Intelligence = Awareness

31 07 2017

Two things come have come to mind lately playing a hypnotizing, thumpy, trance in my head.  One is: intelligence equals awareness.  If one’s intelligence doesn’t make you more aware then you’re probably only very smart to mostly yourself.  And the other is a saying.  The saying has always gone, “great minds think alike” but that is misleading and doesn’t really mean to include others, and promotes a dismissive personality.  It is nice in various other ways for comfort, intimacy, ease of communication, getting rejuvenated, feeling comfort and security, etc. but in really hammering out what it means to be human and grow, having awareness, and getting along with each other through understanding each other, the saying should read, “great minds think unalike.”

 

What does it really mean to have awareness.  We can struggle to be aware of so many things that it can seem daunting and overwhelming and like we just want to give up.  Ahhhh, too much awareness!  Stop it now!  Please make me unaware and just happy in whatever various bubble that is comforting to me!  The list can get out of control quick and everyone will have different things for what they think we should be aware of, and there definitely can be ills from having too much awareness and over analyzation and over intellectualizing but those are problems that seem to be a bit easier to deal with.  If one can truly never stop learning, then one can truly never stop being aware of something new, or taking on a new perspective of something old.  We are VERY capable.

 

As the years pass, the more I try to simplify things.  Yes, the world is very complicated and I’m not saying that we shouldn’t walk towards what is complicated but when possible try to keep it simple and cater to “less is more” and go from there.  It is all too easy to take in too much stimulation and try to come up with solutions for whatever and end up in a pit of loops that results from “reacting” that forever keeps us chasing the carrot in front of our donkey face.  I think this is one of the reasons why the most effective meditation and mind calming techniques relate to simply focusing on the breath and recognizing what’s in our minds.  Just remember to KISS yourself (keep it simple sister).

 

And in the spirt of KISS-ing ourselves in regards to “awareness” being aware of oneself is where it starts.  Who are you?  What was your child hood like?  Where did you grow up?  What kinds of schools did you go to?  Who were your parents and how did they treat and love you?  Who were your sisters and brothers and friends?  What things do you remember most vividly from childhood?  Who influenced you?  Who did you hate?  What kinds of people were you around and how did they think?  What were your first jobs and/or where did you go to college?  Who did you date?  How did relationships and love make you feel?  Did anything traumatizing ever happen to you?  How did relationships end for you with people?  What kinds of friends did you keep and what kinds did you let go of?  Where did you travel to?  What kinds of drugs did you do?  What traits do you most like in people?  Who are your friends currently and who do you sleep with now?  How do you view the world?  Have you ever had money?  What kinds of foods do you eat?  How is music a part of your life?  Do you exercise?  What kinds of jobs do you do?  Do you help people?  Do people help you?  What gives you pure joy and what makes you insane with rage?  Are you introverted or extroverted?  What do you want to become?  When do you lose your power?  When do you have the most power?

 

The list can go on and on and I bet you’re thinking, this isn’t simple at all!  And yeah, the point is to not answer these questions all in one sitting (remember less is more).  The point is to march forward to creating awareness.  And just as important as doing this for yourself it is vital that we ask others around us what they see.  We have to know how we sound, how we move, how we energetically are engaging with others, as it is far too easy to not see ourselves.  We do not have eyes outside our head to observe ourselves.  I know this may be coming across as an egotistical pursuit but if we do not know and are aware of our own ego within ourselves then we really have very little in our lives and we will forever be stuck in living through others and in impatient reactive states all the time.  If we are patiently in relation with ourselves then we are so much more capable beings and can live out far more meaningful, authentic, and wildly amazing lives that can really help others and the world.  We don’t want to be limited in our lives by not knowing ourselves as that definitely leads to us living under the constraints of a glass ceiling and spending more time admiring others rather than thinking we are capable of action and that admiration as well.

 

An example of awesome questions to direct at others to answer for getting to know oneself are such:

  1. What do you most appreciate about me?
  2. What impact do you see me have on others?
  3. What do you see that I bring/offer to others by being who I am?
  4. What do you see that I should continue doing/being that supports what is authentic in me?
  5. Do you notice areas of my life where I experience a loss of power?
  6. When do you see me get inspired? When do you get inspired by me?
  7. What do you find challenging about me?
  8. What is the one thing you believe I could master in my lifetime?

 

And, as far as my belief in thinking that great minds think un-alike, that comes from a very different place than where I’ve spent most of my life.  It is easy to get into a place where whatever it is you are thinking is the “ideal” and that those around you just need to get on board.  I can’t express how limiting this is overall and how much of a mirage it is to make you think it is not limiting and actually enhancing!  Again, I veer away from absolutist thinking (extremist thinking being something one moment vs thinking you’re wrong and being the opposite in the next).  Yes, there is a time and a place for any kind of thinking or acting but I’m speaking more broadly about what seems beneficial for most of the time.  However, relying on thinking that people just need to come around to your level of enlightenment is oppressive and not accepting at its core.  It doesn’t foster communication, it doesn’t foster connection, it doesn’t foster patience and acceptance, and it draws lines and promotes a black and white/right vs wrong overly simplistic world.

 

In today’s era with Trump we are seeing such at what seems to feel like an all-time high.  We are so dismissive with people and we reject constantly the humanity in others.  We get SO offended at the thought that someone is going against us.  We talk behind their back or straight to their face and easily talk down rather than to people.  It is an era of empowering the bully asshole with Trump coming into power and people are taking the bait and acting similarly.  Yeah, it’s tough not to cater to.  I’m not saying I’m free of this by any means.  It’s hard to constantly control yourself and monitor how you come across in your day to day life given the “norms” of what’s mostly going on around you.  It is easy to be mean and manipulative and react to others.  It’s easy to want to be right at all costs and ultimately be in it to win it for yourself at the expense of others.  How do we resort to calm?  How do we resort to allowing others to express in a safe space and finding out why they think the way they do?  How do we rely on listening instead of talking?  How do we walk towards conversations rather than being afraid of them and others in general?  How do we create a space that caters to non-judgement and acceptance?

 

I would say a major component of success with this is slowing it down and getting to know yourself and being aware.  Don’t let fear and insecurity and aggression and non-communication reign supreme and limit your resources for learning.  Rely on erring on the side of being vulnerable rather than defensive and protective.  Work through your own traumas and mental blocks.  Remember to KISS with others and yourself often.

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Casual Psychedelic-er: A Day With San Pedro Cactus

24 07 2017

I have learned recently how to extract the healing medicinal brew drink from the San Pedro Cactus, or Huachuma as it is also known.  That process can be found here as another entry I posted a while back (https://keatingbodyworks.wordpress.com/2016/12/01/san-pedro-cactus-brew-using-medicinal-plants-to-take-charge-of-your-own-healing/).  Mescaline is the psychoactive alkaloid found in San Pedro that makes up somewhere between 0.2-2% of the cactus.  Synthetic Mescaline has a much higher potency WAY above 2% and as it is just a white powder it is absent from the other synergistic components of plant ingredients that normally form in the cactus that allow for the psychoactive component to be in balance with the rest of the plant, offering a more manageable experience.  In this sense, it is basically at least, a different much stronger form of San Pedro, and at most, an altogether different drug and experience.  One must always pay attention to if they are taking a natural, plant form of something vs something synthetic.  Just because they came from the same place and in name are the same drug doesn’t mean they will be the same.

 

I had one more jar left frozen which was nearing an expiration date so I decided to go ahead and take it on.  In the past, I had always created very specific intentions about what I wanted to gain from the experience.  Those experiences were often with other people in powerful ceremonial situations or with myself that usually involved long hikes and processing through those means.  Although those experiences were amazing and still come highly recommended, I wanted it to be a bit different this time around.  My intention was to take the drink in a natural life setting and go about my day and see what emerged (I didn’t have to go into a job on this particular day).  Do people need the support of a group, or to cater to stereotypical meditative type behavior, or what we would could consider normal “ceremonial” behavior in order to have a positive experience?  At about noon I took the medicine.

 

I finished up a few tasks I was doing and then sat down and read for a bit.  The mostly unavoidable side effect of psychedelics is the nausea.  Some people have it worse.  I’ve never throw up (purged) from them, unless that was my intention, but it’s always a good idea to wait about an hour or two to see if this will be the case.  This particular brew was definitely more mild than others in that regard.  As things started to become distracting from focusing on the words in my book, I put it down and started to move around.  This is one of the reasons I usually always resort to a hike because movement and running around outside usually calms the stomach and the overall nervous feeling that you’re entering a psychedelic realm.  However, I did not want to resort to this type of trip of just going on a big hike so I decided I would spend about one hour at the local park just to give myself a normal feeling entry point.

 

Walking outside was an instant relief.  There’s a reason the inventor of LSD, Albert Hoffman, said that psychedelics should be done outside.  As soon as stepping out the door and seeing the scalable mountains all around Salt Lake City, I had an urge to just start going for them.  No!  I  wasn’t going to do what I always do!  To the park instead!  Quickly on the way to the park I noticed all the colors outside.  The sunflowers that lined neighbor’s yards seemed so yellow and intriguing.  There were these bees in them and little tiny bees at that, that I’ve never seemed to notice before.  They were living their lives out and doing what they naturally feel compelled to do to survive and feel meaningful.  Some of the sunflowers even had heart shaped centers which I found incredibly unique.  Have sunflowers always looked like this?  Did I just forget?  I love bees and feel spiritually connected to them so instantly walking out my door and having these experiences seemed extremely connective.  Generally having a connection with nature is typical on such medicine.

 

The lightness I felt while walking around was consistent throughout the day.  I had an intentional and calm gait, something which can be more rare for me as I am always twitching and itching for energy release and being bored and at times depressed of the relative, day to day things in my life.  Walking around and watching the houses and cars go by was extremely calming.  Like the bees, everything was happening for a reason and people were fulfilling their duties and meaning in their lives.  I wonder how many of them were truly feeling connection and meaning with what they were doing?  Do bees feel similar?  Do they mostly like how they go about their day or would that concept seem ridiculous for a bee?  With observing people, I couldn’t help but think that only a small minority of them, given the normative nature of our culture where we can so easily become passive participants in our lives, were not feeling a meaningful connection to their existence, or living how they wanted to be.  We so often live out the lives others want us to live, what “cultural norms” tell us to do, and we are afraid to stand out and really go for things.  If only people had more courage to get through that first hump which makes people notice you and then very quickly turns into acceptance and then envy that such a person is living out their authentic process and sense of meaning.  Not always the case I know, as often we are not always accepted for living out our genuine lives, but if we accept ourselves then that counts for most, and the kind of people who you mostly want in your life will be accepting and feel growth themselves through your admirable actions.  Most others who we try to impress are so preoccupied with themselves, for better or worse, that nobody really takes too much notice of you.  I felt a sense of sadness as I walked and looked at these people as I wondered if they were fulfilled and what scary things they would have to take on to make their lives more open and connective to their true essence.

