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Monday, January 27, 2020

free will: suffering or service?

I have written about this before but it is in my thoughts again so I am going to try and articulate it in a different way: there is nothing you need to do. You don't have to try and achieve merit in order to be rewarded in the next life. If your motivations are contingent upon a carrot then you are continuing on the hamster wheel of thinking you are not good enough and must earn your rewards, much like we have this impression that we all have to earn a living and that we are not entitled to anything.

If I take an extreme example it would be this: spiritually you are no better off in terms of being rewarded in the afterlife if you are the most enlightened sage of all time versus a mass murderer of vulnerable women and children.

What the hell man? Have you gone mad?

The whole catch to this game of life is it is a game. There is nothing I have to do. I don't have to give back or be of service or strive to be impeccable. I don't have to love others and I can sit in hatred and judgment of them all.

Why is there so much suffering in the world? It's because we have free will and we choose to allow the suffering. We are a smart and resourceful species. We could greatly reduce suffering but we choose not to and end up competing with each other for resources. Where there is profit, gain, and winners there has to be deficit, loss, and losers. It's transactional and a zero sum game. So you see you don't have to love and be of service unconditionally however by not choosing these paths we enable suffering and make the world hell for the downtrodden. The way out of the morass is to choose all those attributes that play well to the spiritual crowd such as love, sharing, and purity. You just have to be aware that this will not lead to any reward; I know now as a human with experience that the threat of eternal damnation or another go round on the wheel of reincarnation having to atone for your misdeeds is incredibly motivating and makes you want to be good. I want to be a good boy. My ego wants me to project into the world that I'm a nice person. Understand though that it is through your choices and actions now that the whole world will be lifted up. To love each other unconditionally and share resources will relieve us of the hell we have created. It's the way to beat the game and reconcile our divisive nature so we can once again reach unity.

I have talked a bit before about plant medicines classes being like the school of hard knocks. This school of life seems like the ultimate challenge where the hard knocks are the suffering. We don't seem to learn the lessons and keep repeating the same actions that divide us up into the have and have nots. When will it end? I don't know but in the meantime I will keep working on myself and trying to lift others up.

I'd also like to address the nagging question. So okay you eliminate suffering in your utopia but what about people who become sick with disease and the pains of aging? What about the child with cancer?

We have an attachment to the body due to cultural conditioning. We revile death due to our conditioning and cling to life at all costs. Chemotherapy is ghastly. Why not celebrate life and also death? When it is time to let the body go then culturally make that a great celebration. Clinging to the body is inviting suffering. How do I know this? Because of the billions of people, heck trillions of life forms, that have spontaneously appeared on this planet the opposite is true. Eventually we all die with no exceptions. Maybe it sounds like I am not being realistic and that death really sucks. Okay but death is an experience and an unavoidable casualty of being born. It's part of the process of life so let's celebrate it with those who are to transition to the next event on the journey of consciousness. In any event Ram Dass assures us that it's okay because dying is pretty safe. 

Monday, January 20, 2020

pursuit of love

The pursuit of power is based on fear. This fear we need to hide from others lest we be found out a coward. It is an interesting journey into the desire for power as it comes from our depths and hence psychologically the id. The peculiar thing about power is the pursuit of it is out of the closet. When we embark on that path it is no longer something that we keep hidden from others. Instead it is now part of your personality and identity as someone who seeks power. It’s a good study into how we can manifest our deep desires and change our relationship to them. When I looked at the desire for power I knew it had to be connected to control and the need to control our circumstance comes from a deep seated fear that we can keep hidden as long as we have power.

This is most evident and plays out in global politics. National borders are created for security, with fear of others what ultimately underwrites wanting to belong to a country and protect the homeland. So it started out as fear but then once the fear materialized it was transformed into a quest for power. Fear then retreated back into the dark and the quest for power into the light. Fear sometimes bubbles up to the surface in the forms of racism and nationalism. This is not the most altruistic of templates for bringing up feelings and wants from our depths but it is pretty instructive in that this is how it works and how we can transform ourselves.

