The shit the Dalai Lama doesn’t give a shit about

DSC_0027I have a hard time understanding this picture. I took it on my way up to McLeod ganj, the suburb of Dharamshala where the Dalai Lama lives. Less than a kilometer from his residence this beautiful spot in nature has been littered with plastics, diapers and all kinds of crap.

You can call me an eco nut, but for me this is a sign of zero respect and zero intelligence. It takes a certain kind of stupid to shit all over nature like this.

But what really bewilders me in all of this is the fact that it is less than a kilometer from the Dalai Lamas residence. He must have personally seen this creek a hundred times. A thousand times. It’s practically in his backyard. He MUST have seen it.

Why hasn’t he asked his chauffeur to pull the car over so that he can personally clean it up? If he did a hundred people would be falling over themselves to help out and five minutes later the mess would be gone. Or if he is too lazy or busy to do it himself he could ask his monks or servants. Or by all means, while giving away scarves to the thousands of tourists that visit each year he might mention that he’d appreciate it if they all chipped in and picked up some crap on their way down.

Instead this is what you’ll see. It isn’t what I would expect when visiting a spiritual leader of his caliber. In fact, it makes me question the whole thing.

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Two monks came to a river

Two monks were on their way back to the monastery. The eldest of them walked first because younger monks are expected to go behind the older ones. They came to a river crossing where a beautiful young woman was standing.

– Please, can you help me cross the river, the woman asked the older monk. I dare not cross it by myself. The current looks strong and I don’t know how deep it is. Can I hold your hand?
The old monk closed his eyes and pretended not to notice the woman. As a monk you should not be tempted, so he rolled up the legs of his trousers and stepped into the river without her.

A few steps after came the younger monk.
– Please monk, begged the woman. Help me across the river. I don’t dare to by myself. The current looks strong and I don’t know how deep it is. Can I hold your hand?
– It is deep here and holding hands won’t be enough, he replied. Climb onto my back and I’ll carry you over to the other side.

Many miles later, outside the monastery the old monk turned to the younger:
– You have committed a sin, and I will report you! Not only did you talk to the woman, not only did you touch her, but you carried her on your back, her body pressed against yours. You should be expelled from our order!
The young monk laughed and said:
– I let her down on the other side of the river more than three miles back. You’re the one who is still carrying her around in your thoughts.

Photo: faith by jenny downing on Flickr

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A guide to safely working with visionary plants, psychedelic medicines and life in general

Before you even think about it

Why am I doing this?

Before you consider working with visionary plants or other psychedelic medicines it is helpful to ask yourself why you want to do so. Your purpose for using a plant or substance is very important for the outcome and you will want to create an environment for your experience that matches your purpose.

I have identified four reasons for using substances, but there are certainly many more.

Recreational use
Many use plants or substances simply to have fun and explore. They take it at a party or for an adventure with friends. The altered states that psychedelics provide are often very pleasant and uplifting, and at the same time often feel very meaningful. Some plants and substances fit well in a social context, while others do not.

Medicinal use
Visionary plants and psychedelics are powerful tools for healing emotionally and mentally, but sometimes also physically. They often bring clarity to the situation and give tools, which is a starting point for working with one’s self-healing. It is also common for them to lower mental barriers or defences you might have towards dealing with a situation. This makes them powerful tools for deep therapeutic work where breakthrough experiences are common, but working in that way takes courage, safety and it is advisable to have an experienced person by your side.

Spiritual use
Visionary plants have been used in spiritual practice for many thousands of years and all over the globe. The plants themselves have spirits that communicate with us and are often respectfully referred to as teachers. Working from a spiritual understanding opens up possibilities to such things as being in contact with the spirit world, receiving messages from the other side or other entities, extracting intruding entities, working with past life issues, and so on. Here it is equally important to have courage, work in a safe environment and to have an experienced person by your side. For someone who works with visionary plants and psychedelics at this level there is often no strict division between medicinal use and spiritual use, since the spiritual work has healing effects.

AbUse
Abuse is important to be aware about, but it is uncommon that people abuse visionary plants or certain psychedelics. They are well renowned for being anti-addictive and often break abusive cycles, which make them excellent for treating and even curing addiction.

