Thursday, May 28, 2015

DMT and the Persistent Illusion

The exact nature and scope of human consciousness is something great thinkers, philosophers and scientists have puzzled over for centuries.  It certainly seems like the more we think we understand consciousness, the more there is to learn, and experience.
It was once called the great mystery, but more contemporary thinkers have labeled it the grand illusion, following Albert Einstein's lead in considering all of reality as merely an elaborate illusion, albeit a very persistent one.

More recently some folks have built upon that paradigm by suggesting that reality and  consciousness is holographic in nature, while others insist that we all exist within some kind of a computer simulation.  When the obvious first question is asked regards to the operators of such holographic or computer programs; the popular answer is usually either our future selves, or maybe aliens.

The next question is usually something about what purpose or use such an artificial simulation might serve.  The answers here tend to be numerous and creative without being terribly convincing.  It's a test.  It's a game,  It's enslavement.  etc.  I need better answers than that, I need an explanation way more sublime than that.  First and foremost, I need answers which are congruent with my personal experiences with consciousness, yet not limited to just that.  After that, I'm looking for an elegance missing from most explanations of consciousness and reality. 

I have a problem with the computer simulation and holographic theories.  What entities anywhere would have the time to write programs and sub-programs to create everything we see, hear, feel and do?  Who is writing all this code, and for what purpose, for what audience or end user group?  Seems lazy to me.  If we just say consciousness and reality are holograms or computer simulations, does that absolve us from a spiritual purpose?Nifty way to pawn off all our bad moves and was programmed!  Sounds similar to another popular movement, but without the religious figurehead at the center.  If everything and all of us are just bits of code, it's easier to say nothing matters.  Computer simulations who invent computer simulations to entertain themselves with?
I'm looking for the elegant beauty that certainly must be the foundation of such complex concepts as consciousness and reality.  Dear, miss-guided Timothy Leary set me upon the path of the psychonaut; with some help from Carlos Castaneda of course.  I see Tim Leary as miss-guided because when he had the hearts and attention of perhaps millions; he gave the wrong advice, he got it backwards!  What he should have said on that sunny California day, was Turn on, Tune in, & Take Over!!  Had he uttered those words instead, we would be seeing a very different world, and reality today.  But, I digress...

The quest to understand consciousness is a lot like working a jigsaw puzzle without benefit of knowing what the finished puzzle will look like.  Not only are we missing the top of the puzzle box to guide us; we also seem to be lacking an owners manual for this human instrument our consciousness resides in and directs. 

"Science; is questions that may never be answered
Religion; is answers that may never be questioned"

Dr. Albert Hoffmann's accidental discovery of LSD or lysergic acid diethylamide in 1938 ushered us into the age of psychoactive compounds which when taken allow us to experience unknown realms of our consciousness, and reality.  Thirty years later; the compound he discovered was influencing a generation of Americans.  Lamentably the greater potential of LSD is wasted on those who only take it recreationally to "enhance" their perceived reality.   With the proper Intent, setting and conditions, Albert's little wonder drug can show you some interesting and profound things about consciousness and reality.  Conversely, if done when in a foul mood, or emotional turmoil, it can immerse one into many hours of extreme psychological discomfort, aka, the bad trip.

Native American shamans of course have a very long history of using Peyote and other psychoactive mushrooms in both spiritual and ceremonial expressions.  These natural chemicals have the ability to open the conscious mind to vaster realities, indeed even allowing one to travel in other realms, experiencing other entities, and spirit animals. Or you can just spend four hours laying in a field staring at the clouds & feeling all floaty.  Once again, those who use such drugs to "escape" the reality they created to begin with are missing out on a universe of understanding.

For the serious psychonaut there is a compound of all natural ingredients hailing from south america called Ayahuasca.  It isn't something you "try" or take recreationally, or even without supervision & guidance.  It's that potent; and it will show yourself to you, warts and all, and seldom in a gentile enjoyable way.  It rocks your world, literally! 

Then there is Iboga, or Ibogaine as it's called nowadays which has found a home in the medical community as an aid to breaking addictions.  Iboga is another psychoactive plant.  It is an Indole Alkaloid; and in spiritual use it has two distinct phases.  The first is the visionary state, followed by the Introspection state lasting from 4 to 6 hours.  Iboga is considered an Oneirogen due to it's dreamlike effects.  The sensation is very similar to lucid dreaming, that is to say, being fully conscious while in a dream state.  Iboga shows yourself to you much like Ayahuasca does, but is way gentler and somewhat easier on the physical form.  Again, as with Ayahuasca, best results with Iboga are obtained with the help of supervised guidance.

"Life lived in the absence of the psychedelic experience that primordial
shamanism is based on is life trivialized, life denied, life enslaved to the ego"
                                                                      ~ Terrence McKenna ~

Being constantly intrigued by that untapped 90% of the human brain; I couldn't help but become an avid fan of the late Terrence McKenna and his explorations into the realms of human consciousness.  It is perhaps interesting to note that while McKenna advocated mostly the spiritual use of mushrooms, he also occasionally spoke of their recreational value as well.  McKenna was a true shaman, being extremely well versed and experienced with most if not all psychoactive substances.  He long maintained that the only reasons governments ban such things is because they tend to free the mind, and then the soul, from the machinations of ego and "society."  Ironically, nearly everyone who denounces psychoactive substances, has never used them. 

