Inside DMT: My Trip & 3 Tips If You Take The Plunge

To The Reader: My intentions here are simply to share a rare experience and support the conversation around therapeutic use of psychedelics, while pointing out a few signposts that might prove useful when preparing for your own trip, should you choose to go there.

If so, I admire your courage, and I hope you enjoy the ride.

What follows are opinions. I am not claiming to have “figured out” DMT, or how it should be approached. And anyone that does is irresponsibly ignorant. All I can do is share the view through my lens. 


There I was, on a damp Winter evening in Vancouver, about to inhale four hits of N,N-dimethyltryptamine – or, DMT – one of the most potent psychedelic compounds in public circulation.

I was still somewhat surprised that I was about to make such a radical choice. Chalk it up to curiosity, I guess.

I feel compelled to push the envelope of how much I can explore, experience and grow during my time here. And every single time I’ve taken them, psychedelics have permanently upgraded my life.

Like many, I became familiar with DMT through two people. One was Dr. Rick Strassman – M.D. and psychopharmacologist – who popularized it through his various books, research and the documentary, “The Spirit Molecule”, which can even be found on Netflix.

The second was Joe Rogan – a well-known comedian and MMA commentator – who has enthusiastically shared various trip experiences on his podcast, which gets roughly 30 million downloads per month.

I had tried others before this (cannabis, mushrooms, LSD, mescaline, salvia, etc) but I knew what was coming next would be an eviscerating firework show of a magnitude and intensity that I had no precedent for.

There’s no combination of words you could weave, or hours you could speak for, that would fully translate the incomprehensibly complex and nuanced nature of this sort of trip.

As Terrence McKenna once quipped, it is “un-englishable”. And while there seems to be a few consistent similarities, the experience is largely different for everyone.

For me, it was a complete demolition of the fixed sense of individual consciousness and all material reality, which gave way to a feeling of infinite boundlessness, rocketing between dimensions at light-speed and subliminal, energetic dialogue with entities made of wiggling lines of neon light.

It was as though the limited apertures of the five senses were totally blown open and I had unrestricted access to the full bandwidth of all spectrums, for a very short time.

Until we can squirt inky rings at each other that relay layers upon layers of non-linear information, like the aliens in the film “Arrival”, a few clumsy paragraphs will have to suffice to put across a glimpse through a keyhole of this sort of territory.

With that…

The Trip: Part I

Lying on the living room floor, while a friend prepares the dose in a glass pipe, I stare at the ceiling with a soft smile.

A salt lamp throws an amber glow that washes over my white-walled apartment.

Despite all the stories I had heard – from harrowing to heavenly – I was completely at ease. I felt absolute trust that whatever was about to happen would be exactly what I needed and there would be something far greater than myself to guide me through it.

“Are you ready?”

I tautly release a long, slow exhale – dissolving all tension. I smirk.

McKenna’s famous advice echoes through my mind, “Do not give way to astonishment. Hang on. Pay attention, pay attention.”

I resolved to resist being distracted by the chaotic intensity of being catapulted from this neurochemical slingshot. I wanted to touch down on the other side with more to show for it than a wild story. My mind’s eye was pried open, keen to extract something.

“Yeah…”

The jet-lighter clicks and the long tongue of the blue torch licks the glass. Like the hushed roar of thrusters on a space shuttle, it foreshadows the coming launch.

Hit 1.

The crystals vaporize.

“Go.”

I pull the small milky cloud into the bottom of my lungs and hold.

Hold.

The gentle tingle of pins-and-needles washes over my entire body, which suddenly becomes heavy – sinking a half-inch into the floor. A high-pitch frequency begins ringing in my ears.

My smile grows wider.

Quick Time Out: Some Background Notes On My Approach

On the occasions that I’ve taken psychedelics, I rediscover a consuming, revelatory sense of awe for the mysteries and straight up magic of mere existence, which fosters a more steadfast sense of gratitude my day-to-day.

I also tend to get valuable insights into my current operating system and the ways in which it interferes with the success of my artistic, professional and romantic lives.

I don’t use them to party, or just because I have nothing better to do on a ‪Thursday night. I’m always surprised by those with attitudes casual enough to treat tripping like popping an Advil, or cracking a can of red bull.

I’d rather follow an intuitive readiness for the right substance, with the right people, at the right time. I think I have that to thank for the fact that I’ve never had a negative experience.

