Personal Spiritual Quest: Psychedelic Spirituality, Shamanism and Yoga

Personal Spiritual Quest: Psychedelic Spirituality, Shamanism and Yoga.

Alpha Centauri By Luke Brown. Multi-media.

Alpha Centauri By Luke Brown. Multi-media.

The spiritual quest has been at the core of everything I have done in my life. Spirituality is the examination of who we are personally and expansively and why we are on Earth and what we can do about it. Although I have only reached 31 years of life on Earth I have continuously followed my own spiritual path. I have spent time with many spiritually wise persons from many cultures around the world and studied hundreds of books and resources on world religions. There is a universal message between the teacher’s and that is respect for all life, humility and the conversation between you and the divine is a personal conversation.

In my experience there is no need to cling hard and fast to one branch of a specific tradition and stick with it for life. This kind of specificity is common in many spiritual and religious individuals but this kind of commitment may not be required to develop profound respect for life, humility and to remember our connection with infinity.   Each person has an individual path which only they can traverse. That path can include in-depth commitment to some particular teaching, study or community. The path can also be creative and highly individualized mixing and blending the wise words from cultures and intellectuals around the world into our own personal context.

The important thing is that whatever practice is important and meaningful to you is the thing to do. The power in any practice is our focus and intention. The personal connection to what you are doing and the reason for doing it is what gives it the power to transform our body, mind and open our spiritual reality. Our destiny is a field of possibility which is affected by our past, present and future and the choices we make. There are many practices which can help to develop personal control over our mind and this can increase the potency of our practice. The shamans of Peru remind us that we dream reality into being in every moment. The master Yogis say we must learn to control the mind and body to find stillness and transcend into infinity. Rolling Thunder a North American indigenous medicine man says that the preliminary step to study become a medicine person is the ability to recognize any bad thought and put it out like the flame of a candle.

There is certainly a connection between the body, mind and spirit. In advanced yoga they are instructed to withdraw all the senses into the body, then to withdraw the mind into the heart to still all thought then in that heart cave we can hear the voice of the divine. This kind of bodily control extends into the extraordinary feats like being able to change heart rate, brain wave pattern, body temperature and to stop the breath all together for extended times (do not try at home). However, these accomplishments are but dangers along the path as they distract us anyway from the deepest reality and stir our thoughts. The way these yogic masters accomplish such feats is through a systematic practice which revolves around understanding and affecting the flow of life force or prana which is behind everything in existence.

The life-force concept is seen in cultures around the world and it is said to be the transcendent force which is also the fabric of existence. This force flows through the body as blood, oxygen, lymph, energy, the nervous system electrical current, the DNA, the whole vibrational spectrum of human existence. The shaman, yogis and mystics each use the life force as a way to deepen their awareness linking the body and mind into the realms of spirit. This life force can bring us into another dimension far beyond what is familiar in normal waking consciousness. The universe imagined and unimagined is united in life force and we are intrinsically linked to all existence through this ever present stream of life.

Alex_Grey-Psychic_Energy_Sy

The mystical visions of the transcendent realms are not common in literature produced by European culture in the last 1000 years or so, perhaps due to religious fundamentalism which lead to the death of millions. Even with-in that context saints with-in the Catholic Church still experienced divine ecstasy. In recent history American and European cultures have begun integrating these kinds of transcendent experiences back into their lives. Through the practice of meditation, yoga, shamanism, creativity and sometimes spontaneously people will slip into the realms beyond material reality and gain an overwhelming ecstasy they describe as sacred. Psychedelics are a major player in this shift in perspective as these ancient medicines link us back to the prophetic visions of paradise.

Parallel to those stories is the unbroken lineage of indigenous communities around the world who have long held traditions which evoke spiritual ecstasy through nature, community and ingestion of plants. Nature is the gospel to these communities and many hold a long tradition of using sacred plants. All life is sacred but there are some plants which are particularly helpful to human spiritual well-being. These plants have been called entheogens (‘invokes the divine’) and psychedelics (Mind manifesting) in the West. These entheogen plants are sacraments in a spiritual tradition which is cross cultural and goes back to the beginning of human kind and even involves the Neanderthals. This cross cultural shamanic tradition holds the spirits of the plants to be their primary teachers. The plants show them what to do and the spirits do the doctoring when healing. One could say there is an intelligent life force associated with the plant and through honoring it we gain access to the worlds of consciousness inhabited by the plant spirit or intelligence. This other realm is known as the otherworld, spirit world and the realm beyond death.

This shamanic tradition is at the root of all religions as it predates organized religion by thousands of years. Nature is been the living presence of the divine and through nature humanity can gain great knowledge and wisdom which is applicable to holistic well-being. In ancient India the spiritual culture which one can call shamanic yoga or pre-hindu religion is at the root of current spiritualism. This ancient shamanic tradition also spoke of the devis or spirits with-in each plants, rock, and drop of water (from the Rig Veda oldest known spiritual text in human history). It also used ritual, trance and plants to transcend.