Am I ready?

Meditating by Take Back Your Health on Flickr.
Meditating by Take Back Your Health on Flickr.

Why are you considering visionary plants or psychedelic medicines? Many who consciously seek such paths feel stuck in one way or another. They come looking for healing and insight and a way to get unstuck. In some cases people are so intrigued by the medicine that they forget to ask themselves if they actually need it. They can often do more good for themselves by simple means of working out, eating healthier, taking up a meditation practice, doing yoga, making other life style choices and such.

Visionary plants and psychedelics are very powerful tools for working with personal and spiritual development and should be treated with respect. They should not be confused with drugs. To work with visionary plants or psychedelics you need to be mentally prepared to meet whatever comes up. If you know that you are not prepared to see and work through that which you have stored away sub-consciously, you should definitely not use these tools.

If you on the other hand are committed to healing and growing and want to gain access to knowledge so that you can help yourself, then visionary plants and psychedelics might be the closest thing to a miracle that you can find.

Medical background

There might be medical reasons for you not to use certain plants or substances. Check reliable sources for what might be relevant to you. Your shaman, guide or therapist should be able to help you out. In countries where such medicines are legal it might also be good also to ask your medical doctor.

It is not uncommon to be asked to hold a diet or do other lifestyle changes before or after working with visionary plants and psychedelics. If you do a one day fast before it is mainly to prepare your body and make the effect more powerful, but if you are asked to do a longer diet the diet is often also part of your healing.

It should be noted that the most popular visionary plants and psychedelic medicines are physically very safe to work with. Practically nobody dies from them. The potential risks are rather at the mental level, where people who are not willing to change can have very challenging and even terrifying experiences. The problem in that case is not the medicine, but the person’s unwillingness to work with what comes up. Such risks are greatly reduced when working under guidance with a therapeutic or spiritual intention.

There is a general caution when it comes to people who suffer from severe mental illness, such as schizophrenia. The fear is that the plants or substances might trigger the person to become even more sick. There are however other ways of understanding those illnesses. If the illness for example actually is a parasitic energy attached to the person, then visionary plants can be ideal to work with under the guidance of a shaman or such.

Preparation

Intention

81078079The clearer your intention, the easier it will often be for you to find answers, simply because it will focus you in that direction. Some intentions are very precise, such as finding the answer to a specific question. Other intentions can be very broad, but still not vague. Saying “Give me what I need and the strength to handle it” for example.

The mere fact that you are setting a conscious intention sends out the signal that you are open for receiving and working with yourself, which will make it easier to receive and work with yourself. Not setting an intention sends out an unconscious garbled signal possibly inviting things that you are not ready to work with.

I do however have the feeling that the plants consciously don’t give me what I want, but what I need. If my intention is in line with what is best for me, then the answers will be very clear. If my intentions are off, then they won’t be answered. If that happens it is important to be open to listen for what is really best for me.

Promise to yourself

One part to the intention and mental preparation that I find most helpful is to consciously and solemnly promise yourself to deal with whatever comes up. However challenging, hard or nasty it is, you will be courageous, face it and work through it. Having promised yourself to do so, you will be less likely to try to avoid unpleasant challenges, and meeting them head on you will surely solve them.

Set & setting

The concept of set and setting is a great tool for understanding some of the basic steps that lead you to have a certain experience.

Set, as in mindset
Where are you mentally and emotionally right now? What is going on inside you? What is going on in your life? Your experience will in one way or another reflect what is going on with you and what you need in life right now. To be safe you should be in a mindset where you are prepared and capable to handle the challenges you face.

Someone who is unstable and unwilling to face themselves and make changes in their life should not take visionary plants or psychedelics. If one for example uncovers disturbing hidden memories and then tries to suppress them again, there is a risk of re-traumatizing oneself. The same mechanism that can make it a miracle plant or substance for some, can make it a hellish nightmare for others. When we use visionary plants and psychedelics we often delve into the subconscious and find new things to bring to the conscious level. From the conscious level we can then begin working with it in order to heal and grow. One needs to be ready to take that ride.