Consciousness isn't something that can be easily categorized, or crammed into a single confined conceptual "space" or definition.  Another shaman named Stuart Wilde once said that "if you can't explain it in 25 words or less it isn't the Godforce" and yet most of us find defining consciousness akin to nailing smoke to the wall.  We know that we have it, yet we don't really understand it all that well most of the time; because if we did, we'd be doing better things with our lives!
After hearing about the substance DMT for many years, I got my first chance to experience it about four years ago.  DMT, or, N,N Dimethyltryptamine is created by the human body, in the pineal gland, and is a chemical released at death.  It is a structural and functional analog for serotonin and melatonin.  Also naturally occurring in over 50 plant species from ten families, DMT is one of the active ingredients in Ayahuasca as well.

All of the experts agree, DMT is the most powerful psychoactive agent known to science.  That's a ringing endorsement for any well traveled psychonaut.  However, for being the worlds leading psychoactive substance; the effects of DMT are exceedingly, maddingly brief.  The average DMT trip lasts only five minutes or so! 

"There is a transcendental dimension beyond language;
It's just hard as hell to talk about."
                                                            ~ Terrence McKenna ~

While the clinical studies conducted by Dr. Rick Strassman used injections, the more contemporary users today are smoking or vaporizing it.  In his book, DMT: The Spirit Molecule, Dr. Strassman's volunteers were injected with a serum; I believe the clinical subjects with perhaps purer extracts may have had experiences lasting somewhat longer than five minutes.   

As with any psychoactive substance, one's mood, attitude and frame of mind will influence the kind of experience one has; and this is very true with DMT.   Before my first DMT experience I had the benefit of others who shared their experiences with me, trying to prepare me a little.  A little was about all the help it was, because more than any other substance or compound, DMT is a very personal experience.  Are there hallucinations?  Oh, you bet!  Better and stronger by far than any I've had on LSD

My first experience with DMT was smoking some with a friend who extracted it himself from various plants.  It was late afternoon when I hit the pipe load of DMT.  As suggested by my friend, I took 2 full hits from the pipe then put it down on the coffee table.  For a moment it seemed nothing was happening, then after a few seconds there was this rush of wind and a slight wormhole vortex effect, then the room was back to normal.  After a few moments I was about to tell my friend I wasn't impressed, when my front door opened and in walks a little gnome-like fellow who looked shiny and nearly translucent.  Without so much as a nod, this trans-dimensional fellow strolls right by my chair, goes into my kitchen, opens the refrigerator and climbs in, shutting the door behind him. 

No previous experience with hallucinogens had ever been so sharp, clear and life-like.  This was some serious kind of Blu-Ray hallucination ... or was it something more.  As I marveled over the resolution of the hallucination another entity drifted in thru my front wall, floated right up to me, looked me in the eye - and winked at me  just before disappearing faster that whiskey at last call.  I looked over to my friend and while it was evident he was watching something, it was clear he was seeing something entirely different than myself.  Waiting to see if anything else would happen, I noticed the room had a strange look and feel to it.  Something I couldn't quite put my finger on right then in the moment.  When the effects subsided a few minutes later I told my friend about the little entities I encountered.  He told me that seeing them is indicative of the first stage of DMT, he called them gatekeepers, Terrence McKenna called them Machine Elves. My friend then explained to me that there are three stages, or levels to a DMT trip, and meeting the gate keepers is just the first.  Then he told me that very few people will experience all three levels the first time or two.  There is a real tendency to become stuck in phase one because of the "oh wow" factor, without realizing there is more in store.

Regarding dosages for the intrepid psychonaut; opinions vary, depending on the method of intake.  For smoking DMT, the following is a helpful guideline:

Threshold dose is from 2 to 5 milligrams
A Light dose is from 10 to 20 milligrams
common dose is from 20 to 40 milligrams
A strong dose is from 40 to 60 milligrams

Be very accurate when measuring doses, to avoid a stronger dose than you want!

The first level of DMT is the realm of the gatekeepers as previously described.  There is nothing wrong with hanging out here a few times until you get a sense of the room so to speak. 

The second level is known as Blast Off, and you'll know you're entering it by the marked sensation of rushing through a portal, vortex type wormhole, similar to the initial whoosh, but much stronger.  The second level consists of deep introspection of self, along with a powerful sensation of disassociation.  You feel out of body with a sensation of being wide awake and conscious within a dream.  This level provides a very non-confrontational environment for self assessment. 

The third level is called No Mans Land because here we find a very broad range of environment and experience.  Meetings with aliens and other entities is exceedingly common; as is the teleportation to fantastic realms beyond the one we know so well.  It is in level three where real interactions with other life forms occurs, not to be confused with the gatekeepers and machine elves in level one.  The most deeply profound spiritual experiences happen here.  Many have said they spoke with the Godforce.  The surreal experiences and sensations encountered here have led some to feel like they were dying.

"It isn't what you have, or where you are, or what you are doing
that makes you happy or unhappy, It's what you think about."
                                                                       ~ Dale Carnegie ~

My first experience with DMT was so realistic and profound that it took several days to process & integrate what I'd seen, and experienced.  My friend had generously left me with several more doses, and told me that while some folks take DMT daily, such might not be advised for beginners like me.  Suddenly I found myself of two minds on a couple of important questions.  When did I want to do it again, and whether to read up on the subject before the next experience?   With the first experience being so very positive and enjoyable, I was eager to go again within a few days, but should I wait?  I also wanted it to be very much organic & authentic; would researching it further perhaps influence my next experiences with DMT

The second time I smoked DMT was about two weeks later, about 2:00 in the afternoon.
My friend had suggested that doing DMT outside in the daylight was a peak experience, for him; so I thought I'd give it a try.  There is a secluded little koi pond on a corner of my property; splendid setting for a DMT meditation I figured.  This time I did a brief intention meditation first, after just sitting for a few minutes.  After smoking the DMT, the whooshing vortex thing happened again just as before during which everything around me was somewhat blurry & out of focus.  A few seconds later, everything was back in focus, but far from normal.  I could see the photosynthesis happening in the leaves of trees, like tiny droplets of iridescent pearlessence driving home on the freeway.  I could hear the sound sunlight makes.  I could see the color of the breeze, and when a curious squirrel peeked around a tree trunk at me, I could see inside him like X-ray vision. 

