“I seriously just don’t know what to say in groups, I get anxiety. I never have anything to say! Girls at the bar can be hostile. Like why did you get all dressed up and come to the bar, to sit there facing your girlfriend all night?” I caught my breath and gazed into the bookcase, avoiding eye contact. The Interpretation of Dreams by Sigmund Freud was jutting out.
“Peter, I don’t think it is that you don’t have anything to say…… it is that you have so much to say.” He said, adjusting his glasses.
I paused, let his words sink in, mulled it over for 10 seconds.
“Good point.” I said.
“I come here and these 45 minute sessions feel like 20 minutes. It’s like I enter a black hole in this office. The universe is shrinking time to hint that what I blab here about is complete and utter bullshit. ” I said .
“Where do you think that feeling originates? The idea that what you say is all bullshit?” He said.
“Pshhhhh! Here we go again…” I flop my arms on my lap and crane my neck up at the ceiling.
Is therapy just running around in circles, venting my first world problems like a whiny child? Dancing usually helps me feel better. I’m getting a little better at something I used to be phobically terrified to do unless I was sufficiently blasted on vodka. There are many things in this world that I can’t think my way out of, I have to ACT. What would being the best writer in the world mean if I didn’t have the capacity to find another heart to reflect any or a part of what’s in my heart? This heart’s has to find its most divine expression through another. No way around that Pete! No existential pretentious intellectualizing my way out of that one! Get out of the house, its Saturday night!
“Was it Allie?” I craned my neck to project my voice across three empty seats before class starts.
“oh, it’s Lauren.” Lauren smiles and blushes a bit. You idiot, never mess with names when you don’t know them. Nod, smile, get through this….
A French girl sits behind me in class as the class ruffles and shuffles in the few minutes before start. “Hi, I’m Agette.”
“Was it baguette?” Did I really just say that? The teacher begins to speak and the class goes silent. Physiological affects of shame reverberate through my body (sweat, increased heart rate, stomach sinks and a feeling of gloom consumes me. Breathe. Breathe.)
I blurt inane words to fill silence that doesn’t need to be filled. My anxiety blinds me like the chicken running around for ten seconds as he bleeds out after losing his head. Why not take 3 seconds to breathe, Pete? Smiling and emoting feels like an Olympic level competition for me most days. The extroverts are Hitler youth, they can’t tolerate some who doesn’t say “Great! You?” when they ask “How are you doing?”. We should all smile our puppet drawn smiles and be POLITE, Yeah! let’s play pretend because we are all repressed and refuse to confront our subconscious and shadow side. Because God knows we all got one, so cut the fucking goody two shoes act.
God hath no fury like wrath of those who desire to persist in their delusions. I know because I am one of these deluded zombies that is striving to wake up from this silly dream of life. I should be in a mental ward or living alone in the mountains with all my fantasies and intuition. If I was smart I’d get on the road cross country, the clock is ticking down. The grim reaper is coming. I dream of a world with Psilocybin and Ayahuasca retreat centers. Depressed and traumatized, bipolar, schizophrenia, and those run of the mill mental maladies arising from over-modernization and severed social ties from this sanitized, robotic, group-think machine we call “culture” could get heart and soul-level healing.
I find depression to be a completely reasonable reaction to a society of money hungry parasites who will shoot you dead in the street to make a buck. Today, a 15 year-old girl gave a spiel about having nothing to eat and nowhere to sleep in a subway car. One guy groaned in irritation. I watched her walk from one end of the car to the other, soliciting donations and not one single person gave her money. I didn’t lift a finger. How pathetic…. be born into a family that makes money, lazy ass! I watched it all happen and got on the peer pressure bandwagon to not have be a step out of line and ENABLING the destitute girl. New York City has everything. The fabulously wealthy and the dirt poor. There is a certain veil one can wear which dulls some of the blinding light of those in need on the subway. The result is feeling more alienated and absolving myself of responsibility of all the smelly poor people on the subway because, I can’t save all of them all, right? Once in a while, it gets through the veil and I can feel some of the person’s pain, and I still do nothing, just keep my head down and keep walking. Giving money is OK, but its largely an empty gesture anyway. I could volunteer, but I’d rather watch TV.
Why can’t it just be easy? Why can’t the girlfriend just come into my life. Why can’t the money just show up in my account? I had such high hopes over the summer, all the quiet in nature and meditation.
In my dream the other night I was flailing, trying to grab a pair of sunglasses that had dropped into the ocean. I had to jump back in and my cousin was extending his arm out to me, after I plunged out into the murky waters. These ocean dreams are what C.G. Jung calls wading into the subconscious, indicating that one is delving into repressed items of strong emotional content. Is it possible that so many people are in pain that pain and repression is the norm and it is silently discouraged in many contexts to open your heart?
I can’t change anything besides myself. Time and space is a fabrication of the human mind. We are infinite and God’s love is infinite. What else is there to cover? What about a life where everyone woke up to what the psychedelic experience had to say about our one unified consciousness, when do we fight for that? How do we fight for that? We do not live in a democracy and we never have.