Setting
Is simply the surroundings. Who are you with? Where are you? Do you feel safe? My best experiences have been by myself, with one other person or with a small group of friends that I like and feel safe with. It has always been understood that we take care of each other if anything happens. And above all, they have taken place in nature.

In your mind, place yourself in different places and with different people and feel the vibe of them and how well that reflects what you want to accomplish. A garden. A national park. In a cabin by a lake. In an art studio. At a rave party. In a pub. In a hospital. In a car. On a boat. In a ceremony. With a shaman. With friends. With bullies. With drunks. With your parents. In a messy dorm room. On a tropical beach. In a hut in the rainforest.

There are so many variations and some of them are obviously bad. Make yours good. Reports of bad trips almost always begin with the person not knowing about or ignoring to create the right set and setting.

Navigating the psychedelic experience

Go with the flow

Winter Walk by jimmy brown on Flickr.
Winter Walk by jimmy brown on Flickr.

The very best way to meet that which is challenging or even frightening is by accepting and diving right into it. Meet your fears head on by accepting and working through that which scares you. When you do so you will eventually resolve whatever is bothering you and come out on the other side, wiser and free of it. As long as you try to avoid whatever it is you will still in some way be trapped by it. Distracting yourself won’t solve your problem, but only add stress to it.

Unfortunately many are so used to avoiding discomfort that it seems counter-intuitive to face what is troubling you. Instead of meeting the discomfort it is common now-a-days to put a lid on things, distract ourselves or even sedate ourselves. That attitude can be very harmful when we work with plants or psychedelics, since they work in the opposite direction by raising our awareness and pointing us to the real issue.

While there are those who warn people to get in contact with their subconscious, that is the whole point of the exercise with visionary plants and psychedelics. So when you are faced by something, however awful it might seem, your best response is to accept it and go with the flow. Work through it and come out on the other side.

Acceptance is an important step

The first step in working with change is to bring awareness to the situation. We need to become aware that change is needed, but to be able to change we also need to accept how things are right now. It doesn’t mean that we need to approve of how things are, be ok with them, or anything like it. It just means that you need to accept the current situation as it really is in order to change it. Otherwise your actions will at best be misdirected, and at worst harmful for your growth.

Being aware and having accepted what is leads you on to be able to work with your change. The actual change might be quick like turning on a switch, or it might take much hard work. When you have worked through it all it is important also to acknowledge it by being grateful. Those who forget to be grateful often forget what they have to be grateful for.

Although the emphasis here was on acceptance, these four steps together form a very simple, yet powerful method of personal development.

  1. Awareness
  2. Acceptance
  3. Change
  4. Thankfulness

One major aspect of plant teachers and psychedelics is to help us in that process. They help us bring awareness and often also show us how we need to change, but for the healing and growing to take place we need to accept how things are and put in the necessary work to change ourselves.

Changing the variables of setting

When you feel bad during a journey it can be because you actually have something that you need to deal with. In that case, accept it and dive right in. There are however times when people feel bad without being able to locate why. When the discomfort isn’t caused by something internal, it is caused by something external. When it is external simple changes in your environment can very quickly make you feel better. You can for example try this:

  • change your body position
  • look at your bodily needs. Do you need to go to the bathroom, drink something or are you hot/cold?
  • change the music, turn it off/on
  • change the lighting
  • change what you’re doing
  • change rooms or go outside/inside
  • change company

Any one of these variables and many more like them can affect your wellbeing without you even noticing it. By deliberately changing them you can figure out where the problem lies. The setting you have chosen has its own map of possibilities that can be changed to change the way you feel, for good and bad.

Change is the only constant

Nothing lasts forever. The effects of the plant or substance that you have taken will eventually fade away. Whatever you are experiencing right now will soon be no more than a memory. This can be comforting to remember when things are especially challenging. If someone is having a hard time and needs comforting, remind them that this too will pass.

Emergency landing

You should plan your journey so that this information is never needed, but if you really need to land from the experience you should eat. We raise our vibration when we work with visionary plants and psychedelics, so by eating we lower ourselves again. Food is earth and helps you find roots, but it can be quite a challenge to eat in that state since even a watermelon might taste like soil. Eating to land is a safe and natural way of landing, but it takes time and you will still feel some effects. It is also possible to cut the energy of some plants with lemon or chilli. I would definitely not recommend alcohol or other drugs or medicines to come down.

