“May your trails be crooked, winding, lonesome, dangerous, leading to the most amazing view. May your mountains rise into and above the clouds.” –Edward Abbey
On the compass of life most of us have been conditioned to think that happiness is True North. Many of us go through life thinking happiness is the be-all, end-all; the ultimate prize. If I only had this, I’d be happy. If I only did that I’d be happy. “Happy” is the constant carrot forever dangling in front of us, just out of reach.
But what happens when we aim beyond happiness? When we think outside the box of happiness? When we dare to go north of happiness? If we merely shoot for the moon, do we not forsake the stars? It’s like the “foot in the door technique” applied to happiness. The interesting thing is that you are more likely to achieve a state of happiness by aiming north of happiness than by merely shooting for happiness alone.
“Creativity-like life itself-begins in darkness.” – Julia Cameron
There is perhaps no other state better at launching you past happiness than achieving a flow state. When you are in the creative throes of a flow state, you are beyond place and time, beyond sadness or happiness, beyond good and evil. Time stops. Interconnectedness consumes you. It is the only state that subsumes all the other states on this list.
Being in a flow state is similar to being “in the zone.” Everything flows. Everything lines up. Infinity abounds in the here and now. There’s no wavering. There’s no hesitation. Anything keeping you away from being fully present in the moment falls away. Creativity emanates. Imagination gushes, full-frontal, tidal. All you can do is surf it into timelessness. In this state, you’re not just a drop in the ocean; you are the entire ocean in a drop.
And when you come up for air, not only are you happy, you are triumphant. You are overwhelmed with the joy of creation, tantamount to jouissance. You have surfed the wave of your flow state straight over happiness and landed into providence. Happiness becomes merely a side effect of doing something you love. Happiness is the residue of falling in love with the moment so completely that you lose your attachment to happiness. You have surrendered your egos attachment to happiness, and love stands triumphant.
“Be melting snow. Wash yourself of yourself.” –Rumi
Speaking of surrendering your ego’s attachment to happiness, non-attachment launches you past happiness by burying your ego, before it can sink in its claws, or at least by transforming your egocentric view into a soul-centric one. Non-attachment puts the cart of the ego behind the horse of being fully present. Selflessness is key. When you’re not married to a particular outcome, you are more open to whatever the outcome might be. When you’re not attached to a particular expectation, you are more likely to be able to adapt and overcome the vicissitudes of life. In a selfless state, in a non-attached state, emotions come and go, washing over the state of human experience like tidal forces on a beach.
In a non-attached state, you are always north of happiness. You’re north of any emotion, really. Emotions are neither here nor there. They are merely passing storms or momentary sunshine. Nothing lasts forever. There is no permanence. The only thing that never changes is the fact that everything changes. Your defeats won’t last, but neither will your triumphs.
“Truth is a staff rejected.” –unknown
No-mind is that rare state, usually achieved through deep meditation, where thoughts melt away and you are completely present in the moment. All previous conditioning, indoctrination and brainwashing falls away, and sheds like too-heavy, outdated skin. All that remains is the infinite void, Indra’s net, the interconnectedness of all things. You are able to see with “over-eyes”, perceiving the big picture despite the usual small picture perspective held up by your ego. Indeed, no-mind is the place where the ego goes to die- at least temporarily.
In this state you are a fountainhead to the cosmos. Your crown chakra is in full flutter. You are in a state of absolute non-bias and non-judgment, completely open to the vital information being downloaded by the universe. All thought is put on hold. Your mind is a sponge soaking in truth. It’s only after the meditation, when no-mind is replaced with mindfulness, where the potential for happiness manifests itself. And the potential is great, heightened by the experience in no-mind.
For no-mind has already launched you past happiness, into a state of absolute vulnerability, where the judgment, bias, and close mindedness of your thoughts were torn down to allow for beauty, truth, and wisdom to sneak in. All three of which can lead to eudemonia, happiness beyond happiness, a flourishing of the human condition, a mind-body-soul creative expression and a deep sense of purpose.
