our bodies are the temple

Dieta

I am beginning to learn, through research and experience, just how important our body is to our mental, emotional and psychological wellbeing, and what follows from this is the importance of diet.

I call it dieta because: 1) that extra a, from the Spanish, seems to lift the seriousness from the idea of dieting; 2) I picked up the word watching a documentary about shamanism, and the main motivating force behind diet for me is to have a cleaner body so I can be more in touch with what’s going on internally (in terms of digestion, but also and moreso in terms of emotions and psychic movements … pun intended 😉

I also think of all this as more like a yogic diet than just a diet diet, because that for me carries connotations of this being more about dietary choices that I hope will persist over a lifetime rather than about a few austerities I will observe temporarily as though my life were nothing more than a series of passing fads.

One of my early bosses (who was an alcoholic and chain smoker) used to say (ironically), ‘My body is a temple.’ I never really understood what this meant, but since then I have had some divine/mystical experiences that were the consquence of clean-eating and dedicated spiritual practices, so I know the body~mind partnership is capable of some truly transcendental stuff (holy shit), and I really want to begin to honour that some more.

I have also begun to notice that my general wellbeing is profoundly influenced by what I do and do not put into my body.

At the time of this writing I am 34, born 1983 in the Australian outer suburbs. Since that time the basic food pyramid has been turned on its head and, among other correlates, the gut~brain connection has been researched up the wazoo. We now know there are neurons in the heart and gut, not just the brain, and people are starting to use ‘second brain’ to refer to the gut.

When I was learning how to eat, it was mostly through mimicry in the suburbs, and my diet was (relatively) fine for the last 30 years or so, but I put that down to having been blessed with a profoundly strong constitution (physical and psychological), which is now beginning to show signs of wear and tear:

for a long time I was able to get away with eating a halfway-healthy diet, even though that included indiscrimate consumption of meat and other animal products, processed foods like commercial bread, plus wanton amounts of dairy and sugar, not to mention the various poisons of alcohol, commercial tobacco, caffeine and the hydroponic ‘biker bud’ I found myself smoking, which constitutes something of a segue to a sidenote:

It’s been 34 years since I started learning how to eat and feed myself, and it’s been about 19 years since I started scoring and smoking ganja. This was in the mid~late-90s and the Australian suburbs … skip forward to 2015 in c://maine (Castlemaine, VIC), which is essentially an outer suburb of Melbourne, where I asked my friend and dealer where our ganja was coming from ~ bikers, he said.

This was the year I first began to realise that maybe I was suffering depression and that the anxiety I was feeling maybe wasn’t normal. It was also the year I had my first major spiritual emergency. It was around then I started to realise that something needed to change if I wanted to ever feel like contentment, satisfaction, meaning and purpose were conditions I might feel frequently and consistently, and that something was gonna hafta to be me.

This tangent is getting a bit out of hand, when the only really important point is that the profound suffering (mixed with moments of transcendental joy and awe) that characterised that year were catalytic in promoting a search that lead to two realisations:

1) what I had absorbed about diet was no longer serving me, and food production had most likely changed radically in the preceding 30 years, but more (or less) importantly, 2) drug production had most likely changed radically in the last 20 years as well.

In the suburbs of the 90s I was probably smoking mostly homegrown or maybe some hydro that someone had come across. Now that I think about it, I do remember that ‘hydro’ was kind of a big deal back then, a new thing that was only just beginning to reach new levels of accessibility.

Skip forward again to c://maine, where the buzz was bush bud: whereas my buddies at high school would get excited because they had found some hydro that would get us really ‘whacked’, my friends in c://maine would get (mildly) excited when they came across some homegrown that would give us a nice, easy-going high.

So, things/times have changed, and the point of this long-winded tangent is that many factors influence our mental health, not just drug (ab)use: food, for example, is just another vehicle for chemicals that effect our mental states via the gut~brain, and as Dennis McKenna says anyway, “All experience is a drug experience” [12:33]:

Whether it’s mediated by our own [endogenous] drugs, or whether it’s mediated by substances that we ingest that are found in plants, cognition, consciousness, the working of the brain, it’s all a chemically mediated process. Life itself is a drug experience.

Apart from wanting to bust the myth that ‘marijuana causes depression’, I want to experiment with and illuminate experience and ideas around how everything we put into our bodies (including information) may cause depression (et al) if we are not wise about our choices.

The most illuminating experience I have had so far, experimenting with eliminating grains, is that both times I did this I suffered extreme bouts of insomnia. [12:36] I learned / was reminded of my own experience that eating grains has a profoundly soporific effect on the body, a great enabler of sleep.

It took me two of these experiments and a not-uncanny encounter with a friend to learn, from her, that if we want to just straight-up drop grains from our life, we need to be sure we have melatonin supplements, along with other herbal sleep supplements like valerian and hops, which I have now bought for any future experiments.

