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Mexico Journals

Updated: Dec 15, 2020

Nov 13 2020

Day… 4? In Mexico. Feels like it's been longer. Days are always more filled and different from one another when traveling. I'm guessing this is what makes time seem warped, elongated, in a good way.

I've stopped in a little city called Valladolid on my way to Merida to stay for a couple nights and, I suppose, delay the moment where I'll be diving into the shamanic medicine realm. It turned out to be a good idea, I think, serving as a transition after the packed days I had with my host in Cancun. I met a lot of travelers last night and had drinks and good talks with them late into the night. Today I'm taking it very easy; I went swimming in a cenote and have been spending time alone in the sun, leaving room for my mind to do whatever preparation it has to.

I feel light, a bit of happiness and sadness passing through my body, none staying too long. The heat, humidity and overall tropical atmosphere seem to be loosening a lot of things in me physically and otherwise... a sense of the same softness that had blossomed in me in the otherwise very different setting of the ashram in the Himalayas. I don't know how to describe it apart from the feeling of a more deeply felt self-love than usual, mixed with a nostalgic sadness.

Nov 19 2020

In the past five days I've journeyed in and out of altered states at a faster pace than I ever have, through a variety of different plants and other medicines that are resulting in an explosion of teachings. I'm still struggling to put words to the experiences, even internally, but each substance, each ceremony, has been overwhelming in its own way and ripe with meaning. The two that have affected me the most are Changa and Bufo.

Changa is a combination of DMT-containing plants that amount to a concentrated ayahuasca trip. It's also apparently known as the trickster medicine, and I can see why. Both times I've smoked it, there's been this powerful sense of play, as if I were being let in on a great cosmic joke. Known reality, people, places, all melt together in a confused dance that ultimately reveals itself to be the game the universe is playing with itself, wanting to experience everything light and dark. It made me realize many things about the choices I've made that were rooted in a will to death, and that it was OK, a part of the play, but that there was no necessity to engage in them anymore. I also couldn't help laughing, a strong physical laughter that came out of me without any effort on my part, as if it were the breath of life that created this world. In the end I came out of it with a strong sense that the old Hindu idea of a bored God breaking itself into an infinity of pieces, just to be able to experience itself, has a whole lot of truth to it.

Bufo, the toad venom, is 5-MeO-DMT and quite different from anything else I've experienced. In that space there is not really an "I" to relate to what is happening. Seconds after smoking it I was taken on an unstoppable current and essentially disappeared to simply become a witness. And what there was to be witnessed I can only describe as love. It's like the heart breaks open and lets in every drop of love that has ever been and will ever be felt in this world. The purpose of being a human on this earth is to love, this was the main takeaway, and again resonates with age-old Eastern ideas and whatever the Dalaï Lama has been telling us all this time. It's just so easy to dismiss unless it's felt on this absolute level, so intense and undeniable.

I'm sure all this may sound a bit airy fairy, and I'm still in the midst of it all so there's clearly a certain passion in my words, but I truly feel like a more peaceful and joyous human than before and am looking forward to doing what I can to share that. Nothing is a fix-all, obviously, and I get a strong sense that it will take a solid practice and constant reminders to keep those glimpsed truths alive.

Nov 23, 2020

What a mind-bending week it's been. I'm writing this while flying away to Oaxaca, off to some more earthly adventures. I truly don't know how this slot of time, these days of deep mental exploration and swirling in and out of shamanic space, will later appear to fit in my life. All I know is that I feel the same but different, as is always the case with this sort of thing.

On a surface level, I'm simply glad to have had these experiences; to have tried entheogenic toad venom and worked closely with a medicine man and pushed the boundaries of my comfort zone, my belief systems, my courage. Going into that otherworldly state of mind willingly, day after day, did take a level of bravery, and of surrender, i did not expect. There was very little to actively do except being present and open, yet complex work was executed behind the curtains. Psychological wounds were tended to, blockages in the body were cleared. I feel like myself but more alive, less bound and yet left with a strong sense that the majority of the work lies ahead. It's something I look forward to with a joyous heart, that of a warrior who has at last accepted a task he'd been avoiding his whole life. Simply to witness everything and love it. The great spirit that spread itself into infinity out of curiosity and is refracted through each of us only asks that we play its game.

