Update on my OBE experiment – Week 1

In a previous post I wrote about my plans for learning to astral project/have an out-of-body experience. That was about a week ago, and I’ve been practicing every night when I go to bed, and sometimes I take a nap during the day and practice then as well. The results so far have been really weird, although I’ve yet to actually separate.

If you don’t know what the heck I’m talking about check out William Buhlman’s website.

First though, I want to share this drawing I did in colored pencil, from the six of pentacles in the Rider-Waite tarot deck. The design is based on Pamela Colman-Smith’s original work.

I’ve done quite a few of these tarot drawings now, I look forward to sharing more of them in the future.

This card came up in a reading for myself, as a prediction of future events. The way I understood it is that I’m moving more and more into the direction of sharing, giving.

Helping others. However, I also saw myself as the beggar, learning to ask for help and accept it when offered. Right, on to my OBE shenanigans.

First off, the exercises for inducing OBEs are incredibly pleasant. One of the main goals is to learn to relax the body completely, while keeping the mind gently alert. Which feels really good, as it turns out.

The routine or practice that I’ve been using has been to basically lie down in a comfortable position somewhere quiet, start with some deep breathing for a few minutes. Then I repeat the affirmation ‘I now travel consciously outside my body‘ maybe 40 times, trying to strengthen my intent with each repetition. Then I focus on my body.

Note that the practice I’m talking about is very meditative. I’ve felt that the more I practice these techniques of relaxation, the more focused I become in my meditation sessions.

In order to completely relax, I confirm my intent to lie completely still and not move a muscle. No scratching, blinking or swallowing. I believe this is a very important step.

Then I focus on the sensations I’m feeling in my body, like my skin touching the floor or bed, temperature, a feeling of heaviness or lightness, and as I start to relax more and more I usually start to feel a pleasant tingly vibration somewhere in my body.

As soon as I notice that, I start focusing on that feeling and sort of encourage it to spread throughout my body.

I think the vibrations that are often mentioned in the context of OBEs usually coincide with absolute relaxation, in my experience at least.

Then when I feel the vibrations all over I start to simultaneously focus on the subtle ringing sound in my ears and the blackness behind the eyelids. If I’m having a hard time feeling the vibrations I skip this step.

  1. Lie down in a comfortable position in a quiet space
  2. Deep breathing for a few minutes to calm down, lying completely still
  3. Repeat the affirmation ‘I now travel consciously outside my body‘ for a few minutes, increasing power of intent with each repetition
  4. Focus on bodily sensations until you start feeling a tingling vibration, then start focusing on that and encouraging it to spread throughout the body
  5. Focus simultaneously on vibrations, ringing in the ears and blackness behind the eyelids.

For the first few times I practiced this I didn’t feel much to be honest, but the last two or three times I’ve managed to stay conscious into a sort of half sleep paralysis, with quite intense feelings of vibration, like an electrical current.

Last night especially, I felt the vibrations very clearly, and the ringing in my ears was magnified, as if it were growing louder.

Then after a while of that I started seeing weird visuals behind closed eyelids, sort of reminded me of the visuals after taking a large dose of psilocybin mushrooms. Really weird but in a very pleasant way.

Then my girlfriend crawled into bed next to me and I fell out of the trance and fell asleep very soon after that. But I’m sure that I came closer to an OBE this time than ever before.

I’ve also noticed that I seem to sleep better and remember my dreams very clearly after I started to practice these techniques.

I’ve been trying to get myself to do it when I wake up during the night as well, as this supposedly improves the chances of going out of body, but I’ve been pretty groggy and haven’t remembered to do it so far.

That’s fine, I’m going to give myself plenty of time and practice, and I’m not expecting any results right away.

I’m starting with 30 days but if I don’t experience it in that time frame I’ll keep going.

There are obviously numerous other benefits to this practice and I’m sure there’s more to come.

I’ll keep you guys updated, I hope you find this subject as fascinating as I do.

