Transgression Healing

Transgression healing. I have a lot to say on this subject.

What is transgression?

Some of it I’ve said before. Like the fact that the people who insist the loudest that it is, in fact, possible for us to completely ignore and deny and not even think about the things that tempt us are often the ones doing the really fucked up stuff in our society. The people who think the best way to deal with unwanted thoughts is to somehow turn them off end up obsessing with turning them off which leads them to give the ideas more power than they deserve, since thinking about not thinking about something keeps you thinking about it (ad nauseum). The rest of us might spend some time thinking about our bizarre fantasies, might even integrate them into our sexual role play or find some other outlet for them.

You see, people who follow the big man in the sky (or rather, the group of people here on the ground who claim they can communicate with said invisible man) tend to do, or not do things for the wrong goddamn reasons. You don’t stop yourself from raping little girls because some all-powerful stalker thinks it’s a bad idea and will punish you if you don’t. You don’t rape little girls because it hurts them and fucks them up and makes their entire experience on this earth exponentially harder and you don’t want to do that to other people because of this crazy thing called empathy.

Temptation

People of true moral fiber don’t need the promise of some eternal reward or punishment to stop them from doing bad shit to others. That noise is just a distraction. You are in possession of the basic common sense needed to translate the pain of your experience to other people’s experiences, and the basic empathy not to want others to feel pain. Don’t outsource your sense of right and wrong, it just fucking confuses you.

Example: when I was a teen, I experienced the insane rush of brand new hormones that nearly ever human goes through. I wanted sex all the time. ALL the time. I thought I wasn’t supposed to think about sex, I thought I wasn’t supposed to masturbate, so I would just try…not…to think…about the incredibly tantalizing little red button between my legs which made such wonderful things happen to my body whenever I touched it…don’t think about it…don’t think about how good the anticipation already feels, even without doing anything…don’t move ever so slightly in your seat so that the crease of your jeans rubs it a little…don’t think about some man putting his hand between your legs…

Dude, I wanted so badly to be a good person. It was literally the most important thing in my life, nothing else came anywhere close, but try as I might, I could not be a good person. My desire to “be righteous” was an intermittent, still, small voice and my desire for an orgasm was a constant yell. I never had a chance, but I hated myself for not stopping. I thought of myself as a sinner, a weakling, a pervert. I was miserable.

The REAL Slippery Slope

Along with all of this lovely self-hatred, there was this strange equalization of all sins. I was a sinner. I understood there were greater and lesser sins, but at a very basic level, once I crossed the initial line, there weren’t any more lines to cross. Once I felt the temptation and didn’t banish it immediately, I was already in the country of the sinner, where anything goes. Sort of like when a dieter eats that chocolate he’s offered by a coworker and then goes to the buffet after work and stuffs himself because he already messed up. I was like that.

Because of this, I crossed some lines I shouldn’t have crossed. Did one or two things that common sense and common decency should have stopped me from doing. Still fairly innocent, but things I can now say with confidence I would never be remotely tempted to do now. My basic respect for others stops me where religion never could.

Religion and a Better World

Yeah. Go church. You didn’t help me for shit. You just made me feel really, really bad about myself over something that wasn’t hurting a single other human being ( and was giving me a pretty startling amount of pleasure) for many, many years. And we have plenty of evidence that religion is not so stellar at stopping people from hurting others. It sure didn’t help those priests. Or the crusaders. Or the Inquisition. Or the terrorists who bombed the world trade center. At the heart of nearly every major religion on this planet is a message of peace, forgiveness, kindness, and love. Most of this world belongs to one religion or another. So why the hell don’t we have world peace yet???

Pshhh. Religion. Fuck that shit. Humanism. That’s what it’s about. Loving other humans, being good to other humans.

