Monday, August 7, 2017
BLISS OR AMNESIA IN AVIATION GROUND SCHOOL
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.
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...!"
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.
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!"
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.