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Monday, December 30, 2019

review

You don’t know what you got until it’s gone or something like that. You don’t appreciate what you have until you have to go without it. We take a lot of things for granted, chief among them health. I haven’t had as bad a flu as what I just recovered from in over a decade. Suffering through the body aches, chills, and fever for four plus days and then the aftermath of low energy and fatigue left me with the sentiment that yes health is everything. All that I like to do was put on hold for a week while I fought and then tried to recover from this malady. In such a short time I was able to witness a low level of depression sink in over the futility of my situation. The fifth night of the body aches and chills left me curled up in the fetal position wondering if I’d ever shake this thing. Getting past that hurdle galvanized me into going for a walk in the woods only to have to prop myself up against a tree to avoid collapsing from exhaustion. The lessons learned are plentiful and obvious, so obvious that it is crazy we don’t think about them until we are faced with the loss of what we take for granted. It’s like my body having a pre-emptive discussion with me, preparing for old age when I can’t take health for granted anymore, “Hey dumb ass! While you are in relatively good health and shape it’s time to take advantage of it and get to fulfilling all your intentions for this life while the going is still good.” I don’t want to get this flu again and I don’t wish it upon anyone else but there did come a pretty good lesson out of it.

Not being at full health really emphasizes the self in that it all starts from the fundamental wholeness of what we call self before we can heal others. The ‘others’ are an extension of self as we are all in this together. It really underscores the concept that in order to heal the world, first start with yourself.

Another calendar year is coming to a close and with it the decade. It’s a cultural marker, the significance of it is highly questionable and dubious, but anyways it provides an opportunity to look back and examine where you are in terms of where you once were in your life and see if that is a positive or a negative. The one thing for sure is we are all older and closer to the grave! I view that as a positive as I have found the more I age and slow down the easier it is to see through the world and into the game and thus have understanding. I am a knowledge junkie and with age comes rewards. The biggest takeaways from this past year have been intention, beliefs, dreams, and self-discipline. I learned that when you connect with the divine and obfuscated parts of self, set an intention, and are sincere about making a reciprocal offering then things will start happening for you. It may be part of a long game and you may have to reach back and gather in some much needed self-discipline but you’ll be walking that path and it’s going to happen for you. I also learned the role of beliefs in the fundamental way we see things and how it shapes our worldview. The truth is slippery and it is beliefs that ultimately create the world we live in and how we want it to be. Ultimately there is suffering in the world because we want there to be suffering. Our work driven society views life as hard and you have to work for your rewards and stresses if you are in an unfortunate situation that’s your fault. It’s clear we created the mess and we can collectively get us out of the quagmire if the will is present. Such responsibility is ours to use and steward wisely, instead of for personal gain at the expense of others. Reciprocity teaches many lessons, chief among them that not giving back causes the divide, the haves and the have nots, and all the strife in the world. It’s pretty simple this reciprocity challenge and as a whole we seem to have developed quite the ability to look the other way, maybe throw the downtrodden in society a bone once in a while but that’s it. I mean we who live comfortable lives work hard for it and damn it I’m going to enjoy the fruits of my toil. To change the world change yourself and envision how you want the world to be. If there is enough of a change in consciousness then we will reach a tipping point. Lastly this was a huge year for understanding dreams. I shed the notion that they are fanciful and nonsensical and saw them for what they are. I’m reflecting my psyche into a world of my own making, using this world to self reflect and to try and come to terms with all that. Because I tend to examine everything, this led down the rabbit hole to the realization that the world we are in now is the product of a dreamer and we are aspects of their psyche. Our world at its core is mental energy. There are a myriad of ways you can try to convince me this is not true and they will all have merit. That’s not how I see it though. To me it is crystal clear!

How about this past decade? Ten years ago I had returned from a trip to Egypt and I was ensconced in learning everything I could about that culture. I was about two years into my obsessive search for the origin of beliefs and I cast a wide net. It would be about another three years until I found traditional plant based shamanism and that opened the floodgates that defined the rest of the decade and gave me all the answers I was determined and had full intention to discover. I was resolute in my searching and this led me to shamanism almost as if the universe was saying okay you’re pretty sincere about this, here you go, walk this path and it will all be revealed. My foray into shamanism gave me the answer to my original question and that plunged me head long into the mystery of self and who I ultimately was. This blog space is a testament to that voyage and the discoveries made along the way. It is by no means over and this decade to come promises as much discovery as I have gained so far. Really big things are just around the corner. Bring it on! 

