Meditation alters my brain chemistry, it leaves me feeling lighter, less judgmental, more forgiving and less quick to react angrily. It alters my mindset to a more calm, compassionate, and peaceful state. I see it is as weightlifting or cardio for the mind. Each time I recognize my mind has wandered and I return to focus on breath for the thousandth time, the muscle is strengthened, and I continue to daydream, zone out, and reel it back in, over and over. It is kind of like letting these hyperactive and radioactive thought storms rage and exhaust themselves in the silence and then when 20 minutes or so passes, they start to abate just a little bit and I realize on some level that it is a merry-go-round of delusion and that is just how the machine of my mind works, I’m not so different or special or malfunctioning. I need the silence and stillness to be aware of the raging swarm of bees that is my mind. When I deprive the swarm of anything to latch onto with attention, when they are bored and absent of distraction they will tire out and I realize the never ending parasitic nature of thoughts. I begin to take anxious thoughts less personally because we have evolved to reproduce, eat, survive. I will never stop nagging thoughts, I will detach from them and find the essential part of me beneath them. Thoughts are not me, they are a side effect of being a feeble flesh earthly primate.
I use meditation and deep breathing as a means to alter my emotional architecture, that at first seems fixed, like steel beams holding up a sky scraper, but when I breath, with my eyes closed, I realize these emotions are contained in a storm. It is a weather system, and to attempt to control weather is futile. To approach my mental life with the attitude of being essentially a military commander than can defend this skyscraper and massive steel beams with machine gun fire and rockets and more force, more resistance, more rules: how wasted and imaginary it is. (This is basically the foundation of Cognitive Behavioral Therapy).
These thoughts aren’t mine. “Thoughts think themselves.” My body is in this soul, it is not the other way around, it is not that my soul is in this body. My spirit and the pure love that it is composed of, is running the show. The divine God is expressing himself creatively through me. I am a speck in the infinite field of consciousness, I am lucky to have a tiny sliver of the .00000000000000000000000001% of the self-aware consciousness.
When I am alone for 3 hours, feeling restless, feeling irritable, feeling cabin fever. feeling fear of missing out, I am ready to jump out of my skin, run to some distraction, run out to meet a friend at a bar. I meditate for 20 minutes and I feel less alone. I feel more at home in my body that I was trying to exit 5 minutes before through any and all modes of distraction, TV, music, reading, a party. I sit on two pillows, with my legs crossed in a pretzel position, I try my best to straighten my spine and keep my head upright. I breathe deeply for the first minute or so, and then rest into a more natural rhythm, focusing on the sensation of the breath coming in and going out.
I feel less alone, more centered in this body. This practice is feeding the part of me that is spirit, that needs to be fed, that needs to link up and tune in to the channel of the higher consciousness, to remember and be reminded every day that I am a part of the greater ocean of consciousness. To not forget, because my earthly machinery is designed in a way that I will forget that I came from spirit. Feed the spirit, tune in with the mothership, or just remember my connection to all things in the conscious field, living and dead, what if love is the only thing that can transcend realms? Does that make it the only thing that is “real”, in that it exists in the spirit realm and the realm of the living?
What about the psychedelic experience, as I sit here today, still terrifies me? I don’t imagine that fear will ever completely go away as it is inherent in psychedelics. There is the continual pulling back of the veil of delusion, continually returning to truth as our primate brains will wander further into the illusions of objects, ego, masks. Meditation is going down the same road of deprogramming, it just takes a bit longer to get there but can still be very effective. It is my most essential and indispensable tool for integration of the Ayahuasca and Mushroom experiences. I can’t think of any better preparation for a plant medicine ceremony than weeks and months of meditation, to get acquainted with your inner landscape and guide. Because the intuition and guidance is there even in the sober state of meditation, psychedelics are just the “non-specific amplifier.” Having been through a few significantly challenging/profound experiences, it is as if I still can’t get down to extract and purge that level of programming or indoctrination of the government and my society/culture. It goes deeper than government when those ideas have become the ideals of my parents, siblings, cousins, aunts, uncles, friends, that is, the ideals of consumerism, individualism, materialism, all revolving around the graspings of the ego for external objects. Fitting in with the fairy tale of marriage by mid-30’s and two kids.
But I think that when I go to these places with Ayahuasca and Psilocybin mushrooms, I glimpse something that is so unmistakably true and so in alignment with my essence and soul, something that has always and will always be true, before I was born and after I die. Yet I am saddened when I come back to waking consciousness and see how the stability and functioning of our society is contingent on the majority of humans staying asleep to this truth that one can glimpse in the midst of a psychedelic experience. The economy depends on people staying asleep to this inherent truth that resides in our cores. The truth that we already have everything we need inside us to attain inner peace and harmony with others.
I want for just one fearful doubter in my family, to try, to come over to my side of the table, so you could see how things really aren’t so bleak, material, organized and sequential. Magic is real. Spirit and intention of souls are made manifest every single day and we are all divine miracles, in my subjective and very fallible opinion. The universe is conscious, the air we breath is conscious, it possesses, or is it a part of the same field of consciousness as I am and you are? But to have even a tiny sliver of the “God consciousness” is to have it all. To realize we are the divine source’s manifestation of creative form, and this higher power wishes the best for us. The last 7 months, since ground-zero of my spiritual journey to my center and the fallout from that explosive blast that unhinged everything, in order to put it back together in more secure and true form. It has been harder some days, being shown truth about my own self-imposed limits( and the shame of time wasted) but also enriching, learning of previously unseen capabilities. How false 90% of the material and programmed world is. I have mistaken a career, friends, looks, a romantic relationship, money, for what my worth is.
