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India Journals

November 2019 – Kashmir (Video)

I found myself staying on a houseboat on a lake in Srinagar, Kashmir. I arrived here through what I first thought were purely coincidental circumstances, but ended up finding out it had been a bit more orchestrated. It’s a long story involving a charismatic, impressively manipulative travel agent; but in the end I can’t say I’m unhappy to be here.

The sunrise over the Himalayas is stunning, and we get around this kind of Indian version of Venice on a canoe. Rowing steadily through tunnels of lilypads and lotus farms, surrounded by mountains and prayer calls, eagles screaming, crescent moon shining.


Day 11 on the houseboat. It’s been 3 days since the snowstorm. All flights are cancelled, all roads are blocked. No electricity, internet or phone service. For now, there’s no way out and no contact with the outside world. There isn’t much to do except sitting by the wood stove playing chess with the makeshift board and pieces my friends and I made. We had rum and hashish but finished them all. I’ve spent quite a large amount of money to be here, and the only activity we really did was to go illegal duck hunting at 4am, up to our waists in a muddy marsh. I shot my shotgun twice and missed both times, which I’m kind of happy about.

Apart from that, I’ve just been killing time. And I keep asking myself, what’s the lesson here? Can I let this teach me patience, stillness, the art of boredom? Compassion for the workers here who clearly have it harder than I do, showveling snow off their boat’s roof. I think I’ll remember with fondness the moments shared with the friends I made trapped here with me, and with humor the absurdity of the whole situation. For now, though, what can be done? Striving to be mentally comfortable, letting the lack of distractions and control make me better somehow. Is doing nothing a skill one can get better at with practice? I’ve been playing with the idea that these events were meant to happen to teach me all those things. It makes me feel better, but I don’t know if I really believe it. Not every random set of circumstances has a deep hidden meaning. But opportunities for growth, yes, I think so, if one looks for them.

December 2019 – Dharamsala (Video)

I’ve been staying for about 10 days at an ashram in the mountains, though it doesn’t feel like that long. I feel like being here, more or less isolated from the outside world in the cold mountains, is impacting me as much as the intense yoga schedule. Both are so different than what I’m used to. The kind of asceticism that naturally comes from being here is doing wonders for my abilities to fully appreciate little things. The absence of any centralized heating makes me so grateful for the hot morning tea, when it’s still dark and freezing outside. The lack of drinking, smoking or junk food made me enjoy the living hell out of the fruits and oats we had this morning. And though there’s still wi-fi here, the lack of constant easy distractions makes it actually enjoyable to adhere to the rigid schedule. 

My body is exhausted from putting it in all kinds of new positions. I rarely sit in chairs around here as there aren’t many, and my legs are slowly getting used to constantly being on the ground. The variety of exotic poses and stretches we’ve been doing is actually leaving me more sore in the morning than weight lifting used to. The daily chanting of mantras, breathing exercises and other ritualistic communal things we do are subtly having an effect on my mind too, I think. It’s hard to tell, but I feel somehow lighter. The rituals (pujas, chanting etc.) are a bit much sometimes, and those are what get me slipping into skepticism for a moment; but otherwise I feel like every activity has its purpose and is providing me with growth in some area.


Homesickness comes and goes in waves, sometimes as an intense yearning for familiarity. Sudden flashes of childhood memories, usually striking during yoga practice. People, smells, food, specific places from my hometown. All so vivid. 

I’ve been dreaming more than ever, strangely realistic dreams of traveling to different places only to wake up here in the same bed. But I’m not unhappy to be here; in many moments I find myself realizing there’s nowhere else I’d rather be, really, than in the mountains learning esoteric practices, doing yoga, communing daily. 

I think my brain is clinging to familiar things as the building blocks of my ordinary reality are radically shifting. Being in a new and distant place, cold and minimal in its comforts, stripped of my usual coping mechanisms.

It’s a call to presence… the resistance is strong. When I can remind myself to truly be here then flow comes easily in daily activities. The nostalgic flashes appear unexpectedly, powerful spasms of attachment drawing me in. But I can slowly let them go and immerse myself here. I think this is the way growth works.

The two main lessons that this trip to India seems to be pushing me to learn are essentially the same as in my ayahuasca ceremony half a year ago. I didn’t really integrate them then, but there’s no escaping it now. The first has to do with impatience, the second with the potential of my actions to be destructive. These are the main ways in which I seem to have sabotaged my like and others’ in the past. The solution seems incredibly simple, almost childishly so, but these are the words that keep coming to mind. Love everyone and tell the truth.

This is the answer Ram Dass’ guru had for him when asked about life. And for some reason it resonates, the utter obviousness of it combined with the difficulty of actually applying that in one’s day-to-day. I realize telling the truth isn’t something I’ve always honored in the past. As for being able to apprehend everybody from a place of love, well, that’s surely a whole life’s work.

Anyway, this entry was mostly just a collection of thoughts about the past few days. The actual activities have been going well, though many things are really testing me in the patience department. Accumulations of small annoyances… it’s something I need to keep working on, not letting those affect me too much.

