At 37, Peter sits on the train, his wife is cooking dinner at home, as he reads his book, his daughter Jeannie, 5, waits at home. Peter contemplates how lucky he is to have a loving wife and daughter at home for him. He doesn’t love his job, but he feels safe and secure and strong in his role as provider. But what about living in the Ashram for a year? What about apprenticing under a shaman, training to be a psilocybin ceremony facilitator and eventually opening up a retreat center?
Peter is a Licensed Mental Health Counselor. He has a private practice on the Upper West Side of Manhattan where he sees attractive women in their mid 50’s, and mid-60’s who have had skillfully and barely detectable botox work. Peter thinks most of their problems would go away if the Psychiatrist would just prescribe them “Mother’s Little Helper” (Valium). Peter has began to enjoy seeing his patients and being on the inside of these little dramas about how to spend end of year bonus’s from Investment firms. The couples fight over whether to go to St. Bart’s, or Jamaica, or Barbados. He worries he is living vicariously through his patients and if he has begun to feel an emotional attachment to them similar to the way he gets attached to the heroic character in TV and movies. He wants to scream at them that he knows an extremely powerful method of healing, but that our society has been designed to demonize the values that one glimpses in the midst of these ceremonies. Maybe even if they experienced it now it would do no good with a head full of western servitude to consumerist gluttony bloodlust, which dictates to eat another person’s soul if you need to get ahead, win at all costs, spend money and waste resources and then you are valuable!!!!
Peter has the feeling, looking at the Manhattan skyline as the train whizzes along, that he is satisfied, in the way people told him he would be: “difficult, but rewarding.” He is satisfied in the way most of his friends are satisfied working at a high paying job, because it buys them fancy things and a high ranking title/status. Peter knows there is something deeper than this gold plated and fancy figment which has been installed in his imagination called the “American Dream” from a lifetime of rabid advertising bombardment. He still feels the pangs of nostalgia and a deep intuition of feeling a calling of the plant medicine and the inner mystery. Like he has passed up the opportunity of a lifetime by not moving down to the Amazon and renouncing all material possessions.
He thinks about the resentment he feels at himself for listening to his father and family members that urged him to take the safe path. “Look, you have to get your credentials, first, then you can go on and write and do whatever is right.” Peter knows he has complete control over his own destiny and is angry he ever ceded his own agency and decision making ability and copped to listening to the advocates of safety and predictability. Well, safe got me here. Safe got me Jeannie. I love Jeannie with all my heart, but now she’s here and I’m less likely to have my Moses-exile-in-the-desert period of losing myself in order to find myself, my portion of the hero’s journey where I am the wanderer in foreign worlds and reach dangerous and new levels of self-knowledge.
Peter keeps harping back on the pivotal 27th year of life where he was first introduced to a new paradigm, a non-material, spirit paradigm. He felt a strong and real resonance in this spirit realm, he felt it reminded him and reassured that skin and masks and ego and reputation don’t mean jack shit and we only see a tiny portion of what actually is our essence and heart force. Spirit and invisible forces, run our lives. The forces of synchronicity and the universe aligning to meet your request and intentions, good or bad, we just don’t have our eyes open to it. Peter sees John as he exits the train, he asks what time soccer practice is on Saturday, and they make small talk. He thinks back to a time that he would be repulsed by pretending to have something in common with the guy whose life is desk work and entertainment on a loop, with some sex and “quality kid’s time” interspersed in there. He soldiers into the daily onslaught of media and advertising telling him to earn more, spend more, buy more.
Peter thinks: what would his life have been like? Would he now be a meditation teacher, yoga instructor, a medium of some sort? There is now no way to know now, He could have been in training the last ten years and dedicating himself to this higher calling, if there was one. He will never get those ten years back.
If I were forced to choose, which one would I pick :
1. procreating and having a safe and loving family unit
2. Renouncing all attachment (romantic/sexual relationships), going to the ends of earth to quench the thirst in my heart for what my calling is, to find what is in my DNA and the reason I was put on this earth?
I get subtle hints every time I sit quietly and meditate, I have faith that the inner guidance, direction, truth is there for all of us if we just keep searching, keep listening to what that inner voice is telling us. Embrace silence and deep, focused breathing and you will be nourished.
What feels true to my soul? And what have I been neglecting my whole life? As my relationship with the my heart and inner landscape deepens, I continue to crave the quiet time, to sort out what the inner healing intelligence has to tell me.