Mamacita

I should have been more nervous.

Mamacita, from what I’d heard, can cause terrifying hallucinations, vomiting, diarrhea. At the very least it promised to be an intense experience.

But I wasn’t afraid. I was too hungry for her teachings.

Remember this particular experience in Utah?:

I was already firmly convinced that the same awareness which observes this human woman, Me, as she struggles through her thoughts about the world, as she negotiates her fears and desires, is the awareness that flows through everything else that is, i.e. God. I already believed myself to be God. In the tradition of the transcendentalists, of Ginsberg and Emerson, of philosophers and poets and scientists aplenty, I thought of myself as, somewhere deep inside of me, at least, all powerful and all knowing. I Am that I Am.

But what is the logical conclusion of this thought? Where do you land when you follow it all the way? I found out, as the acid that night took me deeper and deeper into my own head, into my own understanding of the universe. What good is it to be all powerful if you can’t manifest the things you want? I wondered. How do I take advantage of this power? Where do I go from here?

There were several things I concluded as I searched myself. One: the entire universe folds in on itself constantly. Every line of thought I chased came out again on the other side, saying the opposite of what it started out saying. Every time I thought I found a Truth, I kept going and saw my own tail still trundling after my front half. I did a series of M.C. Escher thought puzzles, and by the end of it, exhausted and certain I’d solved the mysteries of the universe again, to an even greater degree this time, I suddenly felt convinced that I was just a vast and lonely power, putting on an enormous puppet show for itself.

Since then, I’d been in a deep limbo. Not suicidal, just…not really convinced I was still supposed to be alive. Like, “okay, can I die already please?”

It’s not that I can’t come up with something useful to do with myself. It’s more that I have so many ideas of what to do, and I can’t for the life of me figure out which one to pursue. And I’m not sure I can ever release the part of my heart that assigned itself forever to the one who got away, which means I can never go all-in on love again. Loving someone deeply and completely was always my key sustaining factor, so if I can’t do that again…what’s the point? How am I supposed to care?

Still alive, and tired of coasting through with this sense of futility and disengagement bordering on despair, I knew I had to do something drastic.

The thought of Burning Man kept me going. I made it there, and it definitely lifted my spirits. I went on a journey to find my spirit animal, and despite doubts, I found it, and had the discovery confirmed, as I’ve heard many do, by seeing my spirit animal again shortly thereafter in a clear physical form, in this case a painting hanging above a couch at the Bureau of Misinformation.

I was sitting on that couch, not thinking about much, when the thought floated through my head: you should become an ayahuasca shaman.

At the time I didn’t know very much about ayahuasca. I’ve talked to a handful of people who have taken it at some point, and I’ve seen documentaries that talked about it. All in all, it was a pretty random thought, especially since I’ve never put a lot of stock in shamanism.

When I got back from the desert, I mentioned this to a few people. One of them said, “Oh, ___ did that recently.”

I perked up. “In the Bay?”

“Yeah! She went to a shaman here in the Bay Area and did the ceremony. She had a really cool experience. You should talk to her.”

Talk to her I did. We got Ethiopian food and she told me all about her own experience, and then said she would talk to the shaman and have her contact me.

Now here I was, in the small basement quarters of an experienced shaman, placing my intentions on the altar along with a small pouch of stones and crystals and the ring given to me by the one when he proposed in a last-ditch effort to save our relationship.

“My intention for this ceremony is to learn what I need to let go of, and what to hold onto, to best serve light and love.”

I retreated to my cushion as the shaman and the other companion for our journey smiled supportively. Soon after we drank the earthy, bitter liquid and then waited for it to take effect. I must admit I wanted beautiful visions; I wanted to meet Aya, mother vine, as my shaman said I might. I wanted to be overtaken with a pervasive sense of the wonder and connectedness of this world, to be shaken to the core.

Looking back, I realize this was greedy of me. I’ve already had such experiences (short of meeting Aya.) In any case, she came to me not in a mighty wind or terrifying visions, but in the “still, small voice” of my childhood religion. Almost immediately, gentle questions began making themselves present in my mind. She interrogated me about why I look externally so often, instead of internally, for answers, why I rely on drugs instead of listening to my heart.

