Tag Archives: meditation

What I’m up to nowadays

It has been a few years since I last wrote here and a some readers might wonder what I’m up to nowadays. I have three main projects going on in my life right now:

Gardenscaping. I am studying to create gardens and given my background I am especially interested in the therapeutic aspects, of creating magical spaces, places for meditation, relaxation, interaction and such.

A shamans toolbox. I am collecting all my tools, insights and thoughts for personal and spiritual development into one book. The first draft is in Swedish but when I am done I will have it translated into English. I am still looking for test readers for the Swedish version. Check out: En shamans verktygslåda

Family. There is a new baby boy in my life and I very happy.

That’s what I’m doing. What are you up to?

Photo: Sun by Daniel R. Blume on Flickr

Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedintumblrmailby feather
Facebookrssby feather

Taking the edge off with hugs

I was on my way to a meeting where I knew there would be a fierce debate, anger and resentment. Unfortunately I was in the middle of it all. On my way there I shut my eyes, meditated and then visualized hugging each and every one there. In my mind I lined up all the people that I held a grudge against and hugged them.

That meeting went far better than expected. The exercise took the edge off me, but on a subtle level it also seemed to have taken the edge off the opponents. It was as if I had actually hugged them.

Give it a try. Practice loving people. You just might be as positively surprised as I was.

Photo: חיבוקי by CityTree עץבעיר on Flickr

Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedintumblrmailby feather
Facebookrssby feather

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

Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedintumblrmailby feather
Facebookrssby feather

My first out of body experience

When I was 17 I happened to get hold of a bag of weed. I knew nothing about cannabis and had no one to show me so I thought about dosage for a long time. In the end I rolled up a joint that was so weak that I’m surprised that I felt anything at all.

I smoked it and lay down on my bed to meditate, unsure what to expect. After a while I opened my eyes… and looked down at myself. I was hovering just below the ceiling looking down at my body which was still in bed.

I hovered there for a few minutes and just watched. Amazed. Light.
– I wonder if I can move about, I then thought.
So I floated over into the living room and then out onto the porch. A car passed by. A dog barked.

Then I became a little worried about being apart from my body and went back to my bedroom. I sank down into my body and at once I felt my physical self again. Flesh. Weight.

Photo: 2016-01-03 strolling among the forget-me-nots of the angels by Robert Couse-Baker on Flickr

Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedintumblrmailby feather
Facebookrssby feather

A New Year resolution to be true to

You can only control what you are aware of.
What you aren’t aware of controls you.

 

We often find ourselves being pushed around by such things like old habits that we are unaware of, past programming that is no longer relevant or blockages that we have managed to forget about. The only way we can change these old patterns is by first becoming aware of them. That is why raising awareness is at the very core of handling any change you need to do in your life. It is at the very beginning of the process and nothing can be done without it.

If you need to raise your awareness in order to work with change it therefore goes without saying that you should avoid drugs and medicines that numb you and lower your awareness. Common drugs that should be avoided are alcohol, opiates and pharmaceutical antidepressants. Caffeine, nicotine and cannabis are also numbing when used on a daily or close to daily basis. Junk food and sugar are also really bad for awareness.

Things that will raise your awareness include meditation, exercise, mindful sex, good food cooked from scratch, herbs, hugs and playing. This is of course also why psychedelic medicines are such powerful agents of change, because they drastically raise our awareness.

So do you want a tip for a New Year resolution that will help you immensely and that you can always find new ways of being true to? Promise yourself to be more aware this coming year. Instead of focusing in on one specific, such as exercise, see the bigger picture. It all comes down to awareness and you can become more aware in so many different ways. Give yourself a bigger promise this year, and at the same time make it one that you can keep.

Make 2016 all about awareness.

Photo: amber us by Shannon Kringen on Flickr

Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedintumblrmailby feather
Facebookrssby feather

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

● ● ●

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

Supported by:
Azarius banner

zamnesia1

Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedintumblrmailby feather
Facebookrssby feather

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

Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedintumblrmailby feather
Facebookrssby feather

Mårten on the subject of time and how it can break

These are notes from a channelled conversation with a spirit contact named Mårten. In it he discusses time, trauma and identity. This is a rough translation from Swedish.

