Tuesday, August 22, 2017

An Opening


In my dream I was in an outdoor space with others. We were gathered around but working independently, all of us quite serious about the fun we were engrossed in. The fun consisted of encountering normal objects in our environment. It could be anything - a rock, a cup and saucer, a potted plant, a jewelry box. The object of our pursuit was to find out how to open each object -- for in each object, we had been instructed, was a game. We were assured every object could be opened, whether a rock, an ordinary brick, or an elaborate piece of macrame. And every object contained its own game with no two games alike. 

And no two objects contained the same game. Even similar objects, such a identical cups and saucers, had hidden inside them unique games. Our first challenge, somewhat like completing first level of an overarching game of exploration, was to discover how to open an object. Only by opening an object could the game inside be released. It didn't matter which object we found or set our intention upon. No one object contained any better game than any other object. All objects, all games were equally wondrous.

Over time, in many ways, each of us discovered the right combination of experience and intuition to interpret what it took to open objects. Some objects were more difficult to open than others. A few remained elusive and were passed around to see if anyone might have some luck with them. When an object finally opened, it was greater than a surprise, more than a sense of accomplishment. An experiential depth unfolded that went far beyond a reward. It felt as a fulfillment had been reached, a re-connection established. Of course, this was but the first level of what was expected of us. 

To open an object was to reveal the hidden game inside. But now it was incumbent upon us to figure out what the game was and how to play it. Naturally, the level beyond that was attempting to win the game. Once we reached a victory in the game we had uncovered, only then could we move on to another object to open. The wonder and joy of discovering each game was intense motivation to win each game. There was so much delightful variety and creativity in each hidden game that it was obvious that the real game was seeing how many objects could one open - how much original wonder could be experienced.

At one point, I encountered a group of six or seven cylindrical objects, only about three inches long and as narrow around as a pencil with rounded ends. There seemed no way to tell just what the objects were or what they possibly could be used for. Even the material they were made out of seemed mysterious. They weren't wood or ceramic or metal but were non-pliable even though their surfaces were smooth, even soft. At first I wondered if I needed to concern myself with what the objects were or what they did. All I had to do was open them to reveal the game inside. None of the other objects I had managed to open required special knowledge of the object itself to find the opening method. 

One small wooden tray had opened merely by holding it a certain way and tilting it forward while applying light pressure laterally. Nothing about the tray's function informed that method. And when the tray opened, individual sections of wood grain had flared out to become separate, rising sections in a tall, multi-level stack of interconnected carvings. Certainly, the six or seven cylindrical objects only needed to be handled properly, tilted just so, given the proper pressure, and they would open up. I didn't need to know what they were to access the game inside them.

I set about handling the six or seven objects, feeling their weight, their texture. I began experimenting with ways to hold them. Then a most curious impulse overtook me. I picked all of them up and, gathering them together, began inserting the small bunch in my mouth in preparation to swallow. Someone not far from me saw what I was attempting and raced to my side. He was incredulous at what I was about to do, in fact, he expressed concern that I might injure myself -- especially if I didn't know what the objects were or what they did. But I continued as before, intuitively certain -- of what I began to wonder. 

And the more I wondered, the dawning realization hit me. I was certain this was the correct method for getting the objects to open and reveal their game. Something about internalizing the bunch of them would prove to be the winning method. But the winning method for what? What would happen if these things opened up inside of me? However would I access the game if it was inside of me? And how could I be so certain that I wouldn't be affected or injured? I had already seen many objects open around me. Some upon opening had grown quite large or extended. If such a thing were to occur in my gut, things could get serious. But like an intuitive slide of gravity pulling fate downhill, I continued pushing them into my mouth and ignored the warnings coming at me.

I knew - and I knew I knew with certainty that this was the only workable method to open the objects. And once they opened, they were intended to open something else. That something else was me. I was the object that ultimately would reveal the game. And once revealed, I would be in the game that needed to be played. But to win the game of me would be the next level - a level beyond the playing field. As I committed to the next level and felt myself swallow -- I woke up, and realized, being awake in my life was the hidden game finally revealed. Now only two things remain -- how to win the game, and what would be the levels beyond. 

An object to an opening

To dream a dream that's not a dream 
when dreams are all there is.
To be the one that's more than one
if one more than all becomes the quiz.
To play the game that's this and that
when games dissolve into hers and his.

The dream of all is the game one plays
when the one that's all is all that's left,
endlessly imagined in amazement's fire 
and explored in potential's bubbly fizz.
It's never the time or place to be bereft.

There's nowhere else to find the one
if the game's a dream of all
and all-in-one is nothing but a disguise.
There's nothing left to ask oneself
when the dream that's not a dream
exceeds one's prowess to surmise.

Be the dream or be the game
or be the one who's all.
For it doesn't end but in the end
it may not be about any one thing at all,
not if games and dreams are only here to awaken us,
and the Dreams and the One and the All
in the end are simply superfluous.
We're left forever finding it's nothing else 
than something more in ourselves that ultimately enthralls.

