your consciousness in a way that overlaps with mental illness, then you ought to be able to take them in that kind of setting. If you want to do psychedelic psychotherapy, there’s the whole question, do you need to be experienced? And I think you probably do, although no real studies have taken place to demonstrate that. But it only makes sense. You know, you can’t become a psychoanalyst without being psychoanalyzed. So I think in a comparable manner, you can’t really be a psychedelic therapist without you having your own experiences of supervised, psychedelic sessions. But if you don’t want to, you shouldn’t be penalized. But yeah, it could be helpful. And it may not be, you could be so loosely put together that LSD experience may turn out to be a very bad idea, like either because you want to empathize with psychotic patients or you want to become a better psychedelic psychotherapist. So it’s the same thing, if you’re interested it ought to be made available. If you are interested, you ought to be screened, prepared, supervised, followed up very carefully too.

Brian (01:32:34): Thank you. Next question is similar. Do you believe psychedelic experiences would be beneficial for people involved in organized religion and/or people dedicated to a spiritual path of some sort?

Rick (01:32:54): Yeah. If they want to, yeah. And the same qualifications would apply, if they’re interested it ought to be made available. Screen, prepare, supervise, integrate as best as you can. Yeah. There is an increasingly growing movement to combine psychedelics within traditional religions. Judaism, Christianity, Protestantism, Catholicism. So it’s occurring, Zen, Hinduism probably although I’m not firsthand familiar. The UDV, these ayahuasca churches are syncretic, they involve spiritism and Christianity, so it is already happening. But I think that ought to be more clearly articulated and formulated and discussed and occurring within a structure that is intended to optimize the benefit. I think you’ll obviously encounter resistance from the more stodgy sectors of any organized religion, but that’s to be expected, you can ignore them if you can.

Rick (01:34:28): That’s the beauty of Judaism. There’s no Pope of Judaism, you can pretty much do what you want. You know, if you’re a Catholic, that’s a little more of a problem because of the church hierarchy. And I guess Protestantism too. But Judaism is kind of a wild frontier in a lot of ways. So there isn’t a stigma. If your rabbi thinks you’re a freak, you could just start your own temple or start your own stream of Judaism. Well that’s what happened with Zalman Schachter, he was a Chabad, the Lubavitch tradition and he wanted to drop acid. And Schneerson the Lubavitcher Rebi said, you want an experience go out and have an experience, take your LSD, good luck have fun. So Zalman took LSD and started renewal Judaism because he knew that that kind of stuff wouldn’t be tolerated with him, the traditional streams.

Brian (01:35:36): Hmm. And my second to last question, are there other populations that you believe may benefit from psychedelic experiences?

Rick (01:35:54): Other populations? Well, there’s patients, there’s therapists, creative people. At Stanford there were some creativity studies. Scientists were given LSD who were stuck in a problem that they couldn’t quite solve on their own, or without the LSD. And they were given LSD, came up with good solutions that they put into practice. But then again, that points to the importance of who’s taking the drug and why. It isn’t as if you take LSD and you become more creative, you already need to be a creative person. It’s only going to amplify and clarify certain things which are already preexisting. So you need to optimize the circumstances, both in the set and the setting, who takes it and why and what kind of context, what’s the goal. There’s clergy. There are sports people who like to trip either for fun or for athletic enhancement. There was a Pittsburgh pirate pitcher, his name, I just can never remember who took LSD and threw a no-hitter. And he said he wouldn’t have been able to throw that no hitter without being on acid. Also, there’s biological studies that might indicate that you can grow new nerve cells, more complexly connected nerve cells with psychedelics, neurogenesis, neuroplasticity. So there are studies underway or being planned for dementia or other brain syndromes. So yeah. And that covers a wide swath. Yeah. Let me put it that way.

Brian (01:38:12): Great. Interesting. Thank you. And my last question, is there anything else I have not yet asked, or we have not yet discussed, which you feel would be of benefit to tell me?

Rick (01:38:41): There is one thing which is kind of an interesting development the last year or so is the commercialization of psychedelics. You know, pharma. Pharma Is extending its tentacles into the psychedelic space. So I think that’s going to be a very interesting development to watch carefully. It could be for the greater good, could be kind of bad. Just depends. There’s a book by Philip K Dick, a novel called the Three Stigmata of Palmer Eldridge. And it’s about a competition between a company that makes one psychedelic on earth called candy or choosy. I can’t remember. And there’s one that comes from another galaxy which is the other name choosy or candy. And it’s a battle between these two companies from different galaxies over humanity’s use all the time of one particular psychedelic. Is the whole world going to be on choosy or is the whole world gonna be on candy? Candy is kind of fun, you construct an alternative world, but it’s this world, like there’s a doll house and there’s little dolls and you hang out with them you build play houses and you occupy them. Choosy, the one from outer space is a really crazy, it’s really bad. It’s really very strange, very alien. And it’s highly addictive. So like, the earthbound one you take in, you stop it and everything’s fine, you’re back to normal. If you stop taking the one form outer space you’re still on some kind of trip. It’s not the same trip that you went into when you first took it, but you come down and you’re on another trip that’s kind of like a recursion, just one reflection after the other, after the other. And it’s horrifying. It’s the most horrifying story I’ve ever read in my life. So I think with the commercialization of psychedelics there needs to be some oversight. It just can’t be a free for all capitalism, sell as many as you can, or as much as you can, make the most addicting, the most far out, the most stimulating. There needs to be some oversight. Right now there is zero oversight, people are developing new drugs. They’re raising billions of dollars in venture capital. So I think somebody’s gonna need to keep a close eye on this development before it gets really out of control.

Brian (01:41:46): Right. Wow. That’s interesting. I’ll be curious to see how that moves forward. Any other thoughts or insights that you would like to share?

Rick (01:42:09): I think you have a lot of material. We’re good.

Brian (01:42:12): Yeah I do. Thank you so much. Well, I really appreciate you taking the time to do this interview and I’ll be in touch and let you know how it all goes. And I can provide a copy of the transcription too, if you would like to review it and send you the rough draft of my chapter four when that’s and everything. And of course, I’ll let you have a copy of the final copy too when that’s done.

Rick (01:42:59): Oh, sure. Yeah. Well, if you could, I use a lot of verbal fillers like, you know, and if you could remove those before I take a look at the transcript, it would really be a lot easier for me. A couple of years ago, I was interviewed by some Swiss guy and he got back to me and he said, do you know how many times you said, you know, and I said, no. And he said 5,327 times. I said, you asshole. Yeah. I said to him, you jerk, you don’t need to tell me that you can just remove them from the interview or remove them from the transcript. So if you could do me that favor, otherwise I would be embarrassed to read myself using all these verbal fillers.

Brian (01:43:57): OK yes.

Rick (01:43:58): Yeah. Do a first pass of cleaning it up if you would, please.

Brian (01:44:04): Okay. Sure. Definitely. Well, thanks again for your time. I really appreciate you sharing your insights and wisdom and everything that you have offered during this conversation. Thanks so much.

Rick (01:44:23): Yeah. Well, you do have some amazing dope tales. I haven’t shared this many amazing dope tales in one sitting before. So it was fun to kind of sift through my file cabinet.

Brian (01:44:37): Great. Well, yeah, I’m glad it was fascinating to hear all this, so thank you so much.

Rick (01:44:45): Okay. Sure. Well, good luck, Brian. Take care.

Brian (01:44:47): Alright. Thanks a lot, Rick. Have a good night. Bye bye.

Rick (01:44:51): K you too, bye.