Nicholas Saunders - The Guardian 1995 - MDMA
Type of Spiritual Experience
A description of the experience
Nicholas Saunders 1995 - published in The Guardian on 22/7/95
From The spiritual aspect of rave culture
The fundamental effect of Ecstasy is to remove fear. Although we may not be normally conscious of it, fear is the main controlling influence on our behaviour. Fear makes us censor our words and even thoughts, protecting us from being hurt or making fools of ourselves. Fear makes us hold back emotions, and even manifests in our physical behaviour so that we can avoid revealing our vulnerability a useful protector in a harsh world. But fearful behaviour becomes a habit that cannot be dropped at will, inhibiting our enjoyment and preventing us from having meaningful experiences such as expressing nonsexual love. Ecstasy is called the love drug in the sense that 'love is letting go of fear'.
This freedom to give and accept without barriers provides a sense of empathy with others around, and allows for indulgence in hedonistic activities such as dancing, listening to music and sensuous skin contact. But the same freedom can lead to very different effects in different circumstances depending on the ‘set and setting’ the background and intentions of the person taking the drug, and the situation where it is taken.
Used in psychotherapy, Ecstasy may help release suppressed emotional traumas, while for someone trying to meditate, Ecstasy may allow them to let go of their internal dialogue. Likewise, the after effects vary, some finding the experience enriches their lives while others find the normal state depressing by comparison.