 

The park was a magical place to be.  I walked through the grass and continued to walk with an ease and grace and calmness that I hope I can remember to do more of in my everyday life.  Suddenly a beautiful, vibrating sound came out of nowhere and there were two bag pipers!  This completely entranced me and I had to stop and sit in the grass for a while and just take it in.  Such a beautiful instrument and I could feel every inch of my being affected by the hypnotizing sounds.  It was so wonderful to just sit there and take it in.  Over the last many months, I have come to have a new respect and understanding of music and vibrational therapy.  The bag pipes were like medicine on top of medicine in the state I was in.

 

Eventually I got up and continued my walk.  Ironically as soon as I got up, the bag pipers stopped which made me feel like there was something so perfect about that moment.  Something was naturally aligned to have that work out so well.  They were playing and I was watching.  There was a natural connection with the performer and the audience.  We each were motivated by the other and feeding off each other.  You don’t notice these types of things as much in your day to day life.  It was enormously refreshing to know that we all contribute to each other in meaningful ways even if it’s something we can’t really see.

 

I walked around for the next bit going to my favorite places in the park, taking in deep breaths, and noticing all the wonderful people around who were also enjoying the park.  It was easy to say hi to people, it was easy to connect with the animals and stare admiringly at the trees and plants.  I walked by the Zoo and had an intimate long stare, eye contact moment with a pelican.  It started out uplifting but then it turned depressing as it seemed obvious that this animal was being held against its will in an animal type of concentration camp.  I suddenly began to visualize WWII Japanese internment camps.  What would it be like if we kept humans in these things for children and adults to come and observe, eat frozen yogurt at, and then simply go back to their freedom based lives?  I hate zoos for this reason and looking into one and making spiritual connections with the animals made me feel awful and like I should do something about this.  How does one go about changing things when 95% of the population views it as “normal?”  This isn’t an excuse for inaction and my soul hurt upon leaving the stare but I will not ever pay to go into a zoo or encourage anyone else to go to one for these reasons.  Passive activism is the bare minimum that we can do, but also very effective at the same time.

 

Before this experience started I had really wanted to go to yoga in this state.  I left the wonderful park and walked home and took a moment as my body was drenched in sweat from the 100 degree everyday July Salt Lake City has been having.  I felt like I was ok to jump in a car and head down the way to my yoga studio.  It is a good general rule to avoid driving while under psychedelics but there are a lot of general rules that don’t apply even the majority of the time.  A test one can do is for one to go off their gut feeling and to think about how big of a dose you took.  WIth micro to low doses I don’t see any problem, but starting with medium doses I would take special precautions.  An actual physical test one can cater to is to stare at an object.  If that object melts or turns into something else then you are clearly not okay to drive.  You can also do a test of trying to focus on one idea.  If you try and focus on one and it leads very quickly and intensely to an array of ideas and tangent thoughts where you basically lose track that you wanted to drive somewhere then that is a good indicator you shouldn’t drive.  Take some deep breaths and really go within and see what you want to be doing and what you’re capable of.  It is easy for people to judge others on this war on drugs/don’t drink-don’t drive absolutist mentality.  The reality is that people on drugs who are distracted and shouldn’t be driving can very easily be no different than people who are emotionally distraught, irritated, confrontational, abusive, aggressive, depressed, numbed out, etc. whether they come from drugs, emotions, or whatever in their “sober” lives.  However, these other things haven’t as easily been kept tracked of or paid attention to in our society while the war on drugs demonizing culture has led the popular public to think that all illicit drug users are evil people.  Driving under alcohol is vastly different and more dangerous than anything else on average and should not dictate one’s thoughts for all drug use.

 

All that being said, I drove to my yoga.  My driving was like my walking; much slower, calm, and full of intention and observation.  The overwhelming thing was walking into the gym.  I go to Vasa gym in Murry and it is one of the most “scene” gyms I’ve ever witnessed.  It’s insanely, super cheap so that’s why I go.  Your senses are usually much more sensitive on this kind of medicine and instantly upon walking in the smell of plastic, and protein powder filled me with anxiety.  People were abusing their bodies in extremely back killing torque bends with high weights.  Most of the men in there looked like they were going to topple over from being so top body heavy and having no flexibility or range of motion.  Everyone seemed so stiff.  It’s been a while since I’ve noticed how much people are looking at others around them or obsessing over themselves in the mirror.  There was something going on in this gym and it wasn’t too much associated with health and definitely not in alignment with anything psychedelically related.

 

I reached my yoga class and it was wonderfully refreshing.  For Vasa being such a “douche” gym, the 4pm yoga instructor Calvin is really good.  The music is calming and refreshing and it’s much more breath and energy focused and balancing yoga than it is anything power yoga or cross fit yoga related.  The yoga session was amazingly powerful.  I kept my breath in a way I usually don’t.  The balance poses seemed way easier and I had no problem keeping myself from pushing too much.  Catering to my breath and what I was capable doing with my body that day seemed so natural vs other times I go not on medicine.  It felt so good to be focusing on where my body was leading me in the moment.  I wasn’t impressing my neighbors or, most importantly, wasn’t competing with myself, which is a hard, critical, self-judgement issue I have with myself.  The meditation poses where I normally have monkey brain rather felt like I could stay in calm meditation forever.  It all just felt so natural and eyes closed breathing exercises gave rise to some visualization in my minds eye which is often very hard for me to do.  The energy I could see swirling around from that transferred to my natural vision when I would open my eyes and made me feel connected and meaningful to my teacher and the people around me.  I will focus on tapping into this feeling when I go to yoga not on medicine.  I loved the connectedness of the whole experience.  My body and mind felt wonderfully open and powerful and full of energy and life.

 

Upon arriving home, I laid down on the floor and felt overwhelming waves of lightness and body flexibility.  I did not have a constricting muscle or entity in my body.  Everything was open.  I turned on some music and relished for a long while in the zen state I was in.  It was so nice to be feeling so comfortable in my body and to fully absorb the music appreciation which was vibrating my brain so eloquently like the bag pipes had done earlier.  Not putting any pressure on myself to be doing anything other than what I was doing, I reveled in the openness of the moment and the self-acceptance and love I was feeling for what I was experiencing.

 

I eventually got up.  It was around 7pm and I figured I had a few more hours of feeling the medicine in its more pronounced state.  I grabbed my backpack full of water and figured I’d head out for a walk in the more cooling Utah dessert evening.  In my trek, I noticed many things about downtown I normally don’t notice.  Salt Lake City has one of the best libraries in the world and it was just made better in my mind as I ventured in and found myself on their rooftop deck.  It was wonderful to be able to look at the mountains and then down many stories to the bees of people who were all busy doing their duties below.  Looking down upon the tiny little beings of the human race really humbles humanity.  How are we any different than any other living thing that’s just going about its day?  We live in this infinite, massive, expansive universe and it is often so easy to feel like we are at the center of it all.  We clearly are not, and although it is wise to have an insight of your ego and how you affect the world there is clearly a billion times more things that don’t involve you.  We should not so easily get lost within ourselves being the center of the universe.  It is a balancing act for sure but a lot of depression and stress and angst and anxiety in the modern human, especially the American, is a result of this imbalance and us taking too personally everything that’s happening in our lives.  It is really not all about us, but likewise, we have to be happy with ourselves before we can be happy with what’s around us.  You see, it’s not the easiest pickle to figure out.

 

There were free concerts all around downtown happening here and there and it was incredibly refreshing to see people experiencing and enjoying music and dancing and embracing in culturally what makes them human.  I ended up over by the Mormon temple which is an incredibly beautiful building.  I couldn’t remember the name of the little guy on top of the church.  The name Jabroni kept coming to my mind but that clearly wasn’t it, as that is the name for like an east coast slimy dude.  Ha!  Angel Moroni was the actual name that I eventually remembered but somehow I think I’ll remember the name Jabroni from now on.  As I was walking around Temple Square I was in amazement of how I’d gotten to this particular space in time in my life.  Even only about 3 years ago I would have NEVER thought I’d be living in Utah and NEVER would have thought I would have taken San Pedro medicine and been in Temple Square.  I used to be so scared of Utah and Mormons and although I will stand firmly against the gross oppressive ways of their church leaders and doctrines, most people involved in the religion are just common people trying to live out good lives with what they think is the correct way.  Not that this a justification for doing bad things but they are no different than most of us others.  We’re all trying to figure it out and we all need to stand up for what we feel is right and clashing over that idea is ok.  Most Mormons are good neighbors and nice people and I can jive with that.

 

As I settled in for the night I was famished and had an extremely enjoyable meal to wrap up my day.  It is common for psychedelic medicine days to not come with eating much food.  Fasting adds to the experience.  My impressions of the day were positive.  I really liked going about my day in a normal fashion while attempting to take in the San Pedro medicine.  It was a medium to big dose but the extraction process I use keeps these doses manageable and more mild relating to nausea in general so it was all good.  I probably could have achieved the same thing today with taking a small dose as once the psychedelic mind is just slightly stimulated and attuned to knowing what is going on it doesn’t take a lot of medicine to tap into the brain stimulation that leads to the positive feelings of its healing powers.  Just like with anything else, the placebo affect is often the strongest medicinal approach we have.  This is probably one of the reasons psychedelia is not really addicting and why experienced psychonauts eventually do less psychedelics in their lives as the years pass for them.  I felt confident in my processing given my “normal” day and my impressions are that one doesn’t need a purely stereotypical ceremonial space or to be in a traditional, super contemplative meditative mindset for meaningful processing to occur.  I do think that when one is inexperienced or a beginner with psychedelia, it is good to have people around or to have support in some way.  Not to say you couldn’t cater to this when you were “advanced,” just that one can process on their own in a more or less “normal” day if they have experience with psychedelia and choose to do so.

 

Overall, I get into ruts in my life.  Everybody does.  We all battle issues related to our ideas of self-worth, feeling heard and expressed and loved in relationships, feeling meaning in our lives for the jobs we do, and basically overall angst at how we spend our time, and if we are doing the “right” things and living the “right” way.  These real and intense thoughts can all lead to us battling our own problems related to stress we put on ourselves, traumas we’ve experienced that have shaped our personalities, anxiety about the future, and depression about what we’ve done in the past.  All can lead to very unsettled feelings in the present, which can easily lead to addictive behavior in whatever we take on in our lives whether it’s liking the feeling of certain drugs vs being dependent on watching TV or working out or dating excessively or eating sugar or diving into religion or politics or anything else in our lives that has a routine built around a negative effect on how we treat ourselves and others and possibly forces us into isolation and looking forward to numbing feelings so we don’t have to feel.  We all know the negative feelings we don’t confront.  It is not an easy life and issues and problems are relative and it’s why a homeless person can be happier than someone making a million dollars.  What I’ve learned to love about psychedelic medicine and the San Pedro in this situation is how non-ordinary states of consciousness can be a positive force for living and dealing with ordinary states of “normal” day to day consciousness.  Our brains need stimulation in non-ordinary ways too no different than our bodies need it and why we do workouts that cater to different muscles not too much used, which we then are sore from.  If we are in an emotionally good place then we ARE in a good place.  Emotional health is everything and contrary to popular belief regarding whatever politicians and laws tell us regarding the “War on Drugs,” psychedelics can dramatically benefit emotional well-being and leave us in a very healthy, light, calm, loving, accepting, efficient, and connective place.

