My Ayahuasca Journey Part 2

See part one here

The first thing I saw was amazing patterns. The colors were intense, the motions of the patterns flowing were complex, like square gears that moved, ebbed and flowed, sometimes they had a boundary that was almost like it was electrified, other times it was everything I could see. I was happy, I remember thinking that this was amazing, even if nothing else ever happened it was totally worth it.

And that was another thing, I could always think. And felt like I had the power to pull myself out, if I wanted to, back into reality. In fact, a few times I did, either to turn over, or to get a drink of water, or to move my hat down over my eyes, or adjust my blankets. My temperature fluctuated from sweating to cold, and sometimes I just didn’t care because I didn’t want to loose what I was experiencing to address whatever it may have been.

So back to the patterns. This didn’t last too long. The next thing I remember experiencing was several cheerleaders, I’ll call them. It was like I had arrived at a party and there was laughing and celebrating that I’d arrived. The patterns turned into a room, it looked almost like the inside of jar the way it was shaped. The floor and the ceiling came towards each other in a gentle curve. The walls seemed to wrap around me, yet they were also appearing to have no beginning and no end. Just lots of colorful patterns.

And then I started to feel incredibly small in the room.

I’m a tall guy, usually the tallest in a room. And this feeling was a bit scary in a weird way. And that was first heavy feeling I had that night. I say heavy, but I wanted to say negative, but it wasn’t really a negative emotion, more just… heavy.

About the same time I had the heavy feeling I also saw a snake and a jester looking joker guy. They came and went several times throughout the night, and always together, but each time they came I made a conscious decision to not entertain what I felt like they were wanting me to think about, and I think it was such a positive experience because of this choice. I’ve heard of people having a negative experience, and I remember thinking during my ceremony that those people with negative experiences probably entertained this characters in their mind.

Another thing that started to happen when I saw the snake and the trickster (a name I heard from a friend to describe it, and thought it was perfect) is that I started to feel like I had to vomit, or purge as we called it.

At the beginning of the ceremony our guide told us when it came time to purge to not force it, just wait and it would happen on its own. Since I wasn’t really ready ready I relaxed and continued to experience the patterns and colors that moved with the rhythms of our guides drums, rattles, and songs.

And then I purged.

Continue with part 3.

My Ayahuasca Journey

Years ago I first heard about Ayahuasca. I was instantly intrigued and for a while I learned everything I could about it, but due to availability I put the idea on the back burner and left it there, knowing someday I would experience it, when the time was right, but knowing there was nothing I could do to expedite the process.

Then a few weeks ago I saw a post on facebook that I knew was alluding to a ceremony, and I inquired about it. Sure enough, my time had come. Somehow I had already been preparing myself emotionally for the ceremony, not knowing that it was what I was preparing for. I had been on a journey of self exploration for a few weeks already, reducing interactions with others, lessening my needs, desires, wants, learning to be satisfied with what I am, where I am.

Once I learned of the upcoming ceremony, I doubled down on my efforts. Reducing masturbation and sex, I stopped using soap in the shower (in the 2 weeks before ceremony I used soap twice, both times out of habit, realizing too late but being ok with it once I realized what I was doing), I was eating better, less meat and processed food, eating more natural food instead. I was cognizant of my emotional state and let things happen without trying to change them, or make them go in my way, just being ok with whatever would happen.

In the three days before I completely cut out everything I was suppose to, caffeine, meat (ok, I ate fish once, but I think fish was ok? and it was a small portion). I tried to keep away from sexual release but holy crap, it was difficult. I had already been reducing, and so after a day and a half of even less than the less I had already had I was ready to die, so I took care of things once, and I was so much calmer afterwards (and back to a pretty heightened state just before the ceremony, which I guess is where I’m suppose to be?)

Essentially, everything was done in a moderation that was right for me. I feel like it was the perfect amount of respect for the process, combined with what I was capable of.

On the day of the ceremony, I had no solid food. I drank a little bit of apple juice, and a little bit of vegetable juice and I drank a lot of water. About 5 hours before I started drinking only water with just a bit of maple syrup in it (otherwise I got so shaky it’s not safe for me).