Beyond codependence, beyond even independence, here is the holistic state of interdependence. When you are codependent you expect happiness to come to you. When you’re independent you expect to find happiness. When you’re interdependent however, you have already subsumed happiness because happiness, like sadness, grief, joy, guilt, anger, love, and other emotions, are simply a small aspect of the interconnected whole. Happiness is merely a small side effect of living a full life, just as all other emotions are.
Achieving a state of interdependence is no small feat, but the little bursts of happiness discovered along the way make the pain of growth well worth it. The pain of passing through the many thresholds of cognitive dissonance, dark nights of the soul, ego death, comfort zone stretching, and the trials and tribulations of taking an independent leap of courage out of codependent cowardice, will lead to the absolute joy of self-improvement, self-overcoming, and the personal transformation into your own version of heroism.
Working toward a state of interdependence, day in and day out, makes happiness itself a process, an inherent aspect of the overall method. Because you are always aiming for personal growth, self-improvement and self-overcoming, you are always north of happiness. The process itself trumps the happiness gained, but it is also within the process where the most happiness is obtained.
“Happy is the man who discovers wisdom. For the merchandise of it is better than silver, and the gain better than gold. Length of days in her right hand; and in her left hand riches and honor. She is a tree of life to them that hold her; and happy is everyone that retains her.” –Proverbs 13-18
Meaning trumps happiness, yet most happiness comes from meaning. As such, the creation of meaning is the ultimate trump card, and perhaps even the ultimate True North. When you’re creating meaning, you are the perennial artist, a self-inflicted mythologist transforming the mundane infinity that surrounds you into the meaningful art that defines you. As a creator of meaning, you hold courage in one hand and audacity in the other, defying the inherently meaningless universe by creating your own meaning despite.
The meaning you create becomes a trophy, a symbol of your imagination and creativity, a magic elixir that can be shared with the tribe, and a legacy that can be passed down to your progeny. It becomes your life’s purpose, an immortality project that transcends happiness. At the end of the day, searching for happiness is old hat. Better to go north of happiness. Better to experience flow states. Better to practice non-attachment and no-mind. Better to strive for Interdependence through self-improvement and self-overcoming. Better to create your own meaning despite meaninglessness and happiness. Better to simply revel in the little moments of happiness that come and go from living a life well lived.
Ann Arbor becomes latest city to decriminalize “magic” mushrooms and other natural psychedelics
(TMU) – The city of Ann Arbor, Michigan, has effectively decriminalized psilocybin or “magic” mushrooms along with other natural psychedelics in the latest sign that public opinion across the U.S. is continuing to turn against prohibitionist policies.
On Monday, the Ann Arbor City Council unanimously voted in favor of a resolution that would make it the city’s lowest-ranked law enforcement priority to the investigate or arrest anyone planting, cultivating, purchasing, transporting, distributing, using or possessing entheogenic plants or plant compounds.
The resolution applies to all psychedelics derived from plants and fungi, including psilocybin mushrooms, ayahuasca, ibogaine, mescaline, peyote and other substances with hallucinogenic properties deemed illegal under state and federal law.
The council also requires the Washtenaw County Prosecutor’s Office to halt the prosecution of those involved in the use of entheogenic plants and plant compounds.
Ann Arbor now joins a growing list of cities including Denver, Colorado, and the California cities of Santa Cruz and Oakland that have decriminalized all entheogenic plants. Other cities including Chicago and Austin are considering similar measures. A ballot measure that would legalize the use of psilocybin in therapeutic settings will also be voted on in the state of Oregon this November.
The move to de-prioritize law enforcement around psychedelics was spearheaded by the efforts of local grassroots advocacy group Decriminalize Nature Ann Arbor, or DNA2.
At the beginning of the year, councilmembers were skeptical about any move to decriminalize psychedelics. Since then, they’ve found themselves convinced by evidence of the therapeutic and spiritual benefits of psychedelics, including for mental health treatment and treating addiction, reports MLive.
Councilmember Zachary Ackerman cited the opening of a $17 million psychedelic and consciousness research center by Johns Hopkins Medicine as proof of “the tremendous potential of these future medicines.” The Center for Psychedelic and Consciousness at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore is currently conducting clinical trials to find out whether the drug is suitable as a prescription drug for the U.S. market.