For these reasons and myriad others I am not yet aware of, I am documenting here the nature and contents of the dieta I am experimenting with, the details of which can be found on the sub-page, Dieta Detailia. [1:39]

making meaning from awareness of pattern

Learning to commune with Spirit is a process that requires a huge amount of trust, a deep willingness to embrace uncertainty and allow Cosmos to speak to us through means we are often too quick to discount as woo-woo in this age where linear rationality and material reality reigns supreme.

I often find myself wondering, What even is Spirit?, like I’m some Native American wannabe, but we don’t have to be Indians to commune with Spirit. I use the term “Spirit” in my journalling practices because it’s a word that comes easily to mind for me and because it seems to speak of a higher power that is beyond me, but which I can access.

That said, I’m starting to see that Spirit is not beyond me, not some supranatural force that exists outside ~ and yet, it must be called upon to enter my life.

It’s confusing for me because so much of my meaning-making is done through a deeply conditioned dualist perspective. If I feel like I cannot navigate this human experience using only my human wits, then I must need to call in some suprahuman power to guide me. But the power I seek for guidance is precisely what makes us human.

To live without access to this inherent power guiding us is to be de-human: the dehumanising forces at large in the world are those that separate us from that which is naturally inside us ~ empathy, compassion, intuition, and faith in the knowledge that Spirit is within, if only we can learn to communicate with our unconscious.

I sense very strongly that Spirit is nothing more and nothing less than the deep wellsprings of wisdom that reside in those parts of our Being we are only dimly aware of.

[Three miner birds (who I believe are my primary Spirit guide) are visiting now, as I write this. My life-path number from Dan Millman’s interpretation of Pythagorean numerology is 30/3. Because I believe the whole external world is an expression of our total consciousness, I believe these birds have come to visit from my unconscious to convey to me the message that yes, these words are truth.]

Spirit is not some otherworldly force we must call in from outside ~ and yet, we must call it in: the wisdom of Spirit does not communicate with our conscious mind if we do not create the space for this communication to occur, so in a sense it is outside us, in the sense that in our hyper-rational modes it remains outside our conscious awareness until we expand our conscious awareness to include that which we are yet unconsciously aware of.

How do we do this? How do we expand our conscious awareness to include that which we are yet dimly aware of?

I believe a basic principle of learning to commune with Spirit ~ with that which is yet buried in our unconscious awareness ~ is to keep an eye out for patterns:

if you observe a pattern, honour it by taking some action to integrate whatever insight might have arrived through interpreting the meaning of the pattern; the more we observe, honour, interpret and integrate any messages we divine from the machinations of Spirit, the more Spirit knows how to communicate with us.

[7:07 ~ resuming this draft after having it pointed at (in a comment at 11:17) that I woke from a dream at 3:14 … pi.]

An example from my own experience is the observation of pattern in numbers.

During periods of rapid spiritual growth in the last few years I have begun to notice patterns in the numbers I observe around the place ~ 11:11 or 3:33 on a clock, 22 on a letterbox, then 022 at the end of a phone number, then 22% battery left on my phone, three ducks lined in the row of the timespace continuum.

Many a naysayer will poo-poo this as nothing but woo-woo: “You’re only seeing those patterns because you’re looking for them,” as though this negates the significance of our observations.

People who say this are evidently not aware that we make our own meaning. It may be questionable to conclude from developments in quantum theory that we create our own reality, but it seems beyond reasonable doubt that we make our own meaning by interpreting reality ~ in that sense we are certainly participants in the creation of reality, and what else is reality but what we interpret reality to mean.

I think we tend to forget that we make our own meaning ~ a consequence of an education system where we are taught what to think, not how to think.

But how did people arrive in the first place at the ideas we are taught at school? Through observations of pattern. Long before educational institutions were a thing, humans were left to their own devices to make the meaning that has gone on to inform the structures of our institutions. This process continues, and what follows from this is that by taking responsibility for the process of our own meaning-making, we also continue to inform the structures of our institutions.

We are the culture makers and the meaning brokers.

What are the devices we use to make meaning and create institutions? Our physical and metaphysical sense organs ~ our eyes and our minds.

So with my eyes I perceive patterns in number and with my mind I interpret what they mean (to me). (I have done some cursory and haphazard research into numerology, but I’m less interested in what, say, Dan Millman has to say about numbers than I am in what numbers mean to me. [7:31]

[7:33] So, for example, I finished long-handing this draft at 7:31 and by the time I was at the keyboard the clock read 7:33, which might make more sense if I enumerate what each number means for me at this point (some of these are pulled from Pythagoras via Dan Millman, others from a numerologist I once saw, and others, especially 5, are my own interpretation):

1 ~ certainty
2 ~ masculinity
3 ~ expression/communication and sensitivity/compassion (from Dan Millman)
4 ~ femininity
5 ~ the Cosmic Joke
6 ~ ?
7 ~ higher mind
8 ~ abundance
9 ~ completion

So I read the time period 7:31~7:33 (a period of 2 minutes) to mean assertive but compassionate communication about ideas from the higher mind, and this gives me confidence that what I’m composing is relevant and significant.