My friend also talked about being afraid of being alone, which I guess is also my deepest fear…but I didn’t want to acknowledge it…Aya made me face it.

I have to abbreviate my experience because I want to share some of the most exciting parts and I’m running short of time. Mostly I purged that night, had little glimpses of beauty, laughed at myself, but nothing earth-shattering. The next night I set out with the intention: “To open my heart and mind to the dimensions I have not yet experienced, and to meet any spirit guides who are ready to reveal themselves to me.”

My shaman told me she never used to believe in angels, but now she is certain of their existence. They leave her dimes sometimes to announce their presence.

One of my recent experiences on mushrooms, I noticed that the light imprint on my eye was not following my gaze, but leading it…interacting with me…my first clear experience with an unseen presence. Or, not my first, but my clearest.

My second night involved a great deal of purging as well. I saw a spirt guide who may have been the White Buffalo Woman. Aya kept beginning to march out to great fanfare but staying just hidden…I saw the white edges of her…

I think one of my imperatives now is faith. Faith over fear.

I’m going to have to make this a two-parter. I had another experience with Mamacita on Sunday night, after leaving my shaman’s house. But in the meantime I want to note that one of the most elevating experiences was not during the actual ceremony, but during a spirit journey we undertook, a meditation on Saturday afternoon where she used the drum to help us travel to the Hall of Sacred Conference.

When I arrived, I met the one who got away. “Was this supposed to happen?” I asked, “Or did I mess it up?”

I got the distinct impression that he and I have journeyed together through many lifetimes, that we’ve ‘gotten it right,’ so to speak, before, and that this time we decided to be apart in order to learn how to expand our love to others, to have a more universal love.

“But I have an easier time loving others unconditionally when I can anchor my unconditional love in you!” I told him. “Can we make a new agreement? I think we were wrong…”

All the same, when we came back, I felt a new peace. If we have many lifetimes, and he and I have already shared many lifetimes, and my mission in this one is to learn to be separate from him…just that thought alone helps somehow. Which isn’t to say that I don’t still yearn for him, or hope that our meeting in the Hall of Sacred Conference hasn’t reached him on a soul level, and gotten him thinking…

I still want to meet Aya, but I see her point in using the language of my childhood spirituality to commune with me, in pointing out to me how many times I’ve had evidence of the divine in my life and denied or forgotten its significance, and in demanding from me more faith and patience. Nevertheless, my mind continues to be blown on a daily basis ever since.

Wonder, wonder, wonder…this world is truly magnificent, and we are coming upon an incredible time…

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Life

It’s been a long time since I’ve updated. The triad is no longer a triad but three individuals again. We still have a lot of love for one another, but I have moved back to the state where I grew up, a place where many people are still fundamentalists instead of structuralists. It’s strange but good to be home. Because yes, this is my home. I feel a real sense of belonging here, a sense that I am loved by this place. Also, that I can do real good here.

It’s nice to feel a more pointed sense of purpose. I feel less adrift. I want to write a manifesto. This stuff about Detroit is mad. The world is mad. I had a long talk with two twenty year olds on acid, they kept telling me in all earnestness that they felt the continued existence of poverty, starvation, homeless, preventable diseases, was a tradeoff they were willing to make in order to be able to theoretically have as much as they want of everything they want. What??? One of them literally told me, “but if there were no starving children, how could there be wealth?” In other words, they weren’t ignorant to the fact that people starve, not because of lack, but because of allocation of food…and they just didn’t care. They really, really didn’t.

I was pretty taken aback. I kept saying, “You don’t know what you’re saying. You can only say that because you don’t know what you’re talking about.” They are really sweet, hospitable guys, very kind to me, shirt-off-their-backs kind of kids, but WHAT???

