A midnight of the soul

Human beings are marvelously adaptive.

We can survive incredible hardships, injury, stress and despair.

Everybody has an identical imperative in life, whether or not we realize it: to maximize happiness while minimizing suffering.

Everything we do is in some way an expression of this rule. We work because we want to avoid the pain of being broke and not affording food and shelter. We play because it gives us pleasure, or sometimes it’s a way of replacing or overcoming a negative feeling.

But sometimes, our circumstances become so unbearable that our methods of balancing our emotions just don’t cut it anymore.

These last two years, I’ve been dragged to the pits of hell and back. Or at least that’s the way I experienced it. All experience is relative to all other experience.

In the summer of 2016 I realized that a feeling of unease that had been nagging me for six months had been pointing me towards a simple truth: I had been poisoning myself since I was a teenager.

Allow me to explain. Most people who either have eczema or psoriasis or any other skin disease, or have someone close to them that does, will have heard of corticosteroids, widely known as hydrocortisone cream.

Well, what most people don’t know is that these medications, if relied upon too heavily, may result in horrific rebound effects lasting for months or years. It seems that only a minority of users ever experience this, but as fate would have it, I found myself a part of this unlucky group.

On June 17th 2016 I quit cortisone creams cold turkey, the beginning of what’s termed TSW or topical steroid withdrawal, and what ensued was the most horrific rollercoaster of pain, misery and despair that I’ve ever experienced in my life.

For about 18 months I couldn’t sleep at night due to bone-deep itching, which I duly scratched until I was bleeding all over the sheets, along with intense heat flashes and nerve pain. During the day I was bright red all over, I was shedding skin in bucket loads, and in constant pain. Eighteen months! It truly pains me to recall the worst of this.

For the first year or so I kind of willed my way through working as a ranger in Ásbyrgi national park in north-east Iceland during the summer, and then through university, where I was studying illustration.

I never really admitted to myself how incredibly sick I had become, and looking back I should have taken time off right from the beginning to allow my broken body to rest.

I never had the energy to do anything other than do my best to finish my assignments, tear myself out of bed in the mornings and in my free time I would basically lie around doing nothing, since staying motionless made my painfully tight skin feel almost bearable.

My social life absolutely disappeared and I had started my descent into deep depression.

I finally reached my breaking point in the beginning of October 2017, after 14 months of struggle. I quit school and started to stay home. It was the most difficult decision I had made in a long time.

It was also the best decision I ever made. I finally allowed myself to sleep in (the worst symptoms came around midnight and then settled down by early morning), and take it easy around the house instead of stressing over school.

Depression can be incredibly sneaky. Initially I felt so much better from not having to tear my bleeding body from the sheets early every morning, but it was an ephemeral respite. Before long I was questioning every aspect of myself and my life.

Despite finally giving my body the rest it needed, I became restless, anxious and agitated. I felt like a failure. I felt like I would never get better. I felt like I was destined to be a broke, angry old man that never got a chance to actually live his life.

Thankfully I never had serious thoughts of suicide, but I started to have a troubling fascination with the concepts of death and dying. I read the book Who Dies? By Stephen Levine, which is one of the most thought-provoking books I’ve ever read. I would constantly think about existence after bodily death. My girlfriend started to become worried about leaving me home alone.

I’ve had bouts of depression before, and man, I thought those were bad. But they were minor annoyances compared to this. Before long I had gone from hardly sleeping at night and forcing myself to wake up at seven every morning, to staying in bed until well after midday.

Life had ceased to have meaning. I was smoking weed almost daily, playing way too many video games, and jerking off to porn in between. A sad excuse for a human existence. I had no confidence at all, even around the people who love me the most.

Lest this article become too much of a downer, let me tell you what this experience has given me.

I’m not out of the fire yet, but I’m feeling so much better, physically and mentally. In some ways, a life is like a tree. The deeper the roots of our sorrows, the higher the lightest and happiest branches of our lives can reach.

Meditation has helped me in profound ways, and so has keeping a journal.

In my own life, I can see this principle clearer every single day. Whatever happens to me can be reduced to the status of a minor annoyance by the smallest remembrance of the suffering I’ve endured. And the happy moments, well, they’re all the happier. Suffering builds character. I never understood that as well as I do now.

Every day now, I see the value of my life, the infinite possibilities, and the beautiful reality my mind can manifest. My suffering is the base upon which I will build the towering castle of the life I intend to live.

Infinite love to you all.