I’m a fan of the idea that the right drug, rightly used, can be a diagnostic tool for the ego, or an interior telescope through which you can see hidden aspects of yourself.

Beyond the lightshow, the discoveries we make with them can have the potential to stimulate significant, long-lasting alterations in our psychology and lifestyle, which yield more fulfillment and equilibrium.

With new insight into why we do what we do, or think the way we think – as well as reverse engineering it – we are empowered to make beneficial changes in our lives and experience more harmony, from the inside out.

To play off one of Jung’s popular quotes:

“Until you make the unconscious conscious, it will direct your life and you will call it fate.”

DMT served all this up in spades.

That said, it’s wickedly intense and I don’t think it’s for everyone, nor is any drug. If you want to learn about yourself, or have a mystical experience, you don’t have to go to these lengths. There are other phones you can pick up to get the messages.

But if you’re serious and as helplessly curious as I was to try it, there are a few practical things that I’ll urge you to consider, which I’ll flesh out in more detail in a moment.

First…

The Trip: Part II

Hit 2.

I nod. The lighter clicks. At the height of the draw the pitch of the frequency ratchets up.

My visual field begins to warp. Colours hyper-saturate. Sharp resolution degenerates into round pixels. For a moment, everything looks like it’s being filtered through Super Mario Brothers on the original 8-bit Nintendo.

Hit 3.

Wide eyed, I nod again. I’m losing grip. Click. Hiss. There’s so much happening, so fast, I can’t keep track. I inhale and hold once again.

Everything is rippling and liquefying as though an inferno was melting the veil from the other side.

A window into an entirely other place rips open. It looks like the live feed of a security camera, mounted in the corner of a nightclub that is suspended somewhere on the fringes of a neighbouring galaxy.

Two black silhouettes materialize. They giddily welcome me with frantic excitement before pausing to pull my focus and direct my attention toward the pipe. Their gestures are accented with brightly animated arrows.

I feel them saying, “Hey! Yes! Okay! Okay. Focus. You’re almost there, you’re almost there…”

Real or not, I trust them.

Hit 4.

I’m nearly gone. Only a vague residue of self-awareness remains in a furious digital blizzard. I turn my head. There’s no nodding. I can’t feel my lips. I can’t tell where the pipe is. I don’t know what’s up and what’s down. But I inhale anyways.

My mind and body are being palpably stretched like an elastic band. A dozen digitally modulated voices whisper my name in overlapping chorus.

The stretch pauses at its breaking point. I hear the pipe crinkle like cellophane giftwrap. As if it was a firecracker between my lips, the glass explodes in my face and – in an instant – my entire world collapses in on itself like an imploding star.

Tumbling through a technicolour wormhole at light speed, my vision somehow expands to 360 degrees. There’s no room for presence or reflection. It’s full throttle.

If the come-ups of LSD and psilocybin are like the steady, chugging roll of a locomotive, smoking DMT is like violently shifting gears from “park” to “warp speed” in the Millennium Falcon. It happens in a matter of seconds.

As the brakes engage and the swirl of colour slows, a single bewildered thought gently crystallizes in my mind:

Wow… There is so much more than what I know, so much more…”

The Trip: Part III

I emerge on the other side of the wormhole into the place that opened up before the 4th hit.

I’m on the periphery of a party, like the backstage lounge at a rave in outer space. There are only vague contours of shapes floating in a black void. The distant thump of muffled bass permeates the room.

Four elaborate stick figures have been waiting for me. Their bodies are made of vibrating lines of multi-coloured fluorescent light. Somehow I sense that two were masculine and two were more feminine.

We sit down to lounge together in a corner, as if talking over drinks. One of the masculine figures has taken a particular interest. He starts to communicate, without words. But I can feel his attention and intuit his message.

He really cares. He’s earnestly trying to impart something important.

I’ve regained awareness of being myself in space and time. There’s an urge to process, to take notes, to ensure that I don’t forget.

My entire body is buzzing with a low-grade orgasm. I’m desperately stretching every limb and cracking my neck. It feels like I’m breaking off a suit of armour.

The notions of “repression”, a crucifix and “sexual guilt” flash across my mind. Something deep in my foundation was being flushed to the surface.

As I begin to think and self-reflect, the vividness of the room begins to fade. I recognize the shift and bring my awareness back into my body, wriggling around a little bit. The visuals intensify once again and they gleefully encourage me.