So on this cold and rainy day, as I sit under 3 blankets writing this, I’ll close by saying it’s been a mentally challenging and rewarding time. I’m really grateful for you taking the time to read through these personal, tentative thoughts that must feel at times a bit obscure. It’s good to hear you’re also pushing through challenging times and developing what sounds like new levels of self-awareness and resilience in the process.


I’m curious about the effects of this prolonged celibacy I’ve been experiencing. From what I can tell after a month and a half of zero sexual stimulation, I’ve lost most conscious desire. It manifests itself sometimes through dreams. But in waking life, I barely think about it. That energy seems to be redirected. I wonder if the idea, common in many traditions, of libido being transmuted into spiritual energy when it’s not indulged in holds up. I’ve certainly been much more sensitive to the subtly fulfilling effects of things like singing mantras,drawing mandalas, and doing breathwork. I also feel a general sense of innocence, or more like light-hearted softness. At least more often than I used to. The thing that’s most surprising to me is that this abstinence was not forced or self imposed. It wasn’t even a conscious choice, but just happened naturally. We’ll see what happens with that in the long run…


Am I ready to let the jubilant creative impulse that infused my childhood come back and inform my work? There seems to have been a link that was severed. A disconnect between the joyous instinct to invent and tell stories, and my ability to transfer this to adult life, to creative projects. What will it take to regain that freedom of mind? Maybe the loads of introspection I’ve been doing, the new experiences and absorption of input, are all soon going to give fruit to some kind of imaginative breakthrough. I can feel there’s some deep internal changes happening,but I don’t know yet how they’ll manifest externally. I do sense it has to do with some kind of openness of heart. And I’m now dealing with the tremors of a dying inner judge whose harshness is just now being fully acknowledged. It is messy.


I stumbled upon writings from Carl Jung that suggested the urge to draw mandalas emerges at a time of change and personal growth in a person’s life. The idea is that the symmetry of the drawing is a form of order one tries to create out of the ongoing chaos in their life/mind. It seems pretty accurate, considering I rarely ever felt drawn to mandalas in my regular life and have been furiously drawing them in the past weeks. Maybe I’m just inspired by the abundance of such designs around here; I’m still blown away whenever I lay eyes upon the intricate art pieces of Tibetan monks. But I do think Jung had an important point… just like writing feels natural in periods of challenge and novelty, so does representing our process visually. The soothing effect of creating ever-expanding patterns also seems to stimulate the part of the mind that enjoys finding meaning. The whole thing is almost random, automatic, but also pleasantly structured in the end.


How strange that when at home I dream of wild adventures, and when adventuring I dream of home. Dreaming in the literal sense. There’s an abnormal level of attachment in my subconscious, it seems, or maybe it’s a valid instinct. But I know I’d regret not pushing this lone journey to its limits. Honoring this time of discomfort and growth feels necessary. I think the point of the attachment’s persistence may be that I have to face it and outgrow it. Like any archetypal adventure story, this one has at its core a longing for home that can’t be indulged until some treasure has been found (or some evil destroyed, as with the Lord of the Rings). Whichever one it is, we’ll see, maybe a bit of both. And if the whole thing is pointless, that’ll be a lesson in itself.


I find myself struggling to connect with some of the more “spiritual”activities here. The chakra meditation, Kundalini yoga, countless prayers..  I get glimpses of genuine appreciation for them, but most of the time I end up in some kind of anthropological mindset, analyzing these peculiar ritual practices informed by a mythology I still don’t quite understand. It’s frustrating, because I thought I would truly enjoy this more mystical component and easily find a sense of personal spirituality within it. But having to be honest with myself, the kind of bodily knowledge that I get when a practice rings true (as with Ayahuasca or personal meditations) is just not here most of the time. Maybe it’s because I’m new to this specific kind of work. Maybe the teachers and I aren’t a right fit. The whole Hindu framework might not be for me, or I may just need to give it more time. Feeling spiritually disillusioned, after all, seems like an inevitable step on whichever path one chooses.


Today is Christmas Eve and the Himalayan landscape, with its evergreens and snowy mountains, definitely makes up for the lack of Christmas lights and decorations I’m used to seeing back home. At the Ashram, we’re cooking a big dinner together. I’ve grown to quite like this little community, even though I’m also eager to leave and adventure alone. If everything goes according to plan, which is a lot to ask for in India, I’ll be in Pushkar, a small holy/hippie town bordering the desert, in 5 days. What a change it will be from this cold, this altitude, this structured lifestyle, this repetitive diet… But I did it, and I’m glad to have taken up the challenge. In what felt much longer than a month, I think I’ve changed a lot in certain areas. I don’t know if that feeling will last, but the vulnerability I felt here overall opened me up to some inner terrains I hadn’t considered spending much time in before.


