In a twist of what Vedic philosophy might describe as destiny (involving a Kafka-esque turnaround in the Australian welfare system), I find myself now pursuing a Bachelor of Integrative Psychotherapy at IKON Institute, a dinky-di and very cute, progressive and holistic private university near the Valley in Brisvedas. (I was told by one person at Centrelink that the Bachelor was not supported by Austudy, and then, when I called again, I was told that it was.)
Integrative psychotherapy “is the process of making whole”, and the Canadian Institute for Integrative Psychotherapy describes it further:
Integrative Psychotherapy embraces an attitude towards the practice of psychotherapy that affirms the inherent value of each individual. It is a unifying psychotherapy that responds appropriately and effectively to the person at the affective, behavioral, cognitive, and physiological levels of functioning, and addresses as well the spiritual dimension of life.
The term “integrative” of Integrative Psychotherapy has a number of meanings. It refers to the process of integrating the personality: taking disowned, unaware, or unresolved aspects of the self and making them part of a cohesive personality, reducing the use of defense mechanisms that inhibit spontaneity and limit flexibility in problem solving, health maintenance, and relating to people, and re-engaging the world with full contact. It is the process of making whole. Through integration, it becomes possible for people to face each moment openly and freshly without the protection of a pre-formed opinion, position, attitude, or expectation.
This bachelor is the perfect coalescence of all that I’ve been wondering about for a very long time, and I feel extra-ordinarly fortunate and grateful that I have this opportunity to pursue my own wholeness so that I might be able to help others do the same.
Integrative psychotherapy is basically the entheotropic process, or the holosophic process ~ the process of realising wholeness through experiential wisdom of our being a part of the whole, as a water droplet is an integral part of the ocean.
In the Bhagavad-gita it is said that each living entity is qualitatively the same as Krsna (the Supreme Personality of the Godhead), and the only difference between the living entity and Krsna is a quantitative distinction, as the water droplet is qualitatively, but not quantitatively, the ocean.
What Osho described as oceanic consciousness may be the same as fully realised Krsna conscious … but I’m not sure. I’m not sure how I feel about the Gita just now, except that I enjoy how it’s giving me a broader context in which to place Buddhism, which was my go-to source of spiritual succour for nearly a decade. In this sense, Vedic philosophy is a container that is even more broad and encompassing than Buddhism or Christianity or Islam or Judaism or any of the other religions that might have grown from Vedic philosophy.
I have to stop here now, lest I enter a rabbit hole I cannot escape from. The only other thing I would add is I am excited to be learning that maybe Gautama was an avatar of Krsna, and that there is almost certainly a cultural link between the likes of Gautama and Jesus.
I know that’s a can of worms … but I’m a boy!, so I love eating worms 😀
I read a book recently called What Makes You Not a Buddhist by Dzongsar Jamyang Khyentse. The subject of the book is the “four seals” of Buddhism:
All compounded things are impermanent; all emotions are pain; all things have no inherent existence; nirvana is beyond concepts.
I had heard of the book while practising the lam rim at a study retreat, at a time when I was considering ordination ~ reading the book was part of my investigation into whether I actually wanted to be a Buddhist. The teachers at the retreat recommended the book as a good introduction to what a student should understand before they consider even taking refuge.
So I read the book with fervour and very much enjoyed Khyentse’s style ~ so much so that I eventually travelled up to Sydney to watch him speak at a day-long teaching that was more reminiscent of a rock concert than it was of any teaching I had ever attended before. He was very funny, and he managed to convey a lot of insights that were valuable without talking directly about Buddhism very much.
He remains one of my favourite Buddhist teachers, but there was something in the introduction to the book that has just now popped into mind and caused me to question the value of asking the question, “What makes me not a Buddhist?”
No wait … it wasn’t in the introduction to that book ~ it was in another book that was discussing the same concepts, the four seals. Anyway,
wherever I read it, the author was drawing on the same notion: that to be a “card-carrying” Buddhist, one needs to agree with or understand the essence of the four seals.
Based on the current state of my research/understanding, this includes me. I believe I understand and agree with each of these four principles.
These principles, however, are not exclusive to Buddhism ~ they are principles understood by mystical traditions everywhere … or perhaps almost everywhere. If we agree with or understand these principles, we are not necessarily Buddhist, but to identify as a Buddhist we need to agree with these principles.
I understand that doctrine is a valueable guide in the search for truth, but this feels a bit too-dogmatic to me, especially now, but even a little bit back then. I was willing to let the dogma-feel slide, because I was (and still am, sometimes), eager to feel like part of a group that shares the same beliefs ~ it’s comforting, no?