“Yes, YES!! That’s it, that’s it!”

They want me to stop thinking and be present. They want me to get out of my head. We repeat this feedback loop a few times.

“Ahh, okay, ooo-kay, I get it, I get it!” I declare aloud childishly. I throw my legs and arms open like a starfish, trying to loosen up as much as I can.

I’m starting to understand the point of the interaction. These figures, the feeling in my body, and the tone of this entire landscape, are reflecting back to me restrained aspects of my true nature that I might focus on integrating – wildness, sensuality, boldness and social freedom.

As the room starts to fade one last time, I make peace with the fact that I’m coming down.

I float upward out of the room and rise back into my body from underground.

There’s a dual awareness of being in both places at once. On my side, face next to the floor, and still very high, I softly slap the ground with gratitude and say goodbye. My chest swells.

“Thank you, thank you. I like you guys. I’ll be back, someday, maybe…”

I flip on my back and turn my gaze to the ceiling. A light chuckle quickly gives way to gaping awe. I lay still as the buzz in my body tapers off.

There I was, ten minutes later, back where I started – lying on my living room floor, staring at the ceiling with a soft smile, bathed in an amber glow.


3 Things To Consider Before Taking DMT 

I’m not a DMT authority, or a shaman, but having shared a bit of my experience of being to the other side, I feel I’m obligated to mention a few points that beg for emphasis.

So, if you’re thinking about it, here are my personal recommendations before you dive in:

  1. Have ample experience with altered states and other psychedelics.

Trust and surrender are paramount qualities for any successful and positive psychedelic experience. This is especially the case with DMT. It will fiercely rip your ego’s hands off the steering wheel like nothing else can.

Crossing this threshold is a bit like bobbing in the rapids of a river that’s approaching the lip of a towering waterfall. You can feel it coming. It’s both intimidating and inevitable. When you’re approaching that lip, there’s only one thing that you can influence:

Will you surrender to it with grace and faith, or contract in fear, struggling and screaming as you tip into free fall?

Be patient. Don’t rush yourself. If you don’t feel ready yet, even when you step up to bat, walk away. Work your way up. It will be worth the wait.

The more familiar you are with the sensation and experience of the dissolution of self, and the more you trust in something outside of your own ego system, the more confidently you can release control and bring some semblance of ease, grace and relaxed awareness to the situation.

I have found that this capacity then increases the ability to distill lasting transformational wisdom from the whole experience.

  1. Do it sacredly with a guide and people you love and trust. 

It is well known that your physical and psychological comfort has a profound impact on your trips. This idea has been captured in the classic axiom “Set and Setting”, which can also be said as “right mindset and environment.”

For example, I was with 3 guys who were my closest, most intimate friends at the time. Given that they are each sharp people, with ample psychedelic experience, I knew that we could support and help each other unpack what we went through.

Plus, the guy that held the pipe had prior experience with DMT. He is also someone that I would trust with my life. No questions asked.

(Side note: having someone to hold the pipe for you will also ensure that you’re able to take enough draws to fully break through, while struggling to manage the overwhelming onset of the first two hits.)

We also did it somewhat ceremonially, one at a time, in silence. Blankets were laid out in the center of the room for the tripper to lie back on, so they could fully let go. I burned some Palo Santo (Peruvian wood incense) and filled the place with its warm, earthy aroma. Everything felt completely safe and sacred, in our own way.

You’re a sovereign individual. No one can tell you how to manage your states of consciousness. But for what it’s worth, please, of all the drugs, don’t do DMT in a tent at a fucking music festival.

  1. Maybe they’re inter-dimensional entities, but maybe they’re not. 

It’s critical to bring a healthy, balanced perspective into this. I’ve seen a few people get overly absorbed in these experiences and have them quite regularly.

They parrot the insight that “this is all just an illusion”, energetically pulling their chips off the table and lowering their stakes in the 3-dimensional game of life on Earth. As a result, their relationships suffer, along with their physical and mental health.

How is that conclusion useful?

There could very well be other dimensions and intelligences far beyond the scope of ours. Based on how wild the Universe is, I actually believe that’s more likely to be the case than not.

But if all that is so, maybe you’re having this limited human experience for a reason.