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Mega Doses of The Utah Desert and LSD

14 06 2017

I’m on my third year living in Salt Lake City, Utah and I can say I’ve never felt so much in love with a place before.  There was a time in San Francisco in my twenties that will forever stay in my heart and I will always love SF but with the coming of so much affluence and wealth that city largely caters to the rich, cut-throat, withholding, privileged and un-artistic who think they are simply artistic because they have money or just simply live in SF.  Don’t get me wrong I still know amazing, worldly people there and it can definitely still be a hotbed for such things but over the last 15 years or so it seems to have taken a nose dive for authenticity and opportunity for the more average person to flourish.  Other than familiarity, it wasn’t realistic and, although it may come as a big surprise to Californians, there are other places to live that are just as good and affordable where one can find inner peace, security, entertainment, authenticity, art and stimulated consciousness, hippies, etc.  Affordability, jobs, and excessive nature go a long way in living a good life in Utah even despite the state’s overall conservative Mormon culture.  The overall conservative culture gives Salt Lake progressives its meaning and drive and it is SO charismatic and attractive and stimulating.  Salt Lake is a vintage spot for what progressive culture looks like today.  I can’t help but feel that the true hippy, the true burner, the rawness of life, flourishes in a place like Utah.  So, yes Californians, the world is bigger than your state and you clearly are not the sole beacon of edgy and authentic liberal light anymore.

 

I ventured out to the San Rafael Swell near Moab in Utah a few weekends ago and took in a tremendous amount of the wonderful desert.  Utah’s desert is a mysterious place and the landscape of the swell reminded me a lot of the California coastline I grew up with.  One could really see how the ocean used to reside in these parts as it left its mark for the thousands upon thousands of years it was here.  We went canyoneering in the Ding and Dang and Little Wild horse canyons which is basically crawling into the mountain using the waterways that were formed over the millennium.  It was wonderful to witness the power play of the elements in how the power and consistency of the water carved its way through the mountainous Earth formations.  Traveling through these crevices felt like I was venturing deep under sea level.  There were moments where the only way over the water was in using your hands and feet on each wall traversing sideways slowly through a narrow.  Having days filled with such activity and then retiring to the desert floor to camp was as wonderful of a nature outing as I’ve ever had.  Eco therapy and interacting with nature is a real, uplifting thing.  I felt wonderful rushes of positive energy through my exertions and observations while navigating these sacred sites.  And the wonderful part about all of this is that this is just one spot out of like 10,000 spots in Utah that one could venture to.  I wonder what will become of Utah as the word gets out that Utah is one of the most magical places in the world.

 

On the last day in the dessert I partook in an LSD medicinal ceremony.  The amount being a mega dose of around 300 micrograms (about 3 to 4 average hits).  My partner and guide was experienced so I felt very confident in the setting, along with setting my intentions for the experience.  There had been a lot trauma I had experienced lately with almost dying from a motorcycle accident, and I was also going through some hardships with some relationships with people that I wanted to process.  I was ready to take that on and commit to whatever it was that was going to come out in me and allow the processing to flow.  For the first few hours I laid down with my guide.  It was about midafternoon and I was under a beautiful high cliff that was supplying shade to our experience.  Off in the other direction was the vast desert and the avenues of swells and beyond that were beautiful mountains.  I couldn’t have asked for a better setting.

 

As the hours went by I participated in a variety of practices that really helped my processing.  I laid down at one point and looked up at the cliffs.  They were all melting and the idea and vision of a three-dimensional world was gone as everything in my sight felt like it was just on display for me to see melt.  The greens and reds created halos around bushes and trees and everything was being shown to me in dramatic fashion and energy would spiral beautifully around objects I would stare at.  Nothing seemed real but everything seemed more real than it ever had before.  Simply writing about it here is impossible to convey as the paradoxical and opposite nature and quick thinking of what I was experiencing is meant to be experienced vs told to people.  It is impossible to follow all your thoughts or your visuals or anything and once surrendered to the un-control of the moment a super stimulating, relaxation flows in.  Everything that mattered before seems to not matter during.  There’s too much to process, which is the point, and a feeling of content overwhelms one as it is now okay to not try to control your experience or demand your experience.  This is also one of the major takeaways from these experiences; to stop trying to grit your teeth and control your life.  There is another way.  Less is more.  Our cultural norms and what we’ve learned all along could be what is holding our brains back.

 

There were moments, perhaps excessively long moments, of deep eye gazing.  I would look into the eyes of my partner and be able to really contemplate the essence of who they were.  I was looking critically into the soul through the gateway of the eyes and it’s wonderful what one sees.  Deep eye gazing is by itself a profound enlightening experience but couple that with the LSD in this situation and it was utterly fascinating and mind blowing to be taking somebodies energy into your own.  You could see every thought and infatuation and insecurity and confidence of the other through even the gentlest of movement or the subtleness eye motion, and then you would see yourself and wonder how you looked and what you were showcasing and how what one is feeling is no different than what yourself are feeling.  Your own observational thoughts on others quickly can turn into observational thoughts on you.  You can look into another’s eyes and look back at your own and a certain oneness emerges.  We are all conscious beings that basically experience life similarly.  It was beautiful to look into the soul of another and into the bone structure that will persist as decaying remains into the mountains for thousands of years.  The mountain melts into us and us into each other and everything is easily seen as one entity.  It doesn’t make you feel quite as alone.  It doesn’t make you feel quite as separate from nature as you can see the energy constantly swirling around you during the experience.  It makes you feel as ultimately connected as possible to everything that is going on around you, and even to things that are not around you.  Everything has a consciousness and we can travel wherever we want to and nothing is more advanced or less than anything else.  What an overpowering, connective, meaningful feeling!

 

The first few hours are definitely the “tripping” part of the experience.  There might be purging like throwing up or peeing and you can easily feel like it is too much as massive stimulation is moving through you.  Keeping breath is essential and knowing beforehand you are in a safe, secure space with wonderful people, and all your water and day pack essentials are in a backpack next to you in one place is key.  Without this prep it can easily turn into a dangerous and uncomfortable and paranoid affair.  You will not be functioning normally and super stimulated and trying to fight against it or control your thoughts absolutely will most definitely produce an unnecessary “bad” trip.  Sometimes, I do like to walk while in this first few hours of “trip” state as moving makes me feel comfortable and once again it is vital you prep out somewhat where you will walk beforehand.  Making decisions not previously thought about before while in this “trip” state can really be troublesome.  We didn’t really prep out a walk beforehand so we just stayed put on our blanket under the shady cliffs.  It was new for me to stay in one spot as I am easily the move around type.  Examining each other, examining the landscape, examining ourselves was an amazing experience.  I couldn’t stop starring at my legs and being amazed that my calves and muscles and blood had formed in a necessary way to allow me to be mobile and walk around without my vital fluids from spilling all over the place.  We are all just bags of water that have learned how to walk around, haha!  And why were my legs allowed to be soooo hairy and nothing thought of it while my female partner’s were not allowed?  Not something I would normally have thought outrageous in my daily life but critical thoughts about equality and whatnot are not in short supply.  How long must it have taken for my body to be finely tuned enough to allow me to do what I was doing today?!  How have other beings tripped like this before?  It can’t be helped that the experience feels like a rite of passage through the connection that comes from all that is around you and all that has come before and been a part of the mind expansion collective consciousness.

 

During these first few hours every thought that is thought seems of absolute magnitude.  It all seems so important and so meaningful and you’re thinking about things in ways you feel like you never have before, or it’s been very long since you have.  The glee and joy and fascination of a child seems to come back to you.  You find everything interesting.  You find everything motivating.  You want to uncover and figure out everything.  You have raw powerful energy.  Your brain is literally on display.  What makes you human and a part of nature is being defined to you and it is the most fascinating thing ever.  You feel grateful for the experience.  How have you forgotten about such things?  How have you ever veered from these magical insights and thoughts?  How could you not have motivation and empowerment for everything you see all the time?  The world is such a wonderful place.  Laughing takes over as it seems like some weird joke you play on yourself for somehow not experiencing life as it can be.  Tears come.  First with laughter as it seems funny and ironic, and the giggles take over and you feel like you’re in fifth grade again and you can’t stop laughing with that funny friend in a classroom where the teacher is trying to get you to be quiet.  Then different tears come.  Ones of regret that somehow you forgot about the beauties of what made you human.  That somehow that beauty turned into boredom, impatience, and ego, and were led to value other things that were socialized into you.  You get mad at commercials, mad at society, mad at your parents, mad at your friends, mad at your education, mad at all the things that formed you in ways that you might not totally agree with.  But then it all melts away just like the cliffs were doing above me.  You did in fact turn into a dynamic person no matter what “despite” you think you worked through or over.  Maybe the “despite” actually is what led you being a better you.  It all continues to melt into your being at who you are and giving patience and forgiveness to yourself and others and realizing you are a person that has an array of emotions and whims and that you are trying to be the best you can be, and most whom you interact with, and entities that influence over you, were also mostly trying to be the best they could be as well.  We are all just trying to thrive.  If nothing else, this whole experience was a jolt thrown at me to remind myself that I am continually in a process at becoming more thoroughly the person I want to be.  It was an enormously uplifting experience of highs and lows which ultimately was challenging and led to an overall accomplished high.  Teachers come in many forms.  Thinking LSD is not a teacher because it is a substance and how can a substance be a teacher seems completely ludicrous after experiencing it.

 

After the first few hours the “trip” slows down a bit into a somewhat more manageable, and possibly less nauseous experience.  The initial struggle is over and now you’re used to your space and presence and you can roll into the next many hours with an ease that it is all going to be alright, and whatever you were experiencing before, in the medicinal experience that made you have such struggle, has now melted away and new insight and positivity and overall flow is permitted.  Giving permission to ourselves to feel certain things is often at the base of our troubles and LSD and psychedelics can help enormously with melting that obstacle away.  You feel incredibly close to those around you and nature and the connection is an unstoppable force.  You can walk around and feel more capable of wandering and wondering about things a bit easier.  The desert seems full of life, the rocks around you are incredibly interesting and the visuals are even more beautiful.  You can see the wind and breeze and energy flowing around everything.  You can communicate with trees and ants, and rolling around and feeling the nature feels like one of the most meaningful things you’ve ever done.  The setting sun comes across like the most beautiful process you’ve ever witnessed and the magnitude of what’s happening with the Earth and its relationship with the sun and moon and everything else is mind popping and wonderful and the miracle and sophistication of it all creates a peace and a joy that everything is beautiful as it is.  The mystery and randomness of it all is the beauty.  There is an appreciation for the Earth, God internally and externally or whatever you want to call it, and the summation and effort at life of all things.  Appreciation and gratitude is off the charts!

 

As the sun was going down, building a campfire seemed like a must!  In my “normal” state I like fires but I don’t know how to build one so I don’t think I would have, or I probably would have hated learning or found it tiring.  It’s hard in “normal” life to have motivation for things you don’t already know how to do, and that usually gets tougher to overcome as one gets older.  On LSD or other psychedelics, that infatuation and learning process is the driving force.  Like a child, in how I mentioned earlier, you WANT to learn.  It is so fascinating to you and there is little impatience as the process and comradery vs the far off unimportant result is somehow what it is all about.  Results almost seem boring as that means you have to stop the learning process for a moment.  The fire I learned to make that night is something I’ll remember forever.  I felt the fire.  It was alive.  I knew how to give it breath.  I knew how to not squash it.  I learned the difference between a hot fire and a big fire.  I learned the difference between allowing the fire to persist pleasantly and efficiently vs when my ego got involved.  I have built fires since and I am amazed at how quickly I learned a skill in one evening vs a lifetime of not really getting it for how a fire should be allowed to flourish.