Ecstasy needs no reason when its name is love.
Love needs no name when its feeling is joy.
All are the same in nature's eyes.
The endpoint is wonder that's beyond apprehension
and the dream that's not a dream will always be the next beginning,
our wakeful dream, our endless surprise. 

cup and saucer

Monday, August 21, 2017

Farmacia San Pedro

"The issue is surrender. This is something real. You don't find people going into the ashram in the morning to meditate with their knees knocking in fear because how terrifying and profound they know that meditation is going to be. But if they were going in there to smoke DMT, you know, they'd be fully riveted in the modalities of what was about to happen. We can tell shit from shinola, it's just that we don't always prefer shinola. I don't advocate it, I mean, there are people who are disappointed, because they say how often do you do it? Well, the answer is, not very often. If I can get it in a couple or three times a year I feel I'm hitting it pretty hard. And the more successful it is, the less often you have to do it. I mean, I know people who say DMT is their favorite drug. And when you say, well when was the last time you did it, they say 1967. It only lasted four minutes - they're still processing it. And they still ARE processing it. They're not just whistling Dixie. 

I mean, it is to my mind just the most -- well, I mentioned this earlier, how do they keep the lid on this stuff? And I guess here I'm preaching to the converted because last night everyone said they had an interest in this kind of thing. But they don't keep the lid on sexuality. No society has had it so under control that people didn't have sex. I mean, they might have had sex under weird conditions and under ritual strictures but we are like this salamander who has this option of never developing into its mature form. And to my mind that's a tragedy because this is our birthright. And somehow our inability to get a grip on our global problems has to do with this immaturity about our mental state. The two are, I feel very strongly, linked. And of course we can't get control of the world because we are children in some profound way. And we don't like being children but the culture has reinforced a kind of infantilism. And the way I explain it to myself is - it is a kind of unwillingness to going it alone on a certain level. 

I don't know how many of you remember in Brave New World, Huxley's brilliant dystopia, but there's a scene in there where Bernard, who is the guy who's out of it in the novel because in his fetal fluid they got an alcohol contaminant, and so he's different from everybody else in the society and he occasionally can have an original thought, and he and his assigned girlfriend for the evening, or whatever she is, are in a helicopter, and they sweep out past the crematorium where they are recollecting elements for re-use, and he suspends the helicopter over the black bay and she immediately becomes very agitated, restless, anxious, and pleads with him to return to the city. And what it is, it's her anxiety over being alone with the presence of nature - she literally can't take it. And I think there are a lot of people in society, and each of us in our own way at different times, who have in us this neurotic and infantile creature that can't face it alone. 

And this going it alone thing is very important. You know Plotinus, the great neo-Platonic philosopher, he spoke of the mystical experience as the flight of going it alone, to be alone. And in the psychedelic experience there is this issue of surrender because a lot of people want to diddle with it. They want to say they did it but they don't want to have to face an actual moment where they put it all on the line. And yet the whole issue with this stuff is to let it lead, to let it show what it wants to show. So, somehow individually, we have to reclaim our experience. The real message, more important than even the psychedelic experience, the real message I try to leave with people in these weekends, is the primacy of direct experience. That as people, the real universe is within your reach. Always. Everything not within your reach is basically unconfirmed rumor. And we insert ourselves like ants or honeybees into hierarchies of knowledge. So we say, what's going on in the world. Well, turn on CNN, you know, and then somehow we're ordered -- we say ah-ha, OK, it's 85 degrees in Baghdad and the wind is out of the northeast at 15 miles an hour, and we feel somehow better now because we are getting the information. 

But what we have done is sold out direct experience. And all institutions require this of us - that we somehow redefine ourselves for the convenience of the institution. And this redefinition always involves a narrowing, a denial, so that then if you want to be in Marxist society, if you want to function in Marxist society, you have to define yourself as a Marxist human being. Well, it turns out in a Marxist society there are no homosexuals because that just happens in decadent societies. And if you happen to notice any tendency of this in yourself, you have to deny its existence because this just doesn't happen in a Marxist society. And similarly, every society has this. In our society, if you hear voices we have mental hospitals for you. If you have vast visions of the future, we have drugs that can help you and make this go away. So then somehow, in modern society, the discovery of psychedelics is the discovery that all of this cultural machinery is just Wizard of Oz stuff. 

Remember the scene in the Wizard of Oz where the curtain is swept back and they see the little guy there and he says, booming out over the loudspeaker, "Ignore the little man pulling the levers! Ignore the little man pulling the levers!" Well, the little man pulling the levers is what sweeps into view with psychedelics and you discovery ah-ha, culture is provisional. You know, whether we have nine wives or three, whether we tattoo ourselves blue, whether we eat insects or not, all of these things are just decisions that we make and then we congratulate ourselves on our wisdom and we live within that and we hunt down and kill all the people who disagree with us. And that's called having a culture, having a way of life - being somebody. 

But I don't see history as a wrong turning. I see it - the metaphor that I like is that of the prodigal son. That there was a reason for this long descent into matter, this peregrination. It was a shamanic journey of some sort. You know, the shaman goes into the world pool, or ascends the world tree to go to the center of the axis of the cosmos, to recover the pearl, the pearl or the gift or the lost soul, and then return with it. This is what history was. It was a descent into the hell-worlds of matter, energy, space, and time - for the purpose of recovering something that was lost. It wasn't lost by us. It was lost by the breathing, the disystile of the planet. Just climax of climate moved us into paradise and then moved us out of paradise. 

The story of Eden is the story of history's first drug bust. I mean, it's the story of a whole lot of tension over who's going to take or not take a certain plant which conveys knowledge. And Yahweh wandering in the garden says to himself, "If the man and the woman eat of the fruit, they will become as we are." The issue was co-equality, co-knowledge with the Creator. Well, where do we stand in man's existential march? How does that work? Can we always accept the subservient, infantile position? Is knowledge to be dispensed by gods, and if not gods, then the institutions that appoint themselves as gods over us? Or is it actually that maturity begins with somehow claiming this birthright?