I arrived an hour before the scheduled time, partly because I’m particular about my physical place in a room, call it an OCD, and I wanted to be in a place that I was comfortable with. I laid out my yoga mat, put down my blanket, changed in a pair of Thai Fisherman pants I had bought a year before for Yoga along with a t-shirt and I sat in my spot and started to mentally prepare for the journey I was going to embark on. As I got comfortable with my space, I started to talk to my journey neighbor a bit, getting to know just the briefest about her.

The time eventually came for the ceremony, a shell was passed and when we held it we were to state out loud to the group our intentions for the ceremony. Mine were to find healing, in relationships and physically, and to learn more about my heritage, my gifts and my purpose, and to become more creative. A lot for one ceremony. But it turned out, it wasn’t too much for Ayahuasca.

Around 11 pm we started, going two by two to drink the black licorice flavored medicine. As I went up, I knelt down, first with my feet under my butt, but quickly realizing that was uncomfortable, so I changed to sitting on my butt with my legs crossed in front of me. I watched her as our guide poured my dose into a larger than a shot glass looking shot glass. After she poured we made eye contact and it was almost as if her eyes twinkled as if she was telling me she gave me a bit extra because I’m a bigger guy, so it will be plenty to be effective for me (something that I for some reason was concerned with, the twinkle put me at ease that it was just the amount I needed.) She handed it to her partner, who then handed it to me. I smelled it, thanked it for what it was going to do with me, and then drank it, swishing the liquid in my mouth just briefly before swallowing it.

After drinking it I handed the glass back and took a small piece of chocolate we had been offered, and told to take only one. I was a step or two away before I realized I had two pieces of chocolate and I felt a twinge of guilt and at first thought I should go back and put one back, like I had stolen from alter of mother Aya. I let the feeling pass, since it was accidental that I had taken two (they were really small, like a quarter of the size of a Hershey’s kiss, so picking up two wasn’t hard). I took instead as a gift that was suppose to be and ate the chocolate, a welcome bit of nourishment to my starving stomach.

I returned to mat and laid down. I covered my eyes with my hat, and covered up. I put in my headphones and played a meditation sounds song I had been listening too for days in preparation. We were asked to stay in the space, and to not wear headphones or ear plugs. I broke this request, but felt the meditation song was what I needed to calm the slight bit of fear/anxiety I was feeling. Like I had just been strapped into a roller coaster, and there was no way to go back now. The song I had was 9 minutes long. The first 9 minutes came and went without anything happening. I played it again, and again, thirty minutes passed, I played it again.

Still nothing. I started to think maybe nothing was going to happen. Then at one point my music stopped and I was back into the sounds of ceremony. I was slightly paralyzed, too apathetic, or satisfied, to hit play again. I was still fully aware of myself, but I was feeling a bit queasy, a slight headache I had been fighting the whole day was easing back. I started to feel flush, my temperature changing. I reached up to the button on my headphones and double tapped to play the music again, it didn’t play. I pressed again. Double press. Still nothing, I almost panicked, I hit the button one more time and the music started to play. And then I went fully into the grasps of Ayahuasca.

Continue with PART TWO of my Ayahuasca journey.

Love is a Choice

Infatuation, desire, lusting, wanting… These things happen naturally. Love, however, is a choice.

You can love someone you’re infatuated with. You can love someone you desire. You can love someone you want. But to love is a choice. And it manifests itself into actions.

You choose to respect. You choose to appreciate. You choose to make time. You choose to dedicate some of your limited resources to another person.

I choose to love you. I choose to treat you with the utmost respect. I choose to make you important to me. Your stories are important. Your life experiences are important to me. Your history, your present, your future, they all intrigue me.

Your happiness is important to me. Doing things for you that make your day a little better make my day a little better. These are choices I make, because I make the choice to love you.

I’ve made a conscious choice to be more interested in your life than someone else’s. That’s what’s different about you than everyone else in the world. I’ve chosen to love you.

Love is a choice. Choose to love. It makes everyone’s life happier.

Dear Theists, Please Think.

If I were to ask most men, especially it seems, theist men, if they’re happy with being circumcised the answer more often than not is “yes”. But then, when I ask if they know what the functions of the foreskin are, the answer is silence or a change of subject about infections (the risk of which for men is reduced by .9% *from 1% risk to.1%* by amputating the most erogenous potion of their penis, and the infections themselves can be cured with a few days of antibiotics if it does occur.)