A strange experiment today in what I would call reverse hedonic adaptation. We had the latter half of the day off at the Ashram since it’s Christmas and the training is essentially over. So I decided to go out, get a beer and drink it by the lake to celebrate. Having not had a beer in a month the first few sips were amazing, refreshing, wonderfully carbonated. But the process of drinking this beer got less and less enjoyable as it went on, until I almost had to force myself to finish it. Instead of feeling pleasantly tipsy, I just felt clumsy and clouded. I think my body got used to the kind of subtle good feeling induced by things like yoga and chanting. Feeding it ‘packaged’ good chemicals suddenly was quite a clash. I’m sure I’ll end up drinking again on my trip; but it’s interesting to notice how unnatural and gross it felt to engage in the kind of hedonic, mildly self-destructive thing I usually enjoy. This is something I’m grateful for, because it allowed me to see yet another of my normally mindless behaviors in a fresh way.

January 2020 – Rajasthan (Video)

A new decade starts. Well, for me it’s just a new day in Pushkar, not too different from the two I previously spent here. There’s not a whole lot to do here apart from drinking lassis, chilling in cafes and hammocks on rooftops. Not complaining. Although I’m not sure I’ll stay much longer in this town. I feel a bit of a malaise about it, the fact that it’s a ‘hippie paradise’ but also a holy and ancient place for Hindus. There’s a weird thing going on where every little shop and restaurant seems to cater to backpackers in a way that makes the whole town seem like a spirituality-themed Pleasantville. Anyway, the new year… probably a good day to reflect  some more on why the hell I’m in India, and what to do next that will make this trip most valuable. I can’t say I feel excellent about it now, though I learned a lot, I’m still a bit aimless, unfocused, foggy. I don’t know if it’s fantasy but in my mind there’s a point where I’ll realize why I’m here, what to do, and go into a flow. I don’t know what I’m waiting for to let that happen.

Some of the hippies I spot in various cities in India seem in tune, genuinely comfortable with the culture and their place in it. Others look so awkward, like caricatures with the clothes and jewellery and an air of forced beatitude. I think I judge the latter group especially hard because of the old Jungian thing where you hate in others what you’re scared to see in yourself. But also, my perspective on travel is changing a bit. Just because you’re backpacking doesn’t necessarily make you cooler or more ‘in’ with the culture than a regular tourist. I think I’ve had the assumption before that this kind of travel somehow entitled you to a more real experience. But you can be a backpacker who just hangs out in hostels with other travelers all day (a few of those here), and how different is that from the resort life we always shit on? There is value in aimless traveling but the things you end up doing often add up to a fairly stereotypical experience. Sometimes you can’t really escape just being one of many westerners peering into a world they don’t understand through temple arches and incense smoke. I feel sick of being myself in this environment, I don’t want to belong to a demographic that screams clueless-asshole-easy-target-money-bag. And I know my thirst for a more real experience is also a part of the cliché…


There’s something that seems inherently difficult in trying to create a sense of meaning within a day when there’s no structure. Amazing synchronicities can emerge out of unplanned days, for sure, but they depend on luck and one’s ability to align themselves with a current that works in mysterious ways. I’m just surprised by how difficult it is to just enjoy freedom. Whenever I’m blessed with an absolute lack of obligations, it only takes a few days before some kind of frantic energy rises, desperate to fill the perceived void of meaning in the situation. My theory is that the western lifestyle (very focused on work, doing, accomplishing) leaves us with an immaturity regarding freedom. We don’t know how to handle it, we treat it like another puzzle to solve or skill to master. Maybe it is a skill in some sense (and if so I suck at it) but it certainly doesn’t respond to an effortful attitude. Nor is it best enjoyed through hedonic pursuits. The anxiety to do something meaningful with my freedom clashes painfully with my tendency to spend unstructured time meandering and seeking pleasure or comfort. Creating a personal structure for times like these is key.

I’m realizing that ritual is one of the most important things we have as humans. And I’ve felt alienated by some of the practices I’ve seen while traveling, and felt drawn to others. I have been bored to death during a fire Puja, and been hit by a sense of understanding about the importance of candles and rose water and rattles during an ayahuasca ceremony. Either way they’re the same thing, serve the same anchoring purpose in this leap we take trying to connect with something greater. And I feel the same about personal ritual, be it something as simple as sun and yoga. Without something like it I feel lost, aimless like the other day. There’s an incredible power in simple personal routine I keep forgetting. As much as I want to be detached from outside events’ impact on my inner state, it’s hard to deny the efficiency of a few simple actions (a short meditation, a coffee, a long squat, a sun salutation) to catapult one’s body and mind into a better place.


February 2020 – Goa (Video)

Meeting strange and wide-eyed characters who will talk your ears off about their past, about future opportunities, drawing you into their sense of amazement at the magic of synchronicities and the secret workings of the universe. Listening to them with a mix of openness, amusement, excitement and skepticism. There is a kind of magnetic force in this place, clearly, drawing people together in the name of love and art. And sometimes it is truly working, but let’s be careful not to be deluded into thinking everything happens for a reason. Some things just are, and don’t carry any extra meaning or cosmic significance. It’s easy to develop a sense of pronoia when luck and happenstance are turned up high.