Adulthood, I feel, is the moment when you realize the world really does not revolve around you, the moment when you stop letting all of your actions be dictated by your own fears and desires, and start measuring your needs against the needs of others, and letting the greater need win (nine times out of ten, at the very least). So basically, our whole world is run by people who have never reached adulthood. It’s run by a bunch of greedy adolescents who have somehow convinced the masses that their secret machinations behind closed doors are more valuable to the world than our labors to make the world cleaner, safer, to built the things we all use and  their selfish ends more visionary and noble than our collective desires we would have to negotiate without their leadership, their power more real than our power.

What a huge lie. What a huge, silly, lie that we all live by, and support with our complicity.

Are we so afraid of examining our structures that we refuse to seize our collective resources from them, even as they allow great swaths of us to starve and suffer? Are we really willing to let them sit atop their spoils, knowing as we do the murder, the thievery, the lies, the coercion that formed the current arrangement?

What a strange world. Aren’t we ready to heal yet? To trust each other? To stop kowtowing to a bunch of silly, self-important boys? To end the inferiority/superiority complex this world is caught in?

Life, the Universe, and Everything. 42. Done.

Why is this universe the way it is? Because it’s this universe. The answer is 42; or might as well be.

I had a very profound experience the other day. Mushrooms have always had the ability to suppress my will —I’ve always felt fearless, calm, and hyper-aware of all around me, which I now understand to be the natural state of being, when separated from will.

In any case, rather than my will being suppressed, this last time I was barely tethered to it. I existed as awareness, with only the faintest shadow of my will maintaining ties with the outside world. Lying in the arms of h, in one of the moments when I was feeling more time-bound, I told him “I am everything.” And it was true. Whenever I floated away from myself, I was the whole of Existence. I just was. And it was good.

The deepest part of ourselves is one with everything. Time and will make us feel cut off and alone, but the whole of Existence is always surrounding us completely and living inside of us at the same time. As I tumbled back into my will and my timeline, as my fears and desires started to assert themselves, I kept having two flashes of thought—first: would this new perspective somehow help me cheat at life? What practical application could this possibly have? And second: would this ruin life for me? How could I invest in my very specific timeline with such a keen awareness of how ultimately equal each possibility is? Knowing how much more I am than this human woman with her fears and desires, how could I care enough about her life for it to feel meaningful at all anymore?

As the knowledge settled in, it became clear to me that this is undeniably a blessing. I learned a long time ago that philosophical investment in or certainty of a meaning has no effect on my personal drive. I had decided that life was meaningless and there is absolutely nothing that can be counted upon, and I was all set to commit suicide. But then I started working out the implications of my internal discovery, and then I was thinking about coming home and writing about it and I didn’t want to kill myself anymore. Will is a powerful thing—especially when we are unafraid to live by it.

Since my experience floating in awareness, I know what my eternal self wants for my temporal self: it wants it to pursue its will according to nature. There are no punishments but immediate ones for our missteps; if we treat others poorly, we will have very little love in our lives. The natural way of things is the give and take of negotiating and weighing our desires and fears against those of others; there are natural consequences when we violate each other. When we are dishonest or coercive in achieving our goals, we are overriding this natural way of things, and even this has a natural punishment: just like any other shortcuts or cheat codes, we cheat ourselves out of the experience just as much as we spoil things for others.

Much of the misery in the world comes from the sense that our desires are at odds with some nobler purpose we embody. It’s quite the opposite. Our desires are the path to our higher purpose.

Why do people feel empty when they pursue only pleasure? Because an eternal being cannot be satisfied by the temporary. Pleasure can only be experienced by something which feels desire–pleasure is not eternal.

What is eternal is harmony–the sense of things aligning with their nature perfectly, the sense of things achieving their innate purpose. Happiness is the sense that all is right with the world, the feeling of being satisfied with everything and everything being satisfied with you.

When we pursue personal and communal growth according to our desires, we feel joy, the combination of pleasure and happiness. This pursuit can sustain us forever. Anything short of that will bring only a sense of frustration that our pleasure doesn’t translate into happiness; frustration that our happiness comes at the expense of our pleasure.