So with no knowledge of the alternative, an appreciation has been created for having their genitals cut. Why do people tend to default to the position they’re expected to embrace without exploring the alternative? The answer is cognitive dissonance.

Now consider the bible. Why is it true (to you, if you believe it)? Because it says so? Why is the theory of gravity true? Not because anyone says so, but because you can test it, you can make predictions about it, and you can refine the theory if you find it to not be true (and can prove it).

Do these ideas hold true for the bible? I argue they don’t. Take the story of Noah for example. If every “kind” of animal was placed on a boat for a year, then landed on Mount Ararat (I didn’t verify that was the correct place, but I think it’s right) then there should be predictions that can be made and tested based on this information. Kangaroos for example are believed to have evolved after the land mass of Australia separated from the rest of the world. Had they been taken to a central location not in Australia, we’d expect their migration to Australia to result in fossils being found somewhere between Mount Ararat and Australia, but we don’t. Not even one. They’ve been geographically isolated for millions of years before god created the world (from a young earth perspective).
If the bible is true, like scientific theories, we should be able to make predictions, test them, and have repeatable, verifiable results.

But when testing doesn’t verify what’s in the bible, like with the kangaroos, a mental block is used to dismiss the idea, rather than to continue to explore it. Cognitive dissonance says that information that challenges our currently held beliefs will either be dismissed, or excused, or it causes a change in our beliefs. But changing ideas within a theist mindset results in a fear of social isolation that makes changing ideas very difficult. (And more often than not, that fear of social isolation is realized in some level or another.)

Why is it so easy for other deities we don’t accept to be dismissed? Why isn’t Lono the Polynesian god given any credence? Why is Vishnu so easily dismissed? Why aren’t any of the Greek gods used to explain nature anymore? Because these gods don’t affect our currently held world beliefs so we can easily think about them without challenging our cognitive dissonance. Also there is no fear of social rejection if they aren’t believed, and in fact, the social pressure is to not believe they’re true. This makes other god ideas easier to think about. Something that’s not always easy to do critically for those things we already believe as true, whether they are or not.

Go forth and think.

The first cause argument

Whenever I get into a religious debate (which happens more and more frequently as people try to save my soul) it isn’t long before the first cause argument comes up. Everything that exists has a cause, therefore god must be the cause that first caused things to exist. I saw the original quote from William Lane Craig (I believe it was him anyways) who expands the concept out to an almost algebraic equation.

But I’m not impressed with it. Here’s why…

First, the first cause argument makes the assumption that god exists without a cause, because… well, he’s god or something. This one point alone blows the first cause argument. If your god exists without a cause then causeless existences are possible.

But a bigger problem I have with the first cause theory is that it’s a human idea. The question I ask is, is it possible for nothing to exist? We have nothing but philosophical ideas of what an existence of nothing is like. I don’t think it has ever existed, nor do I believe a state of nothing exists. I have no evidence to suggest it’s even possible.

Even the big bang theory says we exploded from a dense starting point – but it says nothing about the non existence of that matter that we started from. As far as I can tell, our starting point always existed in some form.

Perhaps like popcorn kernels in a microwave we were only one of many “bangs” and kernels continue to pop all over the exo-universe, if I can make up a word. A mutiverse of magnificent proportions. With as many universes as we can see stars- or, more likely, an infinitely greater number of universes than we can see stars.

Think about that for a little while… does it blow your mind?

Me too…

Everybody's Wrong

I grew up thinking everybody was right. Age gave a person authority, and I assumed that meant that whatever they may have told me was also true. The first time I remember this truth falling apart was when I was in kindergarten. The teacher told us clapping once meant yes, twice meant no. Later that day my Dad asked me a question and I clapped instead of answering. He repeated the question, I clapped again. Our communication broke down because one clap did not mean yes. I remember being yelled at for not answering his question. I thought I had. But instead, it was only a clap.

Now once we assigned value, sure, one clap meant yes. But this was the first time in my mind that I can remember two authoritative sources conflicting in their information they presented. Sure, it's a little thing. But I remember as a young child, this caused a lot of conflict in my little mind.

Another example came years later when my home economics teacher taught us that a microwave heats food from the inside to the outside. I accepted this information as true and moved on. Years later my appliance repairing uncle corrected me, saying it heated from the outside in. This conflict was very difficult to resolve (and happened in the early 90's so google wasn't an option). I did some tests on my own, to see where stuff was getting hot at when cooked.