Calling the police/ambulance

A few people get the knee-jerk reaction to call the police if things get scary. In most cases it is a really bad idea to ask help from the police, since they really have no idea what they are dealing with. Their training does not include how to take care of tripping people and that insensitivity can be quite disrupting or even traumatizing. But of course, if there is a real emergency where the police or ambulance is needed – call them.

A spiritual perspective

The well known Mexican mushroom shaman Maria Sabina.
The well known Mexican mushroom shaman Maria Sabina.

The traditions that have worked with these visionary plants for many millennia are spiritual. They take into account such things as other realities, spirits, intrusive energies and past lives. The plants themselves are entities that can be communicated with and they are often honourably referred to as teachers. The plant teachers are naturally occurring and among others include San Pedro, Peyote, psilocybin mushrooms and Ayahuasca. These all have powerful entities connected to them who often heal and teach us things.

Chemical substances such as LSD do not have entities attached to them. LSD can give many of the same effects by unleashing the persons own potential, but without the support of a plant entity, what comes out of it is left up to the person who has taken the substance.

These traditions also work with the understanding that people have an energetic body where blockages can lead to physical illness later on.

Respecting the substance and yourself

If one understands that the plants are actually powerful entities who help us work with ourselves, it goes without saying that one should meet them in a respectful manner. In traditional settings that is reflected in the ceremony, but respectful should not be confused with tradition or ceremony. Being respectful means being of good intention, willing to better yourself and treating the plant as the teacher and helper that it is. Respectful is making the effort to integrate the insights you have gained. Respect can be seen in how we prepare ourselves for meeting the plant, in what setting we choose, what clothes we wear and how we treat and help those we journey with.

There are certainly many ways of being disrespectful, but some of the more common are using the plant as a drug, using it with bad intentions and mixing it with other plants or substances. If you want to mix the plant with something else, then first ask its permission.

Navigating alternative realities

Visionary plants and psychedelics open doors to realities that are often hidden to us. To put it plainly – there are such things as spirits, angels and demons. Many sicknesses, especially mental ones, are actually caused by parasitic energies.

Some people have a natural instinct on to how to handle other realities, while others can feel very lost and vulnerable. If you have no knowledge of how to navigate such realities it is good to have a guide who does.

As so often it is really only fear itself that you have to worry about. If you feel that you need protection, then you should absolutely call it in. If you feel that you don’t need protection, then most likely you are fine without it.

Integrate the experience, live the insight

Plants and substances are tools that will show you what you are doing wrong and what you need to do in order to get un-stuck, heal and so on. They will usually not heal you, but will rather leave that work for you to do. What you do following the ceremony is therefore of utmost importance. To heal you need to properly integrate and live the insights that you have found. As long as you do so you are still on your way.

If you on the other hand go back home and don’t bother taking care of the insights you have gained, then you will quickly find yourself in the same misery again. It might even be worse, because you have become conscious about what you should do. In that case you stagnate and stand still. A person who comes back for the same answers over and over is probably not genuinely interested in evolving, but is rather seeking thrills. If you come back for the same answers you will soon find that the plants get fed up with you, in the same way that any therapist would if you kept coming back with the exact same issue. If they do get angry with you, your journeys will rapidly become increasingly uncomfortable.

Some people are very able to work with themselves after the experience, while others need the support of others. When doing such journeying with friends one has a support group in each other, but if one takes help of a shaman or therapist for the experience it isn’t always obvious where you can get the support you need afterwards.

To make positive changes in your life you need to focus on integration. If it is all about the experience and not about the integration, you will find yourself going nowhere.

How all of this applies to life in general

If you take a step back and exclude all plants and substances from this text you will notice that most of what I have written is applicable to life in general. Let me take a few examples.