I wrote a few blog posts back about how the id is a reflection of our lower self and is how we control our deep down desires. We hide them away and we also use this construct to bury love so deep that we will have a difficult time finding it because we don’t even realize we have lumped it in with our desires, pleasures, and fetishes we wish to keep hidden. Once love is discovered, we have to muster the courage to bring love out into the light. First of all that courage we have put away with fear we have to dig down deep and bring to the surface. When I look back on my plant medicine journeys and how they ran me through a gauntlet of fear, incredible love, and then hammering home the need to be courageous it is quite striking the sheer breadth of how these teacher plants know what makes us tick and how to help us get out of the morass. It’s fine to show the student cosmic, unconditional love but without some tools, life lessons, and repeated knocks on the head it is not going to grow within, instead it will have been just a novel experience from when I altered my consciousness.

So the problem or should I say quest is how do I take this love from my depths and transform it? I’ve been listening to a lot of Ram Dass’ lectures lately and he is pretty clear about how to do this. It’s also something that don Howard would talk about a great deal. It’s service. Being unconditionally of service to others without any expectation of a carrot in return. Abundance and love will grow out of being of service.

There’s no need to then follow the fear template and let love retreat back into the shadows. Once the love has manifested and been transformed into service then lift that love up as high as it will go. Express this love in all aspects of life whether it is through the pleasures you get from foods you like, from knowledge, or sexual attraction to another. There is friendship and the caring of family and of others, including your pets and the love of self. There’s is so much love to give and get. 

Monday, January 13, 2020

teachers

Access altered states by changing your vibration. The plant teacher Ayahuasca explained that to me the first time I ever drank that potent brew. The plant teacher Huachuma then physically showed me how this works the second and third time I drank with grandfather. The second time it was vibration overload and a coursing of energy surging throughout my body. The third time I remember sitting in a boat on the Amazon River and my frequency had tuned into the great cosmic love spectrum band. Wow! And then I looked up in the sky and saw this patch of rainbow. It was phenomenal. Huachuma then a few years later gave me an advanced course in the Andes mountains in Ecuador. Grandfather challenged me to do the homework afterwards and figure it out. As I sit here writing, the preparation stage of my upcoming journeys two years later with Ayahuasca and Huachuma have those lessons coming back into my perception and thoughts.

Ram Dass passed away shortly before Christmas. I knew who he was, read his book “Be Here Now,” but that was about it. I haven’t listened to any of his lectures or followed his life until the news that he had died. I guess I lumped him in with Timothy Leary and then Terence McKenna in that he was probably entertaining but ultimately not what I was looking for. I’m at the point in my life now where all the elders I looked up to have passed away. I really wish I had a chance to meet Alan Watts; in fact if I could sit down to dinner with anyone past or present it would be Alan. He passed away when I was a toddler and I didn’t discover him until forty years later but am thankful for the profound impact he has had on my life. I did get to meet don Howard and spend a good deal of time with him. The world also lost his physical presence this year; his voice and gentle teachings live on through media and his family, both immediate and the SpiritQuest family. Just after New Years I happened upon a lecture of Ram Dass in which he talked about the journey of his life, changing consciousness, realizing the power of love, and how changing consciousness is a matter of accessing different levels of vibration and not getting locked into the same one we naturally all tune in to. Bingo. It’s like the homework I was instructed to investigate by grandfather had reached a point where he had to help me because I wasn’t getting very far with it. I now spend the day arranging my schedule so I’ll have an hour or so free to listen to Ram Dass. Of course he just passed away and I have to realize the time is now. Life is a journey and the teachers eventually move on in their spiritual destiny. Who becomes the new teachers? Is this why I have a mirror in my house?