Why not play full out in this life – illusion or not? If these other dimensions exist, and you’re going to eventually experience them anyways, or already are on a transpersonal level, then there’s no sense running from the here-and-now.

It seems this kind of psychedelic experience is often used to support subconscious initiatives for spiritual bypassing, because it’s the ultimate “get-out-of-jail-free card”.

Why face into your problems and responsibilities, or bother risking failure, if it’s all just an illusion anyways?

If you’re going to take DMT, use it as an empowering leverage point to further yourself on your path, rather than distract from it. Use it as a true psychedelic – mind manifesting/revealing.

And while it’s an insane, mind-blowing ride through an electric circus that defies all understanding – as a friend likes it call it – you can still approach it like a powerful dream.

For example, I can choose to interpret my experience, and the dialogues in it, as encounters with aspects of my own mind, that were highlighting the next layer of skin that I needed to shed in my growth process.

This way, I’m still extracting a lot of value without getting too carried away with the implications of the reality of the experience. Don’t get me wrong, I still stop dead in my tracks once every few months while revisiting the memories and think, “man, what the fuck WAS all that!?”

Final Notes & Takeaways

I already had developed an awareness of my tendency to be “heady” before DMT. I picked it up in various ways, mostly through relationships, workshops, travel and direct feedback.

I knew that I was prone to getting locked up, caught in trains of thought and over-indulging in the safety of retreating into my mind.

I had always tended to find it hard to access and vulnerably communicate my emotions, needs and raw thoughts with others, especially in romantic relationships.

My modus operandi was thinking and calculating, not feeling and being.

Various childhood dynamics – from my family system to the Catholic church – had established an unconscious repressive pattern of restraining my impulses and calculating my behaviour, for fear of judgment and rejection.

That dynamic has been my main obstacle to feeling self-expressed and experiencing true intimacy.

Centered in the castle of my mind, I’d feel like a bit of an outsider in groups of other people. I always felt like I was subtly posturing, presenting, or holding something back.

While I’ve noticed huge strides over the last few years, I’ll still be working on this for a long time to come.

I didn’t need DMT to discover and work on this issue, or to contact a beneficial sense of awe for the wonders of life. It didn’t revolutionize that obstructive dynamic, or liberate me from it once-and-for-all. But it did help to illuminate it in very novel ways, which I’ll remember for the rest of my life.

That trip was in February of 2016. As beautiful as it was, I’m not sure that I’ll ever do it again.

As I said, I’m no shaman, but I hope this has been somewhat useful, if not at least mildly entertaining.

Whatever it is that you’re seeking, I hope you find what you’re looking for.

Safe travels,

Chris

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The Self-Made Prison of The Social Chameleon

I’ve always been quick to flash an agreeable smile and slow to speak the coarseness of my truth.

Until the last few years, I never understood why that might be the biggest obstacle holding me back in life, as well as a major cause for repetitive cycles of depression, and a distant, fundamental sense of loneliness in the background of my reality.

As a kid, I chose to learn that I who I was – what I really thought and felt – would not be loved and accepted; that I was essentially “wrong” or “bad” in some way, and I had to do or be what I sensed other people would approve of.

Quick to goof-off and discharge flashes of rage, I simply couldn’t seem to help getting in trouble with the almighty gods and authority figures that towered over me at all times. Not to mention that I was raised in the moral climate of the catholic church, which certainly didn’t help alleviate any guilt that I felt for the mere fact that I existed in the first place.

To cope with that shame and toxic anxiety, as well as meet my needs for love and acceptance, I shackled my anger and took up the racket of “social chameleon”. By adapting my psychology and behaviour to those around me, I could be seen as a “good boy”, avoid conflict and keep things smooth.

I began to covertly control my environment by managing other people’s perceptions of me. I would misrepresent, or simply outright withhold, the truth of a situation and my interior life.

Pretty soon, I was unconsciously calculating how I could gain someone’s approval and avoid their disapproval. While this adaptation can actually show up as a strength of mine (for example: mirroring is a key principle in Neuro-Linguistic Programming for building rapport with someone, but is done intentionally rather than automatically), it’s ultimately a coping mechanism that no longer served my growth or relationships, and had become the biggest saboteur of my success.

You can only get so far in life walking on eggshells as a reflector for other people’s emotions and preferences, because you’ll always subtly be at the affect of your environment rather than a cause within it.