Travel brings that out in general, highlights it, how randomness affects one’s life and can seem truly mystical when things go well. And perhaps it is divine, who’s to say, but then bad luck would have to be as well. Maybe that’s what karma is meant to describe; a universal force that dictates both positive and negative chains of events. And if we can find meaning in the negative ones, it truly feels like we’ve cracked the code of rolling with whatever life may throw at us. Meaning-making is a skill that travel seems to train you for.

But it’s a lot to take in. Both the good and the bad. The former is scary because it might turn into the latter at any time. So opportunities always hold the potential of disaster, and that fear can prevent you from diving in. A little bit of it is healthy, too much will paralyze you.

So who to trust among psychopathic travel agents, humble farmers, motherly teachers, absurd gurus, starry-eyed jewelers and manic film directors? Those adjectives are always easier to find in hindsight. In the split second when the pressure is on and you have to choose, intuition can be of some help; but you may just find yourself praying for this particular coincidence, karmic or not, to be a good one. 


I’m leaving India feeling less spiritual than when I arrived. Disenchanted, but not in a bad sense: I just experienced a sobering dive regarding the things I used to romanticize. In a way I felt as estranged from the world of Hinduism as I already was from Western theology. On paper they both have some things to say that I’m interested in, but to experience them in an organized religious context leaves me cold. I think the pressure I put on India to provide me with some kind of spiritual experience just led to a collapse of the very meaning of that word. What is spirituality but something to be found by looking inward? I thought place and context would matter, but they didn’t seem to have any effect beyond logistics: making it easier to meditate because of the abundance of cushions, etc.  Even yoga provided me with a pretty bland experience compared to the blissful flow I sometimes feel when doing calisthenics alone in a park. How that kind of secular practice can summon up a state one would expect from religious rituals, I don’t know; but it does suggest that those rituals are arbitrary and that whatever we do with enough focus has the potential of revealing the mystical quality of life to us.

Featured post

A counsel

Remember the riddle you were asked before you were born

Why are you here, but to learn and report back

To a Sphynx who may be wise or mad

Impenetrable, swirling away after having vomited us onto this earth

Showing its face of mirrors only in moments of desperation or ecstasy

Learn, that is all you have to do

Accept this and you will feel a shift in your body

Your bones realign themselves, the currents start to flow again

The veil now becomes punctuated with breaches that you can poke your fingers into and rip open

Only to find thicker and more beautiful veils, of colors that will drown you

Until in your suffocation you utter the name of a god

Who will hear you, but not save you

Simply laugh until you start laughing with it.

Good Times in Babylon

Molten child

You’ve taken a real break

Cold drinks and powdered worms

Sun dried meats and throat burns.

No time to think about anyone’s place

In the choreography of the insane performer

Who envelops all of her children

Worker ants, here to play.

You dig but can’t find a bottom

Touching shapes in a dark room

A blind expanse of mystery at the nucleus

The thing that keeps you breathing at night

Paints your dreams with the voices of ancestors

The thing that makes a seed fly

Your organs play on their own

Makes a snake eat its own tail

A dog eat its own shit

A human torture another

A plant save a life

Makes One emerge from Zero

A magician trick a fool…

The word made flesh, and waiting to be consumed

Back to the womb.

You woke up, for once not drenched

in your own personal mythology

Not suffocating under layers of thickly coated symbols.

They emerged gently as jigsaw pieces

floating towards one another

This is one of your strangest lives.

We’ll be there with our scalpels

Anytime you’re ready to stop

We’ll slit open the eye

You keep trying to sew shut

And sterilize with ethanol

But the wound is the message.

We sent you waves of misty clues

Vague teases in the night haze

We whispered back when you screamed

Again and again in spoiled desperation

Never learning…

You loaded your brain with colors

Packed your nose with tree ash

You stuffed your teeth with strings

Gorged the child in you with plastic

Filled your throat with fruit venom

Pumped your stomach acid onto the world

Shoved your skin into others’ minds

Anything to suspend the moment.

We were always there

All we ask is that you be quiet for a day

And listen.

Enantiodromia

I chose a particular form of masochism that ritualizes pleasure and transmutes it into pain.

It has lodged itself so deeply into my brain that it has its own voice now, and I listen to it.

Like an entity that whispers, in a very sultry voice…

If you keep hurting yourself no one else can do so.

The blessing of addiction is that you get to both have your bliss and be the master of your own suffering.

So I get to have agency over whatever darkness may arise.

And, gradually, lose control of my actions, of my will, of my mind itself.

I get to unravel in a loop whose circularity provides relief from linear life,

To feed a fire that begs for pleasure, but that cannot produce warmth.

It can only burn.

The depths of my throat, the membrane of my esophagus, the flesh between my teeth.

The throne of the prefrontal cortex stolen

By a fool who thinks he is holy

But is indeed a sad clown dressed up as an archetype

Who finds little wisdom in the madness, the absurdity

Of the impossibility to stop.