● ● ●

– Trauma changes time, there becomes a gap in it. Strong traumas fracture our experience of time. When something happens in a place that time is carved into it. In a place with many traumas, such as Auschwitz, time is fragmented and chaotic. It still is. Time has not moved on, which means you can go there and experience it again.

– It is the same for people. Time can break for them. For someone traumatized by losing someone, for example, time can become so fragmented that the experience could just as well have happened 7 seconds ago, as 7 years ago. A person like that breaks every day.

– Thus both a place and a person can get stuck in a certain time.

Identity and time

– Time is linked to the identity we create in the life we ​​live now. In our basic state that time does not exist, it is only now. When we are through meditation work our way down to our basic state we come to now, which also brings great security. In the ego, identity, we create time. It is with the help of the time we then create memories, what we’ve been through and what we dream about.

– Our memory teaches us the basic, practical social things. Therefore we need time, in order to learn and create our selves. We build our dreams on what we have experienced.

– When it works you go from one time to the next, but when there is a trauma time is fractured. Small images are spread and shattered. If that happens you can get stuck or move on without the image. It is the image of one’s self or expectations for the situation.

Fragmented time

– People with traumas have fragmented time. This may occur in many ways, for example by assault, accidents, vulnerable situations, lost love, alcohol and drug addiction, psychoses, neuroses, depression and apathy.

How can we mend fragmented time in a person?
– It depends. The person has to want to.

– One way is by remembering. A piece of time breaks. The pieces are still there in your backpack. You feel broken. Putting together the pieces begins by remembering how the image was before it was broken. This is not something to do by yourself.

– Go into the difficult things to reach the realization that it is okay that it happened.

Can you bring such time fractures to the next life?
– Yes, as karma.

How does one work with time that has been shattered by alcohol?
– By remembering. It is still there, that what was before the intoxication. There is something about yourself that you do not remember.

I forget who I was during that time. I don’t remember the hardest parts.
– You behaved in a way when you were drunk that you now do not want to remember as a part of you. Compare before and after. What disappeared in-between?

– The biggest key is identifying yourself. Every day and in every situation you decide how and who you want to be. You have to decide all the time, facing each new situation. A large part of our identification is based on how we have been and what we have been through in life. It determines our decisions and how we choose to be today.

Paused and enlarged time

– Sometimes time is broken in a way that it stops right there. We note details that we always remember afterwards. Pause. Then the problem is not to remember, but to get the image to assume the same proportions as the rest. The image stands out from everything else. That is as great a trauma. An equal displacement in the ability to identify.

– It depends on how time was broken, what one has done since, and our attitude.

Remembering and patterns

– There are some keys, but they have so many different variables. To remember has so many different variables. Remembering with the mind can be one tool, but you can also remember with the body or by saying things aloud.

– Then there is the aspect of patterns. We have time to create patterns and logic. We learn order and how to create patterns. This means that trauma of various kinds also create patterns, which often makes it happen again if it has happened once. Maybe that could also be a way to remember, until we actually remember it, until we actually see what is going on.

– The process is the whole thing, our process. Things happen and we get stuck. That’s why we have all these lives and continue to reincarnate, because we didn’t learn. So we bring it along to the next life too.

– It is through our identity and the experience of this life that we can get through the illusion and down to ourselves. See it as our core or essence. On it are various layers. Identity is one layer. That means that whatever we do in life can not damage the core. Any dirt will be on the outside of it.

Energy inward and outward

– Energy that harms, that stems from the illusion that the ring of identity is the self, is directed outward. We create the illusion that we are separate from God.

– Real healing energy can mend the identity ring. Then the energy is directed inwards, towards the core, and then we realize that we are God, that everything is connected, that everything has meaning, that we are complete. When we look for explanations outside of ourselves we direct the energy outward.

How do we direct the energy inward?
– Just do it. When we actually do what we know is right for us. It all ties together. When I know what I need to do I am in contact with the core, and then the energy is directed inwards. When we disconnect the mind, which is a huge process. When we become aware that we are not our thoughts. When we wake up.