Monday, December 23, 2019

just believe

So much of our political discourse contains within it a need for conformity and belief in a set of values. For a lot of these ideals then is needed what is called virtue signalling so that people know you are on board with their beliefs. If you have been taking in any of the impeachment hearings going on in the States, it is quite the exercise to listen to both sides of the debate and their cheerleaders. The truth is undefined so instead it becomes a massive propaganda outreach on both sides of the aisle and an attempt to sway opinion through cherry picking sound bites and reporting only on events beneficial to your point of view and beliefs. It sums up what I have been feeling deep down for months now as to me anyway truth seems to be malleable and hard to hang your hat on, like sand slipping through your fingers. Our conception of the universe is the truth until we invariably gather more knowledge and find out more about its structure and function and then we have to revise our theories which then becomes our current truth. Truth is an exercise in consensus. Consensus is derived from the belief of others. Take for instance when we have to make a decision on something. We gather data that helps us make up our minds. Eventually we run out of time and have to make a decision based on the collected data. We could never get to a hundred percent buy in; we'd most likely be dead before that happens. So we move ahead with near certainty and then all the little errors in our thinking and decisions compound with interest and on it goes.

Remember that commercial where 4 out of 5 dentists recommend Trident sugarless gum because it didn't promote tooth decay? That became fact and sugarless gum was the way to go to be more healthy. What about the maligned fifth dentist? They were the real thinker here. They knew chewing sugarless gum wouldn't help, because a sugar addict will just get their fix somewhere else. They understood there had to be a fundamental change in diet in order to prevent tooth decay. But they were silenced, losing out to the majority interest who enforced their beliefs through consensus.

I have often wondered why smart people get sucked into religion. I was educated on this very topic by plant medicines. They have consistently shown me how your beliefs triumph over all. Not only that but the cultural beliefs you are indoctrinated in, whether you believe them or not, will have to be confronted as well and without a hardened counterbalance to these beliefs they will win you over. In Christianity you are saved by faith and not works. All you have to do to be saved is believe in Jesus. Somebody somewhere during that tumultuous time in the classical world knew what's up. By just believing, you give power and currency to the idea.

Ephesians 2:8-9
8 For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God:
9 Not of works, lest any man should boast.

Psychically you will manifest these beliefs. You will experiences them in dreams, altered states of consciousness, and stress and they will be real. How can you not then believe, regardless of the absurdity?

I will submit myself as exhibit A. I have written previously about my encounters with icons of Christianity in altered states of consciousness; these psychic entities alive within my culture that penetrate and inculcate our individual psychic energy. The only way I moved past this trapping of culture is because I had a stronger belief in a goddess that couldn't be shaken and that allowed me to move past the trap door laid out on my path. If that had not been present there is a good chance I would have fallen for it as well and I’d be currently selling you on the merits of Jesus.

Picture a circle and call the circumference your beliefs. Within that circle is where you will find truth, with the truth always depending on what your fundamental beliefs are. For example, there are 24 hours in a day and at high noon is when the sun is the highest in the sky. This is palpably true. However you have been deceived by motion into thinking that there are cycles and days. Furthermore it is motion that fools you into thinking there are sunrises and sunsets. The sun is shining while hurtling through space. If the earth was hit by an asteroid that knocked us off course then our whole concept of time would change. Our worldview is fundamentally shaped, or may I say clouded, by our beliefs.

Think of the advertising industry that I play a part in. The trick is to get people to believe in or want something. I manipulate people into buying things they don't need through creating wants and desires, all the while appealing to vanity and ultimately ego. It’s a benign way of exploiting the psyche of the human being and it works! Companies and brands spend millions of dollars in order to get people to like and buy their products. The consumer has to think they need the product or want the product regardless of whether it works or will improve their lives. Obviously the best products actually do what they advertise but truth in advertising is a fungible thing. We do have standards but those are co-opted by money, lawyers, and fine print in a small font.

From this you can see the point about my original premise that we can use selective information to propagandize the electorate into believing only one side of the story. It is a story precisely because it is a belief. It’s the old axiom that there are two sides to every story and even though you might not like your opponent’s narrative it is valuable to listen to it. When discussing politics with friends and family invariably if you are not agreeable or a pushover there are arguments. While trying to make counter points I have been accosted with the accusatory “Have you been watching Fox News?“ line more than once in order to shut down any challenging point of view. Actually I try to watch a variety of news in order to shape my beliefs and hopefully develop some kind of understanding. I’m not naive enough to believe I know the truth but I’m smart enough to know when I’m being fed a line. There’s a reason in a courtroom a judge elicits stories from both sides of the aisle. They are trained in bullshit detection and when they see the bullshit coming out of the mouth of one of the litigants then it is game over for them.

