Council on Spiritual Practices
The Council on Spiritual Practices (CSP) is an organization
bringing together religious scholars, scientists, and spiritual
guides who share a mutual interest in the importance of the direct
experience of the sacred dimension (for which each religion
has its own descriptive terminology). It is their belief that
such experiences, which are facilitated by various spiritual
practices and the entering of different altered states of consciousness,
have salutary effects upon the individual experiencing
them and secondarily upon their acquaintances and the
world. To that end, CSP has developed two programmatic
thrusts. First, it attempts to discover approaches to primary religious
experiences that are safe and effective. Second, it assists
both individuals and spiritual communities by introducing
them to spiritual experiences.
It is CSP’s assumption that direct religious experience is not
confined to any one religious community but occurs in all of
them. Thus, it works in a multireligious context.
The council emerged in the 1990s in the wake of a series of
court cases that supported the laws prohibiting the use of consciousness
altering drugs even in a religious context. A significant
aspect of CSP’s program and raison d’être is its Entheogen
Project. Entheogens are substances taken to facilitate spiritual
or mystical experiences, the most well-known examples being
LSD and peyote. The project, building upon a generation of research,
attempts further research on the use of entheogens and
explores creative ways that public policy might be altered to accommodate
their use. Safety remains an issue in the use of entheogens
and many advocate that newcomers make use of an
experienced guide. CSP advocates a code of ethics for such
guides, who should be properly motivated, competent, and tolerant
of a wide variety of religious beliefs.
The council may be contacted at Box 460820, San Francisco,
CA 94146-0820 or through its Internet site at http
Council on Spiritual Practices. May 16,

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