And it is a birthright. And I don't know if a society can survive the claiming of this birthright by a large number of people. Certainly in the 1960's when this was attempted, everyone got very agitated, then it was frozen out. In so-called primitive or preliterate societies, there is the office of the shaman. And the shaman is deputized to act for all of us. In the same way we have airplane mechanics to fix jet engines, we have shamans to explore these hidden and fairly terrifying other dimensions. The people who self-select themselves into a group like this, in a society like that, would be the candidates for this kind of shamanic voyaging."
 - Terence Mckenna

Sunday, August 20, 2017

how to describe visiting with Grandfather San Pedro in a forest?
no words, there must be some other way,
nothing substitutes for experience 
but perhaps a photo can nudge an impression --

forest view

Monday, August 7, 2017

owl journey


My first microdosing experience with San Pedro lasted a couple hours instead of the typical eight to ten hours of a full ceremony. And yet, the benefits of my shorter visit with Grandfather had still been profound, surprisingly so. Within the two hours spent lying on a river bank, the microdose produced spikes of deep journeying with unique visualizations. For example, never before had I actually seen San Pedro during an encounter. To finally see him for the first time during any session, full ceremony or microdose, signaled something significant to me.

Two months prior I had gotten the message from Mother Ayahuasca that I was "done for now" and should not participate in a planned third ceremony. For two months I respected that prescription and concentrated on drawing the many lessons received into my daily life. But I did not participate in any more plant medicine ceremonies. After two months, I felt a small whisper, an inkling of something, an overture to so much more.  A San Pedro microdose, I felt, would be a respectful way to go to the edge of full ceremony space to see if I was welcomed back by my plant spirit teachers. The intense visualizations I encountered were a definite, positive sign. I felt my respectful, mild return to the medicine was strongly validated as a good decision. Moreover, something was being initiated in a way that prompted me to seek out a deeper connection to the medicine.

Although the two major spikes during microdosing lasted only about twenty and ten minutes respectively, within them were timeless encounters far from the place in nature where I rested. I walked away from that experience with a deep sense that Grandfather had opened a door for me. New realms were there for me to explore, if only I had the will, the presence of grateful intention, and the openness of heart to make it so. To go any farther, though -- a full ceremony was in order. To go farther, more work would need to be done. As Grandfather had admonished with a chuckle -- "A bird that's afraid of heights?! What's with that?!"

On a bright morning I boarded a bus for an hour-long trip south of where I live. I entered a beautiful Ecuadorian valley and joined others for a ceremony that started at 10 am. All of us had a dose of the medicine large enough to keep us in sacred medicine space until a bright moon shined overhead around 8 pm. Seven of us drank the medicine that morning while the warm equatorial sun beat down and a soft breeze chased puffs of clouds over the distant panoply of colorful mountains. We each found our individual places on the property when the silent call to journey became strong enough to silence the group into meditation.

As is customary with my visits with Grandfather, my expanding instinct was to find a most uncomfortable spot to lie down on. A sign that my journey was about to deeply begin was when the uncomfortable spot melted into something cozy and most pleasant. Since I'd done ceremonies at this retreat center before, I presumed I already knew my favorite uncomfortable spot. It was a slab of rough textured concrete bordering a shady side of the house. And so I laid down, closed my eyes, started my usual deep, slow breathing, then focused on all the gratitudes that filled my life. I was ready to float away into the space where Grandfather had appeared to me the last time we spoke.

But Grandfather, as is often the case, surprised with something new, something discerning in revelation into oneself. One of my gratitudes involved all of the beautiful nature around me. As is usual in medicine space, one of my intentions was to connect with nature, become one with nature and encounter the individual trees and flowers around me as conscious expressions of source energy. Grandfather shook up my reverie on this and instructed me to stand up. I did so only to find I was being directed to a whole different section of the property, a place where I had not spent time in the medicine before.

I knew right away I needed to go among the citrus trees and thin grasses. There I should lie down -- there where hot filtered sunlight danced with shadows. There where the intermittent roar and bumping of trucks and buses and their gasping air brakes could not be avoided. There were the pulse of Latin beats from passing car windows mixed with the crow of roosters and the plaintive cries of the Pacific Hornero and shouts of neighboring farmers far off in their fields.

I laid down without blanket or padding, without consideration for insects or the rocks or rotting fruit scattered around. None of it mattered. I would be all right. I was certain of it in a way only Grandfather could convey. I needed to lie flat and touch the earth, touch it fully, as much as I could. I needed to be close enough to the grasses that my face could turn into them. I needed to be surrounded by the raw nature I said I wanted to connect to.  And I fully intended to connect in the way I usually did. But that was not meant to be. Grandfather made sure of it. He was about to bring it home in an overpowering lesson that shook me to my core while it unfolded upon so much more. It was to be an intense initiation, one I would struggle to cope with. One that would overwhelm me for the next four hours - and lingers in my soul even now.

between bliss and amnesia

Always in the past when experiencing plant medicines, I would see nature around me transform. It would glow, become iridescent, awaken with a consciousness that communicated directly with me. Tall trees by the river bank would joyously wave hello. The individual blades of grass would wiggle in delight as they turned their attention to me. Bushes and flowers and plants galore would acknowledge me, even speak to me and send loving feelings my way. It was a standard practice, a ritualistic truism that nature would transform like this once I was in the medicine space.