Setting
Depressed people often unconsciously program themselves to be miserable. Everything around them is carefully rigged to keep their mood down. They are in a setting which is poison to them. If they applied the same technique of changing variables in their surroundings they could often solve their situation without medication. But instead of changing the music, changing clothes, relationships or jobs, many people medicate themselves. By doing so they are in many cases actually sedating themselves in order to continue functioning in an environment that is harmful to them.

Go with the flow
Our society is obsessed with avoiding the uncomfortable, at the cost of never actually solving it. Instead of facing the discomfort we sedate or distract ourselves from problems. If people in general were given the tools and courage to face their pain, sorrow, shame, anxiety and whatever else is bothering them, we would see far more healing at the mental and emotional level than doctors, therapist, shamans and medications can ever hope to give us.

Integration is the key
People are full of bright ideas and answers, but they are all quite pointless if you do not let them live. Insights that aren’t translated into action are only insights in theory. For them to have importance in your life you must do something with them.

A last note

b0397bda0b639548ff44316fb4e1f456Much of this text deals with the issue of challenging experiences with visionary plants and psychedelics, but I need to add that most of my experiences with psychedelic medicine have been joyful, marvellous, beautiful and eye-opening. There is so much love and wonder and I function so much better because of my experiences. So even if I believe in being prepared for challenges, leave the door wide open for your journey to be something totally other than challenging, because most of the time it will be.

Main picture: part of the painting Person Planet by Alex Grey

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Done

A little more than two years ago the Archangel Ishmael pushed me into a powerful purge of my life where all things that were no longer beneficial for me were expelled.

IMG_7891I burnt and erased everything I had made up till the age of 36. From my very first drawings I made at preschool to my latest work and study related stuff. As I danced around the fire that devoured it the sentence “my history starts here” was ringing in my ears.

My marriage went the same way and even though that was the most difficult part, I can see that it is what was best for us all. I am happy to say that I am now good friends with my ex and an active, loving father of my children. With the marriage out the window I also lost 95 percent of my friends, so I ended up spending my 40th birthday alone wondering if I had any at all. I used to think I had very close and dear friendships, but when it came to it most of them just vanished. Having lost all friends I slowly began attracting new ones that are on similar paths as mine, although I don’t consider many of them as close as I thought my previous ones were. It left me feeling very lonely, but from that loneliness I have found new confidence in myself and the conviction that I need to follow my path with all my heart, no matter what other people think about it.
My job met the same fate, even though I was too comfortable to take that step myself. But when I didn’t life stepped in and cast it out. That gave me three months to write my very first book which was a purging of another relationship.

One of the most powerful aspects of the purge has to do with truth, which has been one focus of this blog up until now. We all carry things within that we don’t want others to know about. Things that we are ashamed of; secrets that we don’t want to admit to. I have consciously used this blog to rid myself of those secrets, which has been a very challenging process. I have often sat in front of the computer with the feeling that I really don’t want to push the publish button, but every time that feeling has come to me I have known that I really must. And I am happy to say that I have pushed that publish button every single time, even though my ego has gone bananas trying to persuade me not to. For every time I have let something that I am ashamed of go I have walked a little taller and loved myself a little more.

In the very beginning I also did my forgiveness walk which was a powerful release of negative emotions that I held onto regarding others and myself. That day was year’s worth of emotional healing that also made me realize that I have a tendency to feel guilt and shame even when I shouldn’t.

● ● ●

At first I thought that the purge was only going to go on for a month or so, but the more I went into it, the more there was to work on. It dragged on and has challenged me in all aspects of life, to the point that I was unsure if I would ever be done with it. Then just last week a message came to me loud and clear.

I am done. The purge is over. Now the adventure continues. Work awaits.

● ● ●

Of late many things have become very clear. I now know what I need to do next to be of service and I will be happy to share that with you as things unfold. For now I have made some important changes to my blog. The tagline for my blog used to be “Being brave is only the first step”. At the time I didn’t really understand how well that would sum it all up. Now I am on my next step, so the tagline has changed to “Healing and growing”, because that is what I help myself and others to do.

psychedelic_blotter_art_640_07You can see big changes in my presentation and I have also added a short description of psychedelic medicine. I have also erased all blog posts that solely had to do with my truth purge, because they are no longer relevant to what this blog is to be. That isn’t to say that I won’t be paying attention to the truth. On the contrary. The truth is ingrained in me.