Councilmember Jack Eaton described the council’s unanimous backing for the decriminalization resolution as carrying on the city’s legacy of backing the local decriminalization of m******** during the 1970s, when the plant was still illegal under state and federal law.
The resolution doesn’t allow for the commission of crimes or any significant violation of state or federal law, and any use of entheogenic substances that pose a threat to public health and safety could require intervention by law enforcement bodies.
In the resolution, entheogenic plants are defined as the full spectrum of plants and fungi that contain indole amines, tryptamines and phenethylamines “that can benefit psychological and physical wellness, support and enhance religious and spiritual practices, and can reestablish human’s inalienable and direct relationship to nature.”
The resolution also states that psychedelic substances can be used to address substance abuse problems, addiction, recidivism, trauma, post-traumatic stress, depression, anxiety, grief, cluster headaches and other debilitating conditions.
“The use of entheogenic plants, which can catalyze profound experiences of personal and spiritual growth, have been shown by scientific and clinical studies and traditional practices to be beneficial to the health and well-being of individuals and communities in addressing these conditions,” it states.
Psilocybin mushrooms are currently considered a Schedule 1 narcotic by the Drug Enforcement Agency.
However, psilocybin – the main chemical component of the mushrooms – was designated as a “breakthrough therapy” by the FDA in 2019 due to the positive results of psilocybin in treating depression, anxiety, addiction, and other mental health problems.
Studies have also shown how a microdose of psilocybin—far from the level needed for a full-blown trip—actually increases the creativity and empathy of participants.
Other researchers have also found that psilocybin has provided effective help to patients struggling to quit other addictive substances such as cigarettes.
The newfound recognition of psilocybin therapy as a valid treatment has eroded old stereotypes of psilocybin as some intoxicating and hallucination-inducing party drug that drives its users insane – a reputation that largely grew out of the hippie counterculture of the 1960s when they were widely known as “psychedelic” or “magic” mushrooms.
The resolution further notes that entheogenic plants have been the basis of spiritual practices by human cultures for thousands of years, yet those who seek them for the sake of improving their health and wellbeing must risk arrest and prosecution to obtain them.
“Decriminalization of naturally occurring medicines is necessary for progress,” councilmember Jeff Hayner said in a press release from DNA2 last week, reports Detroit Metro Times. “We can no longer turn a blind eye towards the wisdom of indigenous peoples, and the bounty the earth provides. I have been moved by the testimonies of those who have found profound relief from the use of entheogenic plants.”
The Esoteric Meaning Behind Neo’s Interrogation Scene in The Matrix
More than 20 years old now, The Matrix is recognized by fans across the world as being one of the most brilliant films in history, most notably for its deeper meaning and esoteric philosophy.
One scene that is particularly intriguing, considering the social climate of today, is Neo’s interrogation by the Agents of the Matrix.
Now, before we dig into the potential hidden meaning here, as I perceive it, and how Neo found himself in this uncomfortable position to begin with, let’s first establish some key points in relation to the overall story line that will help us to appreciate the implications behind this scene a little bit more.
What Does The Character Neo Represent in the Matrix?
Neo in ancient Greek (νέος) means new/young one. This is an important piece of the puzzle to help us understand what the directors of the film are trying to communicate to us. With that said, when we assess Neo’s character in the first film, we find that he is a solitary individual that keeps to himself and is struggling to find deeper meaning in this world by constantly searching the internet.
What Does The Character Morpheus Represent in the Matrix?
Morpheus in Greek mythology is a messenger of the gods. He appears to humans through dreams with the intention of delivering divine Knowledge and Truth. In the Greek mythos, he can appear in almost any form in people’s dreams, which could be because anyone, regardless of race, gender, or outward appearance, can be a messenger of enlightenment and Truth.
The First Matrix Film is About The Beginning of the Journey to Awakening
With the understanding of the deeper meaning behind what Neo and Morpheus’ characters represent in the film, we can now appreciate the intro scene of Neo sleeping (whilst searching for Morpheus) through a different lens of perception and awareness.