But down among the citrus trees, lying flat with my head turned sideways for a gaze into the sunlit grasses, I was about to embark on the most disturbing, challenging, the most terrifyingly energetic experience of my life. It started with all the trappings of nature around me transforming as I expected. The grasses at eye-level glowed iridescent and the dance of shadows from the trees above me conveyed a conscious joy at me noticing them noticing me. As always, it was as if a veil was lifting to reveal a stage full of happy actors, all playing their part in the grand cosmic wonderment called creation. But then, just as feeling gelled in place, Grandfather interrupted the reverie. He was frank, succinct, powerfully serious but with loving concern.

He whispered, "You think this is connecting with nature?"
He let me consider the question for a minute before adding, "This is not connection."

Another minute lengthened into eternity. Like a drip of hesitant honey falling into fire, all sense of time faded away, leaving behind a hypnotic now.  I felt a strange sensation, a lightness of spirit all the while my senses sharpened. I was hyper-aware of every aspect of the ground, the grasses, the buzz of insects, the rock pressing against my shoulder blade, the shifting leaves above me.

Finally, Grandfather's voice returned. It was no longer in whisper.
Loud and clear he announced with the firm gravitas of the ages, "I'll show you connection...!"

enveloped into ecstasy

What happened next began with full-on awe. It was most disorientating. Then it dialed-up an intensity that took me out of body while at the same time I was amazingly present with hyper-aware senses. It surpassed any concept of overwhelming. Another veil lifted, but this was nothing like and nowhere near the stage and actors of nature's creation I had imagined before. This was above the whole theater. This had left the sky even as a zillion impressions of life coalesced on my awareness. Blindingly clear, I was primal feeling as much as source action. I was completion as much as infinite process. I was soul death as much as ongoing birth. I was forever disappearing as much as becoming infinitely more. Everything was the same and everything was different. My eyes locked open in total amazement.

I entered a fugue state of rapturous disbelief - a total disbelief that I knew all of this so well, even as I shuddered and shook with an overload of energy received, an energy that needed no belief to exist in the truth. Incredibly, I was no longer looking at nature around me. I was no longer feeling its presence. The dawning truth shined golden everywhere and the light of it was the light of me. I looked out but was feeling myself in what I saw. Looking at myself, sensing myself in every motion around me reverberated through me as joy. I was the nature I had tried to connect to. There was nothing but me even as the me I knew melted away in the heat of golden bliss. By being myself, by awakening to it, I was the many and the one, the always was. But it didn't end there. The most startling part, the experience I couldn't cope with -- was yet to come.

Time made no sense. I don't know how long I shook and shivered on the ground, staring into unity, falling into source, shaking uncontrollably as the feeling of total joy bathed me in my awakening essence. The knowledge crystallized at my core -- how utterly, stupidly foolish to think that saying hello to trees and talking to flowers constituted a connection to nature! The difference of that with true connection was not even orders of magnitude greater -- there was and could be no measurement for how dissimilar the two really were. Awakening to being one with all around me, to feeling it, to being it, wasn't the worst part of not being able to cope. The worse part was trying to handle the energy-rush of rapt soul-pleasure vibrating in that pool of beatific wholeness. I couldn't handle it. It was too much. I was drowning in ecstasy. I was buzzing with infinite volts. It was too much joy, too much love, too much sense of home, family, belonging, completion.

Grandfather let me shiver and shake with the overload for quite a while.
Then he whispered, "If you want to fly with me --- you're going to have to learn how to accept ecstasy." He paused and the feeling intensified even more as he added, "You're going to have to learn how to accept love. Ecstasy and love - they're the same." The odyssey of the four-hour lesson had just begun. 

I had hoped that the simulation of flight shown to me in the microdosing experience might be extended and enhanced into real flight in a full ceremony. But there was no way I was flying today. It was certain as I shivered and shook in place, lying on my back and twisting onto my side -- flight with Grandfather was not possible until I completed his ground school. And the hardest lesson was the first lesson -- be comfortable with the ecstasy that waking up to all oneself entails. Once you wake up, all of it becomes you and energetic limiters are gone. It was made clear -- I couldn't be overwhelmed and fly.

one with nature

Grandfather kept me in that space -- that extreme flow of energy, that ultimate intensity of ecstasy. He wouldn't let me shut down. Far from it, he coaxed me to open up more, to let go and allow more in. He repeatedly implored me with his whispers to --- "Wake Up!"  A lucent understanding expanded as shimmering awareness -- I was in a self-imposed coma and was dreaming my limitations. "WAKE UP! You've been in a place where it's possible to dis-invent love. You have the amnesia of the belief and ideas of that place. Wake up and return to who you are!"

I was beside myself in astonishment and perplexing perspectives. I was stunned with ecstasy and couldn't imagine why there would ever be a place where dis-inventing love was even a possibility. Grandfather spun my perceptions so fast that all their boundaries flew off and disintegrated. I merged with an infinite creation that included all infinities of possible options -- one being a place where love could be dis-invented. 

In the oneness, the ecstasy, the love, was an intelligence I couldn't fathom because I hadn't fully let go and woken up. But as far as I was able to manage, I was becoming one with an infinite creation containing all possibilities. Resplendent in that view was the understanding that infinite creation explores the fractal depths of all of it, every single probability in its fullest expression. In doing so, it finds even more ecstasy in the playful adventure, the joyful journey, the surprising discovery of even more infinities contained within itself. But creation cannot truly explore a possibility where love can be dis-invented unless it goes there with a solid amnesia of its true nature. Otherwise it wouldn't work. Whatever possibilities it explores has to be totally real in order to explore it. And so, one can only explore and understand some realms by going into the game of amnesia where one truly believes and the rules of those realms exist for all creation, even if they don't. They exist for real and don't exist for real simultaneously. It's the ultimate suspension of disbelief, the grand game within the cosmic play, all in order to have the experience.