One of the primary lessons I’ve been learning in the past year is: if I don’t step into the discomfort of upsetting people once in a while – through the worry of always saying and doing what’s “appropriate” – then I’m not being fully authentic. And if I’m not being authentic, I’ll never fully actualize my unique potential as a man, step out and claim the life I want to live, or experience love and happiness to their fullest depths.

Because if I’m always relating to the world through a mask made from shards of a mirror, how could I ever feel truly seen and known by others?

And through the domestication of my wilder energies – like anger – I was disconnected from my fuel and passion. I wasn’t able to set healthy boundaries with others, or express my disappointment, hurt and resentment. Instead, I would withdraw and become silent, or spiritually “process” them away as a fiction created by my ego.

I was clipping my own balls.

“Be yourself” is simultaneously the most uselessly frustrating, yet brilliantly simple advice we can ever receive.

The problem is that a crucial part is always left out of the equation. The phrase suggests that we can make the free choice in a single moment to be effortlessly authentic. But there is no “ON” switch for your true self. It’s something you choose to cultivate through a process of exploration, discovery and practice – a becoming.

And yogis, let’s suspend the spiritual debate about the perils of words like “becoming” and “finding” when it comes to the conversation of tapping the ultimate truth of who we really are. This isn’t in the context of a higher, cosmic, non-dual Self with a capital “S”.

I’m talking about this temporary, animated sack of blood-and-guts; the thing that has a drivers license, gets emotional, has dreams and aspirations, takes shits, and has to communicate their slanted version of reality with other dysfunctional, imperfect human beings.

This kind of authenticity isn’t about feeling at one with some impersonal intelligent force behind the veil of physical matter. It’s about becoming a scientist of how you show up in life, with eyes wide open. It is recognizing the masks you choose to wear and having the integrity to take responsibility for them and the courage to choose differently.

Until the chameleon begins to practice this, they will never satisfy their hunger for love, because they won’t have the capacity for the most essential quality that breeds it: vulnerability.

Vulnerability necessitates authenticity. And vulnerability is risk.

It is a removing of our character armour; a surrender of psychological defences; bearing the raw truth of your interior life and, without augmentation, saying and revealing the things about you that you’re afraid will cause someone to retract their energy and approval, and tarnish the “good” or “desirable” image that you want them to have of you in their mind.

By giving up the compulsion to adapt and be accepted, and allowing yourself to rock the boat from time to time, you become liberated from an ethereal straight jacket of your own making.

You allow yourself to be who and what you really are, and therefore allow people to the opportunity to see, know, love and appreciate the real you, not some composite reflection stitched together with fear and desperation.

Simply put, you let people in, instead of subtly keeping them at a distance by being something other than yourself.

As my mother always tried to tell me countless times: “the truth will set you free.”

If you often feel detached, lonely and confused, ask yourself:

Do I give all of me in my relationships, or just the pieces I think they would approve of?

Where, or with who, am I holding back, afraid to reveal my opinions, thoughts and feelings, for fear of rejection and loss of connection?

Why else am I afraid to get intimately close with other people?

And what is that costing me?

As a chameleon, this is the hardest and most important work you’ll ever do: to become yourself.

Because that means you have to give up your core adaptive strategy in life – shape-shifting – which is the axis of your ego system, and stand boldly naked before the judging eyes and minds of the world.

This may lead to breakups with lovers and friends. But it also means that, over time, the authenticity of your personal gravity will have you surrounded by those who have been attracted to your true essence, rather than your mask.

You will endure rejection. You will not be liked by everyone. For every fan there will also be a critic. But don’t let that unavoidable fact keep you trapped in the stifled prison of agonizing mediocrity, like a butterfly afraid to crack the casing of the chrysalis.

Relax your shoulders and reveal yourself.

Speak up, speak out, and understand that this journey will be uncomfortable, messy, terrifying and even gut-shreddingly painful at times. But it will also be exhilarating and fulfilling beyond your wildest imagination.

This is the path I choose. Because when I come to my final breaths, I’ll be able to drape a hand over my testicles and break a gentle smile, knowing that – for better or worse – I took the only road worth taking.

[feature img credit: http://karatron.deviantart.com]

On Making Change

Eastern sages and Western life coaches will both tell you that if you want to change something in your life – a habit, or a condition – you must be that change in every single moment.

jg98z2d7vkAlan Watts used to tell a great metaphor to convey the idea that what seems to us like the future may be heavily influenced by the meaning that we give to the past, like a sailor at sea, looking over the rear deck of the ship and believing that the wake was steering it.