Make decisions for yourself, kiddos. Don’t let a religion do it for you. Don’t let a society do it for you. The rules they’ve designed are entirely arbitrary, and they can’t keep pace with the way the world is changing around you, they way you are changing with the world. Don’t worry about “sinning.” Worry about being good to others. If that’s not your first concern, you’re going to fuck up on it way more often than is fair to the rest of us, trying first and foremost to love our neighbors and second, to heal ourselves so we can love our neighbors better.

The Self-Involvement of Guilt

Okay, so say you’re worrying about being good to others, and you fuck up. Yeah, that’s going to happen. No doubt. Now what?

You probably beat yourself up a lot when you do something wrong. You’re probably like, “I should have done better. I wish I’d known. I’m never going to get a handle on this. I suck so bad.”

Probably the most fucked up thing about religion, in my opinion, is the extreme separation of action and consequence. The normal, healthy, natural sequence is this: someone acts, they learn from the consequences not to act that way again, or they don’t and people revile them and eventually they learn from being reviled, or they don’t and they die.

With religion, someone acts, and then god gets involved and muddies everything up. Because now, you’re not just paying attention to what you did and how it affected others and how it made you feel, you’re also thinking about what this supernatural being is going to do to you because of the act, whether it’s going to mess up your chances to wear wings and play a harp someday, whether you can consider yourself a good person or not anymore, what rituals etc. you’re going to have to undertake in order to consider yourself a good person again, and have you noticed how entirely self-involved all of this reflection is?

If you think about it, guilt and shame are pretty self-involved. They’re unpleasant, they feel like a punishment, they feel necessary and deserved. But in the end that’s just more mental energy you’re spending on you and your feelings, and less you’re spending on what you can do differently next time and how you can genuinely make it up to them.

Guilt is a waste of time. You don’t need guilt to make you want to do better. We all have that drive, the drive to be better than we are. Cut out the middleman and channel it. Being a good person makes you feel good. That’s why you should do it. Treating others poorly makes you feel bad. That’s why you shouldn’t do it. Don’t waste time on any other convolutions or explanations. Those two are enough.

Self-Forgiveness

We all want to be perfect right now, and we all have a sneaking suspicion that we’re supposed to be…that we could be, if only we didn’t keep fucking it up.

It’s been an important part of my journey forgiving myself for the stuff I’m not good at already, for the things I don’t know but wish I did, for the mistakes I keep making. You knew what you knew; can’t change that. The only thing you can change is how much energy you put into knowing next time. You learn at the rate that you learn. No reason to beat yourself up about it. The only thing you can change is how you approach learning, how much time you spend, how creative you are about it.

It’s the sphere of influence. Don’t stress about what you can’t change. It just keeps you from changing what you can.

The better you get at doing this for yourself (“oops, ok, didn’t like that but it’s cool, how do I do better next time?”) the better you get at doing it for others. That guy who just chewed you out for getting in the wrong line? Chances are he’s doing the best he can do right now, or the best he knows how–so he must really be going through something. Brush it off and give him the benefit of the doubt.

And the best part? The less judgment you pass on others for the ways they fall short in your life, the less judgment you imagine them to be passing on you, and the more and more peace of mind you attain as you strive to better yourself. After all, if you’re always trying and observing yourself and being aware of others and learning, you’re really and truly doing the best that you can, and instead of defending that, you can just hold that for yourself, hold it in yourself, use it to feel calm and confident. Adjust course when it stops being true. And then sit back and enjoy being as right as you can possibly be at any given time–it’s a nice feeling.

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How We Can Change the Entire World in a Matter of Weeks

We’re at a unique point, the first time in history nearly every human society is in contact with every other. It’s the first time in history it makes sense (and is possible) for us all to agree, collectively, on peace and trust. It’s the first time in history we’re all capable of communicating with each other faster than our governments can stop us. If everyone agrees, across the globe, that we’d prefer world peace to war, what government could convince us we need to attack those infidels in that other country?