Grandfather was adamant and very insistent -- part of the infinity of possibilities of creation was making the game so real that it became possible for one to get lost in it and couldn't get out. Some infinities resulted in realms where one could go down the rabbit hole and never escape the game, never wake up from the journey, never reunite with the overarching source energy of love. Since creation contains all possibilities, these realms will always exist and source energy will always flow in and through them. But Grandfather made it absolutely clear -- the only way one escaped from those realms of amnesia necessary for proper exploration was to hang onto love -- love was the only lifeline, the only thing real in these realms, the one thing we could trust to lead us back out of the rabbit hole to the full measure of who we are. This, of course, is counter-intuitive in a place where love itself can be dis-invented. Hang onto the thing that might not exist? Not exist -- unless we make it so. And so the game goes. Again he shot me through-and-through with more ecstasy, like an EMT applying electrically-charged paddles to a emergency room patient whose heart had stopped beating. Again and again the charge of ecstasy jolted me into flashes of soul-source consciousness --  "WAKE UP! You've been in a place where it's possible to dis-invent love. You have the amnesia of the belief and ideas of that place. Wake up and return to who you are!"

The machinations of my mind raced with all that was happening. A million questions flooded my mental space, even if that mental space seemed now separate from who and where I was. The questions wouldn't stop -- why would anyone want to play such a game --- what was the point to all of it?  Grandfather gathered up the totality of my mind, my mental space and showed it to me, away from me, as just another part of the rabbit hole, another part of what kept me in the amnesia. "Let that go!" he ordered. "All your questions, all need for what you think is meaning and purpose and a final explanation for the universe -- let it go! All of it is just another way the amnesia keeps you spinning within the drama of forgetfulness. When you wake up, you take none of that with you!

In that moment, I felt a state of being where all our thoughts, our questions, our philosophies, our need for answers and purpose spiral down from reality and evaporate. All of it is a symptom of the amnesia we can choose to awaken from. But it's our choice. For those who want to stay within the experience of the realms where love can be dis-invented, that energy can cycle in there forever if we wish. The key is - we don't have to. It's as easy as waking up. But to wake up fully, we need to be able to exist in the state of completeness, of unity, of unbounded ecstasy - the other name for love, and realize that everything real is contained there. 

It's as easy as waking up -- but easy can be the hardest option when the snares of experience have one convinced it must be another way. This place convinces us -- nothing is that simple. Nothing is that complete and joyful. After all, what is the dream and what is wakefulness? When both are equally real, there can be no difference. No way is it possible to simply become the ecstasy we always were and always will be. Perhaps that happy place is the dream, the coma, the snare of forgetfulness. The place where love disappears is so real. There can be no way to conceive there's a way it's not. But what if it had to be that way to experience it - to experience everything in ourselves, an infinity of creative options forever finding the expanding depths of itself. One of those options is the one and the many. Yes, maybe everything is one, but another possibility of creation is the one separating into an infinity of individuals. Each one of the infinite-many explores all the possible options individually, eternally unfolding onto more. The creative possibilities of infinite perspectives from the source also had to be explored. Explored in their separate reality, even if the many is still the one. Until I got a glimpse and feeling of the infinity and creation I was, unless I knew to my core the ultimate understanding possible to be had there, there could be no answers. 

But I felt these were the answers. Grandfather had laid it all out so completely, so beautifully -- the reasons for the game, the suspension of disbelief to have the experience, the joy at the unending range of possibilities to find, the necessary reasons why we lose ourselves in places it seems we shouldn't be. Grandfather had made it all so clear -- but then he came back at me with a smile in his voice and proceeded to blow all of it away. "This too is only a thought, a philosophy, an aphorism pretending to be enlightenment. The true purpose, the real meaning, the final wisdom -- it's not something to figure out. Trying to explain it is to get lost in it." Grandfather implored me again, "Let it go! When you wake up, you take none of that with you!"

tribal boy

Suddenly, he showed me a native boy who had been kidnapped by a neighboring tribe and severely mistreated during his formative years. The boy had experienced no love growing up, never felt he belonged or had a sense of family. The boy gave no thought to any other way of being. As far as he was concerned, anything else for him didn't exist. And then one day his tribe rescued him. Joyously, he was returned to his home space, surrounded by jubilant members of his tribe. They hugged him and gave him food and a blanket and tried to care for him. But their loving attention was so foreign to him, he recoiled at all of it, overwhelmed. The trauma of the place he had been imprinted on him. He suffered from strong amnesia of his proper place within the tribe. The love and caring that was normal behavior for his true family and friends did nothing but overwhelm him at first. It took time for him to let go of the past place he had been in and embrace his true heritage and nature. Grandfather showed me how I was like that boy in that I too had been to a place that falsely imprinted an identity and a presumed way of life. He made me feel how my tribe was now gathered around me with joyful hope and delightful promise that I'd be waking up soon and returning to the unity of them, the unity of myself.

But the lesson didn't end there. As the ecstasy flowed through me and I sent love back into the unity, Grandfather expanded my assumptions about what Nature was. He took me beyond the citrus trees and grasses and flowers to the sky and stars and surprises beyond the stars. They too were Nature -- the Nature that was me, the unity of ecstasy and love. Finally, he impressed upon me how communion with other people was also part of this Nature -- the Nature of life in general. In reality, all things are contained in Nature and the ecstatic energy of me, of what I was feeling. In fact, the more I extended my ecstatic energy throughout all of Nature, especially to the nature of being with other people, the more I united with myself in blissful wakefulness.