Growth out of decay

I just got home from an Ashtanga yoga session and an interview for a job as a ranger/caretaker of a hut in the highlands of Iceland this summer. I’m still not fully over the fact that I’m healthy enough now to be able to work, play and love once again. Health is not something to be taken for granted.

After two years of a debilitating chronic illness that I talked about in my post A Midnight of the Soul, I’m finally feeling well again. In fact I’m starting to feel better than ever before. My life has changed so much. I’m more confident, loving and grateful for being alive than I’ve ever been. I’ve discovered a basic truth of being human: we will experience pain and difficulty, but suffering is a choice we make.

I’ve started to get back into the groove of making art. I was studying illustration at university before I finally had to drop out due to my illness, and since then I hadn’t touched a pencil or paintbrush until a few days ago. I started drawing again, and yesterday I even went to a model drawing session. Feeling a bit rusty but so happy to be at it again. Here is the result.

I want to start sharing more of my artwork here on Joy of Awareness soon, but I’m still learning the WordPress ropes and I’m in no particular hurry. I want to share it post by post, but I also want to set up a separate gallery at some point. But for now I’m happy to keep drawing and writing, creating content and hopefully somebody will enjoy reading what I have to say. This is all just a constant work in progress.

What I’m focusing on at the moment is building a daily drawing habit again. I’m trying to start slowly, because having experienced total and utter burnout in the aftermath of my darkest hour, I want to be extra careful. It’s difficult to explain burnout if you’ve never experienced it. Or maybe it isn’t that difficult. Basically I’ve loved art and drawing all my life, but after a long drawn-out battle with chronic illness and lethargy while simultaneously trying to keep up the habit of drawing every day, I started to positively despise it.

Strange that a hobby or passion can die down so completely. I felt completely lost, not knowing at all what to do with my life from now on, or whether the passion would ever return.

Well, apparently I needed a few months to regain my energy and allow my body to heal and my mind to rest.

Although dropping out of school was the most difficult decision I’ve ever made, it was also the best. I would not be where I am now if I hadn’t. I gave myself a chance to completely re-prioritize my life and to find love within. From that self love sprang the desire to share my triumphs and tribulations. Thus the Joy of Awareness.

I now once again feel the longing to communicate, the urge to express myself. In words and in pictures. I want freedom of expression for myself and for everybody else. I don’t know what the future holds for me, and in the first time in my life I don’t really want to know. All I do know is that whatever comes will be as beautiful and expansive as I allow it to be. And the more I develop my conscious awareness and skills of communication, the more easily I’ll be able to find the groove of any circumstance. Serendipity is an extension of expanded consciousness. I don’t believe in chance anymore.

I want this website to be a reflection of myself in some ways. I want to write about anything and everything that intrigues me or plagues me. I want to try to help others with lessons I’ve learned the hard way, but I also want to clear my own mind, in a similar way to journaling I guess. A mirror to my soul.

I see it not as a project ever to be completed, but rather as a stream of conscious appraisal and insight. I hope that with time and effort I will be able to reach more and more people, while at the same time developing within myself the confidence, skill and love needed to make an impact even more. Our existence is a constant journey of discovery and learning.

Much love to you all, until next time.

 

Meditating off the cushion

Awareness, awareness. Such a beautiful thing. I’ve been developing my bodily awareness for the last few months. From cleaning up my diet and adding all kinds of living enzymes and probiotics to determining imbalances in strength and mobility. It’s not that a healthy body is strictly necessary for developing awareness, but it sure makes it a lot easier. Feeling good just feels so, well, good.

I’ve started doing quite a bit of yoga. I always used to think yoga wasn’t for me. I never really connected to the whole ‘the body is your temple’ thing, but recently I decided to really give it a go, and I’m glad I did. It’s a way of developing strength, flexibility and awareness simultaneously, and there are so many different routines and asanas that you’ll never get bored. So I’m definitely going to see where this takes me.

In meditation awareness of the body is paramount. In all kinds of different practices, the ability to move your attention from your thoughts to your bodily sensations is very important, be it in whole body awareness like in Vipassana or narrowed down awareness of breath or touch as in single-pointed meditation and Samatha. But what I’ve finally started to realize is that the time between meditation sessions is just as important, if not more important than the sessions themselves.

