Category Archives: Personal development

An audio hug

My first recorded song ever – a calming healing song in Swedish meant to remind us to relax and breathe when life is overwhelming.

A big thank you and a hug to everybody who has helped me!

Johan Borgström, Sasha Nielsen, Susanna Dalla-Santa, Fredrik Carlsson, Mirjam Wilby, Luma Nielsen, Irmgard Stünkel, Pétur Pétursson, Jonathan Nertlinge, Alexander Ravenna, Naysha Silva Romero, Sierenna Wilk, Molle Nifkin, Johan Malmborg and Patrick Bongart.

This is a Swedish translation of Ze Franks wonderful Chillout song.

Photo: from our recording session.
Sasha Nielsen on the hang drum and Johan Borgström on the guitar.

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Time for new beginnings

Today is the Spring Equinox which is a time for endings and new beginnings, death and rebirth. We lay old projects to rest and see the first seedlings of new ones.

Today I will climb to the top of a hill together with friends, light a fire and we will all burn something from the past that we no longer need or want in our lives. Then we will wish for the new things we want to invite into our lives with the support or the energy of the Spring. Afterwards we’ll have a meditation, eat and talk about our new projects.

Photo: Spirited Away by Stephen Brace on Flickr
Photo: Spirited Away by Stephen Brace on Flickr

I have a couple of new projects that are yearning for my attention and also a few old ones that need to come to an end to make room for the new ones. This blog is one such thing that will be coming to an end. I have been writing it for two years now and it has been a great therapeutic tool and also a way to share and connect with others. I am truly grateful for the healing it has given me and also grateful for the wonderful people it has put me in contact with. Thank you everyone who has supported me such as Naysha, Azarius and Zamnesia. With a smile and a light heart I will now move on to other even more interesting projects.

I wish you all the best of luck with your projects and please feel free to get in contact with me with questions, thoughts, bookings, new friendships and such.

Daniel Wilby

Main photo: Almost Over The Rainbow by Adrian Ruiz on Flickr

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Why psychedelics are illegal

Many people crudely think that all illegal drugs are illegal because they are physically dangerous to the user. That is not the case. Different substances have been made illegal at different times and for different reasons.

Some substances are rightly illegal because they are physically dangerous. Heroin, crack and GHB are examples of dangerous substances that pose a very real risk to the user. Ironically though the two most dangerous drugs – alcohol and tobacco – are not illegal.

Other substances are however illegal for very different reasons. Two reasons are very prominent: because they are perceived as dangerous to the status quo and to target and persecute specific groups.

Just the other day I was asked why psychedelics are illegal. They are obviously extremely useful medicines and also very safe when used correctly. Well, there are several reasons for them being illegal and most of them have nothing to do with health, but let us begin with the health issue.

Psychedelics are commonly non-toxic and pose no physical threat even at extreme doses. Most of these substances are not even possible to overdose to the degree that they would be life threatening. But there is one real health risk and that is to the user’s mental health. Psychedelics have the unique capacity of unlocking the doors of the unconscious mind. They can release what has been carefully locked away and repressed. This is of course what makes them such powerful therapeutic tools, but if the person isn’t open to taking care of what comes up the experience can be quite traumatic. The same goes for other kinds of therapy, meditation and contemplation. If you aren’t ready to meet what you have repressed you shouldn’t do or take anything that will uncover what you have buried.

nixon_militaryBut besides this, what were the perceived dangers that made psychedelics illegal? To grasp this one must look at the historical setting. Where did the push to criminalize come from and what is the backdrop? To understand this we need to go back to the USA in the mid 1960’s. Government at all levels were in a cold war state of mind trying to root out possible dissidents within. The Vietnam war had dragged on for ten years, US involvement was sharply rising, as was the death toll. It was a time for hardliners and hawks. JFK had been murdered and the much less diplomatic Lyndon B Johnson took his place. He was then followed by one of the fathers of the War on Drugs – Richard Nixon.

