a letter to my audience

Dear friends and lovers,

I’m in a writing mood. Hallelujah!

This is where I play when I’m feeling that way: https://entheotropia.net/

Entheotropia is a personal blog and website about the experience of adventuring toward the divine within for the purpose of restructuring our psychology and evolving consciousness.

It’s also a place where I brain-dump dream journals and other vaguely relevant writing.

I like this place. Two … no three! … people have expressly told me they also like it. Three’s a crowd, four’s a fanbase, five’s and audience and my destiny number according to Pythagorean numerology. Take a geezer and help get me to 5 readers.

I’ve got three new posts lined up: one is a bit of draft material for a memoir I chip away at now and then (currently titled “Becoming 42: Don’t Panic!”); another is about the sociological causes and potential benefits of bipolar (a so-called disorder I may or may not have); the other is a dream-journal about a “psychoses dream” I had last night, which reminded me of a key insight from my recent psychotic episode, which is that I may or may not have an oedipal complex.

I sure as shit know I have an inferiority complex, despite repeated evidence I’m actually quite good at this writing thing, so do us a favour and check out the blog, tell me what you think, leave comments … join the conversation. Sweet action.

Big Love,
your local meandering metaphysical mendicant,
Swami Bodhi Abhijan 心 Schier-Paine 
the writer formerly known as Ryan

a statement of Mission

after Snowden

I was watching a documentary about Snowden recently, and I was inspired again to start educating myself about a basic truth that our culture hides in plain sight: our government is not serving our best interests.

Maybe I can’t stop/change this entirely or totally, but I can inform myself enough that my complicity is minimised, and perhaps I can be involved in some community project that undermines the elite’s power over us, the ~pawns~, like maybe a community bank or helping to organise and distribute organic food from independent growers ~ Monsanto would hate that, right? Even publishing this website and blog is an act of dissidence, a way of challenging the fear-mongering of mainstream media, which the doco refers to as ‘the corporate media’.

I shared a video on Facebook recently, by a guy called Rob Dial, who explains that any piece of information we absorb is ~brainwashing~ us, which means that we can choose to watch the nightly news and scare the crap out of ourselves, engendering distrust of our fellows, or we can choose to watch … well, videos like this one, which explains that, contrary to what we are told by the corporate media, the world is actually a profoundly safer place today than it ever has been in history:

As a somewhat-serious student of psychology and as a human being who desires understanding of and a modicum of control over his own mind, I am fascinated by the very concept of brainwashing. I’m somewhat reluctant to indulge the subject because it sounds so conspiracy-theory-ey, but the reality is that brainwashing is happening to us at all times, whether it be through advertising, news media, unscrupulous religious leaders, or even just the things we unconsciously choose to give more of our attention to, whereby we brainwash ourselves. So it’s definitely somethig I’m trying to keep my eye on.

It’s a curious thing though, that making ourselves aware of these unfortunate realities can sometimes have an adverse effect before they have a positive one ~ a scene from the Snowden doco that I could especially relate to, is where he says that the more he learned, the more the anxiety mounted up.

This is a normal and healthy response to the dawning awareness that our so-called leaders, who we hoped and believed were serving our interests, are actually serving theirs. It’s not fair that we are treated like pawns in the elites’ game of chess. And something I find especially distressing about the whole situation is I know they are seeking refuge in the wrong object.

Seeking refuge is an idea in Buddhism that can be understood as ‘seeking happiness’ ~ we seek refuge, from suffering, in all sorts of things we believe will give us lasting pleasure or contentment. Some people seek refuge in power, control and unnecessary wealth, by brainwashing and exploiting the weak or disadvantaged ~ such ‘leaders’ are causing (or contributing to) the suffering of others, and ultimately they are doing this to perpetuate their own suffering by pursuing happiness/refuge where it doesn’t exist. As well as people, this kind of misguided behaviour exploits the planet, our habitat.

Distressing, no?

When we begin to understand this, anxiety is a natural response because anxiety is a natural response to threat, to the perceived danger of, say, immanent ecological collapse ~ called ecoanxiety. In Snowden’s case, it seemed the anxiety came from becoming aware that our own governments are spying on us, and not for the sake of our safety, as they would have us believe.

Whatever the case may be, I’m interested in understanding how to raise awareness of these realities without catalysing massive panic attacks or debilitating depression ~ much of my own experience of depression has come from feeling disempowered in wanting to make positive change in the world. So I’m interested in how to minimise the psychological damage of becoming increasingly aware that our greatest threat may come from within our own culture.

I feel a strong duty to inform myself and to help others free themselves from a system that does not have their best interests at heart ~ well, rather than free ourselves from “the system”, it’s about healing ourselves so that we, as aspects of that system, can begin to improve the system from within. It’s not enough (in fact it’s not healthy) to blame “the system” for all of our suffering ~ to do so is an abnegation of individual responsibility, and an expression of Ignorance.

What we need to do is liberate ourselves from psychological enslavement to the systems of power that control us, which is an entirely internal process ~ we don’t need to change the system externally, but change ourselves so the control mechanisms of culture no longer have any power over us.

So I’ve come here to declare the nature of my Mission, which I choose to accept in pursuit of a Vision:

I imagine a world characterised by harmony and diversity in unity, a world where each and every individual has realised the true nature of reality and therefore is happy to serve the collective interests over their own ~ imagine a world where everyone was watching out for everyone else … we wouldn’t need to worry about anything, there would be no cause for regret and we would all be free to enjoy the present again.