Hologram my ass! 

I looked down at my feet which became tree roots growing into the ground, and I felt not only like I was connected with Gaia, but a part of her for the first time.  Whatever I looked at, I could see the entirety of it, all in the most perfectly complete detail.   Subtle movement in the grass caught my eye, and when I gazed at it closer I could see small unknown little multi-legged creatures all calmly going about their business, oblivious to my presence.   Turning my attention away from the tiny creatures I was startled to see a machine elf sitting next to me, hell, he might have been there all along.  He wasn't looking at me, so, not wanting to spoil the moment I just sat there silently next to him gazing at the leaves.  I became so focused on the trees and flying insects I never saw or heard my visitor depart, but as I got up to return to the house a voice on the breeze said I could return whenever I wanted, presumably as long as I had some DMT extract.

After collecting a couple more DMT experiences as a framework for reference; I began studying & researching the chemical.  Dr. Strassman seems to be one of the preeminent scholars researching this field, along with Terrence McKenna, and Graham Hancock.  When I felt my background information was adequate, a few weeks after my second experience; it felt right to have another go at it.  Whereas most of the experiences I actually had are rather common to everyone, I was ready for the deeper, fuller experiences I'd been reading about.  I figured for my third time, upping the dose was in order. 

"If the words 'life, liberty & the pursuit of happiness' don't include 
the right to experiment with your own consciousness, then the
Declaration of Independence isn't worth the hemp its written on."
                                                                                         ~ Terrence McKenna ~

Now the books, experts and my own experience agree that DMT is nothing like psilocybin or even LSD.  It isn't a kaleidoscopic roller coaster ride full of rapid fire hallucinations like acid, and it isn't even very similar to mushroom trips.  I wanted an "A" ticket ride, so for this experience I nearly doubled the previous doses.  This time it was well after dark, and I was in a mood to experiment.  I have several videos of moving fractal images set to relaxing music, which are stunningly beautiful normally, so I decided to have one playing on the big screen TV before I smoked a bowl of DMT, just to see what would happen. 

Big mistake. 

After doing my best to assimilate the entire double dose, the whooshing vortex sensation came as expected, however at the same time I saw & heard water flooding out of my stereo speakers instead of relaxing music; and the moving fractals were no longer confined to the TV, or the screen, but began swirling about all over the room, and directly at me.  The moving fractal images followed the walls & ceiling like laser beams, and at once I was inside of a 3D kaleidoscope of cascading shapes and colors.  Within 30 seconds it was difficult to see much detail in the room as the spiraling fractals wrapped around me like a giant psychedelic python.  The sensations were overwhelming after two minutes, but I was determined to ride it out.  All things considered, leaving the safety of the chair seemed unwise. 
Four minutes in and instead of wearing down, the experience was actually getting more intense with every passing second; and was becoming a concern.  Whatever music was on that disc, it came out like sounding like some kind of alien tinnitus on steroids; a sharp buzzing noise, which was getting louder.  I could also hear the sharp, crisp sounds made by swirling fractals passing near my head; a sound not unlike sheets on the clothesline being flapped by a breeze.  Time itself seemed very fluid and flexible as I soon realized I had no idea of how much time had passed so far.   I thought to just turn off the TV, but I couldn't find the remote - because I couldn't see the desk it sat upon; everything was what was on the fractal DVD, and that's all I could see around me. 

At some point I saw my open bedroom door just five feet or so away, knowing my bed was just beyond somehow inspired me that I could make it before it disappeared again.  From the doorway I literally threw my body on the bed with swirling fractals chasing me the whole way.  I curled up in a fetal position, completely disoriented and unable to see anything but the fractals flowing from the big screen like lava from a volcano.  I didn't feel especially threatened, beyond wondering if I was dying; because once on the bed it felt very much like I was sinking down into a whirlpool, so I just relaxed into it now that injury from falling down was less likely.

Closing my eyes made zero difference because even with eyes shut and covered by my hands, I still continued to see the gyrating, swirling fractals in every imaginable color.  This continued for what felt like an hour before things started winding down.  When the fractals melted away the feeling of vertigo subsided and I could again see the familiar surroundings of home sweet home.  The wall clock said the whole experience had lasted a total of seventeen minutes!

I want to meet the computer geek who can write code for that!

That third experience with DMT was profound enough that I knew I didn't want to try it again for a while.  I'd be needing the time to process my experiences.  To be sure; I entered the experience lightheartedly with no intent other than exploration and experimentation.  That as it turns out is insufficient as well as being ill-advised.  As previously mentioned, this is the most powerful psychedelic on the planet. 

Six months after, I again felt like it was time to try DMT, having arrived at the conclusion that twice a year would be a good frequency of use for me. I would attempt to describe the next couple of trips if I didn't feel my grasp of language inadequate to the task.  Perhaps the accumulation of experience transcends language altogether, nobody knows!  I have come to understand why Rick Strassman calls DMT the spirit molecule I think, and that is because it might just be the key to unlocking the rest of our brains, and perhaps even lead us to that owners manual for being human.  We could really use that right about now.