You see, Neo sleeping whilst searching online for Morpheus represents the early stages of the Truth seekers journey — “asleep” but still searching for deeper meaning in life — and hoping to find that meaning by seeking out a “messenger” of higher Knowledge and Truth.
Truth is Terrorism in the Empire of Lies
Through his incessant efforts, Neo begins to get closer and closer to finding the elusive Morpheus. This, however, also attracts the unwanted attention of the Agents in the Matrix, which represent the enforcers of the shadow government of this system. Their job is to ensure that no one exposes what the Matrix really is, and how it turns unsuspecting every day human beings into useful resources that it can use and exploit.
The Agents proceed to apprehend Neo and interrogate him, where they make it very clear that they’ve been spying on him and keeping meticulous records of his activities, both online and offline, for quite some time now. As we all know very well today, all around the world intelligence agencies are doing exactly that — tracking what we view online and keeping meticulous records on many of our movements.
The agents, however, do not see Neo as being a major threat to the Matrix system, as he is still in the early stages of his awakening and does not know enough to be a major threat. Instead, they offer him a deal where they will be willing to “wipe the slate clean” on his illegal activities online, if Neo will simply help them track down the man they call Morpheus, who they claim is “a known terrorist” that is “considered by many authorities to be the most dangerous man alive”.
This represents that the single greatest threat to this manipulative system — which is overwhelmingly ruled by deception and exploitation — is any messenger of higher Knowledge and Truth that can potentially awaken those who are still “asleep” to what the proverbial Matrix really is. In fact, one could argue this sort of power struggle has been going on for thousands of years, and is possibly why Socrates was accused of “corrupting the youth” by the ruling class more than 2,000 years ago and subsequently sentenced to death; or why Fred Hampton was assassinated by government authorities in 1969; or, in more recent history, why civilians that were peacefully protesting against Wall Street and the bankers for their part in destroying the world economy in 2008, were targeted by the FBI and even labelled as potential “domestic terrorists“.
Simply put, Truth is terrorism in the empire of lies.
Neo, still being somewhat naïve and unbegun in his journey, rejects the Agent’s offer and demands he get a phone call because “I know my rights!”
To this, Agent Smith retorts, “tell me Mr. Anderson, what good is a phone call if you’re unable to speak?”, which results in Neo’s mouth warping in the most eerie of ways.
This scene represents a lesson that all genuine Truth seekers eventually come to learn — this system is not concerned with human rights nor is it concerned with upholding authentic justice. Instead, it inculcates these beliefs and misperceptions into our minds from a very young age, because it serves to help legitimize its unnecessary existence in the eyes of the unsuspecting public and indoctrinate us as to why we think we need it. But in reality, our government guaranteed “rights” can be taken away from us in the blink of an eye.
In relation to current events, for example, many thousands of people worldwide have been arrested for violating curfew orders; In one Indian state, civilians were told they must take selfies every hour and send it to the authorities to prove that they are staying indoors; in South Africa, some have been fined for not wearing masks while driving their cars; In Boston in the United States, people have even been told that they will be fined if they walk “the wrong direction” down the street; Homeless people in France have reportedly been fined for not staying indoors; Some people have been arrested for attending funerals of loved ones because it violated lockdown orders; Others (including doctors and scientists) have had their right to freedom of speech censored online; In Australia, a pregnant woman was actually arrested in her home for facebook posts that encouraged protesting against the lockdown; According to the International Labor Organization, tens of millions are being pushed into unemployment; and travel all around the world has been severely restricted by these authorities who have taken it upon themselves to be the rulers of this planet by dictating what the rest of us can and cannot do. Whether you agree with these policies or not, these things cannot logically be called “rights” since they are so very easily violated and taken away from us.
There are many other examples that demonstrate how our government given “rights” are more of a comforting illusion than an actual reality, such as the CIA’s secretive Black Site torture programs, which have been done in cooperation with other intelligence agencies and authorities throughout the world. In these programs, people have been kidnapped — without any legal criminal charge or trial — and then taken to undisclosed secret locations where many of them are tortured for many months on end, in ways that are considered to be in violation of international law and basic human rights. The CIA, of course, simply claims they are suspected terrorists. In 2014, however, a Senate Intelligence Committee Report found that at least 26 of the people that were kidnapped and tortured were actually “wrongfully detained”.