My wish now is anhedonia, the inability to feel pleasure,

and the freedom to stop sacrificing my body on the altar of its gods.

Shapeshifting spirits who don the costume of anything that can be absorbed into one’s being

Stolen from the earth, incorporated.

And in my case, immediately disgorged.

A waste so abhorrent,

An offering so implausible,

It may appease but the weakest of deities.

Those who reign over the kingdom of self-pity and exhibitionism.

The emperor has no clothes, and he’s dead.

I’m still waiting.

Fantasy Factory

Ecstatic cults and orgiastic rites

That’s the world I live in

A Dionysian overlay on modern life.

Sex is a play of intertwined serpents

Touching each other, intermingling tongues

Letting their roots commune in a divine exchange of energies.

I am paid to organize those in easily consumable, packaged little clips

Snipets for my fellow humans to feast on

To redirect their base urges

Stemming from a biological function, an appetite for sexual diversity

Co-opted by a very smart industry.

Snakes and ladders, snakes and holes

Buttons we press on each other

Flesh grinding against flesh

Thoughts emerge, intrusive

They evaporate as the animal body claims us back

To pay attention to this moment

This divine instant where separate beings

Reach into one another

The marriage of the sun and the moon.

Taking and giving

In what can only be a holy exchange of everything

Manifested in the most crass of ways.

Skin against skin and – wait, it’s too pink

I should make the tones a bit more yellow

Since that’s the note I got on my last scene.

I am the rearranger of your desires

I know which buttons to press to make you feel good

The feedback loop from body and voice

That mimics what this universe is doing

Just exploding back and forth from void to existence.

This cycle of life is what we’re celebrating, on a micro level.

Except that no, it’s just these monkeys rubbing their bodies together.

Oo oo Aa aa

What the fuck are we doing? What the fuck is the cosmos doing?

Just BHRBEZHZZZ In and Out, In and Out, all the time.

This senseless game that it’s playing with itself… with each other? With itself?

I don’t know anymore. I really don’t.

Alright monkey, put your clothes on.

Time to go to work.

This is a drunk poem

You are the great blocker

I once communed with the mind of nature but now it stays mute

You are the great protector

You shelter me from the things I don’t want, and the things I want most

My mind slurs as it tries to conure up the idea

You give me nothing to say and all the confidence to say it

All the desire and none of the presence

To give or enjoy anything

You are the great comforter

In that comfort is the substitute

for all the bliss and suffering that constitute a real life

You relieve me from the need to be anything

A human monkey with goals and a concrete identity

You are but one of the things this earth has created

A fermented fruit

A chemical process

A brain reaction

You are slow death in socially acceptable form

Easy to get and easy to fall in love with

I will exterminate myself with you

Through you

Decompose me

Make me become you

The Gardener

What happens when you notice something unfathomably wrong growing from a good source, like a fruit of death upon the tree of life?

Do you pluck the fruit, taste it, try to understand it?

Or do you let it fall and rot, with the wisdom to let the natural cycle flush out this aberration?

You, child, are incapable of such patience. You want to taste everything.

The consequences of sticking your tongue in nature’s wheel are many.

To interfere with a greater intelligence’s process of sublimation is to allow the impurity to fester.

Like a Pagan god, it can only grow as powerful as the level of devotion its worshippers offer it.

This is how you create your own demons.

The inner quietude that lets us see the subtlety of nature in all its intensity,

the pure joy of being alive instead of dead,

these are only bearable for a moment.

It’s never too long before you run back to entropy’s welcoming arms,

like a bug drowning in a carnivorous plant’s nectar.

So here you are in the garden with dangerous flora and rotting fruits.

Maybe one day you’ll learn to let your inner compost grow new life,

gently guiding the process while letting the natural order do its part.

Your psyche then won’t be that different from flowers and mushrooms,

they are from the same earth and know how to thrive given the right conditions.

But your psyche is also a snake. It wants to trick and kill and eat its own tail.

And as you run out of metaphors and old alchemical symbols,

trying to turn your shit into gold by writing about it,

the snake laughs silently at your attempt to garden.

Your thumb is not green but febrile now,

in yet another effort to use assortments of verbal symbols to detangle your brain.

You can’t see clearly so you chant and yell and perform art in secret.

You exhaust yourself to find some respite from the desire to do something real.

You write about it to assign some meaning to the lost days.

It’s easy to self-reflect about failure and turn it into fresh meat for fellow hyenas in a circle-jerk of glorified suffering.

But part of you believes in earnestness, in the radical vulnerability of sharing the ugliest of moments.

You can hold your ecastsy as well as your death-wish,

and let others tell you about both ends of the polarity of their own being,

whatever they may be.

Eros, Thanatos, Kairos

Eros

Your most romantic moments come from what some describe as hookup culture.

You cherish the juvenile excitement, isolated in time and ripe with ephemeral emotion.

An expiry date makes any relationship more meaningful.

You had a long-term partner once.

You had sex on LSD and the two poles of the universe came together, like a god and a goddess making magic, like the marriage of primordial energies.

