Notes from the weekend of October 21-22nd, 2017
I brought my Mapacho tobacco snuff into the woods on the afternoon of both days. The experience was markedly different as compared to using the snuff on the deck outside the house or in my back room. The first hit while out in nature seemed like a more powerful onset. After the initial discomfort in the sinus cavities wears off I notice my limbs relax and get droopy. They want to hang down and it is this strange dichotomy between a feeling of heaviness and lightness. I also experience a sensation where the chatter in my head subsides and a moment of clarity presents itself. I know from past use that there is a choice in how to precede from here. I can let the chatter restart or go deeper into the solitude. Both times I chose the solitude. The effects were much more noticeable out in nature. My vision felt like a screen was placed in front of it at first as I had my head bowed to the ground. It is easier at this point to close my eyes. I bow my head because of the mucous produced so that it will not run down the back of my throat. As the burning in my nostrils subsides I hear the songs of the birds, the wind through the trees, the dogs barking in the distance, and of vehicles far away. What was most striking was the omnipresent sound of the crickets. How could I have missed this cacophony even in my distracted state? In this moment of blissful clarity I listened to the rise and fall of this sound as a whole and as a series of pulsations. It struck me on the second afternoon of listening to this that this is the sound of the Way; it is the sound of the pulsation of the eternal energy. The Tao. All is vibration and this is the composition of the eternal vibration. This is when my experience and teaching all coalesced and a realization came over me - my thoughts are not the real me; what I am is awareness and feelings generated from the awareness. I'm a beacon of consciousness, a lighthouse of total consciousness generating feedback on its surroundings. The trappings of the sense of a separate self is a result of thoughts and we are taught from birth a cultural language that casts a spell of individuation upon us while giving us a name and an expectation to create and conform to a personality that makes us believe in this separation. This clarity was exceptional. After about five minutes or so I can open my eyes, blow my nose, and view my natural surroundings with a renewed focus. I notice the falling leaves, the birds flying overhead, and the movement of the grasses. The whole experience does not last for long; it feels like about fifteen minutes before the ego mind returns and the chatter starts to drown out the expanded awareness.
Don Howard tells us something to the effect that everyone is a maestro; everyone has something to teach us. I was going out the front door yesterday evening and Judge Judy was on the television. Judy had asked a witness to tell her what happened the day in question. The witness proceeded to give her the details and then started to interpret why the situation occurred. Judy stopped him and said "now you are starting to use your mind" as she pointed to her head, "I only want to know what you saw and what you heard." I went out the door with my dog and that scene stuck with me. Judge Judy knows how duplicitous and untrustworthy the mind is once it starts to put its spin on events. In adjudicating a case, she only wants to know what you were aware of, nothing more. I then thought of my teacher Mapacho. He tries to teach me this same lesson every night.