Mindfulness is the first thing that comes to mind in that regard, and for good reason: it’s an umbrella term for everything that’s done with fully present awareness, be it doing the dishes, walking to school or doing yoga.

I’ve been trying my very best to develop the habit of becoming mindful of my body at multiple times throughout the day, discovering tensions and aches and examining my posture. I’ve discovered that like a lot of people I tend to hunch up my shoulders and tense my jaw, especially in stressful situations. A big part of that is habit, but another part is strength and mobility imbalances.

For example, I’ve been doing way to many pushups, as well as sitting too much in a hunched position. That makes my pectoral muscles stronger than my back muscles, which leads to my chest contracting and rolling forwards, and the muscles on my back overextending throughout the day. Chronic extension or contraction of a muscle isn’t a good thing, and leads to nastiness like pinched nerves and sprained muscles. Which is exactly what I’ve been experiencing, along with a chronically stiff neck and upper back.

Fortunately there are ways to fix this, and that’s what I’ve been focusing on. I want my body to be strong, flexible, healthy and balanced, because I now understand the way mind and body complement each other in so many ways. In my post A Midnight of the Soul, I detailed how my sick, weakened skin and body in general lead me to the depths of despair and depression. Likewise, the healthier I feel my body become, the easier it is to feel happy and fulfilled.

I’ve started doing lots of yoga, as I said in the beginning of this article, but I’ve also started doing more varied exercises, like pull ups, bridges, squats, running and so on. I think as long as I make sure to work out my whole body, not just parts, I’ll be able to fix this.

On a different note, in March I’ve decided to leave the desolate winter landscape of Reykjavik for European adventures. On March 15 I’ll go to Riga in Latvia and with my mother and sister for the weekend, and from there I’ll fly to Tirana in Albania and meet up with my girlfriend for a two week stay.

Then, god willing, after Albania I’ll be flying to France in the beginning of April, where I intend on starting the 844 km trail from Saint-Jean-Pied-de-Port to Finisterre, the trail known as the Way of Saint James, El Camino de Santiago de Compostela.

Oh man, I’m so happy and excited to be healthy again. To be young and full of energy. I’ve realized that life is to short to not live it exactly the way you want it to. Funny that it took two years of serious chronic illness to show me that little insight.

Much love.

Value and prosperity

I’m slowly gaining confidence in running Joy of Awareness, even though I have no idea where I’m going with this. That’s okay. I reckon that so long as I’m doing my best to create a stream of valuable insights from my own mind straight into your eyeballs, I’m doing all right.

Which brings me to the topic of this post : Value.

I’ve been pondering the concept of value for a few weeks. What is it and how can I get more of it? And who’s gonna clean up? Well, I guess I’ll cross that last bridge when I get to it, but my theory is that there’s a sort of current or stream of value that we need to learn to tap into. And the way to do that is to create and distribute value.

I’ve heard versions this theory in different contexts throughout my life, but I always kind of imagined that it was only important for valuable people. You know, the cool kids, the models, the artists, the entrepreneurs and the inventors. Which is to say, I had no idea of my own inherent value, not to mention my accumulated value.

Let me break down my thoughts here: My inherent value is my value in simply existing. Existence itself is my most valuable asset, and it won’t be taken away from me except through death, and even then it’s uncertain. My very existence is valuable to those who love me.

Realizing my inherent value was the first step for me to realize the concept of my accumulated value, by which I mean the value that I’ve forged and added onto myself through my own efforts, so to speak.

I’m referring to skills and knowledge, for the most part. The more skilled I become, the more knowledgeable about the subjects I’m interested in, the more I’ll be able to create value and exchange it via the glorious stream of value for even more value.

Bear in mind that this is still theoretical, even though I’m doing my very best to implement this into my own life every minute of every day.

As soon as this idea started to take hold a few months back, that I essentially create my own value and that the more value I create for myself, the more valuable I become to others, I had a veritable paradigm shift. I started to look at my life and attributes in terms of their value to others. What do I have that could be valuable to other people?