You eventually ended up betraying each other, reciprocal acts of youthful folly.

Now is the age of Babylon.

You go to a woman’s place. There is something very dark in you, as you feel the imbalance in your attractions to one another.

A sense of power that both disgusts and excites you.

The tension between her insecurity and her desire is appealing.

Yours too, probably. A mutual desecration.

Now you’re a porn editor. This is your real job.

You already feet desensitized after one day,

Aligning penis strokes to achieve good continuity between shots.

Sex follows you everywhere you go. It is obsessed with you.

You’re indifferent towards it. So you think.

Now you’re an erotic model. It pays well for the amount of effort involved.

It may or may not be taking a psychological toll on you.

It starts with naked pictures, then videos.

You later find yourself on numerous porn websites.

You develop an online following of gay men.

You’re not into men.

You let a random guy at a park suck you off anyway, for the story, out of curiosity,

Or maybe just to keep accumulating experiences.

You manage to come, by closing your eyes and imagining him as a girl.

You meet a seriously gorgeous yet unassuming woman.

She acts and speaks like a female version of you,

But she seems to handle her darkness more gracefully.

She has real problems that make yours seem like the incoherent gasps of a spoiled child. You inhale her morning breath after a night of drinking and it smells good. It makes you high. Your pheromones are ridiculously compatible. Do not fuck this up.

You’re already fucking it up. You’re forever going to be a slut.

And writing those words feels good because you’re a boy.

A glorification overpowers the shame.

It’s worth being miserable to prove to your younger self over and over that you’re an object of desire.

You can manipulate your body into the shape evolution decided was worthy of reproduction.

You can make a person feel good physically, because you know how their body works, and you want them to associate pleasure in their minds with an image of you.

You can make a person feel good mentally, because you don’t care at all, and your nonchalance comes off as a warm and comforting acceptance.

You can make someone love you but only if you don’t love them back, that is the rule, that is how you learned it, it is ingrained in your being.

There is a part of your being that just wants to give, and another that just wants to take.

Now usurping the throne of the little helper – the one that made your mother stop crying – is a hungry and insensitive other.

A young prince who just learned that he is in power.

A jaded narcissus that sucks the blood out of the heart you keep trying to expand.

You pump your veins with gold that turns to lead in a perverse alchemy.

Your love is the most impure thing on this earth.

Thanatos

You may have something alive inside you, like an entity

That is trying to make itself known by whatever means possible

But there is a language barrier

It speaks in symbols and sensations

It shouts through the microorganisms in your gut

Slides into the grooves of traumatic patterns

What it wants may have to do with your ancestors, your DNA

With a cosmic question that yearns to be answered

A particular life that has to play itself out

Just to bring forth an understanding of that exact experience

That unique instance of human manifestation

That fragment of suffering punctuated by joy

As you look down at the green and terracotta toilet bowl, it does appear that you created a world with your innards, little trickster. There seems to be love and meaning in the outpour from your mouth, as you pray for it to be the last time. There is a soft and giving quality to it, like eating out a woman you care about. You contract your abdominal muscles with skill, just like a thousand other times, to expel and banish the things you don’t want.

Flashes behind your eyelids, your mother, the gentle therapist you pretended to be well with, the Amazon, the meaninglessness of it all.

To break the cycle you have to complete the loop. Or perhaps it is the opposite, you need to put a stick in the wheel. It’s hard to tell. These compulsions come from your childhood, when you were a little goof with boots and tights and facepaint and Tourette’s syndrome. The latter forced you to make sounds or contract your body when you didn’t want to. If you didn’t obey it the feeling was unendurable.

It’s the same now, only the demand has changed. You’re now required to absorb and discharge as much as you possibly can for no reason whatsoever.

You still haven’t found any other ritual to replace it. Nothing is as comforting, not even being cuddled in the entrails of the earth by ayahuasca, having your hair stroked by a post-coital lover, or basking in the glowing presence of friends and family on a perfect day. All of those would be enough if they weren’t tainted by the knowledge that you are, deep down, an absolute depraved piece of shit dressed up in plastic angel wings.

You want to see what lays at the end of the road of self-destruction. You are possessed by a force that wishes to see you take excess to its logical conclusion, to see if there is any paradoxical peace behind the folly of overindulgence. Slowing down has never quite worked, so maybe speeding up will bring about some kind of breakthrough.

(Spoiler alert: it doesn’t)

In fact, no yoga in a Himalayan ashram, no Amazonian jungle potion, no talk therapy and medication, no brush with death in the Andes, no long walk in the desert, no psychedelic toad venom, no witnessing of burning bodies on the Ganges, has ever been able to stop you from slowly killing yourself.

These things open up pathways, but in the end they show you that you always have a choice. You can lead a horse to water but you can’t make him… stop drinking.

Seeing edges on your body reminds you that your appearance is still somehow within the realm of societal norms.

You’re sitting on the floor drawing on a piece of wood, trying to delay the moment it sucks you back in.

Guzzling cheap beer because you’re trying to save up for a time in life where your shit will be together.

