United Church of Christ

How to Change Your Mind

"Therefore, I urge you, siblings...do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind." - Romans 12:1-2

The foodie author Michael Pollan recently penned a book about a different sort of edible: psychedelic substances. How to Change Your Mind touts the scientific research into a class of drugs which, when administered in a highly controlled clinical setting, seems to offer results bordering on miraculous. Alcoholics and smokers shed addiction. Terminal cancer patients lose their fear of dying. Trauma survivors recover a healed and whole self.

All as the result of drugs that offer an experience of awe. Rocketing out of ordinary perception, experimentees slip free of the small self and its limiting story for a little while. Up high on God's soaring perch, they find a new view of capital-T Truth: All is One. Love is the Way. There is no such thing as Death. Beauty rules the Limitless Universe. When they return to earth, they live differently, their minds transformed.

Not everybody needs pharmaceutical assistance to experience awe. Many of us have had a drugless mystical experience: a moment when our egos fell away and we knew ourselves to be, irrefutably, in the Presence. Maybe the experience shifted our perspective for a little while—jogged us out of despair or ingratitude. Maybe it changed us entirely, for good, because we could finally see as God sees.

If your awe doesn't come in pill form, how do you reliably summon it? In play? In nature? In flow as you paint, write, swim, cook, dance, meditate, make love?

However you find awe, be sure to take it as everyday mind-medicine. Awe is a miracle cure for all that ails.

Prayer

God, You blow our minds, again and again. Help us shed small self, and its measly little mind-manufactured world, to see as You see, and to live in wonder.

About the Author
Molly Baskette is Senior Minister of the First Church of Berkeley, California, and the author of the best-selling Real Good Church and Standing Naked Before God.

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