 

On such a big psychedelic dose, and even on far smaller ones, you can’t hide from yourself and you can’t hide from others.  My partner and guide and I went through various conversations that in “normal” life would lead to walls being put up or hiding behind insecurity or vulnerability, or blasting out in defense, etc.  During certain conversations, whatever you are feeling gets magnified and the wall that’s normally there has melted away and raw emotion presents itself.  This is wonderful medicinal for a multitude of reasons.  One being that for yourself you can witness spectacularly how something is flowing within you.  With no filter, it can be a shock to see how alive something is inside of you.  It can be a shock to realize how much something is actually affecting you and how much effort it would have taken in your life to squash a feeling and hide it away.  As tears of strife and unpleasantness begin to flow out of me it is certainly obvious as to what is going on.  That obviousness is what we are going for and the feeling afterwards as we fully allow it all to flow through us is of utmost relief.  It finally came out and since then it has seemed rather harmless when I’ve confronted similar feelings that normally would have been suppressed before this experience.  You forget how nonchalantly it is for us to put up walls.  It happens without us knowing.  It WILL happen without a doubt in all our lives and such medicinal therapy as LSD helps immensely with this.  Stable mental health is obviously important and our culture, our world, suffers from instability, and one can’t help but think that something like LSD could help an outrageous amount of people feel confident, balanced, stable, safe, expressed, empathetic, knowledgeable about themselves, among many other things, in their lives.

 

The other benefit to this emotional processing was for my partner and others close to me to witness.  When one puts up walls in their life the other doesn’t know the severity of what is going on inside that person.  They don’t know the history, they don’t know the raw emotion, and it is harder for them to have empathy.  Expressing and having others express in front of me was a grand info sharing and info gathering about the other.  Somehow it didn’t matter what the content was but just that it was having a dramatic effect on the person.  When one sees this, an intimate shared experience results and it’s through such experiences that we grow closer to each other and the world.  When we don’t have such experiences it is easy to write people off and dehumanize them, and can easily promote treating others bad.  We grow from being vulnerable.  Vulnerable power is what will make you and others you share it with the most empowered people around.  The world is truly your oyster when you can share safe, non-judgmental spaces and communicate and be vulnerable with others.  Talk about a relationship enhancer.  There will be a day when something like LSD will be prescribed for relational therapy of all kinds.

 

As the night wears on the LSD takes on another feel (yes, it lasts 10-12 hours!).  An extreme stimulated clarity emerges which can easily last well into the next day or weeks or months later, and when it wanes can be easily tapped into again by something like microdosing (extremely small doses of psychedelics to bring back that familiar feeling of all that you learned and experienced on your trip).  Words and thoughts seem to come forth so clearly and everything seems to make sense.  It is suddenly obvious what holds you back and gets you into ruts and brings you out of your best, most creative, powerful self.  If you’re a photographer, for example, you will absolutely feel at one with your camera and excel in this moment.  If you’re reading a book you will fully be able to dive into the story and characters and will undoubtedly understand vehemently everything going on.  If you are just around people chatting you will have amazing, reciprocated conversation with great points and lasting feelings and things will stick and you will be proud and heightened from your connection.  Your brain has reset itself optimally from its stimulatory workout and now the task at hand is in figuring out how to remember how to take better care of yourself to promote such positivity.

 

As the night desert critters started to emerge we thought it safe to get up off the desert floor.  Playing with scorpions is not advised and next to the heat, if there’s anything else that will kill you out there, it’s the night desert floor.  Our campsite was alive with desert activity so we tried out our new toy which is a mattress on top of a roof rack and just gazed up at the stars for the next many hours.  The conversations that emerged were perhaps what you would expect with talking about the universe, looking at the constellations, seeing satellites, and wondering what the dang hell was going on everywhere in our version and beyond of whatever existence entails.  Shooting stars are all over the place and as the milky way moves across the sky it is easy to feel like the stars in the sky represent a sort of floor that seems to be revolving with us in circular fashion.  Looking off into the horizon, it seems like there could be a road that just eventually leads up and around over us.  As the early am hours approach the body is tired but the mind is still wildly awake.  Things are clear and you may think you’re falling asleep but then someone will say something or you’ll see a shooting star and a whole new conversation sparks that is wildly stimulating and meaningful.  Eventually one does dose off, and with sleeping outside, waking up to a sunrise is the most refreshing thing of all time even if you only got a few hours of sleep.  When the sun peaks over the mountains you know it is time to get up as it will be unbearably hot in a few hours.  Being subject to the patterns and natural cycle of the Earth seems incredibly comforting.  The next day comes and the clarity continues and you feel as alive as you’ve ever felt.  There is no hangover to doing psychedelics, but rather, the opposite for most people.  The joy in the natural cycle of the passing of days is felt.  The Earth keeps putting forth it’s best effort, and being along for that ride, within nature, is part of the natural existence of things.  You feel like you belong.  You feel like you are playing your part.  May my jaw one day be found in this swell and pondered over by people who are trying to figure out for themselves the nature of existence, their joys, their sorrows, and how stimulating their brains in whatever future medicinal ceremonies can be extremely helpful and ultimately very human.

 

This experience was characterized and made wonderful by a lot of different entities that came together rather perfectly.  The company I was with was perfect.  The nature we were in was perfect.  The LSD medicine was clean and perfect as well.  The prep involved was ideal.  Any one or two of these things could have led to a magical time and an extremely medicinal experience but all of them together was truly transformative.  I really felt like I transcended into something new and it’s why I wanted to process much of this in writing so that I can read about it from time to time to refresh my memory, and also, to highlight to others the safer practices I catered to, to really go after a positive mental health experience.  Doing such ceremonies won’t “cure” me but it will help me in remembering what stimulates me and that I am very human and I will dive into behavior I would deem unhealthy again and that’s ok.  Rather these experiences will give me tools to feel the flow and acceptance for when things are not going as well.  It is easy to be functioning in a positive place but being ok to be in a not so positive one is where truth and insight and acceptance lies.

 

We all could use a little brain workout stimulation from time to time.  Why would we not work out our brains and provide for it a similar level of stimulation and health that we would encourage for all our other muscles in our body?  Our psyches need it.  Our humanness needs it.  It is too hard to go through life expecting you’ll be perfect and not partaking in practices that can really help you even if you’ve deemed them wrong or weak.  Who do we think we are adhering to what we’ve learned?  Is there a point where what we’ve learned could actually impede us from learning more in general?  The type of strict, puritan, capitalistic morality that our country was founded on doesn’t work for most people.  Know when you’re operating on your sense of morals of what you’ve learned while becoming an adult vs what you might have taken on if you were a child.  Child mentality does have its wisdom attached to it in much the same way as something like Zen Beginner’s Mind.  We are on the verge of a positive mental health revolution with the types of medicines that are emerging or re-emerging in our culture whether it be psychedelics or being in nature with eco-therapy or whatever does it for you.  It is hard to not look forward to what we are advancing towards in this world.  It is happening and more people are going outside their boxes, their cultural comfort zones, and the common socialized cultural trances that so often keep us down and unstimulated, and as a result of challenging ourselves, are becoming better for taking on such a journey.  Whether it is the best of times or the worst of times, it is exciting times full of raging potential and brain stimulation if you’re willing to take it on.  The world will bring you down if you take it on as is but if you become one with it, it will motivate and create expansion in you.  Dedicate yourself to something that reminds you of the happy child you were and the positive life stimulation for how you want to be living.

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A Conversation with Death

6 06 2017

Who are you?  When do you come?  Why do you exist?  What would it be like to know you?  Talking to you is confusing, especially because I don’t know who you are, or what I’m talking to.  I know who you are but I don’t know anything about you.  It is intriguing.  It is unfair.  Would you be a friend?  Would you be boring?  Would you be just like me?  Would you just use me?  Would you be more of the same?  It makes one think of the saying, “doing a deal with the devil.”  Is death really the devil?  Is your appeal all in the mystery and allure and the supposed way we’ll get manipulated by giving into controlling death?  Why do some people choose you?  What are they choosing?  Is it really looked upon as a failure if death is chosen?  Are we losers for thinking such thoughts?  Nobody decides when death is to come except those few that actually commit?  Is it a power trip over one’s life?  Is it a sad desperation?  Is it a celebration?  There are some things meant to not be controlled or found out in life.  Death and the purpose of life have the joy of not having to answer to anyone.  Does life and death have life and death, or is the void just the void and that’s that?

 

Flying over my handlebars and tumbling with my motorcycle onto the highway, the feeling of death was a high frequency vibration penetrating through me.  Would the drunk driver who rear ended me continue to drive me over or would the parallel cars zipping by on the three-lane highway do me in?  As my body intimately encountered the pavement and my helmet felt the skid, my body braced for a car to continue the onslaught, as if I could just flex my abs and take a car riding over me.  The feeling of stepping on a bug came to mind.  Why have I squished bugs in my life?  How must they have felt that out of nowhere this presence ended their current existence?  If I got similarly squished would anyone care or would it be just like squishing a bug?  Do other bugs notice when the ones they know get squished?  I know that people would undoubtedly care if I got squished and died but would it change much?  People would be sad for a while but then life would go on as normal and they would continue squishing bugs and not think about it.  Not that the world is all centered around me or a single bug but when one encounters death, and life is then thought about as not mattering, it can be an extremely empowering feeling or an extremely crippling one.  Nobody would ultimately care if I had died.  Would the vast blackness and nothingness take over upon going over to death?  If that’s what inevitably happens does it make sense to live life to the fullest or not care at all?  Or is not caring at all, living life to the fullest?  Extremes aside, it’s probably a balance of acceptance of the two but that doesn’t change the intrigue of thinking about ultimately what’s worth it and what’s not.

 

Scraping myself off the pavement, a rage and terror was within me.  If I had a gun I would have killed that drunk mother fucker who ran me over.  Being somebody who has had his fair share of being “high” as they call it, I was as high as I’ve ever been and I now REALLY know how people kill one another in crimes of passion.  It is not nice to know that getting into such a passionate situation with the appropriate tools handy would land me in jail for the rest of my life.  The terror that came about in me emerged from a vision of a past face while I was encountering the pavement and the possibility of dying.  I was within a few different worlds.  The vision was of a man’s face that had jumped off a building I lived at in the mission district of San Francisco.  He slit his wrists in his first-floor apartment, bloodied his way up the three flights of stairs, and jumped off the roof committing suicide.  I was on the sidewalk below and heard him scream as he flew to the ground.  I looked over and saw the very end of his initial impact and then a total adrenaline surge as he instantly picked up his mangled body, looked at me, and then blood spurted out of his forehead as he collapsed.  I was the last person he looked at.  His gaze was one of loneliness and I see his face in dreams now and then, during moments of loneliness, and near death experiences like that with the motorcycle.