Wake Up Neo — You Are the One
Fortunately, Neo manages to escape this unthinkable situation without any serious injury or harm. Soon after, he is contacted by Morpheus, where he is told that he was very lucky that the Agents underestimated his great potential and spared him, because if the Agents had known the great secret that Morpheus knows, then Neo would probably be dead.
Confused by the obvious strangeness of everything taking place, Neo asks Morpheus what the hell is going on, and what exactly is he talking about?? Without hesitation, Morpheus replies to him, “You are the one Neo — You see, you may have spent the last few years looking for me, but I have spent my entire life looking for you.”
This is perhaps the most important lesson the new Truth seeker must eventually come to learn — We are the ones we have been waiting for to change this corrupt world my friends; and we must stop looking for heroes and human leaders to absolve us of this very serious responsibility. Instead, we must all take on the role of Morpheus — which is to awaken as many Neo’s (new minds) as we possibly can, whilst also taking on the role that represents the journey of Neo, by challenging ourselves to become the best version of who we authentically are.
By doing this, we will help to awaken and unleash the unique creative forces of each individual’s problem solving imagination; and we will also find unity in our shared struggle against the injustices, and corruption, of this inhumane system which invariably exploits us all.
If not us, then who? And if not now, then when?
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Americans Are Dropping LSD at an Increasing Rate – And Acid Use “Probably Tripled” in 2020 Alone
(TMU) – As 2020 has clearly shown, life is fraught with existential dread and can often resemble a nightmare for many of us.
If it were just a matter of cabin fever resulting from the coronavirus health crisis, that would be one thing. But this year has also entailed chaos in the streets, economic instability sweeping through our families and communities, not to mention the usual madness that has been raging across the world in recent years.
And if you’ve thought of reaching for some chemicals to escape the madness, even momentarily, you’re hardly alone.
As a recent study has shown, a growing number of Americans are using LSD to escape the deep crisis that our society has found itself in. In fact, the hallucinogen’s popularity has grown exponentially in recent years.
The authors of the study have a very simple explanation for why adults – primarily millenials and Gen Xers – are dabbling or diving headlong into using hallucinogens. Simply put, the world is on fire.
“LSD is used primarily to escape. And given that the world’s on fire, people might be using it as a therapeutic mechanism,” University of Cincinnati doctoral candidate Andrew Yockey explained to Scientific American. “Now that COVID’s hit, I’d guess that use has probably tripled.”
In undertaking one of the first major studies of acid dropping among adults in the U.S., the researchers examined surveys of 168,000 Americans and found that intake of LSD had risen by a shocking 56.4 percent between 2015 and 2018.
And while one might expect that it would be the youth – in this case Generation Z – that decides what the trendiest drug might be, it turns out that Gen Z isn’t so interested in the drug that helped define the hippie an psychedelic counter-cultures of the 1960s and 1970s. In fact, those aged 18 to 25 saw their LSD use decrease by 24 percent.
By a huge margin, Those who tripped the most on acid were adults with college degrees and people aged 35 to 49, whose interest in LSD skyrocketed by 223 percent in the three-year period. Meanwhile, those over 50 saw 45 percent increase while those age 26 to 34 saw an increase in LSD use by 59 percent. Those with college degrees did 70 percent more LSD.
A number of factors have boosted the popularity of the psychedelic substance, well before the current global crisis made us desperate for some form of escape. Researchers believe that one factor may have been the outcome of the 2016 presidential election, which made certain groups seek out the drug in lieu of, perhaps, escaping to Canada.
The rising popularity of microdosing is also a likely factor in the rise of LSD use. Microdosing typically involves taking one-tenth to half of a typical “trip”-sized dose as a means to reduce depression or anxiety, enhance creativity or simply sharpen the mind.
As a psychedelic drug, however, LSD is classified as a schedule 1 substance by the federal government due to the belief that the drug is addictive, dangerous and has no medical value.
While LSD’s popularity is rising over the years it still doesn’t come close to the mid-20th century peak of acid culture, experts say.
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