You may want to know what I’ve learned about the Awesome Power of Psychedelics, or how Single-Pointed Meditation can help your Spiritual Practice.

 

A trip to remember

The day before yesterday a friend of mine came over to visit. He‘s been living in Denmark the last year or so, and I don‘t meet him all that often so it was cool to see him again.

We had planned to take a massive psychedelic trip together and so I grabbed my jar of dried liberty caps (Psilocybe Semilanceata) that I meticulously picked last fall and we brewed a tea with about 80 caps.

We discussed the parameters of the trip, and laid down some ground rules. Last time I tripped with this particular friend a schoolmate of his called him mid-trip and wanted to discuss some project they were working on and was so obtuse to the fact that we had taken psychedelics that he stayed on the phone for half an hour.

Ridiculous.

I decided then to never let anything like that happen again, since atmosphere and setting are easily the most important factor when doing shrooms.

I‘ve taken mushrooms maybe six times by now, and four of those trips I took on my own, mostly in meditative silent darkness á la Terence McKenna. My friend was interested in trying this approach as he had mostly done mushrooms in a more casual social setting. So, after drinking this wondrous tea of visions we made for my bedroom, where I pulled the drapes, turned off the lights and closed the windows. I sat down on the floor by my meditation altar and he sat on the bed. We kind of talked on and off about what we were experiencing, and sat in silence in between.

Soon the familiar feeling of weightless tingling set in, and before long colorful geometric shapes and ribbons started dancing around me. I‘ve experienced large doses of Psilocybin a few times before so I knew what to expect, but the sheer beauty of it never fails to amaze me.

Whenever I‘m tripping with someone else I feel like we‘re a single entity, as if we‘re sharing thoughts and emotions, but that‘s definitely not the case. My friend and I kept each other informed as to our insights and thought patterns, and man they were completely different. However, the more we talked, the more we started to see what the other meant. We started to tune into each other. Literally, as in the visions surrounding me would correlate to the ideas he was expressing to me and vice versa.

As we got close to the peak of the trip we moved under the covers in bed and I just lay there in amazed wonder while epiphany upon epiphany drifted through my consciousness. After a while I sat up in a cross legged position again and started following the sensations in my body and my breath. I probably sat there for an hour (although time is notoriously relative), just contemplating and coming to terms with my existence, as a human incarnate on the earthly plane, and I felt an acceptance, a peace, that I‘ve never before experienced, even on my previous psychedelic trips. I became absolutely confident in my right to exist and flourish, and that whatever happened to me, everything would be all right. It was the most powerful psychedelic experience I‘ve ever had, and now two days later I‘ve had a chance to digest it.

I feel a certain liberation. I don‘t mean I‘m a buddha or a holy man or anything. Just that some barrier, some blockage that‘s been telling me to be something other than I am, has suddenly dissolved and given me a chance to experience life as a fully self-accepting, honest and happy human being. If only for a little while.

It‘s motivated me to take my circumstances and happiness fully into my own hands, to take responsibility for everything in my life, good and bad. I see now that it‘s the only way forward.

The awesome power of psychedelics

„Psyche“ referring to the mind, and „delic“ from the greek dêlos, meaning to manifest, make visible or clear.

Lies and confusion have surrounded psychedelic substances since they were introduced to western culture in the early 20th century.

This is because they dissolve boundaries, allowing people to see past their societal personas and making them less likely to accept unfair treatment towards themselves or others around them.

People and systems that have the most to lose from boundary dissolution have deliberately spread propaganda and falsehoods to instill fear in the average person and encourage persecution against those who decide to actively explore their consciousness.

Psychedelic substances are incredibly powerful. They should not be approached as „recreational drugs“. Atmosphere and setting are very important, as all feelings and thoughts are magnified during a trip. To be clear, I’m referring to substances such as Psilocybin mushrooms, LSD, Mescaline, DMT, Salvia Divinorum and (arguably) MDMT.

I don’t include cannabis because I don’t view it as having the same consciousness expanding potential, although it has its uses. I’ve mostly experimented with liberty caps (Psilocybe Semilanceata) that I picked myself.

As with all substances you plan on ingesting, make absolutely sure you KNOW that it is what you think it is.

My most beneficial trips have been conducted in silent darkness, and most of the time I‘ll meditate, especially during the peak effects.

If you take shrooms at a party, for instance, or while watching a movie, your consciousness will be completely at the mercy of other people and outside influences. You will be missing the most unspeakable and amazing quality of a psychedelic trip : the chance to know thyself.