There is a foundation in human consciousness which is drawn to this world of spirit and this ancient imprint is left from millions of years of evolution and is still present and active in humans. The shaman, the yogis, the Buddhists all utilize practices which focus intention, bring greater awareness to the unseen forces in life and utilize states of extraordinary consciousness.

Today in the scientific community psychedelic plants like marijuana, MDMA, LSD, psilocybin (magic mushrooms), DMT and Ayahuasca are showing tremendous promise as healing medicine in the right setting. These studies started in the 1940’s stopped in 1970’s and started again in the 1990’s. These studies show that these psychedelic substances which have been taboo and illegal are the most effective treatment known for certain “untreatable” kinds of PTSD. The interesting thing about these studies is that many subjects who gain extraordinary healing do so by going through a mystical experience of the sacred. They describe transcending into the hands of god, being united with all life, all is light, or communicating with divine intelligences like angels, aliens or other spirit beings.

The direct spiritual experience or the mystical experience is the basis of most spiritual traditions. In many cultures around the world the demonization of psychedelics never occurred and they have a long history of using these plants as healing tools and as spiritual teachers in the context of their medicine ways and community. The beautiful thing that is occurring now in Peru for example is the communication between Westerners and Indigenous medicine people because of the sacred plant medicines especially Ayahuasca. Many of these shaman are not able to continue their lineage of knowledge as in the old days with modern transportation and children looking for lives beyond the fast disappearing jungles. This pressure is allowing much of this body of knowledge to be brought to scientifically minded contemporary peoples with jobs and lives outside the ancient forests.

Jehua Supai  - Featured in the book 'The Ayahuasca Visions of Pablo Amaringo' by Howard G Charing &; Peter Cloudsley

Jehua Supai – Featured in the book ‘The Ayahuasca Visions of Pablo Amaringo’ by Howard G Charing &; Peter Cloudsley

Ayahuasca is important for another reason because DMT is one of the primary psychoactive neurotransmitter in the brew. DMT is produced in the human body naturally as well. This important link is highlighted by the fact that pure DMT causes people to go into a kind of lucid dream state where they go to parallel dimensions of existence. These explorations into these parallel dimensions often involve connection with infinity, spirt beings, crystal cities and more. For more on this Pablo Amaringo’s artwork and Rick Strassman’s book DMT Spirit Molecule are great resources.

Spirituality is now developing a new language through which to understand these most dynamic and ethereal questions. Rick Strassman PH.D has put forth the term Theoneurology meaning, “The brain is the agent through which God communicates with humans (Strassman 2014).” Research into psychedelics is revealing what happens in the brain during mystical states of consciousness. The term psychointegrator has been proposed by Luis Edwuardo Luna and others to describe psychedelic plants because studes and brain scans show psilocybin causes nearly 100 times more interconnection between various regions of the brain. Furthermore, under the influence many regions of the brain become less active leading to the theory that the brain is a filter for the overwhelming stimulus around us and when it is calmed the brain integrates and can experience the divine.

We are headed toward a new understanding of spiritualism and to a great degree we can see how racism and religious persecution continues to hinder spiritual development to this day. Does using a non-harming plant medicine in a ritual setting for spiritual or religious reasons constitute and illegal act or should it be protected citing the constitution. The answer is for some its legal for others it is illegal. This paradigm is going to have to change in order to uphold the constitution and to live in a democratic society which accepts diversity and cross cultural communication. Freedom of religion cannot exist without protecting sacred land and without free access to plant medicines.

hasam hisim - 1

hasam hisim – 1

 

In all this we are to find our own way to the spiritual heights we seek. This can only be done by following that which supports our lives and is meaningful to us. When a prayer or a practice feels meaningless it is not worth doing because the passion of your soul is not in it. Do not however fall into the trap that says the spiritual path should be easy because it is not. Many times when we are closest to god we are in fact suffering. Many people deprive themselves of enjoyable things simply to suffer to come closer to god like fasting, sundance or a psychedelic ceremony.

Alex Grey is an example of a spiritualist who has followed his vision to become one of the world’s most well-known painters. He has gone as far as to say that he honors the direct spiritual experience and mystical visions by making art; thus his art is sacredly inspired and is his deepest prayer to humanity and the divine. Others have found they can share their teaching through mediation, offering the healing arts, music, raising a family, pursuing a spiritual life and bettering the world.

There is no model upon which to build our personal inner temple but rather we have to build it and explore the territory with our own determination. With practice, concentration and non-judgment we can learn anything in life and develop a personal spiritual tradition informed by what inspires and moves us. The mystical union with the divine is not always the focus of our practice, however, the ever flowing divine life force is inseparable from who we truly are.