When I meditate, some days I wonder if I could just somehow inhabit this timeless, unchanging, eternal place more regularly or even go on some extended stay there, or go there forever. Why go to work, why has society been arranged this way, the sustained distraction, the invention of work and busyness? Who am I serving and who do I work for? I can appreciate art and expression but what purpose do the industries of finance and marketing serve rather than the end goal of excess? A sizable chunk of my salary goes to a government where the institutional norm is corruption. The comparable “steroid” problem of scientific research in psychiatric medications, supposedly funded by the FDA, where the excuse is “well, everyone is doing it” (Being paid to slant the results in favor of GlaxoSmithKline, Pfizer, AstraZeneca). How else can I make a living but then to doctor results and publish tainted and false results that lead to more money in the ever growing pot of gold at the end of the rainbow that these “cosmetic pharmaceuticals” can give us?
So this calibration period has been difficult in some ways. Learning how compulsive and downright pointless so much of my striving in life has been and the striving of those close to me. And learning that the ideals and idols of my culture are bullshit. What society tells me I need to be, is based on lies and image and ego. Our government encourages and reinforces by law the idea of capitalism that for me to be rich, I must protect and hoard the wealth? This scarcity mindset that we must instill fear in the populace to keep others ignorant and not share the wealth with them.
In the stillness and timelessness of the darkness of the back of my eyelids, my breath being my main bridge to the material world, I can merely begin to deconstruct the narratives and thought patterns that I have previously taken to accept as truth from my family and society. I realize how false most of the stuff I concern myself with on a daily basis. Am I a pawn in society’s game and shuffle of labels? Will I believe the label they assign to me? And will I resist my own software program’s need to label my physical mask and body? This is a mask, its playing dress up with skin and flesh and organs!! I want to sit and breath with my eyes closed in silence more often. Will I follow this “bliss” or intuition?
What a difficult thing to swallow, that the current mode of acceptance and reward and comfort and status symbols in our society, won’t bring me happiness? That every person in my current social circle would have all the toys and spoils of reaching the top of the ladder, and I wouldn’t? Through their cultural lens I am a failure because I don’t do the mandated dance, the preferred and revered pursuit of “the good life.” I can play my part in the hologram stage act, I can wear that mask I guess, if I can detach and be that role and facade, in the way that the success and power player in the culture delights in playing the role, it is all imaginary and a projection anyway. I see what my mind has allowed me to see and everything is interpreted through the lens of ego and self.
But when I am in the place of “satori”, or non-“monkey mind” or momentary transcendence of self and ego to union with the greater whole, all the answers are right there for me, everything is simple, perfect, miraculous and as it should be. This obviously runs counter to a consumerist machine that profits endlessly that has as its logical byproduct, girls who starve themselves, and gay high schoolers who kill themselves because they feel ostracized from the consumerist Judeo-Christian ethic’ed herd. This toxic idea that morals and righteousness are to be dictated by society. Why should a government dictate who can be institutionally recognized as a sex partner? Why should a society and technology silently reinforce and revere the vain and vapid existence of Kardashians? It engages the lowest part of us.
I think this year of Trump and global warming crisis, the gun deaths, is waking us up to the fact that “A society can only evolve when it’s basic illusions have been exhausted.” Perhaps the illusion that social media recognition will bring authentic happiness? That fame and fortune will bring happiness? Anything with attachment and striving is bound to leave me exhausted, continually chasing, craving, for bigger, better, sexier. I am not the iPhone, I am not a video game, where there are new features and more advanced levels of the game developed every year. Yet even so, I continually have to try to consciously counter my own programming and continual animalistic striving and grasping at quick fix pleasure every day. It is a daily battle and reprieve.
It saddens me to think that maybe no one in my family will try these medicines. As I think they would see, and I have seen how much of my mental hangups have been as a result of carrying others’ trauma with me out of some obligation that seems to be learned as a sort of martyr-ish Messiah complex masquerading as “good Christian values” (guilt and shame). How much of being a good Catholic is just being good at pretending to be repentant and show guilt?
How beautiful it would be to see family members and those close to me, glimpse a truth or a lesson, or a part of themselves and the cosmos that they previously had their eyes shut to. To see a lifetime of striving that never felt enough, to see he was only climbing up the wrong wall. It would give me joy to see a family member glimpse this, while trauma, anxiety, depression still remaining intact yet, having knowledge that a state outside it, a different cloud in the sky, a more full surface area of inner experience, could give them a hope that the negativity is always there, but one can choose to inhabit the place of lightness, of forgiveness of love in their heart.
For me it has been an ongoing process, feeling like there was a large addition to the house of my consciousness. The drab and dreary rooms are still there, but to know that when I choose I can step over into the light filled room that is adorned with sparkling jewels and crystals, with patience, persistence, breath, and non-attachment, has given me something to hope and to strive for every single day.