My drive is to document, interpret, and communicate experience, with the ultimate goal of helping humans to find our purpose. There isn’t much keeping us from ending all unnecessary violence, developing forms of self-governance that make any kind of logical sense, and eliminating some of the worst behaviors of humanity—all we need is the confidence that working on behalf of everyone will benefit us all. These thoughts and efforts sustain me, they live in me regardless of how reasonable or unreasonable this pursuit may appear to others, whether or not it brings me rewards.

I am will. I pursue what I love and avoid what I fear. Until time releases me back into the great awareness, I will try and do my tiny job in the universe as best I can. When I look into your eyes, I know the same is true of you: you are all of awareness, wrapped by time into a physical form. I know we are cut off from each other, and we are each other. I know that it is in my interest to support you in attaining your will, and it is in your interest to support me.

Consider the implications of this worldview. Consider the all-embracing love it encourages. I fully advocate this as truth. We have nothing more at stake than our mutual experience here; we are nothing more or less than brilliantly complicated little stories. If we start living this way, the world could get hugely better very quickly.

I’ve tried to break my understanding down a bit more in a series of questions. It’s hard to quantify. My brain isn’t made to hold the sort of dimensions that go into what makes up awareness; mostly what I remember is a feeling of well-being and certainty.  But the general idea of what I experienced filled in a lot of gaps in the philosophy I’ve been working on. A LOT of gaps.

Who am I?

I am the one who opened my eyes.

What is my purpose?

To exist as nature dictates.

What is nature?

Nature is will and being.

What is will? What is being?

Will is desire and fear. Being is that which exists and knows it exists; awareness, existence, form; the great everything.

What is the relationship between the two?

Being is the eternal self, the part of us that will never cease to be. Will is temporary. The eternal does not will; it is—unchanging, unmoving, permanent. It does not start or end. It does not live or die. The part of us that dies is the will. The part of us that does not die is being; Everything.

There is no separation between the self and the Other. This separation is an illusion of time. Time wraps around awareness, cutting it off from the rest of itself, which allows it to form will. When time releases awareness, it ceases to have will and becomes once more Everything.

What does nature dictate?

Nature directs being through will. Each life builds, or loses, in accordance with its wills and fears, a place in the balance of things. My very reason for being is to exert will. I am desire and fear; I am that I might desire and fear. I need not be ashamed of my fears or desires. I may pursue them without doubt or guilt. The entire everything supports me in achieving my will according to nature; I am everything and it is me.

What goes against nature?

Nothing is unacceptable to nature. Will can only exist in Time and therefore cannot be permanent; nothing can disrupt the eternal. Nothing good or evil is absolute; therefore good and evil are relative and timebound. They exist only in relation to Will. What is good to me may be evil to another; what is evil to another may be good to me. Therefore good and evil exist only in the relation of things to one another; in the relation of me to all that is not me, the Other.

What is the relationship of myself to the Other?

I am that which looks out of my eyes; the Other is Everything Else, being—which includes my eternal self. Each time I harm the Other, I harm myself. We are innately invested in each other.

What should I do?

Anything I like. Nothing is more or less important than anything else. Everything is important because I am will; nothing is important, because I am eternal. It is up to me to negotiate the difference between the two—to temper my will with awareness of the Other; to negotiate with the Other in order to enact my will. I can avoid harm to my temporal self or risk harm on behalf of the things that are important to me. I can pursue pleasure only, or happiness only, or I can seek out joy.

So much of our efforts are directed to criticizing and shepherding one another’s wills; justifying and defending our own wills. Once we turn our focus from all agreeing on the same pursuit to enabling one another’s various unique pursuits in the most harmonious way possible, we’ll be able to solve our problems very quickly and easily.

I’m no longer afraid of death, or confused about my responsibility to myself vs. the Other, or what my allegiance should be to my immediate will vs. destiny. I sincerely hope that you, too, can see what this means: there is nothing to fear. Everything is OK, always has been, always will; you may not see how yet, but you will. The part of you that you are so afraid of disappearing will never disappear–only the fear itself will. It’s ok. We’re all ok.

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.