 

Tantric Marriage By: George Atherton

Tantric Marriage By: George Atherton

By: Transpersonal Spirit

 

Bibliography:

Strassman, Rick,   DMT Spirit Molecule: A Doctors Revolutionary Research into the Biology of Near-Death and Mystical Experiences. Park Street Press. Rochester, Vermont. 2001.

Strassman, Rick, Slawek Wojtowicz, Luis Eduardo Luna and Ede Frecska. Inner Paths to Outer Space: Journeys to Alien Worlds Though Psychedelics and Other Spiritual Technologies. Park Street Press Rochester, Vermont. 2008.

Strassman, Rick. DMT and the Soul of Prophecy: Anew Science of Spiritual Revelation in the Hebrew Bible. Park Street Press. 2014.

Grey, Alex. Net of Being. Cosm press. 2012.

Rolling Thunder. Rolling Thunder Speaks A Message for Turtle Island. Clear light Publishers Santa Fe NM, 1999.

Swami satyananda Saraswati. Kundalini tantra. Yoga publication trust, Meunger, Bihar, India. 1984, 2007.

Transpersonalspirit.wordpress.com all writing by Nathan P Rose. 2011 – 2015.

Forest Intelligence

Forest intelligence

The Ancient forests are magnificent and becoming ever more rare. They are the source of the most diverse array of life on the planet. These ancient forests are the lungs of the earth making oxygen and consuming carbon. When we look into old growth forests there are massive trees, soft ground netted with roots, plants, insects, animals and mushrooms. The canopy overhead makes a green sky with sun light twinkling through the leaves.

The largest trees in the forest are called mother trees, grandmother trees by many indigenous groups. These ancient trees can be hundreds and in some cases thousands of years old. In that time they have propagated many younger trees who will someday take their place as a mother tree. The mother tree makes a network which sustains the other organisms in the forest. Plants are not just competing against one another but working together in families and communities in reciprocal and symbiotic relationships.

Suzanne Simard says the secret to the life of the forest is in the soil. Two thirds of the forest is in the soil and only one third is above ground. Now they are finding that the plants work together in a network and community. The whole forest is a system communicating with the other organisms in the ecosystem. The plants transfer nutrients, hormones, water, nitrogen, phosphorus, pesticides and many other things through a vast underground network of roots and primarily through Fungi. The forest floor is like a superhighway transporting all kinds of goods and communication between plants.

The fungi make a mycelial network throughout the forest floor. When we think of fungi in the forest we think of the mushrooms. These mushrooms are a small part of the actual organism, the main body is a vast network of mycelium a thin white root structure in the soil. Under a single foot print i n an ancient forest there is 300 miles of fungal cells moving things around the forest. Networks are nodes and links; in the forest the nodes are mother trees and the links are fungi. Fungi are neither plant nor animal they are in a kingdom of their own. The mycelium of the fungi is the padding the ancient forest floor. The mushrooms are huge organisms in the forest they are just flat and in the soil. In fact the world’s largest living organism is a fungi in Oregon.

The whole forest floor is literally covered in fungi and the organisms in the soil have to co-evolve with the fungi. Forest networks are organized like our neuro-networks and communication networks. The fungal network is a billion year old organism which allowed life to travel from the oceans to the land. Eventually the plants came into fungal symbiosis (they bonded on a cellular level) which allowed plants to photosynthesize making food from the sunlight. This led to the creation of oxygen which allowed humans to exist.

The mycelium taps into the trees and the trees give the fungi carbon based sugars, the fungi in return provide the trees with nutrients. Many plants are dependent on the fungi for survival such as the Douglas fir which could not exist without the fungi. The fungi are dependent on the trees and the trees are dependent on the fungi. The roots and the fungi are communicating and helping each other in a mutually beneficial co evolution. The fungal network can fill the small spaces and effectively extend the trees root structure. The fungi give the nutrients from fungi to fungi and from tree to tree and to other plants. I would go as far to say that the fungi also attract and give nutrients to humans and animals through the mushrooms.

This transport of nutrients was discovered by tracking the flow of nutrients through tree using radioactive CO2. Days after the tree are introduced to the radioactive CO2 the scientists can track the location of the radioactive CO2. They found the carbon had traveled to the root of the tree and out through the surrounding fungi network sending the nutrients in greatest quantity to the younger most vulnerable trees. The larger tree gives nourishment to the younger seedlings. The mother trees give more nourishment to her own kin and this giving is governed through the fungi.

The mother trees can gather much more sunlight with its impressive height and gives that nourishment to the rest of the forest. The trees are growing up in a family where the mother tree feeds young with the food she gathered. The big trees with large roots are the hubs and the systems in the forest they grow around this tree. The mother trees are like hubs for the forest network. One tree can be linked to hundreds of other trees The biggest trees the send carbon into the networks around them and the carbon is sent everywhere. The more stressed the younger trees the more the big trees give the little ones. The research shows a self-organizing and complex system of social relationships in the forest.