 

I can’t even remember his name but I think it was Steve.  I cleaned up his blood in the hallways because no one else would as we had a landlord who didn’t care about his building, and most other people will just step over such things as blood and go about their day.  I have kept the scrubber ever since as at different times I physically have not been able to throw it away.  There is a connection I feel with Steve.  I have tried to admire him over the years as a way of finding acceptance and a reason in myself for why he did what he did, but I feel that has in a way brought me closer to his world; his death world that he chose to go into.  His last lonely gaze makes me feel like he just wanted a connection and a friend.  I don’t like that I think about him when I do.  I try to avoid him.  I don’t really try to communicate with him but by thinking about him, and him penetrating into me in vulnerable moments, I feel like he insecurely wants me to join him.  I have never had suicide or death tendencies in my life before Steve.  Now I do whether it is brought on by moments of depression or moments of curiosity.  As years have passed and I’ve learned to navigate different portals of energy and different realms of existence his influence has grown.  Not in a corrupt way but just in a casual way.  Just in a way where somebody’s presences gradually grows.  You hang out with people and think about them and very slowly they become a part of you.  I give a lot to people and experiences and harbor a deep sense of connection that can often overwhelm me and leave me depleted.  I have a hard time saying no and a hard time withholding my energy from others.  I have a hard time not being intrigued and acting in ways I deem “helpful” in what I see happening in people.  I have a hard time moving on from energy and not allowing the energy of others to completely penetrate me.  I have a hard time not taking on people’s plights.

 

Steve is not of this physical world anymore and many walls have been built up by me to keep him out.  His influence has possibly made me a less open person and less receiving of others.  I can’t see him but I can feel him and it unknowingly has taken a lot of energy to keep him out and inevitably he is of another mysterious world and has learned to keep at it to influence me more.  I chose to now have a conversation with him to see what he wants and how we can find peace and how he can let me go.

 

RYAN:

Steve, I know you are there?  I feel powerless in this relationship with you?

 

STEVE:

You looked me in the eyes before I died.  You were the last person I met.  We shared one of the most intimate moments of my life.  I don’t feel lonely with you.

 

RYAN:

So are you just going to haunt me forever?  When I’m weak?  When I encounter death?  You’re slowly winning and I don’t give consent to this kind of relationship.  I don’t want to carry you with me forever.

 

STEVE:

I will always be with you Ryan and I’m upset you haven’t acknowledged me.  It is not a haunting but rather just a connection.  This is our first conversation and it’s been over seven years?  How do you think I feel?  We shared an intimate moment together and I see similarities in me that I see in you as I’ve been with you over these years.

 

RYAN:

Well fuck man!  You see similarities in me so that means you just loom around gazing into me at opportune moments?  How does that work?  It gets tiring to confront.  It comes across as selfish and like you’re just some scary ghost that’s influencing me.  I don’t want to make the same decisions as you.  I don’t want to join you on your quest.  Why are forcing me to do this?

 

STEVE:

I’m not forcing you to do anything.  I’m simply just witnessing your own pain with loneliness and self-worth and wanting to be seen and am hoping to lead you to a better place.  I couldn’t ever come to peace with those things.  Death is so much better.  I’m not in pain anymore.  I can’t be seen or unseen or feel like I’m disappointing or not worthy with my life compared to others.  It’s just my mind.  It’s so easy to be content.  I can be nowhere and anywhere at the same time.  There is nothing to accomplish or fail at.  I can’t commit suicide anymore.  I achieved success and I follow you around to give you spiritual guidance into a possibility in life.

 

RYAN:

You couldn’t have made those changes while you were living in your physical body?  What in your physical body was keeping you from feeling this way in your mental one?  What makes you think I want your guidance?  I don’t want to be influenced to be dead.  It will come for me but why would I hurry up to get there when I will inevitably get there someday anyway?  And death is better to you so what makes you think it will be better for me?

 

STEVE:

If you were with me, you would know.  The physical body is a hurdle to enlightenment.  It blocks us all too easily in achieving inner peace.  Our senses can lead us astray and now the only sense I have is my mind and it is so peaceful to not have a physical body.  I know you can relate as this kind of pain is inside of you.  I know how you judge yourself, pity yourself, talk to yourself.  You put a lot of pressure on yourself.  The relationships you have overwhelm you and mostly are not reciprocated back to you, or at least not in a way you accept.  You used to think of yourself as standing out as an individual who got recognized but certain glories have passed and now if you died nobody besides your family and friends would care for but a little bit.  Is that really worth it?  Why not take on something bigger?  Consider death as an evolutionary step.

 

RYAN:

I don’t know if it’s worth it but I need to be able to make this decision for myself.  I feel like you’re raping me with this.  Instead of date rape this is death rape!

 

STEVE:

You want me around Ryan even though you say it’s rape.  You give consent to the action and thought process but then get upset by the potential realities of it.  It’s your rebel against authority that is making you say such things in this moment, or the fact that you might share this with your writing sites and that you need to not freak people out or look good.  I am not an authority you need to stand against.  I’m just a pathway presenting itself.  Don’t let your sense of image in front of others cloud your judgement for when you are alone which is where you want to be most of the time.  There is a comfortableness and glow you get from being alone.  Most people only care about their own lives and it’s depleting for you to encounter.  Your anger at an ego led world brings you to such conversations in your head and with me about my lifestyle.  You get bored no matter what you do and ultimately this creates failure in you.  You want to feel like you’re contributing or leading to something so bad but in a world that only judges such successes and failures in a very specific way it is hard to compete with.  The vile competitor in you is exhausted.  Where I’m at there is no such thing as boredom or failure or competition or control.  Things just are what they are and we are just the experience of our own minds and spiritual navigations.  It is quite a rich and empowering existence.

 

RYAN:

It’s not that I grow tired of most people or that I’m bored, it’s just that I expect my life to be awesome and led by freedom and choice and meaning.  It can easily get relative and then what we used to aspire for, we grow normalized with and then we want more, or just something new.  “What am I not experiencing and how can it be better” is often on my mind.  I often have a hard time with ambivalence and wondering about the next thing, but that is a driving force within me, and I guess I’ve just learned to accept that for who I am.  I’d like to think that I’m more than just a competitor who is driven by corrupt authority.  I have learned new ways to deal with this aura within me.  Sportsball competition was mostly what I was raised with and I’m learning to channel that energy into other things.  I made a declaration to achieve this years ago leaving professional sports.  It is hard to live in a world that so easily puts people into boxes and I continually try to disconnect from it, or hopefully learn to weave in and out of it without it harming or judging me.  It does seep in deep at times, though.  You can’t help but compare yourself to commercials or succumb to people yelling at you to be better or people yelling at you with their ego or the whole world coming at you in a way where their existence is tied to controlling you into their own little whims and desires.  You are right Steve, it is EXHAUSTING and it’s easy to get bored with human endeavors overall and their supposed meaning.

 

STEVE:

Your driving force has led you closer to me.  You are not happy with the person that you are or else you wouldn’t be talking to me.  You wouldn’t be wondering and thinking about me so much cause you know that I represented a way out of all of that.  And that’s what you’ve admired over the year.

 

RYAN:

I tried to admire you cause I didn’t know how else to process your suicide.  You jumped off a roof and almost landed on me.  I couldn’t help but think you were a selfish ass for doing what you did.  Choosing admiration was the only thing that made sense and not being able to process it with you or with anyone else has made it heavy for me over the years.  The weight of your decision and unhappiness has made me feel curious about your way out.

 

STEVE:

You have an infatuation with that you almost died.  There is a part of you that wishes you did just to experience it, just to wonder about the mystery of what I undertook.  You admire people who do bold, eccentric, confident moves with their life and who really stand up with who they are.  You don’t think I was confident when I jumped?

 

RYAN:

I think you were scared and needing to end some momentary pain you were feeling.  I feel you and I are not really that different.  We both feel how we feel and you decided to make another decision in a certain moment.  I think emotions can pass and we can get to a different place if we can be patient.  Yes, I admire that you did something about it but I don’t admire it at the same time.  We are all symbolically falling off that roof that you jumped off and it’s painful and people judge us, we judge ourselves, and we hurt others, and others hurt us, but that doesn’t mean that ying doesn’t need yang or vice versa.  There are parts of us that come out in moments and life is overall painful.  You look stupid most of the time, especially if you decide to engage.  You copped out of that.  I love you for making the decision you had to make but it’s not the end all be all and you’re no more right about being alive or dead than what anybody else believes on the matter.

 

STEVE:
It’s funny to argue with someone still in the physical world.  There is no arguing where I’m at.  It just is and everyone knows it.  When will you figure out that you’re wasting your time?

 

RYAN:

How do you know Steve that you’re not wasting your time still?  How do you know that you’ve reached perfection?  Oh what, cause you’re somewhere where nobody argues anymore?  Isn’t there still death in some form where you’re at?  Don’t you think you’ll still experience pain and loneliness on some level?  You’ll just be whatever you are forever now and that’s just that.  Doesn’t that seem a bit boring as well?

 

STEVE:

Ha!  Pain and loneliness.  Not exactly, but perhaps there is another form of life awaiting me somewhere after this.  I am still an infant with only being here for 8 years.  I just find it hard that you wouldn’t want to join me?  We shared such an intimate moment.

 

RYAN:

Steve, well apparently, there is still loathing and friendship and ego where you’re at.  I am not saying I don’t want to join you but I don’t want to join you in your current manifestation yet.  What can I do to make you give me a break and not haunt me with your influence?  You’re just making me more unhappy in my current existence all trying to get me to join you and all, and you’re right, I won’t go along with what I perceive to be corrupt authority ever and that will never make me join you.  If you’re going to be around in your eternity life where there is no death or whatever then won’t I join you at some point anyway?

 

STEVE:

Fair enough, Ryan.  Well how about you just don’t ignore me in your current life.  When you don’t acknowledge what we shared together or that we are similar in our thoughts and lifestyles and connections then it makes me feel like you are unhappy and selling yourself short.  I’m only around within you because you think such things and have a lot in you that I had, and of course, I am going to try and offer you a way out.  What are spirit friends for anyway?

 

RYAN:

Ha!  We are friends now are we?!  Just kidding, yes, I promise to not ignore you or ignore our experiences together.  Just don’t freak me out when I’m already freaking out, like when I’m flying through the air and scraping on the pavement from a motorcycle accident.

 

STEVE:

Yes!  I almost got you on that one!

 

RYAN:

Har har!  I suppose so but I don’t want to see your blood squirting forehead face anymore in my dreams or trying to convince me of ways to improve my life.  Let me live my life.  Let me live my life in a way where even if there’s blackness and nothingness at the end of it I still choose to be a positive minded Nilist.  I want to be in control of my own life (or at least given the impression that I’m in control).  I want to stand up for myself and I want to control what I have control over.  I don’t want to live in lonely fear.  I don’t want to be thinking of a way out.  I don’t want to be stuck in normalized cultural trances of acceptance and sense of worth and judgment.  I need to engage and confront things in honest, authentic, and more calm than not ways.  I need to face my life and know that I’m living it and trying the best I can with the energy and motivation that I have and that’s good enough.