At the same time a very vocal and at times even revolutionary opposition was forming at home. There were many different movements with many different objectives, but when talking about psychedelics the hippies are of course at the focal point. What were they up to? They protested, burnt draft cards, let their hair grow, dressed strangely and promoted free sex, just to name a few things. In the eyes of a person like Nixon, and there were many like him at the time, they were trouble makers who were upsetting the status quo. They were anti-establishment peacemongerers and as such perceived as threatening by the establishment.

At the very core of that opposition was the experimentation with drugs and the one that has forever been associated with the hippie movement is of course the psychedelic LSD. So what was it about LSD that sparked this opposition and backlash towards the establishment? I think the ethnobotanist psychonaut Terence McKenna was spot on when he said that “they dissolve opinion structures and culturally laid down models of behaviour and information processing. They open you up to the possibility that everything you know is wrong.”

Photo: DaveHippie by studio muscle on Flickr
Photo: DaveHippie by studio muscle on Flickr

What LSD did was to awaken people from their cultural programming and indoctrination and let them see the world with other eyes. When they did so they could not accept what they had been taught, so they rebelled. They rebelled against violence, militarism and domination and instead sought “peace, love and understanding”.

On a side note both the CIA the American military had experimented heavily with LSD before it found its way to the hippies. One notable side effect was that quite a few soldiers that had been given it laid down their guns and refused to pick them up again.

For a person like Nixon this was all extremely threatening. To him America was losing its youth to a drug culture that was in direct opposition to the establishment. And he certainly had a point. If you want people to follow orders, be aggressive towards one another, go to war and kill people you will not want to give them LSD, because they will start thinking for themselves, refuse to follow orders and will refuse violence.

LSD was not made illegal because it is physically harmful to the person taking it. It was made illegal because it makes people question authority and social injustices and prompts them to do something about it. LSD and psychedelics threatened and still threatens the fabric of domination culture by showing people that another world is possible.

While many believe that our drug laws are there to protect us we have in fact inherited most of them from a time when domination culture was scared of losing control. Our drug laws are in many cases in place to hinder mind expansion and rebellion against the violent domination culture and the status quo, and most certainly so when it comes to psychedelics.

This is a pattern of dominance which is repeating itself.

Today the political establishment are the ones oppressing and persecuting the users of psychedelics. Yesterday it was the church. The brutal persecution of witches, witchdoctors, healers, shamans and anyone seeking other modalities of healing or other ways of reaching the divine was the church’s version of the War on Drugs. The vocabulary surrounding it all was different but still quite similar. Instead of safety and health concerns the church would talk about being in contact with or possessed by the devil or evil spirits.

Witch BurningWhile they might well have believed their own story, just as many do with the story of domineering culture of today, it was ultimately based in a fear of losing control over people. As many, perhaps even most, who work with psychedelics will attest to, psychedelics are often a door to the divine. They break down the limitations of our cultural programming. When it comes to the church there has often been an idea that certain people should act as intermediaries for the rest of us, thus the control over the contact with the divine and the divine will has been hijacked by priests and such. What psychedelics often do in that case is give the user his/her own personal contact with the divine, making the intermediary superfluous. For someone who wants to maintain control over other people this is of course extremely threatening and also provocative to the point where the church would be willing to kill people.

One needs to remember that the greatest threat to the church is that each and every one of us would be able to have our own contact with the divine. If we did have that contact the church would soon be redundant, at least as an interpreter of God’s will,  so it lies in the interest of the individual career makers within and also in the organisations themselves to see to it that people do not have their own contact with the divine.

And that is of course the pattern of domineering that is repeating itself today. A lot of people, organisations and companies stand to lose a lot of money and power when psychedelics are let free. It is in their interest to keep them illegal. If you could solve addiction, PTSD, depression and such with one or a few psychedelic trips the medical and pharmaceutical industry would take a huge dive. If people would stop tolerating violence that would mean the end of the military and the industries that profit from war. If each and every one would be given the tools for connecting with the divine themselves the world religions would lose their strangle hold on the minds of people.

