Tag Archives: grow

Picking or growing your own psychedelic mushrooms

Hi,
I’m looking to grow my own mushrooms for personal spiritual development. As they are ‘illegal’ I was wondering if you had any tips of where I can purchase seeds or baby mushrooms safely and securely?

Many thanks.

Greg

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The very best mushrooms to work with are the ones that are indigenous to your area, so first of all I would suggest that you check if there are any where you live. In Sweden we have the Liberty cap (toppslättskivling) which can be found in old cow pastures roughly between September and November. It is best if you pick them yourself, since you infuse them with your own intention.

The next best thing to do is to grow them yourself. This is good for a number of reasons. You will know what you are growing, while a dealer might not know exactly what s/he is selling. You will also infuse them with your intention and care, which is good when working with your personal and spiritual development.

The laws surrounding mushrooms that contain psilocybin vary, so you will need to check what is applicable where you live. In Sweden the mushrooms are illegal, but not the spores. It is similar with cannabis where the plant is illegal, but the seeds are not. If you can get hold of spores you can start your own grow operation, but if the package is crossing borders I would suggest that you send it to a different address from where you will be growing it. In Sweden we have had a few cases of customs tipping the police about legal shipments, and then the police have come by a few months later when the grow operation is up and running.

Growing your own mushrooms is a little complicated for a beginner, but there are excellent guides to help you out. Browse Erowid for more information. You can also find good grow kits that contain everything you need. A much easier option is to buy grow boxes with ready mycelium in them. They are super easy to handle, but might not be legal where you live. In Sweden I am not quite sure. I have heard that the mycelium is actually legal, but I do not know of a court case that confirms it. If you know of one, please let me know.

If you can’t find a supplier that ships to your area I would suggest trying to find fellow enthusiasts that can give you some spores to get started with.

In Europe I would suggest one of the two shops that support me – Azarius or Zamnesia. I am not familiar with any shops outside Europe, but you should be able to google them easily enough.

I would suggest that you try growing a few different kinds of mushrooms and that you meditate with them to get to know them. Also never mix different strains. B+ is an excellent all-round mushroom while I find that the Cambodian strain is very good for working with death and deep transformation.

Feel free to tell me how things work out! The best of luck to you.

Photo: Psilocybe Cubensis – Ecuador by afgooey74 on Flickr

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Discomfort is not harm

Discomfort is not harm. It is only discomfort.

We are so used to avoiding anything unpleasant that many of us have forgotten what the difference is between unpleasant discomfort and harm. As soon as we come close to anything unpleasant we run in the opposite direction or sedate ourselves, which of course means that we never actually solve whatever it is that lies at the core of our discomfort.

To move on in life, go where the energy is the strongest. Greet your fears, meet your discomfort, heal and grow.

If you keep avoiding stuff you’ll be 12 for the rest of your life.

 Photo: Barefoot walking by Gerneinde Celerina

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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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Valued belongings

One thing that gives our belongings value is how we have acquired them. When collecting my tools for spiritual work it has been like this:

Made myself

What I have made myself with what has been given me from nature holds the most power. The closer I can get to the source in the process, the better.

A gift

Gifts are often powerful and hold the well-wishings of those who have given them to us.

To buy

Compared to the other two, things that I have bought are generally weaker. Once in a while something really catches your eye and speaks to you or comes to you by chance. That is what to buy.

● ● ●

It is the same with all things we have, especially our food. The best to eat is what we have grown, collected or hunted ourselves.

With all this said, also let things wander on when they want to. We tend to accumulate things. Instead we should see that they are where they are most needed.

Photo: Garden Fresh Carrots by OakleyOriginals on Flickr

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The question that helps me learn from difficult situations

A number of years ago I became entangled in a tough workplace conflict. It wasn’t really about me, but suddenly my employment was in focus. I felt offended when I felt that the people that I previously had a good working relationship with treated me badly.

Right at the beginning of the conflict I went to a vipassanna meditation, which is basically ten days of deep meditation with a technique that brings clarity. The first day my head was full of chatter. I managed to keep my focus for 20 seconds and then I was off to visit the job conflict for ten minutes, before I managed to return my focus. That continued the entire first day, until I found a crucial insight regarding the conflict.

It was not about me.

I just happened to be the one who held the job that had become a bargaining chip, so even if I took it personally it was ultimately not about the person Daniel. It was actually not even about the employee Daniel. It was about the position that I held.

When I let go of my hurt feelings I was able find a question that I have used in several difficult situations since then:

What can I learn from this?

This is one of the most liberating questions I have found, because it shifts focus from how unpleasant we feel that the situation is, to what we can learn from it. All situations have something to teach us, but especially those difficult situations. A difficult situation is a situation that we find difficult to manage, which means that the lesson we can learn from it is so much greater. There is a potential to grow.