I have spent a great deal of the second half of my life searching for answers. I have always been a contrarian, so I had a leg up on most when it came time to shed cultural baggage powered by cultural institutions. I went out looking for answers, thinking I could find them externally. When I discovered conscious altering plants they were an accelerator on the path of finding what it was I was seeking. The altering of consciousness will force you to look inwards and come to terms with all your beliefs and from this you will learn the truth is slippery and beliefs are what powers the universe. If you believe then it is your truth. Do you remember in the movie 'The Matrix’ Neo didn’t believe he was the one? He visited the oracle looking for answers and she said sorry kid but you are not it. It wasn’t until he believed in himself that he did indeed become the one. The truth was waiting on beliefs because without beliefs there can be no truth. 

Monday, December 16, 2019

mimicry and reflection

I think it was in the year 1987 when my girlfriend and I rented the movie Blue Velvet. Up until that time in my life I had been fed a pretty steady diet of Hollywood movies like Top Gun, Basic Instinct, Bad News Bears, and so on. In other words, nothing that made me think too hard. Blue Velvet abrogated my childhood and ushered me into adulthood as it was a very disturbing, yet highly compelling psycho-sexual thriller, that contained many layers that spoke to the hidden parts of ourself that mesh with the dark side of society and culture. It's interesting that the cities and culture we create mimic our psychological lives. Specifically this movie was pointing out the inner conflict and darkness within that we hide, along with the seedy parts of town that we consign to the fringe.

Anyways I have been thinking and writing a great deal lately about our psychological makeup and this movie returned to my radar due to some trivial reference. It's marvellous how sometimes events lineup and synchronize which lead to another train of thought or action. I re-watched it last week and was startled by how it portrayed the human condition and how our ego is tasked with burying the darkness within all of us and when it bubbles to the surface neurotically having to integrate these desires into acceptable society. The use of the closet by masterful director David Lynch to symbolize the perversities the protagonist Jeffrey hides away and then Lynch using the closet to allow Jeffrey to peek at the dark side of life are strokes of genius. When Jeffrey comes out of the closet in context with his dark side he assumes the the dark traits of the antagonist Frank, who is a sadistic bully with a myriad of sexual perversions. This reaches a boiling point when Frank discovers Jeffrey at the apartment of their shared interest Dorothy, and takes him on a joyride. The film coalesces at the point when Frank tells Jeffrey that “you're like me." The character of Jeffrey plays the role of a charming and mysterious young man who attracts the love interest of Sandy, who represents everything that is good and pure about small town life. It's Jeffrey's ego that has him playing this part but his dark side keeps drawing him towards the seedy part of the town and the mystery he wants to solve. Up until this point in his life, the expectations of the town and taking over his father's store had controlled his behaviour, much like the concept of the superego keeps us all in line through rewards and punishments. Jeffrey's desire to explore his own darkness though is too much and ultimately wins out.

The brilliance of the film was a catalyst to a reexamination of my own psyche, especially a doubt that was creeping in concerning my night I spent with Peyote. During that night I accessed a wisdom within that acted as a guide and a dispenser of no-nonsense advice concerning questions I had about my life. I started thinking well wasn't that just my higher self as the superego leading me towards the unattainable masculine quest of being perfect and righteous? It was a good question and one I needed to confront. Yes I do tend to over-examine things and I can't hide anything away or accept at face value. I question everything. It's a good way to be if you are a inveterate seeker of knowledge, though you will never find peace this way. Truth is like grasping a handful of sand and trying to hold onto it. Anyway I sat with this problem in quiet meditation out in the woods before reexamining the three Freudian concepts of id, ego, and superego. Explaining these quickly - the id is our base desires, the ego is the character we play identified as the self, and the superego is the controlling voice that praises and blames and keeps us from devolving into a pure pursuit of pleasure. At birth this voice becomes our parents until as teenagers we break free of this control, only to have the role taken up by culture at large that then praises and blames. I was out with my dog and realized psychologically animals are pretty much stuck at the id stage. By giving our pets a name we define their identity and enable a primitive ego in them and then as their master we assume the role of the superego in their lives, as we constantly praise and blame a dog in order to control it.