He proposes that we are that sailor obsessing over events that have already taken place, which is the wake of the past. It’s easy, then, to have the past fill up the future, because we hold on to it so tightly in our memory, identifying with that which we have been for ourselves and for others, playing those records over and over again.

We tend to end up believing that is just the way things are, when the truth is simply that it is the way they have been up until now. It is possible to see that the wake (the past) is simply a result of the current state of the hull, rudders and engines of the ship, which are our state of mind, fears, dreams and points of focus in the present moment.

“The future is now.” – J. Krishnamurti

Now, Krishnamurti was a little hardcore. Dude never laughed. But he did have some great words on this topic. He often spoke in questions, encouraging the listener to contemplate something for themselves and make genuine discoveries. Something he asked a lot about was the human potential for change.

Why don’t we change? Can humans, totally, radically change their behaviour and beliefs? Are we doomed to an existence dominated by conflict? What are the obstacles to change, and how does one go about it?

My take on the way he put it is that in order to see a change in that wake of the past, which we create as a result of both present thoughts, beliefs and actions, we must change the way that we are now; go under the hood and adjust the mechanics that are producing the undesirable results we’re currently experiencing. Instead of changing “later” when the imaginary never-never-land of the future comes, we make a radical, total shift in the moment. Thereby we change the “future” and what becomes the “past” through the infinite opportunity of the ceaseless moment that is occurring right now.

Most of us at some point have lived as a victim to our quality of mind and habitual patterns of the time. We looked at life unfolding behind us and wondered why it isn’t they way we wanted it to be. At least I know how that feels, to imagine a next level condition or opportunity that I desire to come to pass, but when I look back on my week and ask, “what have I done to make that a reality?” sometimes, the truthful answer is: next to nothing. ‘cuuuz I’m human.

Brainstorming is a necessary part of creating and completing projects, but unless equal, real ground is covered in the real world, all that thinking is about about as useful as a hole in a boat.

Oh yeah, that’s me. Par excellence. I get off on thinking. But there is a fine line between that and procrastinating because of the resistance in my mind. I toe that line often. So for a lift out of these periods of coasting in loops of creature comfort, I remind myself:

Things in my life are the way they are because of the way that I am.

Sure some things are acts of god, results of natural chaos, or the doing of some regular ol’ asshat, there certainly are patterns in the bigger details. The life I am currently experiencing is a result of choices I’ve made in the past, for better or worse. If I find myself in familiar and stale circumstance, that means I’ve been making the same choices for quite some time, never really making consistent alterations in behaviour and challenging the outer limits of my comfort zone, increasing the level of healthy risk necessary to fulfill my innate human desire for uncertainty and growth.

We are defined by those few seconds in each day where we choose between following that hard-wired habit, or urge, and taking a stand against it and building a new one. Choosing to cultivate a higher level of self-expression means, more often than not, engaging in behaviour which fosters it’s manifestation.

In the end, it’s these small moments that make the biggest difference.

Put on those runners, make that call, take that plunge, whatever it is. Your future self will thank you for it.

image credit – hdrcreme.com

You’re An Animal: The Masculine Alchemy of Anger

“Be total,” he urged, as I unleashed a primal scream into a paisley print pillow. The fabric wore its age. I couldn’t help but wonder how many people’s assholes had kissed it before me. The thought quickly fades behind the violent energy of a cathartic roar.

Purification, integration, softening the grips of cellular repression – whatever you want to call it – I was uncorking the caged animal within.

The first time I consciously yelled into a cushion, intense flashbacks washed over me from childhood; episodes where I had stormed into my bedroom in a fury, cursing someone’s name, purging my lungs into the mattress and pounding my fists. Five minutes later I would be rolling in the backyard, grinning from ear to ear.

In those days I was total. We all were. Emotion would naturally arise, followed by the according release. Children generally don’t hold on to the motions of frustration. It’s a rising wave of energy, like any other. We become it, feel it, and allow it to be expelled like used oxygen.