My work situation was no better when I came back from the meditation, but my focus had shifted. A very stressful time followed, but since the question “what can I learn from this?” repeated itself like a mantra in my head, I learned a lot about myself and others.

I hope I never have to experience any more conflicts like that one, but I am extremely grateful for all I learnt and have forgiven everyone that I held a grudge against.

Photo: 100721-A-4817Z-025 by Expert Infantry on Flickr

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My Declaration of Independence

Psychedelics literally saved my life. I could have died if LSD hadn’t found me. And if I wouldn’t have died it seems very likely that I would have been severely damaged by alcohol by now.

To me it was nothing short of a miracle when LSD saved me, so it was logical for me to continue working with psychedelics to heal and grow. I have now been working with psychedelic for nine years and I am incredibly happy that I made that choice. I have experienced so much healing and so much growth. What I have managed to do in nine years with the help of psychedelics would have taken several lifetimes to do without them.

Therefore it is extremely provocative to me that anyone imagines that they have the right to forbid me to work with them. It is provocative that some people think they have the right to punish me for how I choose to heal and grow.

No one has that right.

I could call upon my human rights at the global or European level, which guarantee me the right to my own spiritual path and to my own healing. I could call upon national legislation which ensures me the same. I could, like Jens Waldmann, claim self-defense.

But I don’t want to, simply because it does not matter to me what some ignorant person has written on a piece of paper. I’m Daniel. I am a reflection of the highest divine. I own the rights to my own body and my own life. I own the rights to my own healing and growing.

Those who think they can take away these rights are oppressors. It is an act of violence to try to deny me these rights and any law that tries to do so lacks legitimacy. Those who try to deny me my rights are my enemies and there is no reason for me to negotiate with them. I have the right to defend myself against their violence.

Here and now I declare this:

I own the right to my own life.

I own the right to my own body.

I own the right to my own path.

I own the right to my own healing and my own growth.

As long as I do not consciously hurt anyone else, my rights are above any rights that other people imagine that they have over me.

Photo: Freedom Libertad by Jesus Solana on Flickr

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Rules of sexual engagement

Because of my past sex addiction it has become important for me to set up rules when it comes to sex. Here are some of the rules that I have found.

I only have sex with people I like.

This may seem obvious, but many have probably had sex with someone they don’t really like, simply because they lost control to sexual desire, because they were bored or because they felt sorry for the person. Liking someone does not mean I have to be in love or want to have more than a casual sexual contact. It simply means that I need to like the person. For me that rule is often easy to live by, since I usually find it easy to like people, but I have backed away more than once from people who I thought were incredibly sexually attractive because I just didn’t like them. In those cases it has been because they were racist, homophobic, ego manical, condescending or show other similar negative traits that put me off.

I do not have sex with people who use our sex to hurt themselves.

There are many who use sex in a very destructive way, where they could just as easily have numbed themselves with alcohol/drugs or cut themselves with razor blades. Sometimes they have several types of these behaviors which make them easy to spot. If I consciously allow myself to be used by someone who hurts themselves with me, I hurt myself. Therefore I can’t have sex with someone who wants to use our sex in that manner, even if I truly like the person and have a different approach. With that said, it is of course possible to have sex with that person if the person is aware of the problem and wants to use sex to release and heal, but that is of course something entirely different.

I only want to do what you want to do.

For a long time I was so focused on my own fantasies that I almost nagged my way to experiencing them. Very unsexy, I know. Over time it has become quite obvious to me that I’m only interested in doing what my partner also wants to do. Everything else puts me off. I very much appreciate having a partner who wants to explore and who is willing to try things even when they aren’t of huge interest, but now I always respect a no, because why would I want to do something with someone who does not want to? It’s like going on holiday with someone who does not want to go on holiday, or go to the cinema with someone who does not want to go to the cinema. Chances are that it will be a completely miserable experience.

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In addition to the rules, I also have an intention to how I approach sex. It may vary slightly, and as with the rules they are not finished, but here are a few important parts.

I strive to be consciously present.

For me my sex abuse dissolved when I found mindfulness in sex, or meditation if you like. Therefore, it is something that I actively seek. As long as I am aware, it is quite easy, because all I really need to do is to consciously touch, massage or be very close. Then I’m there. I often connect through touch.

I strive to have sex that is more than enjoyment.

My best sexual experiences and my most stimulating sexual relations have made clear to me that sex can be so much more than just pleasure. Above all I’m very interested in exploring sex as a way to heal and grow. In this context pleasure sometimes feels rather like a lovely side effect and sex only for pleasure is easily perceived as somewhat flat. I definitely think that sex for pleasure is good too, but I find it very difficult to imagine myself in a longer sexual relationship where pleasure is the only purpose.