Yeah, in the past if you had a peaceful society of humans, you were liable to get stomped on by some more vicious tribe. But now we can all talk to one another and say, “Hey, my people are getting ready to attack your people. How do you feel about this?” and we don’t have to kill each other instead of communicating. If most humans, worldwide, agree to band together, we’d be equipped to deal with any minority revolt against peace, equality, and justice (not to mention vastly better prepared for an alien attack.)

There’s literally not a single reason, outside of the desire to have a bigger piece of cake than anyone else (an antisocial desire), for us NOT to band together. Can’t you feel our learning natures, our collective conscious, sensing that it’s evolutionarily advantageous for us to all make a contract, individual to individual, outside and beyond the reach of our governments, to be good to one another and not do harm? To eliminate money and feed all of our people and heal them? To let people’s love for one another and desire for community and respect fuel our labor, instead of the desire to best one another and have more things than one another?

Who in a civilized country has not felt or denied responsibility for their comfort being built upon the backs of millions of exploited people? How many of us would not prefer to live in a world where such atrocities don’t happen?

Only psychopaths. Only people with a solipsistic worldview in which everyone else’s experience is relevant only insofar as it impacts their own. These are the people exploiting and manipulating the rest of us. Far from suggesting that we tar and feather them, I’d offer that this sort of illness and misdirection of energy deserves compassion and a certain amount of indulgence (which ends where hurting others begins.)

The only kind human behavior we need address at all (for the libertarians out there) is harmful antisocial tendencies. Tendencies like consistently prioritizing personal concerns over communal concerns. Like trying to cheat and rob others rather than contribute to a community. Like manipulating the trustful and exploiting those in need. And it’s to their own benefit to break those habits. Manipulating and coercing others, apart from destroying interpersonal relationships and communities (and therefore eroding the human fabric) cannot possibly lead to peace of mind. Dishonest and imbalanced relationships are destructive of both parties involved.

This change is completely within reach. We’re more alike than our ruling classes would have us believe. The religious right just wants to live in peace and be allowed to exercise and share their beliefs. The far left just wants to live in peace and be allowed to exercise their right to make bad decisions along with good ones. We all just want to live in peace.

Trust it. The people you think you have nothing in common with are humans. They don’t like being hungry, they don’t like being attacked, they don’t like being made to feel small. They like doing what they want to do when they want to do it, they like feeling respected and useful in their communities, they like being allowed to be themselves without attracting contempt, anger, or ridicule. As different as we are, as different as our individual goals are, all of us are seeking, in some way or another, peace of mind.

What could help us attain it faster than peace on earth? You claim to want that? Put your money where your mouth is and join the peaceful revolution.

Time for a Breather

Internet! It’s scary to say this because I always feel I’m about to bring down upon myself the reckoning of the gods, but I actually feel…sort of…peaceful. I’ve had some bleak times over the past year, but I’ve also been ecstatically happy on and off, and the in between has been an undercurrent of anxiety, of uncertainty, of instability.

But I think I’m finally finding my stride.

This is thanks in part to the solid, actionable goals I’ve already shared with you (two blog posts a week, three chapters minimum per week) which make me an actual working writer. The icing on the cake was a car accident which effectively knocked some coins out of Baby while leaving her completely drivable (cosmetic damage schmosmetic schmamage, I could care less.) I own the car, so short of getting the alignment checked, I am reallocating those funds to survival. No more collection calls, no more being just behind enough that every paycheck vaporizes instantly, only to leave me still racking up late fees. If you’ve never had your bank account in the red and your payments all a mess, you have no idea the burden that is lifted once you gain a foothold again.

I also got to go Solstice present shopping (hey, I can amalgamate my holidays if I want to), which is one of my favorite things ever because I’m a mad little consumerist at heart but when it’s for other people, it’s ok, right? Right? It’s been a while since I was able to show the people in my life how much they mean to me, from the parental units (who I’ve been far too confrontational with of late) on down to my San Jose family of friends who have had my back since the beginning and never judged me for any of the curveballs I’ve thrown them (most of the people I love know about the triad AND the dungeon, and I’ve never once been made to feel uncomfortable about either. Hooray sexually progressive Bay Area, hooray my generally awesome friends!)