Now let’s get started. Tomorrow I will publish one of my most important blog posts to date – A guide to safely working with visionary plants, psychedelic medicines and life in general. I hope it will be of help to you.

Photo: Spread Love! by Vinoth Chandar on Flickr

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Naysha: Why shamans aren’t vegetarians

I will talk about shamans and not about gurus or healers. I will talk about the reasons not to be a vegetarian or vegan from a shamanic point of view. I won’t say that one way or another is wrong or right. IT’S A DECISION. But there is a lot of judgment and misinformation on the subject. The silent war between meat eaters, vegetarians and vegans must stop. It is not helping nature.

We lost the connection with our food when we let go of shamanism and our shamans. We are responsible for the pain that’s going on and when we become conscious of the importance of shamanism and reconnect to nature, then we will begin to understand how to correct our errors.

The comfortable life that each of us has chosen has disconnected us from nature. The city provides you with so much comfort. You fill your refrigerator with food that you buy from the supermarket, since you don’t have time to grow your own food, because you must work 8 hours a day in order to maintain your comfort. It is the same in all aspects of modern life. We have given up our power of being INDEPENDENTS and INTERCONNECTED and instead we DEPEND on corporations and governments. These problems won’t be solved by us becoming vegetarians or vegans.

A real shaman knows how to provide their own food. All good shamans that I have met hunt and fish their own food, as well as grow vegetables. Their diet is of course depending on where they live, so shamans in northern Greenland almost only eat meat.

For me the experience of fishing has helped me develop my connection with water and other elements. When you are fishing you learn how to read the water and the weather conditions. You need to become the fish and this is how shamanism works. I can connect and feel where the better areas are and where the fish are at that moment in the day. And then when I get them out of the water I never feel sorry or offer apologies. I thank the fish for giving me its life energy.

When you kill an animal you understand life and how fabulous our existence on this earth is. Our bodies are containers than contains a great source – THE SOUL. In the eyes of the animal you can see when the spirit leaves. It’s the light that disappears from this reality to pass to another that is better. Life is a cycle. Death is not bad. It’s a process, a continuation. We are never really born; we are constantly dying since we came to earth.

When you live a genuine shamanic life you understand that everything that surrounds you in nature is ALIVE and HAS A CONSCIOUSNESS – animals, plants and even rocks. Just because they don’t move fast does not mean that they are not alive. They are just having a different experience on earth. Shamanism was born in the hunting cultures.

Is the pain of an animal a reason to become a vegetarian or vegan?

No, it’s not. Everything that is alive CAN EXPERIENCE PAIN and EMOTIONS, but this is not a bad thing. It is one of the reasons why we are here, to FEEL. Plants can also FEEL. We are just not used to listening to their pain, but they can still feel it. It is trough the pain that we know that is better to feel LOVE.

It’s a different thing when we kill animals in factories. There is no respect in it, no consideration in the way animals are killed anymore. In the shamanic traditions the animal must die fast and with as little pain as possible. In the Sami tradition for example they kill the reindeer by first cutting the nervous system and then with a knife to the hearth. Then they wait until the animal does not move the eyes anymore before taking care of the meet and everything else. They use every single part, to honour the animal, the skin, the meat, and the antlers. This is how it used to be when the shamans actively worked in the communities.

Nowadays even the vegetables are being dishonoured in the way they are being grown. People are poisoning the vegetables with chemicals in order to make them look pretty, which is not good. There are a many lands and forests being burnt down right now in the Amazon, in Africa, in Asia in order to grow vegetables.

We must find the BALANCE in OURSELVES, because that is where all these problems begin. The problem is not if people eat meat or vegetables. The problem is how it is being done. If you want to make a change and help nature, start collaborating in your community with farming projects, permaculture and such. Get active in politics.

We must stop the industrial way of producing meat and vegetables. And the most important is to truly start to reconnect with nature. It’s easy to admire nature through your car window, but to live in harmony with nature is a different experience entirely and that is what shamanism is about.