My sperm is my life force and I take conscious care of it.

There are spiritual traditions that focus a lot on that the man should not lose his energy by ejaculating. I respect that approach, but that is not the message I’m getting. I am instead being told not to waste my life energy, which I do if my partner doesn’t take care of it. Therefore it has become important to me that my partner takes care of my sperm. If my partner does not want to, or if it is assumed that I should cum in a condom or sock, I prefer to save my life energy by not ejaculating at all. In the past it was important to me to cum and it was something I chased in sex, but now it’s something I only do if I’m with someone who appreciates and takes care of my life force. My experience is that it is a transfer of energy.

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I would love to hear what rules, guidelines or intentions you have for sex. Please feel free to write a comment or send me an email if you feel it is too personal.

Photo: No name by Luis Hernandez on Flickr

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“Why this need to be intoxicated?”

Why do people feel the need to be intoxicated?

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This is a question that I sometimes get from people who do not understand why others want to get involved with “drugs”. The question itself is revealing, because it is obvious that the person has alcohol as a reference, which limits their understanding of other substances. It is rarely clear in everyday conversation that “drugs” can have other uses than intoxication.

Intoxication is only one of several states that alcohol and drugs are used to achieve. To broaden the subject, I would rather use the phrase mind altered states. Why do people want to achieve altered states of mind? By changing the words I hope that it will be clearer that substances may have more to them than only intoxication.

But let’s still begin with the state of intoxication. Alcohol is the typical example of an intoxicating drug, because it has few other purposes. In small or moderate use it can work well as a social lubricant or as relaxation. At high consumption it is an excellent escape drug, which explains its high potential for abuse. There are a large number of drugs with similar characteristics, or that are at least used in similar ways – as intoxication, social lubricant or as an escape. Opiates, amphetamines, cocaine, some prescription drugs and cannabis, to name a few.

But what other altered states of mind are people who take different substances looking for? Speaking of cannabis, there has long been talk about the plants medicinal properties. Some medicinal properties can certainly be isolated so that you can get the medical effect without the altered state of mind, but in other cases the altered state is strongly linked to the medical effect. Cannabis is used to relieve chronic pain and difficulty coping with stress, to name just a couple of uses.

Another group of substances that is much more mind altering is psychedelics, also called hallucinogens or entheogens. With these I have experienced everything from extreme confusion to total clarity, but I have never felt intoxication to be a valid word for my experiences. From a Western medical perspective, these substances can be used as therapeutic tools. They might give me the opportunity to become aware of and release that which is restricting me, help me heal past trauma, give me insight into who I am, give me a sense of purpose and my place in the world. The question of why I choose to intoxicate myself becomes very strange, because I am working therapeutically with the substance in order to heal and grow. The abuse potential of these substances are remarkably low, since they typically raise your awareness in a manner which makes you want to quit any substance abuse.

Another place where virtually all cultures seek altered states of consciousness is in the spiritual. Some achieve it through prolonged meditation, others in intense dance, through drumming, singing, beating themselves, with yoga, in prayer, in ceremonies, sweat lodges, through sex, separated from the world, or in close, intimate contact with it. One of mankind’s oldest ways to connect with the higher divine is by plants, which is a tradition that we know is more than twice as old as the Bible, and probably many times older yet. There are a few scenarios where it might be relevant to talk about intoxication, but in most spiritual contexts the word intoxication is extremely inappropriate, as the goal is rather to open up to other realities, for example so one can be able to speak with nature, spirits, ancestors, angels and the highest divine.

I understand that I have not given an answer to the original question. I have rather tried to explain that there are several other reasons to take drugs than just to get intoxicated. If we seriously want to answer the question of why people want to get intoxicated, we first need to take a step back and make these distinctions. Otherwise there is the risk that we confuse abuse with use, medical use or spiritual exploration. It is not helpful if we actually want to understand why people get intoxicated.

In conclusion I should probably have a go at answering the actual question. I think of the word intoxication as being connected to the word escape, which in turn connects to the word abuse. Intoxication is a very narrow and limited way to use a substance; a way that suggests that the person is out of balance. People are trying to escape themselves for many reasons, but what these people seem to have in common is that they often lack the tools and/or the driving force to handle the situation differently. People who live their lives in a haze do so because they don’t understand how it could be done differently. To unlock the mechanism that makes people want to escape through intoxication, we first need to identify what the person is trying to escape from and then confront and come to terms with it. When the reason we want to escape is healed, we no longer have the urge to do so.

Main photo: Self portrait – Me and my right hand man by MattysFlicks on Flickr

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