Well, I’ve been constantly thinking about the power of awareness in all aspects of life for the last three or four years, so I’ve gathered quite a few beautiful insights along the way that I wish someone could have shared with me when I was starting out. That was, I felt, the place to start.

That’s why I want to run Joy of Awareness like a business. For sure, I’m doing this for myself as much as for other people, but I believe a business should always be focused on delivering value to people. Easier said than done, I know, but I feel in my bones that this is the way to success in life. If I live to serve, I will get all I need in return.

With every passing day, I realize that all the time that I’ve spent on my passions, hobbies and intellectual pursuits will pay enormous dividends as soon as I take the necessary steps to extract the insights, the value, from them. And I feel like the easiest way for me to do that at this period in my life, is to put them into words.

So, that’s why I started this website. As it matures I want to eventually expand this endeavor (note: when I learn how to actually make WordPress do what I want it to do, heh!) to include multiple streams of insights and value, such as visual art, videos, audio, maybe even music. I understand now that the most important aspect of all of this is to keep learning and keep taking action.

The way I see it, if ten people, heck, even one person actually gets some true value from what I’m trying to communicate, I will have succeeded. Of course, my goal is to impact way more people than that. I want to help in whatever way I can, and in return I know the cosmos will align to help me thrive and prosper.

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I love you all, now I’m gonna drink my tea.

Experimenting with OBEs

I keep coming back to awareness. I guess that’s why I decided to call my site Joy of Awareness, HAH. It’s just so multifaceted.

The more I understand awareness, the more I realize how much more there is to understand. If that makes sense. Of course it does. It seems to me that there is an almost limitless potential for awareness expansion. Just looking back and seeing how much more aware I am of everything today than, say, five years ago or ten. I hardly even recognize myself.

I’ve been researching OBEs recently, Out of Body Experiences for those of you hearing about them for the first time. I just finished reading Adventures Beyond the Body by William Buhlman, and MAN that stuff is mind boggling.

It’s so weird, so fascinating, that I decided that I need to check it out for myself, so for the last few days I’ve been doing meditations and repeating affirmations recommended in Buhlman’s book. He says that in his experience, most people who put in the effort get some kind of results within 30 days.

I somehow can’t get myself to believe that such a concept has any foothold in reality, but the author seems so sincere and honest. He has his books available for free on his website, along with loads of further information about OBEs.

It’s just that the subject is so far mainstream sensibility that it’s hard to swallow that it might be real. And this is coming from a guy who’s deep into psychedelics, meditation and magic.

I’ve even experienced some incredible clear lucid dreams in the last few years, and you wouldn’t think there would be a big leap of faith between conscious dreaming and out of body experiences… I know things aren’t always as they seem, yet I find myself falling into patterns of conditioning again and again.

The only way to get to the bottom of this is to allow myself to fall into this particular rabbit-hole. So that’s why I’m going to go all in on these exercises for at least a month, preferably longer. I wouldn’t be able to live with myself if I didn’t.

So what I’m going to do is one 30 minute ‘nap’ every day. I say nap because I’m basically trying to allow my body to fall asleep through relaxation meditation, while remaining consciously aware of myself.

For the first 10 minutes of the nap I’m going to repeat affirmations along the lines of ‘I’m now allowing my awareness to travel beyond the physical body’, and then I simply focus on staying absolutely still, while relaxing further with every breath.

I’ve already experienced the so-called vibrational stage, which in my experience coincides with deep relaxation. It’s when you feel like there’s a current of electricity humming through your body, and a few time I’ve felt this very intensely. I feel like I’m on the right track, at the very least.

I’ll keep you updated on my progress. I’m really excited, although I can’t help but be a bit doubtful at the same time. I look forward to sharing my experiences.

Anyway, I highly recommend Buhlman’s book, and also Robert Monroe’s book Journeys Out of the Body. Both of those books are at the very least thought provoking, if not positively paradigm-shattering.

Much love.