The game is absurd in so many ways. My shaman was a French man who'd been a millionaire in the USA, who reminded me of a childhood friend, who read my mind and manipulated non-physical space in a way that shattered my skepticism. His wife was a kind, bubbly woman who wouldn't shut up about reptilians, pizzagate, aliens... about the earth being flat and the moon being fake. I listened to her with an impressive neutrality, occasionally commenting but mostly nodding as we ate meals together. They treated me with incredible generosity. Their three children were adorable and annoying. On rest days we went out and did normal people stuff. Then, back in the medicine space, shaman and I became warriors of light, blasting off into a world of love and light so overwhelming it made it impossible not to learn the hard lesson of surrender and unconditional love for our fellow humans.

God. If I can die and come back to life in a matter of minutes, anything is possible. I won't make assertions about physical reality because that's not the world I was dealing with. But I can say with confidence that the mind is capable of affecting its own field of perception to such an extent that one's experience of life can literally be whatever one wills it to be, given a powerful enough trigger, or a deep enough practice.

Personally, breathwork and movement are practices that come easily. Meditation and prayer are some I have to work on. The possibilities are almost infinite and differ from person to person. Dance and music are tools I've barely scratched the surface of, while for some those easily come as the playful and sacred expression of their being. All these things can be done carelessly, in the realm of the mundane, and that's fine too. There is a place for that. But let's not forget they can be expressions of a force that comes from so deep that it's unaffected by our personality, clears its way through our quirks and traumas and desires, and reminds us that we are vessels for a raw energy that is truly beyond our conscious control and understanding. Let that be your guide, and when you forget, it's ok. You're just participating in yet another aspect of the complex and beautiful game the world wants to play with itself.

If my words seem infuriatingly cliché, I understand. Direct experience seems to be the only real solution. We are lucky or unlucky enough that the game only reveals itself for what it is at death... or through rare peak moments.

December 7, 2020

It's a strange life. I don't really question it anymore. I'm writing this between two cities in a small bus in the jungly mountains of Chiapas. There's a thick fog over the lush landscape, typical Mexican music blasting in the vehicle, and I'm eating some kind of delicious taco variation. This moment feels like a scene in a naive movie about a gringo in Mexico. Night is falling and I lost my earphones (I've been losing everything on this trip), so I can't read or listen to a podcast. Probably a good thing since it's getting me to write, something I haven't been doing as much as I'd like given the strange new thoughts in my head.

One of them is that I don't think I want to come back home anytime soon. I kind of know what awaits me there, dead cold and old habits. As much as I'm drawn to seeing family and friends, I can't say I miss anything else too much. I just really miss some people… I might simply choose to stay until that sense becomes painful enough to overpower the reluctance to come back. For now it's still exciting to meet new people and homesickness hasn't really made itself known.

It's been a blast to learn spanish, to explore cities, take pictures and party, to do all kinds of non-spiritual things after my intense week of psychic medicines. When I left Oaxaca city for the beach I feel like I opened a portal to chaos, relinquishing peace to invite in stranger experiences. Getting attacked by wild dogs, hitchhiking and sleeping on the beach, losing my phone, swimming naked and having sex with a stranger, drinking at all hours and accepting cocaine from people, just playing all of the dark and dangerous games. But it didn't feel the same as before. I don't know how to explain it but I felt safety in the knowledge that it was transient, felt a strong sense of boundaries throughout. Life is as absurd as we let it be… as destructive and chaotic as we're willing to go to learn through those things. I think my sense of peace comes from that certainty that there are just a bunch of paths through which to learn, some darker than others, but none being actually better in any real way. We can choose to invite pain or not, and both are ok. The only real evil is guilt about the path we've chosen. Doubting the journey, I've found, just gets in the way of feeling truly alive. As long as there's enough common sense, obviously, to not seriously hurt oneself or others. I don't want to sound like I'm justifying extreme recklessness. Mostly I'm speaking to my past self who was guilty about so much, who couldn't forgive himself, who was afraid to lean into experiences fully. I can't say I have much of either guilt or goals anymore. My psyche seems to have simplified itself by repeatedly witnessing that what brings the most joy is a radical non-judgement of the moment, whatever it may be.

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