 

STEVE:

Well if you really want to think like that then you don’t have to ask me to be gone, I will just be gone but I will come back to say hello and please say hello back.  Don’t be afraid of my presence.  Walk with me.

 

RYAN:

Yes, Steve, I will.  I love you and ultimately love everything about this communication.  Now go and give me some slack for a bit and make up for lost time.

 

STEVE:

I love you too Ryan.  We all make decisions in our many lives and there really is no way to tell which is right or not, or if that really means anything.  We think we know based on what other people’s perceptions and judgements are but it has much more to do with other things than that.  Don’t get stuck on silly details of perception or attachments or social norm achievements.  That’s what will make you feel like you are worthless and alone in the end.  More will always be demanded of you and the revolving cycle of not feeling good enough will keep showing up at your door if you entertain such societal demands and expectations.  Every person is much greater than that and it’s okay for everyone to go through their own process.  Oh and also minimize facebook and staring at screens all the time.  That’s an easy one nobody does.  Be in your present moment most of the time.

 

RYAN:

Haha, okay Steve.  Thank you so much for this and thank you for the influence you’ve had in my life.  Good bye for now.

 

STEVE:

Good bye Ryan.  Take care of yourself and give the apartment a hello for me when you ever walk past it.

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The Shortcomings of Liberals, Identity Politics, and Intersectionality

23 05 2017

The full essay can be viewed here at https://patmosley.blog/2017/05/14/un-identity-climbing-down-the-other-side-of-peak-liberalism/.  Below is a one page summation.  

 

I’ve gone through my own personal experimentation with liberalism’s identity-centered calling cards. When you’re trans, Queer, disabled, breaking free of public school indoctrination, and just beginning to understand class relations in the world around you, liberal identity politics offer power–the power to demand attention, to shut down conversation, to center yourself, and to be untouchable in your politics, along the same identity criminal code used to reduce Obama’s critics to “racists,” and Clinton’s to “sexists.”

 

How long must we ignore the plight of us all exploited in this global cancer called capitalism before we name the failures of liberal politics and try something different instead? It is not enough to simply outgrow these politics and hope others do as well. If leftists are to engage with liberals, we must be willing to name and challenge the toxicity, absurdity, and de-radical nature of their politics.

 

Essentially, white privilege works to create a false consciousness of superiority in difference, dissuading “white” workers from working class unity. Today it seems likewise accurate to observe that “white privilege” shuts down dialogue of antiracist or other identity sectarian movements including or even working with white-passing and some mixed race folks.

 

Intersectionality failed to do more than congratulate a scholarly activist class on doing their assigned readings. And the more structural-leaning liberal side failed to offer any social change whose parameters are not dictated at the end of the day by capitalist conformity and use to the empire. Normalization and assimilation are preferred.

 

So where geography or economic liberty make it impossible for one to contribute to their own liberation in this way, the movement is paralyzed between one side demanding that the marginalized lead and the other pushing for neoliberal concessions. Any work towards solidarity or on issues that de-center whatever identity class(es) is en vogue are promptly dismissed as de facto prioritization of the over-privileged, and a re-centering oncis feelings, her feelings, white feelings, etc.

 

What is anyone to do? Answer: no one knows. If you don’t show up to every poorly planned collegiate protest, your silence is violence. If you show up and dare to speak to the media or any of the other attendees scowling at you from a safe space away, your privilege is showing. Privilege is critical. We’re supposed to be analyzing it, coming to terms with it, learning about it, really, really thinking especially about it.

 

We’re supposed to be more inclusive, but not in a way that demographically restructures the leadership of our group specifically to be inclusive, because that’s tokenizing. We need to be in community with marginalized groups, but not in a way that seems like we’re eager to work with them just to be in community with them.

 

That liberal identity politics and call-out culture both focus on disproportionate treatment rather than structural oppression exposes the policing and reformism at their root. Call-out culture mirrors the cultural of criminal punishment it has not yet escaped from.

 

Focusing our ire on people who receive privilege instead of people who dole it out is a losing strategy for ending oppression.

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Psychedelic Science 2017: Adam Andros Talk on Cognitive Liberty, Neurodiversity, and Non-Pathologizing Approaches to Mental Health

4 05 2017

These are my notes and summarizations of a lecture at Psychedelic Science Conference in Oakland in April of 2017

 

For more writing like this go to my Wellness Blog at https://keatingbodyworks.wordpress.com

 

Hearing voices is normal for processing grief.  If we assumed that hearing voices was a sign of negative mental health issues then we miss the healing process people are going through.  People hear whatever their culture and upbringing tells them.  One will process grief through the signs and symbols of whatever one was exposed to.  If we were exposed to Jesus and Catholicism as a child we might experience processing overall, and metaphysical spirituality, through visions or “voices” of Jesus or the Catholic tradition.   Look at it like advertising.  America advertises competition and individualism, and Jesus as spirituality.  We hear voices pressuring us and socializing us towards these values.  Other cultures based in socialized approaches hear more voices related to well-being, openness, and acceptance.  In Amazon jungle societies, the world is alive and everything has souls and spirits, and the world is a community of humans, plants, clouds, rivers, animals, etc.  Hence these communities using plants as a source of healing, and as teachers.  This is an example of interspecies communication for such communities.  What matters overall, though, is if these experiences are meaningful despite whatever is advertised to us to believe in and process with.

 

Psychedelic harm reduction and support has a great base in supporting people’s process.  There is no such thing as a bad trip except if people pre-maturely exit a process before it is ready for them to move on.  Allowing the experience to manifest completely is the teacher and in this sense, an environment is created where nobody has authority over the other (other than in some areas of basic safety and whatnot).  A major emphasis is rather put on creating conditions and an environment for flourishing.  This idea of acceptance toward neurodiversity is gaining popularity in mental health circles.  Nothing is considered a “disease,” rather, people who want to process the voices going on in their head can be grouped together and encouraged to process and can be given, or share with each other, coping/harm reduction strategies.  This is a far cry away from the standard pathological approach that values getting rid of this or that.  Instead of seeing a pathology to be cured, how about just seeing difference?  We are moving away from such “pathological” thinking.

 

For example, being bipolar is a condition that allows one unbounded gifts.  Instead of being “cured”, the condition needs to be navigated for flourishing.  We are learning to celebrate people more for who they are and what they are going through.  How can these “mad” people become positive people who are rather celebrating being “mad” in an insane society?  It’s all in the perspective shift and then helping people navigate.  We can’t lose our ability to see and embrace diverse experiences.  Globalism and mono culture of mind and no diversity is very often the goal of most corporations, institutions, and enterprises.  Moving away from these values and towards embracing the infinite diversity of human experience will lead to more accepted, well-being, and health.

 

The point of this is not to say that all disease is a myth but that they can be experimented with and our approaches more involved with making space and giving people a positive environment to flourish in.  We all want this.  We place a value on reciprocity of how we treat others and how we want to be treated and allowed to live and think.  The term and value that the United States was founded on comes to mind; “the pursuit of happiness.”  Acceptance and reciprocity of intersectionality of thought is a means to an end to a true pursuit of happiness and healthy communities.

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Ecology and Conversation on Veganism, Thoughts About Life and Attachment and Remaining Open in Times of Posturing

14 03 2017

This is one large essay divided up into smaller sections as can be seen below.

 

Veganism, Feminism, Buddhism, Socialism, Capitalism, Environmentalism, etc.  The Trials and Tribulations That Can Easily Come From –isms.

 

People become obsessed with –ism’s.  Specifically, the religious and political and extremist mindset that comes from it.  It doesn’t matter what –ism it is or perhaps it is a religion or another word that doesn’t end in –ism.  This can apply to anything that one takes on as their whole identity.  People can see this negative connection easier when it is identified with religion.  –isms can be identical to religion in their manipulation and control-of-the-other characteristics.  Many people on the left political spectrum often fall victim to –isms while at the same time tearing down people for being attached to religion.  It is very easy to become ego identified with an -ism and then our whole identity is that.  For example, “I’m Emily, who are you?”, “I’m Ryan and I’m a Vegan.”  This is the awkward moment when Ryan has put someone on the defensive edge and set up a more likely scenario where the non-Vegan will offend the Vegan just through the sharing of casual information that will go against the essence of Vegan-ism and, hence, the identity of that person.

 

When people are ego identified with the –ism it makes communicating with an agenda the priority.  It seeks out and looks for division and opportunities to spread the agenda and to judge negatively if agreement doesn’t adhere to said –ism.  Most of the time, it directly leads to quick division and forces sides to be taken and more conveniently puts people in boxes.  If any disagreement occurs to the values of a person’s  –ism then they will defend it vehemently because they are ego identified with it.  It is extremist thinking and reacting as there is generally only one solution.  There is no connection and dialogue where perhaps the goal of that –ism can be reached through other means.  The person identified with the –ism is not going to change their mind.  It is usually either a ‘my way or the highway conversation’ and very common to think that what’s wrong with everybody is that they haven’t taken on my –ism yet.

 

People take on and become an –ism WAY more than an –ism becomes a piece of them.  It leaves bystanders feeling attacked when someone from that –ism starts to express themselves.  When people feel attacked, they feel defensive, and when people feel defensive they don’t want to look at those issues.  This is a lose lose situation.  For the –ism identifier they will grit their teeth and get more aggressive and tough because they know they are right and go further into their echo chamber –ism head.  For the non –ism-er they will just want this extremist person to stop talking because they aren’t really listening, the conversation is not reciprocal, and it is generally overwhelming and off putting to be exposed to authoritarian-ism.  In a very real sense, every –ism is a form of authoritarian-ism.  If we really want people to come around to our –ism it needs to come from a place of freedom, dialogue, reciprocal communication about values and experiences, etc.  And we also need to be honestly open to that our –ism may be wrong! We can’t be offended and grotesque feeling if people don’t agree with us.  We can’t just jump down people’s throats with information and write them off if they don’t agree.

 

When people are part of an –ism they usually share most, if not all of their space, with those who share their same beliefs.  Web-sites, forums, Facebooks, Twitters, Snapchats contacts, friends, etc.  It’s common to push people out of your life who are not a part of your –ism.  Your whole life feed at how you get information confirms your –ism and only your world view.  It’s easy to see information that confirms your world view.  It is very hard to see information that doesn’t.  A certain reality is only funneled to you and you can’t relate, or even want to relate, to any other reality.  This makes it easy to get in black/white, right/wrong thinking.  You’re either with me or against me.  Well that mentality will give you a lot more enemies than friends and it will only surround yourself with mirrors on what you want reflected back at you to confirm your beliefs.

 

One time someone I respected called me intellectually lazy.  At the time, I thought all my hard work was leading me to the right answers, hence, confirming my own –isms and didn’t understand where this lazy label was coming from.  I was anything but lazy in my pursuit of knowledge and I was offended.  I was offended they called me lazy and was equally offended they didn’t agree with me and were making me spend so much time trying to convince them of the obvious.  This was a smart person!  How come they weren’t getting it?  I wasn’t understanding the nature of my own –isms and how that was making me mentally lazy as a result.  In the modern era of being online A LOT and creating filters for what we see or don’t see, and search engines funneling information to us based on what we text, email, search, click on, etc., it is easier to dive into a deep void of our -ism vs any other time in history.  It will VERY likely get WAY more intense as technology and information flow will continue to get more advanced, fast, erratic, and decentralized.  It’s also, by a long shot, not the cultural value of the majority to recognize and remedy this for when we are participating in and creating such division.  If anything we are motivated to partake in –isms with a zealot fervor!