Old age, acceptance, and the future of joy of awareness

I just came home from a week-long trip to Gran Canaria of the Canary Islands with my grandparents. They’re getting insecure in their frail dotage and asked me if I could come along and make sure they didn’t get lost or hurt or get into some kind of trouble. In exchange they paid for my entire trip!

It turned out to be a lot of work, but I enjoyed it immensely. The chance to get to know my wonderful grandparents better and getting a nice tan to boot. Gotta love life.

The whole trip taught me a lot about what old age actually means. As in, your body literally decays to the point where you can’t move around and travel the way you used to, and even your mental capacity begins to be pretty unreliable.

I’m pretty sure one can stay a lot healthier into seniority than my grandparents with a healthier diet and the right kind of physical exercise, but even so, time takes its toll.

My grandfather has very bad spinal arthritis, and he and my grandma have both had multiple hip and knee replacements. Their flexibility and endurance is pretty dismal. My grandfather hardly goes out of the house anymore, and he used to be very active when he still had his stamina. My grandmother has started to become very forgetful and her hearing is not what it used to be.

They know they don’t have much left.

Even so, they always seem to be happy, or at least content. They don’t often allow circumstances to dictate their emotional state. The reason I noticed this may be because I was actively looking for signs of conscious acceptance on their part, mostly because of what I learned in my horrific two year battle with topical steroid withdrawal.

So this trip was a wonderful opportunity for me to gain some understanding and insight on what’s to come in my own life, and I consciously took advantage of it.

On a different note, during my stay in Gran Canaria I did a lot of writing in my journal about my future. What do I want to do, to be? I started thinking more about my past and present as well. I’ve been recovering from the aforementioned times of trouble for the last few months, after two years of constant pain and struggle. I’m finally feeling more like myself again, although saying that makes me feel ridiculous. I’ve been born again.

I’m in no way the same man as I was before my midnight of the soul. I’ve been hardened and beaten in the furnaces of hell only to return, stronger than ever to this beautiful earth.

Before I was forced to quit school to focus on my health, I was studying illustration in the School of Visual Arts here in Reykjavík. I’ve always been immensely interested in drawing and painting, but suddenly I found myself despising art in general. I now see that I had utterly and completely finished up my energy for creative pursuits while battling the terrifying symptoms of withdrawal.

Now that my energy is slowly coming back to me, so is my interest in art. I started thinking about this website. What do I want it to become? What is its purpose?

Well, I want it to develop and evolve naturally. I started off seeing it as a sort of self help website, where I’d share my spiritual insights and other things I’ve learned through the years that I wish someone had shown me, but now I think I want to take it in a slightly different direction.

First off I want to add a section for my artwork, where I can post sketches, drawings and paintings with impunity (heh). I also want to change the format of the articles I write here. I’d rather make them a bit shorter and a little less how-to, and more sort of stream of consciousness and, well, freer.

I still want this website to focus on awareness in all its infinite facets, but I want to take it in my own personal direction. I want to write about what fascinates me at any given moment. I also want to open up the modes of communication. Visual communication is amazingly powerful, not to mention incredibly fun for me to produce. I’m very excited to see where life will take me.

So stay tuned, I’m going to make this site into an incredible source of insight and inspiration, to say nothing of love.

 

Mindfulness is a way of life

All we really have is right here, right now.

Any time is a time to be mindful. I used to think that mindfulness was all about the meditation sessions. I would be pretty conscientious when it came to sitting down on the mat and following my breath, but in every day life I was as unconscious as ever.

I’ve now come to understand that the time between meditation sessions is just as important, if not more important than the sessions themselves. After all, it is your life.

The last few weeks have been surprisingly stress free for me, and I’ve diligently meditated my two hours daily for the last month or so, but today was a bit different. Allow me to explain.

I’m going to the Canary Islands tomorrow, with my grandparents. They asked me to come along because they’re insecure about going alone. I jumped at the chance, since I’ve been craving some real sunlight and a respite from the dark, cold winter in Iceland.