You picked one addiction to try and wean yourself away from another, and now you’re stuck with both.

You spend days in the sun working on yourself, and throw it away every night destroying yourself again.

You accumulated a toolbox of ways to naturally feel good, cold showers and workouts and breathwork and yoga.

But there’s this perverse attraction to derailing things.

Pretending – or acknowledging – that ‘you’ are not a thing, a project to work on, to preserve.

So you facefuck yourself with the false god you’ve forced yourself to worship.

You repaint the toilet bowl and wash the blood down your throat, with the central nervous system depressant called ethanol (packaged in easy-to-drink cans).

An indulgent ritual which hits a taboo note that the other things, the healthy things, don’t.

You can’t believe this is what life has in reserve for you, but it’s easy to detach when it feels like there’s very little choice about it.

A powerlessness, a relief.

Remember that it’s almost always easier to wait than to recover.

Reckoning with discomfort, with lack, with nothingness, is the only way.

As excruciating as it may feel.

Kairos

To feel everything

That seems like a work worthy of this life

To experience every bit of this strange universe we are offered

As terrible as it gets

And love it, masochistically

It hurts when it’s good because it won’t last

And it hurts when it’s bad for obvious reasons

But the nature of the pain stays somehow sacred

And so you couldn’t not love it.

Ecstasy (from the Ancient Greek ἔκστασις “to be or stand outside oneself, a removal to elsewhere” from ek- “out,” and stasis “a stand, or a standoff of forces”).

You yearn to be outside yourself, removed from the duality of forces taking place within your being. These attempts at ecstatic practices, though they may be shots in the dark, are rooted in a fundemental desire to be reuinited. Your body will be home again.

Patience, breath, and awareness of death. You repeat the refrain mentally, it seems important somehow. Staring at the ceiling – which in the darkness looks like an infinite sky punctuated by multicolor static – you are trying to remember the riddle you were asked before you were born.

Alone in a room in a stranger’s house, sober as a bird, you feel the wave of unconscious knowledge peer its elusive face around the curtain of the night. The presence feels alien and familiar at once. How much of a fool you have been to think that this voice was only to be heard through jungle substances.

You can listen anytime if you are willing, open, and courageous. Sit and witness the mystery of everything there is, so alive in its functioning, so intimate in its unfolding.

The Guru

When I met him again he was no longer the most powerful man in the world. His presence was that of a harpooned whale; the aura of a sublime creature whose woundedness seemed tragic, unnatural, offensive. I still felt attracted to him, because of the enduring magnetism of his character but also a sense of concern, a desire to care for him. There was a humble plea in his eyes that fought for space with their usual calm fixedness.

The man who years earlier had guided me through the underworld was now asking for my help. He summoned me to the jungle after almost a decade of silence. I had no idea how I’d find him. The last time we’d met, he told me he had nothing left to teach me. I had gone back home and tried to apply the lessons from the other realms to my daily life with mild success.

When I first met him, the entire makeup of my inner life was changed in a matter of days. My skepticism shattered as I realized ‘magic’ was real… It was just a loaded word for skillful energetic play, tapping into a force that came from nature. All the ancestral rituals were just tools different peoples had found to harness it. Where my lineage had gone the way of technology and atomic power, my guru’s kind had taken the path of the mind and achieved subtler ways of manipulating reality.

The word guru is a weighty one. I considered its implications as the man on whom I bestowed that title lay exhausted in front of me. In the context of Hinduism, it simply denotes a spiritual teacher, especially one who imparts initiation. This was an accurate description of our relationship, but in the age of death cults and sexual scandals, admitting to having a guru seemed to imply a certain weakness of character.

My initiation had come in the form of synesthetic patterns, gestalts of information that sprouted from the depths of some unconscious place, wordless truths that were then translated to me by my guru.

I didn’t know much about him at first. Only that he had been my partner in crime in the assassination of my character, making room for new life to sprout in my being. Then I was gradually exposed to facts that seemed to indicate he actually had more power at his disposal than any of the world’s dictators, tech billionaires and war generals. What political might, material riches or military prowess could rival the ability to enter in an intimate dance with reality, partake in the weaving of its fabric, plant seeds that would cause infinite ripples in space-time?

Yes, my guru was a magician in the real sense of the word.. And today he was dying before me with an invisible dart planted in his throat.

Mama Matrix Most Mysterious, Great Mother, Serpent Goddess.

Remember, don’t forget, you are born from us, sprouted from the ground. Now you have life, live now and beautifully. When it’s time to rest you’ll be back to the worms. That will be beautiful too, in its time.

Go visit death, its knowledge, you are protected. Humbled before the great mother ancestors. Mourn them, rejoice in their memory. Everyone you know will die. Memory lives.

Anamnesia

Gnosis is the Greek word for “knowledge” or “insight”, an ancient idea that seems relevant to spirituality as it exists in today’s world. Insight and knowledge, if they come to us, usually lack context and are left to be interpreted. I see these experiences of deep intuitive knowing, of information being downloaded into one’s brain from some ancestral source, as an unforgetting of sorts. A reverse amnesia.