Okay so back to the question of Peyote and what was that voice? It troubled me that it could have been the superego just playing along that night. I thought about our conversation and realized my higher self was dispensing wisdom and advice but had no expectations or demands of me. This put me at ease but brought up more questions. The threefold nature of our psychological makeup is a pretty good structure. I mean splitting it into three is dubious but in examining our nature it is a solid construct. Now I was introducing another part of us - the higher self separate from the superego, into the equation. Somehow I realized that the higher self was reflecting back into our lives as an entity we call the superego who then mimicked the ideals of the higher self but turned it into demands and expectations of us, used to control us. I have known for a while that to grasp the mystery is to only look at reflection. The Great Goddess taught me that when I was seeking unity in this lifetime. I gazed into a piece of black obsidian and saw all of nature reflected back through this rock and then later realized I too was part of this unified mirror construct. This wisdom is easily applied to the psychological constructs I have been discussing. Ultimately the psyche that we break down into the three parts: id, ego, and superego are reflections of what we ultimately intuit as being our nature. These are the lower self, self, and higher self but are normally off-limits, as in it's hard for an eye to look at itself without a mirror, unless consciousness is altered and you can bypass the veneer of their reflections. This connects back to the idea of psychic entities I wrote about a few weeks ago that try to gain control of us and they are using mimicry to do this. So from this I was able to differentiate between the ego and the self wherein the ego is what we think of ourself and how others see us and the self, which is how we really feel. The same idea of reflection is present here where what is central to our makeup has a corollary. There is the ideal and then an imitation of it. I then got stuck on the id. This is our desires and wants and I thought well that is pretty cut and dry and was not sure how base desire and pleasure are reflected and then mimicked. I knew that if I meditated on this problem I'd get the answer.

The answer brought me to my knees out in the wilderness. The id is of course desire, pleasure, and the darkness we keep hidden in the closet. However this conception is doing the work of veiling the ultimate thing we keep in the closet. The voice in my head asked me if I know what that is? What is the one thing we all lock away in the depths and don't express as we should? I then knew the answer and started bawling in the midst of the forest. The lower self is not only desire and the pleasures we seek but most of all it is where feelings and love comes from. Love for ourself and for others. When I come home from work my dog, who epitomizes this concept and is free of the need to imprison its feelings, is exuberant and literarily jumping up and down over seeing me, so full of love with no hesitation or reservations in showing it. Imagine if you could live your life that way? That was the lesson and how we buried love and our feelings even deeper than desire and how we use the disparaging terms of dark side, shadow, and closets to further dig a hole where we can bury all this away and caution people against exploring the subconscious depths. The real thing we hide away in the dark are our feelings and abundant love and then use the subterfuge of pleasure, desire, and peculiar fetishes to avoid the whole construct at large and this in turn allows us to stop the discovery of the hidden subconscious realms before we get too far and hit the spigot. There are no goddesses in our religions because we buried her away in these subconscious depths and tell all to avoid going looking in the those dark places.

When I was at SpiritQuest in November of 2017, the last retreat I attended with the maestro don Howard, he talked to me on the walk back from visiting a local tribe about this very thing. My heart was wide open and I was feeling this powerful love for all. He told me it takes courage to bring this out into the world in everyday life and live your life this way. He cautioned me it's not easy. It's the warrior spirit that he was trying to instil in us all. Ultimately the fight is against what has conspired to cause you to bury your feelings and the power of love away. The hero's journey is going deep within and freeing love from the impenetrable castle you have built that locks her away. 

Monday, December 9, 2019

a candy-coloured clown they call the sandman

A dream is a wander in the mind or is it the mind that wanders, and fundamentally is that what reality is - a mental wander? Sometimes the sandman fucks with my waking consciousness and tailors the dream to expect the resolution of an event at the exact second the waking alarm is to go off. It's a reminder of who is in the driver's seat and to be cognizant of the messages coming up from the subconscious.

The dreaming mind is exploring through the dream all aspects of its psyche. The dark and the light. The good and the bad. The fucked up and the holy. Our world is the subconscious of something else trying to express itself through dreaming into existence what has been suppressed and what needs to be explored and brought to the light. The universe is the psyche of the dreamer, just like at night when we go to sleep we dream and create a universe, maybe not as spectacular as this one we share, but nonetheless we reflect our psyche and create the dream. This is quite the way to look at the world. Everyone I come across, meet, judge, and study is a representative in some way of the psyche of the all and my reaction to them is a reflection of how I view those traits. From the all I come forth as the quiet mystic and through this lens the psyche gains knowledge of who they are. Looking at all the needless suffering in the world, I know it comes from me. Same for the division and the hatred. It's an unique way to view the world and take responsibility for its condition. And then to be sorry, seek contrition, and try to make amends.