Also, thanks to one of said awesome friends, this blog is about to get a makeover and a reboot. So hopefully y’all will start commenting instead of just looking…

I’m not sure how many people actually used this (might just be one) but apparently the top search term for finding my blog is “transgression healing.” In honor of this, my post on Friday will be about guilt, shame, and self-improvement. ❤

 

Me and Jesus

Internet, I realized something cray-cray a couple of days ago. My current working ontology (which basically holds that all life on earth is fueled by the same sentience, so what you do to others, you ultimately suffer as well) is pretty compatible with Mormon beliefs on one level.

I mean, they believe that on this one night, this one man (out of everyone that lived, ever) suffered for everyone’s sins, experienced literally everything that happened to everybody on this planet on behalf of the rest of us.

First of all, this is essentially the same thing, if you think about it. If Jesus shared every single secret shame, sin, guilt, experience, etc., he might as well have been us.

Second, why would it be just for someone to pay for the sins of others? No way. That doesn’t make any sense. Unless…he IS us.

Say God is, indeed, some mind-blowingly complex being that our puny minds couldn’t hope to comprehend. Okay. Now say that Jesus is, indeed, his son in human form, only he has some advanced understanding of what this life is all about which allows him to perform miracles, help his people take another step forward in empathy and community, come back from the dead, and take on the sins of everybody.

Remember the story of Adam and Eve? How Eve was a piece of Adam that was taken out of him? What if all of humankind is increasingly splintered pieces of Adam? What if we’re all God The Incomprehensible Sentience’s child, singular? Mormons also believe that humans are on this planet to learn the patience, compassion, humility, and self-control necessary to wield unlimited power. What if this planet is a school of sorts for just one complex sentience?

So Jesus was basically our final exam, which could have come at any point in time because time is an illusion. We pass, we win. But that doesn’t mean we should throw up our hands and do what we feel like, because any pain inflicted on anyone anywhere is misery that we have to experience personally, when our pieces come together again into a single being.

Why not believe that, right? That everyone you encounter is some piece of your vast, powerful self, and you don’t need to fear any of them and you should absolutely try and understand and help them? Because if they are happy, you are happy. In the grand scheme of things. It’s taking the golden rule to a whole new level.

I’m not really invested in a Christian-based ontology, but the bad trip I had on molly in New York actually made me realize how invested I am in my former belief systems being wrong. I was so repulsed with the thought of falling back in that trap that I didn’t even want to acknowledge it has its good sides.

I’m finally reaching the point of viewing my former self non-judgmentally, examining with an impassive eye the things I once believed, allowing myself to remember the emotions that drew me in without fear of being caught again in the whirlpool of circular logic. As I knew, deep down, there was plenty I was missing out on being so reactionary and dismissive about Christian beliefs. My angle on the world has been shifting again, insisting on routine reexamination and recalibration.

I think I’m going to quit the dungeon. It’s been a good time but it’s shit or get off the pot and I’m back to square one: I just want to write my ass off for as long as I can, and this is just another distraction, another excuse not to give it my all. I’m done with excuses.

In addition to this blog, my goal is three chapters of my young adult novel per week. If I complete this, I’ll have a draft of about three hundred pages by the end of February. If I can finish it faster, I intend to. I’m done dicking around.

Perspective

As a moral relativist, I believe that what we call “truth” depends heavily on where you stand. If you have gone through depression, if you have been in a relationship with someone who acts differently around other people than they do around you, if you have had a paradigm shift that changed the tilt of your world, you know what I mean.

There’s “What Is,” and then there’s “How I Experience It,” and they both are “true.” What I feel is true regardless of whether it’s reasonable for me to feel that way. And then there’s the fact that there are many, many different kinds of truth, and they’re not mutually exclusive (even when they seem like it.)