Sure enough, the inside of a ham was still cool, while the outer later was warming.

What else was I taught wrong?

Over the years I've accepted a premise that everybody is wrong. I trust very few things I hear at first glance. I always check, and recheck, and still remain a wee bit skeptical. Willing to change if presented with the right evidence.

Just a thought I had that I needed to put pen to paper on. I hope you don't take my word though for anything I've said that you believe to be true. Enjoy!

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A thought on thought

I think in words. Often I have conversations in my head as if I'm talking to someone else. This helps me prepare ideas and thoughts before sharing them.

So today I had a thought; how did primitive man think before language was developed?

And once language was invented, who did early man think was thinking in his head? Could this have been mistaken for god? How did he think before language?

What if conversations in one's early primal mind were thought to be from god? Could this cause someone to think god is telling him to kill his child? Or cut off his foreskin?

Early man, especially man who came into contact with language at a later age, could easily have been fooled into thinking the ideas in his head were a deity speaking to him. I guarantee early man could have thought it because I've heard modern day people say god speaks to them that way…

I'll bet the invention of language was the direct link to the invention of god…

Now off to google it.

And to talk to myself about it…

If there was a god….

If there was a god, I wouldn't want anything to do with him.

Love him and call upon him or he will torture you forever? Sorry, rephrase that, he will outsource your torture to his minion, the devil. He won't do it himself.

Really people?

How did I believe such B.S. for so many years? Stockholm syndrome. It's the only thing I can think of, along with years of brainwashing as a child, that would cause me to believe such a thing.

So this dude is an all knowing, all powerful, omniscient being and he didn't predict the fall of man in the FIRST generation? How does he screw that one up? Or was it part of his plan to come up with a reason to torture us?

Or… Or… Could it be that everything in the god story is made up by a superstitious people who used story telling and supernatural hypothesis to explain the world around them?

Why is it so hard for theist believing people to even consider such a thing?

I know for me personally, it took about 18 months before I could really think outside the concept of a god creator. And it took another 6 months to really accept the new ideas i came up with. I had thoughts that satan was influencing me. It was a tough nut to crack to get to a point where I could think outside the cultural and religious box I was stuck in.

If you're going through that thought process, I wish you luck!

On atheism…

I wanted to write a post on why I’m an atheist, but it took me two years to get to a point to where I could not only say I don’t believe in god, but the stronger point yet, where I say there is no god for me to believe in. During that two years, I thought about so many things from so many different points of view that to go back and rehash every argument in my head would be pointless (for me) and a time consuming venture as well.

So with that, I’ll cover a point here and there and if you follow along long enough, maybe you’ll see how I ended up where I’m at.

A point I’ve shared several times lately is the question, “what makes you think you’re significant?”

I illustrate this example with the number of stars in our universe. Picture a 5 gallon bucket full of sand. For every single grain of sand in that bucket there are 100 stars in the universe. But, there’s more. There are another 100 stars for every single grain of sand on earth. Every beach, every gravel pit, every single grain of sand. Our sun is a typical sized star and it’s 1,000,000 times bigger than our earth. One million earths could fit in it. And there are 100 more stars for every grain of sand.

In real numbers, that’s 70 sextillion stars, or 70,000,000,000,000,000,000,000. That means that for every person on earth, there are around 116,000,000,000,000,000,000 stars in the sky. Each one on average capable of holding 1,000,000 earths inside them.

Considering all of that, we as humans are infinitesimally small. And there are a whopping 6,000,000,000 of us. So, if there is a god, what makes you think you’re the least bit significant? He seems to like making stars more than us. Maybe that’s what he wanted to create and we are his after thoughts.

Or…. Maybe we’re a random product of chance in that gigantic universe and god is a creation of early man, created to deal with the anxiety that would have come with understanding our finite life span? I’m thinking it would be much easier for man to create god, than for god to create man… and all of those stars.

Getting into it…

I’ve read dozens of blogs that lasted 3 or 4 or even 24 posts, but the first always starts with a customary “Here’s my blog… this is what I’m going to do” post. Usually they try to define themselves in some way. Then, after some period of time, that definition no longer holds true and they loose direction and the blog dies. So, this is my first post. Beyond that I don’t want to define any direction, rather just jump in and get into it. So here we go.