The cosmic dreamer first dealt with our primitive instincts. The sacred masculine energy appeared as the protector and was savage in his existence. He claimed dominance over his surroundings or perished. The sacred feminine aligned with the protector in order to birth her offspring. The psyche dealt with the base traits of self, the masculine and his bloodthirsty nature when not checked and the nurturing aspect of the feminine. Eventually Homo sapiens appeared in the dream, with the intelligence of the dreamer, and with their appearance the dreamer could then start to realize how they functioned under a myriad of circumstances and stresses in order to psychoanalyse the intelligent self. So the universe is the ongoing process of psychoanalysis of the dreamer. I go back to the pre-Columbian concept of tinkuy and the idea of cultivating the sacred feminine and masculine into first the best of all the feminine and masculine traits, refining them in fire as you would metals, the feminine into the intuitive loving mother and caring wife and the masculine into the protective warrior, using logic and reason, and then bringing the two back together as one thus completing the sacred alchemical process at the heart of this dream.

Dreams are the portal into the mystery. Through dreams we access what is fundamentally the substance and structure of the universe. This knowledge is obfuscated, purposely made trivial, and off-limits. The guardian at the gate allows you in, he has to because it is fundamental to your nature, but then tears it away before you catch on to the underlying message. We figured out a way in the waking dream to preserve snapshots in time before they disappear. We mastered the art of remembering. We record events using various media. We used to create myths and fairy tales to keep within the collective consciousness an understanding of our environment. The dreamer’s fatal flaw is the recall; the remembering of what just happened. Experiences within the dream vanish in an instance, sometimes recalled by a flash when an event triggers a remembrance.

Plant medicine ceremonies with Ayahuasca bring you to the door of the mystery and allows access to the dreaming consciousness while in a fully awake trance. Ayahuasca visions and dreams are of the same origin. What is hidden within the subconscious depths is dredged up to the surface in ceremony and we can then face, deal, laugh, forgive, and develop courage from confronting the issues and the fear.

It's impractical to live out your life within ceremony nor to function always in your waking dream. The plant medicine ceremony is the catalyst for then beginning the real work of integrating the lessons and decoding the mystery. Every night when I go to sleep is another opportunity to enter into the mystery and the same place Ayahuasca takes me. To penetrate the depths you need an ally that will get you there on a nightly basis. The catalyst for a deep dive into the dream state is the great teacher Mapacho, which is potent jungle tobacco. The befriending of Mapacho has two great benefits. It is a meditative aid which quiets the mind and induces a peace and calm. Entered into communion with before bedtime then opens the door to the dreaming world. Entering this universe on a regular basis for the inquisitive leads to many questions and discoveries. First of them is how am I able to create fantastic worlds through my mind? What is this power? And then finally a dawning realization that this cracks the code.

If you are god there has to be proof. It isn't just empty rhetoric. Dreams are your proof. You become the creator and the one, confirming what it is you realized but then were left perplexed and bothered with the question: if I am god then why do I not feel it or feel so small? You mustn’t be afraid to dream a little bigger, darling. 

Monday, December 2, 2019

game play

Baseball is a game we have turned into big business. The outcome really doesn't matter however it does affect the well being of all the fanatics that are emotionally impacted by the result. The interesting observational thing about the game is we assign it meaning and then take it seriously. We love games and if we can make them matter and get a bunch of likeminded people invested in the outcome it becomes an adrenaline rush. Wins and championships and the trophy. We did it! We won the game! We are the greatest of all time! And then the world doesn't stop, the sun rises the next day, the next season starts and someone wants to take my trophy away. The hunter becomes the hunted. 

When players chase dollars instead of loyalty to team and its fans we cry they are only in it for the money and matter of factly state well baseball is just a business. Yeah that one repeats over and over and then a sportswriter gets to write a piece about the player taking the money, maximizing earnings, it’s just a business, and that becomes part of the nature of the game as well. The spellbound fan is the one who suffers. The one taken in by the game, ah the spell, gets to experience all the emotions. Investing in the game brings all the rewards and all the suffering. Oh the game! That's life. No really, that is similar to the game of life we play.

We create the game of life on the grand stage and then invest ourself in it. When you can see it clearly then you can also envision the delicious parallels to all games. We take the game of life and make it serious. What’s the way out of the game? Go off into the forest by yourself and avoid the trappings of culture and find out your truth? You are just playing the hermit game. We can’t avoid playing a game so might as well take control of your game and make it your own as much as possible, instead of letting others decide it for you. We are born into the world and then we follow along and immerse ourselves in the human game. Culture can be fun but it also causes suffering. We humans are pretty smart overall and if you play the game long enough you start to see through it. What do you do then? Try to find meaning? Tell others that it doesn't matter? They don't want to hear your philosophy because that doesn't pay the mortgage. Yeah sure it's a game. Try telling that to me when I'm living on the sidewalk eating no-name granola bars.