That said, your emotional state before taking a psychedelic substance will affect your trip to no end. The one time I decided to take a mushroom trip while I was feeling depressed was the worst trip I‘ve ever experienced.

I ended up sitting in my sofa for the entire duration, experiencing a torrent of negative thoughts and feelings. I‘m absolutely sure that my experience with meditation saved my sanity that day. Be warned.

Here are a few of the effects I‘ve noticed in my own psychedelic journey. Some of these will be regarded as negative by people that haven‘t „tuned in“, but I assure you that I‘ve never felt as much freedom of thought and existence as I do today, and I attribute a big part of that development to my use of psychedelic mushrooms.

Psychedelics will make you unemployable. They will show you that the time expended doing repetitive unfulfilling work for the benefit of a select few is time wasted. Time that could be used to expand your faculties of awareness, experience all the beautiful diversity that life on earth has to offer.

You‘ll see that work can be play. Work is a word with endless negative cultural connotations, but it can be fulfilling. It should be fulfilling, because work should be play. We aren‘t machines.

When our ancestors hunted mammoths and gazelles in wild nature, it may have been a dance of life and death, but I believe it was, more than anything, play. Excitement, risk and reward, and a complete immersion into the present. A game. The infinite game.

Psychedelics will make you unacceptable to mainstream culture. They will show you that the things you‘ve been made to believe will make you feel happy and fulfilled are actually bottomless pits of excess and dissatisfaction.

You‘ll never have enough, until you accept that existence itself is enough. Your mind and body and clean air and real food and good people are what you need to be satisfied. And maybe a roof over your head.

The Lexus, flat screen TV, Macbook air, video games and the porn, oh god the porn, will never fulfil you. And psychedelics will make that abundantly clear.

Psychedelics will make you see the areas of your life that are holding you back. All your addictions. Hard addictions and soft addictions. Sugar, alcohol, porn, social media, TV, tobacco, weed and so much more.

Eating nutritionally deficient foods laden with poisonous additives and guzzling it down with a Pepsi. Psychedelics will slap you in the face repeatedly and show you what‘s wrong and how to make it right.

Psychedelics can take you to states and places undreamed of. If you take the plunge, become an explorer of your consciousness, you will be richly rewarded.

The late Terence McKenna, a master wordsmith and leading psychonaut, once said that going through life without having a psychedelic experience was like going through life without ever having sex. Boundary dissolution like you‘ve never known.

That said, there is definite potential for harm in psychedelics, so I keep to two golden rules: Setting is everything and don’t mix and match. Mixing psychedelics with other psychoactive substances such as alcohol is not a good idea.

If you‘re interested in learning more about psychedelic substances and how to safely use them, check out http://howtousepsychedelics.org/safety/. I also recommend the book Food of the Gods by Terence McKenna, and really any of his lectures that you can find on Youtube. He was the one who showed me the potential of these substances.

I also like Leo Gura‘s approach on Actualized.org, working with psychedelics as a way to emotional understanding and enlightenment.

I sincerely hope psychedelics will give you everything they‘ve given me and more. Safe journeys.

Journaling is bliss

Being able to express yourself effectively is one of the most important aspects of relating to someone on a deep level. Words can change reality. In fact, some would say that words ARE reality. When I started my first journal years ago, I was verbally stunted.

And although I didn‘t know it at the time, my lack of verbal skills was stunting my emotional intelligence. At the beginning what I was writing was little more than a shallow diary type deal.

I was afraid someone would read it and discover something embarrassing about me, so I wrote as if it were out in the open for everyone to see. Which didn’t amount to more than “today I went to school and so-and-so said this to him and I told him to fuck off” and so on.

Sometimes I would even put in a little emoticon “:)” or something. As if I were writing a post on Facebook or MSN messenger.

Digging through an emotional past

Here’s th

e thing. Journaling is deeply personal. It can become a way for you to dig around in the darkest recesses of your psyche. My journaling habit has evolved so much over the last five years or so, and I’m incredibly grateful to my younger self for sticking with it.

It’s gone from being a shallow, facile skimming of my most superficial thoughts to being a daily reaffirming of my life’s purpose, organizing of my thought processes and a working through difficult emotions.

I used to only journal when I felt like it, but now I never miss a day. I’ve journaled every single day for almost a year, and I’ll never stop. It’s been life changing, and the benefits are still piling up.

I don’t have much experience writing or speaking publicly, but my years of journaling for myself have given me an easy flow with words, in conversation or in writing. I write in my native Icelandic but my general capacity for language has improved drastically, so even my English flows more naturally.