 

And think about this.  People forcefully shoving agendas or information down your throat and judging you if you don’t take it are usually NOT people you really admire.  It can definitely come with good intentions as people think they have struck gold with their correct ideology/-ism and that they’ve figured out, or found the golden skeleton key to life! They want to share this while convincing others to take on the whole identify of that –ism.  However, even if things are meant well, that has no result on if it actually plays out well and helps, and could very easily bring about the opposite.  We need to start seeing, communicating, and approaching the conversation for what it is, even if we fundamentally believe in an –ism.  Our success at how well we do this will be vital in the era of Trump where extremist and combative and bully thinking seem to be the norm.

 

Thoughts Regarding Veganism

 

I have been putting forth my best effort to take on being an environmentally conscious, healthy Vegan.  It’s been about two to three years since I took it on in my current life.  I tried it unsuccessfully for about a year 7 years ago as well.  Many things have come up for me in this time and I have been re-evaluating my position on if Veganism is actually as environmentally conscious as it’s made out to be and if it’s nutritionally good for you in the long run.  My stance at the current moment is that Veganism can be a superb diet for the short term (3 to 6 months or even up a year) but that it leads to nutritional depletion in most people who put forth a lot of effort at doing it correctly for longer periods of time.

 

Veganism also doesn’t seem to be a balanced ecological approach to the Earth.  In the name of speciesism, as it values animal life equally to that of humans, it promotes speciesism overall as it values plant based species more than animal.  For this reason, I do not feel it abides by the natural ecological plant/animal, life-cycle/relationship of the Earth.  The Vegan ethic is also that every life form is equal but Size-ism (if that is even a term) seems to be a common practice in the sense that larger animals are valued more than smaller ones.  A dead elk is worse than a dead turkey, a dead turkey is worse than a dead rabbit, a rabbit more than a fish, a fish more than a grasshopper, and of course, a grasshopper more than a plant, etc.  Our farming, cultivation, and treatment methods for plants and animals should be absolutely humane, non-toxic, non-factory farmed, and environmentally conscious, and work symbiotically with each other, thus promoting as much life as possible while also working for our ideal nutritionally needs.  The triad balance of plant, animal, and human needs, need to be in appropriate, realistic harmony for all to flourish (humans are animals obviously but given our own category because we do have an ego and a natural, inevitable instinct to take care of ourselves and survive at the expense of life and this is not going away anytime soon).  I can’t give exact percentages as to how much of one’s diet needs to be plants vs how much needs to be animal compared to how much resources the Earth can handle to accommodate us living, but I’d bet it would be somewhere around 85 to 95% plant consumption vs 5 to 15% animal consumption for average adults.

 

It is very common for Vegans to take on self-punishment.  Sort of like a self-flagellation that would be seen in our history with priests flogging themselves for committing or even thinking about sin.  This was absurd for priests to do back then and it is absurd for Vegans to do now.  The self-flagellation in the Vegan is being hungry and depleting your body due to feeling bad about animals and the nourishment they provide.  Reminds me very much of vampire movies where the vampire feels bad for eating the blood of people.  It is VERY hard to not be always hungry as a Vegan and I’ve witnessed this come up as a sort of joke within the community.  Why would we do that to ourselves all the time?  It is easy to eat a lot of good, healthy food as a Vegan and be full for moments, but having started to eat animal products again I have forgot how it feels to be satisfied and not in constant hungry mode.  My body feels like is has started operating optimally again and it was hard to realize this as I had just gotten used to being hungry and having ailments associated with nutritional depletion.  I was blaming everything else in my life for me feeling inadequate vs the obvious fuel that I was putting in my body.  Once I started to eat a little bit of animal products I felt instantly revived.  This is a common thing among those that have gone Vegan.  The rush/high of nutrition that comes back when giving access to animal products again.  Similar to the rush of starting out on a Vegan diet and flushing your body of animal product toxins and giving yourself so much wonderful, anti-inflammatory, anti-cancer plant food.  This all leads to me thinking that there needs to be a balance between plant and animal sources and we need to get over attaching guilt and self-flagellation and extremism in thought for why we do or don’t do things.

 

Looking at the history of our species and our closest ancestors, Veganism does not seem to be a natural, healthy diet for any one of them.  We are in the same family as other great apes and related most closely to the chimpanzee and bonobo and next we are most closely related to the guerilla and then the orangutan.  It is important to know that we don’t come from those animals but we all came from a common ancestor.  We split from our most common ancestor of the chimp and bonobo about 6 million years ago.  Tracing back meat consumption in our ancestors and what they eat now shows that chimps hunt and eat meat in the form of monkeys, pigs, fawn, antelope and they’ll forage invertebrates like termites and insects.  Bonobos eat animals too but much less so but consume a lot of invertebrates.  Guerillas primarily eat leaves and fruit and don’t hunt but do eat invertebrates.  They have developed a massive, advanced intestinal belly system to process plant food.  Orangutans are also not vegetarian and eat similar things to the other great apes.  In our own species, if we look at indigenous and foraging people’s we find hunter and gatherer omnivores.  Cultures like India are largely vegetarian but still eat a lot of animal products.  If karma led them to not eating meat and domesticating animals in that way why wouldn’t they have just gone all the way and become Vegan?  If anyone believes that there was a golden age of Veganism for great ape consumption or that any human culture has ever thrived off of being Vegan then it is no different than believing the stories of Noah’s arc and the great flood and Adam and Eve or in the tooth fairy.  There is no evidence to support such things and leaves one thinking if Veganism is more of a religion for people to follow than an eating lifestyle that works for humans or their closest animal relatives.

 

It is fed to us that we can easily get all the nutrients we need from only plants.  If biology and the history of our species has anything to say about it, it’s that they all aren’t there.  If they were, we’d see other great apes doing it and we would have naturally gravitated to this source of energy long ago, or we’d see a lot of modern day Vegans living healthily from generation to generation.  Things like vitamin B12 deficiency is something that plays out over time.  You can feel great for months or even years but then the reserves get used up.  You feel amazing when you first start but then slowly it gets spent and one becomes depleted.  It is very much harder for plant proteins to be as efficient for our bodies as animal protein.  If hunter and gatherer societies could just gather why would they take the risk and do a dangerous act like hunting animals?  There has to be a cost-benefit analysis that heavily favors the benefit of energy and substance provided by meat that makes it possibly worth dying for.  Look at vegan body builders vs omnivore body builders.  Look at vegetarian cultures of the world vs meat eating cultures.  Vegetarian people are by far less robust.  Not that you need to be robust to live a healthy life but just that if some animal products were included in your diet it could go a long way.

 

And what about a Vegan diet for infants/children?  What happens to an infant who isn’t fed milk as a baby?  There is evidence for reduced cognitive ability in children who do not intake breast milk and other animal products as they age.  So, what does this say for adults who take this diet on as time goes by?  If it doesn’t work for our children how is it going to work for us?  Again, we have stores of animal nutrients and access to convenient animal protein in our bodies and when that goes so too does our ability to function at our highest or normal efficiency.  This is seen in adults in the high number of Vegans who don’t continue being Vegans (even though they are doing it correctly with a lot of positive effort) as the diet depletes and doesn’t work for them.  They have to adjust and changing what you eat is usually at the core of how one would go about feeling better.

 

Roots of Veganism

 

Taking a step back, looking at the possible reasons for why Veganism has emerged is valuable.  Over 100 years ago most people interacted with animals more, especially if you lived in a rural setting.  Even if you didn’t, people like my grandpa who lived in San Francisco always tell me stories of packing up the chickens to take them on a road trip for food.  People of this era witnessed the killing of animals from a very early age that normalized it into a natural life process of living and dying.  The emotional reality of the world through killing, bleeding, dying, and suffering was part of how animals and humans ate.  Whether you’re a Vegan, a vegetarian, an omnivore; animals eat living things.  Things have to die for animals to live.  Forming life and fueling growth requires life to be lost.  New creatures are made out of dead creatures.  This mentality used to be very normalized.

 

In modern times we haven’t formed that relationship with the life cycle and with animals.  Rather, we have stuffed animals that keep us cozy and snuggled at night.  We grow up on cartoons where animals make us laugh and entertained and are viewed very much as humans and given a human story in how they talk, act, and live.  Our emotional limbic brain developed observing this in our early childhood and hence was etched into our brains for how we carry on viewing animals.

 

As childhood advances we encounter domesticated animals which are animals that act like the juvenile version of their adult, wild selves.  Dogs act like pups and cats act like kittens.  Because most of us weren’t raised with real relationships with real animals in the wild we have a skewed view of animals and how they act and what their life is really like and what their purpose is.  Children are kept from the reality that people are animals themselves, and hunters at that, and that they kill animals for food.  It is also not made aware to them that non-domesticated animals usually get eaten or become injured and die from infection or disease.  Animals don’t come together for a grand Bambi conference.  They come together to hunt and to kill, eat, and run from each other.  There is no retirement home for non-domesticated animals where someone takes care of them.  To modern generations exposed to domesticated animals and cartoon animals, it feels cruel to kill and eat them.  We don’t see slaughterhouses now.  Killing is hidden and almost made into a secret cult.  We’ve lost out on the Native American spirituality of life cycle and ecology of the land.  Hunting and nature and the natural biology of life and death went from being a natural part of our existence to being cruel.  It went from being amoral to immoral.  Vegans are attempting to meditate these immoral acts of killing and slaughter out of our DNA.  Veganism is an attempt at this and an apology for our ecology and will starve themselves and self-flagellate as a result.

 

A mentality that a lot of Vegans prescribe to is the fear and judgement that they are accumulating a lot of dark karma for eating animal products?  For all the animals that are killed for us to live our lifestyle of driving cars, purchasing technology, wearing certain clothes, supporting certain industries, harvesting kale and other agriculture, ones we step on, etc., would the number of a conscious omnivore be that dramatically different from a Vegan?  It seems like the grand total of death accumulates mostly from our destruction of smaller living life forms.  Not that this gives us an excuse to then kill more animals but just that most of our destruction is through most of us just living out our normal lives that most reasonable people would not deem to be a problem.  And does reincarnation play any role in this?  Can we really kill something and the energy that goes into something else?  Have we convinced ourselves that death is larger and has more meaning than it should have?  Have we lost sight of the natural life cycle even more?

 

At some point Vegans come across factory farming which offends us.  It is a truly horrible practice that changes people and claws at our sensibilities.  The industrialization process of animals looks like the very worst of what we see human beings doing to each other.  A slave condition holocaust of animals.  As a result, Veganism can become the obvious choice.  Why wouldn’t I find another way?  Why would I participate in hurting animals when I don’t have to?  Unfortunately, people don’t just not support factory farming but instead go against even local farming.  It is not known that local farming is different than factory farming and that comes with having real relationships with your farmer which people don’t do.  We want easy solutions to difficult questions and tic toc between extremes in thinking.  You’re either with us or against us.  You either love and respect animals and don’t condemn them to death in factory farming or you participate in it.  This leads to a world rooted in witch hunting.