It was then he roused me from four hours under the trees and implored me to go mingle with people, go see if there was anyone at a proper place in their journey to want to enjoy some together time and conversation. It was unlike me to do such a thing in the middle of my journey but Grandfather made it an imperative. And so I got up and strolled out from the trees to the house's wide front porch. Two other ceremony participants were there. For one of them, this day was his first experience with San Pedro. It was a blessing, an example of all Grandfather was teaching, when this newbie participant stood in awe of the colors and moving shadows on the mountains in the distance. Repeatedly he gasped an incredulous "Wow!"  He too was feeling the zap of ecstasy at encountering the self-aligned beauty of love contained in all. He mumbled under his breath an almost silent "Thank You!"  I couldn't help but add, "Gratitude is the key -- gratitude will always bring out more Wow!"  What ensued next was good conversation and laughter until the medicine once again took each of us our separate ways. In this, Grandfather was showing me how to extend the ecstatic energy felt under the trees into my interactions with people. Once again he implored me to take note --  "It's all a part of waking up...expand your communion with Nature to everything!"

I shed my shoes and socks and returned to lie down in the grasses under the citrus trees, the place where my ecstatic wake-up call had begun many hours before. I stayed there, blissfully floating until after sunset. By 7pm, the medicine was still strong within me. The intense buzz of ecstatic energy still floated me from place to place in my strolls about the property. At one point I stood on the front porch and listened to the joy of the locals playing futbol in the distance. A bit later, with twilight still warm and orangey-golden in the west, I found a slab of concrete out back and laid down. High above me, a 3/4 moon shone as the glow of fading sunlight let darker blues deepen. Magically it seemed, patches of stars shined bright at me then alternately receded into the blue. In playful dalliance it continued, stars taking turns shining bright. A silent dance of starlight and moonlight ensued, feeding my reverie and guiding my re-entry back to Earth until dinner was served.

After dinner, we all drew angel cards for a reading. As is my custom, I only wanted one card to be an overall comment on my day. The card I drew was Gentleness -- "Be very gentle with yourself at this time. Surround yourself with gentle people, situations, and environments.”  I wasn't quite sure if that card was comment on my day or a prescription for how to move forward in days to come. So I picked one more card. The card turned out to be Prosperity -- "Your material needs are provided as you follow your intuition and manifest your dreams into reality. I’m pouring a cornucopia of prosperity upon you and your life, and ask that you open your arms to receive. Some of the treasures will come in the form of brilliant ideas, and some will come as opportunities. We’ll work together to realize your highest dreams, and I ask that you give any worries to me. God and I love you very much, and are happy to help you in this way. We know that you’ll pass along the goodness to others as well.” I had definitely experienced a cornucopia of ecstasy and love pouring over and through me during the day. I could certainly see how I was rich in the blessings of where I had been and the awakening bliss I had encountered. As Grandfather had told me,
"If you want to fly with me --- you're going to have to learn how to accept ecstasy."

Afterwards, a friend and I shared some Yopo rapé, which only sharpened my senses again and pulled me solidly into the moment. Expansive lessons continued unfolding, enlarging my heart-space with crystal clarity. Some of us stayed on the patio until 4am sharing stories and music. It was quite a day, an incredible ceremony, and of course it ended with me going to sleep. But going to sleep now holds a special significance for me, each time I do it. It reminds me how through my energy, my actions, my awareness and love -- I can find the lifeline of love, and in doing so, grasp the only way to be a success at ground school. It is up to me to wake up and embrace the ecstasy and love of who we are. Once I manage that, what a wondrous thing it will be to finally fly with Grandfather.


Sunday, August 6, 2017

park man
Wandering man in Vilcabamba

how people appear
all depends on how we look at them --

-- the slightest movement in our filters
changes everything--

oranges for sale
Oranges for Sale
-- focused just right,
the who we photograph
 is included in what we are --

adjust the lens
and see oneself,
then act accordingly

Tuesday, August 1, 2017

Grandfather San Pedro


Once contacted, plant spirits stay with you. If you are open to the connection. A constant need for the medicine is far from the true, ongoing experience. Altered-state meditative whispers from Grandfather San Pedro and Mother Ayahuasca linger long after the ceremonial fire has become earthen ash. But now and then, the call for a closer dialogue, a deeper heart-to-heart with the plant teachers appears. The sense of it is not unlike the emotive release and wistful reflection given to the anticipation of a visit with distant family members.

The prospect of microdosing the San Pedro medicine as a means to connect with Grandfather was intriguing to me but I was not convinced.  The prospect of almost connecting, nearly a journey, a little bit into spirit space, if that's what we're talking about, didn't seem promising. Who wants to call a dear relative and attempt a conversation over a bad connection? Who wants to journey to spectacular-spectacular and be content with a black-and-white 2D view? Would a little bit of medicine be effective? Maybe some things couldn't be phased that way. You don't risk the rocket ride for a sub-orbital flight. Deep experiences are only achieved with escape velocity. Is this true? I wanted to find out.

My first microdose was alongside a river in an urban setting with my wife holding the space for me and not microdosing. In any setting but especially an urban one, it is always advised to have someone in attendance who takes no medicine and is prepared for contingencies. I was told that eight capsules was a full ceremonial dose, so I took two capsules and lay down under a canopy of breeze-blown trees and listened to the rushing waters. Over the next half hour I calmed, became more relaxed, and felt more meditative. Other than that, I felt nothing out of the ordinary. Soon, the reverie expanded to include all the wondrous aspects of nature surrounding me.  The trees were not only alive, but conscious. The river was not only flowing, but progressing with a presence and pneuma that was animated beyond the physical.