It is in the interest of anyone who wants to dominate someone else that psychedelics are kept illegal and are continually persecuted.

That is why psychedelics are illegal.

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Heart opening at the Tivoli

Paying three Euros for a single ride at the children’s Tivoli felt like a total rip off. Three Euros for a ride that does absolutely nothing but go round in a circle for a few minutes. But as any good parent I payed the absurd sum and let her climb into a silly little car.

She rode the ride and every time she came around she waved to me. She was smiling and laughing and I was so utterly filled with joy seeing her so happy that I couldn’t buy more tickets fast enough. I had found my new favourite ride at the entire place and I was happy just standing there handing over tickets for three Euros a piece.

I have mentioned earlier that having children really opens up the heart chakra. Many people suffer from being closed off at this level. They are envious, jealous and closed hearted. They can’t stand seeing someone else being successful or happy when they themselves are not. There are certainly parents and partners that are envious or jealous of children, that have a hard time seeing even children being loved and happy, but for most people having children will challenge them to overcome that. They can’t help being filled with joy when they see their child happy. For some that might actually be the first time they can look at another human without underlying resentment.

For those that choose to heal and grow it will open their eyes to see other people in the same light. It will make them all the more capable to be happy for other peoples success, to genuinely wish them well in life and to smile when they smile.

Photo: Mirjam at the Tivoli by Daniel Wilby

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As many chances as you need

The general rule is that you get however many chances you need to complete your lesson. You always get a second chance. And a third, a fourth, a fifth and however many you need.

That doesn’t necessarily mean that you will be given a second chance by the same person or even in the same life, but in fact you won’t be able to move forward before you get it right.

Now some pessimists might think that there is no incentive to complete the lesson and move on. That the rule of having all the chances in the world will make slackers. Well, there are at least two things that push people to move on. The first is that the lesson becomes harsher each time it comes around in order to motivate us to move forward. Life wants us to evolve. The second is that it becomes outright boring to work on the same lesson over and over.

Let’s take the example of addiction. Life will give you as many chances that you need to overcome an addiction. If that is part of your life lesson you will have every chance. Now that doesn’t mean that the same person will give you unlimited chances. There will certainly be people and institutions that get fed up with you after a while and let go of you, but there will always be new doors opening for you to end your addiction, all the way up until your death bed. And if you aren’t able to solve it in this life you will bring the lesson along to the next, so even if you manage to end it five minutes before your death it is a victory, because you won’t have to go through the same painful journey all over again.

The first times that you get into contact with your lesson the effort needed to break the addiction will be quite small, but it might at the same time not feel very pressing. You might not have felt enough harm and pain to fully understand the importance of dealing with it, so you stay in it. But with time and with each door you close the lesson will become harsher. The harm will increase and so will the pain. What was once a soft and barely distinguishable alarm will grow to a siren right next to you until you simply cannot ignore it anymore. And you will be fed up with your lesson, with yourself and perhaps even with this life because you are just hurting yourself in the same way over and over again. You will be frustrated and bored and longing for change until one day you finally learn the lesson.

Then there will be a great release.

And after that another lesson. That lesson will be all new and might even be quite intriguing. In the beginning you might not even notice the opportunities you are being given to learn the lesson. Perhaps you can’t see the need of learning it at all so you pass up the opportunities. But don’t worry. You will have all the chances you will ever need to learn the lesson. That is simply how it works.

Photo: drink up, its summer by Jeff Ruane on Flickr

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A true spiritual path

Is it cheating to use psychedelics in the pursuit of personal and spiritual growth?

No.