– Most people have a little energy inward and little energy outward. Being in contact with ones intuition and feelings makes the energy go inward. The mind switched on, then the energy will go outward. The more energy goes inward, the greater humility the person will have. It becomes a tool. Such a person is aware that she is not the work she performs. She doesn’t identify strongly with such things.

– The essence, our soul – whatever we experience, we cannot damage it. Our identity can be damaged and create a “broken person”, slit personality and other disorders, but inside of that the soul is intact.

– With techniques for getting in contact with oneself so much healing occurs by itself, because that is the nature of energy – to heal.

Hallucinogens as medicine

– Hallucinogens can be excellent tools in this context, but the identity ring cannot be too broken. The identity ring needs to be quite intact, because it is through it that we create the context and intention. If the ring is broken the energy goes outward and becomes harmful.

– How noticeable hallucinogens are depends on how strong your identity ring is. If your ring is full, you are in balance.

Getting stuck in a time

– There is another way for time to break. We talked about 1. gaps, 2. that it is frozen and magnified, and 3. that a piece of time breaks so that it becomes choppy and fragmented. One can also get stuck in a time, often in a sequence. With a longer period of difficult things you can start reliving what is happening. It is repeated for real or it feels like it is being repeated. Outside time continues, but on the inside the same time pattern is repeating itself.

Four time injuries

– The person who has had a time injury needs to identify what kind.

Four time injuries:
● gaps
● frozen and magnified
● broken, shattered, fragmented, choppy
● stuck in a time

– In recovery we need to create a new identity based on the present. The past is no longer relevant.

Photo: Trolley Drain by darkday on Flickr

Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedintumblrmailby feather
Facebookrssby feather

Why doctors should not be the first to meet patients with mental issues

Mental health problems often have their root cause in stress, trauma, abuse, addiction, and such. When we do not take care of unpleasant or challenging parts of life we eventually become ill. Sometimes it takes on physical expressions such as pain, but often it takes on mental expressions such as anxiety or depression. The only way I know of to actually recover from such states is to work with one’s personal development, to solve one’s life issues.

Efexor by mikael altemark on Flickr
Efexor by mikael altemark on Flickr

The problem with antidepressants is that they tend to put a lid on the symptoms without addressing the cause. I suppose the Swedish healthcare system hopes that a therapist will take over from there, but that contact often seems to be poor or non-existent. Therefore we today find ourselves in the situation that we are casually mass medicating the people with antidepressants without proper therapeutic backing, which means that many are getting medical help to put a lid on things, but are not getting the therapeutic support they need to actually solve the underlying problem. For many the antidepressants effectively lower the willingness to work with themselves, which sabotages their recovery. In addition there are all the terrible side effects reported, covering pretty much everything from apathy and obliterated sexual drive to suicide attempts.

I am not saying that such drugs have no raison d’être. They can be very helpful, especially in emergency situations. But before taking such drastic measures as to expose someone to medications with potentially lethal side effects, there are many other things you might try first.

● ● ●

Self help

There is a great lack of awareness about how one can help oneself and others suffering from mental illness. Our educational system is so obsessed with measurable subject knowledge that it has very much neglected the truly important life lessons. Life skills should be a major school subject and include such things as how to take care of oneself, how to heal and evolve. A knowledgeable population can do far more for its recovery and well-being than the healthcare system can ever hope to do.

Lifestyle changes

In time depressed people program themselves to feel bad. It is often manifested in how they eat, dress, what the listen to, what routines they have, and more. Many find themselves in bad relationships, they are unhappy with their job or just generally miserable. Life coaches, nutritionists or Ayurveda doctors could be helpful to break negative patterns and focus on good goals.

Movement

Mental illness is reflected in the body. In the beginning only in the energy system, but over time it will become more physical. Movement is generally good because it gets the body’s energy flowing. Two traditions that are particularly good at working with our body and energy flow are yoga and chi gong. Dancing is also a great therapeutic tool.

Body therapy

Many feel alienated from their bodies and need much more body contact than they get, or allow themselves to receive. There are plenty of body therapies that may be helpful, such as medical massage, tactile massage, tantric massage, healing and courses in body awareness.