It’s been bouncing around in mind lately that my mission is to

help people heal so that our world doesn’t continue down a path where it’s okay for governments to spy on their citizens people and for businesses to plumb the earth to line their rubber wallets. Entheogens are being used to evolve consciousness and of course modern-day shamanism and other ancient soul-healing methods exist (they have survived the onslaught of scientific materialism), and I yearn fiercely to be involved with such transcendental forms of transpersonal psychology so I can 1) heal myself and, in doing so, learn how to 2) help others to heal the will to power.

If we can help each other to experience the divine connectedness that is at the heart of these ancient traditions of psychotherapy, we can begin to eradicate ruthlessness from the world. Call me an idealist, but I believe we create our own reality and we define our own meaning ~ if we can imagine utopia, then utopia will cease to mean ‘no place’ and instead come to mean ‘our place’.

If we can help each other to experience the profound empathy and compassion that is our nature, the world will begin to transform, which is already happening ~ we are very fortunate to be alive and working at this time, cresting a wave in the evolution of human consciousness and the planetary consciousness supporting such diverse forms of life.

I declare that I accept the mission to ride this wave along with the other awakening individuals I am beginning to encounter in the community. I declare that I will honour the powerful potential I need to fulfill by helping to create a world characterised by harmony and diversity in unity, a world where each and every individual has realised the true nature of reality and therefore is happy to serve the collective interests over their own.

In my burgeoning role as a transpersonal psychotherapist / shaman I imagine treating individuals who are operating at three levels:

  • the ~underdog~ who feels disempowered, so they might come into their own and realise their potential to contribute improvements as grassroots leaders within their communities
  • the ~average~ who is coping, surviving, but beginning to look for ways to pursue thrival instead of just survival
  • the ~leader~ who already has power, so they might wield it more compassionately and for the genuine benefit of all

I feel I am making the journey through these levels, having started out life as an underdog, raised myself to an average level of success and wellbeing, and begun to aspire to being a true leader in my community ~ when I say ‘leader’ above, I do mean ‘politicians, businesspeople, teachers and other heads of institutions’, but what I envisage is that in this millenium we will see a shift away from leaders and those who are lead, from elites and pawns, to a far-more-decentralised way of living and governing ourselves.

I am also interested in what I learned were the original aims of psychology ~ I don’t have the source with me here, but I recall from a textbook of positive psychology that the original aims of psychology were:

  1. the treatment of pathology
  2. the maintenance of wellness
  3. the nurturing and harbouring of talent and genius

Oh, I found the textbook!

In Positive Psychology: The Scientific and Practical Explorations of Human Strengths by Charles Richard Snyder and‎ Shane J Lopez, there is a quote from Martin Seligman saying the above three missions were the original aims of psychology, so, yay, I remembered!

What I definitely remembered (because I was especially impacted by it) is the idea, as described in the same quote (a breakout quote from the main text), that the second two were neglected throughout the twentieth century for reasons I don’t need to go into here, because the point is that I want to get behind the move in positive psychology to start focusing again on the other two objectives of psychology.

More than that, I would add that the fourth objective of psychology (or what I am starting to call ‘holosophy’ and what others might call ‘entheology’) is:

4. facilitate conscious evolution (the evolution of consciousness)

BAM! Homo evolutis.

 

wabi sabi

This website, like everything, is a work in progress and will always be a work in progress ~ in all that I do, I try to embrace wabi sabi, the Japanese art philosophy of embracing the perfectly imperfect.

If you find something that seems a bit wonky or some page is unfinished or half-written and you’d like to know more, please do get in touch.

And feel free to comment ~ I’m very much interested in creating a dialogue here.

Entheotropia, an introduction

I have just finished cycling from Canberra to Brisbane over the last month and a half or so, and something I’ve been looking forward to that whole time is getting to somewhere I can spend some time developing the new ideas that have been coming my way as I continue the journey toward Understanding.

Toward the end of the trip I had begun to feel full, loaded up with enough new ideas that if I continued just cycling around reading books and thinking all day, I might explode with frustration instead of imploding with realisation. This blog is a place where I will allow some of those new ideas and their implications to unfold into untold realisations.

I have the title Entheotropia because researching the meaning of ‘entheogen’ on this trip was perhaps the most illuminating cornerstone of my investigations at this time. Talking to a guy I met at Mendooran, I used the word ‘entheogens’ to refer to drugs used in shamanic rituals around the world, but when he asked me what an entheogen was, I couldn’t tell him what the word actually means. So I eventually looked it up, and learned that it means ‘generating the divine within’. ‘Entheogen’ is a term used to describe certain drugs that have this function, replacing the words ‘hallucinogen’ and ‘psychedelic’ when the drugs are used with spiritual rather than purely recreational intentions in mind.

I’ve added the ‘tropic’ element because at the beginning of the trip I learned also that ‘tropic’ means ‘toward’, as in ‘holotropic’ and ‘psychotropic’, toward the whole or toward the psyche. So ‘entheotropic’, I have decided, means ‘toward the divine within’. I use ‘entheotropia’ in the same sense we might use ‘esoterica’ to denote myriad esoteric subjects. I was going to use ‘esotropia’, but that word already denotes an ophthalmological condition where the eye(s) point inward (being ‘cross-eyed’).

I use ‘entheogen’ to refer to anything that generates an experience of the divine within, whether it be a drug or a pranayamic practice or ecstatic dance. I think it was Dennis McKenna who said something to the effect that all life is a merely a series of chemical reactions. And the body is inherently capable of experiencing non-ordinary states of consciousness without the use of drugs ~ entheogenic drugs merely act upon the chemicals and receptors already existing in the body. On a previous cycle tour I learned from Robert Moss that there are two camps in the shamanic world: one that uses entheogenic plants as tools for spiritual awakening and healing, and one that doesn’t use plants, but which uses other means for achieving the same goals.

It’s a fascinating subject, and an even more fascinating experience.

So that’s a bit of a brain dump to get this ball rolling.