We walked down a desolate dead-end in Brooklyn to enter the Horizons: Perspectives in Psychedelics after-party for the conference in New York city where researchers from around the U.S. presented their findings and experience.
“You don’t seem like a typical psychedelics dude.” Tom said, as we strolled down the block.
“I know, it’s a gift that I was turned onto it though. Couple years ago I would’ve said I don’t fit in with these counter-culture and fringe people. Now I see its a gift though. That me, a conservative, straight-edged white dude, can be accepted by this community. Because this is stuff that I want normalized so it can get to everyone.”
Two years ago I may have been thrown into a tailspin by his comment. Now, I felt grateful. Yeah, I’m the clean cut white guy, and I feel glad that I’m different, because we can all be accepted in this movement. And part of the reason I can accept my uniqueness is part and parcel of what psychedelics gave me. We need more straight edged white dudes, millionaires, the destitute, black, brown, asian, every culture and race on this earth could benefit, it would make us realize whats at our cores is all the same, and that is beaming, infinite and beautiful.
It saddens me that people that embrace psychedelics and their healing and eye-opening powers, tend mostly to be only the counter-culture or the radicals, the free spirits, the expressive ones, and of course there are the ones who abuse it too much and give them a bad name. We need more people from the mainstream to come out about this stuff. This can and will become mainstream in my lifetime, because you can’t stop the love that it shows you. Love is the foundational force and makeup of this universe therefore there is no opposite, there is only infinitely forgiving love and its taking over. The tides are changing.
As we neared the subway entrance, that my date would depart on and would go our separate ways after a fast blow by blow type of conversation where I felt like I was in fight-or-flight mode for 2 hours, lively if not a bit hyperactive conversation.
“Can I ask you something? Do you still think I’m shy, after our whole conversation and all?” I said.
“No, I made that comment at the beginning because I thought you seemed a bit Shattah’ed (shattered-British) and I thought you were acting shy when we first met. I couldn’t tell if you were a bit smug or what.”
I smiled wide.
The disconnect, my blindspot: I think I am shy, sensitive, gentle person and that it should be immediately apparent. This English girl thought I came off as smug, uptight, condescending even. I need to hear this to be successful as a therapist. I need to be shown the many caves and crevasses of my flaws hidden away from my awareness that drive and bias my interactions. I tend to think people should be telepathic and realize that I am sensitive or shy, or a kind soul. But newsflash, people can’t read my mind, as my narcissistic self wants to think. She didn’t respond to any texts after that.
I have something to say. I want to contribute to humanity. Is there someone or something I am willing to die for? If not then maybe I will not experience the highest form of ecstasy and transcendence, which is being absorbed into a greater whole bonded by a love so strong that death can’t touch it.
I want people to see what I see. I want people to grasp, if only a small chunk of the beautiful, the horrid, the awe-inspiring things I feel in my heart. It’s not going to happen the way I want it to, Because a lot of what is driving me is ego, it is the monster I battle with on a daily basis. My ego wants to command and consume everything and hijack my love, it wants to scorn humility to feed its ravenous hunger for status and separateness. Today I go to battle with it. I don’t listen to this evil entity that is so pernicious that it has caused me to believe its appetites are my own.
I sit quietly and breath and I am reminded of the higher source. That all-consuming yet invisible, beautiful place that we all have access to. The Tao: that which will never change. Our essence is eternal and unchanging and I can only go towards this by getting off the treadmill. Our optimal functioning state is non-attachment, sitting and watching the waves slowly build in the ocean and then crash on the shore, and not being convinced that rising, falling, succeeding, failing means anything. The source wants to remind I’m perfect and that advertising, rule-based and punitive religions have tried to convince me I am some lowly and dirty animal that needs to buy into their ideology or product. The brain is the office operation, the underlings and subordinates have offices there and we mistake it for being the command center. The heart is running the show. I forgot that for a very long time and I’m glad I’m aware of the constant battle the brain and ego undertake to try to steal the reins from the heart because I am waking up to what’s real and what’s fake.
Even if I am many years from actualizing this in a loving relationship, the seismic shift below my surface is happening every day. My heart is leading the way. I am realizing that all my problems stemmed from an alienation from my heart. That I’ve been keeping my inner scared child in a dungeon in the basement of my subconscious. Now daily, I calmly, invite the scared child, who learned somewhere along the way to keep up a facade and deflect away others’ love. I am re-learning what love is, that is, how to love myself. I think I missed a critical period in the emotional maturation period of the heart. As a shy and shut in adolescent. “It is never too late to be what I’ve always wanted to be.” as F. Scott Fitzgerald says. Today, I will rise above the negative voices. You’re worthless, you’re gutless, you’re a loner with nothing to contribute, you can’t help anyone, no one loves you. To take the gift of a heart that has always had love to give, being in this body is a gift, life is miraculous and to squander the gift of life and love, any day of my life is a tragedy. For all of us.