"My technique is don't believe anything.  If you believe in something;
you're automatically precluded from believing its opposite."
                                                                                                  ~ Terrence McKenna ~

From my empirical research with this substance I have come to believe that the term trip is more descriptive of DMT than it is LSD; because I think it takes consciousness to another place.  I think that's what the whooshing vortex thing is all about, actually traveling somewhere else, even if its only the undiscovered country of that unused 90% of our brains.

 When it comes to comparing DMT to taking LSD; let me put it this way, over the last four decades I've done my share of acid, (and some of yours); and none of them can compare to the DMT experience.  LSD is a ride, DMT is a journey

DMT is the event horizon of consciousness.

© 2015 full re-post with permission only

May the Source Be with You

Recommended Reading
DMT; the Spirit Molecule by Dr. Rick Strassman
DMT and the Soul of Prophecy by Dr. Rick Strassman
Inner Paths to Outer Space: by Dr. Rick Strassman
Food of the Gods: the search for the original tree of knowledge by Terrence McKenna

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Earth Day - WTF!

It is the early morning of January 28th, 1969 aboard the Union Oil drill platform-A: Six miles from Santa Barbara, California.  On an otherwise routine day, well number A-21 experienced a underwater blow-out lasting ten days, and covering all within sight with sticky crude oil.  At the time it was the worst environmental oil spill ever.  Today it's been bumped to number three, after the Exxon Valdez spill in 1989; and the infamous Deepwater Horizon which ironically occurred on Earth Day just five years ago.

Aghast at the destruction of the Santa Barbara spill, the following year senator Gaylord Nelson from Wisconsin conceived of "Earth Day" and soon got it approved as an annual observance to further our understanding and appreciation of our mother earth.  That oil spill and the resultant Earth Day observance are generally considered to be the genesis of the conservation movement. 

How well I remember that time 45 years ago; back when our passions could not be defeated by any bureaucracy and some of us thought we were seeing the dawn of a bright new day for Gaia and all her children.  Finally, progress was being made somewhere if not everywhere, and the sweet smell of hope filled the air, and our heads.  For a time.

There were a few politicians who took up the banner for conservation, along with groups like Greenpeace, Sea Shepherds, etc; and gradually, little by little laws were enacted to further protect the environment, natural wetlands & watersheds.  things were looking up; for a time.

Sometimes the pendulum of change seems more like the scimitar. As soon as face-shooter Dick Cheney and his smirking chimp GWB puppet figurehead took office; laws which were protecting the environment and mother earth were summarily stripped off the books and replaced with the patriot act.  Things have been rolling downhill ever since for Gaia, and all of us along with her.

As we greet the 45th observance of Earth Day we are finding there is indeed not much to celebrate.  Just this last week fracking operations in Oklahoma released another swarm of 4.0+ earthquakes, with the same thing occurring in Idaho, Montana, and basically everywhere fracking is permitted.  So, this insanity called fracking, which makes drinking water so toxic it is flammable, and creates swarms of earthquakes-is perfectly legal? 

I'll just say it, What the Fuck?!!?

Meanwhile the timber industry is busy trying to cut down every last tree they can find so Japan can have wood for houses.  We're stripping Tuna from the Atlantic fast enough for it to be called genocide, so the Japanese can have some non-radioactive fish to eat in their new homes.  Everywhere we look; animals are being harvested with zero regard for anything beyond profit.  Not only are entire forests still being burned in south America in the name of progress and profit; all over the world the rapacious demand for palm oil kills even more wild virgin forests at a truly staggering rate.

Humanity can live just fine without palm oil, whale oil, and fucking shark fin soup.  Why we insist upon such ugly, greedy practices just amazes and confounds me.  I seem these days to be trapped in one long, drawn out, What the Fuck moment; because every single day those running this game ratchet the insanity up a few more notches.  

Has the media where you live covered the massive dead whales beaching themselves in Japan, or that this act is thought to be a precursor sign of earthquakes.  Did they tell you that just days after the beaching, Japan began having not just an earthquake, but once again, swarms of them?  Didn't hear about that?  Didn't think so.  Then you might not have heard about the new volcanoes erupting in Japan either.

It isn't just Gaia having a really bad time of it this week; her human children aren't doing so good either.  A man guilty only of running while being black is shot to death, in the back, as another man arrested for the same "offense" dies from a mysterious broken spine while in custody.  Elsewhere, a 70 year old volunteer police "officer" killed a suspect with his gun while thinking he was firing his taser.  He was unqualified for either in my humble opinion; but was found not only not guilty, but also deserving a vacation in the Bahamas??!! Yup, another WTF moment.

Obama is celebrating Earth Day with some nuclear brinksmanship and saber rattling with Iran which is probably making dear Gaia a bit nervous.  Why isn't he sending some humanitarian ships to help save drowning refugees fleeing Libya instead of blockading Iran

Earlier this week a postal worker in a gyrocopter flew in under all the radar in the most controlled air space on earth, evading all the muscles of homeland security; and landed on the white house lawn to deliver 535 letters-one to every member of congress protesting campaign funding practices.  To the further embarrassment of DHS, the postal worker had notified the authorities and media he would be conducting this act of civil disobedience.  And he still sneaked in and took everyone by surprise even so.     

A crazy week on planet Earth!

Getting back to mother earth as a focus; we find that Fukushima has killed the pacific ocean, as the fishermen return with empty nets again, like last year, there are no fish.  They're all dead & gone, but then we already knew that.  We also know it will only be getting worse as more radiation spews into the air and sea daily from that festering open sore created by incompetence fueled by greed.