Ram Dass talks about at first getting high and wanting to stay there. He investigated and pursued this goal, finally realizing through his pilgrimage and meeting of his guru Maharajji, that it is a state of consciousness and by trying to access it through LSD or whatever would always result in him coming down. He realized that to live in a state of being high, in other words bliss, meant to cultivate within his life, through love and service, this state of consciousness. Alan Watts would say about the use of consciousness changing substances that once you get the message, hang up the phone. Read into that what you will but one of the messages you may be blessed with receiving is this unconditional love for all. You may have to repeatedly get that message much like Ram Dass did but once you finally grok the message then hang up the phone and go do the work. If you have any knowledge of the plant medicine scene you will know what I mean. People fall in love with ceremony and with getting high. Of course we do! Ceremony and ritual give you a peek at the profundity of life and a glimpse of the mystery. Getting high and feeling the universal sisterhood and brotherhood is awesome. However continually coming back to ceremony without integrating what it is you have been shown or not having made any attempt to try and figure out the message will lead to triviality. Compounding ceremony after ceremony where you get the message over and over but don’t try to understand or put into practice eventually leads to either you tuning it out or the messenger stops giving you the message and the whole experience becomes chasing visions and trafficking in storytelling.

There’s more than one message but I think you get the point. Changing your consciousness through a substance can show you bliss and reveal eternal truths but the homework and integration becomes exploring those truths and cultivating a natural state of consciousness that allows you to remain in bliss as much as possible. 

Monday, January 6, 2020

morbidly famous

The journey to becoming anything is the path of the self. We all walk it; we all have an ego. Remembering who you are and where you came from, by stopping the world and seeing through culture, allows you to become a child again; the time before you were told who you were. Culture tries to make all flowers look the same. Your journey to self is sacred and involves discarding the part where culture tells you who you are, that becomes your ego, and instead you tell you who you are and discover the self.

Love is the fount at the trough of the wave of energy where we all return to and from this embrace we once again come forth as a self. This cyclical vibration being the way. We are unity and we reflect self; then we become the self and reflect unity. The journey never takes pause but is always in motion. We can never define our self completely as either or. Love shines the light on the path of the way back home.

I am at root undefined. I am an event. I can't define or pinpoint unity or separation as they are always changing. Because I come from unity does that mean it is the truth and all else is illusion? Does my coming forth from that unity mean my self is but an illusion? Or is it all one happening and unity implies separation no matter what linguistic tricks you try to deny it with? I will always go with everything and I can’t separate myself from the connection to all. I think that’s where we get hung up.

Why do we seek fame? In a way it is an urge that is the necessary byproduct of developing an ego. It is the expected pathological outcome. Predetermined might be a better word however creativity is best when left to flower on its own so I don’t think it is set in stone we all want to become famous. I do think the quest for fame is a malady but one that results from taking things too far, kind of like you need to eat but then some of us don’t know when to stop so we go too far and become obese. Fame is the same thing as obesity. We need to be recognized in order to survive or you become an afterthought. Dignity does come from recognition. A marginalized out group is easily dismissed and trodden upon hence a drive within us to make sure we don’t suffer the indignities of life by making sure we are known. Like all things, we can then take it too far and become obsessed with recognition, which plays into the ego. At some point in our lives we might want to climb that mountain of appearances and get to the top, get all shiny and enlightened, and be recognized for our accomplishments. It’s kind of a kick in the teeth to finally realize that the spiritual climb is just another iteration of the same game we play in all aspects of life, which is to get to the top and one up everyone else! Is there a way out of the trap?

You don’t need to do it, you are already it, and the all. That’s the way out of the trap. You play it small when you emphasize your individual achievements and aura of renown. You needed everyone else to get there. It’s like you are advertising you haven’t the foggiest idea who you are and where you come from. To be of ultimate service is to lead people to the realization of the fundamental unity of all and that part of this process is cyclically separating from the all and coming forth as a self but never losing the connection. It is lifting each other up and propelling us all on the journey towards the greatness of self and then walking all back home once again. To be recognized as a self and dignifying all others that have come this far, knowing that without each and everyone of us we couldn’t have made it up that mountain of appearances. Without a set of eyes to gaze upon its beauty, the sun doesn't shine in all its radiance as it climbs the mountain in the golden dawn. The sun needs you as much as you need the sun.

Being morbidly famous is an affliction you don’t want.