However, there’s been a storm for the last few days, and my grandparents’ flight from the south-east where they live was cancelled yesterday, and it’s not certain that they’ll be able to make it on time for the flight to the Canary Islands.

I started to get pretty stressed out, wondering how we could figure this out and make sure to catch the flight tomorrow morning. I started playing little movies in my head, imagining myself stuck somewhere, or imagining the feelings of desperation at having missed the flight and so on.

My morning meditation session went terribly, and I was unable to sit still or focus at all. Afterwards I made some breakfast, and I decided that I wanted to read while eating, to make full use of my time.

However, after sitting for a few minutes half-eating, half-reading, I realized the ridiculousness of it all.

Instead of enjoying my food, I’m trying to milk every second I have. And instead of enjoying my book, I’m spreading my attention thin.

I put the book away and focused on the sensations and taste of eating. It’s a beautiful thing, fully immersing yourself in an activity. I wonder if the infamous “flow state” of athletes, artists and musicians can apply to fully concentrating on eating a good meal as well.

After about ten minutes (I was taking my time), I realized that my stress had dissipated dramatically. It was a wonderful feeling!

I started to ponder, what was it that calmed me down? I think it’s not so much what I did, as much as it was what I didn’t do. I think that when we try to multitask, it tells our brain that our time is limited.

This in turn encourages the mind to expend extra energy to juggle the tasks we set for ourselves.

This is an insidious twist.

We can’t be fully attentive of what we’re doing when we do more than one thing at a time, so we do a worse job of it.

We stress ourselves up trying to do everything at once, but ironically everything runs smoother and better if we focus our attention on one thing at a time.

The brain’s autopilot mode is a glorious thing. It allows us to drive cars, to wash the dishes, or sing in the shower without imploding. But when we try to abuse it, cramming in as many activities as we can in as little time possible, we reap less rewards and more stress.

So I’ve decided to focus on only focusing on one thing at a time. There are exceptions though, because some things complement each other beautifully, in my experience. Things like listening to music while cooking, or talking over dinner, or reading in the bathtub are great combinations.

But some things are just way better when you allow yourself to fully experience them.

The word mindfulness is all over the place. It’s hip to be mindful these days. But I think often, the true meaning of the term is lost on us. Instead of trying to make mindfulness just another activity, something to add to the to-do list, we should make it a meta-activity. Meaning mindfulness should apply to everything that’s already on our to-do lists.

Being mindful is a beautiful thing, and a wonderful way of directly experiencing ourselves and the world around us. In fact, it may be the only way.

After all, if we rush through washing the dishes, in anticipation of the hot cup of tea waiting for us after we finish, we’ll probably be thinking of our next activity when we finally get to drinking our tea.

Love life, experience life.

Much love.

Mindfulness – The key to overcoming addiction

Awareness is curative in and of itself.

I’ve discovered this to be true in my own life. It’s the basis of all the mindfulness-based addiction recovery programs and stress-reduction protocols.

The idea is that as soon as an addict becomes fully aware of what he or she is doing to themselves and others, the compulsion will be broken. Moment to moment, we can become aware of our cravings and consciously choose to not react to them.

I’ve found that I’ve always developed addictions as detachment mechanisms. What do I mean by that? Well, I’ve used substances and behaviors as a means to escape negative emotions.

Instead of facing and embracing the discomfort of experiencing the emotion fully, be it shame, guilt, anger, grief or any other distressing feeling, I would allow myself to get lost in the intensities of my addiction.

I’ve been addicted to lots of things in my life, some more difficult to get over than others.

Sugar, video games, tobacco, cannabis, pornography and the need for external validation have all had parts to play, with pornography addiction and the need for validation being the most tenacious of the bunch.

The deeper I explore the subtler parts of my psyche, the more I see that these addictions have developed over long periods of time, mostly as a result of some kind of trauma.

When we think of trauma, we tend to think of horrific accidents, sexual abuse and physical violence.

However, trauma can be incredibly varied and subtle. Emotional trauma is an often overlooked factor when dealing with addiction, as is childhood neglect and isolation.