 At every level, when it comes to humans, it seems they cannot ever be counted upon to make the correct choice for the greatest good.  As example, take the king crab fishery in Alaska, just down wind from Fukushima's continuously erupting nuclear volcano.  That fishery should have been shut down immediately, Why you may ask...because crabs feed on the dead & dying of the ocean, which means all things killed by radiation.  The crabs become toxic from eating irradiated fish, and still they are selling Alaskan crab for top dollar around the world four years after the nuclear accident; knowing it is poison.  Not only don't those involved get into any trouble, they get their own TV show! 

Utter insanity.

Back in the gulf of Mexico; the remnant of the Deepwater Horizon well is still leaking oil, as are a good many of the hundreds upon hundreds of abandoned gulf oil rigs.  BP sprayed unknown thousands of gallons of corexit which is designed to sink the oil, not absorb or disperse it.  Almost all of the Deepwater Horizon oil, plus all that corexit has turned the gulf into a dead zone; and the ocean conveyor currents are circulating that death around the planet.  Stuff like this is kept from us by the news minders at propaganda control, for our own good.  It's easier to ignore if we aren't being reminded of it every day. 

All over the planet we see the same exact thing: those who have either depleted or contaminated their own natural resources behaving as if they have a god-given right to the resources of others; either by commerce, or by war if necessary.  This is not just an unhealthy mindset, it is maniacal & insane. 

Those shadowy ones behind all these atrocities continue to spray deadly toxic chemtrails above us in stark disregard for our resentment, dulling our senses, making us sick, and taking us right out of the equation.  For a while now we have seen the reports claiming that some Wal-Mart stores would be used as containment facilities, when all the undesirables and rebels were rounded up.  Those reports are easy for some to dismiss, but then this week also saw the announced closing to several Wal-Mart stores in different states all closing for plumbing repairs.  All of them, Really?!  Seems just a bit strange to me when you consider how Wal-Mart stores hate to lose a penny of business.  Hmmm!  Very strange indeed.  Then there are the reports of all those railroad cars with leg irons for the passengers; easy to ignore until related stories begin traveling in clusters, then it begins to make sense.

Between the neocons, archons & morons all the promise of Earth Day has become more of a longing for what was, and what we have lost.  Poor old Gaylord Nelson must be weeping in his grave.  Meanwhile, as they totally ignore the mega-risks to earth from Mega-business, news people show us how we can save the earth by making earth day hats from empty cereal boxes instead of tossing them in the trash.  While California suffers from a devastating drought, residents are threatened with stiff fines for wasting water; 11 huge private golf courses; and the almond industry in southern California use all the water they want.  What complete rubbish!  With so much at stake, why are games and nuts such a high priority?  Once again, we are fed this puerile idea that it is the behavior of individuals like you & me that has caused all these deadly ills to mother earth; and Our job to fix it. 

 How utterly insulting. 

The indigenous original people of north America called Gaia by a different name, they knew her as Turtle Island, and knowing also that all things are connected on the great medicine wheel of life; every day was earth day! They showed her respect, and she gave them abundance.  Good trade! 

Somehow, since that time we have allowed others to steal our power and use it to wage war upon the sweet dear earth in our name.  To our enduring shame we have watched this parade of increasingly horrifying  atrocities to the environment without raising so much as a whimper of meaningful protest.  We just pretend we don't see, then pretend nobody else does either, and continue on with our little rat race lives, in servitude to those in the shadows of power.

Not too much to celebrate, is there?

© 2015 full re-post with permission only

May the Source Forgive Us

Within a week of Earth Day 2015, the predictions made in the video above came true:
 over 4000 dead in the volcano eruption in Chile & the Massive Earthquake in Nepal.
Are we paying attention Yet

Nature strikes back.

Related Augureye Posts:

Other Voices:
Nature strikes back.
Emergency closure of fishery along entire west coast- no fish survived -population decimated!
Are the nationwide walmart closures connected to detention centers for Americans?

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

How's Your Happiness Index?

If the big bang had lasted just a fraction of a second less than it did; everything would have collapsed back in upon itself.

If the big bang had lasted just a fraction of a second longer than it did; everything would have exploded in one big fireball.

Instead, the big bang lasted the exact, precise length of time necessary to form an expanding universe full of galaxies, stars and planets.

I'm fairly happy about that.

Than I am alive upon a planet the perfect distance from a star for life to thrive makes me very happy indeed!

Everything after should be considered a bonus.

We've all known people who seem happy nearly all the time, regardless of circumstance; and others, who seem to never find so much as an ounce of happiness no matter how much of it surrounds them.

Happiness is a by-product of life.  It does not discriminate between the deserving and non-deserving; that, is a purely human trait. 

Clearly, happiness is a valued commodity in today's chaotic world, perhaps more so than ever.  As with the concept of love, happiness is often harder to define than we think it should be.  it's not a one-size-fits-all kind of thing; it's way more personal than that; just like love.

Love and happiness can often travel together, but not always.  Love can bring about happiness, yet happiness does not guarantee love, in every instance.

What constitutes happiness is different for everyone; what sends one to the height of ecstasy may not even rate mild interest from others; and vice versa.

"It isn't what you have, or who you are, or where you are, or what you
   are doing that makes you happy or un-happy: it's what you think about."
                                                                   ~Dale Carnegie~

 Happiness is as fleeting as the visit from a hummingbird on a sunny day, and like the hummingbird; happiness also comes and goes on its own schedule & agenda.

