There exists an experience you can (probably) have, in a single day, that may lastingly improve your outlook on life, even if you’re in fear because the end of your life is near. Researchers are once again using psilocybin to occasion such experiences in patients facing life-threatening illness.
Steve Ross, a psychiatrist at NYU, has written a wonderful article about it: Psilocybin at the End of Life: A Doorway to Peace. You may be curious to compare Ross’s contemporary snapshot with a lecture given at Harvard Divinity School by Walter Pahnke in 1968, The Psychedelic Mystical Experience and the Human Encounter with Death.
In the intervening four decades, some things have changed, presumably for the better – for example, it is no longer routine to withhold frank ‘c-word’ diagnoses and prognoses from patients. As for making use of the potential of mystical-type experience (aka non-dual consciousness, primary religious experience) to ease a patient’s psychological distress, Rip Van Winkle’s slumber is into double overtime.
If you know of anyone who may want to participate in a study of psilocybin with cancer patients, two are now open: the Ross team’s at NYU and a study at Johns Hopkins in Baltimore. For the latter, need-based partial grants are available to help out-of-town volunteers with travel expenses.