I turned on my side to daydream on the mesmerizing cascade. My spirit shared the space with mind. And as mind drifted, always busy, forever processing, a slide into a quick thought pulled my focus. I wondered if I was too close to the edge. Might, at any moment, I lose my sense of balance and fall over the river's bank, down several feet to the water and rocks below. Instantly, a telepathic presence intervened. A past lesson expanded throughout mind -- "Recognize and interrupt. Why go there? Why anticipate the worse and dwell on fears? No fear! No drama!

Surrounded by such beauty, there was no need for such thoughts. I was fine. I was safe. Instead of conjuring up dark hypotheticals and worrisome probabilities, I could merge with conscious nature forever all around. This was my first indication that Grandfather was near.

Looking up from the rushing waters, my gaze swept the tall trees. They seemed to wave to me. They appeared playful. They were overjoyed that I now was able to notice them, truly notice them. Like a kindred spirit being welcomed back into a loving fold, I was welcomed by their swaying branches, by the glowing grasses, by the fragrant flowers. Soon, the grinding of mind faded into the background. I turned onto my back and let my upward gaze flood with motions and colors, all from nature. As I did, I felt heavier once again, more in my body, back to a place of normal. It had been a slight slide into the medicine, a soft overture of what was to come. The sun's position was shifting and would soon leave me without shade. I got up and found another spot to lie down farther along the river bank.

In time, I closed my eyes and concentrated on all the present gratitudes I could express. In and out I pulled deep, slow breaths. It seemed all effects of the medicine had lifted. Now I was simply meditating. Once again I was merely calm, peaceful, relaxed. Once again I noted the passage of time as something that existed. I checked to see what time it was. The fact that I gave any credence to time existing was a sure sign I had left medicine space. But at some low level, the medicine was maintaining an open channel.

With eyes closed, sounds took on new significance. City streets and passing traffic were close by, as was a walking path where locals passed. I was about to encounter my first spike into elsewhere. It began when simultaneously I floated away and city sounds faded into a feathery silence. My senses were vastly augmented and yet they perceived nothing - at first. Then, like a movie fading in, a panorama opened up behind my closed eyes.

I was blazing a trail near the summit of a lofty, rounded peak, somewhere in foreign, resplendent mountains. I was not watching this. I was there. A clear, fresh breeze swept past me as I stepped in view of the summit. Right away, a solitary figure caught my eye. He was a cacao-dark-skinned man, mid-40's, strong and vital with a shock of black hair and a broad smile pointed in my direction. His clothes were finely crafted but home-made. He wore sandals, pants, and a rough-hewn slip-over shirt with leather-lace ties dangling loose from an open V-neck. His arms were open in welcome. He slowly stepped towards me. He was all warmth, love, and enjoyment of the moment. His eyes sparkled with clear sight and a generous sense of humor. I felt instantly this was Grandfather. 

He was as much amused as lovingly delighted with my arrival.

"You made it!" he shouted over the wind gusts. 
"You're at the top ---" he swept his hands wider to each side, 
"As you see, there's nothing here. No lessons. No great thing to possess. Nothing to do --" his gaze favored one side to consider the open spaces and the nearby drops into deep valleys.
His smile widened, "Nothing to do but fly!"

I stopped a few feet from him, amazed at the encounter and taking in the expansive 360-view. Nearby were drops of thousands of feet into valleys shrouded in mists and shadow. The sun was halfway down in the west. Across the valleys, other distant peaks rose to our level. The ridge lines and slopes were carpeted in browns and greens. In places, small white lines indicated gigantic waterfalls in the distance.

Grandfather was in the best of humor. He was overjoyed and amused, filled with friendship and love, but strong in what was true in the moment. He tilted his head a little and considered me.
"Nothing to do up here but fly -- but not for you today -- you don't have your wings on."

He gave his head a little shake and chuckled with high spirits mixed with compassion.
"What the fuck! A bird that's afraid of heights!? What's with that!?"

His chuckle erupted into a short laugh. His demeanor was accepting, supportive, encouraging, and non-judgmental. He wanted nothing but the best for me. He knew what I was capable of -- what everyone was capable of. It was another healing, the melting away of another layer of fear and self-doubt. He was the drill instructor, the coach, the father who knew how to motivate one into their best. He drew closer with invigorated purpose. 
"Today you can't fly -- but we can simulate something..."

Immediately, the scene changed. I was no longer on the mountain top. I was soaring over a meadow of tall grasses, wildflowers, and golden shimmers through the shady branches of nearby tall trees. My POV was that of a bird flying fast and low over a verdant field. If this was only a simulation, I gasped at what the real thing must be like. My initial shock at entering the frame at full speed subsided and I relaxed into the sense of it. And just as the relaxation filled me, the meadow opened up into a straightaway void of trees where maximum speed could be applied. Inches above the waving tall grasses and flowers, I shot forward, picking up speed.

And then it happened. The bottom dropped out. The grassy field ended. I had abruptly reached the edge of a cliff. Suddenly, at top speed, I shot out over the edge. A drop-off thousands of feet lay below me. The great valley depressions sank away into the mists and shadows. I was no longer low over a field. Instantly I was soaring at a great height. The shock of it took my breath away. I froze my wings in place in reflex. Grandfather's simulation had fooled me into confronting great heights. His words echoed back to me --- "What the fuck! A bird that's afraid of heights!? What's with that?!"