Happiness cannot be commanded, or simply is, and then after a while it goes away or changes form into some other emotion.

Is happiness the opposite or absence of sadness?
Not always, no.

Ones life may be totally devoid of sadness without having a speck of happiness to show for it.  Likewise, one may find true happiness in many things while still feeling sadness on other levels.  They are not interchangeable or mutually exclusive energies.

We're more complicated than that.

On the world web there are no shortages of tests and such one may use to gauge their happiness index on some chart or another.  That is fine for those who are happy with such things; but the simpler approach is to make sure your happiness index doesn't become your misery index.

As the human condition continues to degrade, finding happiness becomes more important than ever in the stagnant dystopian landscape around us.  The power elite certainly seem to rejoice in ever increasing regulations and restrictions of freedom, and liberty; as if they're trying to see how much repression humanity as a whole will tolerate.

While some people pursue happiness so intently they totally miss some obvious opportunities; other people find great happiness in even the smallest of things. 

When happiness catches us unaware and settles in for a while the first thing we want is more, we want to extend the happiness hoping it will stay around longer; yet knowing that it cannot be held prisoner. 

We can become happiness junkies if we're not judicious.  An awful lot of addictions are started by trying to recapture the sensation of the first time something made us happy. 
We should be smart enough going in to realize we can never duplicate the first experience of anything.  That is exactly why the first experience of anything is so special!

Stress is a primary happiness antidote and can not only eradicate happiness, but even prevent it's re-growth as well.  Reducing & managing our stress may not in itself bring about happiness, but what it does is create the space in which happiness can bloom forth.

Some seek happiness outside of themselves, as a resource from the material world, while others seem to discover a well spring of happiness within themselves without looking for it.

There is the kind of happiness you find; then there is the kind of happiness you create.

There is the kind of happiness when our children make us proud, or when we exceed our own expectations for ourselves.  Still, I think the best we can hope for with happiness is to acknowledge it when we feel it, without trying to either hunt or capture it.

Then there is the almost evil kind of happiness some people find in making those around them as miserable and agitated as possible.  Failing to find or create their own happiness they satisfy themselves in spoiling the happiness of others, as if a sport.

I am all too happy to avoid such folks.

There is the kind of happiness we feel in the successful competition of a difficult task at the end of the day when our bones are tired.

Each of us has the choice and chance to awaken each day with a speck of happiness for what the day may bring, and what we might accomplish with the time.  We can monitor our thoughts to create a fertile environment for hapiness.

We can also try giving happiness a home in our hearts.  We can open our hearts to happiness instead of closing them off trying to make happiness a full time prisoner.

Compromise seems a constant in life, and its no different with happiness.  If we want to either find or create happiness quite often some compromise is required.  The trick is to not compromise that which makes your happiness possible in the first place.

There are no short cuts to happiness, yet at the same time it can pop up in front of you when least expected, which makes a good case for knowing what you want.

Unfortunately, far too often we humans must learn the lessons involved when we attach our happiness to the emotional affection of others.  Having someone else be responsible for our happiness can be the slipperiest of slopes; especially when things get very tough.

Sometimes folks get trapped into measuring their happiness and self-worth in the esteem others hold for them, good or ill.

It gets really interesting when we attempt to balance our spiritual happiness with physical happiness in this life.  While they may seem polar opposites, they really aren't; not if you go about it the right way.  Finding that balance point is what makes it challenging.   

The average worker gets up earlier than they'd like, rushes thru the rote morning routine  to fight traffic, to get to a job they hate, being around people they dislike, then grinds home thru still heavier traffic . . . hard to find happiness in that rat race agenda.  That's the whole point!

"A positive attitude may not solve all your problems, but it
will annoy enough people to make it worth the effort."
                                                            ~ Herm Albright ~

There is the false happiness of dime-a-dozen-divas, and other brightly colored fast moving objects which are created by our false economy and false society to keep us distracted... for a while longer.  We see these diversions for what they are, entertainment for the lower chakras; but we don't mistake them for real happiness. 

That ocean side home with the magnificent view certainly brings happiness...and high maintenance in a never ending battle with salt and corrosion.  Life is compromise.

Most people think of money straight away, when happiness comes to mind; despite the ages old wisdom that happiness cannot be so cheaply bought.  Indeed some find happiness of a sort in the possessions money can buy; yet so often in the end they too late understand the true definition of possession. 

Happiness may also be found in the experiences that money can buy.  The accumulation of experience certainly serves us more than the collection of things...depending entirely of course on the kinds of experiences one seeks out. 

Fulfilling, or destructive?

Top astronomers estimate that nearly 90% of the material needed to make new stars is gone.  After just 14 billion years and already we're in the grip of entropy.  Experts have long held that the rate at which the universe is expanding from the big bang is slowing down; and that it will some day eventually collapse back in upon itself, with the entire universe ultimately consumed in one all-consuming black hole.

One cosmic breath,
an exhale followed by an inhale
with all of creation come and gone between the two.

I figure that leaves us all a few billion more years to let some happiness find us!

© 2015 full re-post with permission only

May the Source be with You!

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Saturday, April 4, 2015

A Monster Called Jingle Bells

Up in northern Wisconsin there is a respectable sized puddle of water named Birch Lake, near the sleepy little lumber town of Laona.  It's where my folks grew up, and eventually married.  Back then dad was a businessman and mom taught high school English.  I was but three years old when dad's career relocated the family to the southwest.