And these benefits keep getting more powerful exponentially. I feel like this last year my speech is getting more eloquent than ever before.

Repression

I remember a period of a few weeks during my travels in Central and South America three years ago, where I decided to really delve into childhood trauma. I wanted to see if difficulties in childhood were still affecting me as a grown man.

My clearest memory from that time is of myself, sitting on a stone bench under some palm trees on a quiet beach in Montezuma, Costa Rica. I just sat there with my little notebook on the table, crying uncontrollably.

I had just uncovered a traumatic memory of my 9 year old self, around Christmas. We were sitting at the dinner table, my sister, my mother, her then-boyfriend and his son, and myself. I had a stabbing pain in my neck, as if I had sprained it somehow.

After whining and generally expressing my pain for maybe ten minutes, my mother had had enough. She dragged me into the bedroom and looked at me with cold resentment in her eyes. Her eyes are what I remember most vividly.

She then proceeded to yank my head this way and that, yelling at me to stop crying. What she was trying to accomplish I have no idea. But I remember the shame, the sheer terror when we came out of the bedroom and sat back down at the table.

They all heard what had been happening, but nobody said a word. I quietly finished my food and went to my room.

Now when I actually allowed this memory to surface, and actively put myself in my nine year old self’s shoes and felt what he had been feeling, I experienced utter catharsis. It was like this repressed ineffable feeling had been weighing down on me for so long, and I had finally pushed it off.

Just the beginning

Then years later I read a book called CPTSD: From Surviving to Thriving by Pete Walker and it all finally made sense. CPTSD stands for Complex Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, implying a web of traumatic incidents.

If you suspect childhood trauma may be affecting your emotional well-being as an adult, I highly recommend it. It cleared up quite a few misconceptions I had about my upbringing. But I digress.

Since then I’ve managed to work through loads upon loads of difficult memories, feelings and doubts, and I’m not close to being done yet.

This is just one example of the awesome power of keeping a journal. My final advice is to keep it honest. You will gain nothing from lying to yourself. Admit your deepest fears and longings, open up to yourself. That’s the first step to opening yourself up to the universe.

And then you’ll be on the path to true emotional fulfillment.

The joy of awareness

Welcome to the Joy of Awareness, a site I hope will grow and mature into a magnificent work of art. I‘m excited and at the same time I‘m a little bit doubtful. Am I really honest enough, actualized enough to be able to guide and help another person in any way?

Yesterday I was talking with my best friend, whom I seldom meet, about our future, girlfriends, and aspirations.

I told him about a particularly sweet vision of mine, where I would be traveling the world, working on a website based around self-development, spirituality, sexuality, and anything and everything else I‘ve been interested in and studied throughout my life. I had this plan, to find a job this summer, then start university, and then, at some point, in a few years, I would be experienced enough, smart enough to be able to channel my own insights to other lost souls. And I would make money from it!

My friend is a sharp guy. He says it like it is. He said „So why don‘t you just start already? What‘s stopping you from writing the first post tomorrow?“.

At first I kind of brushed it off, like „Pffft, tomorrow? I can‘t start tomorrow, first I need to do this and accomplish that..“ and so on.

But then, we took a nice big dose of psilocybin mushrooms and everything clicked. I will never be good enough, in my own mind, to be able to deserve what I desperately want.

I felt self-confidence like I‘ve never felt before. And I‘ve really worked on my confidence through the years. I‘ve also taken psychedelic mushrooms before, but this trip really took the cake. I feel like I broke through a massive brick wall that‘s been blocking my way to self-actualization.

The weirdest yet most important part of this epiphany was the inherent paradox. I will never be good enough, therefore I am good enough. Right now!

am good enough to do whatever the hell I want to do. I don‘t need to conform to who I think I am, or who others think I am. I have a vision and I won‘t stop until it‘s realized.

I finally understand. I may not be anywhere near enlightenment, self-actualization or perfection. But when I think of how lost I’ve been in my life, ten years ago, five years or even one year ago, and what I‘ve learned since then, I can see the terrific value of my insights.

I would have done things a lot differently if I had known then what I know now. I want to keep learning from others that are more advanced than I am, and I want to impart my own knowledge to others who have yet to learn what I know now.

This site will be a place of development of mind and spirit. I will explore everything and anything I‘m interested in, and I know that in the end I will reach kindred spirits. My intention is to develop myself, my writing, my honesty and integrity, as much for my own benefit as for yours, dear reader.

May this be a wonderful undertaking.

Peace.