"Perhaps it doesn’t matter if the encounter with God/Aya/Ultimate Reality is real or imagined, if it helps you make sense of your disease and move to a healthier and happier place. As Griffiths at Johns Hopkins said to me: ‘For me as a scientist, if you told me you had the most powerful placebo effect in the world – you give them a set of expectations and by God they’ll experience that – that’s very interesting. Even if it is the world’s most powerful placebo, it can still lead to transformational effects.’
Alternatively, you could embrace another suggestion from James, that perhaps mystical experiences don’t take us to one ‘ultimate reality’, but to multiple realities, multiple universes that we co-create through our imaginations. When you choose your psychedelic retreat centre, you’re not just choosing a different therapeutic modality – you’re choosing a different ontology, a different universe. And perhaps, behind all these multiple myths and deities, there is still one logos, one being. Perhaps it plays with the cultural form we expect it to take."