But just now when I was doing something other than actively thinking about truth (I was doing a sort of zentagle, a form of art therapy … and waiting for Centrelink to take me off hold … 1:02:51 hours so far ;/
I was doodling and it came to mind that if we want to call ourselves a “card-carrying” Buddhist, we need to look at that:
the mystical path is a search for our true identity, our true nature ~ in Buddhism it is taught that what we believe to be our identity, our self, is an illusion: our identity is comprised of such elements as, say, male, thirty-four years old, brunette, dread-locked, quite handsome but a bit lopsided 🙂 Other elements include our cultural affiliations: Australian, public-school educated, progressive and a little bit Buddhist.
It’s that term “card-carrying” that caught my attention while I was doodling. A card-carrying member of a club has easy access: show the card; people trust you won’t get drunk and trash the place; they let you in. To say that understanding the four seals makes you a card-carrying Buddhist just renders the whole purpose of understanding these truths irrelevant, because these concepts are also an illusion. Yes? No?
Something I remember now from the Khyentse book is that the conclusion, maybe even the final line of the book, is the statement that if you realise enlightenment and still think you’re a Buddhist, there could be a problem, you know what I mean?
I really appreciated that Khyentse concluded his book with that sentiment. I want to be accepted as part of a group as much as the next bloke, but if we look around and cling too much to various labels to know whether we are or are not making progress along the spiritual path … well, that’s a lot different from just straight-up knowing we are on the path without having to identify as a Buddhist or a Gnostic or a shaman or a Hindu or whatever.
I think it’s realy important to remember this. What do you think?
What makes us not Buddhists/shamans/whatever is what makes us mystics, I reckon.
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.
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:
the treatment of pathology
the maintenance of wellness
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)
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]
“Mankind, more than is realised, is an expression of the part of the earth upon which he subsists. A rose of the West should not aspire to bloom like a lotus of the East.” ~ Gareth Knight, The Rose Cross and the Goddess, as quoted in The Western Way: A practical guide to the Western Mystery Tradition by Caitlín and John Matthews, from which I quote the following:
Magic, as we understand it, did not exist: the whole of life was magical, in one sense. Yet there was nothing within creation which was truly supernatural. These seemingly contradictory statements are resultant upon any attempt to enter the Foretime ~ wherein life was infused with the numinous nature of the gods ~ from the standpoint of today ~ wherein everything is explicable from a scientific premise.
Before we make that attempt we must understand where we are in relation to consciousness, for the Western Way is very much the path of consciousness and its evolution. Symbolic truth is as true now as it was in the Foretime, yet the means of that truth ~ often conveyed by image, story or music ~ changes as the consciousness of humanity evolves. According to the prevailing consciousness at any one historical cross-section of linear time, so will different levels of symbolic truth be revealed. The development and evolution of human consciousness is the motivating factor in the Western Way; it is the impulse which sets seekers upon the path, from shaman to scientist, determined to find the unifying factors of physical or outer life with spiritual life. The capacity to understand and equate these factors is dependent upon the level of consciousness brought to bear upon this search.
The first steps upon the way are taken within the Native Tradition [as compared to the Hermetic Tradition] where tribal or collective consciousness prevails: out of the tribe emerges the shaman who experiments with individual consciousness ~ the next step ~ by means of identifying with the numinous quality of creation as personified by the gods, by synthesising this experience and transmitting it in an appropriate form to the tribe. The necessary next step to individual consciousness is one which cannot be taken simultaneously by all: this evolution takes many generations and is partially achieved by the presence and work of the shaman and a growing body of initiates who have already begun to make the transition within the tribe. The Native Tradition of any country takes its people on the long journey from tribal to individual consciousness, just as its Hermetic or esoteric Tradition attempts to lead people from individual to cosmic consciousness, in which evolved humanity will perceive its collective responsibility. (Figure 2.)
The task of religions, both old and new, has been to inculcate this evolutionary process through the means at its disposal. The varying success of this movement can be gauged by a quick mental reconnoitre through one’s own life experience to date. In the Foretime this search was begun by means of contact with the mineral kingdom and with the earth’s vital energies, which led on to an understanding and personification of these energies with god-forms. While the Native Tradition works from the immediate and familiar forces of the earth towards an evolved understanding of a cosmic plan or single, centralised Deity, it is the way of the Hermetic Tradition to perceive the cosmic and hierarchical forces which motivate the universe and identify their operation within elemental and imagined god-forms, as we shall see in Volume 2. [Volume 1 being “The Native Tradition”.]
Currently, the Western World is still struggling to throw off the last vestiges of tribal consciousness which have not yet worked themselves out. The revival of the Old Religion under the form of the neo-pagan movement and renewed interest in the Native Traditions of many lands are resonances of this struggle: it is one wherein the best of the ancient ancestral wisdom is retrieved and the unregenerate forms discarded as inappropriate. We shall be looking closer at this phenomenon in Chapter 5 and assessing the development of the Native Tradition since the Foretime. But before we can follow the way of the earth and of the gods, before we take ship for the Otherworld, we must enter the world of the Foretime ~ the ‘once upon a time’ of our ancestors.
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:
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.
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.