There was no turning back. I was zooming forward through a vast expanse of open sky with the nearest patch of Earth a mile below. I felt the rush of air. I sensed the slight changes in my physical attitude as the horizon line shifted higher to one side, then the other. I maintained a locked, fully open position of my wings. 

Then Grandfather's elated whisper was heard.
"Hold perfectly still and feel how fast you can go!"
He wanted me to entrain the feeling, to make it beyond second-nature.
It was my nature. All I needed to do was realize what once was, what always was.
He whispered again, "You can go so fast, so far, and be so still!"
My trajectory was angled slightly down. The distant peaks were gaining in altitude over me. I was heading for the shadows.

Grandfather added, "The slightest movement changes everything!"
The simulation took over and changed the bend of my wings.
I felt slightly greater wind resistance -- but now, ever so slowly, I was climbing. 

"Remember - the slightest movement."
Another slight change was added -- one wing curled up at the tip.
Immediately, my slight climb began curving ever so slowly to one side.

I felt Grandfather give me total control of the simulation.
I returned to the locked and fully open wing position.
Again I wanted to be perfectly still yet feel all at once incredible speed.
The seeming paradox was not lost on me.
The fact that through my experience I was resolving the paradox,
in fact seeing how to use the paradox to soar,
and in doing so, gaining a widening perspective of all that was possible,
it left me in wonder and awe.

I felt there was more to this I needed to grasp.
But the rush of it was overpowering.
I could not reflect. I simply needed to be.

But the desire to understand got in the way of letting go.
The scene quickly faded. I was once again behind closed eyes.
The feathery silence faded. City sounds returned from far away.
I was back along the river like a kindred spirit being welcomed back into a loving fold by swaying branches, glowing grasses, and waving flowers. I felt heavier once again, more in my body, back to a place of normal. It seemed all effects of the medicine had lifted. Now I was simply meditating. Once again I was merely calm, peaceful, relaxed. Once again I noted the passage of time. I checked the time.  The entire spike had lasted fifteen minutes even though it felt timeless.

There was a long stretch of deep meditation, then soothing relaxation but little else. I remained quiet and focused on nature and my deep, slow breathing. Nearly a half hour passed before I felt a need to settle back and close my eyes again. This time the spike began with a profound sense of floating. At first I couldn't tell in which direction, then it was clear I was settling down somewhere. The lower I floated, the more the next setting faded into view.  

Now a tiny feather from a bird, I floated down and landed in the middle of the rushing river. Right away I was swept along in the current. Up and down and around rocks I surged forward. In time, I felt myself merge with the river in a way that I had become the river and was no longer a feather. There was nothing but the energy, the enthusiasm, the spirit presence of being complete in advancing the flow. The flow was fun, the flow was a dance, the flow was all. The spirit of the waters rushed forward. As it did, a moment of mind poked in, considering the destination of its flow. If I was a river, all rivers come to an end.

Immediately, a telepathic presence intervened. A past lesson expanded throughout mind -- recognize and interrupt. I shot straight up, away from the river. I was the bird again. My vantage point was climbing ever higher as I followed the flow of the river. I could immediately see where the river was going. It seemed obvious that all rivers come to an end. Then Grandfather's voice returned.
"It doesn't end! It becomes so much more!"

I locked wings and held perfectly still. I felt my speed quicken.
I was nearly at the river's delta. There it merged with a gigantic ocean.
Without moving a wing, I shot forward, out over the ocean.
The endless waters wrapped over the far horizon.
I was astounded at the immensity of it all.
Around me was endless sky, boundless waters.
With such a view, none of my tremendous speed could be detected.
It was as if I was in a state of suspended animation,
going everywhere at once, without moving.

The scene quickly faded. I was once again behind closed eyes.
The feathery silence faded. City sounds returned from far away.
I was back along the river like a kindred spirit being welcomed back into a loving fold by swaying branches, glowing grasses, and waving flowers. I was heavier, more in my body, back to a place of normal. I was simply meditating. Once again I was calm, peaceful, relaxed. Once again I noted the passage of time. I checked the time.  The entire spike had lasted ten minutes. It felt timeless.

I relaxed in place for a while afterwards, still feeling a conscious communion with nature around me. It was getting to be mid-afternoon and a chilly wind was blowing out of the east. My wife and I decided to head home. The walk back through city streets seemed to be the real, other-worldly place. I could easily function and navigate crooked sidewalks and dashes across streets in between traffic. We even stopped at a bakery on the way home to purchase some rolls and coffee cake.

I felt I could have stayed a bit longer in the medicine but it was easy to suppress it at that point. The effects were quickly winding down. And so my initial foray into microdosing came to an end. I had wondered if the experience would be short and not very deep. What I encountered was two hours of deep meditation punctuated by deep spikes into journey-space that lasted nearly fifteen minutes each time. The duration of the spikes isn't the important thing. It was either the depths or the heights they reached that really took me by surprise.

Who knew I would encounter Grandfather face-to-face. Who could have guessed that such visuals and journeying could happen on a fraction of a full dose. Far from being a mild experience, I found microdosing San Pedro an equally profound way of reaching ceremony space levels. In ceremony, I would be at these spike levels for hours at a time, not minutes -- but since the passage of time doesn't exist while you're with Grandfather, it isn't a problem. With the medicine, a long journey can happen in minutes or seconds, just as assuredly as in hours. A change of heart takes no time at all.

"The slightest movement changes everything!"