I might have grown up thinking that city life was normal except for the fact that family ties took us back to spend most of every summer on Birch lake.  It was my annual reboot from nature, and I looked forward to it more than anything else. 

Birch lake was my training ground for learning how to get on out in the quiet places, and unlike most kids learning those skills, the lessons came from my mom.  A tomboy from the start, she could identify every species of tree that grew in such abundance surrounding the lake, and every creature living there.  She taught me wood lore, and how to respect nature, and the forest.  While mom's skill set made her the quintessential woods person, her first love was fishing; and every summer we'd spend countless hours of the day and night dragging fishing lures around that lake.

Now as one might expect; growing up in a family oriented to the outdoors, there was no shortage of campfire stories.  We of course heard about such legendary creatures as the Hodag, and side-hill gulger which were standard fare for those parts back in the day.  There were also the much more intriguing family stories told every summer, and of these, none were more appealing to me than the lake monster called Jingle Bells

Fishermen on Birch lake primarily fished for walleye pike, and northern pike which were plentiful, and some bass as well if you knew just where to look for them.  Although some disputed it at the time, many claimed there were also a few Muskellunge or Muskies, (the largest and most aggressive species of pike), living in the lake.  Over the years the legend grew of a fish in Birch lake that could not be caught.  Plenty of people had hooked this wily fish, including mom, but nobody had ever landed him.  In fact, mom claimed to have hooked him on no less than three occasions over the years.  As the story went, this fish had been hooked so many times there were numerous lures still hanging from his mouth, and when he shook his head violently to escape, they sounded like sleigh bells, so the locals took to calling him Jingle Bells.

Other members of the family had also seen the monster fish hooked, only to escape yet again.  Fishermen would come from all over to get a shot at Jingle Bells, and even though some very nice walleyes & northerns were pulled from Birch lake, nobody ever landed a monster muskie with a tackle box full of lures in its mouth.  The legend grew.

By the time I was twelve or so I'd actually grown tired of hearing about the mythical muskie, and even doubted it could still be alive after all these years.  However, I never grew tired of fishing with mom, so I learned to suspend disbelief, at least for the duration of the fishing trip.  I didn't even mind that she allowed no motors on her boat, because she always insisted on rowing.  She said there was a skill to rowing the boat without announcing your presence to the fish.  She was right, of course; so I watched, and learned.  I did get a few fishing trips in with dad, but mostly he hung out with kids his own age, the good old boys club and all that.  He liked to entertain business partners & clients during much of his annual vacation; offspring not invited.

It was June of 1963, my fourteenth summer at birch lake and the family had long understood that I was going to follow in mom's footsteps.  When I wasn't out on the lake I was up in the woods somewhere.  Although open to public fishing, the property surrounding the lake was owned by my grandfather and his brothers, so only family members owned parcels and cabins on the lake shore.  It was like having my very own wilderness paradise; what kid wouldn't just love that?

I was especially looking forward to this summer, having been told I was getting my own boat for my birthday.  It was supposed to be dad's secret gift, but mom clued me in for some reason, which in no way diminished the cool factor.  It was also the summer I'd chosen to duplicate one of mom's famous feats from the past; swimming the measured mile distance from the dock, out to the island.  Yes, this was going to be a summer to remember.  

As was the custom, other members of the extended family also dropped by every summer as they were able, so there was nearly always a full house.  In the evenings gramps would have a game of bridge going on near the crackling fire in the stone fireplace; as his various grandchildren would busy themselves with games and such.  Other family members would spread out around the place, engaged in one activity or another.  All of the activity would occasionally be punctuated by the popping of sap in the fire, or the snapping of mousetraps going off somewhere unseen.

There was no such thing as a video game back then, and TV not permitted in the cabin didn't prevent us from enjoying ourselves.  My cousins and I could spend hours trying to swing a wire loop on a string, onto a hook nailed to the wall.  Sounds easy until you try it!

Hours after sunset as everyone was settling in, the evening bite was on, so mom and I went fishing cause there were many mouths to feed, that they couldn't all fit in the boat was a double blessing!  Mom's boat was easily the oldest craft on the lake; a 16 foot wood rowboat.  The thing was big, and heavy for a smaller boat, and although it readily cried out for a motor, none was ever attached.  The oars were long & heavy as well.

Moving away from the dock with all our gear aboard, the boat was lethargic at first; but after a dozen powerful strokes it was soon gliding across the moonlit lake with purpose.  I think rowing that boat was moms therapy because she never tired of it, or shared it.  If she was in the boat she was rowing because nobody knew Birch lake like my mom.  In our first hour on the lake we picked up two nice Walleyes and a small northern pike we had to release for being undersize. 

Mom never used rod holders, preferring to pin the end of her rod to the bottom of the boat with her right foot.  She claimed doing it that way gave her more of a feel for what was going on.  When she hooked a fish we'd trade seats and I'd take over rowing.  When moms leg got tired from holding the rod down, she's reel in her lure and I'd send my line out. 
By the time the evening chill was setting into our bones we'd picked up a third walleye and were close to being ready to call it a night.  I had my line out, trolling a fancy new artificial frog lure I'd bought in town.  Mom scoffed when I rigged it up, showing her the swimming action of the rubber legs.  She probably hadn't bought a new lure in years, preferring to stick with what she knew worked.  She was fond of saying that fishing lures were made to catch fishermen, not fish.   Undaunted, I was putting my hopes on the sexy frog lure.