 

By Transpersonal Spirit

Bibliography

Nature. What Plants Talk about. Merit motion production. Written directed by Erna Buffie. 2013. DVD.

Suzanne Simard. The networked healing of forests. Ted lessons. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dRSPy3ZwpBk.

Suzanne Simard The Science, Art and Meaning of Forest Wisdom -, Ph.D. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pLU9EPo1iwQ

http://www.scientificamerican.com/article/strange-but-true-largest-organism-is-fungus/

Plant Intelligence

Plant intelligence

eveline hanson gaia mother earth

Eveline Hanson Gaia Mother of Earth

Plants live a secret life which is being revealed by science. The plants have been considered unintelligent for hundreds of years in western culture. The story of Noah’s ark does not mention the plants or the fungi which sustain all animal life. The plants move slowly and thus their behavior is more difficult to observe when compared with animals. Also the majority of the plant is usually found under the soil away from human eyes. The plants do not have a brain or a recognizable nervous system and science has largely assumed this means that plants cannot be intelligent.

Plants can interact with their surrounding environment in astonishing ways. The plants can communicate with each other as well as insects, birds, reptiles and other pollinators. When the movement of the plants is sped up they are very animal like. Plants are not isolated but rather are part of a larger community of organisms such as a forest, prairie or desert.

James (JC) Cahill is investigating if plants behave like animals. The information he has gathered provides evidence that some plants indeed act like animals. The root will seek out areas of nutrients when it find a patch it will slow its growth to consume nourishment. When seeking a distant nutrient patch it will develop and move quickly. This is a typical foraging pattern seen in many animals including human mushroom hunters (more on mushrooms later). The movement of the plant root in slow motion looks much like a worm in soil.

The leaves of many plants will move to capture the movement of light. Many plants become less active and the leaves close at night. The Venus fly trap is another example of a plant which behaves like an animal, it moves quickly as it eats insects and slugs. Plants can also claim territory by killing other plants like the nap weed and other invasive species.

The root structures of even small established plants have over 11,000,000 root tips each tip coordinated and intelligent with its movements. For a plant to move its roots they must grow and even this growth very much resembles the movement of worms. How can a plant coordinate millions of growing roots? The structure of these roots systems is much like the internet with its many independent branches in a network. One can remove 90 percent of the plants root and it can continue to survive the same is true with the internet. Let’s see how complex plant behavior above ground is with the sacred and powerful wild tobacco plant.

Wild Tobacco plant is an amazing plant which Ian Baldwin has studied focusing on its sophisticated ability to respond to threats in its environment. Its seed require a wild fire to begin their growth cycle and they can wait in the soil for hundreds of years for that to occur. The wild tobacco plants are attacked by many bugs and caterpillars in its harsh desert environment. Once attacked it releases a toxin, nicotine, which poisons any organism with muscles and thus poisons my bugs. The horn worm caterpillar eats the tobacco at an amazing speed eating a whole leaf in just minutes. The tobacco is sentient and once the caterpillar’s saliva is on the plant it recognizes its attacker and responds. The Tobacco releases a cry for help using a specific scent which attracts insects like the big eyed bug that attack the caterpillars. The plant knows what bugs to call and how to attract them using chemical volatiles or scents.

The wild tobacco also produces trichomes that have a smell which attracts ground foragers who eat the caterpillars like salamanders. When the caterpillars eat the trichomes they become delicious and easy to find treats for reptiles and rodents. The main pollinator is the Hawk moth which lays the caterpillar eggs. This is why the flowers of the tobacco bloom at night to attract the moth and to reproduce. The moth then lays eggs on the tobacco. Despite the tobaccos defenses they can be overrun with caterpillars. When this occurs the tobacco switches its pollinator. It changes its flowers and they began opening at dawn. The daytime flowers have a different look and smell. The day blooming tobacco flower has different sugar and nectar composition. The flower even changed shape and stopped bring in the hawk moth, instead it began to attract the humming birds. The tobacco chooses to switch its pollinator in just 8 days.

wild tobacco

All these scents, signals and defenses are proving the tobacco plant has incredible awareness of its environment. Furthermore, it has been observed that the surrounding plants are listening in on the signals of the tobacco and may raise their defenses as well. The communities of plants are interacting in complex and adaptive ways. The forest is the best place to observe real living plant communities Suzanne Simard has been studying the forests in Canada and has made ground breaking discoveries, pun intended…. continued in the article Forest intelligence.

By Transpersonal Spirit.

 

Bibliography

Nature. What Plants Talk about. Merit motion production. Written directed by Erna Buffie. 2013. DVD.

Suzanne Simard. The networked healing of forests. Ted lessons. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dRSPy3ZwpBk.