The way you perceive the world makes a huge difference in the way you interact with it on a daily basis. Change your perspective, change your life. But the thing is: it’s hard to change the way you perceive things.

This is one of the reasons why I love shrooming. It’s like Burning Man–it takes me outside of my everyday head and my every day world and lets me zoom out and in on things I haven’t been able to get a good grip on, things I’m looking at in ways that are disadvantageous.

When I first talked to someone about shrooms, in undergrad, I couldn’t picture ever wanting to try them. I used the same line I’ve heard many people use since:  “I don’t like being out of control, I like to know what’s going on.” Well, yeah, sure. Most of the time, you need to be in control and in your head. Otherwise you don’t get anything done, you can’t build stable relationships, blah blah blah. No one is suggesting that you should do this constantly.

Not even shrooms want you to shroom constantly. Nothing about them says “get addicted to me!” It’s poison. You feel depleted afterwards. I never want the fun to end, but at the same time, it always feels like it’s time to stop. I always need at least a few days, usually a few weeks, before I’d even want to try it again (except at Burning Man).

This Sunday was the most recent voyage into the Great Unknown, and it was pretty low key as far as trips go. My favorite insights/experiences:

For some reason, I was really tickled with words, and especially curse words, this last trip. Especially shit. Lose my shit…that’s my shit…I don’t like that kind of shit…cute shit…I like this word a lot. Fuck. The way certain sentences sound. Sound combinations are satisfying me in new ways, and it’s carried on beyond the trip. Satisfying in the same way that something beautiful or cute can be satisfying. I’m happy about that.

I always get thoroughly detached from my ego, to the point of not really caring much what happens to me and feeling completely at one with the universe, with its machinations.

The anxiety humans feel about where we fit and how we can contribute and whether we’re worthwhile is, I think, an important part of the engine that drives us, but I also think I could be MORE driven and less stunted if I could let go of anxiety, the need to prove myself, the fear that I’m not good enough, that I’m too lazy, etc. When I shroom I catch a glimpse of my best self, a self that is completely calm and relaxed at all times, that answers every challenge with a sense of reassurance, confidence and warmth, that has no fear she’s doing and saying exactly what needs to be done and said. It feels so good! How to maintain it after the trip?! Fear, my worst enemy…I will defeat you some day.

It also struck me, this last time, what odd things we really are, mutated apes, and how amazing what we do with our sentience…basically the same thing that everything in nature does: drive outwards towards more and better, make beautiful patterns out of everything and anything, try to reproduce ourselves, see ourselves, see the universe, understand it. Sentience is the universe observing itself. Isn’t it mind boggling that we just tool along on the surface of this giant planet every day, obsessed with our tiny concerns just like any other rabbit or bacteria or blade of grass, though we have the capacity to understand how insignificant we are? Isn’t it mind boggling that we’re all sitting ducks, waiting for death to arrest us mid-motion? Isn’t the very concept of your own end insanely difficult to wrap your head around?

Nothing gives me confidence that all is right with the world like shrooming does. It just suddenly doesn’t matter how everything plays out, whether I ever attain any sort of success in my field or whether I have children, whether I travel or whether my parents ever acknowledge my lifestyle as valid and sane, even whether humans destroy themselves or not. It really…doesn’t…matter. The universe IS. It is insane and complicated and underlaid with beautiful mathematical patterns and we will never understand fully our part in it but we get to be here, we get to see it. And as deep as you dig in any direction, you will keep finding new things. Awesome.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Promises, promises

Oh my god, internet. Oh my god.

I’m sorry.

I’ll do better next week.

 

My burner family in NY is texting about the adorable little man a made to go on top of her Christmas tree in place of a star. ❤ it! (Another reaction: “Does this mean we get to burn your tree after the holidays?”)