But somewhere along the way, we learn that it isn’t safe to release that energy into the world, believing we will be rejected, hated, feared, attacked, or arrested; people may retract their love and attention from us. Society at large and the family system will reprimand and, perhaps, even beat our anger back into us. And so, we bottle and conceal it, deep down, like a locked trunk in the basement covered with a sheet and hidden beneath the stairs.

It is through this conditioning that we develop a retentive reflex, splitting off a piece of ourselves and projecting it out into the world; causing us to recoil from those who display that which we’ve disowned – rage, perversion, immaturity. It takes incredible energy to resist and keep fragmented inherent parts of our nature. In particular, and most commonly, anger.

I had detached myself so radically from the feeling of it that I could barely register it anymore. When my anger would get provoked it would often be transmuted into sadness by the time it entered my conscious awareness. The pit of my stomach would grow cold, with an accompanying feeling of being put down, or being wrong, in some way. When I tugged at the loose ends of that knot, I discovered a white hot “FUCK YOU,” burning to lash out and crush something.

This pattern of withhold was especially present with women, which (big surprise) might have to do with mommy issues. It’s rarely safe to direct your anger at your mother, especially mine. She kept kitchen utensils in holsters. And since I was brought up going to church on Sundays, if I didn’t fear her, it would be Jesus bleeding on the cross, with all-seeing eyes, that would smite me for my sins. So, I kept it quiet and, instead, used that energy to carve hieroglyphs into all my bedroom furniture with a steak knife.

This dynamic, combined with the residual cultural influence of feminism, created a strong sense of taboo around exerting my power towards a woman. Whenever I felt emasculated in a relationship, that icy wave passed over my stomach and my eyes glazed over. The last thing I was going to do was fight back, because that involved inviting a dark, unstable energy to come out and play. I was afraid of becoming the guy that started shouting and walked out of the room, or pushed her around.

The long-term issue with this reflex is that when rage is forbidden to leak through it slides into sadness and depression. And instead of responding to life with authentic strength, we become quiet and distant, detached from our lovers, and ourselves.

Really, our anger is passion; it is power. When acknowledged, owned and directed, it becomes the force that moves mountains, sets boundaries, demands respect, and drives us forward with razor sharp focus. It is the missing half of a man’s self-esteem. It comprises our “spine,” which creates natural magnetic attraction. A woman can sense the presence of an edge, inherent strength, which provides a sense of safety and uncertainty all at once. Although, just because it’s there, doesn’t mean it will stop them from testing it. That’s just plain fun.

As we explore these blocks, we relinquish a sort of energetic constipation, and begin to more fully unfold and express from our true nature, wherein lies the possibility of actualizing our highest potentials. This process involves reclaiming and replacing all the shards and fragments scattered in the shadows; the unseen depths of our psyche. These are the parts of us we’d rather not admit to. But they are parts of us all the same.

We are animals by nature, yet we see ourselves somehow distinct from the animal kingdom; separated by a thin veil of khaki pants and linen napkins. We’re driven by the same instincts, prone to the same fits of rage and rapturous love, but we’ve built around ourselves this contrived societal game of appearances with etiquette and standards that accept only our syrupy sides. All the rest are certifiable psychological disorders and diseases.

To be fully at peace with ourselves we must accept the full spectrum of our “human-ness;” to see and accept the capacities we have for rage, greed and lust. Some may reject this in the name of a kind of spiritual purity, choosing strict retreat into the castles of meditation and communication with angel guides, and believing they are somehow cleansed of, or immune to, this fundamental condition. Of course, there are the qualities of spiritual intelligence, serenity and compassion to develop, but those efforts should not ignore what is: that by the very nature of being alive as a human being, we at once contain darker, more brutal qualities as well.

When they are owned, when we see them in ourselves, we are freed a great deal from their influence, and the guilt of their presence, leading to a greater sense of liberation and a life lived in such a fashion.

So, if he seeks Self-actualization, this is part of the necessary journey of the modern man: to rediscover and unite himself with the force of wildness within. That’s not to say he should act out as a criminal, but harness that immense energy we have, in all forms, which makes us capable of such radical, total acts. Until we do, we’re like a Ferrari being driven in first gear.

When that power is discovered, it becomes the catalyst for change. Anger at one’s circumstances and stale patterns is the most effective energy with which to transform them. And with it, as a bonus, we will also satisfy the animal in a woman by knowing the potential to take her, unapologetically, spreading her open and penetrating the goddess within with ravenous worship.