We'd decided to troll the deepest area of the lake a few times, then call it a night.  We talked of this and that in whispers, as we fished, being that voices carry on the water, and aren't a natural lake sound.  Mom always said if you want to catch the big fish, you have to think like one.  On our third pass my line suddenly began speeding off the reel into the water.  "Mom, stop rowing, I just snagged the bottom" I said, almost bored.  Shaking her head; mom says "Start reeling, its a sandy bottom here, nothing down there to snag, it's a fish!"

Very soon the line was tight, and still felt like a snag, except there was some give to the thing.  Convinced I'd snagged a waterlogged piece of sunken driftwood, my level of excitement was accordingly low.  I kept reeling as my arm muscle began burning against the dead weight on the end of my line.  Suddenly the driftwood on my rod took back about ten yards of line, and I was now playing tug-of-war with something quite powerful.  With my excitement level appropriately raised, I braced myself, and leaned into the fight.

Being no stranger to fishing this lake, I'd had my share of good sized fish, but not even the biggest fought anything close to what I had on my line.  Determined to land this fish I set the drag all the way tight so I could wear him down.  Mom saw me set the drag and just nodded, with a really huge grin on her face.  With my right arm feeling like it was on fire, I could see that I'd recovered most of my line: whatever I had; was just below the boat. 

Mom popped the oars out and stowed them up front, then reached for the flashlight as I wrestled my unseen opponent closer to the surface.  She was actually laughing when I heard her ask, "Still think you've got a snag?"  I was too busy proving myself a fisherman to come up with a snappy reply, I think I just grunted "Nope."  After cranking in a couple more yards of line everything just went slack, no resistance.  I was thinking I'd lost the fish when he slapped his enormous tail up alongside the boat as he broke the surface. 
Mom shined the spotlight over the left side of the boat, revealing the tail end of this fish.  Moving the light to the other side we were looking the monster called Jingle Bells right in the face.  For those who've never fished for pike, they are a long, slender fish with a mouth full of very sharp teeth.  Think fresh water barracuda!  Now in the commotion I don't recall hearing the famous sound associated with the legend, but with no less than six old fishing lures hanging from his mouth, and the tangles of broken lines looking like deformed whiskers, there could be no doubt this was the infamous muskie.

So, here I am, nearly exhausted, holding onto my fishing rod for dear life with Jaws trying to pull me out of the boat and I hear mom laughing again: "You still think Jingle Bells is dead son?"  My immediate dilemma prevented me from grasping the humor at the moment.  All that was left was to land this monster fish.  Not so easy if you're fishing on moms boat because she's something of a purist; who doesn't believe in using nets or gaff hooks.  Swell, just great.  With this fish starting to act like he was getting his second wind, we had to figure out how to get him on that boat without getting ripped to shreds by those teeth.  Then with a graceful flick of her fillet knife mom cut the line.  As Jingle Bells slid back into the black depths of the lake beyond the power of the spotlight, mom very matter-of-factly says: "Guess your sexy frog worked after all."

With that she replaced the oars, pointed the boat for the dock and began rowing us back  home.  We sat there just looking at one another, smiling in silence over the little adventure we'd just shared.  It wasn't a time for words.  Some things are just beyond simple language.  I looked around the lake all peaceful and serene again after the battle, noticed my hands were still shaking, and not from the chilled night air.  I couldn't shake the image of that monstrous face full of teeth or the enormity of that fish from my mind.  Fish like that just aren't supposed to exist!

The warm lights from the cabin were inviting as we neared the dock.  Still not exactly sure why mom had cut the line, I asked her what she was gonna tell everyone.  "Why, I'm going to tell them you caught Jingle Bells, but he got away the same way as always."  It took me a few seconds to catch her exact meaning, but I wanted to be sure, so I asked, "Do you mean you cut him loose three times before?"  She paused a moment as if re-living a poignant memory, then softly said, "Twice, I cut him loose twice before tonight, the first time he broke my line."

After my own experience with this legendary fish I found myself in agreement with mom: Yes he might look great mounted on the wall as a trophy, but I liked him better right where he was, knowing the rubber frog hanging from his mouth is mine!  He knows I caught him, that's all that really matters. 

Over the following years whenever the stresses of the material world sent me scurrying for my happy place invariably that place would be memories of Birch lake.  When times were really harsh, and I needed something more, I'd find myself back in that rowboat, talking with mom.  Always seemed to clear the skies of dark clouds. 

Mom passed away the year before I moved to Alaska.  She never pushed me to become a doctor or lawyer because she knew the world has plenty of those.  Instead she always told me to just follow my heart, so that's what I did.  A few years later I was certain I could feel mom smiling down on me when she saw that I was living with my family in the wilderness and teaching my daughter wood lore. 

Full circle.

Of course when my daughter was born I couldn't wait to send photos to my father, and sister, so they could update their family photo albums.  It was a couple of weeks later when I received a letter back from my sister.  The envelope was fat with a handful of old photos...really old, from the 1920's.  A brief note accompanied the photos: "After seeing pictures of your new daughter, I think you should have these old photos of mom at about the same age.  Grampa sent them to me when mom passed away, they are yours now."

In my hand were eight photos of my mom taken when she was just under a year old. 
I laid them all on the table in a row, then got the photos sent to my sister & laid them alongside.  

Except for the clothing, it looked like the same exact baby in both sets of pictures!

I'm not talking slight resemblance here, more like Xerox copy.

Not just an uncanny resemblance, a downright spooky one!

Most astounding of all, I'd sent my sister a
picture of my daughter sitting with our black cat:
She sent me one of mom sitting with a white cat!

Mom always did have a well developed sense of humor.

© 2015 full re-post with permission only

May the Source be with You

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