Naysha Silva

Photo: Hunting and Mentoring by USFWSmidwest on Flickr

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Diving with whales

Ever wonder what it would be like to dive with whales? Here’s a cheap version for those of you that are more than a few paychecks away from getting that submersible you’ve wanted all your life.

What you need

  • LSD
  • Car (preferably a small one)
  • Whale song
  • Friend(s) with a vivid imagination

How to do it

You might already have figured it out, but here goes.

  1. Park your car in the forest at night.
  2. Take the LSD and wait for it to hit the peak.
  3. Get into the car and turn on the parking lights, so that there is just a hint of light outside the car.
  4. Talk and mess around so that the car windows fog up.
  5. With the parking lights on and the windows all foggy, put on the whale song and crank that volume way up.
  6. Peer out the windows and imagine you’re on a whale expedition.

Photo: Humpback Whales by Christopher Michel on Flickr

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Eating consciously

I have grown up with very good and tasty food, so my experience of food has been pleasurable and filled with satisfaction. Even so I find that the experience of eating is tremendously heightened when I do so consciously. For me it is meditation practice and I have borrowed some parts from yoga.

Preparing the food

I haven’t done this part as much as the rest, but it follows the same principles as much else. The very best food you can eat is what you have grown yourself. After that comes what friends have grown and way down the ladder of good food is the mass produced stuff you find at the supermarket.

The more aware one is when cooking the food, the better it will be. One way of doing so is by blessing the moment of making this food and then being free of distractions. Simply taking the time to make food and nothing else. Turning off the computer, phone, tv, stereo and radio goes far.

A friend once sent me a picture of his chopped vegetables, all in the shape of hearts. I think that is a wonderful way of charging the food with love.

Eating

Blessing the food. I look at the food, identify each ingredient and am thankful for it and also say my intention. “Here is the potato. I got this from my friend who is so good at gardening. It is really a wonderful place they have grown in and they have done so without any pesticides. Thank you so much for this potato. It will give me energy to write this afternoon.”

There are of course infinite ways to bless the food and it is up to you to find your way of honouring the food, yourself and the world around you. However you do it, it sends out gratitude and sets the stage for eating.

Smell the food. Many of us are far too focused on listening and seeing when we eat, because we distract ourselves from the eating by talking or watching something. Seeing is part of the experience of eating. Taste is a given, but smell is also an important part of tasting. And then there is the sense of touch, as in when we handle the food or taste its texture and consistency.

I begin by simply smelling the plate of food and trying to distinguish the different ingredients and by doing so I consciously open up the experience to more senses. It also sends a signal to the stomach that it is time to eat.

Eating in silence. As I mentioned many of us talk far too much during a meal to actually appreciate it fully. Some of my most delicious meals have been while doing a silent meditation retreat. Although the meals were very blend the tastes really popped out.

Eating slowly. When we chew our food properly we make it easier for our body to take full advantage of the food. When we eat consciously we direct our body to do so. Eating slowly also gives us time to fully appreciate the flavours, smells and consistency of the food.

The burp. When we eat slowly and consciously we will notice a small burp after a while. That is a signal to stop eating. We generally need much less food when we eat consciously and many of us are overeating anyway, so for many that burp comes surprisingly early. Try it out and see how it feels for you to listen for that burp. This tip I picked up from Natha Yoga.

Doing the dishes. Clean up afterward and do the dishes, so that the experience of eating is gracefully closed.

Photo: Green organic sprouts growth by Pawel Pacholec on Flickr

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It all begins when I stop

I once channelled an angel that was very clear on what I needed to do. Before I had even said hello it stepped forward to tell me:
– Daniel. You must stop smoking cannabis.
I was a bit surprised and wanted to dodge what it was telling me.
– Yes, yes, I know, but that isn’t what I want to talk about.
– But that is what you need to do. You must stop smoking cannabis.
– Yes, I understand that now, but let’s talk about something else.
– No, Daniel, you need to stop smoking cannabis.
– Okay, I get it. But surely there must be other things that deserve attention?
– First, you must stop smoking cannabis.
– I get it. But what happens after I have stopped?
– Everything.

It all begins when I stop.

Photo: Touching an angel by Pixle on Flickr

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