How have I arrived at this meaning? By observing a pattern, and honouring it by taking some action to integrate whatever insight might have arrived through interpreting the meaning of the pattern, and by trusting that wisdom arrives through metaphysical sense organs that process their own form on non-linear rationality.

I’ve started to keep a numbers journal, where I honour the pattern I have observed by noting the numbers I see and the thoughts or events occurring at the time. I don’t always know what the numbers mean, but simply noting their emergence into my conscious awareness is a way for me to integrate the broadening of my conscious awareness.

If I don’t know what the numbers mean, I trust that at least they are communicating to me that my path is unfolding appropriately. Sometimes in the darkest times when everything else around me seems meaningless and pointless, a numerical pattern will emerge and it reminds me that there is light at the end of the tunnel.

I also honour observations of numerical pattern by taking screenshots on my phone, a simple action that says to Spirit, to my unconscious, Yes, I’m listening. So my phone memory is filled with screengrabs like this one:

Screenshot_2018-01-10-08-16-18
7:37pm 33% 7:34pm=7:7

I told a guy once that I had been seeing many auspicious numbers, and he poo-pooed it by saying “all numbers are auspicious ~ if you get too much into that you’ll just be left with a phone full of screengrabs that mean nothing”.

This is like the idea that we’re only seeing the patterns because we’re looking for them ~ in attempting to negate your insight, the naysayer unwittingly reveals a truth that undermines their own denouncement: yes, all numbers are auspicious … everything is auspicious if we choose to interpret it this way.

Imagine how such an attitude might transform our experience of suffering, for example. Got hit by a bus and broke your leg? Maybe the bus stopped you from crossing paths with a rogue gunman committing a massacre round the corner. Observing a pattern of repeatedly attracting partners who are emotionally unavailable? A good sign that you need to look at your own emotional availability.

And how it might transform our experience of what we previously considered to be meaningless and innocuous. Saw three magpies eating worms on the way home from school? Maybe magpies represent a paternal figure for you, and by observing this behaviour you are reminded that you need to take more responsibility for your own physical and spiritual nourishment ~ this might remind you to have a snack and do some meditation when you get home, instead of having a coffee and cramming for that exam.

Whatever it is, if we believe it to be auspicious, then it is. By taking small signs in the external world to be meaningful messages from Spirit or from the material expression of our unconscious, we begin to open a space in our existence where spiritual meaning can begin to pervade our interpretation of all that happens.

So much of the modern malady is caused by a deep sense of meaningless we all feel to some degree. If we can extract meaning from our daily existence by interpreting reality according to our own organic, ever-growing framework of reference points, we might stop seeking meaning in shiny external pursuits like career, relationships, wealth and status ~ our daily encounters with instances of meaningful relevance will keep us feeling that everything is unfolding according to plan and we’ll feel less inclined to chase meaning externally or to impose our interpretation of reality upon others.

So if you’re seeing patterns that seem not-uncanny, you’re probably on to something and you’ll be surprised by what begins to emerge and how strongly it begins to emerge if you just honour it and trust that you’re learning something.

dreams, dissatisfaction, and addiction

I’ve done a few more journeys since my first experiment, and it’s hard to say whether they have been as effective as the first one seemed to be, because that first one was characterised by such obvious physiological reactions, which I suspect were caused by the more-active breathing I practised.

In the subsequent journeys I have allowed the breath to be more natural, and I think the effects have been more subtle, in the form of dreams. It’s hard to say though, because I dream fairly frequently anyway, and the occurrence of these dreams has coincided with a renewal of a more-active dreaming practice that was independent of these experiments with journeying.

It’s hard to know which factors contribute to which effects, and it’s hard to know what’s what at these early stages of such a practice, because what I am essentially trying to do is find where the veil exists between the waking world and the dream world, between the physical/physiological/neurochemical world and the non-physical/psychological world, between the spirit world and the world of consensus reality. I’m trying to commune with Spirit, and it’s hard to know the difference between when I’m doing that and when I’m communing with the physical realm of brain functions.

It’s confusing territory because I suspect that everything is Spirit, so trying to discern between Spirit and everything else is kinda like trying to discern between two shades of blue: all of our experiences are just different shades of Spirit.