Ultimate fulfillment and success, or forward movement, lies in tapping such resources. In them we may discover, feel, and know our fullest Self, commit to it. From this place our highest destiny will naturally unfold.

Seek yourself not only in the light, but as well in the shadow.

Transitions

It often takes something like the stillness of Sunday’s twilight to grant space enough for my heart to settle completely. With a drag, I invite a tempering wisp of tobacco into my blood. The town is silent in the early morning, save for the occasional cab driver trolling the streets for willing fare. I muse on the miracle of engines, and the meaning of knowledge in a world that can’t be truly known.

I remember past times, distant memories only yesterday. Glimpses of travels where life was not so rife with comforts and electricity. I remember the value of a street lamp and a cold drink of water. Now drowned in a river of infinite satiation for every thirst, except the soul’s.

All is right in a moment truly savoured; paused, with no desire for the next just yet. You drink it in, rich with it’s many textures.

You think: how rare it is to be here, thinking, saving, breathing.

I exhale spent air and think of her skin. Her flavour in midnight.

There’s something teasingly intangible about this space. It cannot be held or photographed. It will be forgotten like the laughter of the passing spring. And we may only release into it, so long as it remains.

I was moved to share this theatric inspiration and also future plans. Very shortly I’ll be launching “The Awakening Man” – a blog and podcast on practical spirituality and evolved relationship, intended for the modern male. I feel that guys could use more relatable, grounded material around personal development in a spiritual context. It will begin with more of a focus on realistic application of non-dual perspectives in intimate relationship, with some “fuck’s” and “shit’s” here and there.

Look forward to sharing.

Book Review – “Rational Animal: How Evolution Made Us Smarter Than We Think”

RationalAnimal300Why do some people make self-defeating decisions, spend $200,000 on a new car, or put hot wax their genitals?

In “Rational Animal”, Vlad Griskevicius (professor of marketing and psychology at University of Minnesota) and Doug Kenrick (professor of psychology at Arizona State University) take the reader on an entertaining and enlightening journey to understand the reasons for our desires and the choices we make.

They intelligently construct the argument that humans are neither rational economists influenced by data, nor irrational apes blindly bent on pleasure and avoiding pain, but are in fact driven by something they call “deep rationality” – programmed evolutionary wisdom passed down from our ancestors’ trial and error.

Though it seems to us that we have one mind or personality behind the levers and dials of our life, evolutionary psychology reveals that we actually have multiple personalities, each with unique goals and aversions. These “sub-selves”, as they’re referred to in the book, are activated by triggers in our environment, dictating which of them is at the helm in making decisions. Which explains why, sometimes, we just can’t get our shit together.

For the book’s profound implications, the writing style is refreshingly accessible. Despite their highly academic backgrounds, Kenrick and Griskevecius simply and fluidly communicate their analysis and conclusions, without washing them with pretentious scientific jargon.

They play with the outrageous aspects of contemporary culture such as “pimping” cars, social fads and political decisions; using quintessential examples from modern context to relevantly illustrate the mechanics of the primitive mind and it’s manifestations in contemporary society (the words “diamond encrusted grills” are used multiple times throughout, impressively).

This book is a fun, powerful tool for anyone who seeks to better themselves by examining their decision-making faculties, while gaining a deeper understanding of their own insanity and of the world at large.

mindMost critically, the read is a gateway to a deep inner dimension. Once you’ve begun to pay attention to your emotional and mental states, and the reasons in your environment for their shifts, you can begin to take back an immense amount of power that is constantly diffused.

Checking the desires of the status or mate acquisition sub-selves may save you thousands in unnecessary material goods. Observing desires for the affiliation sub-self will help you avoid compromising your authentic self to please those around you. Having a general understanding of how people or businesses may be marketing to your subconscious will prevent you from being taken advantage of for their interests. You’ll also be more compassionate toward yourself when you have changes of heart, conflicting desires, or feel fear in the face of opportunity.

It has profoundly influenced my inward reflection, understanding, and put me deeper in touch with the reasons for the automatic responses of my body and mind. I highly recommend picking this one up or checking it out from the library.

Beware of Culture

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Can we know for certain the distant impact of our current innovations?

Remember that we are always learning; our cultural medium always evolving. The norm is always changing, and what dictates it?

Safeguard critical faculties. They are essential to discover balance and sense of truth in a culture generally motivated by other interests.