Tuesday, August 1, 2017
BY THE RIVER, SPIKES INTO ELSEWHERE
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!"