The most appropriate terminology for making this distinction seems to be ‘conscious’ and ‘unconscious’: I suspect that we are mostly conscious of physical/material reality, and Spirit resides mostly (or speaks more loudly) in the unconscious, in the realm of symbols and abstraction.

It also hasn’t helped my confusion that I’ve been experimenting with these journeys immediately before sleep. I’ve done as many journeys in the mornings as I’ve done before sleep, and this morning’s journey helped to relieve some anxiety caused by general non-deliberate sleep deprivation, but the juiciest effects have come in the form of last night’s dreams, which I report below.

~ ~ ~

3:14am4.01.18

I am awake prematurely again, and I was pretty grumpy about it, but I seem to have perked up, and I don’t think it’s because of the coffee ~ it helped that when I came down the stairs (after rolling around in bed, debating whether to get up or not), it was exactly 3:00 [my numerological life-path number is 30/3], and as I came off the bottom stair, the clock flicked over to 3:01. I also feel a kind of acceptance, because maybe this is the cosmos moving through me, because maybe I had this dream because I did the shamanic journey before I went to sleep ~

I mean, I often dream anyway, and yes I’m giving more attention to my dreams (by wanting them and by being prepared to interpret them), but there seems to be something significant about how I wake up so fully after some of these dreams … it seems to suggest that their meaning is significant and the Awoken app is chirping away now because I’ve set it to chirp more frequently during these hours to help trigger lucidity in dreams, but also it reminds me that … yes, it just chirped again … yes, the dreams are significant. So, the dreams:

In the first dream (from which I did not fully awake), I was with a lover and another guy in bed, and they had sex but my lover and I didn’t. I was miffed. My lover and I had an interaction afterward, but I don’t remember any of the details except that there was no love between us and she left.

I guess this dream relates to what happened with AJ and Nuff, but the next dream (from which I did fully awake) adds more information:

I was on some low-ish rooftop with a character who seemed to be Pablo from high school. He said that he was going to change jobs.

I said, “But you like your job.”

There was some element of Mum in him, because I immediately thought of her similar pattern, and I started to address him thus, in the same way I would address Mum in the same situation.

Pablo Mum started to make some justification for why he would change jobs, but I interjected to say, “No, I think you’re addicted to something”, perhaps because I had been reading what Russell Brand has written about why we get addicted … perhaps because I was intuiting something from my unconscious (or the spirit world) about why we get addicted, because he made some other attempt at justification but I kept pushing it.

“No, there’s something you get from changing jobs that is more enjoyable than staying in the job you’ve got.” I’m elaborating the dialogue here ~ I don’t think there was this much detail, but this is the gist of what I was thinking in the dream. [3:39]

I was thinking, The process of changing jobs (of going to something new, of running away from the old or from whatever element of the job was not satisfying instead of trying to resolve that dissatisfaction in the job) must release some kind of chemical in the brain that we get addicted to. It’s a kind of workaholism, but may be more appropriately described as jobaholism or job addiction ~ addiction to the ability to go and get a new job.

It gives us great satisfaction to go and get a new job. And then when we’re in the new job, the satisfaction wears off because actually they’re all as mundane as each other. Anyway,

Pablo Mum made some snide comment like, “What, like a job is an EB?”

I wasn’t sure what an EB was, but I realised it was some kind of chocolate bar, and said as much. “Like a chocolate bar?”

He said yes, and I was going to start saying something about how, yes, It’s not the chocolate bar you’re addicted to, it’s the chemicals it turns into or the chemicals it releases in the brain that you’re addicted to, but he then started swinging me around on the office chair I was now sitting in. I told him this was scaring me, and then he threw me off the roof. The chair sailed away somewhere and I landed on my feet on the concrete below. This is when I woke up.

I feel like this dream was a message about addiction … der … but I mean, I feel like it was significantly a message ~ like I went into the dream realm / spirit realm to retrieve this information, which I was already half aware of, perhaps unconsciously aware of.

I think it’s an important insight about addiction. It confirms for me that yes, part of my role … a major part of my role, at least … is helping people to understand the nature of addiction so we can start looking at where in our lives the dissatisfaction is coming from and start to treat the dissatisfaction naturally and healthily rather than disguising it by doing things that release drugs that give us a false sense of satisfaction.

Before I can do this, of course, I need to understand and treat my own dissatisfaction, which I think is why these two dreams came together this night: I am dissatisfied with (among other things) the way romantic and/or sexual relationships have gone in my life, so I have resorted to drugs and other behaviours that give the false sense of satisfaction, which stops me from feeling the need to resolve the original source of dissatisfaction.

[3:54 ~ feeling like there’s not much more to add to this.]

[4:01am4.01.08 ~ looking at a picture of Fred Alan Wolf in shamanic dress and thinking about stopping faffing and getting some work done on Entheotropia]

fred_alan_wolf_RGB