Why do we forget in the first place? The gift of forgetting may be a license to play the game of life in its fullest expression. To partake as a fully invested individual, mostly unconscious of one’s belonging to the whole, is an infinitely entertaining field trip into chaos. If our inherent divinity is the cosmic riddle, then our lives are slow-burning answers.

Our DNA, like coiled snakes storing millions of years of experience and knowledge, unfolds patiently. The birth process is the trauma that causes the individual to forget, and death brings us all back home.

This is almost pointless to attempt to communicate. Almost is the keyword here, though. It isn’t useless to try and talk about ineffable experiences because they can very well be shared. And so to hint at them through language is not only the best we can do, it bridges the gap between minds. We can accept that words only bring us halfway. Trust in one another allows us to participate in the unnamable experience together, regardless of whether it is being ascribed to a certain logic.

This is probably the basis of religion and I can see how this kind of thinking can lead to disastrous results. To ask people for faith is to insult their critical mind because it’s a tactic that’s been used so much throughout history for control. The mythic person on whom the Christian church is based, Jesus, allegedly performed miracles. Now this seems like a better way to get people’s attention than telling them to just trust your word.

So how does one make miracles happen? By definition, I think it would have to involve a positive event for which there are no causal explanation, like spontaneous remission. The thing only has to defy our current understanding of the laws of reality, though, and those change all the time. Any technology advanced enough would seem like magic to those who haven’t discovered it. And technology isn’t limited to science, nor does it follow a linear progress.

Plant medicines and shamanism are technologies. Shaolin monks who smash through bricks are employing a technology. Whether they name it spirit or chi doesn’t really matter. These things are unquantifiable by our instruments so we either refute them or, if they make their truth impossible to question, see them as miracles.

My impression is that if enough people are dumbstruck by a particular aspect of reality that puts in question their assumption of its functioning, then reality changes. We accept emerging technologies in the narrative, our brains adapt to a new normal, and there’s no need to ask anyone for faith anymore.

So to remember our forgotten tools, to become archeologists of the mind, requires a willingness to let the new information that emerges from our unconscious pierce through the cover of skepticism and into this waking life. No individual mind is big enough to do it on its own. Clearly, if a person brings too much back too fast it has been our society’s response to silence or kill them. But to gradually wake up as one organism might be possible. Anamnesia is a group activity.

Put me to work. Take the raw potential of my unformed yearning for the world and direct it toward something creative. For fuck’s sake please channel me. I want to lose control like I’m being tied in bondage, and forced not to waste this precious life force.

he intricate functionings of this organic machine were revealed to me, as they are to anyone who’s willing to drink some plants. Such are the gifts of our planet. But the character of the truth is so overwhelming that I don’t dare look at it now

Stripped of its protective layers it is absolutely unbearable. I spend my days contorting to avoid its gaze. Ironically it’s also the thing I love the most in the world… it is the world. It’s the caring and abusive parent who puts us through war, love, famine, abundance, addiction, bliss.

It’s the strange play we’re in, the creation of a trickster child-god, who decided to explode into an infinity of pieces to get to know itself better. I like to think it’s succeeding.

Day / Night

We never really sleep.

A spontaneous flashback came several months after an entheogenic experience I had one night. It was a remembering of the essence of that trip, which had evaded me at the moment, in all its overwhelming and confusing nature. The fact that both events took place at night, a period of time during which we’re usually asleep, is essential to what I want to explore here. What struck me in that sudden reactivation is that the state of extreme awakeness and otherwordly exploration I had gone into, that intoxicated night, was not at all out of the ordinary. We are, somehow, no less conscious at night than we are during the day; it’s only our sense of self that is different. I venture into calling ‘dream body’ that other self we become at night to go through all of the womblike, ethereal, dark yet colorful unconscious processes that characterize that whole third of our lives.

Why would nature design sleep as an integral part of a biological organism’s existence? This pulsing duality that permeates our reality… inhale-exhale, awake-asleep, alive-dead. This constant cycle of opposites has a sacred quality to it.

Understanding the rejuvenating properties of sleep doesn’t answer the primordial Why of its existence in the grand design of life, just as knowing that we have to exhale in order to balance out oxygen and CO2 sheds no light on the process’ raison d’être.

What I gathered is that certain psychedelic medicines, when done at night, allow us to peer into the deeply mysterious mechanisms that go on inside of us when we sleep. The unconscious is made conscious in those moments, the building blocks of our synapses infused with the energy of the connection that remains between our DNA and the earth itself.

The great mother feeds us at night, and we are normally blind to it, the dream self being mostly forsaken by the time we wake up. We rise with a forgetfulness akin to the great amnesia we all suffer as a species, the seemingly inescapable ignorance of our interconnectedness.

Belonging to the whole is an undeniable fact of our existence as organisms. Sleep is but another reminder of the curious cycle we are tied to our whole lives, this dance of opposites. Just as compost acts as a fertilizer, our deaths will propel new life into existence.

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