 

Vegans rage about factory farming then turns on the hunter and gathering ecology people who are more in touch with animals than most Vegans are.  Average Vegans love for animals is just for domesticated animals (dogs, cats, cows, pigs, chickens, turkeys).  Most are not involved with wild animals.  A person who is a hunter and gatherer very often takes notice and appreciation of wild animals and their environments.  They tend to care far more than Vegans about rivers, creeks, nature, wild life management and conservation, ecology in general, etc.  Preserving wild animal numbers and nature conservation activist efforts come mostly from hunters and not Vegans.  Wouldn’t it be nice if hunters and conservationists could come together with Vegans on the other side?  They are often seen as enemies of each other.  Can the hippy who cares about nature, domesticating edible plants and crops, and not killing animals, team up with the hunter who cares about ecology with plants and animals, and conservation of natural wild environments?  Each group can offer each other very valuable information on nutrition and taking care of the Earth.  Waging a war of ideas against each other will never produce any practical solutions.

 

Eventually the aggression, guilt, and judgement a lot of Vegans have leads them to not eating with anyone.  They become overwhelmed by the idea that everyone is partaking in the holocaust.  They’ll isolate themselves in their own echo chambers and as we are social apes this is counter to whatever message we are trying to push.  Sharing food is an invitation and an opening for us and allows for bringing people into your social circle so we can influence and be influenced.  Not participating with other people in such basic bonding acts lead to pushing people away and then those pushed away start to push away as well but the Vegan doesn’t realize they are the ones pushing everyone away due to their judgement and unwillingness to participate and receive with others.  Vegans can feel as if they are at a dinner table with a bunch of racist skin heads but it’s very much different than that as our biology and history tell us differently that we are omnivorous creatures.  Food and energy acquisition comes from plants and animals and that is a very deep-rooted instinct for naturally absorbing nutrition.

 

Veganism and Farming as the Solution and What That Promotes

 

Veganism is made possible by farming.  And farming is a triumph and a control over nature.  Hunter and gatherers participate in ecology and are just another animal in the ecosystem.  Farmers have dominion over nature.  They tear apart nature and mostly grow things that naturally wouldn’t grow there all while nature is constantly attempting to take it back over.  Raised, domesticated species take over on farms.  It allows us to feed enough people on a vegetarian diet.  Farming is the original anti-nature approach and the foundation for Veganism.  If you care about animals then you certainly wouldn’t want to clear habitats that animals naturally use to grow vegetables or wheat or whatever.  Destroying a forest to grow kale for everybody?  What about the deer, the worms, the insects, the rabbits that would have normally used that land?  Are Vegans going so far down their “I’m right” extremist path that they can’t see anymore that they might actually be contributing to the problem of hurting animals and nature more with their supposed solution to that problem?

 

All of this is made possible by agriculture.  As the agricultural age advanced it gave rise to hierarchy for humans and this hierarchy gave rise to patriarchy.  Does this make it fair to claim that Veganism and patriarchy can be very much related?  Patriarchy didn’t even exist until there was hierarchical structured societies which came out of agriculture.  Agriculture directly coincides with husbandry, which means being a farmer and taking land and a wife as your own and rearing them and farming them to fruition.  To be a husband on an agricultural plot of land has a history of directly relating to patriarchy and controlling women and treating them as a domesticated product that you’re in control over.  You can farm your wife as you farm your cattle and your land, and have complete dominion over the household.  Being a Vegan and supporting agriculture while standing against patriarchy seem to be two opposing things that equal each other out.

 

To fully support and fall back in balance with nature means not taking on an anti-nature approach with something like Veganism.  Cows are not the problem.  It’s that cows are a part of agriculture and that is showing to be a major problem.  It is just as bad to have mono crops of corn.  Factory farming plants is no different than factory farming animals.  These agricultural practices all lead to the same problems and the same place whether they be animals or plants in an agricultural setting.

 

The answer lies in the realm of human beings being connected to ecology again.  Creating balance with nature pertaining to plants and animals synergistically giving and taking from each other and leading to a healthy, vibrant cycle of life.  To create this, we need to move away from this domesticated, patriarchal, agricultural approach.  Solutions lie in being in natural ecology to nature, not in trying to defeat it.  Omnivores with awareness is a phrase that comes to mind and, overall, being conscious and ethical and intentional in our approach to being in balance with nature, life, death, and our nutrition is a wonderful practice.  The Veganism approach sounds wonderful but in practice is very extreme.  It appeals to an easy fix to big things that can’t be fixed like hunting, killing, life, death, etc.  It’s rooted in martyrdom and has a very monastic fervor.  The thought of Jesus dying for our sins on the cross within the Christian tradition come to mind.  Many of us have grown up with going to church or at least being exposed to this cultural story of Jesus and the normalization of his actions give rise to the mentality that Vegans cling onto.  They will slowly torture themselves for the sins of their fellow man and nature’s natural life cycle pertaining to death.  The fervor of the story of Jesus dying for our sins and Vegans dying for the sins of nature related to animals dying is a never-ending saga that doesn’t have any realistic solution or ending in terms of what is real for how humans and nature conduct themselves.  Both mindsets are rooted in a mythical, religious extremism, and make for a sexy, convenient solution that can be summed up quickly.  Rarely is this the case in life.

 

It seems apparent we need plant food and animal food.  We need fungi in our diet too in the form of fruit bodies and we need fermented food/bacteria in our foods.  The approach of hunting, gathering, foraging, and fermenting allows us to participate in ecology and become a part of nature again.  We need to have a deeper integration to ecology vs a deeper integration with agriculture.  Food sources are good who aren’t doing factory farming, mass plantings, mono crops, and most importantly are local people who have relationships with their communities.

 

Where Veganism Seems to be Going

 

The Vegan approach puts forth the ideology that it is less cruel and our eventual evolutionary process to eating.  These things don’t really seem to be the case if we look at our history and what is currently taking place with farming methods, etc.  We have been eating animal foods for at least 4 million years.  We can’t in one generation, or even within a few hundred years, just stop doing that.  Biology and physiology dictate this kind of change happens very slowly.  If we want to do this, it would seem that the evolutionary process needs to play this out over a long period of time like at least 100,000 years.  How do we then make a 100,000 year plan?  The main problems of a Vegan diet are deficiencies in Vitamin B12 and Vitamin A and D and not being able to utilize efficient animal protein like plant protein.  The evolutionary process would have to include many generations of adapting to more efficiently absorbing plant protein and adapting to internally producing B12 and A and D or developing a new way altogether to get these sources from plants or by some other means.

 

Until we can be shown multiple generations of healthy living 100% Vegans giving birth to healthy living 100% Vegans and the ecology of the Earth being in balance as a result, we won’t know for sure that being Vegan is a healthy thing for us to do or right for the planet.  Going Vegan has very big limits for full application until we get at least somewhere near these results.  Currently, the tenets of Veganism don’t make sense and doesn’t consider the millions of years of evolution we’ve experienced and how the Earth has functioned in that time.  How does a 100-year-old diet (Veganism) with a 10,000 year old food (agriculture) trump 4 million years of omnivore benefits from eating animal foods?  Why would we wager our health on this type of diet with zero evidence of it working for humans and species related to us?  If you want to take on that experiment with your body be your own guest but don’t push it on others and especially not children.  Making children be vegetarian and vegan is a big no no.  How do we push onto our children our morals and our ideology for how we think the world ought to be?  Nutritionally we are depleting them due to an ideology; a mythical thought process about what is best for the Earth and our long-term nutrition.  Children need to be free individuals and given a diet that has been proved not to lead to cognitive depletion and body depletion.  With such evidence, forcing a Vegan or vegetarian diet onto a child is definitely a form of child abuse.  As children become older children, closer to adults perhaps, only then should they be allowed to make their own choices about if they choose to take on such a lifestyle diet.  That decision needs to be absolutely their free will choice.

 

Summation

 

I have not held back in describing honestly in what I have felt, seen, and overall observed within Vegan culture and practices.  I am not directing any animosity or forced view upon Vegans or anyone that doesn’t eat animals or anything like that.  For adults, we all have the right to decide for ourselves what is best for us.  There are wonderful things about being Vegan and believing in a less cruel world and getting your nutrition from plant sources.  I’m just trying to express here that it very much has its limits until it seems to turn counter to what it stands for.  Just how adults have the right to decide for themselves things and believe in whatever they want, they also have the duty to adjust their beliefs when new information presents itself.  My opinion has changed over the years and I’m sure it will change again as time goes by.  I become exposed to new information and then adjust to what I think is most healthy for us, animals, the earth, etc.  The problem is just that, though.  When we get ourselves into an –ism like Veganism we take on something that is believed to be never changing.  It is absolute and dogmatic in this way, and changing our view points based on new information is considered wrong or weak, somehow threatening the traditional tenets of the ideology and culture of people who have wrapped their identify in a bow around it.  I will be pushed away from certain communities and individuals for saying some of the things I’m saying here but I’ll take growing as a person any day vs blindly wanting to be accepted into a group of people who will judge me for having or not having a certain belief.  This is not the way to an ideal future for anything.

 

There are many healthy ways to eat and ethically take care of the Earth.  Native North Americans were some of the healthiest and ecological focused people that have ever lived on the planet and they ate animal products.  The Dalai Lama even went through his own period of being a Vegan and then decided against it for his own health and well-being.  There is also an idea that I prescribe to regarding ‘harm reduction’ when it comes to killing.  Harm reduction strategies in this case come in the form of acknowledging that killing is a human/animal instinct and it is going to happen.  Instead of condoning it outright and failing miserably because it is an instinct in us, how can we rather harness it in a way that allows for our instinct to come out but be less destructive overall?  If we celebrated the whole life cycle process again and celebrated hunting and channeled it into a practice that had an ecological outcome could this perhaps lead to less interspecies violence?  Humans will kill whether it be other animals or ourselves and that energy will be expressed.  Vegans often treat other humans bad or even threaten to kill them!  There is no greater irony than when Vegan aggression occurs on this level.  Is warfare overall perhaps an expression of this repressed energy?  How do we channel and make peace with our inner werewolf?  Having such strategies and this type of meaningful conversation could produce some real growth and positivity in the world.

 

As I have been exposed to new information over the years I realized that it was culminating into making me feel numbing anxiety and depression when I would walk into a store or look at a menu to buy food.  I wanted to support the best, most ethical practices whether it be animal or plant products, and I wanted to treat plant and animal species equally and take into account how much resources were used from the Earth.  I was stressing myself and people around me out and one day when I was looking at a menu I threw it down and pledged that I was going to do the best I could do and that was going to be good enough.  I wasn’t going to starve myself anymore either.  I am a good person and I don’t want fear, guilt, and shame to run my life.  I will make ethical decisions with the information I know as best I can and continue my journey to lead a good life in symbiotic and synergistic relation to the Earth and species that I interact with.  Some people won’t agree with my thought process or actions but that is okay.  Let’s talk about it and do some experiments shall we, and be okay with possible disagreement.

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