When I was growing up, events took place that still affect the adult I’ve become. My father’s sudden decision to leave my mother when I was seven, my mothers subsequent alcohol abuse and neglect of myself and my sister, constant moving and distance from friends and family have all had incredibly poignant effects on my emotional make up.

I’ve had to work hard to overcome the hardships of my childhood, but the effort has been rewarded many times over.

Addictions started to become glaringly obvious in my daily life in late adolescence. I had been using pornography and weed as coping mechanisms for years with little or no consequences, but there’s no such thing as a free lunch, as they say.

My reckless behavior was starting to catch up with me.

Although many tout marijuana as a mind altering drug with little chance of physical dependence, the mental addictive potential is often overlooked.

Pornography has also been hailed as a healthy respite from the stresses of modern life, with no ill effects. In my experience, pornography addiction is subtle but insidious.

Studies have shown that problem use of (high-speed internet) pornography closely resembles dependence on heroin, at least when comparing brain regions affected and the intensity of neuronal activity.

As a kid and young adult, porn use was subtly encouraged everywhere from sex education classes to movies and television shows, as was smoking weed (albeit not at school!).

I just went with the flow, not knowing the havoc I was wreaking on my sexual and mental health.

Now I want to make clear that I’m not anti-porn or anti-weed or anti-anything for that matter. I am however very passionate about level-headed discussion of facts, instead of propaganda guided by superstition and ideology.

I started this article off on the idea that awareness is curative. Here’s what has helped me in my struggle for independence from addiction.

Education and understanding

One of the most important things you can do for yourself in life is to educate yourself. School is fine and dandy, but ideology leads the way all too often. If something intrigues you, approach it from many different angles and viewpoints.

In fact, there’s no one real or true way to approach any subject, it’s all relative to the person studying it.

When I realized this, I started picking up books about all kinds of esoteric and taboo things, like polyamory (Sex at Dawn), meditation (The Attention Revolution), diet (The Paleo Manifesto) and out-of-body experiences (Journeys out of the Body).

The freedom from understanding that nobody really knows anything for sure is surprisingly sweet.

Keeping a Journal

Journaling has been one of the major transformative habits in my life these last few years, along with meditation and psychedelic use.

Writing in stream-of-consciousness fashion, meaning writing down whatever comes to mind, is an incredible, cathartic tool for self-understanding.

It helped me not only pinpoint what behaviors were causing me the most suffering, but also what had incited my dependence on them in the first place.

Your journal is a place to develop ideas and clear your mind, but also a place for deep self-inquiry and healing. My journaling habit may very well have been the most important catalyst for my awakening to the realities of my life.

Psychedelic Exploration

Psychedelics have been taboo for so long it’s almost ridiculous. It’s amazing to me that something so life-altering, so liberating, could be kept under wraps for so long. The potential for psychological healing in sensible psychedelic use is profound.

Taking the plunge and experiencing psychedelic mushrooms is one of the best decisions I’ve ever made.

Bear in mind though, that psychedelic substances are not to be approached lightly. They are vastly powerful and demand respect.

Ritual and psychedelic use have gone hand in hand throughout human history, and there’s no reason to stop now; Prepare your trips meticulously, make them celestial and sacred. You will not be disappointed.

Being Here, Now

Mindfulness has been the deciding factor for me when working through my addictions. I’m still struggling with pornography, but it’s nowhere near as over the top as it used to be.

I’m getting closer to freedom from addiction with every passing day, and a big part of my recovery has been thanks to my introducing mindfulness into my life.

At first I simply started meditating, and then forgetting the principles of mindfulness in between sessions. When I finally understood that meditation is a lifestyle, not an activity, it changed my life.

Becoming mindful of your thoughts and actions is pivotal in gaining control of your behavior. When we engage in addictive patterns, we do so by allowing ourselves to get lost in the sheer thrill of the next dopamine hit.

When we manage to bring awareness to those moments, we are able to think ahead; “Is this really what’s most beneficial to me in this moment?”

And when you reach that stage of self awareness, nothing will ever be the same. I guarantee it.

I love you all.