Plant teachers and psychedelic medicines are part of an especially powerful spiritual path that only few can handle. They aren’t for everyone, just as tantra or vipassana meditation isn’t for everyone. It is a genuine path of healing and spiritual growth that has been around for longer than any religion we have today and that has at some point in time been part of the practice of all of them. They are at the very core of the mystical experience that once upon a time gave birth to religions, although those religions have since fundamentally perverted the insights given. Psychedelics are the tools of healers, shamans, witches, visionaries, psychonauts, spiritual explorers and messengers. They are tools of change and enlightenment, of love and transcendence. They are catalysts of evolution and reconnect people to the source.

Photo: DJ by Catrin Austin on Flickr

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All states are contagious

I’m pretty sure that all of us have experienced contagious laughter. Someone starts laughing which triggers others to laugh and soon enough everyone is laughing. It’s the same with yawning. Seeing someone else yawning will very often make you yawn too.

What many people are less aware of is that it doesn’t stop there. It goes without saying that it is easy to get angry when someone is angry with you, but it is less obvious that someone else’s confusion might rub off in the same way.

All states can be contagious. Laziness is contagious. Dreams are contagious, as are depressions. This is especially true when you are less conscious, have a weak third eye or lack determination. Such people are more easily swayed by others emotions and visions, but very few people are so strong of mind and heart that they are immune. Therefore it is important to be aware of what you are picking up from other people and ultimately what people and emotions you are surrounding yourself with.

If you are in a state which you do not want to be in there is a very real chance that it doesn’t actually belong to you. Then you need to track the source and disconnect. Sometimes that can mean to get rid of the relationship, but it doesn’t always need to be that drastic. In some cases it is enough to become aware of where you have been picking it up and to leave that emotion with that person.

If you are in a bad state and you are the source, then be aware that you are contagious. You are contaminating the environment around you. You might think that how you feel is your own business but that is not the case, especially if you have children. Your confusion, laziness, anger, depression, anxiety, bitterness or whatever will rub off on them. Get your act together and take responsibility for the mess that you are creating. Change to create something different.

Photo: Big yawn by Björn Rixman on Flickr

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Quitting by doing it

I found a wonderful talk on TED today where the psychiatrist Judson Brewer elaborates on using mindfulness to break bad habits.

He uses the example of smoking. When building the bad habit of smoking we have propped it up with positive feelings, such as the feeling that we are cool when we smoke. As the habit progresses the rewards that we initially gained become all the more subconscious. It becomes an automated behaviour; a habit.

What I found was really interesting was the way he suggested to break the habit. He didn’t tell his clients “You need to stop smoking”. In fact he did exactly the opposite. He encouraged the client to smoke BUT to do so consciously. Since the habit is an unconscious act bringing in consciousness makes all the difference. When the clients began smoking consciously they themselves found all kinds of nasty things that they were not aware of. Smoking mindfully they began noticing how their body reacted, how they felt, how it smelled and many other things that they had been totally unaware of before. That in turn motivated them to quit or made them loose interest all together, sickened by the insight of what they were doing to themselves.

So next time you want to break a bad habit you might want to try something very different from what you usually do. Instead of trying to cut it off, bring in consciousness and go into the habit. You might find that the key to solving it is right there in front of you.

Photo: Smoke and Steve by Liza Agsalud on Flickr

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At times confusing

When you have decided to change something in your life you will often be challenged. For example, if you have promised yourself not to eat sugar for a month one of your friends will most certainly show up with your favourite sugary snack that same afternoon. This is a test of your determination.

On the other hand life has a way of naturally unfolding when you are in the flow of things. Then there is no effort. You receive exactly what you need without having to force things. If you need to force it, then you are not in the flow and that is not the right way.

Figuring out which is true and applicable in a certain situation can however be confusing at times. Is the hardship that I am enduring a test of my determination or is it a sign saying “don’t go down this road”?

Photo: Gæt en smartphone – Del 2 by Jacob Bøtter on Flickr

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