Meditation

While in a meditative state we release tensions and stress while also finding inner silence. In that silence it is often easy to find answers to why one feels bad and what needs to be done about it. In order to work therapeutically with meditation it is important to be prepared to take care of the stuff that it turns up. There are many more related practices in the alternative field, such as regressions, dancing, drum journeys and nature contact.

Talking

It is good to have a wise person to talk to when needed. Someone who can listen, reflect, challenge, inspire and help us find the answers ourselves. There are many people trying to do just that under such titles as psychologist, therapist, counselor, life coach, priest, witch and shaman. Other titles are less formal, such as a best friend or mother. It may be a tough journey to get out of a depression and it is good to have the support of someone.

Traditional medicine
Bushy Park 10-08-12 - 15 by Garry Knight on Flickr
Bushy Park 10-08-12 – 15 by Garry Knight on Flickr

There is much in nature that can be helpful in curing depression. St John’s Wort is for example an excellent way of naturally raising the serotonin levels. 2-3 cups of St John’s Wort tea for a few weeks makes a noticeable difference. The old Indian health system Ayurveda is also particularly interesting, because it works with food as medicine. The underlying idea is that disease is an imbalance in our body, which can be balanced with the right food. When it comes to the link between health and food, which have a strong correlation, your average Ayurveda doctor generally knows significantly more than both Western doctors and nutritionists.

● ● ●

It is worrisome that doctors are the first to meet these patients. Doctors are specialized in medicine and therefore see medical solutions to the problems they encounter in humans. A therapist could, for example, meet a patient and see a person who needs to work with her bad self-confidence and make a plan for how to do so. A doctor on the other hand will listen to the patient’s symptoms and then turn to their library of drugs to find one that matches the symptoms.

In a way one can of course say that doctors are just doing their job. They are experts in medicine. When I look at it from the outside, I see a profession which lacks self-awareness. When it comes to really solving problems such as depression the doctor is a novice. If you want to help other people it is incredibly important to understand ones tools and their limitations. A person who has a broken leg should for example not be treated with healing and a change of diet. That person needs an emergency room doctor. A person who will treat a fracture with healing alone is probably somewhat of a charlatan, but is probably mostly clueless to their own limitations.

Stop, Collaborate and Listen by Mark on Flickr
Stop, Collaborate and Listen by Mark on Flickr

In my eyes a doctor who will medicate someone with antidepressants without further thought falls into the same category of dangerously ignorant people who should be called quacks. Medicines such as antidepressants are in no way a reasonable first response to someone feeling bad. Antidepressants are a disproportionate response, and when one adds that the medication lacks a proper therapeutic connection to the tools that the patient wants to work with, it shows a profound ignorance on the doctor’s side.

To summarize what I have written – it is currently the wrong profession that has the first contact with the patient, which often sabotages recovery. Antidepressants are the wrong tool to use, it is regularly used way too early and the connection to other therapy is at best patchy.

If we actually want to have a healthier population, this is a system error that needs to be addressed.

Photo: Electronic Shaman by Surian Soosay on Flickr

Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedintumblrmailby feather
Facebookrssby feather

Medicine bags

During a meditation a few years ago I learnt that I would make a medicine bag for myself from scratch. It was fun and time-consuming work that started with me getting in touch with the Red Deer and asking for its permission to use its skin, which it gave me. I did not shoot the deer myself, but after receiving the bloody skin from the butcher, I meditated with it. Then a new-found friend led me in the process of tanning the skin in the traditional way, by using the brain. After many hours of scraping and stretching the skin, it was smoked it with Alder from the area, and then finalized.

When I was finished a year and a half after that first meditation, I sewed my medicine bag on a sun-drenched late summer meadow. When it was finished, I looked at the skin and realized that I only used a few measly per cent of it, so I made more medicine bags. Each one grows in its own way and up till now I have used pieces of Palo Santo as buttons. I am thinking about trying amber buttons.

Feel free to contact me if you are interested in a dedicated medicine bag, but keep in mind that I am not a craftsman.

Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedintumblrmailby feather
Facebookrssby feather